Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cupcakes, Barleywine and the Take Home Chef

This pretty much sums up my activities while Mike was in New Orleans. For some reason, I've really been obsessed by the idea of making cupcakes...not so much eating them (although I have no problem doing that!) but making them. Anyway, I tried a couple of recipes from a cookbook I've had for a while but never tried--Cupcakes by Elinor Klivans. Such a delicious little book! I made two kinds--White Mountain cupcakes (chocolate cake with seven-minute frosting) and Lemon Coconut Snowballs (white cake--sort of like angel food but a bit more substantial--with lemon curd, seven-minute frosting and coconut on top). A quick word on seven-minute frosting, in case you're not familiar (I wasn't really) is amazing! Light and tasty, somewhere between marshmallow fluff and a meringue...a bit labor-intensive but totally worth it.

Recipes for both cupcakes and the frosting can be found here.

On Saturday afternoon I met some new friends from our bowling league at a barley wine festival in the Haight. This was my first experience with barley wine, which is primarily a west coast thing (in the U.S.), I think. It was really interesting and so much fun--we got to sample over 50 different ones.

Check out the get this numbered mat so you can keep track of what you're tasting...which becomes harder to do, of course, after enough drinking. I should clarify, barley wine has a high alcohol content so you just get one glass of each for the whole group to sample--I didn't drink over 50 glasses by myself!

Another highlight of my weekend alone--I watched so many episodes of Take Home Chef, my new favorite show. Have you seen it? I'm seriously addicted. Here's the premise, Chef Curtis goes to a grocery store or farmers market, approaches a woman (always a woman) and offers to go home with her and prepare a dinner for the the lucky lady and her significant other, family or friends. My favorite part is when the husbands walk in the door and are surprised by their wives and this gorgeous Australian chef. So awkward--I can't get enough of it. Anyway, he is almost always somewhere in California, so lately I've been making sure that I look nice when I leave for the never know!

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