persian persuasion

The one interesting thing about moving around so much is the spectrum of people you meet. It’s not like we meet the same lot of people over and over again. For instance, in Nashville folk were uber friendly, Chicago people were a little scruffier but nice once you got to know them – like they were trying to act like New Yorkers but deep down they couldn’t fight the urge to be the sweet people they are – and South Florida? Um?…it is very international… and mostly on the elderly end.

Working retail, especially in a “high-end” grocer (loosely quoted), there’s the weirdos who come in for their hemp bread and patchouli, but aside from that, people from different cultures. I’ve gotten to know a wonderful Persian woman, who happens to be vegetarian and a master cook. Perfect that she works at a grocery store that more or less caters to alternative diets, she shops for her vegetables and vegan cheese, which she says is really good.

She has owned her own Persian restaurant, written a cookbook and now… makes food for me. How did I get so lucky?

I went to her house for lunch and left not only tipsy from her wine, but so tummy happy from her food I could’ve floated home.

Samosas, spinach-stuffed filo, saffron rice, tabouli (or tabbouleh)…. she is brilliant.

And for dessert? Not only fresh fruit but rosewater ice cream with pistachios. Perfection.

…of course, she brings me her nothing less than fabulous hummus and falafel paste and tells me how to make the falafel. “Little bit of oil in the pan, roll it up like a golf ball and poke your finger through the middle.” Done.

The woman is exquisite!

..enjoy your Persian meals!



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baby’s first cake

Somehow out of this whole journey of culinary school, working in a bakery, now working retail and pretending its a bakery, I have developed some cake decorating skillz.

Actually, when I worked for the amazing Cakes Plus in Chicago, I liked decorating. It was like…wha’?..I get to draw on cake with colored icing and get paid? Not that cake decorating sets you up financially, but it is a creative outlet – which I desperately need in my life. Nor is it the most glamorous job, however you see it on t.v. Food coloring-stained pants, shirts, aprons….hair forever in a tizzy. Not cute.

Well, I more or less forced my cake onto our friend’s baby’s 1st birthday party.

I went to Michael’s to get fondant. I KNOW. I was determined to fight my outright disgust and just try it out. Well, little did I know what I was up against as far as price. Our little budget was not ready for fondant. 86 that. So real buttercream I made.

And…by the by.. having the patience, talent and steady hand to draw something on a my biased more endearing. 😉 No offense to those crazy, perfectly intricate hand-crafted designs from fondant/gum paste. Better artists than me.

I was up waaaaay past my bedtime mixing butter and sugar and making marble cakes and Shayne making cupcakes. But alas, Saturday morning I sat down with my wheat bagel globbed with cream cheese, bags, tips, colored icing and did my thing… as Shayne did his. 🙂

Cream 3 cups powdered sugar with one cup butter for 3 minutes in a stand mixer with whisk attachment, add 1-2 tablespoons whipping cream and one tablespoon vanilla extract (clear). Voila.

I love doing this stuff!

You can almost make out my sketch…. 🙂

Considering the guy has no pastry experience, hubby did a dang good job on these cupcakes! (Ok, the pink ones I totally did… I was trying to do the Magnolia swirl).

All considering, I think Miss Cari liked her very hot pink cake. And really, that’s the only opinion that matters.

…enjoy your birthday cakes!