I’m your ch-ch-ch-ch-ch CHERRY BOMB [coconut cupcakes with raspberry jam]

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Quite frankly, I have so much on my mind that I want to talk about that I don’t know what to write about… if that makes any sense.

To begin with, Shaun (we live together), got a cat from a friend. Well, a kitten actually. She’s 3 months old and is an orange and black tortie. Real cute (aren’t they all at this age though…) I have about 300 photos of her and almost of them are blurs or her looking away at the last moment. ~.~

She was being a little… difficult to work with there… Not flattering you say? You want to see another one? Alright…

There, see… she’s pretty cute.

In fact… super cute >.<!

So that little beasty has been taken up most of my time and socializing; but on other affairs of every day life I watched the movie “the runaways” and finished the last book of the chronicles of narnia. For those who haven’t heard of the movie I mentioned; it’s supposed to portray Joan Jett starting the first all girl teenage rock band… What the hell right; being 15, 16 touring in japan? (living the life of sex drugs rock and roll nonetheless) The movie left me thinking more about what I’ve been wondering lately…

What makes people “special” (ie admired, sought out, coveted, loved, interesting)?

I don’t know, I think it may be a mix of things. The more I tried to unravel my thoughts on this (atleast tonight) the more lost I seem to get in the answers. However… I do think that anyone has the capacity to be special, they just have to go on being them. And I don’t think it’s all just about having “the look”. Atleast, I should hope. This gets me on the subject of niches, everywhere I look everyone seems to have one. (except myself) I go to another food blog. There’s always those little tag lines, something witty or relative scrawled there so you can remember what they’re about. If I were to have one of these so called taglines what could it be?

(Perhaps it would read like a newspaper article) Indecisive 21 Year Old Blogs Instead Of Attending College.

I wanted to be a zoologist but I baked a cake instead.

Cupcakes; they’re what’s for dinner.

Baking through an awkward stage of life? (or in…who knows how people would take that first one, ha) (and you better believe it is awkward) (yes, with the question mark)

What about something wild like… I’m your ch-ch-ch-ch-ch CHERRY BOMB

Well, now that I got all those ramblings out of my system, on to somethings I find very special. Why are they so special? Because, m’dear these were the first things that inspired me to continue baking. (in fact one of the first things I put on this blog…) And.. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were the first real, from scratch, recipe and all, cupcakes I made. O_o’ (I was 18 by the way…) I remember still being shocked by how delicious homemade cupcakes could be, and that I could make delicious things. However, I made some adaptations to the original recipe to suit my current needs: the wonderful, soft taste of coconut. I have a collection of coconut cake recipes, calling for all sorts of coconut byproducts, some all mixed together in the same recipe yielding  dense, heady piece of decadence. I don’t have anything against a real, royal piece of coconut cake, but I wanted something fun and light, simply delicious and not too sweet. Buttery, with an undertone of coconut. This is what I was going for.

Coconut Cupcakes;

Adapted from recipe originally found on Jumbo empanadas

1½ sticks unsalted butter

1 1/4cups sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tbs vanilla bean paste (or 1 tbs vanilla extract)

½ teaspoon salt

2½ teaspoons baking powder

2½ cups cake flour

1 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Grease cupcake pan (I used coconut oil, quite yummy) or use cupcake liners.

Combine flour, salt, baking powder in bowl, whisk together.

Cream together butter and sugar in seperate bowl. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Add flour in 3 batches, alternating with milk. Beat for 30 seconds; it should look shiny and satiny.

Scoop batter in cupcake pan (3/4 of the way up each) and bake until toothpick comes out clean. (18-20 minutes)

I wasn’t in the mood for frosting (gasp, not in the mood for frosting?!)… yes it happens. What I really wanted… was some jam. Homemade jam. And I slathered it all over and topped it with dried coconut (yes dried, not sweetened).. and it was delicious. (these cupcakes are getting more blasphemous as the post goes on hm?) In fact I have the perfect raspberry jam recipe. The tartness balances the sweetness of the cupcakes. I wish I had more…

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You may not be able to go back [raspberry jam]

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I use this Jam for pretty much everything under the sun. I like things to be a little on the tarter side though, so if you love super sweet things then add more sugar to taste. Keep in mind the flavors do mellow out more after a day or two in the fridge.

Raspberry Jam

Originally found on Joyofbaking

225 g (2 cups) frozen raspberries

50 g (1/4 cup) sugar

few drops of lemon juice

Place the sugar and frozen berries in a heavy bottomed pot and set burner on medium. Keep on a low boil for a few minutes, mixing occasionally. Bring it down to a simmer. Add the lemon juice and mix. Let it simmer for a while, stirring occasionally until it thickens and most of the liquid is evaporated (usually takes me about 15 minutes or more) Put in container and let cool on counter. Keep refrigerated.

When I grow up… [Recipe; pasteli aka sesame seed balls]

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I don’t know what I wanna be anymore. (Anyways, when is this grown up thing going to be happening if it hasn’t already…) I went from the steadfast belief that I was going to be a veterinarian from gradeschool and up, to a wistful hope through highschool of getting my degree and getting into a certain program that would bring me over to teach english in japan. (and hopefully see the cherry blossoms in full bloom along with the rest of the culture) Since the end of highschool though, those convictions have metamorphosed into other things… along with the rest of my perception of the world. The best way to put it is: I thought I knew everything and now I feel I know nothing. (And this is where wise mentor comes into the scene: “Ah but now you are learning, young grasshoppa”)

Now my major in college changes on a whim, and my thoughts on becoming are leaves in the wind. Sometimes I want to be a starving artist with only the company of blank canvas boards, used tubes of oils, sketchbooks in dissaray on the floor, brushes in a glass half full or empty depending only upon the hour. There will be weeks where I sit places and sketch unsuspecting persons… And then, I drop it like a friend who has wronged me… Some days I dream of becoming a scientist in a controlled environment, others I imagine myself working near, studying, photographing wild animals in other countries, the idea of pressing my clothes before work simply out of the question and unneccessary to say the least. And others yet, I’m in a business suit with a confident stride down a seemingly endless hallway of pristine executive offices doing something… “important” (this time the pressing of the suit absolutely crucial)

…The dream that reoccurs the most and stays the longest in my head though, is building my own place in the world from the ground up. A restaurant, to be exact. Over time of course… right now I am just soaking up every scrap of knowledge I stumble across and am arming myself with what I feel are the best weapons for many situations; hope, experience, ambition, inspiration, discipline and honor to name only a few.

And what spurred this thought processes? An inspiring conversation with my coworker, who is now I would say becoming a friend, and who is also teaching me how to speak Tagalog, (it sounds like it is said Talgado to my ears, but really pronounced like tah gah log) the language from the phillipines. On a lighter note, life has been crazy good… I really enjoy my job and am learning so many things. So now I must work on making more things on a daily basis…

What better to start with than a most simple recipe involving only honey and sesame seed?

These are a greek snack called Pasteli. I think this is the simplest snack I’ve come across making in quite some time (Faster than pizza rolls even :p) Healthiest too; I looked up both ingredients out of curiosity and the heaping list of health benefits made me skeptical of what these things would taste like.

Well… they taste like the sum of their ingredients. If you enjoy sesame seed flavor and the natural sweetness of honey then you will probably enjoy these. At first bite I didn’t know if I liked them or not. They were interesting, but not something I was used to. They have grown on me since then. I took these to work and my coworkers and Shaun seemed to really enjoy them. Anyhow, I see myself making these many more times to come and then eventually becoming my go to snack (being very good for you is a bonus too!). They are so simple to make, they’re certainly worth a try.

Pasteli:

Recipe originally found on elly says opa

1 1/3 cups honey

3 cups sesame seed

If the sesame seeds are not already toasted lay them all out on a sheet pan and put in a (preheated to 350 degree) oven and toast until fragrant and golden brown. (This took me about 10 minutes; I check on them at the five minute marker and then keep a close watch after)

Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper (I used my silicone mat)

Over medium high heat bring the honey to a boil. Stir in sesame seeds and bring to a second boil. Continue stirring for a minute or so more until it thickens and the seeds are coated with the honey. Pour onto prepared sheet. If you want to do bars of some sort you can smooth them down to even layers and then cut them later when they cool; if you want to make sesame balls wait a moment until they are cool enough to touch (but still slightly warm and flexible) and roll them on your palm (or any flat surface) in circles.

Well… until next time, paalam (goodbye)


So, like I said in my last post, my blog was brought into existence two whole years ago! This blog has changed so much over time. I went from using a laptop cam (what a newb I was), to a phone, a point and shoot to a much better quality PAS!


Yes… I made that cake(wreck).

2 years later… Well… Atleast it doesn’t have eyes.

I feel that now is the time to start penning out some culinary (or not so culinary) goals for this year…

By the end of this year;

I want to blog more consistently, and more like myself… (it’s difficult having other people reading your personal thoughts, no?)

I want to successfully make:

macarons (I’ve never even tried one!)

creme anglaise (sounds divine…)

italian meringue buttercream (my nemesis)

divinity (the stuff in a 3 musketeer bar?)

chocolate nougat and other assorted chocolates

chocolate curls and zebra sticks

sesame seed candy

a coconut cake that a kindly old lady would unrelentingly beat someone up for

a carrot cake tasting so heavenly I will dream about it months later

a proper (even layered) wedding cake (hopefully)

properly layered and iced cakes

pretzels

gelato

something flavored with matcha

crispy cheesy jalepeno fries

the best damn grilled cheese sandwich that ever existed or will exist

english muffins

Hmm.. Well that’s all I can think of off the top of my head, but rest assured this list will be continuously updated. Until then!

This is a hella long post, okay. alright.


Oh man. It feels like there were forces at work against me blogging… Alas I have finally beaten them down! And I’m back *dusts off pants* Okay soo… some of these “forces” were pretty shitty, but quite a bit of it was good, great, fabulous, life changing in fact! Wow! I was only planning on skipping a few days, but that turned into 2 MONTHS. O_O! Some of the bad being; feeling absolutely awful for 2 weeks, being drained of all energy for the next two weeks from work being insanity and stress and blargh! Doing dishes until 4 a.m…. yes, yes, that sums it all up.

Anywho, that aside… I got another way better job! Yeah! No more rolling burritoes, huzzah! (no more dishes for that matter either) I would actually call it a promotion… It really is worlds apart from that place. Ok so what is it? A bakery! A very large, well equipped one at that. (I can’t say where unfortunately) How is this place so much more wonderful than that other dismal job? (I will try to summarize the tirade of positivity here, bare with me) Where to begin…. Well the hours of course! 4pm-11:45?! That’s heavenly compared to 3 a.m… Everything is so much more inspiring; the people, the work, the clothes… I’m back to wearing a white coat and checkered pants. (never thought I would be so happy to wear those again!) The people I work with are so talented, they are brimming with knowledge of things… and we have similar interests. Two of them are teaching me garde manger; carving flowers and other designs into fruits and vegetables. Another one who cannot hear is teaching me sign language! Even the new people they are hiring in are so interesting (one is a vegan and he plays the violin; how cool is that) Not to mention, everyone does there work… I don’t find myself picking up others slack, and I don’t have someone breathing down my neck either. It’s great, people respect eachother; and there is a really cool first cook on our shift. I have learned a lot of new, useful things and techniques for the kitchen; different ways to prepare breads, rolling danish snails, making fillings, the list goes on. First thing when I walked through the swinging doors I was gifted with 2 cut gloves, a bench scraper, a pastry tip and a pastry brush, all new and in pristine condition, and told they were to be mine (generally unheard of…) Such good luck, it hasn’t really even set in. Gasp, someone liking there job?! Blasphemy! *dreamy sigh*

Most importantly and most relevant, I’m inspired to make things and improve upon my culinary abilities. I’m not drained and washed out feeling when I get home every night now, I’m bustling with ideas and notions of possible future experimentations.

Back to the bloggy blog – I was so tied up that I didn’t get to properly celebrate this blogs 2ND YEAR of existence; wow! But that’s okay because I think this is a more proper time for such an occasion and I believe it will end on a cheerier note. Two years ago… I was 19, working at my dad’s (italian) restaurant; learning how to spin pizzas like the master, pouring over my dad’s old culinary school books, discovering my interest in all things edible, (most atleast 0.o) leaning over big steaming pots of spaghetti…(my first feat, not breaking the noodles before submersing them in the boiling water)

Me! 2 years ago, when I started it all

Many fallen cakes, failed whimsical experiments, mangled handmixers and several pots with holes scorched in the bottom later and here I am… Now 21, living in Orlando (two hours from the hometown) working fulltime at a bakery, now having knowledge enough to understand how things are made usually by looking at them. Did I mention I now have a kitchen aid hand mixer? Whaaat, this baby can whip egg whites like none other. (hand mixer that is) It’s a beautiful thing to see… (end dorkiness) Well there are other things I have improved upon as well that I surely wish to share, but you will just have to read about them in the future I suppose, when my ego is hungry. (right now it is positively stuffed) In my next post I will confront what I care to accomplish this year; belated new years resolution(s) of a sort.


Candy; part one! [caramels, almond joy and peanut butter cups]

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Wow so I had originally started this post almost a week ago buttt… my roommate bought Goldeneye the night it came out and I’ve been playing it pretty much nonstop since. Yes… so I’m exerting some self control right now by taking a twenty minute breather to finally make this belated post.

I decided to make some homemade candy in the spirit of halloween but I chose candies that are fitting for gifts and cravings year round. Caramels, peanut butter cups and almond joys. Oh man they were really good; I don’t know which one was my favorite, it was pretty much a tie. Continue reading