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Daily Archives: October 3, 2010


Let us eat cake!…and beer…and french fries…

Ugh.  I feel rather yucky.  It has been a day of over-indulging.  Let me start at the beginning…

Last post I mentioned that I’m practicing my wedding cake making skills.  I mainly used today to test out a recipe for a standard vanilla cake.  I wanted to make sure that it was both delicious and that it would be a strong enough cake to create a structure out of.

If you’re interested, the recipe I used is this one.  I just doubled it to make enough for two pans.

I started by buttering and flouring 2 9-inch cake pans…

and creating my dry mix…

I creamed together my butter and sugar…

This is what it looks like about half way to cream stage, still a little grainy…

Once you get a fluffy and light cream, add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, then the dry mix in several stages.  At this point you essentially have sugar cookie dough.  I slowly poured in the milk while the mixer was on its’ lowest setting and let it get to a uniformly wet consistency.

It was still pretty thick and needed to be spread evenly into my cake pans…

It came out of the oven looking like a giant golden cookie…

I turned those two out onto a cooling rack while Jeff and I went out for the afternoon. I had completely intended to bake all the cakes necessary for the entire bottom tier today but I ran out of sugar and just couldn’t ignore the gorgeous weather outside that had been calling me all day through opened blinds.

We decided to walk into town.  I think we both knew we were gonna stop somewhere for beer, we were just trying to pretend like neither of us were thinking that.  We ended up at Leon’s, an excellent beer bar with a great food menu.

I went all autumn and got a pumpkin beer, Southern Tier Pumking.

You know, I wanna say that I didn’t like this because it was candy-sweet and overly spiced, but I drank it all and contemplated having another one, so I guess I didn’t hate it.

Jeff had one of his old standbys, the Chimay Blue.

It’s a Belgian strong dark variety, like a lot of the beers we enjoy.  Strong darks tend to be thick and sticky, sweet with almost a granular sugar quality, and have dark fruit flavors like candied fig or dates and multigrain bread.  Perfect for a burgeoning fall!

We were dumb and got the bucket of frites, which is enough for like 4 people.

It comes with two dipping sauces of choice–we chose bacon herb mayo and garlic aioli, and we got a complimentary smoked tomato mayo as well.  Did we really need three mayonnaise varieties for our bucket of fried potatoes? No, and I felt totally gross before we even got to the fries that are actually inside the bucket, and not just piled on top.

Let me just say, as far as french fries go, the fries at Leon’s are pretty light and non-greasy. After that many fries of any kind though, anyone would feel gross.

Afterward we wanted to chill for a while before walking home so we both tried a pint of a local Decatur brew, Wild Heaven.

I am very excited about this beer.  Decatur is such a beer-lovers’ paradise, it is only right that we should have a local brew, and having one as good as Wild Heaven is even better.  I gotta say, the aroma is rather…uh…armpit-ish to me.  It’s a little oppressive.  But the flavor is layered like an everlasting gobstopper.  Starts out sweet, blooms into full blown hops, then mellows into bready flavors with a balmy feel leftover in your mouth. Very interesting indeed!

So yeah, didn’t get much done today.  Didn’t work on my cake practice enough.  Fall was calling though and I’m so glad that Jeff and I got out to enjoy it in all its’ glory!


Quick oats for a busy Sunday

I was just not in the mood to make real oatmeal this morning, so I tried to jazz up the instant variety with some of my favorite things: almond milk, toasted buckwheat, and apple butter.

Oh, apple butter! How I have longed for thee!  Pumpkin my be all the rage when the weather turns cooler, but when leaves start turning orange around here all I want is apple butter, apple sauce, apple crisp, apple cider……apple anything!

See there?  That is a respectable bowl of oatmeal, and it came out of a microwave.  The toasted buckwheat gave it a nice crunch.  Jeff made me some chinese black tea to go with it, so I’m all nice and warm now.

Speaking of Jeff, he is just returning home from a trip to the grocery store to pick up some milk.  Milk???  But I don’t drink milk!!  Maybe it has something to do with all this…

The time has come for me to test my baking skills against a most difficult challenge! Today is the day I test my abilities at crafting a wedding cake, something I have never attempted.  I am making the wedding cake for my brother-in-law’s wedding next spring, and I wanted to test it early so that if I can’t do it the bride and groom will have plenty of time to book a professional.

I wouldn’t normally make anything with shortening, but I’ve come to learn that in order to make a proper crusting buttercream that won’t melt in the heat, substituting some of the butter for shortening is really helpful.  I can’t have the fondant sliding off the cake on the wedding day, what a disaster that would be!

Well, I’m off to spend the rest of the day baking.  I promise to take lots of pictures!


Thai and sushi at MaLi

Last night we went to one of my all-time favorite restaurants: Ma Li.  They serve some of the most delicious thai food around and offer some great sushi as well.

Also, I’d never noticed it before but they do have quite a few vegetarian selections.  I went with the Vegetable Massaman curry, more on that in a minute.

We got an appetizer of two inari and a Midtown Sunset roll, which included salmon, tuna, avocado, tobiko (flying fish roe), and daikon sprouts.  Delicious!

We had barely dug into our appetizer when the entrees arrived.  Here’s Jeff after just popping a piece of sushi in his mouth, when his yummy-smelling Red Curry was plopped in front of him.  He ordered his curry with pork but it came out with tofu.  It ended up being so good that he didn’t send it back!

And here’s my awesome bowl of Vegetable Massaman.  My favorite part was the broccoli, it gets soaked with all the sauce and makes for one very exciting bite!

We went from there to a bar called the Righteous Room, which is not only where Jeff and I met, but also where we got engaged one year later!  We did end up having about one too many drinks each, we were just having so much fun that we weren’t paying attention.

Glad I’m not hung-over this morning, I have a very busy day planned. Details to come!