Hop and jiggle

These truths I hold to be self evident:

1. Birthdays always need sprinkles
2. Birthdays on holidays call for a special level of celebratory creativity
3. The final term of any degree necessitates jello shots
4. old college traditions and new culinary educations can lead to wonderful things

I present: birthday cake and Bellini jello shots, presented in (food safe!) Easter eggs. Happy birthday Katie, and happy Easter everyone! Hope everyone celebrates in a way that makes you smile.
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tuesday quickie

Quick trip…quick post.

After such a great thanksgiving break, it was extra hard to dive back deep down below the mason-dixon. I was missing my city and my people baaaaaaaad. Manfriend came to the rescue and whisked me back up to dc in mid-december. We hit Fruit Bad on H Street, a place I’ve been dying to try forever. And was it ever worth the wait. Enter: the pig latin.

oh yes. i’m still talking about it not the next day–but the next month.

saturday morning brought a reunion with a favorite pasttime: brunch with liscious! ted’s bulletin for eggs, bacon, bubbles, and house-made maple bacon poptarts.

A happy coincidence with this visit was it coincided with Slow Motion’s no-way-i’m-3-years-from-30 birthday celebration! She can sniff our a surprise from 5 miles away, so this was a covert operation and I declare it a success she only had half an inkling something was up. ūüôā

surprise!”]An absolutely amazing night of good bbq, great friends, and awesome live music was the perfect way to end the weekend.

per usual

Aw crap. So much for that quick follow-up with a Thanksgiving post. Well, lucky for you here it is in January now that we’re all in the post-holiday slump! Some remaining holiday cheer!

First night back in the district in 2.5 months–

Manfriend and I dine in the same establishment as the First Lady. For the second time in 3 years. What are the odds? The secret service agent had the courtesy to say “welcome home” as he was halfway up my thigh looking for concealed weapons. It was GREAT to be home.

The annual sh*tshaw thanksgiving was full of friendly faces and fantastic food! Our lovely hosts gave me a huge hug and said something like “hiitssonicetoseeyouCOME LOOK AT THE TURKEY.” I did nothing other than comfort the cooks– the bird came out amazingly delicious. I was tasked with dessert, per usual. I made the requisite pumpkin cheesecake, per usual. ¬†I also threw out some pastry skills and made a chocolate cream pie. Then I forgot to take pictures, per usual. Here’s a couple stolen from Smash:

The mound of whipped cream hiding behind the tupperware is the pie, the orange squares are the cheesecake. I have a future in descriptive food writing, no?

The very next day all my favorite people came out to celebrate me turning another year of twenty-fun!

And then Manfriend and I were sent off to Delaware in style by Slow Motion, Liscious, and J-Bear with gigantic beers, ridiculous cocktails, and a little QT with tiny symbol of the season.

best. face. ever.

off we went to the First State where I took zero pictures. per ususal.  hope everyone else had a lovely thanksgiving (6 weeks ago) too!

SO–my one and only new years resolution (wait what happened to christmas? hold on) is to be much more on top of this here piece of the interwebs. with that, i’ll leave you, to return again soon (SOON!) with new class updates and an xmas recap.

 

i’ll frost your cupcakes.

Another office birthday, another baking adventure.  As previously mentioned, I am about as far as you can get from a southern belle. But, one of my favorite culinary discoveries since living south of the Mason-Dixon has been this:  red velvet cake.

While I knew it’s gosh-darn delicious, I had no idea what made it so light and moist and yummy. ¬†Enter: 5th grade science! Baking soda and vinegar get mixed together, producing the bubbling and fizzing well-known to all 8-year-olds, then dumped in the whole mix. Alton Brown could explain the chemistry behind it all. I’m just going to eat another cupcake.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted by Baked Perfection from Martha Stewart
click here for printable version

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food color (next time i would double this. you shall see.)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
  • Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.

this would be my second attempt at the dry ingredients. first time i put the sugar in too. sparkly, but not the effect i was going for.

  • With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined.

now we're cooking with gas.

  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla.

far out, dude.

  • Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each.
  • Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.

really wished i had a volcano to put this in.

  • Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

i have exceptional proportional abilities.

  • Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers. To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Refrigerate up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature before serving.

mmm...not so much with the "red," huh?

AND FOR MY NEXT ACT: I will make the frosting and apparently fail to take any pictures.

Cream Cheese Frosting

recipe from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Method

  • Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, and then vanilla; mix until smooth.

Frosting can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; before using, bring to room temperature, and beat until smooth.

even the progressive infrastructure needs some sprinkles.

The birthday boy (another northerner) soundly approved–as he reached for number 2.

happy happy!

i would like to wish a very happy 22nd birthday to my favorite little sister in the whole wide world, Leenie!

Leenie is many wonderful things–

she’s artsy:

yes she made that

she’s farsty:

yes she grew those

she’s gettin’ hitched:

she said yes!

and (thus far) has avoided putting a tractor in a ditch:

yes she's a farmer

but best of all:

yes she's my seeeester!

the most wonderful time of the year

One of the great parts about not living in the same place as all your friends and family (ok not that its great, bear with me)¬† is that birthday celebrations last for EVER.¬† Gifts need to be shipped, which requires forethought which in turn requires me to cook up my gift list well in advance of the actual event (which is Monday, for those of you who haven’t started shopping yet.) beginning the anticipation that its almost my BIRTHDAY.

No, you haven’t mis-clicked and landed on the page of my diary from when I was 8.¬† That would be filled with musings of “I hope I get a new pair of ice skates…and maybe those super cool new pink Reeboks. And some scrunchis.”¬† The excitement and anticipation are much the same…but now over things that house, create, or contain food and drink.¬† Visions of cookware and utensils dance in my head.

Auntie K had alerted me that a couple gifts were on their way.¬† Auntie K was first, the magical amazing gift giver from far away, second, a large culinary influence as I grew, and third, a huge fan of DTMS (which is hugly flattering for moi).¬† SO imagine my excitement when I receive a package slip on my mailbox marked, “2 packages–ONE BIG” (get the giggle out.¬† It’s fine, I’ll wait).

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if you need another giggle, just imagine me carrying these guys down some stairs and into the elevator while wearing 4-inch heels and typing on a blackberry. Ran into 5 walls, inadvertenly banged into 3 apt. doors. c'est la vie.

Is the anticipation killing¬† you? It was killing me. Box Numero Uno–the little guy on top, was eagerly ripped open.

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BIG RED.

Now, as much as I may wish he copied my brilliance, I confess Mr. Bittman is indeed the authority and How to Cook Everything is his brilliance wrapped in crimson.¬† AND flanked by a shiny, sparkly new microplane. I don’t know how Auntie K did it, but I have literally wished for a microplane no less than 10 times this month (yes I know it’s the 11th. my point exactly.)¬† There is a lot of cheese grated in my apartment, and as we’ve discussed before, 50% more than required to compensate for grazing dinner guests. My new slim silver friend will make short work of this.

NOW on to, how do you say, de BEEG ONE. It was surprisingly light to carry (and bang into my neighbors’ doors). I pondered the contents for a nanosecond, then went right for immediate gratification.

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FOILED!

What is this? A box in a box! Auntie K, you are a tease. OK second box, you are no match for me.

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EGADS!

A THIRD BOX.  This would be a good time to mention that my kitchen floor is approximately 6 square feet.

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At this point, I have now pinned myself completely against the wall.

Now we’re down to the center of this packaging maze. Glorification is now imminent.¬† Oh, and was it worth it.

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Numerology wine glasses! To tell your future, keep track of how many glasses of pinot you’ve had, or to prevent the spread of H1N1 at your impending holiday galas. Wine charms be damned, these babies are ETCHED. A great size and weight, I can not wait to give each and every one of them a try. Auntie K (and Unkie J!) you are so wonderful. What a way to kick off the big 2-5!¬† Boundless love to you both, and the Wallster.