Friday, July 30, 2010
I think when I'm stressed, I bake more. That, and when I can't drive. So I'm blogging twice this week. Life in general has been stressing me out a bit, plus I've been sort of chained to my house. I got the new car, and I took it out on my time off when I wasn't busy eating, sleeping or working. Which left days off. Then, when I finally had time to drive, the car would die and need to be jumped. I actually had time to take it out the other night and drove it without killing it (!), and then it died when we stopped at the gas station for water. All signs pointed to needing a new battery, especially after it took 10 minutes to jump it. Turns out that battery turns seven years old next month. I think it was definitely time for a new one. Now I just have to get comfortable driving a stick shift. Sigh.
So on one of those days off when I was planning to drive, I took the day to bake with Aunt Betty. I like to have a couple days off in a row before baking with her, because we inevitably end up taking hours and make multiple things. Focaccia was on the list this time, and then we decided to pick out something from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook, which Mom got me for graduation. I really want to try making macarons, but apparently those don't mix too well with humidity. So instead we settled on a chocolate napoleon. Little did I realize that it would take five hours....
First, though, the Joy of Cooking focaccia. This is my aunt's go-to cookbook, and she gave me one last year. I can see why, too, because the bread is yummy. It starts its life as pizza dough, but you let it rise longer and then put yummy toppings on top. We did one round of sundried tomatoes, parmesan and herbs and the other with olives, herbs and cheese. Pretty easy for some tasty bread!
Let's talk about this puff pastry for the napoleon though. Homemade puff pastry — don't ever do it unless you've got strong arms and lots of free time. Martha wants you to roll out the pastry six separate times, and since each cycle is actually rolling it out to a 20x9 inch rectangle twice, that's a lot of rolling. Lots of butter, too. See those layers in the picture, though? Yeah, we put those there. Through lots of rolling.
It turned out really yummy though. A nice chocolate custard, fixed by Aunt Betty after it wasn't thickening, a yummy glaze on top and I've made a napoleon! Aunt Betty said the last time she made it was 35 years ago. I think that sounds like a good time frame for the next time I make it! :)
My next day off, I didn't do anything, and it was great. I watched a movie (Serenity, finishing out Firefly — so good!) and read a book (Percy Jackson part 3...seriously some good stuff). The next day, though, was my most productive recently. Replaced my bank card, got a car battery, moved out of my old house and made cookies, all before work! The cookies were a recipe my friend Sarah gave me. This is the same Sarah who asked for vegan cupcakes for her birthday, so these are vegan Mexican chocolate snickerdoodles, a cookie she'd made before too. Seriously, though, easiest cookie ever. Tasty too, with a kick, because it had cayenne pepper in it. It's like eating a cookie and only about 10 seconds later realizing it was spicy. Definitely will be making these again.
My last dessert this week was a quickie last night — lime sherbet. I'm a huge sherbet fan...I think I like it better than ice cream. Blasphemous, I know, but I'm more of a fruit-flavored girl sometimes. I was surprised at how easy it was: milk, sugar, lime zest and lime juice. That's it. It tasted so much more natural than the store-bought stuff, so I will have to try some other flavors soon.
Well, off to bed for me! Have to make sure I get enough sleep to have time to work on my cake pops I've got in the works. Oh, and catch up on Project Runway! I already watched the new Jersey Shore :)