Monday, February 22, 2010

happy birthday, sara and jinmin!


Today (Monday) is my friend Sara's birthday, and Saturday is my friend (and her apt mate) Jinmin's birthday! In addition to going to univ together, living in the same complex, and being straight up fabuluuuzz, we all teach Sunday School at a Korean church nearby along with some of our friends. In celebration, we teachers decided to bring her a cake. I used Dorie's Perfect Party Cake for the cake, a mango custard for the filling, and some sugar glass on top. Then I baked a Funfetti cake (in the background below) just in case there wasn't enough to go around.

Oh, hay, Juno.

Sugar glass, or candy glass, is really simple to make. Simmer plain granulated sugar with a little bit of water until you get a golden syrup, put out some parchment paper, and drizzle away with a fork or wooden spoon. For the little dome in the middle, I used the bottom of a tiny glass cup. Pretty cool, eh? After the syrup cools (about an hour), you can peel the pieces off and go wild. But make sure you don't refrigerate the glass or it'll absorb moisture and get sticky.
In retrospect, I think the cake would have been prettier if perhaps I'd surrounded the sugar dome with fresh fruit, but I was running low on time! Eeek. Flipping the dome over and nestling some fruit inside of it would've been neat too. But it's the thought that counts, right? I love Sara and Jinmin... They're two amazing gals and I'm lucky to have them in my life!

A few weeks ago, I retried my hand at making challah. Thanks to Eunice for taking the photos! I lub her.
I think it turned out a lot better than the first time. A deeper and more even color on the outside, more complex flavor thanks to a 6-hour preferment, and a better braid. I decorated the loaf with some flax seeds, since I didn't have the more typical sesame seeds. I used Peter Reinhardt's recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice, which you can find all over the web. I'd repost it here, but I should really get to studying :)

Once again, happy bday to you special ladies!


P.S. Shout out to Sara's chingoo marina! Yeah, you! HAHAH I'm glad you like the blog!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chicken and pasta with marsala sauce


Sans the typical mushrooms (I was out of them). Very delicious nonetheless... I'd include a recipe, but I always wing it. Therefore, I encourage you to find some marsala sauce recipes via Tastespotting and get to it! The first time I made it this semester with Eunice, it was kinda fail because we didn't cook the wine down enough and it was a soupy mess. With practice comes better fud. That is the lesson here!


Apples to Aaaapplessss


What makes this experience go from 'eating an apple' to 'eating an aaappleeeeomgsogood'?

I mean, you still want the fruit to take front stage, but there's something simple you can do to make this 1) unhealthy and 2) absolutely delicious...


Makes you think of apples in that Joey-from-Friends-How-YOUUUU-doin' kinda way.


Making rich homemade caramel sauce is a cinch, even without a candy thermometer. All you need is sugar, water, cream and butter. I added some vanilla extract and salt, which doesn't exactly require much more effort, eh?


Caramel Sauce
1 cup sugar
Less than 1/2 cup water (using same scoop for sugar)
1 cup heavy cream (again, using same scoop-- easier cleanup. Yes, I know there's a diff between dry and liquid measuring cups)
3-4 pats of butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 pinches of salt (to taste)

Combine sugar and water in a high-sided saucepan on med-high heat. Let boil until a golden amber color without stirring (you can swirl the pan once in a while), about 5-10 minutes. Take off of the heat and slowly stir in the cream. It will bubble up and sometimes solidify a bit, but don't worry and return it to the stove on med-low heat. Add pats of butter, one by one, while stirring. Once everything is combined and the sauce is a caramel brown color, take off heat and stir in vanilla and salt. If the sauce is too thick, add a tiny bit of cream or water. Combine, let cool, and store in a jar or squeeze bottle for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

Making your own caramel sauce gets easier with a few tries, and it's so much cheaper and tastier than store-bought stuff! Top off cakes, pancakes, cheesecakes, fruits, cookies, ice cream, or even a spoon (guilty!).