Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter and KitchenAid Adventures, Part I

Happy Easter! I am excited to be celebrating Easter here in Brooklyn this year and although we will be having a quiet dinner at home, I am very thankful for the family that I have here.

Since Joe's Mom wanted to stay home this year for Easter, I decided that I would make some cupcakes to send to his cousin's house. I really wanted to make them, but didn't want 24 cupcakes around the house (make no mistake, I will eat them all if they are in my line of vision) So I thought it would be nice to send them with our neighbors who are headed to New Jersey to enjoy dinner with the rest of the family.
I used a great recipe I found online, it's actually a recipe featured on Martha Stewart's show and from Billy's Bakery here in New York City. You can view pieces of the episode that aired here. You can also find the recipe there. Just a few useful tips from my own experience - making the batter, I used 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder, as opposed to the 1 the recipe calls for. There was a discrepancy between what Billy said to add, and what was listed, so I went with a middle figure. I did not have any exploding cupcakes like others did, and mine turned out perfect! Also, the recipe calls for non-self rising cake flour. I used Swans Down cake flour - perfect for the recipe and non-self rising (although the box did not indicate as much so I had to call the company and ask). Also, I used Billy's buttercream frosting recipe as well. While this is a good buttercream recipe, it's not the best I've ever had - I would use a different one next time. No need to go up to 8 cups of confectioners sugar, 6 cups is more than enough, and I had plenty leftover - I could have probably frosted about 20 additional cupcakes with what remained.
Finally, I divided my buttercream into 4 separate cups and added some food coloring to make the frosting very pastel-like and "springy". Overall they came out wonderful. From mixing to completing the frosting it took about 2.5 hours to finish all of them.
As you can see from the pictures, I am once again using my 1957 K-5, Professional model KitchenAid mixer. And yes, it works just fine, truth be told, and I believe my Mother (who gave me the mixer a few years ago) will attest to this, actually works better than the newer ones.
Wishing everyone a Happy Easter and hope that you are able to take some time off and rest, relax, and enjoy life with your families and loved ones.

PS - I had a fun time looking at my Mom's blog, she has some beautiful Easter decorations out and it made me think about my own decorations that were boxed this year. Ahh, maybe next year I will get my act together and decorate the house :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Good Day

As some of you many know, my fiancée headed for Italy on Thursday. He took his Mother there for a short trip so that she could spend time with her family. Although I have missed him greatly, his absence gave me a chance to clean up the house and spend some time tying up loose ends.

Yesterday, our neighbors invited me over for dinner tonight, and although I had a lot of work to catch up on, I accepted the invitation and wandered over for dinner around 3pm today. I am so glad I decided to leave my internet world and actually take part in human contact for a few hours, because I really did need it! After spending hours on the computer every week, sometimes I get to feeling like I am losing my human to human social skills.

I didn’t want to arrive empty-handed, so I made some Country White Bread to share. The recipe I used made two whole loaves and I kept one for Joe when he arrives home tomorrow. I am also going to make proscuitto bread (also known as lard bread, or torta di pasqua) tomorrow morning.
Attempting to stay away from the sweets, or else I would have made a dessert, but the bread was well received and everyone seemed to enjoy it. I really enjoyed having dinner with my friends next door and it made me truly grateful to have such good friends so close by – plus, they made killer lasagna.
I also worked on my clothesline a bit (yes the real one!). It was warm enough to wash and hang the sheets, duvet, and pillow cases – so I did! I also finished doing the rest of my spring cleaning (minus the windows) and all the dusting and mopping.
Finally, Joe arrives back home tomorrow and I am so happy! I have missed him very much since Thursday and will be counting down the hours until he arrives home at 5pm tomorrow. Hopefully this coming weekend I will have a fun Brooklyn article to post. I’ve got something in the works, it’s just been too cold out to go and take pictures :(