Friday, October 29, 2010

Bite me... it's been an odd few months

Woot! Woot! Who missed me?
Yeah, all you b*tches missed me! Funny thing about insomnia brought on by wedding stress - once the wedding's over, I can sleep again!

But, have no fear - the baking has continued and, if I do say so myself - I've begun to KICK A** at it! I've taken down cinnamon drizzle biscuits, chocolate chip/peanut/caramel cookies, pumpkin noodle kugel (roasting whole pumpkins is my new favorite hobby), and apple crisp... to name a few.

Although I'm now a Mrs., and have changed the name, share the bills, and do more "wife-y" things - one thing has not changed. The ever so thrilling dream of running my own bakery. Strong Cupcake could be friggin' awesome! And the more I think on it, the more ideas I've got.

The newest trend for entrepreneurs in the food service industry is the Restaurant Truck. Grab an RV, school bus, mini-bus, or gutted van, make some sweet renovations, and get moving! A restaurant truck does not have the overhead costs of a brick-and-mortar business and, thanks to blogs, Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, etc. - it's really easy to let your customers know when and where you're going to be. People could STALK Strong Cupcake! I've always wanted stalkers!! (Well, I did have one once. Yahoo dating failed me BIG TIME. Luckily, my husband's odd quirks are limited to snow globes, fear of needles, and an odd obsession with Taylor Lautner.)
Anyways, Strong Cupcake starting out as a Restaurant Truck could be pretty cool. And here's where my "Jewish" hat comes in...
On Shabbat (sundown Friday to sundown Saturday) - practicing members of the tribe cannot conduct business or drive. WELL, if Strong Cupcake received kosher certification and allowed customers to pay in advance - I could just drive the Bus O'Confectionary Awesomeness right to the synagogue and folks could enjoy a delicious treat every Saturday after services!!!! (Hey, this idea came to me in a dream and I like it! All you Doubting Thomas's can kiss my patootie - I gotta look out for my Chosen Folks).

Another spark of brilliance regarding Strong Cupcake includes serious collaboration with Sadie Poppins. I've referenced the Great Prophet Sadiekins before... well, she's got her own lil' business she's working on and it involves party planning, baby clothing, and making the world a little prettier than she found it. Seriously, this girl does not f*ck around when it comes to making her projects A Numero Uno. We are all lesser people when she is near.
Imagine if Strong Cupcake actually had a physical location - well, Sadie Poppins items would be on sale there AND you could rent her fabulousness out to plan your party at the shop! She doesn't know it yet, but I'm planning an all night drink-fest where we sit in our jammies and sip wine into the wee hours while writing up our ideas and plans for the future.
WOMAN - if you're reading this... pick a weekend night that works for you and get out your fuzzy slippers!

Finally, I'm a woman who likes to be entertained. Let's close our eyes again and pretend Strong Cupcake has a physical shop. Well - I'd demand a little stage be present for local talent to strut their stuff while their audience eats itself into a diabetic coma. There are some INCREDIBLY talented folks in this community (Kyla Morse, Naked Shakespeare, Raqs Borealis, The Escapists, Naya's Trance, Lindsey Feeney, Magnolia Devi, Brian Tingdahl and whatever band he's with, Samuel James.... yeah, I'm naming my faves... my blog, my call.... again, kiss my patootie if you don't like it.). With the loss of Acoustic Coffee and North Star Music Cafe, there is a HUGE HOLE in small venue performance space world.

Okay, I was away for awhile... but I'm back now. More thoughts on the future, recipe WINS and FAILS, and random shenaniganz still to come!

Monday, June 7, 2010

I wonder if Midol can be mixed into cake batter?

If the answer to that is yes - SOMEONE, PLEASE SEND ME THE RECIPE!!!
I get it; I'm a strong, sassy, independent woman. I burn my bra! I leave my pits and legs unshaven! I find Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, and the chick from "Twilight" to be the undoing of DECADES of feminism. Yup, got it.
Bottom line - I hate my monthly "friend" and all that accompanies her. I hate the bloating, the cramps, the crying over country music. (No seriously, Darius Rucker's "It Won't Be Like This For Long" gets me every time! Damn you, Hootie! And all your little Blowfish, too!). Find me a woman who claims to love her period and I will punch her in the ever cramping ovaries... because she is a LIAR!

Okay, got that out of the system. I'd say I feel better, but that's a lie. Why am I up in the wee hours on this lovely Sunday evening/Monday morning? My cramps from surfin' the crimson wave acted as a gateway drug for Midol ULTIMATE STRENGTH.... which is caffeinated. So, on top of reading 100 pages from "The Thornbirds" (HILARIOUS), bleaching my kitchen, washing dishes, and making the strawberry topping for the cheesecake I made earlier (more on that at a later date... let's just say, it was EPIC) - I've been doing some bake-style research. Well, not so much research as reading an article in the latest issue of Cooking Light Magazine entitled "10 Things to Know about Making the Perfect Cake". And so, I've decided to report on what these 10 tips are and my ever-so-perceptive thoughts on these tips:

1. The best results start in the mixing bowl. A cake is essentially a chemistry experiment - a series of ingredients mixed in a specific order to case reactions that produce specific effects. Okay, gotcha - call me Bill Nye the Science Guy. From this point forward, I shall pretend I'm in Chemistry Class whenever I bake. For the record, I nearly flunked Chemistry... it got pretty bad... my dad may or may no have called in a few favors from the Jewish mob to get me through that one.

2. Know your oven. To prevent an under- or overdone cake, get an oven thermometer - it's the best way to be sure your oven is calibrated correctly. For those of my friends or coworkers I have seen in the last week, you may recall a certain "incident" involving me, my oven, some over-flowed chicken grease, and a wee-itty-bitty flame situation. My oven and I have since come to an understanding and I was a good person yesterday and cleaned the oven out. Lesson learned.

3. Choose the proper pan size (and color). Pan size is specified in recipes because a cake increases in volume 50 to 100 percent during baking. Color is important - glass or nonstick pans usually require a 25 degree reduction in baking temperature versus silver-colored aluminum pans. I have nothing smarmy to add - this is interesting sh*t to know. But, for the love, my cat is sleeping on the chair next to me right now and she just farted. Gross.

4. Use the right flour for the recipe. Different flours contain varying percentages of protein - the more protein, the more gluten. Cake flower is lightest; bread flour is more dense. Okay, that one makes sense. What if one gets all saucy and decides to toss in some whole wheat flour (as I have been wont to do? Is wont still used in sentences? Or do I just sound like a pretentious ass? Did I spell pretentious correctly? F*ck I'm tired and this Midol is making my hands jitter.)?

5. Weigh, don't measure, flour. Depending on how tightly flour is packed into a measuring cup, you can end up with double the amount intended. Alrighty, it ain't on the wedding registry - but anyone out there interested in purchasing me some sort of flour scale thingamajig... that would work for me. Normally, I'm morally opposed to scales - but since I'm nearly certain this scale will in no way be used to take note of the size of my a**, I'm willing to give it a go.

6. Chemistry is key:
-Flour: Thickens batter
-Leaveners: Causes cake to rise (baking soda and baking powder)
-Fats: Provides moisture and texture (butter, shortening, oil)
-Sugar: Breaks up gluten, absorbs liquid, enriches flavor
-Eggs: Helps cake batter set in the oven
-SUPER Delicious
-EXTRA SUPER Delicious
-Delicious with a side of bacon

7. Give your cake a cool down. Cool cakes in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes before removing from the pan. Like a lover, not all cakes want to snuggle immediately after baking. It needs some time alone to think, wipe off the sweat, and smoke a cigarette. Or, on some rare instances, freak out if the "cake pan" broke.

8. Frost like a professional. Basically, there are hundreds of techniques for putting the frosting on properly. The way I see it - you've got cake, you've got frosting. You could slop the frosting on with a pitchfork and it'll still taste fantabulous! If you want it to look all pretty... well, learn more patience than me.

9. Fondant may make for a beautiful cake, but it doesn't taste very good. Amen, brotha!

10. Factor in for higher altitude. Since there is less air pressure at higher altitudes, cakes rise more and can dry out because liquids evaporate more quickly. If you want to simply follow a recipe, don't live on a f*ckin' mountain.

Well, there you have it - tips to making a better cake. Once Strong Cupcake is up and running, there will be regular baking classes (in which I will be attending) to explain the good ol' fashioned chemistry behind why recipes ask for what they ask for. As much as I like to think some of it is out there just to annoy me, I'm sure there's more to it than that!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

At least my cat's keeping me company...

Here we are again... the wee hours of the morning. Me, my computer, and my thoughts. Seriously - I'd like some Doogie Howser, MD sh*t playing in the background - it will help me feel profound! Go on, sing it with me...

Yeah, you're totally humming right now. I am the all mighty and powerful Social Work Jew! I can control your mind!!!!

Alrighty, I need to figure out some better sleep strategies.

I spent the better part of this evening baking Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. I'm not so sure I like them - I added cinnamon and nutmeg where they really weren't needed. Ech, live and learn.

What a nifty segway! I think tonight/this morning is a perfect time to discuss well intentioned recipes gone awry! Starting with my first attempt at Lemon Parfait with Fresh Berries! Before I get all sorts of awesome and start to display photos, I'd just like to say I don't think I really screwed up the recipe - more just added too much of a good thing. Proving once again, it's not the size, but the intent that matters most! (hehehehehe.... that's what she said!)

Yeah, you giggled at that - I've totally made you my b*tch!

Let's get back to that Parfait!

Although you may think being a social worker is all about money, fame, and glory - I'm actually pretty broke most of the time. So, for holiday gifts this year, I made everyone a little coupon redeemable for one dessert of his/her choice. My first friend to make use of this handy instrument was Cristobel! (That's not his actual name, but it's nearly 2am and I'm punchy - so you're just going to have to deal!) Cristobel turned to me and asked for something light and fruity. And wouldn't you know, my older brother just gave me Crate & Barrels cookbook for newlyweds with a lovely light and fruity recipe all up in its grill!

In order to best tell the rest of the story - allow me to insert some photos to best capture what this was all about....

This, ladies and gentleman, is basically what lemon parfait is all about! Lemon juice, sugar, and eggs. Where did I go wrong? I doubled the recipe all in one batch! What should I have done? Made two separate batches! What can I say - I like my servings large and powerful! (hehehehe... that's what she said.... see? Did it again! Total mind control! You're trying not to laugh, but failing miserably. That's okay, I won't judge you!) By going WAY overboard on how much I was attempting to whisk around in my bowl, the parfait never really fluffed up the way it's meant to - only the top layer worked out correctly.

Okay, see how it's kinda curdled and moveable via Spatula of Awesomeness? Well, after being refrigerated overnight - the whole bowl should have looked like that. I could only get the top layer to curdle. Once I'd removed that layer to top off some berries, the next layer curdled pretty quickly. Unfortunately - I wanted a whole frakkin' bowl of lemony parfait delicousness and I had to work it in stages (okay... that COULD warrant a "that's what she said"... I'll let you judge that one for yourself).

And here we have the finished product - Lemon Parfait with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and a peppermint patty on top. The recipe actually called for a mint leaf - but I thought that would come off as pretentious... and I couldn't find any. So, bite me. Cristobel got a fresh and fruity dessert and I got 10 gallons of lemon, egg, sugary liquid. I may or may not have let it sit in my fridge for a few weeks to see what sort of science experiment I could create. Interestingly - nothing grew. Just that top curdled layer. Sort of a let down.

Okay, now I'm starting to get tired - time to try sleeping again. This means forcing the fiance back onto his side of the bed and potentially threatening him if the snore factor doesn't come down about 20 notches. We shall see!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bad, Bad Social Worker!

Yes, it's 2 o'clock in the afternoon, I'm on the clock at work, and I'm totally writing a little bloggerifficness because my level of concentration has completely hopped out the window and I'm hoping if I get some outside thoughts written down - I can get back to the ever so important task of saving the world. Who else loves run on sentences?

Something I've mentioned already - my wedding dress is currently a no-show. This wouldn't really be a problem, but my dress fitting is on Friday and it took several months to get an appointment with a lovely seamstress. So, short of deciding it'll be a toga-themed wedding... I'm beginning to show signs of stress.

My newest symptom - insomnia. Lots of it. I wake up at 2am and don't find dreamland again until 5am. That just ain't cool. I would drug up, but do folks really want to see what a doped up social worker looks like on a work day? I like to consider myself a patient woman, but while recently swirling around in a Benedryl-induced haze, a client was telling me about the various city utility trucks that are (in her mind) stalking her. And I'm not talking about one or two trucks - I'm talking HUNDREDS. I'm talking more trucks than actually are run by the city of Portland, possibly the entire state. They are all chasing my client around. LUCKILY, I stopped myself before spouting off my thoughts... none of which would have been good for my future as a clinician. ALTHOUGH, I did take a moment to myself to consider renting a big utility looking truck and driving around her neighborhood - just to see how evil I could really be. C'mon, that sh*t would be HILARIOUS!

Like I was saying, I'm faced with insomnia and I've discovered a way to be useful during the wee morning hours - BAKING! I surprised my future hubby with a huge ready-for-work lunch the other morning, and I've even begun to pre-set tools and ingredients before bed... knowing I'll be popping up during the night and need an activity to keep me sane. Next up, Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips.

Which brings me back to the original point of creating this blog- what could Strong Cupcake Bakery look like? Is it feasible to have a working bakery up and moving 24/7? Seriously - the city of Portland closes its eyes by 1am and everything shuts down. How sweet (pun intended) would it be to have a bakery open all night? Students craving a sugar fix during finals? Drunken Old Port Tavern idiots needing a cookie to get over their frat boy fight? Future brides FREAKING OUT because the dress they'd purchased over a year ago that was supposed to arrive nearly one month ago, but now it's nowhere to be seen and the invitations should have already gone out, but now they are trapped in printer hell and the bar service that should be easy is actually a pain in the ass because the state liquor inspector may be Satan's evil twin and what if my ass has officially expanded to the point where it needs its own zipcode and the Spanx I purchased will cause me to stop breathing during the ceremony, most of which may be in a language I don't understand anyway and I think may translate to my fiance purchasing me from my father for the grand total of 12 goats begging for something drenched in chocolate?

Yeah... a 24 hour bakery could offer some solace in the above mentioned hypothetical situations. Just a thought.
Okay, back to saving the world!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Things that go bump... in the early, early morning

Well, HELLOOOOOOOO! (Please imagine that "hello" was provided with the proper Mrs. Doubtfire inflection, and not just that I'm wickedsuper enthusiastic to greet you... even though I am).
It is officially 2:43 in the wee morning hours and I can't sleep. Normally, I would blame my lack of REM bliss on my future hubby's ogre like snoring, but it's actually not his fault this time. I'm wide awake for a number of reasons:

1. I'm sick, sick, sick and my nose has become a scaled down version of Niagra Falls. It's gross, and I'm starting to become concerned I may drown my cat in my snot-snottery goodness if she continues to insist on sleeping right near my head. Oh, and I sound like a 90 year old chain smoker when I speak - which has my co-workers thinking I'm Typhoid Mary and I should be quarantined like one of those Rage Monkeys from "28 Days Later".

2. Today is May 18th - officially making the arrival of my wedding dress 18 days late. I'm doing my best to be all zen about this fact, but in truth, I'm starting to get concerned. It doesn't help that the woman making my dress thought my wedding was mid-September... and it's actually on August 1.

3. Let's pretend I actually get my wedding dress before the wedding - my fitting is next Friday. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I can pretty much GUARANTEE I'm not the same size I was last summer when I made my dress purchase. I'm breaking out in hives imagining my spare tire of a midsection busting some seams. (**Put on checklist - purchase Spanx**).

4. I'm in charge of dinner for my peeps on Thursday night - aka Burrito Night. Burrito Night has a long and majestic history and you're about to get the short version:
Once upon a time, folks that all worked together at Waldenbooks all had Thursday nights off and decided to make one dude cook burritos every week. Now fast forward 6ish years, give or take, and this ragtag group of misfits continues to gather each week and eat food... not always burritos, but the name Burrito Night stuck, so why ruin a good thing? (If you'd like to read the biblical version of Burrito Night, holla at me and I'll try to get you a copy).
Okay, now back to focusing on me. I very much enjoy making delicious food items for this posse, but for some reason, I'm stressing out over the menu. Right now, I'm thinking of creating The Second Coming of Thanksgiving... cause who doesn't love turkey and its various accessories? Okay, that's what's going to happen. Turkey, cranberry sauce, green beans or salad, and MAYBE stuffing (if I'm feeling sassy - and I do feel sassy on occasion). And the crew has made a dessert request of chocolate and peanut butter...hmmm. I'll have to think further on that one.

5. Law and Order may be canceled before it has a chance to complete 21 seasons! I'm sorry, but if that's not a reason to lose sleep... I don't know what is! That show and its various spin-offs have been a security blanket for me for YEARS. Seriously, no matter what time of day - it is nearly guaranteed Law and Order is on and Sam Waterston is KICKING LEGAL ASS! (and Jerry Orbach, your witty one-liners were a thing of beauty.. RIP)

So, there you have it. Not very bakery related, but I needed to purge some concerns before trying to fall back asleep. I've decided to give the dirty bastard hippies of the Portland Farmer's Market another try and will be headed there on Wednesday. Maybe they've matured over the winter and will actually peak their eyes out from behind their grime filled dreadlocks if I fall on my tuchus again. A girl can dream!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Not Dead...

Hello! I'm a wicked failure with a capital F for neglecting this blog. I promise with a capital P to do better.
While I scan my brain for some titillating insights regarding what WILL be the greatest bakery on the freakin' planet, allow me to leave you drooling with a list of some of the recipes I've completed recently:

Flourless Espresso Chocolate Cake
S'mores Cupcakes
Lemon Custard with Fresh Berries

And every Passover recipe you could possibly imagine.... nearly 9 hours of cooking; all devoured in 30 minutes.

Okay, there's my story for now - off to work!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Good Day

In general, I spend my day to day working with families in ABSOLUTE SUCK situations. But sometimes, a bright spot opens up!
I'm working with a young family who is adopting - they are one of the sweetest families I have ever met and every time they bring their baby to my office, I just about melt. (I then proceed to make note to harass Jay about turning me into a baby-maker. He does not appreciate my interuterine desires, but I'm working on it.)

Anyhoo, I realize in writing my "Big Space" idea about Strong Cupcake... I left out a play space! There's a bread store near my office, Big Sky ( that reserves a corner of it's dining area for little bakers. There's a play oven, cookie cutters, and big ol' buckets of unused bread dough to play with.
Yeah, Strong Cupcake is totally stealing that idea. Cause that's how I roll.

This way, should the sweetest family in the world stop on by for some coffee and a cookie, their wee tot can get in on the action and have some fun.

In the meantime, if anyone out in cyberland feels like procrastinating and designing my bakery, I'd love if someone with an actual sense of space could draw pretty pictures for me!

Okay, must get back to work.... this week has felt way longer than necessary and I'm getting myself all pumped up to make some good ol' fashioned Jew-y noodle kugel for a pot luck on Sunday. Yeah, Jew Food!!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Thoughts on the Future

Hiya! Okay, I suck and have been WAY, WAY, WAY behind on writing for this blog. I've been baking, cooking, and brainstorming - I just get distracted by West Wing reruns before I can put my fingers to the keyboard.
Seriously, Josh Lyman.... who wouldn't get distracted by his awesomeness?

I've been talking about my future as a bakery owner to a bunch of folks since 2010 came upon us. For the most part, it's only a half-assed thought about "What Could Be"... but in the last 24 hours, I find myself seriously considering... What If?

Two events have sparked this sudden belief that all things Strong Cupcake are possible:
1. A newspaper article
2. The Prophet Sadiekins

Let's start with the newspaper article:
My fan-freakin-tastic fiance sent me this article this morning about a former investment/real estate/money dude who turned to "manly cupcakes" when his corporate career was flushed down the tubes. I love that a person can be going along, going along, life plan all in place and... BAM! Try something new. It's inspiring!

And now onto the Prophet Sadiekins!
I've explained how amazing she is before. The girl can just create whatever she imagines... and she makes it look so EASY! Recently, I watched Sadiekins put together all the pieces for a forest themed baby shower. She knit little stuffed woodland creatures, ground up oreos for "dirt" on cupcakes, and put together a number of baby shower games with a "foresty" backdrop. She put in more work than I would ever have the patience for.
Well, her hard work paid off - and the party was a tremendous success. Seriously, this girl needs to be a professional party host. And wouldn't you know it, one of the shower guests would like to hire her to put together a bridal shower. MAZEL TOV!

Here's where this event... and just knowing and bowing down to the wonder of the Prophet Sadiekins has inspired me. I think Strong Cupcake could be bigger!
Think of the bakery with three big rooms:
Room #1 - Baking area split in half.... half kosher/half with bacon and lobster as far as the eye can see. And this baking area is large enough for "baking therapy" to take place.
Room #2 - A good ol' fashioned eating area. We'd have local artists' work on the walls, bright colors, and fresh flowers on all the tables.
Room #3 - PARTY ROOM!!! A very neutral looking room that can be rented for birthdays, showers, and small parties that the ever-so-talented staff of Strong Cupcake could design based on the themes and preferences of our generously paying customers. OR, the space could be rented for meetings with Strong Cupcake providing the refreshments.


Okay, back to work... but if I didn't get this down, I know I'd forget.

On a separate note... I made chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter bacon frosting. Using whole wheat flour for the cupcakes was a mistake... but peanut butter and bacon are a BEAUTIFUL combination. I just need to blot more grease off the bacon next time.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Woot! It works!

Here we are in 2010! New year, new adventures, and a city covered in snow. I kicked some serious artichoke dip ass for New Year's Eve and will attempt to make some whole wheat rolls later on, but my big excitement for the weekend was meant to include my first trip snow shoeing!

That is - until the accident.

New Year's Day, 2010. Fresh, white, fluffy powder surrounds Munjoy Hill. Not a care in the world... and Jay and I decide today's adventure will include some serious sledding off the Eastern Promenade. I'm armed with my foam Millenium Falcon (which I prefer for speed and aerodynamics) and Jay is armed with his Big Blue Ho (yes, it says Ho on it and Jay loves it for the extra leg room and steering ability).

We bundle ourselves up - Jay even wears goggles - and make our way to the mountain.
It is BEAUTIFUL! Enough folks have sledded before us to make a slick, steep path where you can either veer righ (and hit abandonded XMas trees), veer left (and wind up in a marsh), or go straight on (and risk paralysis when you hit the oncoming picnic bench). Yes, it truly was going to be an adventure.

Off I go, wind in my face, laughter/screaming pouring forth from my oral cavity, and I managed to steer the Falcon right between the marsh and picnic bench for a safe landing.
Things didn't go so well for Jay.

He was totally stoked to abandon the Ho for the Falcon to try the hill with some serious speed. Off he went... with disasterous results. Having never taken a ride in the Millenium Falcon before, Jay was headed straight for the bench. A string of sh*tf*cksh*tf*ckf*cksh*t spewed forth from his mouth and every parent did their best to cover their little ones' ears.
Jay threw down his arms to slow down.... and came to a halt just before impact. Some would say he was lucky...

I would call him a crotchety, old man. You see, by tossing down his arms for brakes, he created an unneccessary pull on the muscle between his shoulder and neck. And now he can't turn his head without crying like a sissy, nanna girl. It's true - my man, my hero, my night in shining armor injured himself while sledding.

Big ol' baby.

On the upside, I've managed to clean, finish a book, and catch up on this blog. And, HUZZAH!, I was able to upload some photos! Enjoy!!!

Okay, up top you will see what frying Sufganyot looks like. My apartment smelled like HEAVEN for a week afterwards (and by heaven, I mean the stench of oil was in the air, and clogging my pours - I broke out like an adolescent!) and they were quite delish. This batch was my first attempt... they were supposed to puff up like golf balls, but because I tossed so many into the oil at once, they stayed all frisbee like.

Here's what they look like after 5 minutes in WICKED hot peanut oil. Why peanut oil? It can maintain the highest temperature before smoking. It's also really, really, really, really bad for you. But I figured, I'm makin' flippin donuts - is health my main concern? Also, I'm not entirely sure of:
A. Whether or not the smoke detector works
B. If I did set something on fire, I can't find the fire extinguisher.

Jay is the bestest helper on the planet. As each piping hot donut frisbee was freed from its jacuzzi of boiling oil, Jay helped to cool them down by covering them in powdered sugar. Mmmmm....

And finally - after several attempts of making puffy Sufganyot and violating them with a spoonful o'jelly... IT WORKED (sort of)! Fried dough crammed with jelly and sprinkled in sugar is well worth the apartment stink, those "5 extra pounds", and feeling like a baked goods rapist.

More to come in 2010! Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Do I Have To?

Yes, I have to. I gave Jay subtle hints.... I gave Jay pretty freakin' obvious hints... finally, I just had my brother turn to Jay and tell him, "Karli wants a gym membership for Hanukkah."
And so, here I sit. All curled up in my bed, broccoli butter cream soup simmerin' in my belly, having just set the alarm for 6am. I asked for it, and I'm getting it. I'm going to the gym. Ick.

As I dread what the dark morning will bring, allow me to reminisce about some of the good times this holiday season and try to figure out if I will have developed diabetes by the New Year:

1. Working down the hall from a preschool. I could have gone nearly the whole month of December without ever having packed a lunch and I could have lived off baked goodness with no problem! These parents are FANTASTIC. Hell, one of them is a PROFESSIONAL BAKER ( who makes raspberry frosting I want to bathe in!

2. Adam and his mom. Bless heaven, earth, butter, and chocolate. Dear Birt Family - I dedicate my first insulin shot to you. Your chocolate-toffee bars are well worth the cavities. Your chocolate peanut butter balls are better than therapy. And your fudge makes me believe in G-d. That all being said - I plan on cursing your entire family as I face the Stair Master O'Death tomorrow morning.

3. Birthdays! Be it family, friends, or co-workers - I feel birthday cakes and I have developed a relationship on par with being lovers. No, we did not consumate our relationship... but I do feel as though I may have cheated on Jay with the amount of birthday cake I've managed to consume in the past month.

4. Hanukkah = Oily, Slow, Delicious Death. For those of you UNCHOSEN types, here's the quick and dirty behind Hanukkah. The Jews kicked ass, but in trying to rebuild - didn't have enough oil to last more than one night. Wouldn't you know it... a MIRACLE occured! (No, it had nothing to do with a baby in a manger). The oil lasted 8 nights - so Hallmark found itself an excuse to cash in on Jews during Christmas and created the holy time of Hanukkah. And everything you eat is somehow associated with oil.
There are two traditional Hanukkah foods - Latkes and Sufganyot.
Latkes involve potato, egg, onion, and lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of oil to fry those f*ckers in. NO, it is not the same as McDonald's potato hash browns and shame on you for thinking so. This year, I kicked some sweet latke ass and made regular potato latkes, gluten free latkes, AND red plaid latkes (these involved potato, egg, onion, beets, carrots, and lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of oil... it was beautiful).
Sufganyot translates to Jelly Donuts. I figured, "Hey, I'm a Jew who likes Jelly Donuts. Why not try and make some?" My computer is currently behaving like a dirty, dirty, pilgrim whore and won't upload the photos of the Sufganyot adventures - but I'll get them up here eventually. They were actually pretty fun to make... and Jay did an excellent job covering them in powdered sugar. It was when the time came to stuff them with jelly he got a little squeamish and left me to do the dirty work.
Ever wonder how Dunkin Donuts gets the jelly into their Munchkins? Ever watch the gritty, prison HBO series "Oz"? Well, that's sort of how DD does it. You have to sneak up on the fried blob - and penetrate it in a totally invasive way. Then, once it's submitted - you inject it with fruity goodness. I almost called the cops on myself when the whole thing was over. I felt very sinister and evil.

On the upside... they were DELICIOUS!

So, there you have it folks! The reasons I dread what's coming to me tomorrow. On the upside, the Prophet Sadiekins has provided me incentive to go to the gym. If I work out and behave in a healthier manner, I can bake as much as I flippin' want. And while baking, I get to wear my BRAND SPANKIN' NEW HANDMADE APRON!!!!!! Again, dirty whore of a computer won't upload the photo... but I have the coolest apron the on the planet I get to wear now when I bake and I'm so, so, so, so, so excited!!!!

Oh, before I forget.... there is a follower of this blog who I owe cookies to. Karla, for making the excellent suggestion of cookies shaped like Edward Scissorhand's creations - you will have a gift for New Years! Congrats! And I promise:
1. I will not violently penetrate these cookies with jelly.
2. I will not fry them extensively in peanut oil, vegetable oil, or olive oil (all such oils were used this Hanukkah season)
3. I will not schmear these cookies with the free flow of snot the above mentioned preschoolers all seemed to be infected with.

Another Strong Cupcake thought... if you come to the baker after a workout, you get one chocolate chip cookie free. Call it a contradiction, but if I knew I had a warm, gooey, melt-in-my-mouth handful of awesomeness to eat after going to the gym - I'd work out all the time! Who's with me???