Sunday, August 29, 2010

Homemade hot sauce

We are hot sauce junkies at our house. We keep a couple of types on hand at all times, because you never know what you might want to put it on. But, i the grand scheme of things, hot sauce is kind of expensive. So, jackpot bingo when I saw this post in the New York Times! I made immediate plans to make it after a trip to the DeKalb Farmer's Market. I was ready to throw every pepper they had into the pot!

For the first try, I held back and tried to stick to the recipe. They only had 3 red habaneros peppers (all the rest were green -- I figured they wouldn't be hot), so I subbed in 2 serrano peppers. Three red and three green habaneros plus 2 serrano peppers cost me all of 26 cents! Can't beat that with a stick.

Right now, I'm on day 2 of the 3 day setting process. I am SOOOOOOOOOO ready to taste the final product. Of course, I did sneak a taste when it came off the stove. It definitely had some zip. I don't know if the wait period is going to increase the flavor, mellow it out, or what. Tomorrow's going to be taco night --- a perfect time to crack this baby open!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My First Cake Order

Yeah! I just completed my first ever cake order! 200 red velvet wedding cupcakes!

How do you bake 17 dozen cupcakes in a regular home kitchen without losing your mind?


1. Set a schedule. Each day before the wedding, I accomplished a different task. For example, two weeks ahead of time, I did a test run with the giant cupcake (Remember "Chris and the Giant Cupcake"?). One week before, I molded the giant cupcake wrapper out of fondant and left it to dry. On Thursday, I made 15 or so pounds of cream cheese frosting. On Friday, I did all the baking. And on Saturday, I decorated and delivered the cupcakes.

2. Be flexible. My original plan was to use an idea from Hello, Cupcake! to use a large freezer bag to portion out the batter evenly. Well, it worked great for the first two batches. When I went to pick up the bag to fill the next batch, the bag had a gazillion holes in it. (NOTE: Red velvet cake contains vinegar. Not much, but enough to completely eat through a freezer bag in 15 minutes.)

I also planned to speed things along by baking 2 trays at a time. My oven is much colder on the bottom than the top. The cupcakes didn't bake evenly, so I resorted to one pan at a time.

3. Be organized. The weekend before the wedding, I portioned out all of my dry ingredients into my own little cake mixes. On baking day, I laid out everything in sets. Unfortunately, this didn't prevent me from forgetting the vanilla extract in the first 3 dozen cupcakes. OOPS!

All in all, I think the cupcakes turned out great, and the bride was pleased. I look forward to the future when I have a professional grade kitchen and a truck or van -- squeezing 200 cupcakes into the back of a Nissan worked, but it took some doing.

The finished product:

And the happy couple, perched upon their giant cupcake:

Monday, August 16, 2010

Chris and the Giant Cupcake

Now, who doesn't love a cupcake? And even if you could pass on a cute little bite size cupcake, could you really pass up a GIANT cupcake? I surely can't. Neither could The Artist. He appears to be spellbound.....

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