Monday, June 28, 2010

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” -Mark Twain

Today's the day I start an adventure. A time to explore, a time to discover, a time to be lost, a time to learn. There is nothing to fear, but fear itself. It will be a journey to remember forever, and will only wet my palette for more. The only way to grow is to challenge yourself. Put yourself in unfamiliar situations and see how you conquer them. Don't be afraid for me, for I am strong. Don't be lonely for me, for I am accompanied. It's me against the world, we will see what happens. Wish me luck, happiness, and confidence and I shall succeed!


“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wedded Bliss


My original Chocolate Chip cookies on display at the wedding!

The macarons on the sweets table! There were goodie bags so they could take them home. There were none left to take home... Success.

The word of the week is wedding. Or maybe it should be baking? Or macarons? OR maybe SUGAR. Sugar may be the best option considering all of the above are sweet and lovely and amazing. This week all of my dreams have been far too realistic. Macaron failures, messed up bridal gift, ME GETTING MARRIED. Thankfully, none of the above are true. I have been very organized while planning to bake my heart out for my adorable friends wedding. She wanted my original chocolate chip cookies and some type of macaron for little party favors that the guests could take home in goodie bags! So the search was on for the perfect and most delicious macaron recipe! I work in the perfect environment for testing recipes. I bake up a storm and bring them in and wait for the verdict! "I like this one but.." or "THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER"... or "yeahhhhh, not my favorite"... There were cinnamon macs, blood orange macs, nutella macs, mexican chocolate macs, peanut butter macs, lemon macs, strawberry macs, pistachio macs, raspberry macs. And boy there were fillings, cinnamon cream cheese filling, lemon and blood orange curd, espresso-chocolate buttercream, cranberry and white chocolate ganache, marshmallow fluff buttercream, strawberry buttercream.... And then there was a suggestion from the groom. "Could you make a macaron that replicates Ben and Jerry's "Cherry Garcia" ice cream?!" What a phenomenal idea! I started looking at the ingredients. Cherry, chocolate, ameretto... The ideas in my head were being thrown around like a macaron hurricane. They eventually landed in my mind perfectly together.
  1. Chocolate-Almond Shells
  2. Chocolate Ameretto Ganache
  3. Cherry Buttercream
  4. Ameretto DRUNK Cherries
Brought them in to my critics. WE HAVE A WINNER!
They were delicious.

Chocolate amaretto ganache! Heaven.

Now all I had to do was find a "hers" macaron! She wanted the Espresso-Chocolate Buttercream that I used on the Nutella Macs but I thought it would be better if we didn't have two chocolate macarons and instead did something fruity or tart to give a good balance. I also wanted them to be pink because it goes with her wedding colors. Pink...Pink...Pink...hmmmm Strawberry (no) Rose Water (naw) Plain (bleh.) Raspberry?! YES! Now if only I could find a DANG raspberry extract in the city of Houston. I swear they all decided to run out at the same time. I decided to make them without the raspberry extract and instead buy a million dollar container or "Just Raspberries" and grind them finely in the food processor. I put a dollop of ROSE food coloring so they would be vibrant and gorgeous. They turned out adorable and delicious. HOWEVER, they were missing the wow factor that the "his" macs had. I can't have the groom show up the BRIDE! COME ON! I went to the grocery store and guess what was sitting in front of me. GORGEOUS ORGANIC RASPBERRIES AT $1.50 a pint. That's a BOMB price for organic raspberries. I couldn't resist. A little Macaron sandwich with a delicious surprise.

The gorgeous coffee from Catalina Coffee I used for the Macarons!

Espresso-Chocolate Buttercream!
The stunning organic raspberries
Sprinkled with the dehydrated raspberries

The openfaced Raspberry Macarons

YAY :)

This week has been a baking extravaganza. Nothing swells my feet quicker. I have permanent CANKLES this week. That's hot, right? Well it's all worth it because the macarons are AMAZING. They are perfect opposites of eachother. The shells of the chocolate macs match the filling or the raspberries macs. The shells of the raspberry macs match the filling of the chocolate macs.

It like a true corny love story.

They say opposites attract right?


This is a piano cake! It was Carlos' sisters birthday cake! So cute!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Oh the Joy of Plantar Fasciitis

I have to apologize. No wonder I have only 10 followers. I go on a blog hiatus for weeks..maybe months.. at a time. Oops. Let's see where to start, where to start?! It looks as if my last blog post was my homemade pop tarts. I don't even remember what was happening at that point in my life. Usually there is something going on when I bake things. It is a little outlet for me. Whether I had an amazing day or the worst day ever, I can bake and it always makes everything better. (HEY YOU LIKE THAT RHYME?! I do.) I baked a lot the past few weeks. I have a bothersome injury that has been lurking for months now. It's called plantar fasciitis. I know, it sounds like some flesh eating disease that is going to take over the world. But it's not. It only the most obnoxious "injury" I've had. Our physical therapist, Emery, continues to tell me how I would be much better off breaking my foot. He also continued to tell me horror stories about his volleyball player who kept playing on her severe plantar fasciitis and eventually tore it. Thanks dude! I can just feel the confidence welling up inside of me.... NOT! ha-ha The injury started with the setting of the ballet "La Fille Mal Gardee". We were doing 6 hours a day of this ballet which is full of prancing, skipping, running in the "pink coffins" (pink coffins are what Emery calls our pointe shoes ha-ha), pretty much every step in the world that you can't put your heels down to give your calves a rest. So my calves got extremely tight and in part made me use my foot in the wrong way and I strained my posterior tibial tendon and gave me plantar fasciitis. The injury is very common among runner's and the normal population. It is horribly irritating to treat because the simplest things bother it, walking, biking, standing, sleeping.... breathing... Okay maybe not breathing but pretty much EVERYTHING else. The issue is when you sleep your foot is in a relaxed position, usually "pointed" against the sheet. So when I wake up in the morning the first couple steps out of bed are like the most hideous pain in the world. It feels as though the sole of my foot has been set on fire and someone is stabbing me with a knife. The solution? I now sleep with a night splint. It is a lovely contraption that keeps my foot in a flexed position all night so my fascia stay stretched and extended while I dream of ponies and rainbows. Now it got so unbearable in the La Fille rehearsals I had to sit out of most of them. Meanwhile the next two weeks we were performing the triple bill of Balanchine's Ballo Della Regina, Mark Morris' Sandpaper Ballet, and Stanton Welch's Pecos. I was in all three for all 7 shows. To keep my on for all the shows of the triple bill our director decided it was best for my to continue rest during the week rehearsals of Fille and then perform the triple bill on the weekend. This however meant I would be taken out of the first weekend of shows of Fille and return after rest for the last 4 shows of the season. It is never a nice feeling when you cannot perform. It doesn't matter what ballet it is. You just want to be part of every second of the process. After weeks and weeks of off and on dancing from a Village girl, to a Balanchine girl, to a jolly green monster, to a Spinster, to a Bar girl prostitute, I finally am back to a Village girl tonight for my own "opening night" show of La Fille ;) Wish me luck! ha-ha

Sandpaper Ballet, costumes by Isacc Mizrahi

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Homemade Poptarts???

Start with butter, loads and loads of butter.

Throw butter into flour mixture. Now for the fun. Crumble butter and flour in between your fingers to make a crumbly dough.

Mom's huckleberry jam waiting patiently to fill the pop tarts.

An assembled poptart.

The Huckleberry Pop Tart.

The cinnamon and brown sugar pop tart.

Homemade poptarts anyone?
I am definitely not the first, but surely not the last to make homemade poptarts.
They have been all the rage on the foodie blogs every since Bon Appetite printed a recipe in their magazine.
I am not sure how you can even compare the original and these flaky rectangles of heaven, except for maybe the inspiration of flavors like my childhood favorite, Cinnamon and Brown Sugar.
I also filled a couple with my mom's homemade Huckleberry jam.
TRES TRES délicieux!!!

Adapted from Bon Appetite:


  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour plus additional for shaping and rolling
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons ice water
  • Huckleberry Jam (or any preserves you want!!)


  • Whisk 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour, coarse salt, and sugar in large bowl. Add butter. Using fingertips or back of fork, blend in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water by tablespoonfuls, tossing until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball. Divide in half; shape each half into disk. Wrap in plastic. Chill at least 1 hour.
  • Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough on floured surface to about 13x11 inches. Trim to 12x10-inch rectangle, then cut into eight 5x3-inch rectangles.
  • Arrange 4 rectangles, spaced apart, on each sheet. Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons preserves in row down center of each rectangle. Top preserves with second dough rectangle. Using fingertips, gently press all edges of each tart to seal; press all edges with tines of fork to double-seal. Using toothpick, poke a few holes in center of top dough rectangle. Cover; freeze tarts on sheets at least 2 hours and up to 1 week.
  • Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake frozen tarts uncovered until golden, reversing sheets after 15 minutes, 25 to 30 minutes total (some preserves may leak out). Immediately transfer tarts to rack. Sift powdered sugar lightly over. Serve warm or at room temperature with fresh berries.
Cinnamon Brown Sugar Variation:
1/2 c brown sugar
1 to 1 1/2 t cinnamon, to taste
4 t flour
1 large egg, to brush on pastry before filling

Whisk brown sugar cinnamon and flour together in a small bowl. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg mixture and dollop the center of the rectangle with heaping tablespoon of cinnamon and brown sugar mixture.

Cinnamon-Maple glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon maple syrup

whisk together and drizzle over warm pop tarts.