February 26, 2013

Light Scalloped Red Potatoes

The writing of this post didn't make it past potential headline choices.

The Art of Slicing
It's Kinda Therapeutic, You Know

How to Make Fancy, Rich Potatoes Semi-Light
A Little Swiss Cheese, Boiled Skim Milk, Oh and Garlic!

The Ugly Duckling
How Do You Photograph Cooked Potatoes and Make Them Pretty? Fail for Me

That Time I Became My Parents
Saturday Night Steak and Potatoes: Apparently I Inherited This Routine
You Don't Have to Have a Man to Make a Steak Dinner
How Two Single Gals Finished Every Bite of their Beef

The Night I Grilled a New York Strip Medium Rare
Alllll By Myself, I Might Add

February 19, 2013

Banana Muffin Tops with Oatmeal Streusel

At some point I vowed not to buy more random baking pans that might or might not get used, ever. My collection already includes the popsicle-shaped cake pan I asked for for my birthday in high school (what a cool teenager I was!) and snowflake molds my thoughtful friends gave me for Christmas a couple years ago.

But then one day on the baking aisle a.k.a. my fantasy land at Hobby Lobby, a Whoopie Pie pan screamed: "Buy me! Make pretty treats with me, and fill them with Buttercream Icing!"

Fast forward several months: I still have not made Whoopie Pies with aforementioned impulse buy. But I did have a revelation mid-what-to-do-with-speckled-bananas-this-time brainstorming: muffin tops!
So semi-healthy breakfast treats with lots of surface area for slightly sugary but mostly oat-y treat topping were born. And that would not have been possible without that whoopie pie-turned versatile tool in my ever-growing kit(chen).

Random thought: Why do I so tend start like every sentence with a conjunction? Must be the elementary grammar rebellion I have repressed for nearly 20 years kicking in.

February 11, 2013

Learning not to fear the art of Cake Ball

Out on the interwebs are millions gorgeously perfect balls of cake and icing, coated ever-so smoothly in chocolate and topped with some smashingly beautiful decor. Like much in the online world, they are eye candy but not real life, at least for my skill set.

But who cares what they look like if you know they'll taste heavenly? Not me.
If you decide to take on the project, I do highly recommend inviting a friend over and timing it so you are mid-cake ball process when said friend arrives, especially if you decide to go the 100 percent purist from-scratch cake and icing route like yours truly the baking snob. That way you have extra hands to roll balls and then dip and decorate them. Plus, that means two heads to try to figure out how in the world you make chocolate dipping look semi-decent.
Also, apparently it takes a lot of red dye to make red velvet cake really red. If you look really hard, you'll see a tinge of red in the cake, but it was essentially chocolate cake (which is better anyway). Red sprinkles are a lot harder to not mess up, so they kept a little Valentine-y theme.

My sources this go-round: 
Awesome from-scratch Red Velvet Cake, Smitten Kitchen
Step-by-step Red Velvet Cake Ball instruction, Iowa Girl Eats