Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I Made Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream... And So Can You

I haven't blogged in a while. Again. Sorry, guys. I've baked, just haven't blogged. Now, if you bake and don't blog is it like it never happened? Sounds kind of like the tree that falls in the woods thing.

Anyway, motherfuckers, let's get to it. My most favorite gift of the last year is my ice cream maker. My mama got it for me for Christmas and it's changed my life. Once you have homemade ice cream you'll be like, "Yo, Dreyers, go fuck yourself cause you're dead to me."

I've become an uppity ice cream snob and I'm OK with it. Custard style is the way to go, and the ice cream man might as well be David Lebovitz because he's the only man I trust to tell me how to make my home confections.

I made Mr. Lebovitz's vanilla bean custard recipe the first couple times, but after that I decided to kick it up a notch. I'm mint chocolate chip obsessed, so I needed to make my own. I figured if it was half as good as the vanilla bean I'd be happy. 

I started my research for the right recipe and started and ended on David Lebovitz's recipe page. His vanilla recipe that I knew and loved starts by steeping the beans and pods in warm milk for an hour. It makes this intense flavor develop that is indescribable perfection. Then I read his post on his all natural mint chip recipe. 

It goes around the same lines as the original vanilla bean ice cream recipe... the steeping. It's the secret. You warm your milk, then put a ton of fresh mint in. After turning off the heat, you cover and let that pot steep for a full hour. Afterwards, you squeeze all that mint until your milk is turned a lovely natural mint color. You follow the normal steps for a custard ice cream - reheating your milk, tempering your egg yolks into that milk, then laboring over the stove, stirring with a spatula until that shit thickens. Don't rush this part! (Unless you want scrambled ice cream.) That thickened custard is strained into the chilled heavy cream that's sitting over an ice bath. You chill that, and then it's ready to churn. It's churned, and then you do a stracciatella chocolate swirl that you break up into chips.

Now, Mr. Lebovitz warned about the herbaceous nature of this ice cream. He mentioned it would be earthy. I guess I just didn't realize how earthy he meant. This sure did taste like herb... the kind you need a prescription for. 

If you're used to your grocery store dyed green mint chocolate chip ice cream, this one isn't for you. I wouldn't give this to younger kids, but my 10-year-old nephew and his friends couldn't get enough of it.

Here's my ice cream churning. I think it looks like a small minty butt.

If you want to try to make this ice cream for yourselves from home, here's Mr. David Lebovitz's recipe I used. Do partake. (recipe after the jump)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

WHAT HAPPENS: when you meet your soul mate & you’ve already got one

Guys. Girls. Today I met my new boyfriend. He was a vision. Let’s discuss cause I’m all kinds of fucked up about it. 

Let me pre-empt this description with the fact that I love my actual current live-in boyfriend. He’s great. He’s handsome. He’s funny. He’s loyal. He’s supportive. He makes really good veggie enchiladas for me after I work a 14-hour day. But for everything that Jeff has, this guy I met today has... everything else. Everything I’ve been wanting and needing that I didn’t even realize I wanted and needed. Could this be my Mr. Big? Yeah, I’m using that reference. Why don’t you just not worry about that. 

This guy, let’s call him Gus, is a thinker which is what I really go for. He’s got the smarts and he’s not afraid to show em off. He wants to inform people. He wants us all to be happy, to be productive. 

I love him. He looks like that guy from Taboo that’s living like an adult baby. I bet an overweight night nurse swaddles him to bed with a baby bottle of Pepsi. I wish I was that night nurse. Fuck that, I wish I was the bottle of Pepsi. 

I do love that he’s drinking water. Even though you know this lovely fatty enjoys his sugary soft drinks. But he saves his two-liters for home. 

I wish you could see his luxurious, bloated thick-nailed near-diabetic amputation feet. They’re fucking magic. And of course mahfucker is in sandals. It’s hot out. 

Can we just talk about the fact that I am so glad he’s completely delusional and instead of hopping on the “I’m poor but I vote against my interests” wagon (READ: ROMNEY) and gets a little mental and says, “Ya know what, fuck that, I’m gonna go ahead and vote for this fictional dude you guys have all heard of. Ya know, cause he’s been the ominous, deciding voice behind most of the recent fucked up legislation”. WHAT A GENIUS. 

Also, the hat. Love it. Pretty sure I saw a guy at Intelligentsia with a matching one a couple days ago. Oh, those gold rush hipsters. 

That’s really all I have to say about my new boyfriend. I just wish I could conceal my attraction. I know the minute I walk through the door tonight, Jeff’s going to see it all over my face... the drool is going to be the biggest sign, obviously. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

WHAT I’VE REALIZED: regarding baking + writing about it

Hey y’all. 

Long time no typey. I apologize! I’ve certainly neglected you. Life has taken many “interesting” turns since I last shared with you... six months ago... I can’t believe it’s been six months. In that time I’ve had many realizations about what I want out of my baking and writing. 

I ran out of money and had to take a waiting tables job that drained all the creativity out of me. Wanna really test out your ego? Go serve tables in West Hollywood. And I thought I hated myself. I’d come home and didn’t have the will to bake a cake, let alone write about it. I made the choice to quit that job and try to venture down the creative road again. I’ve had a little excitement, then a little disappointment. It’s hard enough to have a dream, trying to make it happen is even harder. 

I started getting really fucking frustrated. And I hit a wall... and while I was down on the ground, I noticed some white dust on the floor. Not that kind of dust, dummy. Flour. Cake flour. Sifted w care, then drifting through the air to a soft pillowy landing. I bet I know what you’re thinking - this bitch doesn’t wash her floors. First of all, that’s my boyfriend’s one job. Second, a little dirt never hurt anyone and I’m simply trying to ensure a strong immune system. 

Moving on. After all this change I’m back in the kitchen. And I love it. If I can’t control whether someone is going to think I’m funny, bubbly or annoying, I can control how much powdered sugar goes in that frosting. I can make sure those whites hit stiff peaks + don’t fall. 

When everything’s lost and you don’t think you can find the way out, you always know three things: 
  1. taking the proper steps & precautions almost entirely ensures a positive result;
  2. any type of creativity is good creativity;  AND
  3. everybody likes the girl that comes with cookies. 

xoxo B

Monday, August 29, 2011

LAYER CAKE: Red Velvet for my Mama on her birthday

I’ve been hard at work on a very special baked good. Today is my mama’s birthday and she’s here in Los Angeles visiting me. I definitely got my sweets addiction from my mama. We got it bad. 

Of all the confections I grew up with my mama’s favorite is a red velvet layer cake. She goes crazy for it. But ya gotta go old school. We use the Waldorf Astoria’s infamous recipe for our rich crimson cake and frosting  as perfectly crisp as a starched white shirt. 

Stop gettin’ your panties in a bunch, I’m gonna give you the recipe, just suffer through my family stories cause I love my mama. Daddy’s girl? Bitch pleeeeze. I’m a mama’s lady. 
But here’s the thing. My mama’s a 
backseat baker. She’s got it bad. I’m 
slaving away in a flaming hot kitch
and she is all up on me with quest-

“You’re gonna keep on mixing while
you sift the flour?”

“You’re not gonna cool that sauce off 
in the fridge, are you?”

“You look like shit today, are you 
stressed out?”

OK, that last thing didn’t happen. Still! Mother fucking backseat baker! Get outta my kitchen! 

I did get her approval on the Tiffany blue frosting color. You have to give them something to feel in control. 

I will say, I’m not much of a wordsmith in the cakesphere. It’s stressful. The cake turned out OK, but I definitely need to work on my buttercream cursive. It’s lacking. 

The cake is made. She’s safe in the fridge, and my dad is sending photos of it to all his friends. Here’s some dessert porno for you. 

You ready? I’ll let you get your pants undone real quick...

Oh, and recipe after the porn.

You’re welcome: 

Monday, August 22, 2011

EXPERIMENTING (for a good cause): vegifying + de-glutening gram's chocolate cake

Introducing the baby bean 
Vegan + Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcake + Cinnamon-Cayenne "Butter"cream:

Take a look at these beauties. 

Listen, I'm excited. Can you tell I'm excited? Cause I am. I really am. I have an adrenaline rush.
Please let me preface my excitement with the fact that I spent all day yesterday and today desperately trying to figure out a way to morph Grammy's Chocolate Cake into a vegan and gluten-free delicacy. Around try number 4 I just didn't think it was possible.

I was cursing in the kitchen, near tears. I felt stupid. Why was I even trying to do this? It's not gonna work. Vegan baked goods are never good. I've had a lot. Maybe I was missing that one example that is the exception, but in that moment, I was yearning for my butter and white flour. Because that's all I knew as a bakestress.

But here's the thing, I am trying to make these recipes work for something bigger than my frustration.

Next week I'll be starting what I hope to be a long and luscious relationship with inCYST. inCYST is a network of independent professionals committed to helping women with polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS.  If you're not familiar with the syndrome, it is one of the most common female endocrine disorders affecting approximately 5%-10% of women of reproductive age. It's thought to be one of the leading causes of female infertility. It manifests in several ways, and it's mostly controlled by diet and exercise, primarily keeping low carb and low glycemic.

Hence, the delicious healthier dessert alternatives for all my PCOS hunnies out there. Everyone should get to have dessert. It's only fair!

I got back to work after my meltdown and listed out my old very un-Vegan and chock full of gluten ingredients and restarted my research on substitution. Another couple batches and a couple trips to my local specialty health foods store (oh, we'll talk about that later) and I had a moist chocolately delicious cupcake. I augmented my cinnamon buttercream by using Earth Balance (the only vegan-approved margarin I know of) and added a hefty Doc Marten-sized kick with some cayenne.

In other news, who knew agave was such a dream to work with.

In batches 2 and 3 I tried my hands at sugar replacement via Stevia, but it was a big miss. Jef and I spit the cakes out. We've never done that. It was the first time I've thrown my baked goods away. It hurt. Gosh, it feels good to say that out loud.

I'm kidding. Errors are fine in the kitchen. In the bedroom, on the other hand... Never ok.

I'll be selling my vegan + gluten-free goodies at an event inCYST is holding at Creative Chakra Spa in Marina Del Rey next Saturday, August 27. Celebrity trainer Craig Ramsay will be there holding boot camp classes on the beach. There are spa treatments at this celebrity-frequented spa. They're serving a light lunch, provided by inCYST friend and Insomniacfest partner in crime Nancy Carballo, plus a treat from Growing Naturals. AND ME! Don't forget about the bean! All of this and your contribution can help raise money for PCOS research?! Yes, please!

It's at Creative Chakra Spa - 3401 Pacific Avenue, Marina del Rey, CA.

More info on next Saturday's event including prices for the bootcamps + chakra treatments here.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

SKILLS: i make layer cakes...

...and the lady stayed together! (If you're familiar, sometimes things don't work out in my kitchen. See Exhibit A from the doughnut post.)

She's a 9-inch vanilla cake (Martha Stewart's recipe) with two layers. She's filled with vanilla buttercream sandwiched between a fresh cinnamon-blueberry filling. This is such a great way to use those extra blueberries from the market.

{RECIPES after the JUMP}

The frosting is to die for. I never say that, but it's true: you'll probably die if you eat too much of it. You start by whisking egg whites and sugar over a double boiler until it's 150 degrees.

You transfer the egg white/sugar mixture to the KitchenAid and beat it on high for 15 minutes. They'll be super stiff peaks. Then you add an entire pound of butter (the heart attack maker) a tablespoon at a time and finish with some vanilla extract.

This buttercream is just... there are no words. Well, perhaps buttery and creamy. Those are good describing words.

Take a look at this beauty. She is DELICIOUS.

Monday, August 15, 2011

EAT: the carrot cupcake + cinnamon cream cheese frosting

A snapshot from the recent mega order of carrot cupcakes. 
Family recipe. Fresh ingredients. Friggin delicious.

Make an order here!