Friday, December 23, 2011

A Reason To Celebrate

       Okay, I don't know about you but I feel like this year has flown by so fast. I'm already half way into my harder than hard junior year and I'm freaking out a little bit. My teachers, parents, and any other person who asks what grade I am in keeps reminding me what I need to do before next year......ACT score, college, grades, A PLAN of some sort, the list goes on and on. The one thing that gets my mind off of all those things is... you guessed it FOOD!
   My Brother Keith's birthday was the 18th and mine was the 20th and since they are so close to Christmas, Keith and I never give each other birthday gifts. This year we decided to make/buy our gifts. Keith LOVES yellow cake, so I decided to bake him a birthday cake from scratch. Keith bought me a cake that I love and dream about all the time, I was very happy!

Yellow Birthday Cake
yum yum
Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, and, in theory,

4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (480 grams) cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
2 sticks (1 cup, 1/2 pound or 225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (400 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk (475 ml), well-shaken
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just Incorporated.
Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. (I like to drop mine a few times from two inches up, making a great big noisy fuss.) Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
Yes, it’s true: A chocolate frosting recipe without any butter, whipped eggs and barely a modicum of added sugar. Oh, and you don’t even need an electric mixer to make it. What are you waiting for?
Only cooking note: Be sure that your sour cream is at room temperature before you make the frosting. Makes 5 cups of frosting, or enough to frost and fill a two layer 9-inch cake

15 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 teaspoons instant espresso (optional, but can be used to pick up the flavor of average chocolate)
2 1/4 cups sour cream, at room temperature
1/4 to 1/2 cup light corn syrup
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine the chocolate and espresso powder, if using, in the top of a double-boiler or in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted. (Alternately, you can melt the chocolate in a microwave for 30 seconds, stirring well, and then heating in 15 second increments, stirring between each, until the chocolate is melted.) Remove from heat and let chocolate cool until tepid.
Whisk together the sour cream, 1/4 cup of the corn syrup and vanilla extract until combined. Add the tepid chocolate slowly and stir quickly until the mixture is uniform. Taste for sweetness, and if needed, add additional corn syrup in one tablespoon increments until desired level of sweetness is achieved.

Let cool in the refrigerator until the frosting is a spreadable consistency. This should not take more than 30 minutes. Should the frosting become too thick or stiff, just leave it out until it softens again.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

ACT Tacos

This morning, of all mornings was the fabulous and terrifying ACT. It was my first time taking it and I was really nervous. My plan was to go in blind and see what I get, then take the class and study. Well lets just say I will be taking it again for sure. I felt good during everything except for the science part. I mean really do I really need to be comparing graphs on rocks and erosion?!?! If you can't tell by my choice of punctuation, I had NO idea what was happening with that whole section of that test. So my Saturday started off not to the best start, but then it got worse because my mom and I decided to go to the mall. It didn't ocure to us that it is about 2 weeks until Christmas! 25 MINUTES TO FIND A PARKING SPOT! So I was having a bad day until my mom said I could make dinner! That always makes my day better. So I decided to make shrimp tacos! I found this recipe online and we just finished eating it. I feel like I just ate a whole....something that makes you feel sick. Anyway, this recipe is really yummy and a little on the spicy side, but you can always tame it down a little bit.

Chipotle Shrimp Tacos!!!

  • 1 (12 ounce) package bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 pounds large cooked shrimp- peeled deveined, and cut in half
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt to taste
  1. In a large, deep skillet fry the bacon over medium- high heat until evenly brown. Drain the bacon fat. Add the onions to the pan with the bacon and cook 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Stir the shrimp and chipotle chiles; cook 4 minutes or until heated through.
  2. Heat tortillas on an ungreased skillet over medium high heat for 10 to 15 seconds. Turn and heat the other side. Fill the heated tortillas with shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with cilantro, lime juice, and salt. You can also add avocado, cheese, sour cream! SUPER YUMMY!!!