Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Guest Post: Rainbow Doodle Cake!

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

My stick figures are as true-to-life as it gets.

While Janet was in Japan getting her cultural heritage on with R2 in tow, I spent my days baking a beautiful cake.   Ok, it was only 2 days, and the cake is by no means beautiful.  But it has a great personality.  Sort of a butterface, or in this case, a butterfondant.  

This seems to happen to me a lot.  I love baking, and the stuff I make tastes really fucking good, but I’m kind of a failure when it comes to decorating.  Case in point: Giant Cuppycake.  That one tasted bad too, but whatevs.  A couple months ago I went crazy for a party Logo and I were hosting and made a shit-ton of desserts and the results were astoundingly lovely.  Alas, that was not the case this time.   

I decided to make this cake after a request from Eggroll to make a glorious dessert for a weekend away in Arrowhead for the Tough Mudder and Lisa’s/David’s birthdays.  For those who don’t know, the Tough Mudder is a ridiculous display of manliness and stupidity under the guise of a 10 miles race with obstacles.  Obstacles like diving in ice water and running through electrical wires charged with 10,000 volts.  SUPER FUN!!!!1!  

My inspiration for this cake was the amazingly beautiful Canuck cake blog Sweetapolita.  That woman makes some gorgeous cakes.  And gorgeous babies, just look at the pictures of her children on there!  And she married a gorgeous man.  Some people have all the luck.  I figured it would be fun to make a fun, surprising cake and have everyone write all over the pristine, smoothly fondant-ed outside. 

Not my cake.

I made the cake part of the cake the Wednesday before the weekend because I didn’t want to bake at high altitude–tried that in Mammoth without making adjustments and the cake was deflated and dry.  Still edible, but this one had to be gorgeous and thus I baked the cakes early and froze them.  The recipe is super easy.  I used cake flour instead of regular flour because I wanted to and mine says it’s expired so I need to use it up.  Apparently cake flour is treated with chlorine so it’s really soft and results in a lovely, soft, light crumb.  I subbed 1 c. + 2 T. of cake flour for each cup of regular flour and it worked out fine. 

Rewind to my initial preparations for this cake.  I went to the only cake decorating supply place in West LA, Gloria’s (silly side note: their URL spells it “suplys” hehe).  I think it was under construction because the right side of the store looked like a bomb had exploded.  Still, the place had everything!  I enjoyed rummaging immensely and spent a lot of time looking at the gel food colors.  SO pretty.  Ended up with the Americolor “school training kit,” so I’ll be set if I ever go to cake school.  AND I got these awesome food coloring markers so everyone could draw on the cake. 

Pretty colors!!

There was no way I was going to make my own fondant so I bought a fancier-looking one than Wilton because Wilton is the cake decorating devil and they’ve taken over everything with their cheapy fondant cutters and shit!  I made a good choice, too, because this fondant was actually tasty instead of tasting like sweet plastic. 

Fancy French name means it’s better.

After making the batter, you have to weigh it and then split it into 6 bowls for dyeing.  I thought this would be pretty difficult but it went quickly, though I used all of our cereal bowls and all of our forks for stirring the colors.  Logo was like “what happened I just did dishes?!” and I was like “Sorrrryyyyyy……”   Good story, huh?  Here’s a picture of the pretty batter.   Some of it, at least.

 Blue + yellow = green.  Lessons in color chemistry.

And here’s a couple pictures of the cakes cooling.  The layers are super super thin so I was glad I parchment-papered the bottoms of the pans to prevent any cake-butt loss.  The blue layer is missing because I had to rescue it from overcooking due its runtiness.  I’m like the mom that pushes aside that baby that won’t make it because it’s too small.  But the purple layer looks blue so pretend it’s both blue AND purple!  Yay! 

I obviously didn’t bake them in rainbow order.

Ignore the finger gouge in the green. 

I wrapped each layer in plastic wrap after cooling and realized when I stacked them that one of my cake pans was actually a pie pan and was slightly less than 9″.  So two layers were littler than the others on top of blue being super thin and yellow having a weird hump.  Not an auspicious beginning.  At least the colors are vibrant, right? 

Always use protection.

Fast-forward to assembling the cake: everyone was at the Tough Mudder except me and Stosh.  We went to breakfast (I had chicken-fried steak and eggs–I won) while the layers defrosted and then I made cream cheese frosting–Lisa’s favorite!–and frosted the cake.  I forgot to take pictures of this part, probably because I was having major issues getting it smooth because the layers were so lopsided.  Eventually I gave up, figuring that it didn’t have to look good since I was just going to cover it in fondant.  That was a poor decision.  Just so you know, fondant will form to whatever shape is underneath it.  Even weird cake lumps and gooshy frosting.  

The P-sug went into every crevice of the wooden table.  Whoops.

I did ok rolling the fondant out because it was very pliable and easy to work with.  But then when I put it on the cake, I didn’t cut off the excess soon enough and the bottom slowly ripped off, leaving a large hole in the fondant.  I tried using the remaining fondant to make another layer, but I didn’t have quite enough. 

First layer.  Not as ugly with flash.

That’s when I got the brilliant idea to make a bow!  It didn’t turn out half bad, but while I was making it the fondant already on the cake continued to settle and got lumpier and lumpier.  Eventually, the bottom of the cake looked like cellulite and when I tried to smooth it, the frosting underneath would squish out around the bottom.  Grossssss and delicious on my fingers nom. 

Ghett-bow!  Punny.

Everyone else said the cake was lovely, but they’re just nice friends.  They dutifully signed it and drew some fun pictures, including a lovely peen drawn by Eggroll’s brother. 

Complete with veins and hair.

Please compare my decorating skillz to those of my sister-in-law, who made the cake below for her friend’s wedding.  It’s breathtaking–all buttercream!!  Such sharp edges!  But then I learned that it took like 27 hours to do and she ended up crying in the kitchen more than once and I felt better about my 3-hour cake.   I could make it perfect if I spent 27 hours too!   

The story of this cake’s inception would make a good chick flick.

We FINALLY got to cut into the cake after all those hours of labor, and it was truly beautiful.  All the nasty fondant was forgotten and the cake was deliciously sweet and vanilla-ey.  With everyone getting drunker as the evening progressed, appetites increased and the cake slowly disappeared.  Aftermath.  Looks nom.

Ultimately, it was a success.  A delicious, colorful, lumpy success.  Make this shit for a fun time and an impressive reveal.

O hai.

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Well, shit. All of November went by without a single post. My bad. I was traveling to three different cities, was interviewed by over thirty-three people in total, and got a brand new study off the ground. Science waits for no one.

But I have to admit this puts the pressure on me. What could possibly be good enough to serve as a grand re-entrance after an entire MONTH?

I wish I was Allie. She would draw some silly picture that involved an animal and attach a hilarious narrative of her crazy life. IF I were Allie, it’d go a little something like this:

1. Weird, candy-cane shaped limbs.

2. A face and eyes that look like this.

3. I chose these colors because I’m Asian.

4. This is Buttins so I made it a Scottish fold.

5. Her cat eyeballs tend to be like this. See?

But alas, I’m nowhere near her level of genius. So I will stick with nice pictures of food attached to totally non-food related anecdotes, with “fuck” and “balls” and “nom” thrown in liberally.

Many, many of those to come. Stay tuned, and thanks for visiting despite my protracted silence~

Go read the always brilliant Hyperbole and a Half, and fuck YES I am tagging this in the “Art” category.

Guest Post #1: Sauce & the SF Ballet

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

So I think Janet and R2 are in Toledo, Spain right now (I deduced this from R2′s facebook status: “Holy Toledo”).  While she has been nomming away on delicious ham and canned seafood, I have been enjoying my summer vacation since I finished my first year of law school two weeks ago!  Last time I had a vacation was spring break in March, during which I went up to SF to visit Janet for a few days.  Best spring break evar!!  R2 kept taking us out to dinner and drinks and awesome times and we got a tour of Lucasfilm and we went to the Exploratorium and what can beat all that?!?!1!  Maybe I should have been studying.  Oh well.

Anyway… during that trip we went to Sauce(!) before seeing The Little Mermaid at the SF Ballet.  I was hyped up for this meal since Janet kept talking it up and I looked it up on my handy Yelp! iPhone app and it got good reviews (currently 3.5 stars).  And let me tell you, it did not disappoint!  I guess the food genre is re-imagined American classics–oh so clever–but it really was quite delicious.  When we sat down, R2 promptly said “I like girly drinks, any suggestions?” to the waiter, who half-giggled and suggested the pink lemonade: muddled lemon, cranberry, and Ketel citroen. I had the Elderflower Kiss: St. Germain, Belvedere, and Prosecco! Yum!!  We promptly got drunk from these delightful libations, which might explain how much we ate.

We started off with a few of their “social plates:”  scallops wrapped in bacon on a bed of Brussels sprouts with balsamic bacon tomato sauce (pictured top); portobello mushroom fries with fat boy ranch dipping sauce; and the daily slider, which that day was a ham and cheese slider.

I swear I’m not a pile of turds!

Oh.Em.Gee.  The portobello fries.  Holy craptastic happiness in my mouth.  If you look at the picture, they don’t look like anything special–in fact, they kind of look like someone who ate corn just took a dump.  But they were so much more than a good poo.  They had this crispy, herbacious breading that somehow managed to be airy and substantial at the same time.  Portobellos are meaty by nature, but these were juicy and toothsome and the perfect contrast to the crispy coating.  However, the scene-stealer was the RANCH!  I know, right??  I am a believer in Hidden Valley Ranch.  Only two house-made ranches have ever beaten its flavor for me: Hole in the Wall in Santa Monica because they put dill in their ranch and I adore dill; and THIS ONE!!  Oh man.  It was so good that when they took the empty plate after we devoured the fries I think I squeaked out “Wait!!” and grabbed the ranch to put it on the sliders.  And everything else.

Tiny breadnom, huge tub o’ butter.

Oh yeah, sliders and scallops.  Forgot about those.  The scallops were awesome, duh.  They had bacon around them.  And the sliders were also good, with thick-sliced ham, melty cheddar, and mustard on the rolls they gave us at the beginning.  Oh wait!  I forgot to mention the breadnom too!  Cute little round-topped rolls that were so promising, but sadly were cold and thus no fun on their own.  Good as a slider though.

Perfectly burninated.

On to the entrees!  Janet had the baked mac & cheese: David’s old world ham and ham hock, Tillamook cheddar and four cheese cream sauce, served with green beans and bacon. Bacon seems to have been a theme to this dinner.  No wonder everything was so tasty.  I only had a few bites as I tend to have adverse reactions to creamy mac n’ cheese (sad times for me, since cheese is like my favorite food ever) and I didn’t want to be in the bathroom during the ballet.  But the bites I did have were quite delightful, though nothing super memorable.

I only had one bite of R2′s meal: cornmeal crusted Hawaiian butterfish with cauliflower and whipped potato puree, brussels sprouts leaves, and caramelized red onion salad. My bite was of the cauliflower puree, and it was gooood.  I love anything mixed with potatoes.  I didn’t try the butterfish, both because Janet ate most of it and I play favorites– Roy’s misoyaki butterfish will always have a special place in my heart.

My entree was the braised boneless beef short rib “pot roast” with roasted rainbow carrots, yukon gold potatoes, shallot & garlic, finished with fresh herbs, peeled baby roma tomatoes, and pan demi gloss gravy. Pretty fancy description for what was basically a large hunk of short rib on a pile of veggies.  Nonetheless, it was pretty awesome, though I prefer my short ribs melty and not quite as stringy.

Diabeetus.

Besides the mushroom fries, though, the highlight of the meal was dessert.  I am a dessert fiend, so of course I went ahead and ordered the Sauce sampler: PB&J cake, cinnamon sugar donuts, strawberries, and cream, and ice cream smash. I never realized how delicious PB&J can be when it’s sandwiched between vanilla pound cake and ice cream.  Also, the donuts!  Light, airy, melt-in-your-mouth, with the most amazing vanilla bourbon dipping sauce. Even after 3 appetizers, 3 entrees, and Janet’s aversion to dessert, we still decimated the plate.  High fives all around.  Good job, Sauce, you were awesome.

So then we walked 4 blocks (I think) in the bitter-freezing-icy-cold wind to the Opera House, just in time for the Little Mermaid: CREEPIEST BALLET EVER.   It was originally commissioned by the Royal Danish Ballet to be performed for the Queen in celebration of Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday.  If I were the queen, I would be like “What the fuck Hans Christian Andersen?  Why did you write such fucked-up stories?”  In the real fairy tale, the Little Mermaid doesn’t get the guy–instead, he marries someone else, and at the end she turns into “airy mist” and will eventually get to heaven.  So, she learns that unrequited love sucks, and she’s basically stuck in purgatory watching her prince be happy with someone else.  Awesome story, dude.

I’m sure you can imagine how horribly tragic that would be if performed in pretty tutus like a classic ballet, but then throw in a modern composer and choreographer and you get this:

I’m pasty white because I live in the ocean.

Scary Asian ballerina who does freaky arm movements and flaps around in her large pillowcases/pants/”fins.”  The music was also creeptastic–very eerie and clashy, with only a few major chords to ease the tension.  I mean, yeah, I enjoyed the dancing because it was artistic and cool, but this probably wasn’t the best ballet to pop my profesh ballet cherry.  There were only a few moments of pretty pointe shoes, and the rest was angry jumping and spasming.  Sighs.  Next time, we’re seeing something classic like Swan Lake.

Sauce
131 Gough St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

 

 

 

SF Ballet
Tickets available at sfballet.org

 

 

 

 

tokidoki

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

For my hatch day, James got me this bag that I have been lusting after for months. AAAAAA!!!!! TOKIDOKI!!!!

It is the perfect present for me. First of all, James calls me the “BH” (misspelled abbreviation of “Bag Whore”). And of my bag obsessions, the one that captivates me the most is LeSportsac. I mean, how stinking cute is this ad campaign?

Tokidoki is a line by not a Japanese designer, but Italian designer Simone Legno. He says:

tokidoki means “sometimes” in Japanese. I chose a Japanese word because I love Japan. I love everything from the ultramodern happy face of Shibuya to the serious magic silence of Kyoto. I chose “sometimes” because everyone waits for moments that change one’s destiny. By simple chance meeting or meeting a new person, tokidoki is the hope, the hidden energy everyone has inside that gives us the strength to face a new day and dream something positive, that something magical will happen to us.

OK, so I’m severely resisting the urge to make a jerking-off motion right now, but whatevs. That’s cool, Simone. I forgive your pretentious cheesiness because you and I obviously share a love of food. Behold (this is definitely my version of a porn photoshoot):

A skull lollipop erupting like a zit out of … Mount Fuji? Reverse-Conehead ice cream creatures? Fucking cute!

Don’t forget the spicy! This lil’ guy is going to hop around the floor, sting you with his horns, and then smear spicy Capsaicin into your wounds, but you won’t care because he’s sooo cute!

This fabulous little bear just woke up, pushed up his fuzzy sleeping mask up, and reached for his pistachio gelato. Sweet honeyjar bee comes around like, “Don’t you want to eat me instead?” and little bear is all, “Eh” and shoos him out of the way. Hurt and pissed, honeyjar bee takes it out on kittycat cookie, who giggles in delight because it is just the perfectly sweet addition to her cookie head!

Clearly Simone designed this bag for me, because it is paying an homage to my hatch day, complete with heart-shaped egg.

Don’t forget the bubbly! Time to celebrate my amazing new gift!

You want one now, don’t you? Get one here.

Food Porn 101: Tastespotting

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

I’m traveling for a bit; sorry to be MIA. There was a bit of a bento backlash last time I tried to offer alternative sites to visit during my absence, but I’m 100% positive everyone will love Tastespotting.com. Close-up, glisteny photos of moist delicacies; photos of luscious creams, pies, and…chocolate hedgehogs? Oooh, la la~!