Ohle Emmet turned One!   Leave a comment

Back in March of 2010 my cousin Nancy’s son had his first birthday.

Let's Party!

To celebrate, Nancy and her husband Ethan threw a lovely party for all of their friends and family. A few weeks before the party, Nancy asked me to make Ohle’s smash cake. You know, the little cake that the baby gets to destroy and smear all over his face in utter delight. I leapt at the chance to make his special cake. A separate desert was being made by another friend for the rest of the party guests.

Oh and did I mention that my cousin and her family live in paradise? Well, not really, but close enough. They live on a ranch in Santa Barbara that grows avocados, oranges, and cherimoyas (custard apples.) It is beautiful. Visit http://www.designspongeonline.com/2010/03/sneak-peek-nancy-neil.html to see some photos of where they live. I was lucky enough to live with them them over the summer of 2010. But I digress, back to the cake!

Woo hoo COLORS!!!

I know that my cousin loves bright colors, and simple design. So when coming up with the idea for the cake I wanted to keep it simple and traditional, but also make sure that it was still fun and whimsical. In fact, I got some of my inspiration from one of my favorite cake books “Little Cakes” http://www.amazon.com/Little-Cakes-Whimsical-Bakehouse-Cupcakes/dp/B004AYCX3O from The Whimsical Bakehouse.

I made a 5 inch square vanilla cake, and filled and iced it with vanilla buttercream, something simple for Babys First Cake. And then I went crazy with the colors.

Baby O's 1st Birthday cake, photo credit Nancy Neil

The cake turned out better than I could have hoped, and was a huge hit. My cousin adored it, and Baby Ohle enjoyed it too. Although he wasn’t really “in” to the smashing part, he mostly just wanted to lick his fingers, and then get down to chase the dogs at the party some more. But what surprised me most, was that people started asking if they could have some of his cake too.  Baby Ohle had only smashed one corner of the cake, so I went ahead and sliced around that. But by the end of the party, even the smashed end had gotten eaten. And that’s what matters most, that the cake was enjoyed, completely.

Posted February 9, 2011 by chelseaheptig in Uncategorized

Pig chops in mustard and rosemary   Leave a comment

I have always loved rosemary. And Mustard. My favorite herb, and my favorite condiment. I can put mustard on almost anything. There are 6 different kinds in my fridge at the moment, thats actually low, I need to go to the market. When I was in high school, my family got a bottle of mustard in one of those “I don’t know you well enough to pick out a gift, but I want to display my generosity aka how much I spent” gift baskets with wine and cheese and other nibbles. I confiscated the jar of mustard as my own. It was a whole grain mustard, something I’d never had before. Oh my lord. It was like mustard caviar. The tiny whole mustard seeds, in the vinegary, briny base, the seeds burst when you bit down on them, releasing their tart, peppery, mustardness. I was in love. Now, it is one of my favorite things to use in savory recipes. Especially with rosemary.

I made this for dinner back in June, and when I described what I made on Twitter, I got requests for the recipe. So here goes! (A little late, but worth the wait!)

4 lean pork chops

olive oil

4 tbsp whole grain or coarse ground Dijon mustard

a good sized spoonful of chopped garlic

2-4 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

salt & pepper

Rinse & pat dry your pieces o’ pig. Mix together mustard, rosemary, & garlic. Salt & pepper the chops then drizzle with olive oil. Massage mustard mixture (yes massage, they deserve a good rubdown) into the chops making sure to coat all surfaces, if you have extra just kind of pack it onto the chops. Grill on high until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 145-160 degrees. Enjoy!

I found that this is also a great way to roast potatoes and other root vegetables.

Nothing at all to do with baking…   10 comments

Soo…MTV is hosting a search/contest for someone to be the “Coke & MTV Insider at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards” and being the go getter that I am, I figured “why not?”

What I’ve copy & pasted below is what I want to submit as my “About Me” portion of the contest, pretty much the one thing they are judging on.*

So, give it a read through and tell me what you think. If there’s anything about “me” that you think I should put in, lemme know!

*Everything in this is true and I really have done.

At Nikki's house to watch the MTV Video Music Awards last year. Yeah, I know, wrong awards show. Oh well.

“The technical stuff first: I have background education in writing & journalism.  I also have experience in blogging. That & I look pretty good on camera…I think.

I can keep my cool in “unexpected” situations, like when a friend & I snuck into the after party for “The Runaways” premier in LA. I chatted with Joan Jett & Kristen Stewart for over an hour, pretty sure they still had no clue who I was at the end of the party. Or the time I rescued Kiowa Gordon from a pack of fangirls. I’m pretty knowledgeable about film, television, & music. I had a great conversation with Quentin Tarantino at the Spike TV 2009 Scream Awards where I was a seat filler. Mr. Tarantino was sitting behind me & we talked about Stan Lee’s brilliance & the difficulties in turning such iconic comics into films.

I’m a fast thinker & can come up with interview questions on the spot. I’m a voracious reader & finish at least a few books each week. I love, LOVE movies, I saw “Avatar” in 3D at least 4 times. “Star Trek,” & “New Moon,” “Up In The Air,” “An Education,” & “Zombieland” were some of my favorites from last year.

Plus, I already live in SoCal so no need to fork over an expensive airline ticket! Heck, I’d even drive myself each day so no hotel either! I think I’d make an excellent Coke & MTV Insider for the 2010 MTV Movie Awards. Don’t you?”

So that’s it, I submitted yesterday evening. Lets hope that the Coke & MTV people lik it enough to pick me!

Polka Dot Cake   2 comments

A while ago, one of the girls I worked with at the restaurant asked me to make a cake for her moms upcoming birthday. We decided on flavor and filling and what she wanted it to look like. She picked out a present cake. This wasn’t the first present cake I’d ever done, so I knew what I was working with. She told me her mom likes bright tropical colors, and other than that I had artistic license to decorate it.

Polka dot cake

Well, I had just gotten a brand spanking new pack of Wilton coloring pastes, aka fancy food color. Now, Wilton offers a great selection of colors, and they come in sets too. So if you need flesh tones, they have it, bright primary colors, done, pastels, easy peasy. I have one of their 12 color boxes.

The coloring pastes (which aren’t even pastes, more like thick gels) come in nice little jars and it’s all very professional feeling. But it’s not. First off, each jar is hermetically sealed with a foil thingy on top. It is impossible to remove the foil seal without smearing food color ALL OVER YOUR HANDS! I tried peeling from the edge. No dice. That sucker is sealed so tight, you could throw it out into the vacuum of space and nothing would come out. The only way to get the seal off is to pierce the top with something and then pull it off from there. The only problem with this is that when you poke it, the foil is forced down into the coloring goo. Which then gets all over your fingers when you go to fish it out.

Now, in making this cake, I used quite a few of the colors. I had to blend to make the pink match, or get as close as possible to, the satin ribbon I used to make the bow on top. And I tried very hard to get bright, popping colors. They still came out a little dull. I blame the Wiltons. When I worked at Susie Cakes in Newport Beach, we used these great, big old squeeze bottles of Chefmaster Liqua-Gel food color.

Color Explosion!....Well, kinda.

When I think of that food color, I swoon. It was the best. Ever. Super bright colors, easy blending, doesn’t bleed or breakdown the icings. I would have killed to have had them for this cake. But I didn’t. I’m still working on building up my supplies of “professional” baking equipment. The Wiltons color did alright, but the icing colors could have been a lot better in my eyes. The Wiltons, aside from the horrendous task of getting them open, did not blend easily, it was weepy & bled. And the dye somehow, picked up the fats in the butter cream (butter= lots of fat) and separated, kinda. It was weird. Almost like there were little, teensy eensy, specks of white (the butterfat) stuck to spots of color. When I whipped it up it would disappear, but as soon as it sat, it would separate again. Almost like it was breaking down the emulsion of the butter. But it was what I had to work with so I went ahead and used it to decorate the cake.

The ribbon was easy, just a big flat stripe of pink icing. I first piped the edges of the ribbon, following the straight line I traced on with a ruler. Then I piped in a mess of icing to fill the ribbon. Now, icing vertical sides of a cake isn’t the easiest thing, the angle is all wrong and it’s easy to flub things up. For the polka dots on the cake, I used the bottom of one of my decorating tips pressed into the white base icing, voila! Perfect little circles. I filled them in with alternating colors of icing and smoothed the icing to make them flat. Now, in between all of these steps, I had to keep popping the cake back in the fridge to keep the icing firm. It smooths easier when it’s chilled, but not cold. If it’s too cold it sticks to the offset spatula and then you have icing & cake crumb mush. The last icing to go on the cake was the little white dots on the ribbon, to match the satin bow that was going on top.

All in all, it was an ok cake. Not my best but definitely not my worst. But the important part was that my friend was very happy with the cake. Her mom liked it so much, she asked me to o two more cakes for her that month.

Almost Pretty

Leftover icing...yum!

Just a quick note…   1 comment

Just a quick note to say that I haven’t forgotten about my blog. Nope. Not a chance. In fact, it’s on my mind all the time. I can see it in my dreams. Staring at me. Accusingly. Because I haven’t updated.

But I will. I promise. While I get used to the idea of posting on here on a more regular basis, don’t expect something everyday, I’m not that good, I’m going to go back through some of my older baking projects and blog about them.

Now, not all of these will have pretty pictures to go along with them. Most of my pictures look like crap. But I digress. I kinds of had an “Uh oh” moment this weekend. For some reason, I tend to use the crappy camera on my phone to take pictures of my baking. I have a camera. It’s not great, but it’s sure as hell better than the one on my phone. I think I do this because my phone is usually close at hand, and I like TwitPic-ing my baking as I go along. A twit-pic is a picture sent to my Twitter account, so I can (hopefully) make my Twitter friends drool over whatever it is I am making. Anywho, this weekend I was trying to get all of the pictures from my phone, onto my computer so I could tweak them and try to make them look better. Well, I though that I had moved all of the pictures to the micro-SD card for my phone. But when I stuck the SD card in my lappy to download all of the pictures, there was nothing there. The card was empty.

Huh.

Piece of CHIT!

*puts card back in phone. Scrolls through menu to re-move picture files to micro-SD card. “No Files” *

“AARGH!”

Somehow, the pictures did not get put onto the card, nor did they remain in their file on my phone. They’re gone. Poof. Vanished into cellphone mystery. They done gone dissaparated. I have no idea what happened to them.

So, no crappy phone pictures to put in my blog posts. Sad.

That’s pretty much it. There are definitely more bloggy blog posts to come, but some will be lacking in the visual stimulation aspect.

I haven’t forgotten about it. I’m still here.

Posted January 14, 2010 by chelseaheptig in camera, Not baking, Patience, pictures, whoops

Patience please…   7 comments

Boy howdy am I in over my head, at least right now I am.

I’m very, very new to blogging. So as I try to make this look pretty, have a little patience. Once I figure out how to use wordpress, I’m sure that the posts will start flowing at a more regular pace.

Also, if anyone wants to give me a crash course *coughNikkiJamieBekahAmbercough* I would be a more than willing student.

"These are a few of my favorite things"

Since I recently lost  my 9-5 job, I’m going to try and dedicate more time to this blog, making it as fantastic as I dream it to one day be. I can’t promise a post everyday, nor can I promise that all posts will be about my (mis)adventures in baking and pastry artistry.

Posted November 29, 2009 by chelseaheptig in Uncategorized

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