Fun Things To Do With Leftovers and Why I Love Days Off

11 11 2008

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Breakfast. Love of my life! I haven’t had the opportunity to make an honest-to-goodness breakfast in, well, longer than since I cooked real honest-to-goodness dinner actually. Before the wedding cake, if I do recall. Well, it’s my day off and so with a clean kitchen and a fridge full of leftovers, today is brought to you by the letter “Mmmmm.”

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Remember that whole pan of leftover braised vegetables you have, just lying around? Well they make for great fried pancakes, I tells ya! Just mash up a few spoonfuls until like chunky mashed potatoes, sweat off 2tbsp fine diced onions, add a pinch of salt and fry in a very buttery non-stick pan and there you have it. Vegetable hash browns. C’est magnifique! But, if you’re like me…

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…you’ll go too far and make an hour long production of it, make too many, and decide that it would be best to add some thick cut bacon, eggs over hard, and a cup of strong Sumatra to the ordeal whilst offending your neighbors with your screamy music. Life is so hard, no?

I plan on spending the day lolling around sans pantalons, drinking too much coffee and creating aaahrt, daaahling. Because, hey, what are days off for if not life, liberty, and the pursuit of breakfast?

Currently listening to: August Burns Red.





Who’s Afraid of the Big White Cake?

15 09 2008

Not me. Oh no, not I. The wedding cake is finished, folks. Done. Over. Gone. 50 lbs of batter, 30 lbs of icing, 20 lbs of marshmallow fondant, and a 20kg bag of icing sugar that I’m sure will last me the rest of my life all went into the construction of this most glorious of cakes. I’m so high on my own sense of accomplishment right now, you have no idea. If you see me walking around for the next week with dazed eyes and a silly little grin on my face, I assure you it’s not love, it’s my ego.

This is my big bowl of batter. It’s a double recipe, and it fills one, I repeat, ONE 16″ base layer cake pan. One. Singular. You have no idea how many times I had to make this recipe in one day. Not having an industrial-sized kitchen is really starting to take it’s toll on me. My oven does not support the baking of two pans at the same time, so I had to do these individually, each layer, washing the pans in between, as well as mixing the bowls of batter PER PAN, washing in between, and so on. I did every layer on one Saturday and boy howdy was I ever one sore kitten. My 20-year-old hand mixer decided to finally mutiny on me, so I had to mix the entire(ENTIRE) cake by hand. Let me just say that one more time for the people in the back row: I mixed a four-tier, two layer wedding cake completely BY HAND. That’s right.

I am so thankful that that particular Saturday was cold outside. After running my oven all day at 350 degrees without reprise, if it had been a summer wedding, I might have had to charge them an extra 50 bucks just for having to suffer in the heat. But it wasn’t, so it’s all good.

Have you ever had your entire freezer occupied with eight layers worth of cake? Let me just say, it’s both awesome and horrible. Awesome in that how many times in your life are you allowed to pack your entire freezer with dessert?; and horrible because unless you have a second freezer, have fun storing the rest of your food for a week. As someone who often cooks a big stew pot worth of chili or bolognese sauce or curry and then freezes it to eat throughout the week, this was a particular pain in my proverbial ass. I am admittedly lazy, and having to make something fresh every day in a chaotic kitchen was just far more than I was able to handle. Let me just say that I ate a lot of cereal.

I’m sorry but I am missing a lot of pictures from the making of this cake. I really wanted to document the whole thing and was even toying with the idea of a little animation, but the week that I needed to start the cake I started pastry school. Waking up at 6am every day and being on your feet until ten at night doesn’t really make you want to do any more work than is absolutely necessary. What you’re missing is a huge bowl full of vanilla buttercream icing, three 7lb bricks of marshmallow fondant, four tiers of iced, stacked and fondant covered vanilla cake, and a whole countertop’s worth of black and pink decorations. It all came together as such:

Now, I’ve got to admit that the whole procedure up until the actual day of the wedding was relatively stress-free for me. I had zero freakouts, not once did I question whether or not I was ready for such an endeavor, and never even broke down crying even once. Which is a lot more than I can say about some of the smaller, less important cakes I’ve made. On the day of the wedding, I woke up early. I had to roll out the black dots so they could be glued on at the wedding and I’m really glad I gave myself the extra time because I ran out of black fondant and had to tint a new batch. I’m so happy that I chose not to sleep in that extra hour. I was a little late getting to the hotel, spent 15 minutes fighting with a vending machine, and then ran downstairs to finish the cake. I had to glue on the base ribbons, polka dots and pink bows at the venue, as well as dowel and stack the thing. I seriously finished gluing on the last bow just as people were entering for the wedding, and had about four minutes to clean up the bar I was working on, change into my fancy-girl clothes, and rush into the wedding about two minutes before the ceremony started. Who’s a rock star? Hmm?

I really had a whole different post in mind when I was envisioning writing this a week ago. I was going to give helpful hints to anyone who’s undertaking something like this for the first time, give out recipes and scaling help, and a fondant tutorial, but honestly, I’m taking a break for now. This week has been so crazy for me, my kitchen is still in shambles, and I’m writing this at school because it’s the only place I can get an internet connection at the moment. Please don’t ask too much of me. Though I assure you that this isn’t going to me my last wedding cake, and I have a few people that I need to bake present cakes for in the near future, so I’ll reserve my help for those posts. For the moment, I’m just going to take this week to sit back, relax, focus on school, and keep gawking at the picture of my very first wedding cake while saying to myself, “I did that. Wow. I can do anything!”

Currently listening to: Bad Religion

Also: if anyone feels like being my new best friend and wants to come over and clean my kitchen, I’d love you forever. I can pay you in appreciation.





Have A Happy Heart Attack

4 08 2008

Fire roasted bacon TRIPLE(eep!) cheese burger, courtesy of the great outdoors, and that little camping trip I had mentioned. I have never had something so awesome/bad for me in my life.

Fire roasted bacon– HIGHLY recommend.

Happy Monday!





Iced Tea Acrobatics

26 06 2008

For your amusement, a tale of green tea. Today’s post is brought to you by Tsunami Bomb, and the oft-embarrassing things I do when alone to entertain myself. Fortunately for me, I only need tell you of the ones I choose, and not the other stuff like that thing I do where I put on really thick socks and slide across my floors. That stays between me and my cats.

This is my super-top-secret, amazing, fantastic, never-get-your-hands-wet trick for making a large quantity of iced tea from tea bags(instead of a tea ball, which is infinitely more convenient but mine appears to have run away with a band of gypsies). I call it the “Happy Funtime Spicy Awesome Super Iced Tea Love Trapeze.” (It’s Japanese.) This is totally the way we do it in the “biz.” Well no, but it makes sense to me and it doesn’t scald your hands when you need to remove your tea bags.

All you need to construct your own iced tea trapeze is a chopstick or long bamboo skewer(made in Japan, I told you so!) and the kind of tea bags that come on a string. I’m sure you could somehow sew thread into regular tea bags if you desperately wanted to but really, who’s that messed up? You just need to tie your tea bags as close to the paper label as possible when getting them on the chopstick for maximum swimming abilities and POOF! You needn’t ever have to be treated for burn injuries after making large amounts of tea. Hopefully. I can’t guarantee that this will make you any less clumsy than you already may be.

Wanna know what else is fun about this? When you decide to stir in your honey/sugar/whatever you sweeten your drinks with(I recommend doing it half way through the steeping so it melts in nice and hot, just let the stick hang to the side of the jug with the bags still in the water), the tea bags get all tangled up from the spoon’s swirling. Big deal, you say? Au contraire, mon frere! When you lift them out of the water, they untwirl the opposite way and spin around like an unraveling maypole! Way fun! Ok, maybe that’s just me being weird again… Either way, here at Rockaberry, we love our tea. And you should too.