Friday, April 24, 2009

Meg ran the Boston Marathon. I made cake.

It seems to be taking us a long time to finish it. And I haven't quite gotten around to wrapping it up yet. So there it sits. In the fridge. Ready to tempt me.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Will volunteer for potential baked goods.

I know your are supposed to cook for homeless people because it's the right thing to do. And I did.. I mean, at least that's why I went in the first place. What I didn't know was that they were going to give me all the crusts and heels of the bread they were serving... for free! French bread, sour dough, multi grain- you name it, they had it and the crusts were allllll mine! Just in case the warm fuzzy feeling of helping others didn't last, I made myself some bread pudding.

If you want to help feed the homeless and get free bread check out volunteer opportunities with YAVA.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

i wanna make panda bread!

Collidah Found this awesome picture of panda bread. Panda for breakfast would be divine!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Apple Picknz 2008!

Several weeks ago I made my second annual pilgrimage to Doe Orchards in Harvard in search of pie makings and some QT with some derby dames.

Sadly, my recent obsession with apples and peanut butter left me with few baked goods to show for all my effort of climbing in trees and splitting my pants.

I did, however, make one delicious thing I would like to share with you:
Rustic Apple Tart with Cream Cheese Crust.

1 stick of softened butter
1 cup of flour
6oz of cream cheese (softened)

a few apples
2 tbs brown sugar
regular sugar
ground cloves

To make: blend the first three ingredients together with fork, two knives, or a pastry blender. Form the dough into two equal sized balls and flatten. Encase in cling wrap and submit them to the Frigidaire for at least a half hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees or more. I'm not entirely sure.

Cut apples into 1/4 inch slices. (I use Macs and Cortlands)

Use only one dough ball and roll out until about 9 inches across. Lay in tart pan or on cookie sheet sprayed with Pam for Baking. Arrange and layer apples on the dough. Sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg and a few pinches of cloves. sprinkle with a light layer of sugar and then crumble with some brown sugar.

Fold up the edges if using a baking sheet.

Bake until edges are golden brown and apples are tender.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

life and times of the spiteful baker

I moved. I have a brand new oven. Well, not brand new, but new to me. The model name of this oven... Caloric. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Along with my new oven, a new roommate who makes the best chocolate chip cookies ever and has doubled my already enormous collection of mixing bowls, baking pans, muffin tins and cookie sheets. This can not be a bad thing.

What else is new? Well I discovered this totally awesome food blog. It makes me wonder, why are photographers so good at cooking.. or is it that cooks are so good a photographing. Either way, Deb's blog has inspired me to do things like make pretzels!

Make the dough, let it rise, roll it out, make the special pretzely shape, boil them.

Drop some of those slippery suckers on the floor and finally, bake them in the oven. Tah Dah!
Beer's bestest friend and a mighty fine vehicle for mustard.

I have not only been drooling over blogs and baking pretzels. I also made a beautiful bundt cake by following Gina Neely's recipe. You may think that pound cake is dullsville daddy-o. But trust me on this. This one is a winner!

More baking from my kitchen soon, it is apple and pumpkin season after all....

Thursday, April 17, 2008

baking for the night terrors.. actually causes night terrors. interesting.

Last Saturday the Wicked Pissahs took on the Night Terrors, Charm City's two time champion home team. After a night of tailgating, bout producing, playing, drinking and dancing.. I finally drove home and retired to my bed, only to be awoken in the middle of the night with nightmares of burnt quiches, car towing and jamming. When my alarm went off at 7 am I was hardly in any condition to be using heavy machinery, like an oven. But I had to. In only a few hours the Pissahs and Night Terrors were coming over for a post bout bunch (aka face stuffing).
In my hour of exhaustion I created some of my best savory baking- Quiche! Spinach, Broccoli and Cheddar, Potato, Onion and Sun dried Tomato, and Zucchini and Cheddar. It made me think, why don't I make quiche more often? I must spend a fortune on brunch every year (being that it is my favorite meal of the week) and for what? Sub-standard omelets? No longer! Comment with your favorite quiche recipe, I'm collecting!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Shellby Shattered is has too many letters for layer cake.

On the 30th day, of the 3rd month Shellby Shattered celebrated her first and only 30th birthday. With maximum sneakiness Feev's set up a dinner for a "few people" for Shattered at some Mexican place in JP. By a "few people" Feevs meant round about 25 and so it was a fiesta indeed. (especially since there was a mariachi band!)

I wanted to make something very special for Shattered and so I set about dreaming up cakes in my head. Although I was pleased with the idea of chocolate hazelnut, that project was put on the back burner when I remembered a cake that I had only made once before. Black Forest Cake.

I was 10 years old the last time I made black forest cake. Mama J, seester and I made it for a lovely women named Denise who was our next door neighbor from the time my parents moved into their first Enfield house (14 Douglas Drive) until I was five and she move to Florida. At that point we moved into her house (16 Douglas Drive) which may be one of the weirdest things about my family. I remember the move pretty vividly actually. We threw most of our belongings over the fence in the back yard, but hired movers to big things like the fridge. I digress. Denise remained in Florida until Hurricane Andrew destroyed her home. The first time we went to visit her when she moved back to Connecticut we brought her Black Forest Cake because it was her favorite.

Back to 2008- I baked two thick chocolate cakes (using Jenn's Hot Water Chocolate Cake recipe) and made buttercream frosting with lots and lots of butter and set it all aside until after practice. I came home with Seester in tow to shower and frost the cake and make it over to JP. I used canned cherries and layered the cake up topping it all off with frosting and cherries on top. Turns out though "Shattered" has 9 letters and round cakes are only about 10 inches wide... So "Happy Birthday Buns" it was.

After eating delicious food covered in cheese we cut into the cake and passed it around toasting to a women who I am proud to call my friend. Happy Birthday Buns!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My Love/Hate Relationship with Food Network

Last night my roommate and I rewound Jamie at Home three times to watch Jamie fall in his garden in slow motion. I heart Jamie Oliver and his new show. I heart alot of programs on Food TV. In fact, I watch more hours of FoodTV than anything else and after all these years of viewership I feel I have earned my right to criticize the network for their failures. Namely: Ultimate Recipe Showdown.

Ultimate Recipe Showdown is maybe the worst idea ever. Hey let's watch boring Midwesterners pour pre-measured ingredients in a bowl and stir. Brilliant! Additionally, the judges have nothing interesting to say. Perhaps I am just used to watching quality judges like Mo Rocca, Ted Allen and Andrew Knowlton (swoon!) on Iron Chef America, or maybe it is that card board cut out people are more interesting.

Let's see what the rest of the blogging world thinks:

Food Network's Ultimate Recipe Showdown
1.) Commentary by the incredibly annoying duo of Marc Summers and Guy Fieri, both of whom are trying to match the original Japanese Iron Chef commentators.

2). Competitors are set up on fake Iron-Cheffy set. But they're sooooo slow and boring instead of fast and dynamic. It's a mental disconnect.

3). Randomly inserted, seated interviews with competitors (which actually makes them seem somewhat human, unlike their snail-paced cooking).

Quite possibly the worst Food Network show ever, with the exception of Dweezil and Lisa. A stunning new low, in my opinion.

I couldn't agree more! Weird-O interviews with Guy as they watch the judges eat their food.. LAME! Plus they are required to wear aprons that tie around the neck.. Middle aged women with a respectable sized bosom beware- these make you look frumpy!

Ultimate Recipe Showdown is like Iron Chef for regular folks… if you strip out the excitement of a secret ingredient, cooking in real-time, world class chefs, and the eccentric, campy charm of the original Japanese show and instead replace that all with a non-secret ingredient cooked by too many challengers per episode, jerkily edited cooking segments that barely hold your interest, regular home cooks, and the forced, witless humor of none other than Guy Fieri. Throw in the do-no-wrong credibility-infusing Marc Summers, and you still have a pretty weak show. In short, I didn’t love it.....

The whole spectacle just has too much of everything—too many hosts, too many challengers, too many dramatic pauses (there seems to be a horrible battle within reality competitions to see who can hold the longest dramatic pause), too many lights and lasers and sound effects… just too much hype. I found myself bored throughout my various attempts to get through the episode, hoping that something would eventually grab my attention. Nothing ever did. In a television world in which nothing is ever overdone (Lie detector game show? Sure. America’s Sexiest Fetus? Absolutely.), the producers just seemed to throw a little bit of everything into URS in the hopes that something would work.

All in all I guess all I have to say is: This is what happens when Friday's sponsors a cooking show. More from my kitchen and less from my couch coming soon.

Muffin love,


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

photographic evidence that I have in fact baked something.

Happy New Years from your favorite spiteful baker! This year I hope to be better about updating my blog more often, and also losing thirty pounds. How those things will effect each other will remain to be seen. For now, enjoy a few pictures of things I made toward the end of the year. Due to my baking fatigue from Spite's cake, I didn't make that much.. but a few things.

Thanksgiving pies: mincemeat, papa J's favorite and the best apple pie i have ever made ever.

Sweet potato pie, my first ever. I'm going to say it only came out only okay, since it was never finished and eventually molded.

Yet another attempt at making yeast breads. Although these did not rise well, they had a nice crumb and flavor. Since this attempt I have had a tutorial with Mama J on proper bread making techniques.

That is not all I have made, but perhaps all I have photographed. I have taken a keen interest in bread puddings and other custard dishes as well as savory and bread baking. I hope to bring more interesting tales from my kitchen to you in the coming year.

Love and best wishes for all good things in this new year,


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Cake for Spite... Literally!

I know, I know, I have been a very neglectful blogger. I assure you it is not for lack for baking. On the contrary, I have been baking more then ever on a very special project for the one and only Betty Spite.

If you have read any of my previous blog posts or know me at all you might understand that I'm a bit of a disaster, wrapped in calamity, and topped with the essence of a bull in the china shop. When Betty Spite asked me to make her wedding cake, I said yes. You may question why. I know I did.

I figured that I am pretty much capable of anything if I try (I once hung a door with a leatherman and a bread knife- since then I've been unstoppable), so I started by doing a little bit of research and then making practice cake after practice cake. I choose my roommates family recipe for Hot Water Chocolate Cake. And although it does not rise as much as a box mix will, it has a delicious rich flavor and is a sinch to make.

Versions one, two and three of this cake were mostly to develop flavor and texture and to get the recipe down pat. After version 3.0 I decided that the cake, though delicous might just weigh too much for a wedding cake. So when making 4.0 (Jillian's birthday cake) I tried to doctor up a boxed mix, cut each layer in half, and fill it with frosting.

Everyone at Jillian's birthday party were like "oh this cake is so good" and "lauren did you really make this?" I'm pretty sure they were just drunk. Drunk people think any cake is good cake, beileve me, I'm a pro at this. The cake wasn't bad, it was just ordinary and what I would call an asctetic monstrosity. The wedding was a week away, the frosting had crumbs all through it, the cake was all but falling apart and I was officially in panic mode.

I dedicated the following Sunday to making 5.0. After going to the craft store to buy new pans and other equiptment to build the cake and four trips to the grocery store (why doesn't anyone sell buttermilk!?!) I sat down in my kitchen to develop a new plan. Clearly using the slicing and filliing technique was out. I decided that the safest thing to do was bake thin layers and stackign those on top of eachother. No slicing. No crumbs.

I mixed it up a little bit by baking half of the layers with that Chocolate Hot Water Cake and the other half with what I like to call Wicked Pissah Velvet Cake. It wasn't until I tried baking these thin layers that I realized my oven was lopsided. SHIT.FUCK.POOP. I would have to find another oven to bake the final product in.

The next day I stacked them up and glued them together with buttercream frosting. I used dowels to keep the cake together and even practiced driving it to my weekly kickball game. My teammates were willing taste testers since I couldn't even think about eating any more cake. It received rave reviews (before they were wasted, so I actually kinda believed them) and best of all I discovered that when you stack the chocolate then red velvet then chocolate then red velvet then chocolate with the pretty white buttercream inside. OY! It was so beautiful! Maybe I could do this after all.

(that isn't a fifty as much as it is a 5.0)

I took the day before the wedding off from work and started baking at my friend Sarah's house around ten o'clock. Her oven was level, thank God and after a few hours I had all the layers cooked and cooled. I transported them a few blocks to my house and whipped up some butter cream to stack them. Later that day I had my first experiementation with fondant.

December 31st 2007: ** augh. I haven't posted since august because writing about Betty Spite's wedding cake adventure was too much pressure. So I will just say this: Betty Spite got married, she was beautiful, her wedding was perfect and I didn't drop the cake! hip hip hooray!!! **