Archive for June, 2011

June 22, 2011

New arrival

We have added a feline family member.  Presenting…little Jack!  Giving sad eyes, romping, and generally being irritated by the perpetual camera in his face.  He’s about six months old, a brown and white tabby with an excessive amount of spots instead of stripes (perhaps another wild mix!).  His big brother, Otis, is being somewhat less welcoming than what’s expected of him.  He prowls and stalks him relentlessly through the house and takes every unsupervised moment to whack him in the head.  It doesn’t help that his Dad (the human one) won’t stop siding with him.  Ah, sometimes I worry that our future children will never live up to that cat in his eyes.  Anyways, there won’t be too many more pictures for a while as Jack is no longer presentable; his back leg swelled up till it looked like a little sausage, and the vet shaved practically the whole thing looking for an injury.  It’s back down to normal size, by the way.  Well, perhaps one picture of him trotting along on his bony chicken leg might be in order…  Enjoy the cuteness!


June 15, 2011

The lilies are blooming!

     All my aspirations as a gardener have amounted to, in two seasons, one session of mulching, one session of seeding, and many complaints about how it’s hot and there are bugs everywhere. My wonderful boy, Andreas, has thankfully done the bulk of the outdoor work, conservatively >90%. Perhaps this will inspire me to make a contribution; i am desperately in need of fresh herbs in my life!


June 14, 2011

First post

I thought for my inaugural post, it should be something impressive. This is my best offering: the most complicated recipe I’ve ever baked! A banana cake with mango curd and cream cheese frosting, everything made from scratch by me. I found the recipe at Side notes. Mangoes are one of the more difficult fruits to break down, second only to the pumpkin in my limited experience. People more in the practice of eating baked goods than baking them would be horrified at the amount of confectioners sugar that actually goes into frosting. And, curds, like crèmes and flans, must be watched extremely diligently on the stove lest you end up with the worlds most disgusting scrambled eggs. Hopefully, there will be more creations to share soon if I remember to take photos before everything is consumed. Recipe can be found below.





Banana Cake with Lemon-Mango Curd and Cream Cheese Frosting

2 c all-purpose flour

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

½ c (1 stick) unsalted butter, at RT

1 lg egg yolk

1 c sugar

2 lg eggs

1/3 c sour cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 c (about 2) mashed ripe bananas

Lemon-Mango Curd, Bon Appétit:

Makes about 1 cup

1 15 oz ripe mango, peeled, pitted, cut into ½ in pieces

½ c sugar

3 tbsp (about 2 lemons) fresh lemon juice

Pinch of salt

4 lg egg yolks

¼ c (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Cream Cheese Frosting, Bon Appétit:

Makes about 4 ½ cups

3 8 oz pkgs cream cheese, at RT
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at RT

1 ½ tsp vanilla

2 ½ c powdered sugar

  1. For curd (make ahead): Purée first four ingredients in processor, scraping down sides of work bowl occasionally.  Add yolks; purée 15 seconds longer.  Strain through sieve set over large metal bowl, pressing on solids with back of spatula to push through as much purée as possible.  Discard solids.  Set metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water; do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water.  Whisk purée until thickened and thermometer registers 170°F, about ten minutes.  Remove from over water.  Whisk in butter one piece at a time.  Cover and refrigerate overnight
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly butter 2 9-in-diameter cake pans.  Dust with flour; tap out excess
  3. Whisk first six ingredients together in medium bowl to blend.  Using electric mixer, beat butter and egg yolk in large bowl until well blended.  Gradually beat in sugar.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Add sour cream and vanilla.  Beat in dry ingredients alternately with mashed bananas in three additions each
  4. Divide batter among prepared pans.  Bake cakes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Cool cakes in pans on racks for 10 minutes.  Turn cakes out onto racks and cool completely
  5. For frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in large bowl until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in sugar.  Cover and refrigerate until firm enough to spread, about 15 minutes
  6. Place one cake layer on platter.  Spread ~ 1 ½ c cream cheese frosting over top.  Add ~ 1 c lemon-mango curd over frosting; do not spread all the way to the edge.  Gently top with second cake layer; some curd will ooze down sides.  Spread ~ 1 ½ c frosting on top.  Do not frost sides.  Garnish with mint or orange zest
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