Made this recipe today. Mine didn’t turn out nearly as photogenic as this one; the sugar started to caramelize just before I took it off the heat so the whole batch is pale gold. I haven’t tried the finished product yet, but I tasted it as I poured it out and it’s pretty good, although the texture is more reminiscent of divinity than fudge. I’m still deciding whether I like it.
Made ganache frosting for the first time this weekend. Thanks go to My Cupcake Addiction for an easy microwave recipe and my husband for allowing me to use his birthday cake as an experiment.
I used to dislike baking. Too much science. You have to get the proportions right or things go really wrong. Not like ‘not my favorite dish’ wrong, like ‘that wasn’t supposed to be a pancake’ wrong. But sometime in the last couple of years I decided that if my sister could bake, so could I. We both have about the same genetic material. I should be able to do it. So my cakes have been getting progressively more elaborate.
I’ve planned my husband’s birthday cake this year doing a couple of things I haven’t done before and I’m afraid I may have overdone it. Since he does most of the shopping I decided it would be easier to tell him what I was doing instead of trying to surprise him. I’m making chocolate coffee cake with chocolate ganache and mochoa creme frosting. The best part is that he seems to like the idea of a chocolate-coffee flavored cake. But I’m a little apprehensive. I’ve never made ganache before and I’ve heard it can be tricky. I also never tried to modify the flavor of a cake before. I’m planning on using Starbucks Via and I can’t find much on using it baking. From what I’ve found, you use it more like a spice, mixing it with your dry ingredients, but there’s no info on how much of it to use. Oh boy! Improvisational baking. ‘Cause that’s worked out so well in the past. I’ll err on the low side and add more to the batter if necessary. I’ll bake the cake tonight and frost it tomorrow. And find someplace to hide it from my cat in the meantime. One time I made a cake, set it on the table and started to walk away. Before I had gone two steps she had jumped up on the table and taken a bite. Finding someplace cat-proof is a necessity.
Didn’t go anywhere for the 4th at all. The usual family thing is to go to Mom’s, swim in the neighbor’s pool, barbecue hamburgers and hot dogs a let off a box of “safe and sane” fireworks in the front yard. This year youngest sister’s kids had their own thing to do and middle sister just had back surgery. Youngest sister and I had lunch with Mom; I cooked steaks. Mom ate more steak than anyone. Success! Note to self: stick with the simple stuff. The fancy stuff looks like it might be fun to try, but too many things can go wrong.
So on the 4th, we did go anywhere. I made another rock for the front yard. It was a bit more difficult than the first one. The egg shape sheds water downward, making the lower part mushy and prone to collapse. I had to make the mixture much drier to compensate. I tried to make a pot. It was not a success and I just didn’t have the energy at that point to continue working until it was. Today my back is sore and I still have cement under my fingernails. I didn’t plan for sweat to be a major component of my cement, but it is.
The rest of the day was very quiet. Mostly me laying around trying to recover from rock building. The Wonderful Spouse made dinner, yay! Then we watched a couple of episodes of . Gibbering gonzo, that show has a major dose of weird. Not as weird as American Gods, which we are also watching, but weird. That seems to be the flavor of the month. Overmanipulated, hypersaturated colors in the video and improbable mythology.
The things we did, or didn’t, were good, but at the end of the day I found myself missing the tiny, underwhelming family holiday.
Made what Mom called 24 hour salad this weekend. I think most people would call it Ambrosia Salad, which I can’t think of without thinking of Edward Scissorhands. It consists of whipped cream and canned fruit and would never be something I would choose to make.
I also did something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I downloaded a recording app to my phone and asked Mom questions about family history and recorded the ensuing conversation. Her answer to my questions weren’t what I was expecting. Which is the point, when you think of it. We’re getting together for my nephew’s birthday on Saturday. I’m going to go a little early and see if I can get another question answered. She’s been looking so frail and feeling so poorly lately, this is not something I want to put off. I wish I’d started a long time ago. I was really happy with the way the recorder worked on my phone. It’s really easy to use. I just pushed the record button and placed the phone face down on the table between us and started talking. I was worried that it wouldn’t pick up her voice because she speaks pretty softly, but the recording was clear and easy to understand.
Forecast for my neighborhood today is 112, (44 C). Not my favorite time of year. Everything in the garden goes on hold and we barricade ourselves in the house, windows closed and blinds drawn. It’s a struggle to keep anything in pots alive. I’m going to move some into the planters, just so that they won’t get the reflected heat from the patio surface. Things in smaller containers just dry out so quickly that it’s hard to keep up.
Weather this hot is always disappointing to me. It makes it much more unpleasant to be outside and I really can’t plant anything, even stuff that I’ve had waiting for a while. The plants have enough stress with all the heat. Most wouldn’t survive the stress of transplanting right now. So rather than the high possibility of killing my plants, I’ll wait. But since today is the first day of summer and hot weather often lasts through the end of October here, I may be waiting a while. Impatiently.
Cooking with Mom this weekend was pizza rolls. Not really much of a cooking challenge, but tasty nonetheless.
Crescent rolls filled with a mixture of cheeses, rolled up, sliced and baked, eaten dipped in pizza sauce. We seem to be be doing a lot of pizza sorts of things. We’re going to try the tomato tart again next week with a slightly different recipe. I’ll try to remember to bring the balsamic glaze this time.