Sunday, January 30, 2011


Bonjour mes amis

Boy do I have a case of the Sundays.

So on days like this I like to look back at really great experiences or times in my life.

I give you Paris!

I went to the city of lights in the summer of 2009 for one week and well J'adore Paris! I loved everything about it. The language, the sights, and the FOOD!

Honestly, if you're interested in pastry like me then there is no better place to see and taste the best pastries in the world. Eclairs, macarons, petit pain au chocolat, baguettes, crepes, croissant, brioche...I am officially salivating.

The Eiffel tower sparkling, Arc de Triomphe framing the Champs Elysees, Cathedral Notre Dame and Monet's blooming garden were breath taking.

Anyway, I will let the pictures do the talking...

Okay I am a little more "recharged" for the week...a little.

I can't wait until I can travel abroad again and learn, see, and EAT more!!

A la prochaine!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sweet and Simple

First get a good bar of dark or any other chocolate and dried apricots

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler on low heat

Until melted and shiny

Dip the apricots in the chocolate

I dip them half way but if you are so inclined, drop the whole gosh darn thing in

Place them on a plate...with tin foil unlike me

I sprinkled some sugar on top for shine and because the chocolate needed to be sweeter. Then refrigerate

And 15 minutes later....bliss

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lollipop la la la lollipop

Aren't these things cute?

Pie lollipops.

I made these with a local caterer for multiple holiday parties.

To make these roll pie crust extremely thin, I'm talkin almost see through. Cut with a 2 inch cookie cutter. Add your filling, these were apple and blueberry, close the sides and make creases with the back of the lollipop stick then push the lollipop stick into the pie. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle sugar.

Bake on parchment paper at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until browned.

But wait I'm not done. While on the good ship lollipop, I was thinking what else could you use to fill these little babies?

candy bars? Its a sweet trip to a candy shop

I'm dreaming of it now...milky way pie or almond joy pie...mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Next time, next time.

Endless possiblities

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pot Luck

It all started when I heard about the pot luck at work.

Obviously I was going to make a dessert but what to make? Something that showed that I could bake well but not something too over the top. hmmm so what to make?

a tart!

I first learned to make fruit tarts when I worked in a bakery one summer. I would put the dough in the pans, have them baked, fill them with custard and then cut the fruit and place them delicately and artistically on the cream. Then glazed each tart and let it set. They really are beautiful and impressive.

However, I believe in using ingredients that are in season and fruits like kiwi, pineapple, strawberries and blueberries are not in too good this time of year.

So I decided to use lemon. Lemon curd with a sweet cream cheese, whipped cream and topped with a few blackberries.

Unfortunately while at the bakery I never learned how to make the crust or the custard. They were always made by the bakers and sent into the workroom for us to use.

I am intimidated by crust. Totally and completely daunted by the task of making a flakey light crust that doesn't fall or melt while baking. The debate over shortening vs. butter ratio makes my head hurt. I am still looking for the recipe, the one that is fool proof, the one that gives the desired effect everytime.
Please if you know of one, tell me! I will love you forever.

Butter is your friend

The water bottle is my make shift rolling pin...improvising

Tart crust:

The recipe I used was not reliable enough to post.
What I do know...your dough should be very cold, use cold butter, cold water and only work the dough until it just comes together. Do not stretch the dough when rolling it out and placing it in the pan this will make the sides fall apart. Prick the douhg with a fork many times before baking. In order to stop the dough from rising too much while baking put tin foil in the center of the pan over the dough and add dry beans to weigh it down for the first 20 minutes of baking.

I know all these things and yet it still fails. C'est la vie

Lemon curd:

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup butter

2 beaten eggs

~Better Home and Gardens Baking Book
Put sugar corn starch and lemon zest together in a bowl then add to a saucepan over low heat. Add lemon juice and and butter and wait until it gets warm and bubbly.

Now comes the hard part, tempering. In a seperate bowl beat two eggs. Add the 1/2 of the hot lemon mixture to the eggs whisking the entire time then add back into the warm pan and whisks/stir constantly until it thickens. * The idea behind this is that if you slowly warm the eggs they will not scramble and instead make a smooth sauce.

when thick put in a bowl and refridgerate for at least an hour.

Sweet Cream cheese:

1 package of cream cheese

1/2-1 cup powdered sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)

In a bowl mix room temp cream cheese and sugar. I taste in between in order to see how sweet and sour it is. Once to your liking refridgerate.

Fresh whipped cream:

Half a pint heavy whipping cream

3 Tablespoons powder sugar

In a cooled bowl whisk or with a mixer beat the heavy cream until it has soft peaks. Then add sugar slowly and mix again. Keep doing this until its to your liking. then refridgerate.

To Assemble:

Fill your piping bag with the sweet cream cheese and fill the pie shell.

Then add lemon curd on top and smooth out.

Fill your piping bag with whipped cream and a large tip and pipe in a circular motion around the circumfernce of the tart.

Add fresh blackberries to garnish!!

Its sweet, tart, light, gooey, refreshing, and pretty to look at.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunday Cookies

Sundays definitely are bittersweet.

It's still the weekend but work is looming over your head.

To soften the blow I decided to make cookies this afternoon. I wanted to bake but I also wanted to make something easy/ with few ingredients today. I went with lacy oatmeal cookies. These are a family favorite because of their light and buttery/delicate taste thus making it "ok" to have multiple cookies in one sitting.

However, I forgot how temperamental this recipe can be. Oops. It really depends on the weather, the oven, and the equipment you have.

*You must have parchment paper in order for this recipe to work*

Whip up the short ingredient list together

bake until thin and lace like

Since I didn't have parchment and I wasn't use to the oven this is what happened....

Lacy Oatmeal Cookie Recipe:

1 cup quick oats

1/4 Cup all-purpose Flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 stick of butter (room temp)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

Mix butter and sugar together until smooth. Then add vanilla extract and eggs.

In another bowl mix flour, baking soda, oats and salt.

Add dry to the wet and your done. This cookie dough does taste devine.

Drop cookies onto a sheet pan lined with parchment. A little dough goes a long way with these cookies so think small around 1/2 to 1 teaspoon. Bake at 325 for around 8 minutes or until golden and lace like.

Let cookies cool. These cookies are very delicate and break easily so store in durable container.

Yum. These may be enough to make your sundays a little brighter or perfect after a large in charge dinner or with tea or.....okay basically with most anything.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Honesty and Bowling

I want to be honest on my blog. I don't want to just paint a pretty picture.

This is a very exciting time in my life. Getting this "job" was what I wanted for a long time. However, up rooting myself and coming down to DC has been pretty difficult for me.

I am lucky that I am starting a position with a company that I have worked for before, it did make it less stressful, but notice the word less. It is still stressful walking back into the working world. I am still getting my footing back in the office. It is exciting that I will have more responsibilities this time around but also daunting. Overwhelmed is a good word to describe all of this.

I am currently living with friends in Silver Spring Maryland, on their dining room floor to be exact. It's incredibly nice of them to just let me stay free of charge and take up their dining room space but after awhile I definitely crave having my own space or maybe just a door. And craigslist and I are not getting along.

Since all of this happened somewhat all of the sudden I feel a little unprepared and definitely stressed.

I am so lucky to have friends down here and my boyfriend whereas I could have moved and not known a single person. And I am very lucky to like where I work and the people I work with. I really am thankful for all of it but I don't want to paint a rosy picture when in reality things aren't so rosy.

I am overwhelmed but optimistic.

In more exciting news....I went bowling with my co-workers during a staff retreat which was actually really fun. However, while I may be an excellent Wii bowler in reality I am horrible. So horrible that my score was 37 for 10 whole frames.

I won't quit my day job.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

All it takes

Here in DC it doesn't snow as much as it ices.

Yup, so when I woke up my car was covered, no correction encased in ice. I literally had to chisel my way in.

And because everyone gets so scared of ice and snow (it is winter people) volunteers were no shows at work. That meant people were needed in the kitchen and 9 different routes had no drivers which would mean that a lot of people wouldn't get their meals.

What to do, what to do?

Staff had to brave the weather and deliver those meals.

At first I was thoroughly annoyed that I had to leave the warm office, drive around DC and run in and out of apartments all morning. But after seeing the clients it really made me realize the point of my job. Sometimes it is really easy to get caught up in things and forget the point. It's not always about what you feel like doing but more so what you should do.

This is not the first time I have done food delivery at work. What's pretty special is that two people in development are required to do deliveries everything thursdays. It keeps everyone closer to the mission and reminds people what we are working for.

I think that sometimes we all need that in our life. Something to bring us back down to earth and see the bigger picture.

Sometimes all it takes is a little reminder.
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