My birthday lands right at the beginning of April – it’s a time when the temperatures can jump from 75 to 45 in a single afternoon and there’s more likely than not going to be a blizzard. Every year I keep my fingers crossed for a nice warm birthday – where I can wear a sleeveless dress and flip flops. I wish for a birthday that will see me sipping a cocktail on some patio in the warm rays of an afternoon. This is all entirely unrealistic. So, instead I settle for giving myself a day of baking – the kitchen is always warm with the oven on and it is quite sunny.
Each year I see my birthday as a baking challenge – a chance to try something I haven’t tried before that I’m daunted by. My birthday is an opportunity to try those recipes that could be potential flops – that way if I mess up someone’s birthday cake it’s MY birthday cake. No harm no foul, right? This year was no different. EXCEPT instead of going out for dinner with BF and my sister I chose to conquer Momofuku Milk Bar.
I threw a dinner party. I made a ton of pasta and asiago cheese riddled focaccia. I invited BF’s and my favorite people over, we drank wine and ate good food. Dan and Mandi made a great sauce that went perfect with the I-drank-too-much-wine-last-night day that followed. Megan made a lovely spinach salad and there was liberal pouring of wine and beer. It was, truly, the best birthday I could ask for. But, in my brilliance, I decided that making two cakes that both required at least three separate pre-made ingredients and a whole bunch of love was the best way to top off this grand evening of debauchery.
I made both of these cakes pretty much exactly according to the recipes – my variation was that I used liquid cheesecake in the chocolate chip cake instead of passion fruit curd. The cheesecake was WAY more accessible. I’m not sharing these recipes today – they are too complex and my pictures are MIA as my hands were typically too much of a mess to photo-document this process. SO all we have left of this cake is a remnant and these pictures. There were twelve of us at the party. We ate most of both of these cakes. I loved them.
And I will assuredly be baking from Momofuku Milk Bar again soon.
Sometimes you need something to aspire to. Sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone and just have a book that you can look at and know, with certainty, that it’s a hair out of your range. That is why I own the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook. I find this book incredibly daunting – like a giant sundae when I’ve already had too much to eat. But I can’t stop myself from picking it up every few months and thinking I should give it a try.
For the record – I’m usually a show no fear kind of cook. I’ll try anything at least once – I’ve made my own bacon and babysat my own sourdough starter so I always think I can handle this cookbook. Which means I pull it out and look up a cake – now a cake in this book has at least four separate ingredients that must be cooked/mixed/pureed/blended before I even consider the possibility of putting it together. I did mention I found the book daunting, ya?
Most people look at this book for the pictures I think – okay the crack pie is fantastic and the compost cookies are extraordinary but the rest of the book is meticulous. Everything is weighed and soothed into the rest of the ingredients. But maybe that’s why I love it, it’s a book of challenges and dares me to break my boundaries a little bit.
I do plan on actually tackling a few of these recipes in the next couple weeks – I’ll share my results. Don’t you worry. Though I’m still a tad intimidated, at least I’m building my own birthday cake so I won’t wreck someone else’s birthday, right?
My love of ginger is well documented here, here, and here. I constantly refer to my love of it – the sharp flavor, the spicy finish, the texture, ginger is just a flavor I can’t get enough of. So, of course, when an invite came through my email for A Spoonful of Ginger, the annual benefit for Joslin Diabetes Center to raise money for their Asian American Diabetes Initiative, I said yes.
Spoonful of Ginger is a wonderful event – held at the MFA, this event is gorgeously laid out and endears itself to me even more just by it’s location. The MFA is a lovely spot and so many wonderful chefs and people came out in their finest. It was a remarkable evening and I can’t recommend attendance highly enough. Pictured in this post are just few of the outstanding nibbles I tried at the event – everything was wonderfully prepared and had that perfect ginger bite.
I was invited to attend Spoonful of Ginger free of charge, but all opinions listed here are my own.
Last week I was invited to try out a Treat Cupcake Bar cupcake party with the Boston Brunchers. I was pleasantly surprised. I am not the biggest fan of the “Cupcake trend” that’s been pseudo-taking over recently. And Treat is not the most convenient of places to get to, but the party – was FUN. I loved being able to go and play with frostings and candies and fondant (note: I LOATHE fondant) with out having to make all of those ingredients myself. The party was very streamlined from decorating cupcake boxes, to decorating aprons, to decorating cupcakes everything lead into itself in a very smooth way. I thought Treat’s cupcakes were fine in flavor and texture but the experience was SO MUCH FUN. I would totally set this up as a kid’s party, with mini cupcakes though – the ones we left with were HUGE (and there were six of them!). You can learn more about Treat parties here.
This cupcake party was provided free of charge by Treat Cupcake Bar in exchange for this post. All opinions here are my own. I did receive six cupcakes but gave one to my cabbie on the way home, as a thanks.
I cast a fairly critical eye on everything. Yeah I eat out fairly regularly but I don’t do so lightly. BF makes most of our income right now which means that I’m (we’re) extremely tightfisted with spending. For me to put the effort in to go out on my own dime the food has to wow me. Common Ground did not. I could see what Common Ground wanted to do, I could even appreciate it, but I found their food to be mediocre at best and a tad pricey. In essence I wasn’t a fan. I enjoyed the very first taste, Sweet Potato soup (not too sweet and still solidly filling and creamy) and that was pretty much it. They also whipped cream perfectly – which is something I always look for, so kudos to that. For a more comprehensive grasp of my feelings on Common Ground check out this review of the brunch and lunch that the restaurant offers.
I was provided a full six course tasting menu by Common Ground in Allston free of charge. I was not compensated in any way to write this post. I really did find the food totally unremarkable.