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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Holiday Traditions

When it comes to holiday baking, Wendi certainly has me beat on volume and variety, but I managed to get a few things done this year. My favorite holiday baked goods are mini quick bread loaves. They make the perfect gift -- more than enough for one person to nosh on and (if they aren't greedy pigs like me) enough to share with a friend as well.

This year, I went back to my favorite gingerbread recipe. Out of a church cookbook, which when it comes to comfort foods, is really your best recipe source. This recipe calls for dark molasses and ginger in plentiful amountage, which gives it more than your token-nod-to-ginger taste and makes it a beautiful rich sable color. I didn't have time this go'round, but next year hope to make an orange-honey butter to go with it (mmm, drool).

Since I had some snacky leftovers from my annual soiree this year, I decided to whip up a batch salty-sweet treats. Chocolate-dipped Honey Wheat Pretzel Sticks. I would have taken a photos but was lost in a deep chocolate-salt daze and forgot. The messiest part of the process was rolling them in the sprinkles without getting sprinkles all over the counter. When you package them up in a decorated cellophane bag tied with a ribbon, they looked might pretty.

Another treat that looks like you spent hours, but didn't, are Meringue Pops. I used to make them with mini chocolate chips, but just by themselves they're pretty too (it's really all about the packaging). If I'd been feeling adventurous, I would have sprinkled some colored sugar on them before putting them in the oven, because seriously, can you have too much sugar at Christmas?

And finally, for the first-time ever, I made my Grandmother's Scottish Shortbread Cookies. Some years before she died, she sent each of us grandkids her recipe. Well, I hate to admit that that was nine years ago, but for my dad's Christmas gift this year, I decided to revise an old family tradition.

When I was growing up, every Christmas we'd get a box from MA and the first thing we'd do was tear it open to find the kleenex box. Now this wasn't any ordinary box, this was THE box. Grandma Kay always filled it with individually-wrapped shortbread cookies. The first thing we'd do once we got our greedy little mitts on the box was to stick in the freezer and wait until the cookies reached that perfect chilled state before doling them out like rare gold coins. It's one of my favorite Christmas memories from childhood.

Until now, I never gave much thought as to why she'd take the time to wrap each one up separately. These puppies would never survive banging up against each other in a kleenex box free-for-all. Rich and crumbly. The recipe calls for one stick of butter AND one stick of margarine and that's practically all. These are the very definition of melt-in-your-mouth and for those watching their weight, well, just keep moving along, nothing to eat here, these cookies are definitely not your friend, my friend.

I hope that everyone enjoyed revelling in their own Christmas (or non-Christmas, we try not to discriminate) traditions this year. The TCC wishes you all the very best for a Happy New Year and look forward to another year of trial and error and show and tell!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008


It's amazing what can happen when you follow a really good recipe. This year's baklava came out really well (thanks again Anna). Not only did it taste good. It's awfully pretty too!! :) (see below picture)

Today will be an almost bake free day. I have been entertaining the thought of making some pumpkin apple bread... it may actually happen. Also, between now and Christmas, I have to make the chocolate mousse torte... it will be part of the Christmas dessert package... I will also make a second one for the New Year's Eve celebration.

It IS the season for baking... I will be glad when it's over, and I can go back to cooking!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Who's the Slacker? I'm the Slacker!

Poor Wendi has been left to bear the brunt of keeping this blog interesting while I whiled away the time at work banging my head against a wall...I mean working. Haven't had much in the way of time for fun and important things like food, but did manage to come up with a new recipe --

K2's Totally Awesome Mixed Apple-Cranberry Crumb Top Pie! (tah dah)

No room for modesty, this thing rocks! I went into a pie-making craze after the last conference I helped put together. My job sometimes entails coming up with unique and inexpensive centerpieces for our dinners. So I used shelled nuts and mixed apples (real ones) as part of the decoration. Money-saving for the event, but with the added result of several pounds of apples sitting around the office. What to do, what to do...

Well, first you take a pre-made deep dish pie crust (YES I can make pie crust from scratch and YES I know that some would consider this "cheating," but if it saves me time and still tastes good, the hell, I say), then peel, core and slice up a variety of yummy fall apples (usually need 6-7 small to medium-sized apples). I squished some lemon in amongst them while I was slicing because cutting the apples is probably the longest part of this process.

Toss in 1/4 cup of sugar and mix it all up. Chuck in a handful or two of cranberries (or for those who need specifics, the base recipe calls for 1/4 cup but I don't always think that's enough).

In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 cup of brown sugar (NOT packed), 1/2 cup of flour, and 1/2 cup (one stick) of cold butter. Using a pastry blender or a big honking fork, crumble the ingredients together (this is for the crumb topping, so "crumble" is key). Oh, there may be a smidge of salt in there too.

Once that is done, pour the apple mix in the uncooked, pre-made deep dish pie shell, it will mound up higher than the edge of the pie crust -- this is a good thing because the apples will cook down -- then spread the crumb topping mix over the top. I recommend putting something under the pie, like aluminum foil over a cookie sheet to catch the spillover and make clean up easier.

Toss it in the over, oh, preheated to, let's say 350 degrees and bake for 45-50 minutes. Your kitchen will smell totally mouth-wateringly delicious after about 25 minutes. Mmm, mmm good.

These make great presents...or at least they will. :) (Post-postnote: enthusiastic two-thumbs up from all pie recipients, seriously, gotta try this!)

With things slowing down, hopefully will be able to be better about keeping up the blog soon.


Tah Dah

...and we've managed to go and do the disappearing act again. I fear that we are perfecting it, for magicians, this is a good thing, for a blog, it is not.

New Year's resolutions:

1. Blog more often than once a month
2. Blog more culinary related information, and less apologies
3. Distract with pretty pictures

The holidays are always busy, I am currently in process of getting together the baked goods platter that I try to get to friends before my official vacation begins. It seems to be much harder this year, than it has in the past. The platters this year will contain the following (and pictures WILL be available at some point)

1. Baklava- new and improved, thanks to the many years of hard work Anna has put into the recipe. She is a very gracious woman, and had no hesitations to pass along to me, the recipe that year after year she has slaved over perfecting... and all I had to do was ask!!! (thanks Anna!!!!)

2. Gingersnaps- the famous great-grandma Woodard’s recipe. Crunchy gems... I think the best part of these this year... my mother has stepped in and made the dough, and is probably right in the middle of rolling, coating, and baking as I sit in my comfy little cubicle... (I at least gave her enough chain to get to the bathroom if she needed)

3. Fairy Footstools- which, I REALLY need to rename. The recipe came from a cricket magazine, I think I was a freshman in High School (the magazine was my little sister's), when I first discovered the recipe... I'm not going to date myself, but let's just say, I've been making these for quite awhile. I found that after going through a baking class, they were much easier :)

4. Spiced nuts- This recipe came from my friend David's wife. He had brought a little batch to me a few years back, and I couldn't get enough. I have tweaked it a bit (without noting what I've done differently... add that to the resolutions, start making notes when making changes in recipes!!!)

5. Peanut butter fudge- The easiest recipe in the world. I have no idea where I found it, but I haven't changed anything about the recipe!!

6. Snickerdoodles- Basic recipe... no changes that I know of. I don't make these too often, but the IT guy at work requested them at one point... and everybody knows, you should always try to make the IT guy happy.

7. Chocolate chip cookies- again, just a basic recipe... there is a recipe I tried from the NY Times, which is fairly incredible... but requires a rest time of 36 hours... or something crazy like that.

here's what I'm going to attempt to also make, time permitting:

1. Chocolate orange truffles- I found this recipe awhile back, so Steven could get extra credit in his French class (I think with this recipe he jumped from a B to an A+ in the class... I'm not even kidding). Very simple recipe, the only time consuming this is actually rolling them into their shapes.

2. Chocolate fudge- I always try new recipes for this one. One year I did a chocolate raspberry fudge.... ew, it was gross. I wish I could find one, and just stick to it!!

3. Peppermint bark... I just have to get some peppermint candies...

There is so much more that I wish I could get into the mix... but, apparently this is all that will happen this year.

I hope to have pictures to post tomorrow, see, I'm already working on my resolutions!!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Just a couple of pictures to share ...

I did NOT maket he Phyllo baskets, but I did put together the filling... and I took the pictures, that counts for something right???


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tis the Season

The baking season is upon us... that's right, there is a season for baking! It starts when the weather gets chilly, and will go well through winter. Of course, the peak of the season is the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas...

I eased my way into baking season this year. I had one mission... learn how to make a southern biscuit... I figure, I've been down in the south for over 10 years, it's about time I learn how to make a proper biscuit... and thanks to a recipe by Tyler Florence, I am well on the way. With a few tweaks, I have come up with a tender biscuit, that has some decent flavor... I probably could pass for southern now.

After the biscuits, the canned pumpkin came out... pumkin zucchini bread, pumpkin fluff (which doesn't actually qualify as baking, but still...), and pumpkin cookies with pomegranate seeds.

Then, the yeast breads... cinnamon raisin swirl bread (which did not have enough swirl), and sesame and pumpkin bagels (that's right.... pumpkin bagels, served with a pumpkin cream cheese, because really, there never can be too much pumpkin).

It seems that every weekend, and then some evenings, have been spent with the oven on, and the smell of hot carbs wafting through my house... it's been great.

In the next couple weeks, I will be tackling the following... Pumpkin pie, Apple pie, white chocolate pecan pie, all with home made crusts. Pumpkin-Apple bread, and cranberry bread. Then there will be the cookies... snickerdoodles, Italian lemon cookies, Chocolate chip cookies, gingersnaps, fairy footstools (don't let the name fool you... a lemon creme sandwiched between two layers of pastry), and whatever else I have the ingredients for. Then there's the non cookies... peanut butter fudge, baklavah, spiced nuts, orange chocolate truffles, maybe a couple other types of fudge (I've done egg nog and dark chocolate raspberry in the past) ...

I have also made the big mistake of subscribing to a daily cookie recipe, that is delivered straight to my email box... out of the 15 cookie recipes I've seen come through my email, I decided that I want to make at least 13 of them...

It's a wonder I don't go broke during baking season...

You know, this is just MY list... I've talked to K2 a few times, and she's a baking machine...

I'll try to get some pictures up.

Happy baking season to all!!


Monday, October 27, 2008

All's Fair

What is October without a trip to the State Fair? I took my annual pilgrimmage this year with Wendi. We braved a fierce drizzle and not all that chilly weather so that we could get our fix of fried food, fast pigs, and candy apples (okay, the apples was just me). Join me now on a wee highlight tour of "Kathy and Wendi Go To The Fair" (2008).

If Veruca Salt had seen this, she would have wanted a party in a pita too (who wouldn't?).

I think they serve fried food at the Fair, but we had a hard time finding it.

Finally decided on something healthy, so we went by the vegetable trolley for some deep fried green tomatoes (made fresh and on the spot). DEE-Lish! (p.s. Wendi doesn't always look this insane, but we were REALLY hungry at this point)

Cake display was mind-blowing, this was my fav! Wendi was making drooly eyes at the little Duff, it's a good thing there was glass between us and the cake (I'm a Geoff gal myself).

So many much fondant. It's like Play-Doh for grown-ups...and they encourage you to eat it!
Mmmm, deep fried Oreos, a k2 Fair staple. The secret is lots of powdered sugar. Though I would recommend looking away as they scrape excess sugar off the counter to sprinkle on your treats, it's a bit disturbing.

This was my Waterloo. I threw in the white napkin of surrender after one bite -- deep fried Reese's Cup. Three words, oh...good...god.

I know Wendi has more photos to share. We did actually see other things like crafts, and cows, and big honking pumpkins, and scary people (and we're not just talking carnies here). All in all, an enthusiastic two thumbs up for a rollicking good time.

Hey, you gonna put that in your mouth?

Howdy and hello! I have come up for a momentary breath of air. The other job (you know, the one they pay me to be at) has been keeping me hopping. Successfully surivived feeding 450 people on Saturday for Parents Weekend and am getting ready to pull together the loose strings of a two-day conference next week for 200. That's the biz though.

So, seeing as the most wonderful holiday of the year is almost upon us, I thought I'd share my new favorite cookies with you -- Zombie Fingers! For those who have noshed in the past on Witches Fingers, it's the same thing only with broken "nails" and a ghastly green tinge.

My first foray into finger cookies went a bit awry. I cheated...yes, it's been know to happen...and decided to use pre-made sugar cookie dough. "But k2," you ask, "isn't it true that sugar cookie dough, no matter how carefully and time-consumingly you form it into gross green digits, will not hold it's shape when baking?" And I would say to you, "yes that's true" (unless your unintentional intention was to create a variation of Zombie Fingers, say those belonging to a bloated and then steam-rolled zombie carcass).

Attempt #2 went much more smoothly. The key is flavored shortbread cookie dough. And when you do it right, here is the pre-baked result.

Wendi will have to supply the baked result because I forgot to take a photo. Served with a side of raspberry jam for that "fresh from the blood bath" look, they were actually quite delicious...if you can get past the feeling you're sticking a green finger in your mouth.
Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 24, 2008

A recipe is born

So, the other day, as I was riding the bus, without anything to read, I started plotting. In the amount of time it took my chatty bus driver to get me from my car, to the bus stop, I had come up with two ideas for parties. One being a dill pickle dip. Now, this, my friends, will not be a dip made with dill pickles, but will be fashioned along the lines of the new dill pickle flavored chips that have recently hit the grocery stores. I haven't figured out exactly how to do this, but I'll keep you posted.

The other idea however, took hold, and was quickly formulated... This idea... ready for it??? "cake batter dip" ... to be served along side cookies of some sort (or fruits, if you're into that sort of thing). Well, last night, I got myself to the grocery store, and bought the ingredients that I felt would be necessary for this dip. I put it together, and have already decided on some modifications.

I am very fortunate that my fellow co-workers are good tasters... although, I have my doubts about some of them, and their ability to give constructive criticism. I let some of these co-workers do their tasting, and it seemed to go over quite well. I served it with graham crackers, and one taster said that chocolate graham crackers would be tasty... so I'm definitely putting that at the back of my mind too.

So, the posts may have slowed down for awhile, but be assured, our dear readers, the creativity does not!! :)


p.s. We do have fair food pictures... both K2 and I have been a little slammed, so we haven't gotten them up... I'll try this weekend, and K may have some breathing time next week that she might be able to do some blogging.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Where have they gone?

For those of you who are beginning to wonder why you bother reading this blog if we aren't going to do more diligence in providing interesting (or self-serving) tidbits on a regular basis, I promise you (former girl scouts honor) that more food fun is on it's way.

We have mouth-watering marvels and gross goodies to share (with photos!)...just been a tidge busy. This is what happens when you mix two social butterflies with 40-hour work schedules together with a needs-to-be-blogged blog.

More to come...and soon! Now, I'm just thinking aloud here, but as we've both obtained the nod from the paycheck powers-that-be to skootch off early tomorrow for a Friday jaunt to the NC State Fair, perhaps a tribute to the wonderful world of deep-fried goodness will be in the asking.

So SERIOUSLY, stay tuned, and until then, keep your bellies full and your minds open!


Friday, October 10, 2008

Bean vs. Legume: The Title Throw-down

Okay, John, to answer your question about the "difference between a legume and a bean"? Well, really, there is no difference. “Bean” is a common name for large plant seeds of several genera of the family Fabaceae (formerly Leguminosae – thus “legume”), so basically, beans are a subset of legumes.

Legumes are plants that bear pods that split when mature and the pods or seeds are used for food. According to Wikipedia (which I love to use for learning new stuff), although "beans" usually means the seeds of bean plants, it can also mean (especially in the US) the whole young pods of bean plants, which if picked before the pods ripen and dry, can be tender enough to eat whole, whether it’s cooked or raw. So the term "green bean" literally means green in the sense of unripe, as the beans inside the green bean pods are really too teeny to be considered a significant part of the cooked fruit.

Bean are considered to be among the most versatile and nutritious foods available. Typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. And to boot, depending on the type of bean you use, they can be a great source of protein -- a very healthy alternative for meat (which has way more fat and icky cholesterol).

Protein-enriched legumes come either dried or canned, and some of the more common types are azuki (asuki) beans, black beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), edamame (new personal favorite), fava beans (I hear they go well with chianti), lentils, lima beans (aka butter beans), red kidney beans (mmm, chili), and soy nuts (yuck).

So there you go. And thanks for the question! I can hardly wait to break out my new bean small talk at the next cocktail party.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

And so it begins....

Wow, awesome, we actually got some questions. So just to drag this out and fill in space, we will address your questions one day at a time, in the order in which they are received, of course, just to play fair. Oh, and to be able to give each of your questions the time and consideration they deserve. :)

Question #1 comes to us from Sprocket the Dog (side note: totally frickin' cool name) -- "How would you make the world's most perfect ice cream sammitch?"

Well, Sprocket, while I tend to enjoy the classics -- squiggy chocolate cake-like coverings with genuine faux "vanilla" ice cream substance melting out the sides -- Wendi and I both agree that the "perfect" ice cream sammitch, broken down to the most basic elements, consists of two homemade cookies with a plentiful helping of creamy, more-natural-than-not ice cream tucked in-between. If you have purist tendencies, then the cookies would be slightly chewy chocolate chip with a natural vanilla bean ice cream center.

But you know, there are SO many options out there, and so many opportunities to personalize your dreammitch of choice. Me, in the winter, I can see cozying up by the fire with a gingersnap and peppermint ice cream sammitch or spice cookies with pumpkin ice cream (drool). Or for all you Reese's fans out there, what about peanut butter cookies with chocolate ice cream? Hmmm, tasty.

So Sprocket, it comes down to this: Whatever palate-pleasing elements you use to build your dreammitch, well, it's always going to be perfect if it makes you happy.

Q&A Smarty-pants

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Q & A

Since K2 and I are between gigs (we are getting ready for a small Halloween/zombie gathering, and also have a really quiet fall meal in the works) we have little to post in terms of food or pictures or witty comments. Although, we can be witty, snarky, sarcastic, or whatever else you may request... it's just easier to do if there is food involved.

So, this is what we decided... ready for it?? Q & A. If anybody has culinary type questions, that you might want to ask, we want to be able to answer (using all of the above mentioned writing techniques). If you know of anybody who may have questions, who does NOT read the blog, you can pass it along to them (note: that was a fairly shameless plug, it's true).

There are two ways you can ask. Feel free to send an email to us at or you can post as a comment.

We look forward to questions!! We might even succumb to begging!!! :)


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fall Menu Preview

I have two inspirations when it comes to "creating food":

1. Bouncing ideas around with K2 (which, of course, produces the best results), and
2. Being insanely bored and distracting myself with a game of WWFE (What Would Foodies Eat?).

Door #2 is actually what helped me come up with a potential meal for the fall menu coming up in a few weeks. K2 and I haven't had a real chance to sit down and discuss so the menu is not finalized (good thing the clients are friends). In fact, I believe I've only mentioned the food in passing to her, so we haven't been able to really dive in and come up with the ideal menu, but I really wanted to post something today, so below is the beginning of a menu.

Appetizer -- Tempura root vegetables (with some sort of dip)

Salad -- Baby spinach with granny smith apples, dried cranberries, and shaved Parmesan cheese with a warm maple, bacon vinaigrette.

Main course -- Inside out Paella (and this is the one I remember running by K2... I know we need a new name, I know) which is basically a chicken breast stuffed with paella goodness!

I'm having trouble with side dishes, I thought of roasted cauliflower, and crunchy cheese twists. Unfortunately, putting all that on a plate actually creates a bit of a problem... no sauce (it's always good to have a sauce on the plate).

Dessert -- Gingerbread pudding with a side of homemade pumpkin ice cream.

The other reason I decided to post is, I think it's important to show a developing menu. Like, here's the Before, and wait until after the After (the After will even come with pictures!!). You never know, could be a completely different menu come meal time!!

This is where I hope K2 chimes in (you know, to show the bouncing ideas aspect!! Some day, this process will be videotaped).


Videotaped? Ah, that's right, Wendi's plan for us is (1) overnight business success, (2) our own cooking shows (you know, one for each of us), and then (3) take over the world! Oh wait, #3 is really mine, but Wendi's always game for new things.

So here is where I chime in now with a what we can do with the base menu (do you feel like you're at Oz yet, peeking behind the curtain, can we interest you in a heart or perhaps a dash of courage?).

Menu, Part Deux --

Tempura Root Veggies with various squashes would be good and maybe a beet-infused vinaigrette for dipping. Something light since tempura is not a heavy fried coating, tangy with a nice vinegar base, and "beet"ed to keep with the root veggie theme, plus would add a nice touch of color to the course.

The salad is everything wonderful, but for some extra crunch I would suggest tossing in some toasted walnuts. Walnuts are very fallish and would add a savory crunch to offset an already sweet-heavy salad.

Chicken stuffed with about calling it Pollo Paella? We can use a menu to describe the inside-outyness of the dish, but at least the title will give people a pretty good sense of what the basics are. And I'd like to do it with a chunky tomato sauce...not tomato sauce like "where's the pizza crust," but a rich thick sauce with heavy diced tomatoes, some fresh oregano, and some burgundy wine (oooh, here comes the drool).

As far as sides go, I'd only have one since your starch will actually be tucked inside the chicken and you've already fed them root veggies as an appetizer. Now I wouldn't eat it, but what about steamed asparagus (bleck!) on the side, a tidy little stack, done simply with no sauce? Then you've got green to go with the brown/yellow of the bird/paella and red of the sauce -- very fall-like colors.

And for the dessert, how about drizzling the whole thing with a pecan syrup or caramel sauce (secret is not in the sauce, it IS the sauce).

And this is how it begins -- Ta-Dahhhhh! (insert bow here)


Monday, September 29, 2008

Buying Miss Buttercup

I'm very pleased to announce a new arrival in the Kay household -- Buttercup, weighing 22 lbs 8 oz, almost 14 in tall. She arrived on Saturday after much painful deliberation (5-qt? 6-qt? lgt yellow? drk yellow?), but she was finally brought home safely on Saturday afternoon. We've very happy and though refurbished, she's in perfect condition.

She's just beautiful (tear).

:) k2

Gluten intolerant? Here, have a brownie!

That could very well be a cruel statement... teasing somebody who has a gluten intolerance with a nice big hunk of warm chocolaty brownie... that's just mean, UNLESS... the brownie happens to be gluten free!! That's right, I took the plunge into making a dietary-friendly brownie for a co-worker who cannot eat flour or, if she does, I assume she suffers quite a lot!

K2 and I have been fairly "fortunate" (and there are quotations, because it's not really the right term, but it's what my brain came up with this morning) in not having had any events where there are a lot of dietary restrictions. In fact, the only one I can recall is having a guest who could not eat anything raw that was in the onion family. Easy enough to get around, just cook them. When I think about it, I don't think we've ever done an event where we HAD to provide even vegetarian alternatives, although we always do! I assume as the business builds, we will come across these challenges more frequently. Personally, I look forward to it... I think it's fun coming up with alternate food that under 'normal' (there are those pesky quotation marks again... oh, and parenthesis... that's a different topic all together) circumstances may not come up in the menu planning stage.

For this reason, I took on the quest to find a gluten-free brownie that would not only satisfy somebody who did not eat flour, but also those who more accustomed to eating a flour-packed goodie. I came across a recipe for Black Bean Brownies. I have not yet tweaked the recipe, because I wanted to get a sense of what it would be like as written. They aren't bad at all! I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. All the ingredients go into a blender, then come out of the blender looking like runny pudding, go into the oven, and *POOF* come out looking like brownies. They are moist, and fudgy-like, not very cake-like, but very good nonetheless. I plan on tweaking a little bit, maybe trying for more of a cake-like consistency, and playing around with flavors.

I do not currently have pictures of these little fudgy gems (that's right, fudgy gems), but hopefully when I get back to the pan of brownies tonight, I will remember to snap a couple of shots.

That's all for now ...


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Forget Alaska, lets go to the beach

So, I'm the first to admit... I'm not really into politics, it's not my life, and I certainly wouldn't have a birthday party focused around anything political... call me crazy. My friend Michele, however, is truly into politics, and because of this, the people at work decided it would be great to throw her a "make fun of Sarah Palin" surprise party. The idea was to have food and decor that would go along with Alaska, and many things Palin. When mooseburgers were suggested, I stepped in and offered to bring a chocolate mousse torte... I think that satisfied the need for moose. Below are pictures of the cake.

Yes, the moose IS wearing a fondant party hat

Top Angle

Cake shown with a slice cut out... showing the layers.

A single slice of cake... bittersweet chocolate torte, dark chocolate mousse layer, milk chocolate mousse layer, and a white chocolate mousse layer, all covered by a semi sweet chocolate ganache.

Did I mention it was chocolate?

Monday, September 22, 2008

When Science and Cakes Collide

Yeah, so here's my way of thinking:

Cakes are baked.
Baking is a science.
Science geeks eat cake too.

I had a request from my good friends Steve and Jan to make a "Shmoo" cake for a going-away party for Jan's lab mate Mike (he's going to MIT...yeah, I know smart people).

So for those who aren't in the know, shmoo is the nickname for a G-protein coupled receptor in yeast......hey, you're lucky, this is the short version of a shmoo, what I got (because I asked) was a much more complicated, intricate explanation by Steve (who's also a science smarty-pants)... well until he saw my eyes glaze over and took pity. My only response was "what colors you want on that?"

So here, in all it's scientifically accurate glory (or as accurate as you can get with pumpkin cake and cream cheese icing), may I present the Shmoo Cake.

And here's a view of the backside (upside? top side? other side?) of the Shmoo. Please note that the black line do-hicky does indeed cross the thingyboo 7 times -- yes, 7 times! because that's key to the doojigger process of the thingy making it, ah...and it comes close to the circle with the Beta because...because...oh hell, it was in the drawing and that's why it's there. Science rules!

(post-Post note: apparently the official term for the "black line do-hicky" is "signalling pathway." Pshaw, like who doesn't know that... :/

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Another notch in the cake post!

Another successful venture into the wedding cake world (whew!). Don't get me wrong, I didn't go into this thinking it was going to be a piece of cake (yeah, I went there). It's nerve-wracking to put a wedding cake together, especially when it's one of your closest friends and even more so now that I know Cake Wrecks is waiting in the wings just in case something goes horribly awry. My inner perfectionist and I had a couple run-ins, but in the end the happy couple was just that, so all good.

Here are a couple of photos for Show-n-Tell.

Not a big chocolate fan myself, but this photo makes me want to bite into a huge slab of chocolately goodness. My first foray into homemade chocolate icing too (it was yummy).

Final assembly took place at the cake table. Wasn't going to chance it pre-transport (discovered as we bounced over the miles of pockmarked and pitted roads between Laura's house and the reception place that GA tax dollars are NOT going into road improvement).

You know, "even" is SO overrated.

Fun is being given three buckets of fresh flowers and being told to "have at it."

Final product. Got a two-thumbs up from Laura and Todd. The cake itself was comprised of a chocolate-chocolate bottom layer, a pumpkin-marshmellow cream cheese middle layer, and a chocolate-chocolate peanut butter top layer.

Close-up of one of the side "boutonnieres" (and yes, that's a sprig of rosemary).

Despite the patented k2 pre-cake freak out, the bumpy roads, the sweat and swearing, and all the chocolate (that was a lot of chocolate), it was all worth it to help make Laura and Todd's day special. Happy Wedding to them and many well wishes!

Monday, September 8, 2008

An additional two cents

Read previous post first, since this one relates ... (elevator music is currently playing in my head).

The gig went well, I agree. Week nights are definitely tough, but Kathy and I got through it, which means we can do anything!! (except perhaps leap tall buildings in a single bound...although, I've never tried... it could happen!)

It was really nice to be able to add to our ever-expanding list of menu items. I feel very confident by the time we get the business officially launched, we're going to be well-prepared with many previously tasted items...

That's about all I have for my two cents... of course I had to add!!

Now we sit back, come up with new foods, and wait for the calls to start rolling in!! :)

In the meantime, everybody should wish Kathy good luck with the wedding cake she's got on the horizon for this coming weekend!! :)


Friday, September 5, 2008


The catering biz is definitely NOT for wimps -- don't let anyone tell you otherwise! Extremely exhausted, but oh-so happy with another successful "do" under our belts.

Congrats to Prema for valiently defending her dissertation, reclaiming her life, and letting us help her celebrate the occasion!

Goodies on the Table of Plenty included:

Assorted Vegetables with Farmers Market Tomatoes and White Bean Hummus Dip

Thai Crostini with Garden Fresh Thai Basil Pesto, Marinated Tofu, and Shiitake Mushrooms on Lightly-toasted Baguette

Pineapple Tuna with Slivered Almonds in Choux Paste Puffs (a fav with the under 4' crowd)

Skewered Cumin-Lime Chicken Bites (they may seem plain in appearance, but the taste more than makes up for it, they have a surprisingly crisp and refreshing flavor)

Greek Crostini with Feta Spread and Artichoke Hearts on Toasted Olive Bread

Mixed Fruit and Cheese Tray with Assorted Crackers (included strawberries, blackberries, champagne grapes, figs, dried apples, dried mango, dried apricots, Farmers Market camembert, fresh mozzarella balls, white cheddar, and Havarti with dill)
Beef Bruschetta with Marinated Beef and Horseradish Cream on Lightly-toasted Baguette ("beef on bread" is always a hit)

Lemon 'Tart'lets with Lemon Curd Cream filling and Fresh Blueberry in a Phyllo Cup (the sweet tooth equivalent of Lays, can't stop at one...and no one did)
Not shown are Wendi's Signature Stuffed Mushrooms with Italian Sausage and Fennel (see previous post), Kathy's Super Secret "Don't Ask Me for the Recipe" Sweet-n-Sour Meatballs, Chocolate Chip Brownie Bites, Minted Brownie Bites, and Marzipan Pops (marizpan rolled with dried fruit and dipped in milk chocolate -- SO addictive).
(Just a note -- we do try to use herbs from the garden and produce from the Farmers Market whenever possible, because we are all about supporting local business.)
So after seemingly hours of prep and last minute assembly, what makes it all worthwhile is watching people continue to stuff their faces while claiming they are too full to take another bite.
We rock. (We have mentioned that lack of modesty thing before, right?)

Stay tuned for more good things to come and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cakes of a different breed...

I am the first to admit it... Cakes are not my biggest strength... don't get me wrong, I can hang with the walmart cake decorators, but thankfully I work alongside Kathy, who does have the cake strength... The following are just a couple cakes that I've done.

This is the cake that I did for Em's completion of her thesis for grad school. It's fun... and please note, the decorating was done completely with plastic bags... for some reason, there were no tips at the house!! Now, now, cakewrecks... nobody had to pay for it!!

This was a cake I did for Jessica's birthday. It was a simple two layer yellow cake, seperated by, and frosted with a citrus buttercream...

This is one of my favorite cakes to make... Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Three types of mousse, a brownie bottom layer, and fully covered with ganache. It happens to be quite lovely when cut...

That's all I have... there are more, but they are far less pretty to look at, so they are staying in the vault!! :)

Food pictures are fun!!


Some Cakes: A Retrospective, Part I

Though the blog is new, the fun with food has been going on for awhile. So for your viewing pleasure, I'm tossing in some k2 cake creations from earlier this year. Never thought that baking would end up being my thing, but baking is pretty precise and I'm pretty anal, ah, detail-oriented, so it's been a good match.

Baby Shower Block

Wedding "Blues"

I Heart Crayons (before)

I Heart Crayons (after)

Happy 58th Birthday, David Cassidy!

Darcy's Farewell Cake

Okay, this was actually done a couple of years ago, but I like to call it Meredith Before

And we'll call this one, Meredith After

Okay, that one not so edible unless you enjoy diapers and baby sock roses, but still...cake! Wendi is working on some of her photos as well, so more tasty food for the viewing to come.