Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Recipe for success

How does one get to be good at the cake decorating gig? The same way, one gets to Carnegie Hall. Practice! One of the most difficult parts of cake decorating is the scroll work. Those swirly, circular motions are easy to do with a bit of practice. I purchased a book of flourishes to help me. My sis is a calligrapher and it comes natural to her. I say natural, because she has spent the requisite 400 hours practicing her flourishes, to get to be an expert. Me, about three hours, so I decided to buy a book. This book:Fourishing book

It has a ton of exercises in it. How do I use it? Well, I scan a flourish I want to practice. Print it out. Then cover it with waxed paper. Fill a tube with frosting and do the exercise in frosting. Over and over, again and again. Once your waxed paper is full of practice pieces, just scrape it off and start again. It will train your hand in the ways of "flourishing". I love the exercise and the fact that they are done in frosting makes it even a bit easier for me. Pen work not so easy. Icing, yes. So there you have it. Practice! Then maybe you'll get to do something like this without freaking out. It's that simple. This cake was done by s'mee, it's what made me decide to practice!

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Top Chef: Restaurant Wars

Tonight is the restaurant wars episode of TopChef 4! This is definitely one of the fun episodes each season. This one will be extra nice for me. You see, yesterday we dumped TimeWarner (yes, we were in the stone age for a bit) and got Direct TV. Yay! Yay!

Now instead of waiting until 10p.m. to watch it comes on at 7p.m.! Woo hoo! Let the party begin!

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What a Tart!

I just spent the last four hours making 300 tarts. 240 of them are for my sister. She is hosting a thank you dinner on Friday and wanted something different. She has a love for good, buttery pastry and wonderful fillings and knew I could help her out.

In the past I have shared our families' love of these tartlettes. They have become a signature dessert at family gatherings. They are only two bites so are a nice treat without the over indulgence of some other desserts.
Raspberry Tarts

S'mee is pairing them with fresh strawberries and cream, chocolate ganache, lemon curd and cream, and then a banana filling with a slice of banana and cream. It sounds so good! I wish I could go, but I'm not on the invite list, so I will just have to use some of the extra tartlettes and make my own!

If you don't have me as a neighbor or a sister and want a treat just like these I can recommend two alternatives. One is to go buy yourself a copy of Sweet Miniatures by Flo Braker. I have spoken before of my love for Ms. Braker. She is a culinary dessert genius in my book! You'll be able to use her recipes for all kinds of wonderful things, including those lovely tartlettes!

Your other alternative is to go here: Clearbrook Farms. I ran into this company at the Fancy Foods Show in January and omitted them from my write ups! Oops! They make the best tartlette shell you can purchase anywhere! They are made with the same fine ingredients I use and you can tell when you taste them. Most tartlettes sold taste a lot like the boxes they come in. Not Clearbrook Farms varieties. They are very good and you will not disappoint anyone when turning to them, rather than baking your own. They also have a great line of preserves and fillings from which to choose.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I've got a question for you.

This question is seemingly simple. But as I think about it, maybe it isn't. Will you please help me out and vote in the poll on the sidebar? If you'd like to leave a comment explaining your vote, that would be fine too. I am going to use the information in a presentation I am making. I know how I'd vote, but then again, I'm not everybody!

My question comes about after a discussion with someone. Does the fact that a "treat" you are enjoying is healthy make you more likely to eat it other than something else? The treat being a good chocolate mixed with nuts, that both have deemed to be good for you in recent years. If the package stated these health benefits, would you be more or less likely to buy it over something else equally as scrumptous?

See, I told you it wasn't simple.

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