Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate Cream Tart

This post is mostly picture because I barely had enough time to make the tart. Here are the highlights:
  • Loved the chocolate shortbread crust, mine was a little too crumbly though
  • Filling was part chocolate pudding/part creamy filling, delish
  • I skipped the whipped cream topping because, well I'm kind of over homemade whipped cream right now (blasphemy I know)
  • Tart was really good, especially with the strawberries, yum!
Thanks to Kim of Scrumptious Photography for this selection!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate Bread Pudding

Bread pudding. Favorite dessert ever. I can't express in words how much I adore bread pudding. There's a restaurant (Bosco's Squared) I go to that I love but mainly I like going there because every week they have a different flavor bread pudding. When I make bread pudding at home this recipe from Epicurious.com is my go-to. I've made it more times than I can count and it's always delicious.
So I was completely thrilled that this week's selection was bread pudding because it's also my birthday today. So by picking the bread pudding this week, Lauren (of Upper East Side Chronicle) didn't know it but she gave me a special treat. Thanks Lauren!
The only thing I dislike about making bread pudding is cutting up the bread, because as I've mentioned, I'm the poster-child for kitchen mishaps, usually involving knives. Lucky for me I managed not to dice my fingers as well as the bread. I used 16 oz. of french bread because I couldn't find just 12 oz. It wasn't stale so I toasted it for 10 minutes as Dorie suggests. There seemed to be a whole lot of liquid for the bread, so I feel like it was probably good I used all 16 oz. I used Ghiradelli 60% cacao chocolate and omitted the raisins/cherries. When I added the chocolate to the milk it smelled just like hot chocolate. I used a 9 x 13 Pyrex pan and poured it all in. When I was putting the bread pudding together I was also baking a pork loin so I stuck the pudding in the fridge for 45 minutes or so until the pork was out of the oven. Also I didn't do the water bath. Granted it probably would have been better with it, but my roasting pan isn't big enough and I've successfully made bread pudding without the water bath before too. SO GOOD! Another delicious, delicious dessert. It's also great warm with vanilla bean ice cream. And it can make a tasty breakfast - not that I would know anything about that...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday scenes

It has rained off and on the entire day. We slept in, did some laundry, grabbed a late breakfast at Republic Coffee, did a little grocery shopping and then napped. I've been running around all week doing volunteer work and regular work and I was feeling exhausted. I did manage to make my TWD selection (chocolate bread pudding-so, so, so good) and throw together dinner. And take pictures.

My roses are blooming, they came with house and are always full of buds.
Figs are growingNew rainboots got plenty of use this weekendGreen beans with shallots, part of tonight's dinnerA sneak peek at the bread pudding, my favorite dessert ever...P.S.
The love of my life has created a blog for his realistic fly-tying adventures. Go see his semi-creepy, handmade bugs. Doug's Bugs

Friday, April 17, 2009

In which I sew (sort of)

Okay I'm ashamed to admit this but I have had my sewing machine for well over a year and I have sewn nary a thing on it. I have fabric, I have thread, I have needles and yet I still do not sew. Shameful. I have recently been inspired to make things and I needed to use the sewing machine. One of them was a headband/headwrap thingy (great name right?) and the other was an already-made-tank embellished with a doily.

I posted about purchasing some vintage doilies from estate sales a few months ago and my friend Lynsey and I have been looking for ways to use them. Lynsey, who (to steal a phrase) is made of awesome, made a great jersey tank for herself with a doily-embellished back. Since my sewing skills, are, um, way less advanced than that, I took the easy route and bought a pre-made tank top at Target and worked on sewing the doily to the front of it. It took a small blood sacrifice and a string of words that might make a sailor blush before I got it sewn on. My craftsmanship is shoddy at best but it's attached and I like the way it looks and it cost about $8.00 total.

My second 'sewing' project was the headband. This is another piece of trim from Melissa's find. I had thought it would look great on a dark denim skirt, but only if it had some friends to join it. So I scrapped that idea and took the advice of the knitting group and made a headband to put it on. This was very unscientific. I took a headscarf, measured it across, cut out a length of fabric I had laying around, cut a piece of white flannel the same size (to give it a little more structure) and sewed that bad boy shut. I frayed the ends a little bit, tried the headband on and then pinned the flower to the place it looked the best in and then sewed it down. Viola, headband/headwrap thingy on my big ole melon head. Again, my sewing skills are crap but I have to start somewhere right?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sweaters and scarves and bags

The Creamed Spinach scarf is finally done. I cast off the first weekend in March but it took me almost two weeks to block it because of pure laziness. It turned out well, the cast off edge looks a little off but maybe the recipient won't mind. The yarn was nice to work with, I like the 'halo' effect it has.I had started to make the February Lady Sweater with grey Lana D'Oro I bought at a New Year's Eve yarn sale but it didn't like the way it was turning out so I frogged it and chose to use the yarn for something else. The 'something else' is the Francis Revisited sweater. It's simple top down raglan with seed stitch hem, cuffs and cowl. I finally bound off the bottom and I'm working on the sleeves now. The yarn is really soft and warm but with the temps in the upper 60's-low 70's now I doubt I'll get much wear out of it until the fall. Also it could probably be a tad bigger.I cast on another reusable bag, out of some All Hemp that I've had forever. I'm going to have a table about knitting reusable items and recycling old sweaters into new things this Saturday in my hometown for Earth Day. I hope to get the bag done by Saturday, I'll probably give it to my mom though since I already have a couple of cotton ones.

My sweet friend Melissa found some discarded trim a few weeks ago and brought it to knit night, where we divvied it up amongst ourselves. I found this lace yoke for a top and had the bright idea to knit onto it. It was a little discolored so I bleached it, washed it in Soak and made plans. I ordered three skeins of RYC Cotton Silk and I'm using the Frock Camisole top from Interweave Knits as my inspiration for a swing top. I had a little trouble picking up and knitting the teeny stitches but hopefully it'll be okay. The yarn is from Webs and is a such a pretty shade. I have a lot of warm weather projects picked out for the spring/summer. I hope I'll have the time to knit most of them.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: 15 Minute Chocolate Amaretti Torte

I was a 'last-minute-Lucy' this week and didn't bake this torte until last night. But it was so easy and simple it wasn't a huge problem. Although I could not find the amaretti cookies. If I hadn't have felt so icky yesterday I probably would have gone to a few more grocery stores looking for them but by 5:30pm I just wanted to grab what I needed and get home. Instead of the actual amaretti cookies I found these 'almond-cinnamon' thins. They were actually really, really good. Besides that everything else went smoothly.
My food processor was too small for the entire torte mixture so I just used the processor for the cookies and almonds and then just used the mixer for the other ingredients. I popped it into the oven for 30 minutes and it came out perfectly.I cooled it, made the glaze and spread it on. I was far too impatient to let the glaze set up in the refrigerator for 30 minutes so I just dug in. It's so good, I know it would have been even better with the real amaretti cookies but my version was delicious too. To me it tastes like a cross between a brownie and a cake, the almond/cookie mixture adds a nice crunchy texture and the glaze? Well who can argue with chocolate + cream? Thanks to Holly of Phe/Mom/enon for this selection.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Attention span issues & movie previews

Apparently I have almost no attention span. Seriously. It pains me to sit through an entire movie unless I am really, really into it (ie Twilight). Doug often goes to the movies alone because I just can't sit still for that long. Knitting helps a little but it's kind of hard to knit anything other than stockinette in the dark. So it only makes sense that I like movie previews more than the actual movies. I *live* for previews. I stalk the Apple Movie Trailer site weekly for new previews. I download them to my iPhone and watch them more than once. Or twice. This might make me certifiable.

Here are my current preview crushes. With about a 40% chance that I'll go see any of them.

Merry Gentleman
Michael Keaton will always be my favorite Batman.

500 Days of Summer
Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel in an indie love story. Sigh.

Winter of Frozen Dreams
Thora Birch plays a biochemistry student AND a prostitute.

Easy Virtue
I couldn't care less about Jessica Biel, but Colin Firth is another story...

The Informers
Brett Easton Ellis. The first time I thought I was ever going to physically sick during a movie was when I saw American Psycho in the theater. Christian Bale hacking away at someone while Huey Lewis and the News played in the background. But I still like his work. Doug made me watch Less Than Zero last year and it made me love Robert Downey Jr that much more.

Away We Go
It's got John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph in it and the music of Alexi Murdoch. There's probably an 80% chance I'll actually see this one.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: Banana Cream Pie

What a really stellar dessert. Honestly, this is the kind of dessert I live for. Layers of flaky dough, creamy custard, bananas and thick whipped cream. Delish. However, I am far too lazy to make this on a regular basis.

First of all as much as I love, love, love to bake I hate making pie dough. My food processor is tiny (as I've lamented before), so I make my pie dough by hand and it's a sticky process. This time around I trimmed my overlapping crust a little too much, forgetting about the shrinkage of pie dough and my crust was smaller than it should have been. Boo.
Next was the custard, yolks and sugar and a little spice and a lot of whisking and having to be very careful not to scramble the yolks with the hot milk. The custard part turned out to be really, really tasty. I had a spoonful or two while it was cooling.
The whipped cream was your basic whipped cream, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla. The only difference was the addition of sour cream at the end. It gave the cream a little tang and cut some of the sweetness of the pie.

My pie probably would not win any beauty contests, but it tasted great and was a nice treat. I sprinkled it with a little raw sugar and a couple of leftover banana slices. A super-delicious pie, thanks to Amy of Sing for Your Supper for this week's selection!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Spring wishful shopping

With spring and the warmer weather I'm pulling out my clothes and taking a long hard look at what I want to keep, get rid of and replace. Realistically, my budget is pretty small but it doesn't stop me from stalking Etsy for things I'd really love to add to my wardrobe...

Red Medallion scarf from maryink
Little Bits Tee Dress from Ellaina Boutique
Emma necklace from Elizabeth WilliamsCameo Tee from Eliza+Axel
1950's vintage dress from A Touch of Vintage
(this is waaay too small for me but I adore the shape and the color, swoon.)
Vintage Embroidered Blouse from Plant Claire Vintage

I went ahead and bought this great pin from In a Frenzy, it's really lovely. I think I might ask the birthday fairy for some hairpins too.
And not that I'm going to actually be sewing it, but I if did I would love to make this dress (minus the beads around the neck) in this fabric.

Right now I'm a little obsessed with headwraps/bands/scarves. I found some great things for cheap at an estate sale recently. The orange one is my favorite. The polka dot one is almost too small for my noggin.