A Harmony of Flavors

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Wedding Cake, Birthday Cake and other great food

The Wedding Cake
Hello again. Just me, the stranger. I have so many intentions to get back into the swing and write blog posts more often and somehow it just doesn't happen.

Aside from still unpacking things in the new house, I had a wedding cake to make for July 6th. My niece -in-law got married in a small town here. Their cake was a dummy of Styrofoam, except for the tiny top tier, but the cake was immense and I nearly gave up with trying to get the fondant onto the largest tier, at 24 inches square! I am not a large bakery with huge equipment for rolling fondant. As it was, there was only one way to get the finished cake, on its board out of our house. I am glad it occurred to me to measure before decorating! The only door it could be taken through was the front door, so trying to decorate in the kitchen was out. That said, I still had to do the rolling of fondant in the kitchen and then cart it to the dining room to put in place. This made that huge tier even more difficult to finalize.

Birthday Cake
After two attempts to carry the fondant in one piece - all 12 pounds of it - with it oozing down, tearing and breaking, I nearly gave up, in tears. I thought to try it out in 4 separate quarters, and this did finally work out, but just barely. The places where the fondant joined curled as they dried and separated a bit. I put scrollwork over that part and carried on. After that huge tier, the others, even the next one at 17 inches, were a breeze.

We got the cake out to the car with no mishaps, despite Mercury being retrograde, and up to the hall and in place the day before, minus the top tier. It was in the 90s here and the hall had no air conditioning! I decided it would be best not to put the real cake in that heat until it had to be.

Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Cookies
The wedding was just beautiful, the bride and groom just gorgeous. The bride's dress was so very pretty and unlike any I had seen. The heat was the one unfortunate factor, though it didn't ruin anyone's day. And the following day, with all my cake decorating equipment still all over the place, I made a birthday cake for a dear friend here. After that mammoth cake, this simple, round, 8-inch cake was so simple as to be laughable. It did turn out as I wanted, and she was happy, so all is well. And now, for the first time in two months, all the cake stuff is put away, out of sight. Whew!

Zucchini Lasagna
I have been sort of gradually getting back into making new recipes. Recently I made some cookies that were just so tasty. They were Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Cookies. They could probably use a little tweaking of the recipe, but they were absolutely delicious, cinnamon and chewy. I got some zucchini at the local Farmer's Market with the intention of making Zucchini Lasagna. I've made it many times before, but never written down my recipe, so this time I took the time to do that step, and it is now on my website.

Peach Crisp with Coconut Almond Ice Cream
Yesterday was my dear sister-in-law's birthday. She loves peaches, and requested Peach Crisp as her dessert rather than cake. I decided to try an ice cream, based on a recipe I saw calling for a quart of milk heated with honey and poured over almonds and strained. I thought that was a huge waste of almonds, plus I am not over fond of using milk. I created a recipe, which I revised 3 times before I even made it, but it turned out most delicious. I called it Coconut Almond Ice Cream, though it has no dairy (or eggs) in it at all. For this I soaked 1 cup of raw almonds overnight in a 2 cup measure, filled to the 2 cups with water. Yesterday morning I drained the almonds and placed them into my Vita Mix with one
(13.5 ounce) can of Coconut Milk and about 6 ounces of coconut water. I blended the almonds to a fine powder and strained them out with a nut milk bag, squeezing well to get every last bit of liquid out of the almonds. I rinsed the blender container and returned the strained coconut almond milk to the container with a half cup of honey and a half teaspoon of almond extract, blended for a few seconds to thoroughly mix, and then refrigerated the mixture for the next few hours.

I have an old DAK "Gelatissimo" ice cream machine. I don't use it very often, but now and again it is very handy. I set the ice cream maker to start just as we sat down to dinner, so it would be done and not too hard when it came time for dessert. I will say that though it didn't have the creamy smoothness of some commercial ice creams, it was rich and most delicious. Best of all, it went just splendidly with the Peach Crisp. A real match made in heaven!

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and sign up for my Newsletter