Saturday, February 13, 2010

Much to say

This week has been a little much - too much to do, way too little time, and way too little sleep, though not for lack of trying.

For starters, I am not just obsessed with baking. I am also on a quest to make as many orange soups as possible, making sure that none of them taste the same. (Not so much a quest as a coincidence, truthfully. I love soup, and I love to experiment, and a lot of my experiments turn out orange.) I have my usuals - Shoshana's soup, which has onion, garlic, zucchini, carrot, sweet potato, and sometimes beef. We top that off with knaidlach, and it is a very popular dish. There is also sweet potato based soup, but the kids ask for it not to be sweet, so that has shallots, onions, garlic, and thyme, and then some vegetable stock. We also make a sweet butternut squash soup with curry, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and a little brown sugar. I made two new orange soups recently, complete with a lame photo for each. The first was a red lentil soup. I sauteed onions and garlic with a whole bunch of spices - curry, cumin, coriander, turmeric - and then added red lentils and orange vegetables: I think the holy quartet of carrots, sweet potato, butternut squash, and pumpkin, but I can not be entirely certain because although I committed to writing down the recipes, I have no idea where I wrote it!!! It was a warming and hearty soup, and we all, even Dani and Lola, liked it. The second was a sweet potato coconut milk soup, with spicy flavors. This soup was accented with a little soy sauce and Tabasco sauce, with a little curry as well, and shallots with the onions for a different flavor. The coconut milk gave a great sweetness and smoothness that contrasted well with the spice. I really enjoyed this one - now I just have to find the stupid coconut milk in the supermarket again, which should be simple, but things always seems to move...
In other news, I BAKED CHALLAH! This may not seem like much, but... I am a self-confessed perfectionist. People call me not infrequently and ask me about challah baking, since I am a baker. I am always abashed to answer that I do not deal well with yeast dough. The challahs I have made, though not for the last 3 years, never look perfect, and that is hard on me. But since I do not enjoy going to the bakery, and since their challah has been a little funky lately, I decided to take the leap. I got a recipe from my friend Lori, who makes challah EVERY WEEK (though it is with a bread machine, so I am not sure if it really counts...) and adapted it slightly for the mixer, as well as for a slightly larger quantity. It was delicious, if very sweet, but there are no pictures, and not because I forgot - it's because I REFUSE! They just don't look as nice as I would want them to, and I am totally vain that way. Maybe I will have better success next week - b'li neder I will try it again!
I also made a fun treat for the kids, but mostly because I had some vanilla cupcakes in the freezer that were mistakenly defrosted, not by me. We had Boston Cream cupcakes, and they were yum!! I used the cone method to fill the cupcakes with vanilla pastry cream (which became the crater method for us, as we like pastry cream) and topped them with chocolate glaze. It was a real treat for those of us who really miss Dunkin Donuts' Bostom Cream Cupcakes. The pictures are again, lame , and the cut of the cupcake was messy, but you will get the idea.

But darn if that cupcake didn't make me want a cup of French Vanilla coffee! BTW, see what I mean about the crater?! This was fun to make, and fun to eat. And it reminded me how easy it is to fill cupcakes. Guess that will be the next obsession!

Nothing new and interesting on the cookie front. I thought I would have some time to experiment, but it just did not happen, so the same old, same old, tried and true will have to do. That's all for now. If I can think of more, I will be back. Things should be interesting around here - Adar is arriving, and learning will come to a screeching halt, so there should be fun and nonsense to report.
Shavua tov and Chodesh tov!

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