Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lighting McQueen Car and Halloween Spider Cake

The first "advanced magnitude" cake I ever made was Lighting McQueen for the love of my life, my Grandson!


 My first mistake, when attempting to take on the making of the "Lighting McQueen Cake", was making the cake too far in advance!  I can't tell you how stressed I was.
It took about two weeks to complete, only because I elected to carve and make a "tester" cake.  I thought this way any challenges I had to face would be head-on and when it was time to make the actual cake, it would be a walk in the park.....not so FAST my friends!!!    
 I quickly learned that unexpected and unpredictable things do happen, and they force you to think outside of the box!!!! 

This was truly a labor of LOVE!



My latest creation - The Halloween Spider Cake!




 This time it only took me two full days to create...but trust me when I say it was a challenge!
You see, I'm not an artist that can draw a picture or a sketch.  The sketch/picture is in my head and nowhere else.  I start the project and step by step, it starts to come together. 
Don't get me wrong, I tried to draw a picture and I ended up discouraging myself.  So I quickly gave that up and went with the image I had in my head. 


 This is an 11 x 15 x 3 


Initially, I iced it all in orange the night before.  However, when I woke up the next morning I thought I was going to pass out!  All of the icing had dried and cracked so bad that it wasn't presentable...  I had to think fast! 

This is where thinking outside of the BOX comes in handy...


I scraped off as much of the icing as I could, and instead covered it with chocolate fondant.  The saving grace was the fact that it was a Halloween-themed Birthday Cake - so the color scheme worked and it all came together beautifully!

I was very happy with the outcome and so was my client!!!  

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chayote Squash Salmon Salad



Not only is this salad a fantastic dish, it is filling and satisfying and loaded with Omega oils!!
The fruit is roughly pear shaped with coarse wrinkles. It has a thin light green skin, and a single large flattened tip. The flesh has a fairly bland taste and it's texture can be described as a cross between a potato and a cucumber. 
The fruit does not need to be peeled and can be eaten raw in salads. It can also be boiled, stuffed, mashed, baked, fried, or pickled. Both the fruit and the seed are rich in amino acids and vitamin C.


Chayote Squash


As a child,  every so often my mom would make this salad and at times she would pair it with pork and white rice.
 Another option would be to baked and stuff it with spinach, feta cheese and sundried tomatoes.  Let your imagination run wild!

What you'll need....


4 to 5 medium to large potatoes-scrubbed and washed
1 to 2 Chayote squash-quartered lengthwise
2 to 3 eggs 
1 Tbsp salt

1/3 lb to 1/2 lb Smoked Salmon 
1/2 each of a yellow, red, and orange Bell Pepper - cut Julian style
1 medium red onion-cut into rings 
1/4 cup apple-cider vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 Packet Italian seasoning
1 to 2 crushed garlic cloves   

Cooking Directions 

Place onion rings on a dish and add vinegar till all are covered.

Place potatoes, squash, eggs, and salt into a pot and cover with water.  Cook on medium heat for about 1 1/2 hours or until tender.  The chayote squash tends to take a little longer to cook than the other vegetables.  When vegetables become tender, remove and set aside to cool. Once completely cooled, peel all vegetables and remove the heart of the chayote (which is in the center part of the squash). 

Using a large casserole dish, start slicing the potatoes into circular pieces as illustrated above and arrange around the dish leaving the center clear, as this is where the salmon will be placed. Now cut the chayote julian style and arrange over the potatoes, doing the same with the eggs.  
Remove any skin from the smoked salmon, crumble the fish, and place it at the center of the casserole dish. 

Last step... you're almost there.

Over medium-high heat, add the olive oil to a pan allow it to heat.  Once hot (not burning), sauté the garlic for approximately 30 seconds.  Remove the onions from the vinegar and add them to the pan with the garlic and continue to sauté.  Add the peppers, vinegar, and Italian seasoning packet.  Sauté for another 30 seconds.  Pour over the salad making sure every bit of the salad gets coated with this mixture.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

I’m calling these “Last Minute Cookies”!





I came across this cookie recipe on the internet, these are unbelievably simple to make.  All it takes are 4 ingredients!!


Preheat oven to 350°

Ingredients:

1 box chocolate cake mix
½ cup veggie oil
2 eggs
1 cup chocolate chips


Mix the first 3 ingredients.  Once mixed completely, add the chocolate chips.

Use a tablespoon to drop the cookie dough onto cookie sheet about an inch apart.  Using the back of a spoon,  flatten the cookies before baking (but don’t over do it)!


Bake for 8 to 10 minutes

For variations, try using yellow cake mix or any cake mix you wish. Add nuts, raisins, white chocolate chips, coconut etc. Let your imagination take flight!!


  

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hearty White Bean Stew.....Are you ready for it?????

This soul-warming dish is unbelievable! With the flavor of smoked turkey swirling around every spoonful, you’ll barely notice the cold weather outside.

Ingredients

2 Smoked Turkey Drumsticks (Pick out the largest ones you can find)
Dutch oven or an 8 quart pot
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 Knorr chicken bouillon cubes
1 cup large sweet onion chopped
1 large bay leaf
¼ tsp good quality oregano
2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic (Do not substitute)
1 pound white beans, soaked overnight
1 quart chicken stock
4 to 5 medium potatoes diced 
3 long thin carrots sliced in circles
1 ½ cups auyama (which is a Spanish style squash) peeled and cut into cubes
1 Habanero pepper's seeds - (use only the seeds, use half if you prefer less heat)
1 Packet Sazon Goya
Salt to taste
1 tsp tomato paste
Make sure all your veggies are cut into small cubes, this will allow it to cook in a shorter amount of time…since the beans tend to get tender fast. 



Directions

Rinse turkey and place into the Dutch oven, adding enough water to cover the turkey completely. Cook over medium-high heat for about an hour or until the meat separates from the bone.  Remove turkey from broth and set aside. Add the beans and chicken stock to the pot and cook for 45 minutes. Once the beans are tender but NOT overly tender, add the following: potatoes, carrots, and auyama and continue cooking for 15 minutes.
In a separate pan, heat up the olive oil and add the onions and sauté for about 1 minute. Add the garlic, oregano, sazon, habanero pepper seeds, bouillon chicken cubes and tomato paste and cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Then add it to the beans. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer.
Remove turkey meat from the bone and add meat to the beans.  Add the bay leaf and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Serve over steamed white rice or with french bread
Adjust the salt to taste.
It wouldn’t be complete without an avocado slice!!!

The Keefer Event


The Menu

Mini BBQ Meatballs

Killer Artichoke Dip

Cheese filled Dates Wrapped with Bacon

Chicharrones de Pollo

Greek Cucumber Sauce

Prosciutto Pinwheels

Spicy Chicken Dip

Sweet Tomatoes Mozzarella Cheese Ball Skewers
With a Basil sauce