Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday, November 8, 2013

Autumn + Art

When I was asked which department from which I'd prefer a new faculty mentor, I immediately said art. Yep, when settling into a new community, it's great to get to know the artists and the perfect opportunity arose with a studio tour last weekend. I didn't feel particularly keen to spend the day out and about but in the end, we made it to only three studios because it was all about quality over quantity. Below are some photos I snapped at my mentor, Kristina's studio. Her husband, Charles, is a metalworker and you can see the wonderful red door of his studio.

Austin loved seeing all the tools for Kristina's glassblowing and we were amazed the delicate and complex neurons that she had made. I was afraid to even breathe near them. We also had a blast meeting another couple who lived very close to us and had university connections. We ended up sipping wine and their home-brewed beer and I bought a painting of a cricket that will live in my office. What a perfect day.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Breaking Bad Methcakes

We hosted a little Breakin Bad watching party on Friday night and I wanted to make cupcakes for dessert. Inspired by a Martha Stewart recipe for Broken Glass Cupcakes, I set to work.

I should have read the comments from the recipe first. My attempt at "meth" resulted in a blue substance the texture of a fruit roll=up. Austin tried again and got the granulated substance seen above. At our next viewing party, I'm definitely following the advice of Dr. B and doing some kind of granita beverage!

I chose not to use Martha's recipe but instead, adapted this one for a knock-off of Starbuck's vanilla bean cupcakes. The cupcakes themselves here delicious but the buttercream frosting was just too cloying for my taste. Instead of topping them with the fake meth, we sprinkled on Mrs. Kelly's lavendar rose sugar with excellent results. Next time, I'd go with my gut and do a cream cheese frosting but the cupcake recipe is a keeper.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes


Makes 12 cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 2/3 cup granulated white sugar 3 large eggs 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup milk


Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners. Set pan aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides and beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately sift in the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in pan 5 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Prepare frosting.

Vanilla-Bean Buttercream Frosting (make more than needed)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/4 cup milk 3 cups confectioners' sugar

Cream the butter in a medium-size bowl until very smooth. Stir in the vanilla-bean seeds until they're evenly distributed. Add the salt, vanilla and milk, and stir until combined. Sift the sugar over the butter mixture and stir the mixture until it's perfectly smooth. If the frosting is too loose, add a few more tablespoons of confectioners' sugar, and stir until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap until you're ready to use; mix well just before using. Decorate cooled cupcakes as desired.

Source: Chef Mommy