Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Twd rewind soming soon!

I got home super late from work last night so my write up will be done tonight, just under the wire. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

TWD: Dimply Plum Cake

This week's recipe was chosen by Michelle of Bake-en. You can find the recipe oh her site.

I have to say that I was really, really looking forward to this cake. I followed the directions perfectly, though my plums were a tiny bit large so I needed fewer of them.

I mixed and poured. I baked and tested. The knife came out clean. Time to cool... 15 minutes later, I unmolded and flipped onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.

About 20 minutes later, I see that there is GOO underneath my cooling rack. I investigate and realize that my entire cake middle has goo'd out of the cake! It was totally raw in the center!!! WTH?!

I double checked all the steps, oven temp, etc and cannot figure out what I did wrong. I was so disappointed as the properly cooked corner tasted delicious and the plums were probably the best I've ever tasted.

What could I have done wrong? :( Here are the pics for your inspection.

before the oven

golden and delicious looking

boo! it's goo!
The only underneath photo I could get before being attacked by goo.

Boo. I hate wasting food, especially nearly $10 in plums! (I did eat some of the baked plums but they were a bit weird with out the cake).

Go check out the other TWD bakers and see how they fared this week.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Three cheers for cheese!

Have you seen this?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hey you -

Things have been hectic for the last few day. But, thankfully... well, this song says it all.

Love you!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Oh man, I'm the worst

Hubs took my car to get washed on Saturday because I was busy getting ready for house guests. He's such a sweetie. Today he asks if I noticed that the huge paint scrape down the side of my car had been buffed off. I didn't notice. *gulp* However, in my defense, I try not to look at that side of my car because the paint scrape made me feel bad about driving into the side of the garage. (oopsie!)

I feel terrible for not noticing. My car looks so purdy now. Isn't my hubs so sweet!?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

An Irish Tale

So, the hubs and I got back from our European vacation about a month ago and I still have so many stories to share. One of my favorites is the story of our first day driving in Ireland.

Hubs and I arrived at Cork airport and retrieved our bags by 5:30 pm. We had to pick up our rental car and drive about 10 miles to our bed and breakfast. We were supposed to check in by 7pm or else. Or else, what I have no idea. Needless to say, we were determined to make it there by 7 pm.

We get to Hertz counter and check out our car. We paid extra for the navigation system and additional insurance (hubs insisted),but decided not to put me on as a driver. In the US, spouses are included free as a driver but apparently that isn't the case anywhere else.

So, we get to our car - a lovely Fiat Punto, and hubs spends about 15 minutes giving himself a pep talk. I didn't blame him one bit since he had never driven on the left. Thankfully, his daily car has a stick shift so that part didn't seem to daunting. After a third damage check (and I think a tire pressure calibration) we were off!

As the navigator, I decided that the directions the B&B emailed us were rubbish and that we should use the navigation. A lovely British accent told us which way to turn and a "bing bong" signaled when do so. We got turned around a few times but didn't worry . We had plenty of time. We handled the highways pretty well and figured out how to deal with round abouts. Things were moving along.

We were with in a mile or so of the B&B when we things went awry. The navigation insisted that we turn left onto a ridiculously tiny road (driveway, more like). The problem was that the road was closed. Bummer. We figured we'd just turn around and try a different way.

Well..hubs shifted the car into reverse. Nothing happened. He tried again. We heard only grinding of gears. He pulled up, he pushed down. Nothing worked. Meanwhile, I'm getting quite nervous as we are in the middle of the street and could get smacked into at any point! After what felt like forever I very calmly said, " Honey, why don't we just turn right into that parking lot and figure out what's up."

He turns right into the lot and proceeds to spend endless amount of time trying to get the car into reverse. It will not go! I'm really starting to sweat (a rare thing for this laid-back lassie) and realize that it is now 6:50. We have to get to the B&B, we can't get into reverse AND we are sort of lost. This is not good. I mention how important it is to get to the B&B and that once we are there, we can call Hertz and let them know our reverse is broken.

I suggest putting the car in neutral and we push the car backwards so that we can turn around. Hubs agrees. I get out and walk around the front to get behind the wheel so hubs can push. That's when hubs reminds me that I am not on the driving account. I start to negotiate with him but can tell by the look on his face that I should just do some pushing.

So, he puts the car in neutral and I start pushing the car backwards so we can get out of the tiny lot. At this point I notice the elderly gentleman in a robe (and nothing else, it appears). I look around and realize that we have pulled into the parking lot of a mental hospital! The pantless gentleman says something about wanting to help us but being too tired. I silently thank the Lord for sedatives.

Finally, after a good work out, the car is facing the proper direction and we try to find our B&B. We turn and our moronic navigation screams "When possible, make an authorized U-turn." It says that about 20 times before I think I hear it sigh. It says "Recalculating route." I seriously want to tell this Mary Poppins lady in my navigation to shut the F up but I don't because I really want to get to the B&B and I think she might be my only hope.

Finally, we take a random turn and end up on the right street. Huzzah! Success at last.!We won't be sleeping in the world's tiniest hatchback tonight!

I can see the B&B. It is seriously the cutest ever. Hubs pulls up to the Fernroyd House. Damn! Parallel parking...I hop out and push the car into the spot. (Wish I had a picture of that one!)

Our hostess pops out and inquires "Are ye staying with us?" We say yes and explain our car issue. She hops in and in about two seconds, shows us what we've been doing wrong. Apparently, there is a tiny tiny ring that you must lift on the stick to get the car to go into reverse. Why the heck no one told us? Who knows! At least it makes for a good story and a good work out. :D

I leave you with a few pictures of Fernroyd House. It was so lovely and the owners Avril and Tony (and their dog, Chippy) were our favorites of the whole trip. It's no wonder they are rated #1 on Trip Advisor for Cork.

Our room
The garden


Monday, September 8, 2008

TWD: Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops

Get a load of this:

Drooling yet?

You should be. It was my turn to choose for TWD and I spent hours flipping between a few key recipes before I finally decided on this one. I'm not a huge chocolate fan but I LOVE malt and thought this would be a totally different yet fun recipe to try.

I actually made these twice. The first time, I was determined to take amazing pictures so I could showcase my awesome baking skills, superb photography talents, and really clean (for the photos) kitchen. However, after the cookies were gone far, far away to a potluck in the sky, er, at hubs school, I realized that there was no memory card in the camera. I raised a fist and decided that I'd have to make them again. So I did. The second time around, I made a few adjustments:

1. I got to bake with a good friend I rarely see.
2. I was a little short on chocolate chunks (semi-sweet) so I supplemented with mini chips which gave a fun texture.
3. I used a bit more than 2 cups of whoppers chopped (by my pal) into halves and thirds. I figured, the bigger, the better.
4. I also used regular flavor malt powder and not chocolate like some bakers did. That would have been way too chocolatey for me.

I really liked these cookies. I thought the chocolate flavor was pretty mild and the malt ratio was perfect. However, I got mixed reviews when I took them to work on Monday. Some people said they were too malty. Others said they needed more malt powder. I guess it all depends on how much you like malt. Hubs didn't care for them. Apparently, he doesn't like malt. Yeah, that would have been nice to know 3 weeks ago when I chose the recipe. Oh well, I liked them and that's good enough for me!

I loved how some of the whoppers caramelized, some were in whopper-y and some were in between. They final results were chewy, with a slight crunch and that soda shop taste. DELISH!

Thanks to my fellow TWD folks for baking my choice this week. And a bigger thanks to the blogger who figured out the temperature was to be 350 due to an omission in the book. You rock!

Next week - Claudia from Fool for Food has chosen Chocolate Chunkers. I leave you with some yummy pics and the recipe. Have a great week, all!

Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops
1.75 cups all purpose flour
1 cup malted milk powder
.25 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1.5 teaspoon baking powder
.25 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temp.
.66 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
.25 cup whole milk
2 cups (6 ounces) chocolate-covered malted milk balls, coarsely chopped
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped or 1 cup store-bought choc chips or chunks

GETTING READY: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Sift together the flour, malted milk powder, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until very smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for about a minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don't be concerned in the mixture looks curdled - it will even out when the dry ingredients are added. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the dry ingredients, mixing just until they disappear in the the batter. Mix in the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. The batter will look more like fudge frosting than cookie dough - and that's fine. With the mixer on low, or by hand with a rubber spatula, mix in the malted milk balls and chopped chocolate.
Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls on to the sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between spoonfuls. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back after 6 minutes. When done, the cookies will be puffed and set slightly but soft to the touch. Let the cookies rest for 2 minutes before using a wide metal spatula to transfer them to the racks to cool to room temperature.
Repeat with the remaining dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

La Palette's Tart - A TWD tale

In June, the baking group I belong to, TWD, baked up a tart inspired by a restaurant in Paris. It was one of my absolute favorites that we'd baked so far. Later that week, Dorie blogged about the restaurant and my ears perked up. I decided that hubs and I absolutely had to visit La Palette on our trip to Paris.

It was our last full day in Paris and I was determined to eat lunch at La Palette. I'd found the restaurant the day before while on our bike tour. The group stopped for lunch just a few blocks from La Palette and when we rode by, I screamed "There it is!!" and got a few strange looks from the Parisians standing nearby. I was so stoked to actually eat at the restaurant where this tart was born.

The next day, we headed over to the 6th arrondissement to La Palette. Look how excited I am!
We ordered lunch. I had a croque monsieur (on farmhouse bread) and salad:

Hubs had some other sandwich but I can't remember what it was exactly. I could barely contain my excitement and when the waiter came by and asked if we'd like dessert. I grinned and said "strawberry tart, s'il vous plait." The waiter replied, "We don't have that today." I think I stared open mouthed and shocked for a full minute before he said he had a lovely peach pie instead. I wasn't too happy but I said OK.

But, what he called a peach pie was very similar to the strawberry tart. A crust, graham I believe, with a thin layer of jam, covered in perfectly ripe and delicious peaches with a glaze on them. Oh man, was it ever delish!

At the end of the lunch, I left with a happy tummy and a funny story. It was a great day. I really wish I had that peach pie recipe. It was super super good - just not as good as I bet the strawberry tart would have been. If I ever make it back to Paris, I'll have to try the strawberry, or anything else they serve. It's all yummy to me!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

TWD: Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters

This week's TWD recipe was easy peasy and super fun. I actually made these twice over the long weekend.

My brother was in town from Texas helping my stepsister (who lives in San Diego) move back to Big D. She's been out here for a few years and was ready to head back home. All our family is in TX and I don't blame her one bit for wanting to go back. Aren't we cute:

Anyway, back to cookies.

I made these treats for the sibs to eat and they enjoyed them so much that I packed up the leftovers for use as road snacks. I think I scored some awesome-ness points for that.

I also whipped up another batch Monday night to take to work and for hubs to take to his Tuesday night soccer game. I can't help it. I'm a giver.

With regard to the recipe made a couple of changes. I used less nutmeg and I used whatever choc chips I had in my cupboard. So I ended up with some milk, semi, and bitter sweet chips in my cookies. Next time, I may add heath pieces.

Overall, these cookies were super yummy and totally easy. Hubs game 'em A. That's pretty huge.

Thanks to Stephany for choosing this week's recipe. Yummy, chewy, chunky deliciousness. Head over to Tuesdays with Dorie and give our other bakers some love.

Next week, it's my turn to choose! Stay tuned. :)