Friday, August 28, 2009

Daring Bakers August

The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful
of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos
Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite
Desserts from the Classic Caff├ęs of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

August is a birthday month in my house, so when I saw a cake recipe set for Daring Bakers in August, I was psyched. But here's the rub, the birthday is today. So I couldn't make it early and save the pictures for the 27th as I sometimes do. I had to wait until today to start. I suppose I could have started yesterday with the sponge layers, but I decided to go out last night with a friend and see Julie & Julia. What an inspirational movie for the foodie crowd. I'd already read the book, but I think that the producers and actors really did a phenomenal job with this one. However, since this isn't a movie review blog, I'll return to the task at hand.

Exhausted this morning, yet inspired by the flick, I set out to start the cake this morning shortly after vanilla french toast with sauteed peaches was cooked and cleaned.

I've never made a cake with layers this thin before. Although I've done much baking and icing, I've never made a buttercream the way this recipe called for. Doing butter cream this way was ceratinly more time consuming, but way worth the effort. The final product was especially velvety and smooth with a full bodied taste. I doubt I'll go to all the trouble to recreate this Dobos Torta in entirety, but I guarantee I will make this frosting again.

Biggest problem was the caramel. Amber brown is subjective term; I wish there had been a temperature because I didn't let it go long enough, so it did not totally solidify. The top layer is a little bit softer than expected, but maybe that's not all bad after hearing from others that it was essentially tooth breaking made the correct way.

So I'm glad I snuck this one in, even though it was a bit late. The birthday boy is very excited, both for the cake and the homemade spaghetti and meatballs.

Please excuse the army party plate. What else could a seven year old want his cake served on?

Sunday, August 23, 2009


this is the whole reason i wanted to go to martha's vineyard.
more vaca meals to post later, but this one couldn't wait.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

so I'm going on vacation....

Any mothers out there will agree that there is no such thing as a vacation for a mother. There are simply changes of scenery. But I digress.

You know by now (my six faithful readers) that I have a Tantre Farm crop share that I get every week. My ups and downs revolve around this wonderful bounty every week. I'm not going to be around to pick up next week's, and I have already tagged a friend to pick up next week. But I didn't want this week's to go to waste, and we're leaving in 24 hours.

So here's how I spent my last two hours.

  • snapped and blanched one quart green beans (now freezing)
  • chopped and blanched 10 summer squash (now freezing)
  • shucked, blanched, and took the kernels off 8 ears of corn (now freezing)
  • chopped and blanched one head of kale and one head of collard greens (now freezing)
  • breaded and fried two large eggplant (now cooling on a rack - half to be eaten tonight for eggplant parm)
  • made 4 jars full of pesto (basil, garlic, pine nuts, parm reg) (now freezing)
  • slow roasted eight tomatoes (to be suspended in olive oil in the fridge until I'm back)
  • refrigerated six beets and six carrots (they'll probably keep for a week in the fridge)
  • washed the lettuce to eat tonight
  • sliced and ate one yellow watermelon between five of us
Whew! No wonder my feet are aching.

P.S. Another wonderful Ann Arbor blogger, Four Obsessions, is cataloging her Tantre Farm's shares every week. If you're interested, take a look at what we're also eating every week. What a great idea! At one point I thought I could do it too, but I never got around to it. I'm glad she did!

Thursday, August 06, 2009


Indian food is like sex. (I warned ya.) Vindaloo, Paneer, Tikki, Masala, Tandoori, Basmati studded with seeds, Lassi- these sound like dirty words to a fair skinned maiden. Think about it from every sensual perspective; the passionate tastes, full of color, the smells, the intense craving, and the even more intense satisfaction.

I've been craving it for a few weeks, since I last took my brother-in-law to Shalimar, downtown Ann Arbor. That was my virgin experience in an Indian restaurant. I had made some dishes myself from a cookbook and chosen Indian from the Plum Market hot food bar, yet eating at Shalimar (this isn't really a restaurant review because I'm so much a virgin) connected the dots for me.

So I sheepishly called my hard working husband at 5 p.m. and asked him to go out of his way to pick up Indian tonight. I couldn't hold out against the craving any longer. He acquiesced and agreed to be there by six to pick up anything that I ordered. Wonderful. I hate having to beg.

It was fabulous. All that I expected, plus some. Left me satiated and happy, and slightly out of breath.

Consider me addicted, having only licked the top of the iceberg. Slowly.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Calder Dairy

I love my milkman. Not "in love" with my milkman. I just love that as I'm running out of milk, he's pulling in the driveway with gallons of whole milk, skim milk, chocolate milk (that tastes like liquid pudding), cream, butter, eggs & buttermilk. He's even got ice cream in there, if I can catch him in time. And it is fabulous ice cream.

But here's the best thing of all. This milk being delivered to my door tastes fresh. There is no industrial aftertaste. The texture is smooth. It's almost refreshing, if you're one of those people who can be quenched by milk.

If you live in the Washtenaw County area, you should seriously consider getting a Calder Dairy milkman. Not just for the kitsch-factor. You can know that you are feeding your family the best.
For only $2 per week the milk is brought to your house. If you'd rather use that $100 per year in some other way, make sure when you are at a local grocery store that you are reaching for those glass bottles. You won't be disappointed.

The only problem is that once you're hooked, regular milk is virtually unpalatable.