October 20, 2012

Cupcake Camp!

Today was cupcake camp New Haven 2012, and it was CRAZY! I somehow managed to procure some prime real estate, and mine were the first cupcakes that people saw as they entered a cupcake lover's heaven.  There were hundreds of different types of cupcakes, ranging from traditional flavors to unique flavor pairings.  I only tasted a few cupcakes, but they all looked delicious.  I made three different types of cupcakes for the event: Matcha Daifuku, Irish Dream, and Vermont Harvest.

June 30, 2012

Matcha Mochi Cupcakes

Being the start of summer, I thought it would be appropriate to put a cupcake spin on the traditional Japanese New Year's dessert, mochi.  I've been eating mochi my whole life.  My mom would usually whip up a batch for our New Year's feast of chicken, sushi rice, rice balls, red bean rice, and, of course, mochi.  Plain mochi is simply pounded sweet rice (also called glutinous rice, though it contains no gluten).  Commonly, it is filled with 'an', sweetened red bean paste.  Growing up, my favorite way to eat mochi was to toast it in the oven until it puffed up and was golden brown on the top.  I would then dip the delicious gooey, toasty, chewy delciousness in a sauce made of shoyu (soy sauce) and sugar.  Yummy!  I've since grown to appreciate the taste and texture of an-filled mochi.  I think that growing up, I associated the taste/texture of an with peanuts.  I realize they are nothing alike, but when you've never actually tasted peanut butter and know that it could kill you, random associations tend to be scary and off-putting.  My other favorite types of mochi are black sesame mochi and green tea mochi.  Peach mochi is also fabulous (even though I make the cheater's version).

June 26, 2012

Vegetable Millet "Sushi"

Contrary to popular belief, sushi is not raw fish.  Rather, sushi is vinegared rice, often topped or rolled with fish.  Raw fish on its own is known as sashimi.  Both are delicious.  However, I am not an accomplished sushi chef with access to sushi-grade fish, so what am I supposed to do at home when a sushi craving hits?

I looked in my fridge the other day and noticed that I had some leftover cooked millet.  Millet is a grain, somewhat similar to quinoa.  It has a fair amount of protein, so it's a great choice to fill out a meal instead of rice or potatoes and will fill you right up.  When cooked, it is fluffy like rice and tastes like a  cross between corn and brown rice with a hint of quinoa's nuttiness.  I decided that I would use some of the leftover millet to make vegetable sushi, plus it would use some of my many vegetables from my CSA share that I'm getting this summer.

June 22, 2012

Spring Wedding Brunch Cake

Back at the end of May, I was lucky enough to be celebrating the coming wedding of two of my best friends from college, C and I.  These two are getting married this July on Block Island, and, originally, I was going to be making the wedding cake with another friend, S.  As fate would have it, C's long lost relatives have done all of the family's cakes and emerged from the wood-work gushing about how excited they were to be making C and I's wedding!  In all honestly, I was a bit relieved.  I was excited by the prospect of making a wedding cake for two people that I dearly love, but I was also slightly terrified!  Having never stacked a cake before in my life, that alone was enough to have me quivering in my boots.  Add on top of that, baking in an unfamiliar kitchen with an unfamiliar oven and no stand mixer?  Recipe for disaster.  So, while I was slightly disappointed to not be able to contribute in that way to the wedding, I was very relieved.  My consolation prize was baking the cake for C and I's wedding brunch at C's mother's house.  I headed to Boston for the weekend with a bag packed full of decorating tips, cake pans, and a hand mixer.  The brunch was scheduled for Sunday morning, so S and I turned Saturday into a bake-a-thon.  We needed cake to feed 70-80 people, and we decided on a two tier cake with cupcakes making up the difference.  The bottom tier was a 10 inch lemon cake filled with raspberry swiss meringue buttercream and raspberry preserves.