Harriet gave me not one but two new baking cookbooks for Mothers Day – and both are fantastic.
First off: Baking At Home with The Culinary Institute of America: Essential Techniques and Recipes for Creating Great Breads and Desserts. This hefty, beautiful book is full of great step-by-step techniques, illustrations and tempting photos. When I unwrapped it, I opened it to a recipe for Smoked Provolone and Thyme Muffins. They’re in my very near future. Same goes for Eclairs, which I think would be a hit with the Bake Sale crowd — come to think of it, there’s a bake sale Saturday…
This book is beautiful, worthy of coffee table status, well on my coffee table, anyway. There are SO many new things to try. And if something goes awry, there’s a “What went wrong?” appendix of common baking problems. (Hmm, I don’t see “didn’t follow the directions” as a common problem; clearly the CIA Chefs aren’t familiar with the root of my problems!)
Next up: The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, who I’ve used before when she contributed a bread baking primer to Epicurious. This book is also full of great illustrations, photos and recipes for every kind of bread you could want to bake – from quickbreads and crumpets to sourdough and stud muffins. (Yes, stud muffins, which I’m going to have to bake just so I can say, “Oh, my weekend was great, I had some superb stud muffins!” )
So thanks again, Harriet, for the absolutely perfect presents.
A belated Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, wanna be mothers and mothers in spirit.
1) I got a call from another Sixth Grade mother – she offered me the choice of two volunteer opportunities at the upcoming Grandparents Day festivities: Baking or Serving. In the past I have gotten out of baking but paid for this by waiting on and cleaning up after the many grandparents who come to this fundraising informative event. I should add that I, sadly, have not supplied my girl with any grandparents. My mom would have been a super grandmother, but she died long before Harriet hit the scene. But this time I will not be pouring pots of decaf or speculating (silently of course) about who has or has not used Botox. I’ll be home. Because yes, I volunteered to bake!
2) Since I am stuck off site, far from my computer (and my kitchen) I am trying to post from my phone via the WordPress Ap.
$1.99 at the thrift shop. Never needed one before, but now I think “How Brilliant!” And it is brilliant, all shiny and bright. That took some doing on my part. But thrift shop shoppers can’t be choosers.
I can see myself carrying cakes all over town in this beauty. I’ll be the woman who brings her signature beautiful, delicious cakes to everyone’s houses…. OK, waking up now.
(p.s. sometimes I feel very old fashioned baking cakes and putting them in my cake carrier ….. but I think old fashioned girls iron tablecloths)
No, this isn’t the Twilight Cake.
But, as anyone who has a daughter of a certain age probably knows, the Twilight DVD was released this weekend. That was cause for much celebration in my house, so I baked a little Devil’s Food Cake and put a “t” on it.
I turned to my mom’s old Betty Crocker Picture Cook Book, where I found not one, but three Devil’s Food recipes. I went for the darkest, which seemed appropriate. (And before any Twilight fanatics jump all over me, I know the Cullens are not Devils. But I’ve never heard of a Vampire Food Cake, so chillax.)
A few Devil’s Food Cake notes: I frosted it with Buttercream, colored black. Much tastier than the fondant for the real Twilight Cake, even though the fondant was good. Also, at Betty Crocker’s suggestion, instead of flouring the pan, I “cocoaed” the pan after buttering it so the cake would remain dark. Worked like a charm.
Speaking of the Twilight DVD, my own little Twilight fan watched the movie three times Saturday. I watched it once. It wasn’t half bad. It was better than Beverly Hills Chihuahua. The actors spent most of the movie speaking in near monotones, which I assume had some dramatic purpose but nearly put me to sleep. (OK, I think it did put me to sleep, but I was really tired from baking the cake.)
Today we still had leftover Cake, and I introduced the girl to the delicious practice of mixing Devil’s Food Cake and vanilla ice cream on your fork. She approved. Speaking of cultural icons that will outlast all the Twilight vampires – you can see Betty and Archie in the background. Betty and Veronica are still best friends battling it out for Archie’s affections (why? I did not understand Archie’s appeal 30 years ago and I still don’t), but now they have cell phones. Harriet and I have a fish named Betty and a dog named Veronica, not that we’re fans. Naturally, she has an aquarium in her room with fish named after every major character in Twilight.
Lest anyone think we had a couch potato weekend of cake, comic books and repeated viewings of Twilight, my girl used the first decent weekend in months to repeatedly hit the road on her new bicycle. So only one of us was a couch potato.