BornGrace

What I do while I figure out what to do next . . .

Mixed Bean Salad

Ok – this was awesome!  I didn’t even wait for my family to try it before I decided to post about it.  And you know why? Sometimes as a Mom you just have to make something that is completely your style and just be happy about it.  This is the kind of food I could live all summer on.  Shockingly enough one 13 year old loved it – and took it for lunch to camp and the 7 year old wanted to make sure I would make it again before she finished her first serving.  So pretty successful.  My husband ate the green beans but he hates bean beans (and I do know that) – so pretty much as I expected.  The other 2 kids are my pickiest eaters and it was just not their style.  So thank you Everyday Food for another winner recipe!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 pound green beans halved.  (I used haricot verts – you want skinny and crunchy)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 can red kidney beans (I used small – I think would “look better” with the dark red, but I like the small beans better – your call)
  • 1 shallot  sliced very thin (mine was very large so I started with 1/2 and added another quarter after tasting)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves finely chopped (2 grocery store were inexplicably sold out so I used 1 tsp. dried)
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons grainy mustard
  • Coarse salt and pepper

RECIPE:

Boil green beans for 2-3 minutes in salted water and plunge immediately into water bath to stop cooking and cool.  Drain and set aside.

Drain and rinse garbanzo beans and red kidney beans.

In large bowl whisk together cider vinegar, EVOO, sliced shallot, chopped oregano, and grainy mustard.

Add beans and stir to combine.

Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Serves 6

220 calories, 8.5 g fat (1 g sat fat), 8.9 g protein, 27.1 g carb, 8.2 g fiber

ENJOY!!

 

Pacific Pork Kebabs with Pineapple Rice

I know I have made this before.  When I started the recipe I had that deja vu feeling all over again 🙂 But there were zero stains on the page in the magazine and we all know that just doesn’t happen in my world of cooking.  And it was from an Everyday Food Magazine from 2007 so pretty likely that it made it into the rotation sometime in the past.  Maybe it is just really, really similar to a recipe I know I like, but as it was quite popular with my kids especially – it will definitely be on the make again list.  Plus it looks gorgeous and is super simple to make.  For me, I think the kebabs need more oomph, and I’m not really sure why.  Maybe the pork was not that flavorful, but in my (admittedly cloudy) memory this was a very flavorful kebab – so do bare that in mind as you season – more is more . . . UPDATE: See below reviews for update – I have tweaked the recipe slightly (admittedly by accident) and it is just awesome and full of flavor 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice (I used Jasmati Rice)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 8oz. can pineapple chunks in juice
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pork tenderloin (1 lb)
  • 2 medium bells peppers
  • 2 scallions
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • 1 lime

RECIPE:

Cook rice according to package directions.

Preheat grill to medium and lightly oil grates (I used Pam for grilling)

In a small bowl, whisk honey and 2 tablespoons pineapple juice together and season with salt and pepper.

Cut pork tenderloin and red bell peppers into 1 1/2 inch pieces and thread onto skewers.  I used 4 large metal skewers and removed onto serving dish for dinner.  You can alternatively use individual skewers.  If you use wooden, remember to soak 15 minutes before use so they don’t burn up on grill.

Season with salt and pepper and grill and baste frequently.  

While pork is cooking, coarsely chop pineapple chunks, slice scallions and grate ginger.

Add to rice and stir.

Grill until pork is completely cooked through 10-15 minutes and peppers are beginning to char.

Serve with lime wedges.

REVIEW:  As written this recipe should serve 4.  For my family of 6 I used 2lbs of pork and 1 1/2 cups of rice, but kept everything else the same.  It took the full 15 minutes for my pork to cook, but definitely keep an eye on it as you baste so it doesn’t dry out.  As I mentioned before, definitely feel free to be liberal with your seasonings because although the kids inhaled it, I think adults would have appreciated a bit more kick.  But, it is gorgeous to present and incredibly easy and I would feel good serving it to either family or guests.  Add a side salad and crusty bread to round out the meal and it just screams summer nights to me.

Enjoy!!

UPDATE:  I have now perfected this! Last time I was at the store I couldn’t remember exactly what I needed so came home with a fresh pineapple instead of canned (as the recipe is written) so I cut up the pineapple and because I had so much I threaded the fresh pineapple on the skewers along with the pork and red peppers and OH MY GOD IT WAS JUST AWESOME!!! I’m not kidding.  I’m never making it the other way again.  The sweet grilled pineapple is such a perfect accompaniment to the pork and red peppers.  Just loved it.

 

 

To Lamb or not to Lamb

Well this lovely little cake was part experiment with a new cake and frosting recipe and part brain fart.  Excuse my language.  Every Easter for I don’t know how many years I have made and decorated various lamb or egg shaped cakes.  Kids vote – lamb usually wins.  One year I had thumb surgery on Good Friday and my 11 year old did the lamb cake.  It was lovely – it’s not that hard.  Well, unless you completely forget that it needs to be made with a very dense pound cake type of cake.  Guess what I forgot this year . . . I didn’t take a picture of the collapse.  Thankfully, it happened before I frosted it.   It was kind of like those abandoned buildings when they explode – it crumbled and disappeared within itself – would have actually been quite amusing if it had just exploded all over the kitchen instead.  Clearly I don’t get out enough . . . ANYWAY . . .

Lamb cake failure aside.  I had very conveniently also made 2 small rounds with the extra batter.  The recipe is awesome.  I absolutely LOVE the cake.  The frosting is a whipped white chocolate frosting and it is a really nice complement to the cake and I would absolutely make it again.  But it is not the Perfect Buttercream that I am searching for.  Also, the recipe said that if you refrigerate the cake it should be left at room temperature for 2 hours before being served.  We had it a room temperature day one.  But I really like the way the frosting tasted cold – so YMMV on that one.

 

Cake Recipe: (Adapted from Bake Me Blush)

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg at reoom temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups ice water
  • 3 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Icing Recipe:

  • 6 oz white chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Prepare pans and set aside.  Because I was using an odd shaped pan I sprayed with baking Pam.  For the rounds the recipe states to add parchment paper and spray or butter.  I just sprayed and had no issues with sticking.

In a large bowl sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until creamy 3 to 4 minutes.

Add sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy, 3 minutes.

Scrape down bowl and add egg.  Beat until just incorporated.

Reduce speed to low.  Add flour mixture alternating with ice water in 3 separate additions. Scrape down and mix on low a few more seconds.

In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form.  Take care not to overbeat.  Gently fold egg whites into batter.

Divide batter evenly into prepared pans and smooth tops.  Bake 40-45 minutes until a toothpick in the center of each cake comes out clean.  DO NOT OVERBAKE.  The cakes will be gently pulling away from the sides of the pan.

 Transfer cakes to a wire rack and allow to cool for 20 minutes.

Invert cakes onto rack and remove from pans.  Allow to cool completely.

FROSTING DIRECTIONS:

In microwave at half power, melt white chocolate for 1 minute.  Stir and continue microwaving at 20 second increments until white chocolate is creamy.  Set aside.  Chocolate can also be melted on the stovetop in a glass bowl over gently simmering water.  Do not allow the bowl to touch the water.

In medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together sugar and flour.  Add milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly.  The recipe said to whisk occassionally.  Do not do that.  Put in the effort.  Don’t burn your sugar and have to start over.  Ask me how I know. . .  Actually, I didn’t start over, I just scooped out the brown bits and hoped for the best and it was fine 🙂   But still.  . . whisk until mixture has come to a boil and thickened.  About 20 minutes.  I’m not sure when the timing starts.  Certainly does not take 20 minutes to thicken after it comes to a boil.  Mine was completely thick from when I just began whisking to about 16 minutes.  I gave it the full 20 but really it didn’t change as far as I could see.  There was also no flour taste to cook off after that point either.

Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed until cool. You can feel the heat rising out of the bowl.  Just takes a few minutes to cool.

Reduce speed to low and add butter.  Mix until thoroughly incorporated.

Increase speed to medium high and beat until frosting is light and fluffy.   Add white chocolate and vanilla and continue mixing until combined.

Frost cakes and ENJOY!!!!

And please leave me your comments if you try this cake.  Or just think it looks like something fun to try. Or if you just want to be nice and let me know that you are out there 🙂

 

 

 

 

Birthdays are for the Birds

So, how cute is this cake??  It was for my husband’s birthday and he was out of town and I had NO IDEAS.  And I kept having NO IDEAS.  I had pretty much decided I was heading to the Cake Box and picking up 6 cupcakes the next day and calling it a night.  But at 10pm I found a recipe that I wanted to try.  I had all the ingredients.  It had glowing reviews (as are many people, I am in search of the perfect white cake).  When I made my girls’ 13th birthday cake (lemon, white and chocolate) I found a very strong white cake.  Absolutely perfect for fondant and we all liked it.  But hubby wasn’t sold.  Now remember, up until last year, this is the man who wanted the straight from a box, just add water Angel Food cake – so strong is not where is heart is.  So I was in search of light and airy tasting but with enough umph to hold up the fondant.  I know the cake would look soooo much better if it was big.  But I didn’t need big.  Also when you start baking at 10pm from scratch – well, let’s just say I’m too old to pull a cake all-nighter.  It also would have looked better with 2 layers of the square – but I only had one pan (and see earlier comments about lateness of hour and ingredients).  But back to perfect.  I love love love how it came out.  I found an inspiration picture and it just fit.  His favorite colors are red and blue.  He is a “bird guy” and we are both from Virginia (state bird Cardinal).  The cardinals are perfect.  I drew them free-hand on paper, cut them out, and then I traced around them with a knife in the red fondant.  Then I tweeked until they were right.  If they hadn’t been right nothing else would have mattered.  The tree branches and red petals are just piped free-hand with no particular plan.  I added the cardinals last.

The cake was wonderfully light.  And if I had had enough time to really let it cool and firm up it may have worked better, but I just popped it in the fridge with a crumb coat, threw in some hollow dowels for support and hoped for the best.  The lower layer in particular sagged a bit with just the fondant.  If it had been taller and I could have spread the weight of the fondant around more cake – may have been fine.   I really liked the taste (and I even messed up the recipe and added 2 sticks of butter rather than 1.5).  The frosting was an awesome whipped frosting.  Gorgeous, light, really tasty (well except to my one child who doesn’t like whipped cream – must be a texture thing).  If anyone wants the recipe – shoot me a comment and I will add it.

 

 

Chili Rubbed Flank Steak

While I am all about trying out new recipes, sometimes, even I need a standby.  This is it.  I made it for the first time maybe 5 years ago at the beach.  But it is an all-seasons meal.  It is just as perfect on a chilly night as it is on an outdoor deck.  I took pictures with the random sides that I did this time (what was in the cupboard) but it goes with absolutely anything.  You can even slice it up and toss it on a salad the next day (if there is any left over).

Recipe:

  1. 1.5 lbs flank steak (I use up to 2lbs without changing anything)
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1 tablespoon chili powder
  4. 1 tablespoon sugar
  5. 1 teaspon kosher salt

Directions:

Preheat broiler to Hi.

I now use a real broiler pan, but have also made it without problem on a flat rimmed cookie sheet (without problem means the pan warped, but the meat was fine anyway – and the pan returned to normal when it cooled.)

Rub both side of flank steak with olive oil.

Mix together dry ingredients and rub into meat.  The first time I just sort of put it on top – but my brother said with any rub you should really work it in and let it sit as long as possible.  So that’s what I shoot for.  But I also just rub it in and pop it under the broiler right away when I have to.

Broil without turning 10-12 minutes – 4 inches from the heating element.  I have tried this on the grill – didn’t work.

Allow to rest for 10 minutes so that juices can collect.

Slice on the bias (very thin – 45 degree angle). If you have a rimmed cutting board all the better, because there is a fair amount of juice that you don’t want to lose – or clean up off your counters.

This time I served with crusty bread, thin green beans (boiled in salted water for 5 minutes) and buttered egg noodles for a kid and family friendly weekend dinner.

Enjoy!!!

 

Stir-Fry Chicken with Ginger

I have very warm thoughts about this cookbook. Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library: Chicken.  And it’s not so much about the recipes, although I have had great success with many of them.  It is because once, a very long time ago, my non-cooking husband went to Williams-Sonoma in NYC, on purpose and not being dragged by any woman.  He bought this cookbook and the special tools he needed for his recipe and came home to his heavily pregnant, stuck on bedrest for 12 weeks wife, and cooked her “real food” from a cookbook, with special tools and multiple ingredients.  And if I didn’t know it before, I did then, he was a keeper.

Picture from book

I have included both pictures from the real cookbook and my own and I want to point out a couple of notable differences.  In my defense, I was on the phone the entire time I was making this recipe with a survey taker, so was not as focused as I usually try to be.  That said – it really does speak to the ease of this recipe that you can make it and be distracted at the same time.  So in the real picture the green onions are sliced lengthwise and they are much prettier than my small rounds — I wasn’t paying enough attention when I was cutting.  Also, the real picture has  a lovely brown color to the sauce and chicken that I do not have either.  I’m not sure why.  I used a dark sesame oil, so perhaps it was the store-bought chicken stock.  The cookbook suggests that you make your own — I beg to differ on a weeknight.  Plus I’m not someone who just has that lying around.  Perhaps I should; I also know I never will.

RECIPE:

  • 2 whole chicken breasts (that means 4 individual)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 green (spring) onions, including tender green tops, thinly sliced (here is where I stopped reading) lengthwise and then cut crosswide into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped crystalized ginger for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

They say to halve, skin, and bone the chicken breasts as directed on page 10-11.  I say buy boneless skinless chicken breasts – duh!  Place the breasts between 2 sheets of waxed paper and, using a rolling pin, flatten them slightly and evenly.  I used a kitchen mallet and pounded them with great satisfaction whenever the survey taker paused for a breath.

Place chicken between 2 pieces of waxed paper.

Place chicken between 2 pieces of waxed paper

Cut the halves lengthwise into strips 1 inch wide.

Cut the halves lengthwise into strips

Warm the oil in a large saute pan or wok over medium heat.

Warm sesame oil and garlic over medium heat

Add the garlic and chicken and saute the chicken, turning the pieces as them become golden, about 1 mintue on each side.

Saute chicken 1-2 minutes per side until golden

Stir in the green onions, fresh ginger and pepper flakes and saute for 1-2 minutes.

Stir in onions, ginger and red pepper flakes

Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Deglaze the pan by stirring to dislodge any browned bits, then reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove the garlic and discard.  (Maybe I wasn’t paying attention again, but my garlic had been minced through a garlic press (my fabulous and awesome Pampered Chef garlic press that is totally worth going to a party for) and not left whole – so therefore could not be removed – seems silly anyway)

Transfer the chicken and onions to a warmed platter. Pour sauce over the top.  Garnish with the crystalized ginger.

Stir-Fry Chicken with Ginger

Serves 3-4

REVIEW:

I served this over a Jasmine rice and it was a huge success with everyone!  However, since everyone really liked it, it was not remotely enough food.  So next time I will definitely double the recipe.  The boy child (who is arguably my pickiest eater) found the crystalized ginger “too spicy” and requested that next time I add the garnish after I serve his plate. Easy fix and he did eat his entire serving and look around for more.  The other kids were sneaking in the pantry and shot-gunning the ginger – so there is no accounting for taste bud differences.  I think this might be good with some Nan and a green salad and carrot ginger dressing – unless it becomes ginger overload — something to try next time – not that I have that recipe, but something to look for.   Hubby got home late and ate it cold, thought it would have been better hot, but was afraid to nuke it in case it messed up the flavors -which he liked.

ENJOY!!

 

 

 

 

It’s all about Balance

I’ll be the first to admit it.  This cake was a struggle.  I had very clear ideas of how I wanted it to come out in my head and IT WAS HARD!!!  I made some compromises along the way.  There was no way to make the balance beam elevated and still have the girl on top.  It was hard enough getting her to stand at all.  But I do think that the low beam fit the age group – and also works with the other elements in the cake. I also had to sacrifice some form for function with the legs to get them to “hold her” which meant the leotard didn’t look as “real” as the gymnast wearing purple.  She was just way way too tippy and that frustrated me to no end.  But there are other things that really make me smile.  I LOVE how the foam pit came out.  I hollowed out the center of the cake and cut the foam bits out of fondant that I dusted with powdered sugar to resemble chalk.  And I like the chalk stand near the uneven bars.  I also like how I thought to work Charlotte’s age into the leotard of the gymnast.  She liked that!  And as caught up as “I” get in the details — I have to remind myself that I am making a cake for a child’s party and if the child it happy – it’s a winner!

Lemon Butter Shrimp with Angel Hair Pasta

Lemon Butter Shrimp

I hadn’t decided to start blogging about dinner ideas when I grabbed this fabulous picture from Pinterest.  The original pin was for a fabulous shrimp appetizer.  But I decided to tweek it a bit and make a delicious and super easy weeknight dinner.  Hubby was out so I cannot guarantee that I batted 1000 with this one.  But the kids were IN LOVE.  They gobbled it up and were putting dibs on who got to have it for lunch the next day before we were even done with dinner. 

Recipe:

  • 1 lb large peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 package Italian seasoning
  • 1 lb Angel Hair pasta

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cook Pasta according to package directions.
  • Melt butter in jelly roll pan or rimmed cookie dish – I used my awesome stone jelly roll pan from Pampered Chef.
  • Slice lemon very thin and lay in pan.
  • Cover with shrimp.
  • Shake Italian Seasonings over top of shrimp.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Top pasta with shrimp and butter mixture.
  • Serve immediately with crusty bread.

Review:

As mentioned above this was a huge success.  Do be aware that the picture from Pinterest and the original recipe were for an appetizer shrimp.  Buy deveined shrimp or do it yourself.  Do not use shrimp with tails!  This is not supposed to a crunchy meal :-).

It also bothered me to no end to put an entire stick of butter in this.  I didn’t want to deviate the first time, but next time I am playing around with ratios and cutting some of the butter out in favor of EVOO.

I had also planned to just shake my own idea of Italian Seasonings on but happened to see a package (that said “All Natural”) as I was walking down the dressing aisle so grabbed it instead.  Probably a good thing I did.  I would never have added as much seasoning as was in the package.  And the reviews speak for themselves.

This is a definite winner.  And coincided so nicely with all the nice weather we have been having recently.  Just the kind of dinner you want on a gorgeous night!

ENJOY!!

 

 

 

 

Chicken & Black Bean Mexican Casserole

Chicken and Black Bean Mexican Casserole

I apparently have an issue with focus.  And while I LOVE CAKE and I have baked and decorated my fair share; I HAVE TO cook dinner every night and so decided to write about our hits and misses.  So check out the new What’s For Dinner page for more ideas. . .  I chose to blog about this recipe first because an ungodly number of people repinned it after I pinned it a couple of days ago.  I have to say the picture really sold me, plus I can assemble it ahead of time and pop it in the oven later and that makes it hugely convenient in my life.

RECIPE: adapted from All Recipes 

Chicken and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

  • 2 cups diced or shredded chicken breast meat I didn’t measure just diced up 2 large uncooked chicken breasts
  • 3/4  teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (4.5 oz) can diced green chili peppers, drained
  • 1 (10 oz) can red medium enchilada sauce
  • 8-10 (6 inch) corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 (8 oz) container sour cream

Preheat the oven to 375°. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and spray with vegetable cooking spray. Sauté chicken with cumin, coriander and garlic powder until chicken is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the cilantro, black beans and green chili peppers.

Spread half of the enchilada sauce over the bottom of an 11×7 inch baking dish (this seems like an odd sized dish – and I have a ridiculous amount of random baking dishes at my disposal.  So I used 9×13 and it was fine – I think it would have been fine with smaller too – just taller)  that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Place 4-5 tortillas over the sauce, cutting in half and overlapping overlapping if necessary. Spoon half of the chicken mixture over the tortillas, and sprinkle with half of the cheese and half of the sour cream.

Spoon the remaining enchilada sauce over the cheese, and make another layer of tortillas. Layer the remaining chicken mixture over the tortillas. STOP/

Cover dish with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven.

Remove the cover, and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and dot with sour cream. Continue cooking, uncovered, for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese melts. (I must have misread these directions because I put back in for another 15 – and it worked well)

REVIEW:

So this recipe could not be simpler.  And, as I expected, it comes together in advance and you can pop it right in the oven.  A lot of times what kills me trying to pull a dinner together is not the actual cooking time, but the prep that sends me over the edge.  I used to think I was a process person.  And if I’m not under the gun to GET DINNER ON THE TABLE BECAUSE WE HAVE TO EAT IN A 15 MINUTE WINDOW BEFORE SOMEONE HAS TO LEAVE FOR BALLET, BASEBALL, SOCCER, RIDING . . . you get the idea, then I might enjoy the process again.  But right now the process I enjoy is simple.

I have 4 kids.  Ages 13, 13, 9 and 7.  They all like Mexican food.  Hubby is fine with Mexican food – well he likes Margaritas anyway.  He’s not a huge fan of beans – the short child doesn’t eat re-fried beans but I “thought” she was not opposed to beans out of hand – she happily eats chili.  ANYWAY.  I managed to get it on the table hot for hubby, 13 and 7.  Other 13 year old had dance and had to eat it reheated afterwards, 9 year old spiked a fever and needed to go to urgent care.  And I ate A LOT of the peanut butter cake we made this weekend and am therefore fasting for the next 2 weeks :-).

Both 13 year olds thought that it was awesome and want it again.  9 year old who was supposed to have only chicken noodle soup requested to try it and thought it was “not too bad” and I got “a verbal” that he would eat it again.  Hubby thought it was too bland and mushy (he does have texture issues though . . .) and he reported that the 7 year old said “it’s not her style”. (EDIT – I remade tonight and the now 8 year old ate it happily.  I also altered the original amounts of spices to kick up the flavor for DH – changes are now in the ingredients.)

We have a rule in this family.  I will not purposefully cook something I don’t think you will like.  You do have to try it. You don’t have to like it, but please refrain from going into excessive detail about how disgusting you find it. And most importantly of all – Don’t make the cook cry!  “It’s not my style replaced the ubiquitous “it’s spicy” as the euphemism of choice for, “I don’t like it – but I don’t want you to feel bad and cry”.  It works.

So, with a success rate of 2/3rds – because I actually did taste it and liked the beans – it’s a keeper.  I do have 100% hit rate on some things – but I can’t have that be my benchmark because then we would never eat anything except spaghetti and meatballs (and not even homemade ones – they like the ones from the bag . . . gasp!)

Lights, Camera, Action

Thankfully, boy child has come over to the dark side of fondant, because there is no way this cake would have looked as good without it.  Plus, I have done black icing before, and while it might have been wildly fun for the 4 year-old boys involved;  I was not exactly the most popular Mom with the other parents when they picked up their little darlings and realized that black icing doesn’t really wash off.  Kind of ever . . .

This cake was super simple.  Absolutely no structure what-so-ever involved.  The only really really important part is the lining up of the angles of the clapper.  If they are off, the whole cake suffers.  It’s the only non negotiable part.  Also do the math.  Measure well and then measure again before you do the word boxes.  I took a ruler and a skewer and lightly marked the surface and then followed with the piped icing to get it right.  I think my hand must have cramped up a bit, because the words at the top make me much happier than the words at the bottom.

Enjoy!!

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