Thursday, July 31, 2008

I have a question??

How are you or your loved ones getting your copy of Breaking Dawn? Mail order, waiting up past midnight, waiting patiently until your birthday?

Please leave a comment.... I haven't decided what I'm doing yet. I had a friend I was going to go with. But she's unable to go now. Decisions... decisions.

James Bond Cake

This cake is amazing! Bullet holes and airplane crash. Click on it for an up close look.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It's a blog-a-thon

I just sat down and I can't stop blogging. I've been trying to think of things people would be interested in. But I just decided that I'll show what I'm interested in. And if you like it.... great.

We were invited over to a friends for the 24th of July and had a Bring your own Meat BBQ. We had chicken breasts in the fridge and I was having a conundrum (b: an intricate and difficult problem) If you ever have chicken at a BBQ, it's never cooked right. It is always overcooked. Everyone is so nervous about cooking it all the way through that they burn the outside. YUCK. Burgers have the same problem. Burned on the outside, they shrink into golf balls and the center isn't cooked. Sigh... people who can't BBQ shouldn't.

So I wouldn't embarrass myself. I studied up. I go to (sadly you have to pay to use their recipes) I've never had a single problem with any of their recipes, and they are so informative. I signed up for it. If you ever need a recipe or information, please feel free to leave me a message and I'll help you out. I'm full of random knowledge... and I don't judge. I may not even know the answer... but I'll sure find it for you.

So anyways here is the recipe I found.

Grilled Lemon-Parsley Chicken Breasts on a Charcoal Grill

This chicken can be served with a simply prepared vegetable for a light dinner. It can also be used in a sandwich or tossed with greens for a salad. The chicken should be marinated no less than 30 minutes and no more than 1 hour.

Serves 4
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
1 1/4 teaspoons sugar
Table salt and ground black pepper
3 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons water
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat
Vegetable oil for grill rack
Large disposable aluminum baking pan

1. Whisk together mustard, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, parsley, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in small bowl; set aside.

2. Whisk together remaining tablespoon lemon juice, remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, remaining teaspoon sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, garlic, and water in medium bowl. Place marinade and chicken in gallon-size zipper-lock bag and toss to coat; press out as much air as possible and seal bag. Refrigerate 30 minutes, flipping bag after 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, light large chimney starter filled with charcoal (6 quarts, or about 100 briquettes) and allow to burn until coals are fully ignited and partially covered with thin layer of ash, about 20 minutes. Build modified two-level fire by arranging all coals over half of grill, leaving other half empty. Position cooking grate over coals, cover grill, and heat grate until hot, about 5 minutes; scrape grate clean with grill brush. Dip wad of paper towels in oil; holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate. Grill is ready when side with coals is medium-hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above grate for 3 to 4 seconds).

4. Remove chicken from bag, allowing excess marinade to drip off. Place chicken on cooler side of grill, smooth-side down, with thicker side facing coals. Cover with disposable pan and cook until bottom of chicken just begins to develop light grill marks and is no longer translucent, 6 to 9 minutes. Using tongs, flip chicken and rotate so that thinner side faces coals. Cover with disposable pan and continue to cook until chicken is opaque and firm to touch and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 140 degrees, 6 to 9 minutes longer.

5. Move chicken to hotter side of grill and cook, uncovered, until dark grill marks appear, 1 to 2 minutes. Using tongs, flip chicken and cook until dark grill marks appear and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 160 degrees, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to cutting board, let rest, tented with foil, 5 minutes. Slice each breast on bias into 1/4-inch-thick slices and transfer to individual plates. Drizzle with reserved sauce and serve.

*So before I marinated the chicken, I pounded it between two pieces of plastic wrap getting it all even. I knew that Ben and Liz weren't going to have prepared a two level fire so I improvised. Pounding it flat, and cooking it with a metal cakepan over the top turned out just fine. Also when I cooked it, to test for doneness, I poked it with my finger. It's something I learned from the chefs at Magleby's. I've also seen that Mary Craft lady do it on TV. If it feels squishy, keep cooking. It's a learned art. When it feels firm with a little give, not hard (hard means overdone). It's done. I then took it off the grill, and covered it with the pan again and let it sit. So the juices redistribute. (Jon thinks I'm full of it when I say that, but all those chefs on Foodnetwork can't be wrong.) If you cut it right away the juices will all run out. After sitting I sliced it on the bias and we served it on italian herb wraps, with tomatoes and lettuce. Honestly, the chicken didn't need the sauce. It was wonderful without. But it was still very good with.

Also, if when you slice the chicken and it wasn't done... toss that baby in the microwave if you are at someones home. (Also some thing I learned from the chefs at Magleby's) If you aren't near a microwave, toss her back on the grill.

Acts 2 & 3 (smushed into 1)

So here is the frosting. We've decided it's not my favorite. Make sure your shortening is fresh (it can go rancid) and not butter flavored. It turns a bright yellow. You don't want yellow, white works better. I'm working on another recipe. A swiss meringue buttercream for a wedding cake I'm going to do.

Here are your ingredients.

Add pwd sugar, salt and vanilla. MIX. In this recipe you don't have to sift the powdered sugar, we're going to melt it all.

We added hot boiling water and mixed.

Mix thoroughly.

Then add the butter and shortening clumps at a time. Whip forever.

It really is beautiful frosting, fluffy, creamy. Mom just didn't like it, so we're going with another recipe she will like. I did make a second batch, with fresh white shortening. There was no way I could make blue frosting with a yellow base. We were over loaded with frosting at my house.

Here are pictures of the cake. Sorry I didn't get pictures of putting it together. I promise to take pictures of the cake I make for my b-day. Yes... I make my own b-day cake. I know what I want. And I don't want a box cake, or a Wal-mart cake. I want a chocolate cake with chocolate mousse. Is that too much to ask for?

We've got M&M fishes, starburst stars, mini twix treasure chest, graham cracker sand, chowmein noodle coral...

What more could you ask for.

Perhaps a sea horse, and a lobster made of M&M's.
The little lobster is my favorite little character.

A fluffy buttercream recipe
(will store in fridge for 2 weeks if covered tightly)

*In bowl of mixer combine*
6 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

*with the whisk attachment, add and whip at low speed*
1 cup boiling water
Whip until smooth and cool

*Add and whip until smooth*
2 3/4 cups shortening
6 ounces slightly chilled butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

Increase the speed to medium-high. Whip until light, fluffy, and doubled in volume (10-20 minutes)
Yield 9 1/2 cups

Cookies and Cream filling

*in the bowl of an electric mixer at high speed, whip until stiff:
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

*Gently fold in*
20 chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed into medium pieces.

(This stuff is sooooo good.)

This is where I got the idea for the cake.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I'm a punk.

3 acts... my eye. It crashed and burned after the first act... we didn't even really get to intermission. I will show you how to make frosting. And I will show you the final result. I just didn't get pictures of how I did it. Sorry. I'll take pics of the birthday cake coming up.

Here is a little boy lovin his cake.

and lovin the camera

I love you baby. You are my everything.

Congrats on surviving for a whole year. Happy Birthday... back on the 8th.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Dancing Baby

Just wanted to share a little tidbit.

Baking a Cake in three acts

I have more friends than I thought. I'm so glad to see you two more people. I'm so glad... I'm making you a cake.

Sorry that's a lie. It's not for you. Isaac's 1st birthday is next week. So I'm saving myself some stress by making this cake in a 3 act kind of way. So let's get started.

Here are the players

First we'll start with the hardware. This recipe calls for two 10" pans. So that's what I got.

Second we'll take the bottoms out of my pans, and trace them onto a sheet of parchment paper.... What!? the bottom of your pans don't come out. That's okay, just trace around the bottom of the pans.

Then you have to cut out the perfect circles and prove to the world what a good circle cutter you are. And if you don't want to prove anything to anybody. Cut them like I did. There is no judgment here!

Now we prepare our pans. Grab your baking spray. I love this stuff. Gone are the days of sticking your hand into a container of Crisco and getting flour all over the sink. Plus this stuff smells like cake batter.

(Well I tried to get them all in a line. I need Kate's design program. And Kate's knowledge of the design program. Okay. I admit. I just need Kate.)
So here we are we've sprayed the bottom of the pan, put the papers in, and sprayed the whole pan. Sides and all. Whew! Who knew it took so much to make it so your cake won't stick to the bottom of the pan.

So now we prepare our ingredients.

The most important step!!!
Entertain the BABY!

We'll start with the dry ingredients.
flour, baking powder, and cream of tartar. And we'll sift these together.

Why sift? Because when I worked at Magleby's as a baker of desserts. We got a really lumpy batch of flour. So after we'd baked a couple cakes we realized the lumps weren't beating out. So we bought a sifter and sifted. It also makes a lighter cake.

It's a thing of beauty. Set it aside.

Now we turn to our handy dandy mixer. Make sure you are using the paddle attachment and not the whisk. You'll incorporate too much air into the batter. Add your butter, sugar, and salt. We're going to cream these together.

This is not creamed.

This is more like it.

Give the baby more toys. He's mad.

Don't forget to scrape the bowl, it's important. I just didn't take a picture of it. Now we're going to alternately add the wet and dry ingredients. Start with your dry ingredients. I sifted mine onto the bendy cutting board. Add 1/3 of the dry, with mixer on low.

Let it mix for a few seconds, you don't want to overbeat this mixture. Please, please, please don't overbeat this mixture. The cake will do funny things if you overbeat. Repeat with me. I WILL NOT OVERBEAT. While it's mixing add the vanilla to the milk, and add 1/2 of your milk mixture to the bowl. Mix for a few seconds and scrape the bowl.
Add 1/2 of your leftover flour, accidentally make a mess, then add the rest of your milk mixture.
Add the rest of the flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Now if you have an extra mixing bowl for your Kitchen Aid. Go ahead and grab it. If you are poor like me. Scrape the batter into another bowl, ooohh and aahhh over how pretty it is, and wash out your bowl.

Make sure you get all of the grease from the butter off of the bowl. Now we're going to whisk egg whites. If you don't get all of the fat out of the bowl, the whites are not going to fluff up the way they are supposed to. Put the bowl back on the machine and put the whisk on. Put the whites in and turn that sucker up high.

Beat until you get a nice stiff peak. In Provo because we have a high elevation, you'll want to go a little softer. Go ahead and take a little of the whites and mix it into the batter to lighten it up.

Now we're going to fold in the rest of the whites.
*Quick folding lesson. Take your widest spatula (rubber scraper) and slice down the middle of the batter, scrape the bottom and up one side, bringing the batter on the bottom onto the top. Rotate the bowl while you do this. Be very gentle. If you are too forceful you'll deflate the whites.

Keep folding until there are thin streaks of whites left. You don't have to mix 'em all in. Beautiful!

Split into two pans and bake in a preheated 350F oven.

Bake until sides start to pull away, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes away with a few crumbs. Let cool for 15-20 minutes before removing from pan. And wrap with plastic before you put in the freezer if you are making this in 3 acts.

White Cake
makes 9 cups

3 1/3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cream of tartar

6 oz unsalted butter (room temp)
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 t salt

1 1/4 cups milk (room temp)
3/4 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup egg whites (room temp)

Preheat oven to 350.
Sift together first three ingredients, set aside.
Cream together, butter, 1 1/2 c. sugar and salt.
Mix together milk and vanilla into a pourable measuring cup.

With mixer on low, add 1/3 of the flour, then 1/2 of the milk. After scraping bowl, add 1/2 of the flour and the rest of the milk. Scrape bowl again then add the rest of the flour.

In a clean mixing bowl, beat egg whites until frothy. Then with mixer going add 1/2 c sugar and beat until whites are a stiff peak. Fold into batter. Divide into prepared pans and bake 25-30 minutes. Or until sides pull away and tester comes out clean.

So my cakes turned out okay. But I did it wrong. I added all of the sugar at the beginning. Well, you win some... you lose some. (I think)