Friday, December 30, 2005

a very good sign

what are friends for? well, among many good things, taking pictures of delicious baked goods. delicious auspicious baked goods, might i add, given the timing of this shot.

could it be...bread baked in the shape of a turtle?! found nowhere but in my favorite city (read my ode to my favorite city here).

thank you feng(a) and grant. this is most definitely a sign that 2006 will be thoroughly fulfilling, happy, and full of baked surprises.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

big thick waffles

for noon.

here is what i have learned. you can make your own baking powder from baking soda and cream of tartar, in a ratio of about 2:1. i guess cream of tartar acts as an acid. baking soda alone could work, but you would need to have something else in the mixture (like fruit or chocolate) to start the reaction. if you want to make authentic Belgian waffles, however, you need to use yeast, and you also need to seriously whip your egg whites. i have attempted Belgian waffles a number of times before, but i have yet to come across a recipe that delivers the same crispy, crumbly, buttery sweet waffle that I held in a square of wax paper walking over the bridges of Bruges. (please send me your secret if you have found it! i promise not to bake and tell. :)

anyhow, this is why i love being at home: i love being at home because i generally spend the first 60% of my day in my flannel pjs (back from high school), and inevitably around noon my dad will snap out of his sleepiness, wish me a good morning, and say, "hey - is that a new dress?"

Saturday, December 24, 2005

merry week

happy holidays.

sunday: fortune cookies for the first annual dsg cookie swap. martha stewart's recipe.

it took me hours to come up with fortunes for everyone. sean got my favorite: "Over the next 10 minutes you will grow even better looking." btw - my coworkers are phenomenal bakers. there seems to be a high positive correlation between design strategability and bakingprowess.

tuesday: butternut squash soup with cardamom, nutmeg, & cinnamon. my ideal was to make an onion foccacia to go with it but i was weak from hunger. no pix.

saturday (xmas eve): creme brulee infused with ginger and mint (the custards are cooking as i type!). mama will take care of the japanese curry. baba is setting up chinese hot pot (huo guo). i will also make braised root veggies, which i realize, is basically the western version of curry. (p.s. finally found russo's in watertown - visit for the produce experience of your the burbs of boston.

anyway...happy holidays. this is the first year i haven't listened to mariah carey's "all i want for christmas" on repeat for hours. have i entered a new stage in my life?? :)

Saturday, December 03, 2005

belated potato

it's december 4 and i still haven't posted about thanksgiving's sweet potato cake with cream cheese frosting! how will i ever become world famous baking blogger if i keep this up??

well brief summary: this was sincerely the BIGGEST CAKE i have ever made in my life. in addition to the artful mix of brown sugar, autumn spices, and sweet potato, and dense moistness of the crumb, i honestly do love this cake for its sheer weight and size. the only thing i regret is not overdoing the decoration to complement the overall theme of excessiveness. lack of planning, adequate support in the kitchen, and patience led me to shirk on the decorating (planning = didn't purchase any food coloring, but then again it didn't seem right piping little yams on top of the white cream cheese frosting anyway; adequate support = my dad threw away the toasted walnuts I had reserved for dotting the top of the cake; patience = i wanted to eat it).

anyway, the actual reason why i decided to post is to reflect upon my friday morning. yes, i have officially had the worst morning of my life! already! at age 24.5! i started the day at a bleary 7 am, pulling myself out of bed to go running. a half mile out, it started snowing, and my ears began to ring and scream in pain. i hurt all over (this quitting the gym thing has not done me well on the whole physical fitness thing), tripped and tumbled onto dirt and gravel. i skinned my knee. i was too numb to swear.

my dad needed to take my truck for the day. pulling his car out of the driveway, i took my first turn and found my pants in a pool of warmth. (no, i did not pee in my pants! gross). my honey lemon tea had spilled out of its cup holder and pooled around my lap. i drove back home, wiped down the leather, and changed my sticky pants. i decided to try a different route to work to make up for being late (ellen's way), but about 25 minutes into the commute i realized that i was lost. work was somewhere to my left, and i was still going straight, so i compulsively swung a turn. this also happened to be during a red light. within moments i was pulled over on the side of the road, frigid air and snow blowing through the open window as i waited for the cop to approach, wondering whether i should feel sorry for myself, or be grateful that if bad things were meant to happen, at least they were all condensed into a 45 minute period...and perhaps this was actually a dream? the cop requested my registration and waited as i searched desperately through my dad's glove compartment, pulling out a mess of hats, magazines, maps, receipts, and...what was this?...web print-outs on my ex-boyfriend. oh god.

i got off with a warning. and directions to work. (i love you, mr. policeman.)

but i was still very late.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


i heard "santa baby" playing in cvs today. yes, the first snow has long come and gone, but i was still not ready for the images of waxy Whitman's chocolates (oh, Snoopy - sigh), mall craze, and perky poinsettias that were immediately triggered.

[i should have known it was coming with the return of eggnog lattes and red starbucks paper cups!]

but the rapid approach of the holiday season also brings positive associations to mind. for example, holiday cocktail parties. i am a sucker for all things that make the quintessential holiday cocktail party: the scattered flickering of tealights, the vaguely familiar ting of jazz, the obligatory assorted cheese platter. (i like wine too, but when it comes to parties, i prefer it sangria'd, not mulled.)

and so i welcomed the season by having brie with dinner. brie, the most peaceful and harmonious of the cheeses! what doesn't get along with brie...?

crusty bread
dried apricots
flaky crust

yup. it's all a happy holidays once someone cuts into the ooey goodness of that perfectly circular little disk.

p.s. santa, i would not mind an outer space convertible as well, but in red, not blue.
thanks! :)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

sequins, curry and banana crumble

i had a very boston moment today. ice puddles formed on the street before my very eyes!!

so what are ways to bring comfort on a day like this in boston? jamaican irie ginger tea with generous honey treatment at darwin's. my once-every-5-months haircut, this time with michelle at james joseph (she wears her own hair assymetrical and purple - i went for the symmetrical look). beginner's flamenco with ramon (a slow, expressive, happy spanish dance with castanets). a sequined black tank from jasmine sola.

and of course, comfort food. i cooked tonight. i made an indian chickpea curry (though i cheated - i used this little unlabeled packet of indian spices i scored at the veggie food fest - check out my old blog for that story). i do need to get me some more of those packets. they rock.

i also saw a few over-ripe bananas on the kitchen table and decided to conjure up a worthy recipe for them. it is my philosophy that no banana should have to live a life of neglect, only to be reluctantly eaten, brown and mushy, by some unhappy person.

banana crumble

2-3 ripe bananas, cut lengthwise into thirds
2 tbsp. sugar (white, though i'm sure brown sugar would work, too - i only had white in the house. but don't underestimate the power of white sugar - it can do amazing things.)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. vanilla sugar
dash of nutmeg

1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. milk

vanilla sugar for dusting

preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

generously grease a 8x8 square cake pan. lay cut bananas flat to cover the bottom of the pan. sprinkle 2 tbsp. sugar, cinnamon, vanilla sugar, and nutmeg over the bananas.

in a small bowl, combine flour, salt, and sugar. cut butter into the dry mixture until texture is crumbly. add milk and knead to combine. roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. punch or cut out shapes (approx. 1.5-2 inches in diameter) and lay shapes on top of bananas in pan. dust with vanilla sugar.

bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until topping is golden brown. serve hot, with vanilla ice cream.

it's not bad. then again, i am always more forgiving when i come up with the recipe myself and there's no one else to blame for failure. :)

(p.s. for a while i thought i had actually invented the banana crumble. there are apple crumbles and blueberry crumbles, but i had never heard of anyone making a banana crumble. however, upon turning on my computer, i promptly googled "banana crumble", and unfortunately it looks like the sugartree inn bed and breakfast has beat me to it. as well as approximately 278,000 others. dammit...there goes another chance for fame, fortune, and legacy)

Monday, November 14, 2005

pic of me

 i wanted to put up a pic for my profile and for some reason it has to show up here, you are so weird.

[Update] July 15, 2007
Want to change my am doing it here again!


last night i watched eternal sunshine of the spotless mind. (v. good)

in celebration of this viewing i made candied spicy walnuts. which i burnt. toasting nuts is not something that should be done by anyone who is consistently 10 minutes late, particularly since the entire toasting process should not take more than 8 or so minutes. i thoughtfully tasted at least half of the batch to determine whether or not i had actually burnt it (after which i reluctantly admitted to myself that i had. although, had i not been having people over later that night, i might have successfully convinced myself that i had not actually charred the nuts, along with my brand new calphalon baking sheet.) i was not to be defeated, however, and immediately took on glazed cinnamon pecans to prove a little something to myself. this time on the stovetop, though, as i do burn most things that require any degree of attention in the oven. i melted my plastic spoon in the process, but was able to pick out the plastic pieces from the sugar mixture prior to adding the pecans. they came out pretty well overall.

why i did not tell anyone about this debacle later that night is a mystery to me, now that i have this blog to help me re-evaluate the little peculiarities of my life. perhaps because i was too eager to hear compliments for my apple upside-down cake. mmm apple cake.


this is my old blog.

i heard this site is better.