Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

This week was my vacation week. It started off with a weekend trip to Jacksonville to visit Kathy with Tawny. Kathy surprised us with movie tickets to see New Moon which we all enjoyed immensely. Tawny and I have read all four books of the Twilight series while Kathy seems to have been motivated to read two more.

I was pretty much a slug on Monday while Tuesday was spent at a recommended follow-up check-up with my physician. The bloodwork taken at my cookie doctor last month revealed that I was anemic and unusually low on Vitamin D. It is official -- I am a vampire! My physician surprisingly wrote me a script for the vitamin deficiency.

The doctor also prescribed a mammogram since it has been years since I've had one. At (almost) 39 and with history of cancer in my family, I've had to endure the breast pancake machine earlier than normal. Coincidentally Tawny had to get one, too, with the same radiology company. A couple of phone calls secured us back-to-back appointments yesterday. We took the term Bosom Buddies to a whole new level!

Today is Thanksgiving Day...Turkey, gravy and rice -- could anything be more divine? My aunt made a legendary feast as she always does. This time I took home some leftovers to enjoy later.

I brought my aunt a big jar sampling of my Atchara (Filipino pickled papaya). Pic #1 is of the raw ingredients. The only things missing are the garlic and the sugar. Pic #2 is the finished product.

Yes, the decorative carrots are a rule. I didn't make the rule; I just followed it for fear of bringing a strange yet believable Filipino curse on me.

For part of dessert I made Cake Ball Truffles. It is made by blending spice cake (usually red velvet cake) and cream cheese frosting before rolling into balls. [Clearly not my original idea!] They were chilled and then dipped in chocolate coating. These crazy treats were a hit at my aunt's feast as well as Tawny's home. I stopped on the way to my aunt's to drop off a couple of containers.

Tomorrow is Black Friday. I have no desire to be in any retail store at any hour just to avoid the greedy crowds altogether. Some stores are opening at midnight tonight and others around 3am, 4am, etc. just to capture more sales with lures of unheard of deals. Big deal. Well then...Off to get some green tea.

PS I am thankful for my family and friends who continually support, encourage and love me. I am also very thankful that I don't have to go in the sun to increase my levels of Vitamin D. Taking a pill is worth every wrinkle not earned. Hee.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tulip Temptation

Give me an occasion. Any occasion. My creative compulsion will answer the faintest siren's call. It has lain dormant for almost three years. Now it has been unleashed to frighten me with its power and (grudgingly) its magic. My recent posts have reflected my giving into the sweetest temptations. Today fared no better.

Kristey had invited Myrna and me for dinner so we could enjoy the outdoor tiki bar she and husband had built in their large backyard. The last time we visited, the rain had discouraged any stay outdoors. Like last time with the Brownie Beach Cake, I volunteered to bring dessert.

Years of knowing Kristey has allowed me the intimate knowledge of her favorite color - purple and her favorite flowers - tulips. When we worked together, I had the pleasure of seeing her enjoy the bouquets of tulips her husband would send her on several occasions. I thought I'd try my hand at it from a different angle, an edible one.

The following is from my youtube page. It was not my intention to create a video with the pictures, but the amount of photos left me no choice. The quality isn't what I would like as the videos you can upload are 2MB max unless you want to break it down which I did not. Enjoy!

Kristey was very pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the filled tulip cups. The doily tray and plated photos were taken at her home.

Tulip Collage

xo Sprinkles

Monday, November 09, 2009

Monogram Monday

My oven received a workout yesterday. First the scones, second the lasagne and third the birthday cake for one of my buddies at work, Michelle. I don't know what possessed me -- everything was made from scratch! The weekend started productive and continued until midnight last night when I put the finishing touches on the cake.

Creativity allows you flexibility to adapt quickly which makes me very thankful for mine. The cake was supposed to have zebra-like stripes on the edges, but I couldn't get the proper shade of black with the kind of icing I made. It required a special candy colorant to achieve the desired color. Out came the plain piping tip to drop white dots along the perimeter of the bottom and top of the cake. The top part was mainly to hide where the hot pink icing met the white color.

Without the zebra stripes, I couldn't do my original design on top. Armed with a piping bag filled with dark chocolate, I dropped a monogram design, frame and swirls onto acetate (clear plastic). A few drops of coloring in bowls of melted white candy coating produced the colors I filled the negative space created. Once all the chocolate hardened, I peeled the plaque off the acetate and flipped the whole thing flat side up on the cake.

A little vodka and gold petal dust allowed me to use a brush to paint golden accents on the plaque.

Here is the birthday girl indulging me in a pose with her cake!

The cake was enjoyed by many. Chocolate butter cake was filled with whipped heavy cream and crushed Oreo cookies. The whole thing was covered in a special buttercream frosting that was light and not too sweet. The cake, filling and frosting recipes came from The Whimsical Bakehouse.


Sunday, November 08, 2009

Scone Heaven

A proper scone is a dear friend of the Sprinkles' taste buds. The last time I was tantalized by a good scone was during my trip to England two and a half years ago. I fell in love with it again this morning after making my own.

Feast your eyes, my lovelies:

Fresh from the oven

Abundant scones in ceramic dish

Light and tiny pockets of air all over

No English cream or strawberry jam this morning. I think butter and my aunt's homemade mango jam are officially the Sprinkles Way. Damn, they were heavenly!

Richard Bertinet's Scone Recipe is from Gourmet magazine editor Ruth Reichl's PBS television series Adventures with Ruth. The episode was filmed in The Bertinet Kitchen in Bath, England... Scone food porn pictures were shamelessly and deliciously brought to you by Sarah Sprinkles.

Happy Sunday!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Post Halloween

Just got home an hour ago from the other side of the apartment complex. I should be in bed now, but we have ended Daylight Savings Time and I had an extra hour. Might was well post while it is still fresh in my mind...

Tawny had an intimate evening of old horror flicks planned for her guests. Her apartment was dark, many candles were lit, had a bubbling cauldron by the dining area, snacks and sweets all over the table for us to nibble and plenty of good cheer.

I brought two dishes. Once was a plate of refrigerated croissant dough torn at random pieces to wrap around sliced smoked kielbasa sausage that were no bigger than two inches long. The nibbles were baked, speared with toothpicks before I arranged them around a ramekin of spicy mustard.

The other dish was a more spooky fare that tantalized my creativity...



How? First I sliced the package of cream cheese into two equal parts and rolled them into a ball. They were placed together and mushed down a bit into the serving dish. I wasn't sure how it would work but I drew capillary-like furrows into the cream cheese before drizzling some barely warmed homemade red pepper jelly from my aunt over the mounds. I topped them with two small rounds of red pepper I cut to fit underneath the gummy eyeball candy. This was served with buttery crackers.

The craziest part of the evening was when I found myself unable to get out of Tawny's bathroom. I somehow managed to lock myself inside. Her husband and relatives were just in the bedroom next door looking at something on the Internet so I knocked, but no one answered. I didn't know they had left to go back into the living room where the TV was a bit loud. By this time I was giggling so hard I barely could talk on my cell phone. Tawny knew where I was and couldn't fathom why I was calling her from the bathroom. She was cracking up on the other line as she made her way to rescue me. It was several minutes before we could speak from laughing painfully. There is never a dull moment in Sprinklesville!