Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Franzycakes V 2.0

As I mentioned last March, I have a friend who really likes Franz Ferdinand. Her birthday came around again, and lucky for me, they've come out with another album. Behold! Franzycakes: The Return!

Those are Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Quick Melty Ganache from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

Most of the cupcakes simply said TONIGHT: YOUR BIRTHDAY

But that got boring, so I made a few hands, too:

Then I realized I wasn't actually giving her the cupcakes on her birthday. She picked them up from my office almost two weeks later and I didn't want my cupcakes to be living a lie:

The cupcakes themselves are very tasty, but were a little dry. That may have been because I couldn't get my flax seeds as well ground as I should have (I used a wooden mortar and pestle).

The decorating went easier and faster than I expected it to. I would have gone slower if I thought it would help, but it wouldn't have. As I was working on the cupcakes, I thought to myself "Wow, these look like crap. I'm going to look up the pictures of last year's Franz Ferdinand cupcakes and will see absolutely no improvement in my lettering. That fucking sucks." Then I realized "Wait a minute, I don't think I've done any writing since last year's Franz Ferdinand cupcakes. How the hell can I improve if I don't practice?!" and that made me feel a little better. What made me feel even better (and worse) was actually looking at last year's cupcakes. Go click the link in the first line of this post. I'll wait.

Done laughing yet?

Holy crap! Those were fucking TERRIBLE! How the fuck did I take those out of the house?!? CHRIST! My friends should have confiscated my pastry bag then and there. Shit.

So yeah, one quick way to improve your piping skills (and maybe even your self esteem) is to start out making something that looks like TOTAL CRAP because you couldn't get your icing the right texture. I remember those taking fucking hours to decorate, too. What the shit.

This time, the icing was the perfect consistency. I was just a lazy asshole and didn't feel like getting a second pastry bag for the orange icing, so I washed the bag in between colors and refilled it wet, making my orange icing nice and runny. YAY I'M AWESOME!

They don't look anything like professional, but they taste good, all of them were legible and two people (including the birthday girl) were able to recognize what they were supposed to be without being told. For me, that's a creative victory.

(Also: two posts in one week! What the balls?!)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Oh Hi

Wow, I'm really crap at this blog thing, huh?

Hmmm....what's happened since my last post of any substance? Let's see.

Pastel de Choclo on TwitPic

(please excuse the crappy photo. It's taken with my BlackBerry and apparently TwitPic* doesn't let you embed photos without shrinking them. This picture really isn't worth reuploading to Flickr, but we'll make do since it's all I have from the past few months and this post needs something. You can click through to see it in it's larger, overbroiled, glory.)

Vegan Brunch testing ended. Pre-order your copy today! (thus concludes the shameless plug portion of this post)

I successfully completed about a week doing Eat to Live really hardcore. During that week, I made loads of non-photogenic soup, which was not worth posting about.

I spent two months doing my own modification of Eat to Live, which basically meant making more ugly (though tasty) food and not eating any Luna Bars. Success!

I gave up fried foods for the period of time known as Lent (also chewy candy, but that's not relevant to what you see here).

I baked a lot of chocolate chip cookies. They didn't come out anywhere near as pretty as Isa's.

Testing began for Terry Hope Romero's Vegan Latina. WOOHA!

So far, I've made Tropical Pumpkin Soup, which uses Calabaza pumpkin instead of the kind you usually use on Thanksgiving. It's really good and creamy and kind of thymey. Yum.

Locro, or Creamy Potato Soup with Avocado, might be my new boyfriend. My whole family loved this. It's so thick and rich and creamy. The avocado adds a nice touch to your usual potato soup and it's garnished with lime juice and raw red onion which give it a nice kick.

Pastel de Choclo, or Sweet Basil & Corn Pot Pie, is kind of like shepherd's pie gone south o' the border. The filling is made up of vegetables, raisins, tempeh and yuca and the topping is a sort of batter made of corn instead of the usual potato. So. Good. The picture above doesn't really do it justice because I broiled the hell out of the top (I've said it before and I'll say it 74289 times more: I like my shit burnt).

In addition to getting to make all sorts of tasty awesomeness, working on this book is allowing me to try out a bunch of new flavors. In one week, I've already added two new spices to my list (annatto, which I used to flavor an oil that was to be used in the potato soup and many other things, and epazote, sort of like Latiny oregano). So much fun!

I think that's all I've got. Now that I'm testing again and Passover is coming, hopefully you'll see a bit more from me in the coming months.

So how've you been?

*Yes, I'm on Twitter, but I don't bother to link it here because I'm not one of those interesting food-related Twitterers who posts all sorts of useful links and stuff, it's mostly just my friends and I bullshitting.