Thursday, February 24, 2011

Warm weather must mean Vegas.

It's cold and kind of icky weather outside today, therefore it must be time to
return to Las Vegas...
in spirit at least ;)

Where the sun is always shining, a cold day is temperatures in the 60's, and there are celebrities to meet on every street corner...
such as these two fellows.
[I know I've seen them before, somewhere...
Oh wait, the Gold versions were a couple of blocks back,
and across the road are the Rodeo versions,
and just around the corner are the singing ones.]

[Thank you, thank you very much.]
{No, no I could not resist saying that, it's practically a requirement.)

Now, on with the show!
Here are some more pictures of the IBIE conference.

Enormously vast space which translates to good exercise...
[as long as you don't eat All of the samples.]

*Just follow the trail of rainbow sprinkles, my pretty*
{So many sprinkles but not a drop of ice cream nearby... it's at least two aisles away.}
*Past the witch's garden.*
[lovely crop of pumpkins by the way]
{Always be sure to compliment a witch on her garden,
much less likely to be cursed that way}

*See?! Look at what happened to these two,
they obviously upset the witch.
Nobody wants that...*
[It's like all
of those horror movies that you watch, and you are telling the characters in the movie, "Listen to the scary music! Don't OPEN that door!"
but then they do and there's the inevitable screaming and gushing blood...
or in this case, mummification.]

Once you're past the minions, it's free sailing from there.[Either they are the witch's minions or possibly some of the conference attendees who have had a little too much sugar today. Could go either way really.]

*Take a hard left at the bread sculpture*
[Yes, it really is all bread]
Then you are at the entrance.
*Be sure to enter the right code or you have to start over completely*
[and that tends to make the witch a little cranky sometimes]

"Now, was it: Orange flower, black flower, gold swirl, red stripes?
Or was it: Gold swirl, black flower, red stripes, orange flower?"
"You have chosen wisely."

You may now enter the realm of cuteness and sweetness.[I think the buttons on the side are so cute and the bears are adorable although I'm sure that Stephen Colbert would strongly disagree.]

This was one of my favorite cakes at the show.
So simple and yet so elegant.
Well, that is all for today, I'm off to daydream about some more sunny, warm weather whilst bundling myself up in a warm blanket and sipping some hot tea.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chocolate Fantasy 2011

Chocolate Fantasy is held at the Jenkins Estate every year on the Friday before Valentines Day.

The whole place is beautiful and the Cooper Mountain winery
is just a hop, skip, and a jump up the road.

[On that note, there's a lot of wineries in this neck of the woods that are just a hop, skip, and a jump away.
That's one of the nice things about the Portland area,
there are so many nifty local places to visit and there are a phenomenal range of options to choose from

One of these days, I will go and wander around the Jenkins garden when I have some spare time, I always seem to only be up there when it's wintery.
Cest la vie.

Don't get me wrong though, I like the winter season there too, when the fog's rolling through the trees and the heavy mist
(not quite rain but just teetering on the rim of it)
clings to you and everything else but only when you are inside,
do you realize that you are soaked.

Now, on to the picture action.
Our booth is located in the stables which is a gorgeous building and if I could afford to, I would live here-just because I love the idea of all of the stalls being micro rooms.
That and it has such a comfortable, relaxed feel to the place. Though I am still trying to figure out how they fit horses in here, seems awfully snug for such big creatures.

Here's our booth
Ladybug Chocolates has been our regular neighbor for several years.
Their smoked salt chocolate covered caramels are delicious.
[We always do some serious trading with them: Their caramels for our cupcakes, our chocolate chip cookies for their chocolate covered Twinkies. It's a win win for all of us]
New kids on the block
with some really tasty toffee and brittle.
For a lot of people Valentines day tends to be a crazed frenzy to track down that perfect something to give your significant other.

The nice thing about the Chocolate Fantasy is that people are there to enjoy the chocolate.
Sure, there will be some purchases made but it's also about having a good time,
discovering some new things, and taking a breather from the usual craziness out there.

[There's more than just chocolate at this event,
upstairs is the Rose City Pepperheads with their Mango Madness jam.
I have three jars of it in my cupboard right now]

These flowers are always blooming when we are up there for the show.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My day off

Days off are few and far between when you work at a bakery.
There's always a holiday coming up, a wedding around the corner, or someone who needs that one special order as soon as possible.

However, those precious days do come, rare though they are.
There's the usual stuff to be done: catch up on house work,
maybe go for a walk, out to brunch, etc.

I do these things as well but more often than not...
[da da dahhhhhhhh]

I'm baking at home.
Yup, my day off and I'm knee deep in chocolate, flour, and vanilla.
[review previous masochist blog ]

Today it was, in order:

[Taaaa Daaaa]

Dinner rolls
The recipe called for all All Purpose flour, I experimented a little bit (again)
and switched out some of the All Purpose flour for some
whole wheat flour (from Cedar Creek Grist Mill).

Next up:

Chocolate Ginger cake with Whiskey Caramel Sauce
[Mmmmm, Whiskey sauce.]

Of course, by this time I realized that I had run out of the regular AP flour but I still had the whole wheat pastry flour (Cedar Creek Grist mill again) so the cake's not exactly as described in the recipe- mainly a little coarser in texture- but tasty none the less.

Next up on the menu:

Chocolate olive oil cake.

I also used the whole wheat pastry flour in this recipe but again, it doesn't make a noticeable difference except for having a slightly coarser texture.
I also used a raspberry flavoured cocoa from McStevens back when they made baking cocoa.

Then I washed dishes, rested a bit,
and watched something cute.
[moment of "Awwwwwww"]

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Collected Recipes

So, over the years I've collected recipes here and there; some are exotic, some are for comfort food, others are recipes that my family made when I was young like one for my one grandmother's biscuits or the for my other grandmother's Banana cookies or my mom's Swedish Cardamom bread, mmmmmmm. (The Cardamom bread always without icing of course-ah, happy drooling)

[hmm, maybe I should make another batch this weekend come to think of it.]

The reason I bring this up is because I am cleaning out the binders at work (very slowly I admit) of old recipes that need to be reorganized, rewritten, and just generally tidied up.

I have also started in on the binder at home that houses most of the recipes that I have collected from various magazines, hand written notes, photo copies, printouts from online; you know those recipes-the ones that catch your eye with their gorgeous pictures (practically food porn when you think about it), their ever seductive siren songs of come hither, "I'm Beyond SIMPLICITY ITSELF To Make" or "I only take 15 minutes to whip up, REALLY I DO DAHHHLING".

[see what I mean about the "food porn", it practically begs you to make it]

I've slowly been coming to terms with the fact that I will not make most of these recipes ever.
(meaning pretty much anything involving eggplant-don't like it,
I just don't-sorry mom & dad)

A few of the reasons are due to normal life things like: lack of time and energy, some of the recipes just duplicate ones that I already have in other places, others hold no interest for me any more as my tastes change, a few are just far too bothersome (or involve far too many pots and pans-I'm all for one or two dishes used, period-especially if they are cast iron), still others are missing that certain je ne sais quoi that I want/need/demand from a recipe.

I've also noticed that many recipes don't quite measure up upon closer inspection, sometimes literally. I especially love the ones that list an ingredient and then don't use it anywhere in the recipe itself.

"Why did I buy this half ton Lotus root if it's not used in the brownie recipe at all?! WHY!"

Anyhow, I have decided that it is time to free myself from this excess that weighs me down. I've already done it with my actual cookbooks and though I still have far too many of those (I use many of them for reference and I am continually reevaluating my need for others), I am very particular about the ones that I've kept...for now that is.
[Alton Brown never fear-you, James Beard, and Rose Levy Beranbaum will always be with me]

There are several recipes currently in the binder that I will continue to keep because the pictures are truly beautiful or there's some nugget of really useful information that caught my attention plus-one must always have some potential treasure trove to dig into and discover that true gem that outshines all others.

Yes, the binder will continue on...but it will be lighter, "better...stronger...faster", and more thought will be given in consideration of the next potential recipe to be worthy enough to be bound into the tome of...Recipes...

[hmm, need to work on a worthy title for it. I will have to get back to you about that part.]

[and maybe it will have flames down the side]
*Light bulb moment*
Oh, or something with a Steampunkish theme-yeah...Steampunk...some copper, maybe a little brass, a compass would be a nice touch...
I can envision it now...
Steampunk Binder, here I come.