piece of cakes

I have been…. not blogging. But! I have been so busy decorating cakes at my day job.. and its all good. We are broke and not eating anything interesting… but I promise myself to start cooking soon. There are some fine eateries within minutes of us. One, I went to with a friend and ate there when I was in town for work: Blue Coast Burrito. And they give WF employees (whose name is Caroline S.) a 10% discount. Whaaaaaaat? Hollaaaa. Tell them I sent you. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Ok, and those who live in Nashville or have….Zaxby’s anyone? This whole chicken fingers craze here?! What is UP with this!? It’s soooo….southern? Ha. I don’t even know! It’s kinda amazing!

So, I am pretty thankful this time around I am able to do more decorating – something I know I am good at and I can only get better doing. And the fact of the matter is, I really genuinely love doing it. Seriously, guys, I draw on cakes. Psh. Please. Does it get anymore Simon. It’s all a stepping stone…. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hopefully soon I can get organized enough in my self to start something on my own. That isn’t an official statement… don’t hold me to it just yet.

But if anyone is interested out there in Nashvegasland… I can make cake… and decorate…. So if you like homemade buttercream and you want a cake… holla at me! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I am for hire!

Here’s a few recent creations:

There’s a vineyard (whaaaaaaaaaaat) like 15 minutes from our place. Yes, Arrington Vineyards is owned by Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn and 2 other wine nerds and businessmen. I am documenting this on the blog so I hold myself to getting around to visiting the place. They have hot air balloon rides. Amazing.
Next best thing to living (& probably starving) in Napa. I’ll take it!

Other than that, Nashvegas is treating us well. As well as it can be. Considering we are sleeping on a borrowed air mattress. ๐Ÿ˜› Ahh to be in love (with no shame) and living the dream!

enjoy your meals and contact me if you want a cake!

C

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 cake..in my biased opinion..is more endearing. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚


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…. ๐Ÿ™‚


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!

C

opa!

In the ugly midst of our money hoarding, we took a much needed date night and ventured out in Royal Palm Beach for some Greek fare at I’m Greek Today. I love hummus. (and yes, that’s what the restaurant is called).

The menu was peppered with Greek jargon… but old favorites like moussaka, falafel and hummus stuck out. So there we sat, investigating the menu outside the tiny restaurant where inside mounted flat screens played a slideshow of Greece countryside and ancient cities. Quite comical.

It wasn’t spectacular but it wasn’t bad. Since watching Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, I’ve become an even pickier critic. I think to myself, What Would Gordon Ramsay Say? And we sit there and in ignorant mockery, fake sloppy English accents and call everything “crap.”

He would’ve said my beef skewers were “crap” and too tough, and the salad they lay upon is at best limp. Shayne’s falafel would’ve been too soft, no crispy outside. There was the fact that we hadn’t been out to dinner in awhile… I was hungry for decent food other than tired soup and grilled cheese.

And here you have it:


tzatziki:


hummus:


salad and french fries…I know?… guess that’s how they do it in Greece…

As if that wasn’t enough, right next door a cupcakery!! Behold the cuteness, Cupcake Cottage.

http://www.cupcakecottage.net/


minis!


enjoy your Greek meals and mini cupcakes…

C

 

dedicated to J.Henderson

florida cream cake

Besides red velvet, my favorite cake ever is the Boston Cream Pie. You know, I have no idea why it is called “pie” and not cake. Weird Bostonian lingo?

Anyway, I remember having my 18th birthday in the college dorms and my roommate surprised me with a BCP after falling in love with her mom’s cream pie she made for us when we went to visit her house and family a few weeks prior. 

Well, I’ve never made one, so having a dinner party at a friend’s house was my excuse to make my version of the cream pie I’ve had in my mental file cabinet for awhile now.ย I dont know about you but I love the dark chocolate and orange combo. That’s kinda how this came to life.
Florida Cream Pie!
My whole thinking behind this was to infuse every aspect of a traditional BCP with citrus elements. OK, I did take the short cut with a cake mix and prepared pastry cream, but I made the ganache myself. ย Not gonna lie, I don’t make too many cakes from scratch because I feel like I can make a cake taste damn good with a box mix.ย I had about 4 or 5 citrus fruits (grapefruits, tangerines and oranges) on hand, just so I had enough zest and juice. I used the juices and zest interchangeably throughout making this. It was a little rando.
In addition to a dash of cinnamon, a tablespoon of creme fraiche and a tablespoon each fresh squeezed citrus juices, I added their zest to the cake mix. After the 9” cakes baked and cooled, I squeezed the juice of half a grapefruit over both cakes so the yummy juice could soak in. I bought pastry cream at work and added a teaspoon of almond extract, more zest and juice of the fruits and about a tablespoon of whipped topping. 


I bought a 1/2 pound block of high quality, dark chocolate and grated it, while heating up 7 oz. heavy cream on the stove with a dash of cinnamon, orange zest, teaspoon of almond extract and a splash of orange juice. Just before the cream came to a boil, I poured it over the chocolate and whisked until the chocolate was melted and smooth.
The cake was assembled and left in the fridge to set. After about 4 hours, the silky smooth blanket of ganache was poured on top. 


The cake did a little tilt as the night wore on. But, tasted good nonetheless! 

Enjoy!

apples to apples

Really, have I mentioned I love fall?

Well, the 1st anniversary of cmyfood has come and gone… but I made some yummy apple cranberry tarts for friends who had us over for dinner. Dinner parties! Nice people who want to cook yummy food for us?! Mind-blower.

I literally took over their kitchen last week (going so far as to bring my own pan and every ingredient I needed, along with all my mise en place :)) and made cider-glazed chicken for them. Their retort? They insisted it was their turn to take back their surrendered kitchen and serve up the meal this past Sunday. Chicken cordon bleu….. yes, please.

So, for that I made these:


Little did I know (or have the decency to ask) dessert had already been made. Brownies. My fave! And some chocolate-covered strawberries….. but we all know how I feel about those. And they didn’t even know how I felt about those until that evening, minutes before dinner was served. Good timing I’d say – better late than never.

It’s holiday season…and that means for us in SoFlo: reckless driving snow birds, taunting snowy Campbell’s commercials and crisp warm weather. Ah….

enjoy your meals!
C

escargot, lobster and trifles

I decided I’m one of those idea people who have lots of ideas but I need other people to help me move them forward. So a lot of my ideas are stuck in a notebook, or like today as I look at my desktop, on “stickies.” (If you have a mac, you know what’s up). I woke up last night from a dead sleep and had a book idea. I couldnt find a pen, so I scooped my lap top out from under the bed and quickly typed it up. I have a stickie on my desktop with some ideas.. some for the blog.. some for just shiz and giggles and some for a future business… hopefully I’ll get to all of it soon. But, for now.. hello blog.

I last left off with my dad and his wife surprising me in Cocoa Beach. Shayne drove me up the 3 hours, blind folded me for the last 30 minutes and we met up with them for a day full of food, sun and great company. Seeing people from home is so refreshing!
So we ate at this outofthisworldamazing steakhouse called, Gregory’s Steak & Seafood Grille. What a treat. Seriously. It was a white table cloth, cozy, Bavarian-esqe joint tucked inside a hotel but we were in casual attire…….
I swear, Florida its like “anything goes” especially if you’re on the beach.

I’d never had escargot. I am not one to turn down THAT opportunity. So, my dad ordered two appetizers..

Lobsteraki – lobster wrapped in bacon topped with teriyaki sauce:

+

Escargot Maison – ย snails nestled in mushroom caps sautรฉed and slathered in a rich butter garlic sauce:

Earthy, rich, soooooo decadent. This was my favorite.

Beautiful salads followed:

Everyone opted for seafood except me. I passed the camera around so everyone could take a picture of their dish ๐Ÿ™‚ My dad ordered the sesame-pepper tuna steak:


Shayne’s mahi mahi:

He’s getting good with this picture taking..
and I ordered a house special but I forgot what it was called! (ahhhh!) It was medallions of steak smothered in a brandy mushroom sauce. Ridiculous…

Oo and last weekend we made a trifle for a friend’s birthday. We made it for her last year and she asked for it again!

Started off with some fresh fruit I bought at Bedner’s… mango, pears, peaches and bananas.

My sous chef worked on slicing up an angel food cake. I didnt realize he was going to cut up the entire thing. We still have cake sitting in the fridge. No one’s going to eat it.. of course. *Confession: I really don’t care for angel food cake.. is that weird?*


Assemble!

Of course, I have the best sous chef in the world… ๐Ÿ™‚ …who’s so creative with food. Who knew!?



Tropical Trifle
1 mango, peeled and thinly sliced
1 peach, peeled and thinly sliced
2 pears, peeled and thinly sliced
1-2 bananas, sliced
1 cup vanilla or dulce de leche pudding*
2 cups whipped topping
handful of chocolate mint leaves
1/2 angel food cake, sliced
*I use both.. I buy the small cups of vanilla and dulce de leche and combine 3 of each in a large bowl.

Coarsely chop the mint and add it to the whipped topping, combine and set aside in the fridge. Have all your fruit and cake slices in front of you when you are ready to assemble. In a large trifle bowl start building! Start with cake on the bottom and end with whipped topping on the top (no rhyme or reason). Garnish with fruit slices and a mint leaf.

enjoy your meals!…

C

break fast

I think this is the first cmyfood breakfast recipe. Maybe because I rarely eat breakfast or prepare it. Only if its the weekend and/or someone is visiting.
Well, this recipe just came to me and we were in fact harboring a visitor. I bought a fresh loaf of country white bread the day before and had the idea of making french toast. Stuffed french toast. LOVE stuffed french toast. We made it at school with this cream cheese filling, ugh, ridiculous.
On our recent excursion to PR we ordered a Puerto Rican French Toast which was little cheese and guava jam sandwiches dipped in almond batter and fried. I took a simpler approach… well.. I asked Shayne to buy jam and he brought home mango and we didnt have almonds nor did I want to look up a batter recipe. So…. there you have it:
Have I mentioned how much I love havarti cheese?! Its creamy, dreamy cheese loveliness.

(Oh! oh! My wonderful, multitalented husband has now taken over photographer duties for cmyfood. Photos from the previous post and this post are courtesy of Shayne Stephenson. <3)

Havarti & Mango Stuffed French Toast
12 slices of fresh, country white bread, cut in triangles
6 slices cream havarti cheese
Mango jam
4 large eggs, beaten
About ยผ cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Vegetable oil
toothpicks

To prepare:
Preheat a large skillet with about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to medium-high heat. In a large mixing bowl, combine beaten eggs, flour, extracts and cinnamon.
To assemble stuffed toast, spread mango jam on one triangle slice and place one piece of cheese and make a sandwich. Using a toothpick, carefully pin the sandwich together โ€“ insert the toothpick sideways.



Lightly dip in batter, donโ€™t soak the mini sandwiches. Shake off excess batter and arrange in preheated skillet. Fry on each side about 1-2 minutes, until golden brown.


Serve warm with syrup.
Enjoy!

enjoy your breakfast meals ๐Ÿ™‚

C