28 May 2010

Chocolate Revel Bars

Revel Bars (with title)
"You put too much meaning into things," a friend of mine once told me good-naturedly (and with a touch of concern). I didn't disagree. It was my thing, even though I tried so blessed hard for it not to be a thing with me. For better or for worse, it's how my brain is wired. And to be honest, it's a really difficult way to go through life, especially when your friends do a lot of things that don't really have any motivation or agenda. It always has to be about something with me.

22 May 2010

Empire State of Mind (New York Part 4)

Swing Band at Union Station
Click on any image to take you to the Flickr page to see it bigger. Also, you might want to check out my tutorial on Curves for Photoshop. My most favorite tool ever.
I must confess, I don't really like Alicia Keys. I think "No One" from As I Am is her only song that has artistic merit and originality BUT that doesn't mean I don't kind of like one or two songs from each album for pop value. Empire State of Mind doesn't pick up until the bridge but there's a certain sense of hopefulness amidst the crazy/glamorous life of a New Yorker in the lyrics that I like. The sacrifices you have to make for the American Dream and all that. Above is a snap from what I believe is Union Station (14th Street) of a swing band complete with dancing couple. The couple was fun to watch but all of a sudden the saxophonist started losing it and I just had to take a pic!
MacDougal Street and Hummus Place
For obvious reasons while I was in New York, I was obsessing about cheap eats and I'd heard about Hummus Place and since I'd never eaten hummus before (GASP!), I thought it would be a good place to start.

17 May 2010

French Vanilla Flan

Flan à la Vanille
Vanilla Flan (with title)
Though my trip to Las Vegas was a few years ago, a lot of what I saw there became emblazoned in my memory (and noooo, it wasn't strippers or anything like that). For some reason when I went to Paris back in 2004 (way before I learned to really love food, much less cook), I didn't go to any Patisseries. Seeing one after another in Las Vegas whet my appetite for even more Patisserie, but again I skipped something that I really wanted to try - the flans.
Pastry Display at Lenotre 3
On the top shelf, you'll see the Flan Peche, with that irresistible deep brown burnished film on top of the custard.
I didn't really obsess about them because they weren't a standard in most of my cookbooks, which were in English, and I didn't want to make other pastry that resembled it, because I wanted to know what the real deal was like first. Right now I realize I must sound crazy. Who goes ga-ga over custard?! It's the golden film on top, I tell you...

10 May 2010

Ad Hoc's Banana Bread Pudding

Ad Hoc's Banana Bread Pudding (with title)
Just quickly: if you want to learn the basics of adjustment layers (which is how I created the selective coloring effect in the image below), just head on over to Special Effects for my lesson on adjustment layers. It's applicable in both Photoshop and Elements.
Well, so much for rushing to post as many pending recipes I have in my cache before I start my first day as a resident. For a brief period after a brief holiday, my internet pretty much exploded (again). But I'm glad to be back and can't wait to read what everyone's been up to (asking that question on Twitter doesn't seem to generate any response!). Today I'm going to be talking about a major turning point in the entire 3-year history of my learning how to bake: the day I decided to buy a digital scale.

I've always thought it was silly that anyone would suggest that some people are not open to using scales because it involves "math". Granted I've never been afraid of maths (in fact I aced it), but dealing with the fractions of cups and spoons involves more math, especially if you have to scale a recipe up or down. The only part that would be prohibitive would be the price, but these are going down all the time even for good models and the time it saves and the joy of reproducing a recipe faithfully is more than worth it.