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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pink Birthday Cake

My niece Gracie turned three years old last month.  I made her a special pink cake because she is such a girly girl.  
Orange Spongecake
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • zest on one orange
  • ⅓ cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • ¾ cup cake flour
  • 4 egg whites
  • pink of salt
  • Beat together egg yolks and sugar.  Add orange zest, orange extract, and orange juice. Mix that all together then add flour.  In a separate bowl whip egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Beat in 1/4 of the egg whites and fold in the rest.  We want the batter fluffy. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 - 20 min.  Makes enough batter for one 9” cake round.

Egg yolks and orange.  I guess I really didn't need the orange extract as well as orange zest and orange juice.
Whip together egg whites and a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form.  You know you have stiff peaks when you can turn the bowl upside down and they do not fall out.  (Note:  Do not try this at home on the off chance that they do fall out of the bowl.  On the carpet.  And nothing you try will get egg white stain out.  And you have to start over with more egg whites for the recipe.)
Beat one fourth the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture and gently fold in the rest.  Nice and fluffy.
I made two 6" cake rounds and a few heart shaped cupcakes.
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 oz cream cheese (1 package), softened at room temperature
  • 4 Tbs butter (1/2 a stick), softened at room temperature
  • 6 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • Zest of one orange
  • Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Beat together butter and cream cheese. Add orange zest and orange extract, beat that in. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time beating it in. Add heavy cream as desired to get the right consistency.

I baked them all at the same time.  350 degrees for 15 minutes.  My oven runs hot.
Orange extract is not orangey enough so the frosting needed the zest of one orange.  Zest is fun to say.  Zest, zest, zest.
Letting the cake and cupcakes cool before frosting so the frosting does not melt.
Frosting time.
I needed a pink cake.
To get the frosting lines evenly spaced I use toothpicks to mark how far apart I want them to be.
Cover the toothpicks holes with more frosting swirls and add pink bows.
No, the bows are not edible.  Just regular pink ribbon.
Added some frosting to decorate the cupcakes hearts.
As soon as I walked through the door I said, "Gracie, I have a birthday cake for you."
Her response, without looking up for the tablet game she was playing, "Is it pink?"
"Yes, Gracie, it's pink."
Well then, now she can inspect her cake.  Just had to make sure it was pink or she wasn't interested.
Such a girly girl.
Happy Birthday Gracie!  Blow out your three candles.
Lets eat the cake.
 Remember, do not eat the ribbons.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Love Life of Squash

Growing up my family always had a garden.  Except that one year, but other than that, we maintained a garden.  At one point in my growing up garden life (maybe more than once) I swore in my wrath that I would never have a garden.  I hate weeding.  I hate rock picking.  I hate plowing.  I hate planting.  I hate harvesting.  I hate shelling peas.  I hate getting dirty.  I hated having a garden.  I have a lot of hate.  This year I started a garden.  I planted one yellow crookneck squash.  As you can see, it is doing quite well.  It exploded out of its place and is currently taking over my Irises, which is strange because Irises have the reputation of taking over everything which is why I got them.  Never having a yellow crookneck squash before I learned a few things.  Other than their territorial nature, I learned how to have sex in the garden.  I was concerned that my plant was not reproducing so I did some research on this particular variety and I learned a few things.  There are two kinds of flowers.  A male flower and a female flower.  Together they make a baby squash.  With the help of bees of course which transfer the pollen from the male flower to the female flower.  Unfortunately for my plant I have not seen any bees so I have had to do the pollinating myself.  With my paint brush.
This is a male flower.
This is a female flower.
This is my baby squash.  My giant plant only has one child.  My paint brush and I made this baby possible.  Last night we finally ate the fruits of my labor.
I had to do something special for my only child.  I came up with squash and bacon risotto topped with cornmeal fried squash rounds with some Parmesan cheese.  

Deep Fried Squash

  • Cut squash into 1/4" rounds and soak for 30+ minutes in 
    • 1/2 cup Buttermilk and
    • 3 Eggs
  • After soaking, dredge squash in 
    • 1/2 cup Cornmeal
    • 1/2 cup Flour
    • added salt, pepper, and seasoning to taste
Fry squash rounds in 2" deep of Canola/Vegetable oil heated to 365 degrees.  Fry squash rounds for 2 -3 minutes until golden brown.  Let them drain on paper towels.  Serve hot and crispy.
This is my squash rounds soaking in eggs and buttermilk and my squash cubes ready for risotto.
Dredge squash rounds in cornmeal - flour mixture.
Fry 'em up.

Squash and Bacon Risotto

  • 1 ration of bacon - chopped, fried, and set aside
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 2 Tbs bacon grease
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups cubed squash
  • 2 cans of vegetable broth (14 ounces each.  It can be any flavor of broth.)

Start boiling cans of broth.  Saute onions in bacon fat and butter for about 3 min.  Every recipe should start with bacon fat and butter.  Add 1 cup of arborio rice and squash cubes and cook for another 2 minutes.  Gradually start adding boiling broth 1 ladle full at a time, cooking and stirring until the liquid is absorbed into the rice before adding the next ladle of broth.  Cook rice until all the broth is gone.  Turn off the stove and mix in bacon and parmesan.  
Serve risotto with fried squash and some more cheese.
A fitting end to my first attempt at gardening.  Maybe next year I will plant two yellow crookneck squash.

Monday, September 9, 2013


I was feeling fancy and Frenchy so I decided to make crepes for dinner.  I consider Crepes as the elitist pancake.  In my opinion crepes are a cross between a pancake and a tortilla.  They have the buttery flakiness of pancakes with the flexibility of tortillas that allows you to stuff them with anything.  My brother asked me for my crepe recipe a few weeks ago which got me craving them.  Then I had to make 'em and post it to the Bloggy McBloggerton, which is my pet name for this blog.  These are for you Richard.


1 cup cold Water
1 cup cold Milk
4 Eggs
1/2 tsp Salt
1 and 1/2 cups Flour
4 Tbs melted Butter
Beat together water, eggs, and milk.  Add flour and butter.  I find it best to add everything to a blender so there are less lumps.  Refrigerate for 2 hours before cooking.  This recipe makes for a lot of crepes so when cooking for two I usually cut it in half.
This is my 3 pan system.  It would be 4 pans, if I had four pans.  I do not own a crepe maker, so I pour about 1/4 cup of batter into each well buttered pan.  Spread it around, then move on to the next pan.  By the time I get to pan #3 it is time to flip pan #1's crepe.  Pour and flip, pour and flip, and I can get them all done pretty fast.
I made a quick sausage, egg, red bell pepper, green onion and cheese mixture for the filling.
Stuff 'em and wrap 'em.
Crepes for dinner.