Friday, April 29, 2011

And Then There Was Cake

Growing up we would have leftover cake or pie for breakfast.  I continued this with my children.  The highlight of a holiday was the next morning eating chocolate pecan pie, apple pie or ooey gooey cake for breakfast.

When I was told about the blog Desserts For Breakfast I knew it was a marriage made in heaven.
Cathie sent me a link recently about the Oreo Olalleiberry Chocolate Layer Cake suggesting the cake shots would be delicious.  I replied back, in order to make the cake shots one needed to make the cake. And the challenge was accepted but a learning curve needed to follow.  I was not familiar with olalleiberries.  Olalleberries are genetically 2/3 blackberry and 1/3 raspberry and have a short growing season.  I didn't think this time of year that was going to happen so I decided to substitute the raspberry as it is on the sweeter side.  Then the next query was what was black cocoa? 

Turns out when a recipe calls for Dutch cocoa the cocoa does not need to come from Holland, although mine does.  According to David Lebovitz Dutch-processed cocoa powder is made from cocoa (cacao) beans that have been washed with a potassium solution, to neutralize their acidity. Black cocoa is cocoa powder that has been heavily-Dutched.

Onward I went with the recipe.  Although I was able to find black cocoa online I did not find it locally and I did not want to wait so moving forward I used a full cup of my Droste cocoa which seemed to be acceptable in the cocoa world..  That was last week.   Unfortunately I did not read the part about needing 8" pans.
Nine inch  pans do not cut it when making a cake that requires cutting each layer in half.  My 9" cake pans made a very low and puffy cake. Off I went on the search for 8" cake pans.  I did not own any, Raley's did not have any and either did Rite Aid.  So I called my friend Cheryl.  She did not have any either.
  Jo-Ann Fabrics is a vendor for Wilton cake supplies so with my coupon on Monday off I went to buy cake pans.  Some fabric and two 8 inch cake pans later I was in business.

Wednesday I started baking my cake. Other then using a cup of my Droste cocoa I followed the cake recipe from the blog. After that I diverged a little.  I used the buttercream icing recipe that Kelsey and I learned when we took our cake decorating class. 

2 cups Crisco
2 tsp butter flavor
3/8 cup water
2 lb. confectioner sugar
2 tbl meringue powder
7/8 cup raspberry puree
4 tbs. cocoa

To make the raspberry puree I defrosted one l0 oz package of frozen unsweetened raspberries in a sift.  Force the thawed berries through the sift using the back of a spoon.  Add to this 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp lemon juice.

For the dark chocolate ganache I also did not change up the recipe.

After splitting the layers of your cake, spread a layer of buttercream frosting and coarsely chopped oreo cookies.  I used four per layer.  Frost your entire cake and then spread the cooled ganache over your cake.

         This next step is my favorite - eat some cake - for breakfast, lunch, dinner or anytime of the day.
The only thing I would do different next cake is using the leftover puree between each layer of cake giving an even more berry flavor.

I also did not have any cake to make the shots but I do have leftover buttercream and puree.  Hmmm -I  need to figure out what to do with those.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Clue #2

I finished Clue #2 on my Roxanne Mystery Shawl today.  I hit a bump or two.  Sunday I realized I was turning the cables incorrectly so I had to frog back to Clue #1. 

Clue #3 comes out on Friday and it is my understanding there will be no more "ssk ml p2".  My hands do hurt a little.

Now back to working on the Rose Stole KAL.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hoppy Easter

Since the children are in Texas and I'm in California I like to send a box of seasonal treats each holiday. I also lately have been including a knitted washcloth in the girls boxes.

Sugar & Cream

I thought tulips were appropriate for Easter.

Nashua Creative Focus Cotton
This is the Spring Time dishcloth designed by Pam Walker.  I used a size 5 needle on both of them. 

I love making dishcloths because I can have a finished project in an evening and I need that instant gratification every so often.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I Couldn't Help Myself

Liz Abinante recently posted a new Mystery KAL. As a fan of her Saroyan I just couldn't resist the call of a mystery KAL.
First to go stash diving to see if I had any sock yarn that would work.  I needed between 410 to 430 yards in a somewhat solid color.  The one yarn I had was some Temptation which is 80% superwash merino, 10% nylon and 10% cashmere I had purchased at Madrona from Abstract Fiber that was destined to be a pair of socks for Jim in blues.  Not really my colors, so what does a girl do, she goes online shopping at Abstract Fiber for Temptation in a color she would wear.  I seem to have a thing for red right now and that is what I bought.  What is even better, Abstract Fiber is donating 50% of the purchase price of the color Red to the Red Cross to support Earthquake relief in Japan through April 30. 

The first clue was posted last Friday.  I finally worked on my shawl last night and this is what the first clue produced.
Today the second clue was posted.  I have decided to wait until a few others have knit Clue 2.  This way I get to enjoy their expertise and sharing of knowledge.

In other KAL news the Rose Stole is now half done.  It looks like a lump so I don't plan to take pictures again until it is finished and blocked.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cassidy Finished

My Cassidy has been finished for several weeks I just haven't been able to get anyone to take my picture while I have it on.  I decided today to just take pictures.  I made this using Berroco Vintage and have enjoyed wearing it.  I've even used the hood one night after a knitting guild meeting when it was raining.
I got the buttons at Muse in St. Helena.  Muse is a small yarn shop in Napa Valley that I have visited and been ignored now three times (and let me reiterate - it's small)  but I do like their pearl button selection. 
The weather here is warming up so I will be probably have to put my Cassidy up but any chilly night I will look forward to wearing it.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Grilled Salmon

Jim mentioned to me the other night we had some 2008 reserve chardonnay we had purchased two years ago when the Millers were visiting that we probably need to think about drinking.  You don't have to tell me this twice.

Tonight we are having grilled salmon, risotto and a mixed green salad along with a Frank Family Vineyard 2008 Reserve Chardonnay.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rose Stole KAL

As many of you know I work in a yarn shop part time.  This week we are starting two new KAL's   I will be the moderator of the Rose Stole by Susanna IC from the Spring 2011 Interweave Knits Magazine on Thursdays.  We are doing a KAL on Saturdays of the Pinkerton Shawl by Susan Dittrich also from the Spring Interweave.

I had a skein of Jaggerspun Heather in my stash and decided to use it for the stole.  Although the pattern does not call for beads I wanted to add some in the rose bud lace border.  This project is started using a provisional cast on knitted from the center back so you will have a mirror image of the border.

Tomorrow we will begin with the provisional cast on.  The method I will be showing is one Jean showed me several years ago where using waste yarn you crochet on to your knitting needle and then you knit on to those stitches with your working yarn. 

If you want to knit a long you will need approximately 850 yards of lace weight yarn and a size 7 needle.  And of course a copy of Interweave Knits Spring 2011.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


When we bought our current home we retained the services of the gentleman that took care of the pool.  His name is Fernando.  Jim was not familiar with taking care of a pool and I was still living in Arlington.  Fernando  did a great job taking care of our pool.  When I finally moved out to California I became the caretaker of the pool.  Before we let Fernando go I had him show me how to break down the filter.  In Texas we had a filter that used diatomaceous earth which had to be flushed out every few months and totally cleaned twice a year.  The California filter needs to be broken down just once a year.

I have a love/ hate relationship with our pool.  More hate than love.  Since moving here slightly over a year ago I have been in the pool twice - once involuntarily after which I needed a new ipod.  While it looks lovely, it never gets warm.

Today, after putting it off for several weeks, I finally broke down and took apart the filter.  The pool's been green for a while and chlorine has not really helped much.  I am happy to report all went well although I did have to make a run to Home Depot for a new nozzle for our hose.  While I was there I picked up some basil.  Hopefully it's not to early to plant.  Any how, if you like swimming in really cold water you are welcome to come by for a swim.  And if you're not into swimming you are also welcome.  We have plenty of wine which I will be more than happy to pour.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Tonight we had chili for the last time of the season.  I am hoping this is our last cold snap.  It's 45 degrees outside this evening.  I normally make chili from scratch but I wanted to use up my last pack of Cin Chili mix.  I did add diced tomatoes, some diced onion and tonight I added black beans.  Cin Chili is also available in individual packs that can be microwaved which are great if you're a college student.  Along with chili, Jim and I enjoyed some corn bread muffins, a green salad and a bottle of Macchia 2009 Mischievous Zinfandel from Lodi.

We found Cin Chili at one of our visits to Zest Fest in Fort Worth.   Zest Fest is an annual festival of hot sauce, barbecue sauce and other spicy food.  We actually have a system of going through all the booths and then going back through to buy the best of the best.  Rachel likes her hot, hot sauce, Hagen is into spicy raspberry jam and barbecue sauces and Kelsey likes her milder hot sauce.  Over the years we have introduced others to the Zest Fest experience.  Ryan has gone with us, as well as Alex, Hersh, and Brad has become hooked on spicy peach jam. 
This year Zest Fest was moved from September in Fort Worth to January in Irving.  I am proud to say Rachel and Hagen went to represent the family.   Mark it on your calender for next year, January 27 through the 29 at the Irving Convention Center.   

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Baby Chalice Blanket

We have several babies coming on Jim's side of the family so I thought I'd get a start on some baby blankets.  Baby blankets are great to knit as there is no shaping involved  and are an easy straight forward knit.  The Baby Chalice blanket is a great pattern I knit using three skeins of Berroco Vintage

This is the second time I've used Berroco Vintage and I love knitting with it.   I did cast on twenty extra stitches for a total of 103 to make the blanket a little larger.  The finished size was 28 x 34.

I can also attest to the fact that Vintage is wonderful after going through the washing machine.  I managed to spill coffee on the blanket 5 rows before finishing knitting.  I bound off and put the blanket in the washing machine and you are seeing the finished result. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cherry Tomatoes

My friend Cheryl left us a wonderful surprise, some beautiful cherry tomatoes, at our front door yesterday that she had gotten at the farmers market that day.  I went searching for a recipe to do these delightful jewels justice. 

 I found a recipe by Tyler Florence with a blue cheese dressing.
1/4 c. crumbled blue cheese, I used Point Reyes
1/4 c. buttermilk, I used a scant 1/4 c. heavy cream with a tb. vinegar
1 tb. olive oil
1 tb. lemon juice
Salt and pepper
2 tbs. fresh chives
1 pint cherry tomatoes

Blend first 6 ingredients together using a fork to work in the blue cheese.
Add cherry tomatoes.

My goal is to get to the farmers market next week.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Dinner tonight

Sweet Paul Magazine is a digital magazine beautifully photographed with wonderful articles and recipes that comes out quarterly.
Tonight for dinner I made the Ricotta and Parmesan Frittatas.  This is the second time I've made this frittata.  The first time I used leeks, this time I used green onions because that is what I had in the refrigerator.
Since there is two of us I halved the recipe.  My only complaint about this recipe is although the photograph shows individual portions if you follow the directions you put the entire pan from the stove to the oven.  I put the egg mixture in  three ramekins in a water bath at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

 Along with the frittata we enjoyed steamed broccoli and grilled salmon.
And of course a glass or two of our latest house wine - Aquinas Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley.
Right now it's priced at $12.99 at Raley's.