November 13, 2009
Congratulations, Erin and Brian, and your little dogs too.
October 7, 2009
The whole experience took me back to my days living in France, when the highlight of my week was going to the bakery on the corner and buying a tarte au citron. I completely fell in love with the French way of making pastries, and while I'm certainly no expert, I have such a respect for the method. There was this one boulangerie in particular in Nancy, where I lived, that had the best lemon tarts in the city. I would make a trip across town on foot just for one of those tarts.
Vanilla bean pastry cream (adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten)
6 extra large egg yolks (at room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
2 cups milk
1 vanilla bean, the insides scraped out
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp heavy cream
Using a mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is lightened in color. On low speed, beat in the cornstarch.
Scrape the vanilla bean into the milk and bring the milk to a simmer in a large saucepan.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture (temper it by pouring only a little bit at first, and then pour in the rest of the milk). Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon, until the mixture is thick, about 10 minutes. Bring to a boil and cook on low heat for about 3 more minutes. Mixture should be smooth.
Remove from heat. Mix in butter, vanilla extract and cream. Strain into a bowl using a wire mesh strainer. Place plastic wrap directly on the custard surface and refrigerate until cold.
August 27, 2009
July 14, 2009
July 13, 2009
June 5, 2009
Fast forward to now, and things are going quite swimmingly. Jason went a little crazy with his homemade "topsy-turvy" tomato thingys. We now have 13 tomato plants. For 2 people. I make fun of him now, but who'll be laughing when we have a huge bounty of beautiful tomatoes later this summer? Not me. I'm excited to eat from our own garden and to use home-grown herbs in some baking recipes.
I'd like to introduce you to Mater, our 3 year old Boxer. Mater James is his full name, actually. Or MJ, as we like to call him. Can you tell that we love this dog a little more than is probably normal or healthy? Anytime you wish, he would be happy to sit on your lap or give you a hug. He can be found most days in our yard doing this:
So, that is what we've been working on, before the stifling Missouri heat sets in. Some day soon, our friends will be getting the call to come over and eat big juicy tomatoes while sipping on a mojito with fresh mint from the little pot on our porch. You can thank us later.
May 18, 2009
Let's start with the pretty cupcake party. Sharon Taylor of Sharon Taylor Designs had the idea to host a cupcake and champagne party to promote our businesses. Sharon is a very talented interior designer/event planner/creative genius. One other interesting thing about Sharon is that she has all these sisters who are equally creative in their own ways, and they all live in the same neighborhood in Springfield. I think that's really great. I would also like to add that the Arnold sisters have the most adorable names for their children: Goldie, Birdie, Sylvia, Eleanor...there are lots more that have escaped me, but you get the idea.
Anyway, my main job for the party was to make cupcakes. Sharon's main job was to decorate the courtyard of Tea Bar & Bites (thank you Mom!) as she would for a fancy bridal shower or dinner party. Sharon's sister Lizzie designed some cute invitations, which we sent to friends and family. On a beautiful sunny Saturday, this happened:
A good number of people came and it was really nice. I'm still trying to figure out how to get my hands on one of the beautiful chandeliers that Sharon hung up for the party.The same week I got a phone call from 417 Magazine; specifically from their Bride editors. They wanted to know if I would be interested in making a wedding cake for their upcoming bridal issue. I told them that while wedding cakes aren't really my thing, I would be happy to make some cupcakes. They liked that idea; cupcakes are becoming trendy for weddings and I also told them they could eat the leftovers. I think the issue comes out in June or July, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything looks good.
One other exciting thing that happened last week: Jason and I booked plane tickets for a fall trip to San Francisco! My older brother, Josh, moved out there some five years ago for art school and never came back (I mean, can you blame him?), so of course I have to visit at least once a year. I can't wait to see Josh and his lovely wife, Vanessa, and do all those wonderful California things that we do when we're there, like drinking coffee at Blue Bottle and maybe(!) taking a road trip to Mendocino. October can't come soon enough.
April 24, 2009
April 14, 2009
March 31, 2009
But I feel the need, for some reason, to chronicle the process of the bake shop and whatever it may become. It's such an infant thing right now, and I have no idea what will come of it, but I hope that it's something.
And even more than that, I'm starting this blog because I really love food. I love the way it makes people happy, the way it brings people together. What's better than creating a meal for the people you love, sharing a bottle of wine, and telling stories long into the evening? I can't think of anything, really.
Bye for now.