Sunday, August 29, 2010

Grilled Breakfast Pizza- Take One

So, we've never grilled a pizza until now. And I must say, I'm not sure we totally have right quite yet but hey, we learned something and thought this was tasty enough to share even though it wasn't perfect.

I have to confess, we cheated a bit on the dough. I'm nine and half month pregnant with baby coming in less than a week. And surprisingly, we've (meaning Justin) found time to make some really good food! Justin's been making awesome fish tacos, carnitas, burgers, and now grilled breakfast pizza! But thanks to Trader Joe's, we whipped out these grilled breakfast pizzas on a lazy Sunday. They sell a premade, refrigerated yeast dough- it's literally in a simple plastic bag and it works great.

We added some flour to the dough, rolled and stretched it into a pizza-shape, and brushed olive oil on the one side. Justin also put some olive oil on the grill. We promptly wrecked the shape when putting it on the grill. Then I put the second pizza on the grill with the wrong oiled side up. Oops. It wasn't going well.

But sort of miraculously, the dough didn't stick and the pizza dough cooked. We cooked both sides...

Then added the toppings: fresh mozzarella, asparagus, sliced tomatoes, and prosciutto. We put an aluminum "tent" on top to help capture the heat and melt the toppings.

We also wanted to crack an egg on top- which we thought might cook faster than it did. It became clear that this wasn't cooking as well as we hoped. We quickly turned on the broiler and threw the pizzas with the egg under that. It worked pretty well.

And the final results: not bad! Here's the shot of the lovely runny yolk when pierced with a fork. The crust got a bit overdone in some areas and so next time we're thinking of doing the following: either grilling the crust on both sides and finishing the egg and toppings under the broiler or busting out the Big Green Egg. Either way, these results were tasty enough to inspire us to do it again!

If you haven't seen this other post on a breakfast tart that you make in the oven, you should check it out. It's much more decadent but pretty easy.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Cutest Baby Shower Cake Ever: Fondant + Barbie + Beaker

To celebrate our baby, who is due to arrive in about one and a half weeks, we had the loveliest barbeque given by our neighbors. I had to show some photos of the darling cake and cupcakes that they created!

You might remember my neighbor, Toni, who helped me make wedding shower and baby shower cookies. Well, this cake is her creation along with help from her husband and daughter.

Just so you can appreciate all the work here, I have to describe what they did to create pregnant Barbie, as me, with our dog, Beaker. They made Barbie's clothes and baby bump from fondant! And because Barbie is actually too tall for the cake, they used a Skipper legs and torso so that she was in proportion for the cake. As for Beaker, our black lab, they found a figurine of a Bernese Mountain dog and used a bit of paint. She looks so cute! I love the little hat and purse as well!

Justin wondered where he was and I told him "Shaving Fun Ken" was unavailable.

And I also have to mention these delicious cupcakes! They were chocolate with cream filling. Mmm, just what baby and mama wanted!

So, you'll probably see a slow down in posts with the arrival of our little guy but we'll try to post as much as we can.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Art of the Rustic Tart

Does pastry make you nervous? Are you just "not a baker?" Then rustic tarts are for you!

I was so excited to plan an event at my work called "The Art of the Rustic Tart" to introduce my co-workers to the simple and easy art of making a rustic summer fruit tart. We made this event very easy by using pre-made pie crust (I'm partial to Pillsbury Refrigerated rolled pie crust, fresh summer fruit, jams and lemon curd, an egg wash and different sugars. These simple ingredients plus some fun cutters provided an amazing palette for beautiful rustic tarts.

The basic directions:

1. Unroll the pie crust ( or make your own!) and cut or trim a base
2. Fold a crust to make an edge. If you make a standing edge, it may slump in the oven, so a simple fold is just fine.
3. Put a layer of jam or lemon curd if you like or not.
4. Add the fruit- we had sliced peaches, apricots, whole blueberries, sliced strawberries
5. Sprinkle with sugar (brown or white or even flavored sugars- we had some rosebud sugar, vanilla sugar) and spices like cinnamon
6. Dot with small pieces of butter
7. Add any cutouts for decoration
8. Brush the crust with a beaten egg to give it great color
9. Bake at around 375 to 400 until the crust is golden brown and cooked.

You can see that there are so many ways to make these! You can also put your pie crust base into a muffin pan to create more of a tartlet.

And as you can see, the results were quite beautiful.

And delicious! So even if you aren't a "baker" I hope you give this a try!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Three Baby Shower Diaper Cakes Not to Eat!

Well, we've been slow to post lately because we are getting quite close to having our baby. And in the meantime, we've been blessed with several different baby showers to welcome him! You can see that we are surrounded by creative people and I had to share a post with all of the "diaper cakes" we received. You may remember that I posted about a wedding cake made of towels and a wrapped gift like a cake but these cakes are much more impressive!

Cake Number One from Marie

This lovely cake is made with receiving blankets and some cute toys...filled with diapers!

Cake Number Two from Patty and Jen

These cakes served as centerpieces for the shower tables.

They were in two different sizes with was darling!

Cake Number Three from Jane

This cake isn't actually not a diaper cake but a cake filled with goodies for our baby- onesies, socks, blankets! Our baby will likely be attending a few baseball games (Oakland A's and Minnesota Twins) and so a few baseball themed items are right up his alley!

Thanks to everyone for the lovely cakes. I can't bear to take them apart yet, they are so cute!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cupcakes that Bloom: Chrysanthemum Cupcakes

With our batch of 24 cupcakes, my friend C and I decided to split half of them into the "pies" and half into this blooming chrysanthemum cupcakes. Both of these designs came from "What's New, Cupcake?" and they were flagged as " EZ" although I would flag it as beautiful and but putzy to make.

These cupcakes are stunning, frankly. They are indeed easy to make and they look great on a tiered plate or cupcake tree. In fact, I couldn't resist taking a ton of photos because they looked so great. So first, the basic how-to:

The petals are the biggest part that takes forever- however, it's really simple to do just time consuming. We bought a bag of white mini-marshmallows and a bag of the colored ones. We sorted the pink and yellow marshmallows ( which look surprisingly similar to the orange ones) for the pink and yellow flowers. Then, you cut the marshmallow on the diagonal to expose a sticky side and you dip the sticky inner part in fine sanding sugar as show in the photo. Each cupcake takes about 22 mini-marshmallows before you slice them. Because the marshmallow and frosting can dry out, we prepare them in the following order:

1. Count out your 22 mini marshmallows.
2. Quickly cut them on the diagonal.
3. Dip them in the sanding sugar.
4. Frost the base layer of frosting on the cupcake and place the petals in three rows starting from the outside ring first then creating the inner rings.
5. Pipe a swirl of frosting in the center.
6. Repeat for each cupcake.

The reason for doing this in the order is (1) you don't want the marshmallow sticky center to dry out before you dip them in the sugar so don't cut more than can quickly dip (2) you don't want to the frosting to harden before you place the petals so don't frost the cupcake until you are ready to place the petals.

We chose to create four different colors...yellow marshmallows with yellow sanding sugar.

Hot pink sanding sugar with light pink marshmallows...this had great contrast.

Bright blue sanding sugar and white marshmallows. Again great contrast.

The more subtle lavender sugar with the white marshmallows.

Finally, we arranged them with sour apple licorice to look like flowers on stems. Really sweet! I highly recommend this design but grab a friend and a good movie or soundtrack to pass the time as you slice and dip 22 marshmallows for each cupcake!