(but could be better)
There they are, slippy-slidey goo of frosting and all. This won’t be a recipe or much of a process post, because if you really want instructions for baking cupcakes I am not the best person to ask. Here’s basically what I did:
- Add a bit of eggnog and a lot of cinnamon and nutmeg to a cake mix.
- Fail at making frosting
- Look up recipe: add a bunch of powdered sugar to a little bit of eggnog, probably still too much, blend, drop on top of cupcakes like gooey mess.
Then they were slowly devoured. The frosting hardened a little after a while, so it wasn’t just goo sliding across the cake tops forever…
They were (or are: there are a few left) very tasty, although not at the level of the bakeries I like to buy from. They were pretty good for homemade, mix-based cupcakes. That’s all I can really say. No one wanted to come over, so the only other person who could form an opinion on them is my roommate, and she said they were good.
Lesson learned: don’t assume you know how to make something like frosting, even if you did it once several years ago, because until you know, you don’t know.
Head over to my youtube channel (link in the “referred sites” section of the sidebar), where I have posted my video documentation of making the cupcakes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDVblVfQPoU
As I posted about six months ago, my birthday plans were ruined by a giant blizzard. So I decided to give myself a half-birthday party. I just invited a few people to hang out on my porch and eat yummy food that I prepared.
This is, in fact, the first time I have ever hosted a party at my home and had to acquire all the food and stuff myself. The last time I actually prepared food for numerous people, I’m pretty sure it was at my mom’s house (therefore with her money). Ever since then, I generally plan parties as outings to restaurants I like. I didn’t realize how much money it cost to get all the food. Especially because I’m just so fancy, I wanted to make seafood. Next time… probably not. Luckily, alcohol came with the guests, or else we would have all had to be sober the whole time 😦
I don’t want to go into the details of shopping for stuff, except to say that I’m glad I didn’t try to do it all in one trip, and that I did it in advance. This is my advice to you: IF you are planning to do all the shopping in one trip for a party, make a comprehensive list and do it AT LEAST one day in advance, so that if you couldn’t find certain items you’ll have a chance to go to another store for them. I made a list, but the way things go, inevitably you’ll forget to get something and you can’t carry it all home at once anyway, so at least two trips are necessary. Technically, I think five shopping trips happened, although only three of them were me going for food.
So here we go: I’ve gotten myself all ready and some of the food. Care to see?
It wasn’t a fancy party by far, really, but I hate to pass up an opportunity to dress up. Wearing a bright red dress makes me feel so fun and sexy. So why not? Heels, too. I mean, maybe they aren’t the most practical shoes to wear in the kitchen, but if we were all to go around being practical all the time, no one would ever wear heels. EVER. Except maybe really short people.
For those who might be curious: My dress was purchased from Modcloth, shoes from DSW, and my tights and apron (shown below) from Anthropologie.
In terms of plates and decorations and stuff, nothing was remotely interesting or worth mentioning where I bought it. So, moving on…
As it turned out, most of the guests didn’t arrive until the dinner part was mostly done. But that’s ok. So I got started on the food. Most of the work was just chopping. Then things went into the oven.
That’s a green pepper I’m slicing up there. It got mixed in with various other vegetables and shoved into the oven for roasting.
As people finally started to arrive so the party could actually be a party, the dinner was just about done and I laid it out on the table. And took pictures of it.
And yes. I did make the mango salsa. Thanks for asking. Of all the things I made I actually think it was the most successful individual item. Recipes vary. For reference, this is what I used: two mangoes, five or six (maybe seven) campari tomatoes, one whole jalapeno, and cilantro. I kept the cilantro in a separate bowl because I wasn’t sure if there were people who didn’t like it. But they got mixed together when I put the leftovers away 😉
The shrimp did get a bit more dried out in the oven than I would have liked, but they weren’t badly overdone or anything. Still perfectly edible and tasty. The rice was rice, the veggies were well-roasted and not overcooked. Everyone said they really liked the food. This is definitely the largest number of people I’ve ever cooked for, so I’m pleased that the dinner was well-received. A little it of digestion time later, and it was time for dessert.
…Dessert was sponsored by Sesame Street and the letter C. Apparently.
The cupcakes and champagne were brought by one of my guests, and since I rarely ever have desserts made for me, I was very grateful to her. I requested buttercream frosting knowing that it might not hold up all the way over to my apartment. So really, it’s my fault they look like that. I am certain that, as she says, they looked very pretty in the morning. However, they were still delicious, and that’s what really counts.
And that’s it. We hung out a bit longer, enjoying the last of the champagne and listening to ridiculous covers of Lady Gaga. The guests trickled out, we put away the leftover food, and that was the end. I am thinking that half-birthdays might be the thing from now on. August is much more likely to give me good weather than February, don’t you think?
I think I will have to count this as my first actual adult party. And it went pretty well.
Earlier this afternoon I made my own, home-made version of a cup-a-noodles. Much tastier, and only took a few minutes longer…
My last tomato, having been around for about a week, needed to be used, but I didn’t want another sandwich and unfortunately I have no fresh mozzarella at the moment. However, I always like to just throw some pieces of fresh tomato onto some pasta, so I thought I’d do that.
Of course, this was not the freshest tomato I was working with. Knowing that, I decided to just cook them up a little bit. I threw them into a pan with olive oil and a tasty little mix of herbs. I made a serving of pasta, heated the tomatoes in the oil for just a few minutes, threw it all together in a bowl and ate it up (of course it burned my mouth a little to begin with, because I didn’t give it a chance to cool off before I took a bite…)
(Imagine a picture here of some freshly-made pasta scattered with tomatoes
and dotted with herbs. Tried to take an actual picture, and it did not go well.)
I’m not going to detail how I cooked things, because it was extremely simple and everyone basically knows how to make pasta … but here are a few notes that might help.
1) Angel hair cooks SO fast because it’s so thin, it’s amazing for a quick meal. I almost always make too much pasta, so I adjusted for that and made what looked like too little. It was the perfect amount for lunch.
2) Use the good stuff! I have some cheap, meh-type olive oil and some good, delicious, thick olive oil. People often want to use the good stuff only for special occasions or something, save it and use the adequate but not-as-good kind instead – but let me ask you this: what are you saving it for? Unless you have something particular in mind, just use it. Especially in a dish like this, where the oil is going to be a big part of the flavor. Treat yourself. It’s not like you can’t buy some good olive oil ever again.
3) It’s your choice how long to cook the tomatoes, but if you’re looking to keep the fresh tomato taste, just simmer them long enough to warm them up and get them nice and coated in oil and spice. Which herbs or spices you use is also your choice. If you’re not sure, I’d recommend some basil. Basil is excellent for this.
Later I went to Davis Sq., so dinner was a Little Italy sandwich at Blue Shirt Cafe, followed by a mojito cupcake. Kickass Cupcakes makes, if you can believe it, some pretty kickass cupcakes.