Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's the Little Things

Yes, yes, I know. It's been ridiculously long since I've updated this blog. I blame this on the fact that I have no Internet access at home and usually don't make trips to the public library computer lab just to update my blog. (I know. Excuses, excuses...)


I've discovered (more like finally admitted) something about myself: I like cutsey. You know what I'm talking about. Baby animal calendars, rainbows and butterflies, Hello Kitty...stuff like this:

(Um, yeah. Everbody together, now: Awww...)

I know. I've denied it for a long time. But it's true: I'm a girl...and I like cute. I do.

Part of this cutesy-ness affinity is an appreciation for teeny things. Take mini chocolate chips, for instance. I use them all the time, and do you really believe it's just because of how nicely they regulate the chocolate distribution in baked goods? Uh, no. I like 'em because they're CUTE. It's the same reason I'm so attached to my mini heart-shaped springform pans. (Remember those?)

With the above in mind, you can see why I like cupcakes. I mean, they're cake (good) with an impressive frosting-to-cake ratio (even better)...and they're small sized (great!). What could possibly be cuter? And, lest you think that's a rhetorical question, the answer is: mini cupcakes! Cuteness multiplied! (Whatever. Groan if you want. You know I'm right.)

SO...I recently bought two new mini cupcake tins and a bunch of the mini paper liners. Fun stuff, and just in time for a mini cupcake order for a bridal shower. (See? I'm not the only person who likes the things.) Here's a pic:

The cupcakes were white chocolate, with white-chocolate cream cheese frosting. The "S" monogram was for the last name of the soon-to-be newlyweds. (Now honeymooners; the wedding was this past weekend.)

Here they are all boxed up and ready for delivery:

I rest my case: cutesy is good. Mini cupcakes are cute--and therefore good. Embrace it, people. Eat a mini cupcake. (And then, if you absolutely must, go watch Die Hard or something.)

Oh, and I'll be posting pics from the reherasal dinner and wedding in the near future. It was my first wedding reception to cater, and it was tiringcrazyfunoverwhelmingawesome. You get the idea. More to come on that front!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sweet Summer

Berries, I've determined, have personality. Think about it:

Strawberries. These are the berry-next-door--sweet, friendly, laid back, and familiar. They're not the most expensive or classiest berry, but they go well with just about anything, and just about everyone likes them.

Raspberries. These are the snazzy berries, a little froofier and with more attitude than strawberries, and definitely more expensive. They're more bistro than backyard, definitely not everyday fare.

Blueberries. They're slightly more mysterious and hard to nail down--and, let's face it, sorta seedy. Not everyone gets off to these guys (but that could just be because they're misunderstood).

Skipping all the "what the heck?" berries, like loganberries, huckleberries (the only Huckleberry I know is from Mark Twain), etc., we come to my intended topic: cherries. Cherries have ridiculously subtle pizazz. They're simple, sleek, and breezy. They're juicy and plump. They're America. And they're SUMMER.

In honor of the last leg of summer (which I am NOT ready to say goodbye to), let's give the cherry some stage time. Come on, put the apples back in the produce bin, folks; they can wait a few more weeks. For now, let's just lounge on the back porch together, soaking in the sunshine, chatting, and having iced tea and soft hunks of cherry almond bread.

Summer Cherry Almond Bread

  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour (or all-purpose is fine; I just like bread flour, if I happen to have it)

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt (or light sour cream)

  • 1 cup chopped frozen cherries (NOT thawed)

Heat oven to 350. Spray an 8-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Combine white sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle into bottom and sides of pan; tap out excess.

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and extracts and mix well. In separate bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Add to butter mixture, mixing well; then stir in sour cream. Fold in cherries.

Pour batter into pan, and bake about 55 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes; then remove to wire rack to cool completely (if you can stay out of it that long).