Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me (and Us)

Lesson learned: toaster ovens are not for baking cupcakes. (I thought maybe similar to the EZ Bake Oven, but nope.)
Look what happened:

Those are toasted on the top and totally gooey on the inside. Oops.

I still made two dozen* cupcakes and a two-layer cake.
Yes, I kind of did make my own birthday cake, but it was for a party for these birthday boys and girls:

Matt is wearing a Soylent Green t-shirt in this photo, which I thought was pretty funny. Anyway, onwards to my super adventures in the kitchen.

1. On Tuesday night I baked the layer cakes (and I used MATH! to figure out if I needed to double the recipe for the two pans or not. Yes children, math is useful in real life.), then let them cool and stuck them in the freezer until Friday.
The cake recipe is from the Silver Palate Cookbook I think, but it involves a cup of wine. Adult cake I guess.
2. Friday morning I took the cakes out to defrost.
3. Friday post-work I baked some cupcakes. Wait till you hear what I did with them.

4. Saturday morning it was FROSTING time. If you don't know this about me, I love frosting. Not that lame-ass buttercream stuff, but the sugary-sweet kind. Oh yeah. Usually I just eat the frosting from cakes and leave the rest of the cake to scavengers.
Frosting recipe from same cookbook. It involves melting chocolate and butter, then adding it to milk and powdered sugar and vanilla. Yum. Then you have to refrigerate and beat it every 15 minutes. YUMMMM.

5. And I cut up some strawberries.

6. Then I went wild with cupcakes. I used the filling tip from my cupcake frosting set and filled them with chocolate frosting!

7. And I frosted my cakes, adding a layer of strawberries in the middle.
There was a lot of switching things in and out of the fridge because it was HOT and the frosting got a little melty.

8. And I frosted the cupcakes. Some of them got strawberries, some got sprinkles. Check them out! (I didn't get a great picture because things were starting to get hectic, so no cupcake porn sadly. If you want real porn, you can go see Bruno.)

9. And I decorated the cake. I used some vanilla frosting from the can or contrast, and pretty colored sprinkles and star confetti. And more piping tips.

Yes, I put sprinkles only on the white frosting in case you can't tell from this photo.
Maybe I should start taking orders?

Anyway, the cake was excellent. Really really moist, and then a good contrast between strawberries and chocolate frosting. Delicious with ice cream too, but what isn't??? And I did actually eat the cake. I made it, which meant it was awesome, so of course I was going to eat it.
(Just in case you can't tell, I'm really freaking proud of myself!!)

*Less the two that got zapped on the top rack of the convection oven. Jeeez.

All Star 4th of July Brownies Go USA

It's been a while, I know. I'm currently watching the All-Star game (I know, who is this girl??). But I think Wake is an awesome pitcher, even though we don't have Mirabelli anymore, his dedicated catcher. Go Sox. Or go AL... And the Big O is throwing out the first pitch! Also right now there is a Marine Corps concert across the street, so now for my segue into 4th of July brownie-mania.

July 4th was busy: 3 barbeques/parties, then fireworks watching. I also made 3 pans of s'mores brownies, because after apple (or cherry) pie, what's more American than s'mores*?

Anyway, this was one of those times that I was 100% ok with brownie mix since it was being kicked up a few notches.
I came across a bunch of recipes, but the simplest and also one of the better sounding involved just crunching up some grahams and tossing them into the batter. I added milk & semisweet chocolate chips to it too.

Then put some marshmallows on the top. You actually just bake it with the marshmallows on top and they get gooey and toasted in the oven**.

They came out awesome! And again, sooooo easy. And I don't think I'm talking myself up too much when I say that everyone loved them, I mean, they were pretty awesome.

(Oh, I tried to make some ganache and drizzle it over the top, but it wasn't quite thin enough. Here's the photo.)

*S'mores came from the girl scouts. Blueberry pie would also be all-American as blueberries are native t0 North America.
**Right. In the convection oven, not so much. A few recipes suggested sticking hem under the broiler, but since we are not using the oven......

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Comcast Resolved

Supposedly, will have to check on it when I get home. Wonder what exactly did the trick.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Comcast Issues - If you blog it they will come. Or something.

Yes, we've been having Comcast issues. Ever since I switched our service (got Encore & HBO, paid less) we haven't been able to watch anything on Encore On Demand. And let me tell you, I've tried to watch 102 Dalmations about 20 times and it still isn't working.
Friday after a horrible morning at the dentist I was supposed to stay home and nurse my novacained face waiting for Comcast.

Comcast called right at 2. I thought, well aren't I lucky?
As you can guess, I am not.
My Comcast caller told me that Comcast's call center people had screwed up (no way, really) and that they weren't actually supposed to send anyone out to fix my problem due to the nature of the error. It was in fact supposed to go to Comcast's On Demand people and they would fix it remotely. Needless to say he would not be coming by and this was the day that I should have just gone to work.
(Hey, I have a great dentist NOW though because of it.)
He did however give me all of his supervisor's information - phone & email - and told me his technician number, and that if our service wasn't fixed in 24-48 hours, to call his supervisor.
Well Monday morning I called twice, left a message and eventually sent an email.
Today I called again, left a message (while he was on the phone, because it's a cell number and I get that annoying beep) and sent an email.

The last time I ranted about Comcast they discovered the blog and started fixing stuff, hopefully this will help too.
And I will keep calling and emailing until this gets fixed.

So Comcast=jerks. Again. Can't wait to move somewhere that I don't need to use it. UGH.