Sunday, August 29, 2010

red velvet cake

I realize that these are the best pictures, but the cake was good. It really was!

sunday supper: zucchini & sweet corn fritters

I came across this zucchini & sweet corn fritters recipe on Poppytalk- a favorite blog of mine that I frequent daily. The recipe was created by Jeannette Ordas from Everybody Likes Sandwiches (another favorite blog) who shares her foodie expertise on Poppytalk once a week. It really makes me happy when one blog that I like hooks up with another blog that I like and I can enjoy the creativity of both bloggers all in one blog. I have a secret wish that one day I will be a contributor for a blog- someday, for some blog, some time soon!

I also have a secret wish that one day I will try a new recipe and it will be amazing the first time I make it. But, as I've learned from 'the list' practice really does make perfect.

I did learn something fantastic from this recipe- how to whip egg whites until they form stiff peaks. I was supposed to do this for the German's Chocolate Cake, but since there was no instruction on how long this would take I convinced myself that one does not need to whip egg whites for more than a couple minutes. However, it does take more than a couple of minutes (probably closer to 5 minutes) for egg whites to change consistency from a gooey liquid to beautiful whispy peaks. And, thus, is my quibble with most recipes. Recipes should tell you approximately how long it will take to do something and what the ingredients should look like while your mixing, beating, whipping the heck out of them. Unfortunately, a lot of recipes don't do this and I really wish they would because it would be particularly helpful to us first-timers.

Happy Cooking!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Quartino is the restaurant we went to for my 30th birthday celebration! And we loved it!! We loved it so much that we've been recommending it to everyone. We told a friend who was visiting from out of town that he had to take his lady friend there for dinner. And they loved it too!!! They loved it so much that they unofficially nominated us for the best recommendation award.

Quartino serves family-style Italian food. Now, if you're anything like me family-style + Italian = gluttony. But, Quartino's family-style is more like tapas, which is the perfect amount of food if you want to try as many things on the menu as possible. And believe me, I would have if I could.

This is all of the deliciousness that we ordered-

  • Pappardelle con Cavolfiori or Tuscan Pasta Ribbons, Cauliflower, Gorgonzola Cream, Apples, & Walnuts
  • Margherita Pizza
  • Fumo Negli Occhi Pizza
  • Polenta Fries
  • Grilled Zucchini
  • Olive Plate
  • White Bean and Garlic Spread
  • Bruschette
  • And lots and lots of vino

  • Seriously, Quartino is amazing!

    Sunday, August 22, 2010

    sunday supper: red velvet cake

    It's been a busy bike racing weekend for me. I've been helping Ebert out with the ABD Winfield Criterium. Ebert is race director extraordinaire for this event. And, in case you didn't know, he is pretty much amazing at everything he does.

    I can't believe that even with all the race preparations that I was still able to find time to bake a cake. Of course, I waited until the last minute to get all of my ingredients, so I was once again up late baking. That also happened when I baked the German Chocolate Cake a few weeks ago- I think I might need to start budgeting my time better. But, I ended up with yummy Red Velvet Cake for Ebert's dad Greg. Red Velvet Cake with Butter Cream frosting is Greg's fave and it was to celebrate his birthday.

    I haven't eaten too many red velvet cakes myself, so I don't know how it compares to others. Everyone said they like it, so I guess I'll just have to trust their taste buds. I found this cake recipe from Pinch My Salt. The only thing I changed was that I used 1 ounce of red food coloring, instead of 2 ounces. I just couldn't use that much food coloring. And since Butter Cream frosting was requested I used this frosting recipe. Apparently, it's the best frosting you'll ever have!

    Hopefully, I'll be able to post some pictures later. If not, Happy Baking!!!

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    french inspiration

    The past few weeks I've been enjoying the art of making a French Press Coffee in the morning. I love the ritual. Every step keeps me present and focused-

    Choosing the perfect blend of coffee beans,

    making sure the grind is coarse enough,

    the water temperature is just right,

    and that the coffee steeps for just the exact amount of time.

    There is definitely an artistic science to the French Press Coffee and it's been a great way to start the morning.

    Even though I've never been to France, here's some French inspiration for you on this lovely Tuesday! Or at least things that start with the word 'French'.

    Learn how to make a French Press Coffee at home with this recipe.

    Enjoy some French Toast with your coffee.

    Snapshots of a French vacation.

    Homemade French Vanilla Ice Cream.

    The original French Manicure.

    Cute French Bulldogs.

    Baked French Fries with Sea Salt, Pepper, and Parsley.

    16 tips & techniques for French Kissing. (I couldn't resist, this is just too funny!)

    Pretty hairstyles - the French Braid and the the French Twist.

    Sunday, August 15, 2010

    sunday supper: popcorn

    Ebert and I went to the movies tonight to see 'Inception' ( was ok). It's been such a long time since we've gone to the movies that we couldn't remember what the last film we saw together was. But, sitting in a dark theater surrounded by delicious smells of butter flavoring got me thinking about popcorn. Buckets and buckets of popcorn!!!

    Caramel Corn

    Popcorn Con Pesto

    Peanut Butter Popcorn

    Popcorn w/Brown Butter, Rosemary, and Lemon

    Sunday, August 8, 2010

    sunday supper: german's chocolate cake


    This is only the second cake I've ever baked from scratch, the first being a carrot cake. And, although, it was pretty delicious tasting it was not so pretty looking. Also, it was a lot harder to bake than I thought it would be. My egg whites never became "soft, droopy peaks" and I still don't understand how to "fold" ingredients.

    But, at least now I know why it's called German (or correctly German's) Chocolate Cake. It has nothing to do with Germany, this cake is all Americana. The original recipe was created by a Texas homemaker and was first published in a Dallas newspaper in 1957. It called for "Baker's Sweet Chocolate" which is a baking chocolate created by Sam German back in 1852, hence the name German's Chocolate Cake.

    Surprisingly, most foodie blogs are not using the original recipe. Instead, they're using David Lebovitz's recipe or some variation of his recipe. I'm not sure how similar his is to the original one, but the recipe I used was from 'always order dessert', which is an adapted recipe from David Lebovitz.

    There are a few things I'm going to do differently next time -

    Add more pecans to the filling.

    Add more coconut and/or bigger coconut flakes to the filling: I used little flakes because I already had them. They're good in carrot cakes, not so good in German's Chocolate Cake.

    Cook the filling longer so it's thicker: My filling was a tad runny, but that may have been because I needed to let it cool longer. Or maybe that's why I need to add more pecans and coconut.

    Cut the filling ingredients in half: I had a lot left over. Of course, this would depend on if I want to try making thicker filler and what I do with the frosting (see below).

    Make better frosting: I did not like my ganache at all- it was very bitter tasting. I'm not sure what to do to make it taste better, so I would either just try again and hope for the best, or I'd omit it all together and just put the filling all around the cake. You can never have too much coconut/pecan filling if you ask me.

    Omit the syrup: I'm not even sure what it does to the cake. I didn't have a pastry brush, so trying to brush it on with my fingers did not work very well.

    Make it a 2-layer cake, instead of a 4-layer cake: Part of the reason my cake didn't look pretty was because when I cut the cakes horizontally they ended up not being even. So, next time it will just be a very pretty 2-layer cake. Unless, I figure out how to cut cakes in half horizontally so they aren't all funky, lop-sided.

    Happy Baking!

    Friday, August 6, 2010

    fritz pastry

    If you haven't been to Fritz Pastry, then you need to check out the awesomeness of this adorably quaint pastry and coffee shop.


    I'll be quite honest - I love this place! And coming from me, the quintessential coffee snob that I am, that says a lot. For 6 1/2 years I donned the green apron of a barista/coffee master, so I know my coffee. Yes, I worked at that chain coffee shop. The one that seems to be on every street corner in America, which you can see in this hilarious video. But, lets get back to coffee.

    There's nothing worse than a bad cup of coffee. And, unfortunately, I've had too many weak, bitter, water-downed, tea-like, old tasting, burnt, cups of coffee at mom and pop shops. I hate to admit this but most times I'll choose the chain coffee shop over a local business because I know what to expect. There is a consistency of standards at the chain places that I don't always experience at local ones. Don't get be wrong, I've had crappy cups of coffee at the chain stores as well, but not as often as at mom and pop shops.

    So, when I first went to Fritz's I was a little skeptical. But, it's hard to walk in to this place and not immediately fall in love with it. The brown and robin's egg blue decor is very cute! This vintage, modern look has a sophisticated, yet homey feel to it. I could definitely spend an afternoon here reading a book or surfing the web on their free wi-fi.

    All skepticism immediately vanished when I looked into their pastry case full of homemade goodies. Macaroons, brioches, donuts, danishes, croissants, muffins, cakes, tarts, much deliciousness to choose from. And so far everything I've tried has been scrumptious!!!

    Now, on to the real deal-breaker....their coffee. Well, let me just say whether it's been hot or iced I've always had a great cup of coffee at Fritz's. It's the perfect dark, yet subtly bold blend that I like in a cup of coffee. I'll gladly pay $2 for a cup to support this local business. And the best part - it's right down the street from our apartment. Mmmmm......maybe that's not so good!!!

    Sunday, August 1, 2010

    sunday supper

    Welcome to the Sunday Supper Files. Every Sunday I'll be featuring recipes from around the web that I'm either making for supper or wish I were making. And, today is one of those days when I just can't muster up the energy to cook, especially when I'm the only one home right now. But, if I were cooking a Sunday Supper I'd make something with peaches - yummy, delicious, succulent, summer peaches.

    Grilled Peaches and Humboldt Fog Panini
    via paninihappy

    Peaches, Beets, Walnuts and Gorgonzola Salad

    Peach Blueberry Cobbler
    via smittenkitchen

    Prosecco Sangria
    via marthastewart