Sunday, June 26, 2011

Shabu and a Chef's Hat

This past weekend was my next door neighbor's birthday. We started the weekend off with a Shabu Shabu feast. It was my first Shabu experience, and so homey that I don't think I'll ever try it in a restaurant. My neighbor explained to me that when she was growing up, Shabu Shabu was a weekly occurrence. She explained that it wasn't just a meal, it was an event. Everyone would sit around the hot pot and tell stories and fill up on veggies and protein.

Shabu shabu is basically an Asian fondue, except you don't put a fork in your own meat and account for it while it cooks. Everything goes in the pot, and you bring out what you want to your bowl. The broth in the pot becomes very flavorful from all the ingredients being poached, and was delicious on it's own.

Here's the veggie spread. We had Napa cabbage, mustard greens, onions, garlic, tomatoes, tofu, mushrooms, some weird fish blocks and noodles. As a size reference, this is a paella pan, and it is sitting on the stove, covering all four burners.

Here's some more pictures of the entire spread. There was so much food it wouldn't fit on one table. We had potstickers, shrimp, clams, ribeye and pork in addition to all the veggies.

The meat was so beautifully wrapped! After all this food, we were in extreme food coma, but it wasn't the uncomfortable coma because we didn't eat many carbs. This would be a fabulous dinner idea for a vegetarian. My favorite items were the tofu and cabbage, surprisingly. I never craved the meat. I'm now wondering how a poached egg would do in there???

And finally, a birthday party is never a party without a cake. My neighbor, being a chef, blew out the candles on this cake, shaped as a chef's hat. Inside, it was seven layers (would have been eight, but it was way too top heavy). Each layer was sandwiched with dark chocolate mousse, and the whole package was frosted with white frosting. Despite what it looks like, I did do a crumb coat. Who knew it would be that hard to frost a dark cake with white icing. Many lessons learned for next time. What will be next??

This mighty bowl is from my 6 quart kitchenaid...aka it's humongous, and that's alllll chocolate batter, enough to feed 75 people. Somehow, no one was lucky enough to be around to lick the bowl this time.

The first of seven layers. Chocolate frosting around the edges to hold in the mousse.


Much Thanks!

Who doesn't love presents?!?! My roommate's mom gave me one of these cake tester brooms, and it is awesome! You store this mini broom near the stove and break off a strand to test the done-ness of cakes and cupcakes. Thank you Mrs. Noeker, that was so sweet! It will definitely be well used.

Coincidentally I was out of toothpicks.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Baking Backlog

I've been baking so much that I haven't had time to post, below are some of the lovely things leaving our kitchen.

Oink Oink

Over Memorial Day Weekend, they neighborhood hosted a pig roast, and I brought the cake. We named him Babe. Two batches of strawberry cake filled the body, with chocolate cupcakes creating the feet and schnoz. All was iced in buttercream...I've never made that much buttercream. To accompany the cake, I made tiny chocolate cupcakes frosted with a sphere of pink buttercream topped swirled pig tail of buttercream.

I finished of Memorial Day Weekend with a croquembouch. A croquembouche is a cake made of cream puffs. I used a standard cream puff recipe, filled them with pistachio pudding, piled them into a cone shape and splattered them with melted sugar. Delicious. Gave it all to the neighbors.

The weekend after Memorial Day I went home and was pleasantly surprised to find out the boysenberries were ripe. I made a heavenly boysenberry swiss meringue buttercream to top homemade funfetti cupcakes. No pictures, I don't know what happened, it must have been sugar shock. All those went to work.

That same weekend, I came back to Newport and baked a Celestial Chocolate Cake with Marcella. It was the best chocolate cake I've had in a very very long time. Dense and moist chocolate cake, filled with whipped cream, covered in chocolate ganache frosting.

Here are two of the three layers. Oh my.

This baby also went to the neighbors...too much for Christine and me to eat! But a slice sure did hit the spot after eating a vegan/raw meal at a restaurant we will never go back to.

Last week I made cupcakes for my coworkers, past and present. I used the same chocolate cake as the Celestial Chocolate Cake because it was so good. Topped them with chocolate swiss meringue buttercream tainted with strong espresso. And you can't forget the chocolate shavings.

I had so much fun delivering these cuties at my old employer with my sister.

I finished off last weekend making homemade brioche slider rolls. They were delich, but I'm not in love with the recipe, so I'll try again and post one later.

I feel like I missed a lot, but this will do for now. Stay tuned for a another fun cake this weekend....Five layer cake shaped to look like a chef's hat. This should be interesting.