Monthly Archives: May 2012

strawberry ombre cake

an edible experiment, my first ombre cake: i didn’t like it very much but my children enjoyed immensely.
i got confused about why the cake was named “ombre”–when i looked up the definition it was an obscure card game, but my daughter knew the application of graduating colors, from her art courses. search engines turn up images of celebrities with highlighted hair. :glasses-slip: anyway, i saw the cake from an enthusiastic baker’s blog, Krissy’s Creations.
the other cakes i searched for looked really pretty and dainty. mine?–turned out kind of plain jane. sigh. i don’t think the choice of white chocolate ganache was wise, since the cake layers soaked it up and there isn’t any definition in between. it has to be buttercream which unfortunately doesn’t sell very well here at home.
anyway, it was most unique due to the puree of strawberries incorporated into the sponge cake batter. which brings me back to why i wasn’t too fond of the flavor, because to my palate i detected a slight vegetal taste. i have an idea of making a simple syrup with the strawberry puree to cook it a bit and better extract the sweet strawberry flavor (or cheat with a liqueur) for next time.
i followed the recipe almost exactly, except for substituting some Grand Marnier for half of the vanilla extract.

almond angel food cake

i made this cake to use up the egg whites from all that flan-ing and creme-brulee-ing…terrific flavors on this light and airy macaroon-like angel food. and it’s cholesterol-free.
it was a bit of a struggle getting it out of the tube pan so i need to practise. good thing my kids and i are keen on the blowtorch, and therefore i’ll make more creme brulee, and therefore there’ll be more angel food cake. :fryingpan

sink or swim time

i am almost in a panicky state…there’s just not enough time, someone please give me some more.
the #1 culprit usurping up most of my time, shoving everything–housework, blogging, readingnapping–to the side?
four years since i signed up for full membership at my YMCA i have gone up to 50 52 laps, 25 yards per lap, in 45 minutes, three times a week. it takes an hour and a half total each time, with stretching and before-and-after showers, and hair-drying.
yes, i am totally addicted to swimming. i crave it when i skip more than a day, and i become a monster mom when deprived. as i clamber out of the water i start to plot my next swim.
underwater i fancy myself as a graceful little fish, a mermaid. i pretend i am a superwoman flying underwater. wonder woman!!! i pray. i try to solve the puzzles of my life. i sing in my head. i talk to my grandparents, my daddy, my best friend.

i imagine i am graceful, yet competitive. in my fantasy world i swim elegantly, without splashing, a water nymph, a sylph.

it all started out as a desperate attempt to lose weight: doctor’s orders, for a diabetic in denial. it hasn’t quite worked out as i planned though…i’ve probably lost maybe just five pounds, but i do feel like things have tightened up a tad. not to mention the wonderful endorphins exercise summons up to your brain to make you feel euphoric.
i think i have to kick my fitness plan up a couple of notches and switch to a very low calorie diet.

Neiman Marcus (oatmeal-chocolate-chip) cookies

oatmeal choco chip cookies
it’s taking me days to write up this recipe! which is totally unfair since these cookies are so luscious that they deserve close scrutiny, boisterous fanfare…and immediate sharing of the recipe. selfish withholding of the recipe might incite rioting and looting, it’s that good. :dash-d-knight:
aside from the dark chocolate chips, there’s a whole milk chocolate bar grated into the batter, and the funny legend behind it’s inception. (an urban legend, from Saveur magazine, the sharing of the recipe itself feels like an outright rebellion against exclusive, designer!, labels.)

16 tbsp. (2 sticks) butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1⁄2 cups oatmeal, processed in blender to a fine powder (i used Bob’s Red Mill Scottish oatmeal)
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1⁄2 tsp. salt
2 cups (about 12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
1 1⁄2 cups walnuts, chopped
4 oz. Hershey’s chocolate, grated

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars together in a large bowl until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and eggs and beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Add oatmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Stir in chocolate chips, walnuts, and chocolate.

2. Roll dough into 1 1⁄2″ balls and place 2″ apart on large baking sheets. Bake until light golden but still soft in the middle, 10–12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack and let cool.