Saturday, February 15, 2014

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake

I love birthdays. It's always nice to have a reason to celebrate, and I adore spending a day focusing on friends or family. My favorite thing about birthdays, however, is always the cake. Having a reason to make cake is always exciting for me, and birthdays are a great reason to pull out all the stops.

Today was a friend's birthday, so I made a cake. I used my new favorite recipe for chocolate cake- using stewed prunes for added moisture and delicate sweetness. You can find the recipe here ala Pastry Affair. I made a few substitutions as my friend is staying away from dairy.

The cake turned out perfect- solid structure, delicate and slightly spicy flavor, and not very sweet. I filled it with fresh strawberries and a thin layer of strawberry jam. The frosting was a vegan chocolate buttercream (using a soy based non-hydrogenated margarine). I then drizzled melted chocolate over the top of the cake and finished with chocolate covered strawberries.

The cake went over incredibly well. Everyone loved it, and it was a hit with those who like sweets (who enjoyed the frosting) as well as those who don't share my sweet tooth.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Cooking for One

This past Tuesday, Badger had a dinner meeting. Which is exciting because it means he is doing great work. But it also means that I was alone for the evening. I love cooking with Badger, but when it's just me, it's fun to find things that are new and exciting.

Pulling out all of the stops for a nice dinner also gave me something to do for the evening. It was exciting to go to the store and picking up just enough for me for the night. I treated myself to small amounts of ingredients at the gourmet grocery store. It was rather fantastic, and my dinner cost less than $10!

There is something amazing about spending a large amount of time planning, cooking, and relishing a meal. Really turning it into an experience. It's kind of amazing. I decided to start with an appetizer- red onion stuffed with goat cheese. This was really simple and could make a delicious light lunch. (Note: It heated up marvelously a couple days later for lunch at work).

The main course was savory beef tips (substitute) cooked in onions and a red wine reduction, poured into a buttery pastry shell. I steamed some brussel sprouts and broiled some white sweet potatoes for the side. It was amazing. Absolutely amazing.

I think I need to spend more time on one meal a week- really find the joy of cooking again.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Cheese Souffle!

So... I was in a bad mood the other day. When I'm feeling down, I find that baking helps- the more complicated the recipe the better. So I decided to make a cheese souffle.

I adore souffles- whether vegetable, savory, or sweet- their airy texture makes me happy. Cheese is easily my favorite though. Possibly because cheese is just delicious and amazing. It's creamy and nutty, but not too sweet or sugary.

After watching Dr Who, talking about making souffles reminds me of Oswald. Luckily, mine turn out a bit better than her attempts.