Saturday, December 23, 2006

Silly chocolate and pretzel things

Not much of a post, but I liked the way this photo came out ;) I baked. A lot. But the one thing that people here have enjoyed most involved 5 minutes of oven time and not a lot more work than unwrapping kisses!

They are fun, though ;)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


My first attempt at a bento for Roo:

  • 3 onigiri, filled with bits of sausage and topped with toasted sesame seeds and wrapped in nori (they are in 3 fun shapes, too).

  • hard boiled egg with a nori smiley face

  • salad with butter lettuce, romaine, grape tomatoes and baby cucumbers, oil and vinegar dressing on the side

  • dessert is a sliced up prickly pear - nothing else, since this is not a fruit that plays nicely with others
This bento 'box' is what I'm using. Eventually, I'd like to have a collection of boxes of various shapes and sizes - there are 4 1/2 years of school left!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Death Star!

I have not forgotten about the cake - well, maybe I did forget to post pictures. . .

Here is the Death Star cake, rendered in chocolate raspberry and fondant, by the incredibly talented and creative Chef Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes and soon to be seen on Ace of Cakes. I can't recommend his work highly enough. Working with him and his manager again has been yet another great experience. And in a month or so, I'll be contacting them again to do a cake for my parents' 40th anniversary in December. We're thinking about doing an air hockey table, since the two of them love to compete against one another.

Keep in mind that my lightsaber is 14" long. This cake was about that tall and that wide. As we carried it from the lobby, where it was dropped off by a very pleasant Charm City Cakes employee, to our room, we received many "that's CAKE?!" exclamations. You could smell the sweetness (fondant will do that) - and that drew an actress from Farcape into the room - I had to be told later who she was. Oops. Maybe I should watch the show.

Anyhow - onto the cake!

A photo of the chocolate and raspberry cake. Dark enough for the Death Star, wouldn't you say?

Sha proves that the best way for the Jedi to beat such darkness is to consume it. With a smile!

The cake was a huge hit and we were loathe to cut into it. But, as you can see, we managed to get past that and enjoy every bite!

And back yet again

Yes, I have posts to put up! We're back from Otakon, and recovering from the crowds. Now that cons are done for a little while, I'm going to try to catch up here. Though, of course, I'm not really done - there's preparing for the exhibitors' hall for U-Con in November. And, of course, there's always renfaire on the weekends from now until October.

For now, though, just a few shots from McCormick & Schmick's Grill at the Inner Harbor, from lunch yesterday. It's always a bonus when we can be seated without anyone giving a second look at any costuming - Roo actually received compliments instead on the black and red ao dai she was wearing, even though she added an obi, which she used to hold her sword. Ah, kids today!

First: My mixed greens salad. That's really all it was. Just... mixed greens. Mixed greens that looked and tasted suspiciously like the packages in the supermarket.

Roo was much happier with her French onion soup:

Our entrees came. I have been in a tilapia mood lately. The flavors were nice, at least what I could tell under all the salt that was used. I know I'm strange, though, and have a low tolerance for salty things, so this was probably very good:

Roo loved her chicken parmesan:

But most of all, she loved the creme brulee. She's such a little fiend for the stuff.

On the whole, not a bad tourist-area type meal. Not something I'd be in any rush to get back to, but I understand they're highly recommended.

I did not take photos of our dinner at J. Paul's since I had forgotten I had it with me. They steamed the crab with garlic, which was an unusual, but very interesting flavor. The rockfish I'd ordered came swimming in a buttery salty sauce that I just couldn't handle. Now, this was definitely MY fault for not reading the menu thoroughly. Had I realized it was a buttery sauce, I would have ordered something else. The server asked why I didn't touch the fish, only eating the vegetable and some of the rice and I did tell him. He whisked it away and insisted on taking it off the bill, even though I took full responsibility for the fact that I didn't care for it. I was the one not being observant, it certainly wasn't the kitchen's fault.

We sat outdoors, there, too, and enjoyed people watching. Watching the mundanes watching Otakon con-goers was a LOT of fun, too.

I still have to post photos from when JT and I went to Sole Food in Philadelphia. And, of course, tomorrow there should be pictures, depending upon where my husband wants to go for his birthday dinner.

Saturday, July 01, 2006


No, I haven't forgotten this blog. What I have been is dealing with a WinXP crash that ate all the pictures, files, etc., that were sitting in my computer. This means that any fun food pictures bit the dust along with it. Argh.

However, heading to Philadelphia this weekend, where there WILL be food and blogging to go with it! Then, while JT heads north to Boston, Roo and I will have a day at home before heading to Baltimore. That will be mostly crockpot meals in the room (less searching for restaurants means less time away from Shore Leave and from our planned geocaching excursion - and healthier meals anyhow!) but we'll see what we think of Crackpot Restaurant at least one night.

Oh, and then there will be The Cake from Charm City Cakes. I can't wait to see how the Death Star gets rendered in chocolate raspberry!

Monday, May 29, 2006

I'm not eating around -

But JT is.

My husband is working in Bangalore at the moment. He's in India for a couple weeks with work and I told him I wanted food pictures, especially. He spends his evenings/my mornings on IM with me, telling me how WONDERFUL all the food is and getting me jealous. It's downright mean of him to tell me things like, "This is how cucumbers will taste in heaven" and "I haven't had mango like this since I was a kid in Mexico." Sigh. So I'm eating vicariously through him. I have to admit, though: fewer calories this way!

This morning for him, breakfast started with papaya, pineapple, melon, bacon, a rice cake that was made with rice, nuts, spices and vegtables, and then a sweet cake.

(The photo is clickable and leads to a ton of other pictures, only a few of which are food related, the rest are images from the trip. Food shots are on Day 3.)

Catering is phenomenal and, from everything he has said, I need to dig out my Indian cookbooks and get cracking!

Monday, May 15, 2006

On the road

Out here in the Kansas City area, hanging with friends. I have, unfortunately, continued to forget my camera every time we leave the room.

We had brunch at Blue Bird Bistro in Kansas City a couple days ago and oh, was it ever good! Darana has often commented on the place, so I was looking forward to trying it. I was not at all disappointed. I wish we had a bistro like this in Lancaster.

Pictures... eventually. I hope!

Friday, May 05, 2006


Reviewing my posts, I can't believe I never posted about the cake Chef Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes did for Roo's 13th birthday back in January!

She fell in love with Phantom of the Opera when we took her to see it in NYC. So, she asked for a Phantom Theme for her 13th. Easily done, especially with the movie version having come out. So we did the rec room up with stars and giant film strips and had individual bags of popcorn for the girls to go with movie munchies. Finger foods they could snack on while watching PotO on DVD. But.. the real star of the party, after the birthday girl, was the cake. After much discussion and research, Roo came up with the design she wanted for her cake, basing it off of a musical figurine:

She decided she wanted a mask and rose on the gondola, which Chef Goldman used in place of Erik and Christine. She was so thrilled with the cake that she wanted to save it for posterity.

Since *everything* on this was edible, except for the wire stem in the rose, that didn't happen. I can assure you, the cake was delicious.

It was so good and dealing with Charm City Cakes such a pleasant experience, that I have another order in for a Death Star cake for a small party at Shore Leave in July. I can't wait!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Why it's better to eat at camp

I've been neglectful, but I have good reason - I've been watching what I eat. HOWEVER - what that means now as I've started to get into the swing of things is that I'm realizing that food cannot be bland or boring. It must have flavor to satisfy me.

Recently, we traveled to Cherokee, NC. Lovely area. We camped, ate a roast done over the fire and sipped wine while stargazing. One afternoon was spent riding horses in the Great Smokies. Afterwards, of course, we were famished. So we left the peace and quiet of the mountain and headed into Gaitlinburg. We stopped for dinner at a little restaurant in town that was supposedly a great place to eat. You be the judge.

I'm not a big catfish eater, but it was on the menu as an appetizer. What the heck, we said, so we ordered it.

Bland. Bland. Bland. It had no flavor or even texture at all. But, I perked up. I'd ordered lobster bites for dinner. That had to be better, right?

It was as boring as it looked. Seeing a streak, we skipped dessert and left. We really didn't want to chance their coffee there! Not after how spoiled we've gotten with the good stuff, which seems to be even better cooked in the old campfire coffeepot we use. We walked through town instead, where we saw a great deal:

I had to wonder how they were seasoned! Hopefully better than my lobster bites.

The BEST meal we had that we ourselves didn't prepare was at Grandma's Pancakes and Steaks. A little restaurant with vinyl tablecloths was where we chose to have our Easter morning breakfast. It was homecooking, well prepared and, unlike our sad dinner, it didn't cost an arm and a leg. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures from that, as I'd left the camera back at the campsite.
Lesson learned, though? In touristy areas, stick to small, out of the way places or prepare it yourself if you can. Less fattening and more flavorful!

Sunday, February 12, 2006


I made the mistake of not shooing JT and Roo out of the room while I settled in to watch Food Network. Before I knew it, they were begging for something chocolate. I finally gave in and found a vegan chocolate cake and an easy chocolate frosting recipe to do while I played.

The cakes - well - one didn't finish at all and the other was just slightly underdone. I noticed that as I went to flip them back over. Oops. Okay - out went the totally gooey inside cake. I could have made it into a pudding type dessert but I was so not in the mood to fuss with that and I still had 1 9" round that was just really really moist.

Next - the chocolate frosting. I get it all together and I realize that I was out of cornstarch. Oops. Okay, throw a little flour in and hope for the best, right? Hah! It was not a spreadable consistancy at all. Pourable. Okay, fine. I poured it over the cooled round and cut a couple slices for them. Spooned a little more of the 'frosting' over their slices and finished off the plates with some whipped cream.

Apparently, it was a success. I wonder what the recipes will be like when I do them RIGHT?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Christmas Morning

Yes, it's late for a Christmas post - I have been amiss in updating the blog!

Since I married JT oh-so-many-years-ago, every Christmas morning, I pop a casserole into the oven and serve it with fruit salad. It's simple, it's easy to prepare, and I don't have to worry about it. The casserole goes into the oven first thing, we open gifts and, by the time we're done, breakfast is ready to be served.

This year, I decided to add a sour cream coffee cake that sounded just incredible. It was from the Barefoot Contessa and I made just a couple minor changes in the recipe, to suit my family.

The cake came out very well, though the top could have browned a wee bit more:

However, the flavor didn't seem to be at all affected. My daughter decided she liked the coffee cake *far* more than the sausage and egg casserole or even the fruit. Between her and my husband, this did not last very long in our home.

Here's our little table, all set for Christmas morning. I never did get the candle to sit straight, it kept wanting to fall over!

I hope everyone had a holiday that was as wonderful and joyous, full of family, love and good food, as we did.