Thursday, July 29, 2010
Just got a shout out in Time Magazine. I was interviewed for an article for my other blog (Living WELL with Food Allergies) and my friend, Joel Stein, the author decided to print a little joke that I made about Buttercream Buzz. It is a funny article and he comes full circle on the way he looks at food allergies. Check it out, "Aw, Nuts" in Friday's Time.
At my age, blurry pictures ain't all bad!
Besides being an accomplished sous chef, Ella is also a budding photographer. She snapped this of me, baking a cake in my new kitchen. We have now been in the house for 4 months but I am thankful every day to have such a wonderful space to cook in. After cooking in our Manhattan apartment, just a wee bit bigger than a postage stamp and our house in the Hollywood Hills, which had about 4' total of counter space... this feels a lot like dying and going to Heaven.
In the photo, I am wearing my MasterChef apron. It just premiered on Fox this week. I was the show's set decorator and I am really proud of all that our Art Department did. We had an insanely low budget and not much time to create a divine space. Thankfully, none of that showed up on camera and I got to watch it on HDTV. If you get a chance, tune in. It was so much fun to work on. The gals in the culinary department really kick some bootie and I learned a lot by watching them.
It wasn't so long ago that LA was a ghost town for decent bakeries. Lately, with the cupcake renaissance things have gotten more interesting. People often ask me what my favorites and here is my mini list...
My hand's down favorite: Sweet Lady Jane
Best Basic Cupcake: Magnolia Bakery
Crazy Good Cupcakes: Lark
Best Place to spend some $$$$$: Joan's
Best Vegan & GF: Babycakes
Best Cake from a Grocery Store: Gelson's/Viktor Benes
Best Valley Bakery: Big Sugar
If you like standing in line: Sprinkles
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
When I am not blogging about baking and being a Mommy, I work as a Set Decorator for TV and Film. One of the shows that I decorated recently is called MasterChef and it begins airing on Fox tonight. I am supremely proud of the sets that we created and I think that this will be a show worth watching. It is an international phenomenon and is one of Australia's most successful TV shows. Our version will feature celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey, as one of three judges. It is a cooking competition show, but with people who are not professional chefs. Most of the other cooking shows, a la Top Chef, have professional chefs competing against one another. You will get to see the softer, gentler side of Gordon who is known for his abrasive yelling in the kitchen. MasterChef is produced by the same people who do "Biggest Loser". It has a lot of heart and we have been receiving favorable reviews all over the place. Here is one from the Hollywood Reporter which had this to say about the show...
"Bottom Line: Top-notch production and unpredictable judges are the main ingredients in this tasty series."
If you are able to, please tune in or set your DVRs. If the show is anything like what I saw during filming, standing in the control room, it is going to be really fun to watch.
Monday, July 26, 2010
It seems that Magnolia Bakery LA has been closed temporarily, less than two weeks after they opened. I discovered this, as I marched like a zombie to their new store. Hoping to score more crack, I mean, another caramel cupcake. Sad news, indeed. Hopefully they will reopen before I am forced to enter a 12 step program.
Mom's first birthday cake of the year. I am not sure what it is about my family, but we seem to be having multiple celebrations for everyone's birthdays. We have a little tradition of going to the Hollywood Bowl for Reggae Night each year. My husband and I have a box subscription in the summer and it is lovely because we can dine out, under the stars. I usually try and concoct some sort of theme for the menu and often, the show itself, is my inspiration. This night, I chose to make Salmon with a soy & maple reduction, cold sesame peanut noodles, fruit salad with mint and ginger, and apricot slaw. This was the dessert... a coconut rum cake. It was pretty good, although I made several goofs along the way. (READ those recipes, people! Even when there are little children around to distract you!) I put too much coconut milk into the cake. And the frosting, well, let's just say it took some effort to get it to work. Can't tell you what I did, exactly. But everyone seemed to like it. My Mom humored me and told me that it was her new favorite. Her real birthday isn't until next week. We'll have to see what she has to say then!
Monday, July 5, 2010
Every time a big holiday is over, I like to go shopping. The deals are to be had. Most times, holiday merchandise will be on sale for 75% off. This is true for every holiday. My favorite buys are usually baking decorations and wine bags. I throw my finds into a plastic box with a lid and leave them to be rediscovered the next time the holiday rolls around. I picked up these firework picks at Pottery Barn last year. And they were a big hit at this year's family BBQ. It was a spectacularly easy way to decorate in a jiffy.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
In our home, everyone gets their hands on the action. Ella has turned into a full fledged sous chef. Often times, nudging me out of the way. Especially if there are sprinkles involved. And whenever I pull out my hand mixer, my son who is only 2 1/2 comes running. Doesn't matter what room he happens to be in. But isn't this what it is all about? Making people happy with our loving goodies. Brings a smile to my face, every time.