Archive for December, 2008

More Love

December 15, 2008

My birthday weekend was pretty awesome. I’ll write more when I get the pictures up, which will probably be a long time since I’m still working at 7am and have rehearsals for my show, that opens on WEDNESDAY!! I took off work on Friday, but I hope to go skiing. That would be so much fun.

Anyway, a quick story about my work Christmas party on Friday night. They do a raffle. There were some reeeeally nice prizes, like a weekend in Chicago or a $500 Midwest Airlines certificate. I didn’t win those, though I would have liked it. I can’t really complain though, because my name was drawn and I did win something. It’s sitting here at my desk with me.

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OMGZZZZ!!!! I own a Wii and a Kitchen Aid mixer? How will I ever manage my time? I am about to become housebound and really fat. Oh wait, I can buy a Wii Fit!

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Love

December 12, 2008

kitchen-aid

So I Say It’s My Birthday

December 11, 2008

Because it is.

I’ve been so busy that I’ve hardly found time to get excited about it. Normally I’m bouncing off the walls because all I can think is, OMG BIRTHDAY!!!!

December came on so fast, and it made me realize that now November is over and I missed the birthdays of one of my BFFs and my cousin’s baby. Sigh, I suck.

I think I keep forgetting it’s my birthday. So I’m going to keep reminding myself. Because of all the days in the year, I should feel special and happy today. But dragging myself out of bed and into work at 7am is not ideal. Fortunately I get to leave at 11 and go to lunch at an as-of-yet undisclosed location with my dad. It’ll be somewhere downtown, so it’s got to be good. Then he’s taking me shopping at that East Towne Women’s Resale shop in the Third Ward. I love that place. They have such awesome stuff. Usually their best stuff is pretty small, but if I can’t find some beautiful clothes, I know I can find some kind of cool, vintage-y accessory. And if not, my dad says I just get the cash. 😉

I made cupcakes last night to take to rehearsal tonight. Vanilla brown butter. YUM. I was in a rush, and my eggs may have curdled a bit. I tried one, and it still tastes good, but I was pissed. I just wanted to bake one yummy thing, and I didn’t even have time. I’m going to whip up a chocolate buttercream at my mom’s house this afternoon. Hopefully after today I won’t have to rely on her mixer anymore!

I did get a pair of silicone presents from David this morning. Haha, I just wanted to say it like that. I got a Sil-Pin silicone rolling pin and a Sil-Pat baking mat! The rolling pin is pink! I’m super grateful for the Sil-Pat, because there are a couple recipes that I’m looking at that specifically call for it’s use. And while I could probably get away with some combination of parchment paper and tin foil, this will be so much easier. Do you have any idea how much parchment paper I’ve gone through in the past couple months? It’s a little obscene.

So, I’m 24. It’s going to take me awhile to get used to saying that, because it was just a couple months ago that I couldn’t remember if I was 22 or 23. I know 24 is still pretty young, but I am of course plagued with how far along I “should be” in life. I mean, I could be about 1/3 done with my life right now! Okay, that’s just scary and might make me puke or cry.

I’ve been PMS-y all week which has put me into an awful emotional state. I’ve cried a lot, over nothing at all. And yet I feel like I need to cry some more! I can’t wait to have those birth control hormones coursing through me once again. </end random rant>

So as much as today sucks for having to work, even 4 hours, I am full of anticipation for tonight and this weekend. My mom is making me dinner and cake (CAKE!!!!!!!!!!!) and tomorrow I get to dress up for my work Christmas party, and then meet friends for martinis. And on Saturday David and I will FINALLY get our Christmas tree and do some decorating. And I get to have dinner at Cubanitas and drink all the mojitos I want.

I’m glad I wrote this. Now I’m feeling all happy happy joy joy. YAY BIRTHDAYS!

PS. A happy birthday shout-out to my favorite people to share a birthday with me, Jeff and Greg. Is it a little strange that David, and his sister Sandy, are both with people who were born on December 11th? As if this time of year wasn’t crazy enough. Also, I’m sorry to all who have to come up with birthday and Christmas gifts in such rapid succession.

Calling My Name

December 8, 2008

After baking all afternoon on Saturday, I was a little burned out on Sunday. I had planned on MORE baking, but just couldn’t bring myself to do dishes and gather ingredients and head over to my mom’s house to use her mixer. So I didn’t.

But today is a new day and even though I’m at work, I hear these calling my name from my kitchen.


(PS. Isn’t my oven and kitchen floor HOTT?)

Those would be 50 pound bags of flour and sugar. Sandy bought them from Costco for us to split. I have already made quite the dent in the flour.

That’s a lot of flour. And I love it. If only I had enough butter to last the rest of the month. Next time butter is on sale at Pick N Save, I honestly might buy about 20 pounds of it. I’ve gone through 5 or 6 pounds in two months!

I am enjoying baking SO MUCH. If I’m lucky, I will have my very own stand mixer this week. And come January I will actually have free time! Which means more goodies. Especially in the form of cupcakes, my second true love.

756 servings? Is that all?

Sweet Cheese Puffs

December 7, 2008

When I first saw the name of the recipe, I kind of turned up my nose. Sweet cheese? I thought of the cheddar spread that comes in a tub. Plus sugar. But then I read it, and of course, it’s cream cheese, which is very delicious in sweet applications. And the description sounded dreamy- “like cheesecake wrapped in rich flaky pastry.” Ok, I’m sold! You should be too. It’s not the fastest recipe, but it’s not hard at all.

I thought I might have overworked the pastry, which is made with butter and sour cream, but it was beautifully flaky and tender. Oh, and delicious! If I can make these, so can you.

I made these again this weekend for a Christmas party. I set them on the table and they were attacked. I took off my coat and got a drink, and then I got a marriage proposal. They’re that good. Sorry Sandy, I didn’t mean to steal your wife.

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You start by cutting chilled butter into flour and salt. Sour cream is added and you eventually work the mixture into a dough, and divide it into three equal pieces. Plan this step ahead, because it will need to chill. I find it easiest to make this dough one day ahead of time and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

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Then comes the filling. I was super excited to use my new zester for the first time. It worked so nicely I could have zested lemons all day. Some lemon zest and vanilla go into a food processor with cream cheese, sugar, and an egg.
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The result smells (and tastes) so good that part of you might want to eat it straight out of the bowl. But trust me! It gets even better.
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The pastry squares are rolled out very thinly and then trimmed into mini squares.
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You’re almost there! The filling is scooped in and folded into a “beggars purse” type of shape.
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Opposite corners are brought together and just lightly pinched to stay shut. These will partially blossom open in the oven, and it will be fantastic to look at and eat.
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After another short chill, they go into the oven and your kitchen will start to smell incredible. After 20-30 minutes, and they take on a lovely golden color, you can remove them and try to wait until they cool to pop one in your mouth. Good luck.

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Pastry Ingredients:
2 cups (280 grams) unsifted all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup (5 ounces) sour cream (I used full fat)

1. Put the flour and salt into a large bowl, stir to combine. Scatter the butter slices over the flour and cut in with a pastry blender until the mixture consists of particles that vary in size from small peas to bread crumbs.

2. Stir in the sour cream with a fork. The pastry will seem very dry because sour cream is thick and doesn’t disperse easily. Keep stirring until combined, then use your hands to manipulate the dough into a ball.

3. Divide the pastry dough into three equal pieces. Shape each into a 5-inch square, about 5/8 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until cold and firm, at least 4 hours.

Cream Cheese Filling
Ingredients:
8 ounces cream cheese
1 large egg
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

This filling is pretty easy. Process all the filling ingredients in a food processor until smooth. You may have to scrape down the sides once or twice.

Assembly:
1. Remove one pastry square from refrigerator. Set aside for 10 minutes before rolling it. On a floured surface, roll the pastry into a rectangle less than 1/8 inch thick. With a ruler and pastry wheel (I used a tape measure and pizza cutter) trim the ragged edges; then measure and cut the pastry into 3 inch squares.

2. Lay the pastry squares across the top of ungreased 12-cup miniature muffin pans, centering each square over one cup. Spoon 1 heaping teaspoon of filling on each square; then bring opposite corners to the center, and press lightly to seal. This process will also ease the pastry into each cup. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Roll and shape the remaining pastry squares in the same fashion.

3. Adjust rack to lower third of oven; preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

4. Bake two to three pans at a time for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until pastries are light brown. Remove pan from oven to a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Remove pastries from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

DECORATION: Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving at room temperature.

If not serving the same day baked, stack undecorated pastries in an airtight sturdy plastic container and freeze up to 2 weeks. To serve, reheat to freshen in a 325 degree F oven for about 7 to 12 minutes, or until warm. Cool slightly, then sprinkle with the powdered sugar.

From Sweet Miniatures by Flo Braker

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Oh Dear Blog

December 5, 2008

I haven’t forgotten about you. But apparently it has been so long that wordpress has changed its format yet again. It is not for lack of material to share, but lack of time.

I have some incredible recipes to share. Even some that can’t be found on the internets! I could talk about Thanksgiving or the fantastic weekend that followed. I could talk about the play that I’m in or about how tough work is.

If only there was time.

This month my weekdays will go like this:
5:45: Wake up
6:30: Leave the house
7:00: Start work
4:00: Leave work
5:00: Make dinner
6:00: Leave for rehearsal
9:30: Get home and collapse into bed and try to fall asleep immediately

Weekends will be full of shows or parties, which are fun, but I could barely find time to celebrate my own birthday. Woe is me.

I did get paid today and my paycheck included a bit of overtime, so that was nice.

I’m glad that gas has lowered in price because coffee just became an almost daily necessity.

Hopefully I can find some time to upload pictures and share my yummy holiday recipes so far. Because they were delicious.

In the meantime… 6 DAYS UNTIL MY BIRTHDAY!!