Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Bird tagged me for the 10 things you like starting with the letter __ meme. She gave me the letter D.

1. Dpns. Knitting on dpns (double pointed needles) is my favorite. It's probably rather peculiar, since so many people seem to hate these with a passion that burns in the night. I, however, detest circulars, and long straights feel awkward. My love of dpns may be part of the reason I most prefer to knit socks and mittens.

2. Dough. such as, cookie, or bread, or pastry dough, either in the raw or cooked form. Tasty! Well, I'd rather have my bread cooked, but raw cookie dough, yum :)

3. Daisies. Such a cute, honest flower! A probable wedding flower.

4. Doilies. They're pretty. I loved crafting with doilies when I was a kid.

5. Dachshunds. I'm really picky about dogs, but I'm fond of dachshunds. We had one when I was young, and she was both a good dog, and a beautiful dog. I kind of hope my parents get one again.

6. Data, especially the good kind. Nothing beats good data, especially when you take it to your boss, and they get all excited and giddy. It's like winning the lottery, only the lottery of skill...

7. Dressing up. I loves it. I love buying pretty clothes for the remote possibility that sometime, I will wear them. I have high hopes for more dressing up opps in Worcester.

8. Danskos. This is Denise's fault. They're great lab shoes, though, attractive and comfy.

9. Dishes, especially serving dishes. I love to buy them (on sale, of course), and plan parties around the dishes. Registering at Simon Pearce was such a kid-in-a-candy-shop experience, I registered for so, so many centerpiece and serving dishes.

10. Ducks, both real and rubber. The rubber ones are so jolly and round, and the real ones are funny and adorable. I want a pet duck, but people always try to talk me out of it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A pint's a pound, the world around

Does anyone else chant this to themselves when dealing with weight vs volume measurements? It's saved me more than once.

I made pound cake this weekend. I really like pound cake, it's fluffy, simple and homey, and makes a great base for a lot of things.... like ice cream (which I ate while the cake was baking, so I didn't get to try that pair this time around).

I was reading last month's Yankee Magazine (love that mag), and saw this recipe for pound cake, with strawberry sauce. I thought, ooh but ew, hulling 5 pints of strawberries to cook down? Doubtful. But I brought the mag with me when I went cat sitting this weekend.

Paula Deen made her grandmother's pound cake on Saturday morning, which reminded me of the Yankee mag recipe, so I decided I'd try it. Then I had a lousy trip to Border's and was angry, so required some baking to make myself feel better.

This is a cream cheese pound cake, which gives the batter a really nice flavor. The cake itself turned out much lighter than I thought (this may be the first from-scratch pound cake I've ever baked, and I'm pretty sure the most recent one I've eaten has been Sara Lee, which I find more like a tasty piece of cardboard), although I'm not sure I taste the cream cheese in the baked cake. I also didn't feel like making a strawberry sauce to serve over the cake.... so I swirled in strawberry jam (my parents have a jam shelf in their fridge- so they had strawberry jam to spare)

Pound cake!

Cream 3 sticks of butter and 1 8oz package of cream cheese. Add 3 cups of sugar (1 cup at a time), beat. Add in 6 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add 1t each of vanilla and almond extracts.

Stir in 1t of salt, then 3 cups of flour, 1/2cup at a time (to reduce flour flying everywhere).

Spray 3 loaf pans, and in each, put about 2 large glops of batter, so that the entire bottom of the pan has about an inch of batter. Briefly microwave strawberry jam (or whatever, I almost used blackberry before I found a ton of strawberry jam) so it's soft and soupy, and spoon several dollops on top of the batter. Swirl around evenly, then add more batter, spread out evenly, more jam, spread evenly, and end with one last batter layer. Bake in a preheated 325oF oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

It starts to smell good after 40 minutes. I find it's nice to throw in a tiny cake pan of batter that's ready in under an hour, so you don't have to wait quite as long to taste it.

Next time, I want to play around with increasing the cream cheese:butter ratio, and see if I can bring out the cream cheese flavor. I'd also like to try neufchatel cream cheese for a lower fat version.

In other food news, I had delicious sushi last week. It's up there with the best sushi I've had (reminder: I live on the east coast, which isn't really known for its awesome sushi).
Baba Sushi
Labmate X took photos of every meal (there were 7 of us, 6 had sushi) because they were beautiful. I had the Lion King roll (spicy tuna and avocado, with tempura king crab on top and Baba Eel sauce, which is kind of teriyaki-y and banana-y, really interesting and delicious) and the sweet potato tempura roll, recommended by labmate DN. I wish I could remember what everyone else had, because they were beautiful and apparently incredibly tasty. Sushi lovers in Worcester, go there!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Recent photos

Rather than integrating these where they should go, I'm just sticking all these recent photos here.

Cupcakes from Sweet in Worcester. In the box on the left: peanut butter chocolate, chocolate peppermint, cookies and cream, raspberry buttercream and vanilla cake. In the box on the right: vanilla/vanilla, and raspberry buttercream with chocolate cake or vanilla cake. I didn't get to try the peanut butter or peppermint, but I'm assured they were great. :-DMy cocktail party
clockwise, from the left:
veggie platter
ranch dip in a pepper (Cabot brand, I didn't make it myself)
more veggies
endive stuffed with boursin and pecans
coconut macaroons
Samantha's artichoke tarragon dip in her snazzy mini crockpot
baguette and rosemary sourdough
Trader Joe's triple layer hummus
cheese platter: brie, apricot stilton, maple smoked gouda, sage cheddar, mozzarella/prosciutto roll, dried black figs
chicken sausage and cheese tart
my favorite brand of olive tapenade
corn and shitake fritters
not pictured: kahlua ice cream

menu ideas that didn't make the cut included:
baked brie
pear and blue cheese tarts
poached figs with chevre
sausage profiteroles

however, at a party with only 6 invited guests, it seems silly to serve so much food. I think I'll save the entire proposed menu for my housewarming party, which will have well over 6 on the guest list.

I went to Shaw's yesterday and came out with a loaf of raisin bread.... and today, when I ate it, I noticed it reminds me a great deal of brioche. Do I feel a raisin bread pudding coming on?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Long time, no post!

I've done it, I've moved. I live in MA now. I'm not yet a legal resident, but apparently I need to, or else I can't have health insurance (which is such a mess anyway).

I've been having a lot of food worth posting about, but little time to do it. However, this weekend I hosted a cocktail party back in NH, and I made kahlua gelato. This is batch #3 of ice cream, and definitely the best.

scald 2 cups of 2% milk with 8 coffee beans in a medium saucepan.

whisk together 5 egg yolks and 2/3cup sugar, then slowly add half the hot milk into the egg mixture, stirring frequently so you don't scramble the eggs. Add the egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan, and cook until slightly thickened, about 8-10 min.

Take it off the heat, stir in 1/4cup of kahlua (or, if you want the alcohol to burn off (I wanted the alcohol), add it to the egg/sugar mixture before adding in the scalded milk)

Strain and let cool in the fridge until it's cold.

Put it in your ice cream maker, and let 'er rip!

it was delish. I left it at D's, and I was really torn about doing that... but I can easily make more.

I went to a new (for me) bakery last week. Well, I went to two. I went to Sweet in Boston, and had a most delicious madagascar vanilla mini cupcake. The frosting was my perfect buttercream frosting, sweet and not buttery, but not with a crisco feel to it like so many bakeries use. The cake was dense, and not very sweet, a good complement to the super-sweet frosting.

I also went to Sweet in Worcester (the names are a coincidence), which had beautiful cupcakes that I like better after 4 days. The cake was good, but the frosting was a little too light and crisco-y for me. I bought them on Friday, and by Tuesday the outer layer of frosting had hardended to a nice shell, and the cake was not stale at all. I'm definitely going there again (picture soon- you need to see these cupcakes). Parking was tricky, but then, I live in a city now, so I should expect that.

We also did some wedding cake tasting last weekend... more on that later.

Picture soon of my cocktail party spread. The menu included:
chicken sausage and gruyere tart
corn and shitake fritters (my first attempt at deep frying!)
veggie platter
ranch dip
three layer hummus (roasted redpepper, original, cilantro- from Trader Joe's)
coconut macaroons
kahlua ice cream
endive stuffed with boursin and pecans
olive spread
baguette and rosemary sourdough bread
tarragon artichoke dip (which Samantha brought)

The cocktail party was my annual pre-Dartmouth grad student semi formal dance. As always, the cocktail party was a hit, the dance was a waste of time (they didn't even give us free alcohol, we got there too late. But the place smelled so strongly of beer that we hardly noticed the lack of alcohol. Seriously, are they trying to recreate a scuzzy frat party?)