Saturday, January 30, 2010

Chocolate Shortbread Hearts


I've been banned from my kitchen until Valentine's Day.

It's gotten to the point where I have to ask permission before baking, because if not I'd be filling the fridge with fattening foods all day.  So I've requested permission to make cupcakes for Valentine's Day, and that means this will be a quick post with a recipe I made a few months ago.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cowboy Cookies


It's finals week at my school, and it's incredibly stressful on everyone - teachers included.  I have had several teachers this year that have been simply wonderful, and I wanted to make them something to show that we students really do notice and appreciate all their hard work.  The first is my health teacher.  She has a great sense of humor and always keeps our classes entertaining, but she also very clearly cares about all her students and is extremely understanding and willing to help with whatever she can.  The second is my physics teacher, who has been absurdly patient with our class this year; we're pretty noisy, to say the least.  However, he has walked us through every conceivable type of problem, tutored us in the morning, delayed tests, and helped with homework, all without once freaking out at us.  Which definitely deserves a batch of cookies, if not a medal.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mexican Brunch

I don't remember what inspired the Mexican Brunch. My family had just come back from a three-week vacation and there was still a good month and a half until school started again. I had plenty of time to bake and scheme and scheme about baking, and somehow I ended up with my heart set on having a big Mexican-themed brunch.

I really don't know why I was so crazy about it being Mexican. That's not my heritage, though God knows I hear a lot of all-in-good-fun Mexican jokes at school, being the only Latina in my year. But I do love Mexican food, and the brunch didn't disappoint. The day dawned warm and sunny; we all woke up bright-eyed and ready for some serious cooking; and the food was, of course, amazing.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Let's Talk About Buttercream

Let's talk about rich, smooth, fluffy, sinfully good buttercream...

Or, first, let's talk about how buttercream and I don't get along. I've never been a huge fan. Most recipes I've tasted are too sweet, too buttery, too heavy, too melty, and the Buttercream Gods have retaliated by giving me horrible, horrible luck with the frosting. The last time I tried making it was in April of last year. Things went so badly that I swore off buttercream, both making it and tasting it. The batch was absolutely disgusting; it literally tasted like I had whipped sugar into butter and spread it on my cupcakes. Though I know some people think that sounds great, I just can't stand the thought of something so overtly sweet and fatty. Besides, the recipe had been for an Italian Meringue Buttercream, so I was expecting a lighter, though still decadent, taste.

So buttercream and I weren't getting along. Which was unfortunate, because everybody else seemed to love it. And then I met this recipe, and everything changed.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Christmas in Florida

So it's a little after the fact.  So what?  Christmas is exciting at any time of the year, and I really want to share this one, even if it is January now.  This Christmas was so full of great food that it seems a shame not to write about it here. 

We went to visit my family in Florida, as we usually do.  I've never been crazy over the idea of a white Christmas; I'm definitely not a cold weather person.  So I've always been happy to get away from school and work and, most importantly, all that snow, and head to the tropics.  The only Christmas in recent history I can remember that we didn't go to Florida was two years ago, when we stayed home for the holidays, and by the end of winter I was ready to pull my hair out.  I think that's when my parents decided that the plane tickets might be worth it.

This year we got in on Christmas Eve, maybe around four or five in the afternoon.  How do grandparents of any culture greet their family?  Food.  Way, way too much food.


Friday, January 8, 2010

The Terrors of Catering


Thank goodness I've finally gotten to post again.  Things have been crazy between Christmas and New Year's and some very, very unreasonable deadlines for school.

Anyways!  Tonight was supposed to be the night of one of my classmates' art show.  It's a really amazing showcase of teen talent in our city, with live musical performances, theatre, dance, a reading, and, I believe, an art gallery.  It's all the more impressive because it's been organized solely by teens.  I offered to cater the event (on a small scale - no buffet tables here), and the organizer has been great about working with me, and everyone involved, to put together an exciting and smoothly-running show.  I was very much looking forward to it.