Love and Confections: 2012

December 2, 2012

Thelma & Louise and Buckeyes

2 comments:



 It's that time of year when trees are trimmed, presents are wrapped and there are rarely any free parking spaces at the mall. Families and friends get together and celebrate the season while enjoying each other's company and all the wonderful food. Some families have holiday traditions dating back to longer than they can remember, and some are fortunate enough to make new ones.


Just like the post title, my friend and I are kind of like the modern day Thelma & Louise - minus the shooting, running from the law and of course the last scene. This year, my friend "Thelma", included me in her holiday tradition of making Buckeyes. The Buckeye is the state tree of Ohio, where Thelma grew up. Buckeyes are a popular peanut butter treat that is dipped in chocolate, leaving a circle of peanut butter exposed, to resemble the Buckeye Nut.


We made 3 full batches and the final count was 515; although we don't know how many were eaten throughout the Buckeye process so that's the number we are going with. Of course there were ones that didn't look up to our standards and those disappeared instantly.


Everyone loves these little treats and between Thelma and her family, Me, work and the annual Christmas party, we are glad we made three batches. I only kept 60 and I think that number has already started to decrease. I will most probably be making another half batch before the end of the month.

Buckeye Candy (1/2 batch)
Wise Family recipe

Buckeye Ingredients:
 - 2 bags of Candy Coating Chocolates (we used Wilton)
 - 2 sticks Butter, melted
 - 1 cup Peanut Butter
 - 1 pound 8 ounces Powdered Sugar

Buckeye Directions:
1. Melt Candy Coating Chocolate using your preferred method or following the package directions (microwave or double boiler). Since we had so much chocolate we actually used my Crockpot on the low setting to melt it then kept it on the warm setting while dipping.
2. Melt Butter in a microwave safe container. Place Peanut Butter and Powdered Sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
4. Mix on the lowest setting for 30 seconds, then add in the melted Butter. Mix on speed 2 until combined.
5. Using a tablespoon size cookie scoop, portion out the peanut butter mixture, then hand roll into a ball shape. Place on a wax or parchment paper covered cookie sheet and harden in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.
6. Once the peanut butter balls have hardened it is time to start dipping. Using a toothpick, dip the balls into the melted chocolate, leaving the top exposed, so it resembles an actual Buckeye Nut. Place it back on the tray and chill in the refrigerator to harden the chocolate for 15-20 minutes.
7. Once the chocolate is hard, place in containers, with wax or parchment paper in between the layers. You can store them in either the refrigerator or freezer.


Until next time,
LOVE & CONFECTIONS!


Photos taken by Myself and Susan S.

November 24, 2012

Almond Cupcakes for a Wedding

4 comments:

Last weekend, two very important events happened. The first is that one of my best friends, MC got engaged! We have a very long friendship - 23 years! The second important event was a friend's wedding and the Bride and Groom asked me to be their Pastry Chef and make the wedding cake! Such an important job for a special day. I was so excited and couldn't wait to help Charlotte & Sean celebrate their special day.


Charlotte was specific with what she wanted... cupcakes! She wanted a mixture of 150 white almond cupcakes and some sort of chocolate cupcake. We had a tasting and they chose a White Almond Cupcake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream and a Mocha Cupcake with an Espresso Frosting.


I had come up with a few ideas for a design and she said she trusted me with whatever I chose. We decided that bright Moroccan colors would be great, so I made about 100 fondant disks in all different colors. The disks dried for two days, so they would be sturdy enough to sit on top of the cupcakes.


After some time at the local craft store, I began making my own stencil with a stencil burning kit. I used Edible Gold Spray with the stencil and loved the way it turned out. I will definitely be making more of my own stencils for future projects!


The top tier was Almond Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream, covered in teal fondant and piped with royal icing. I painted gold luster dust, with a few drops of Vodka, onto the royal icing. Charlotte found a simple and perfect cake topper - a gold lamp. The day was beautiful and everyone enjoyed the cupcakes. Most people had one of each flavor!



Almond Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Buttercream
Love & Confection original cupcake recipe
Buttercream Recipe adapted from Chef Steven Rujak at Sweet and Savory Seasons

Almond Cupcake Ingredients:
 - 175 grams Cake Flour (1 & 1/2 cups)
 - 1 & 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
 - 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
 - 1/2 teaspoon Salt
 - 113 grams Unsalted Butter, softened (1 stick)
 - 225 grams granulated Sugar (a little more than 1 cup)
 - 2 Eggs
 - 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
 - 1 tablespoon Almond Extract
 - 60 grams Sour Cream (about 1/4 cup)
 - 175 grams Milk (about 3/4 cup)

Almond Cupcake Directions:
 - Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make sure your ingredients are room temperature.
 - Sift the Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Salt into a mixing bowl, or your stand mixer bowl.
 - Add the Butter and mix with the paddle attachment until combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula to ensure everything is mixed properly
 - Add in the Sugar, and mix until combined. Scrape the sides and bottom.
 - Add in the Eggs and mix until combined. Scrape the sides and bottom.
 - Add in the Vanilla Extract, Almond Extract  and Sour Cream. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl.
 - Add in the Milk and mix to incorporate and create a smooth batter.
 - Portion into cupcake tins lined with cupcake wrappers. I use a 2 ounce ice cream scoop, to ensure that my cupcakes are even and uniform. Batter makes about 18 cupcakes
 - Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until light golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of a cupcake.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream Ingredients:
 - 100 grams Egg Whites (about 3 egg whites)
 - 200 grams granulated Sugar
 - 226 grams Unsalted Butter (2 sticks)
 - 226 grams Powdered Sugar
 - 1-2 teaspoons Vanilla Bean Powder

Vanilla Bean Buttercream Directions:
 - Buttercream can be made a day in advance and kept in the refrigerator. I also keep mine in an airtight container on the counter if it will be used the next day. Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature before starting.
 - Create a double boiler on the stove by warming a small pot of water on medium until little bubbles form.  Make sure the bottom of your stand mixing bowl cannot touch the water.
 - Place Eggs and granulated Sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer and put on top of the pot. Turn the temperature down to medium-low and whisk continuously until the sugar completely dissolves and the eggs are warm.
 - Once warm, immediately place the bowl on your stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, and whip on high until white, glossy and doubled in size. (I place aluminum foil around my mixer to keep the heat in.
warm eggs whip better. Remove the foil once the eggs are ready.)
 - Continue whipping the eggs on medium-high until they are room temperature
 - Add the Butter into the whipped egg whites and whip until incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl
 - While on low speed, gradually add in the Powdered Sugar. (not all at once, or both you and your kitchen will be covered in white!)
 - Add in Vanilla Bean Powder

Assembly:
 - Once the cupcakes are cool, frost using a piping bag and large star tip



Until next time,
LOVE & CONFECTIONS!


October 22, 2012

Apple Pie Bread Pudding

1 comment:


Katie asked me to do a guest blog on Katie's Cucina while she was on vacation in Italy! I decided that this recipe would be perfect to share with her readers.


For many food bloggers, the Fall season is packed with apple and pumpkin recipes. Pictures of red, orange and yellow leaves dot blog pages and Instagram feeds. We have 2 seasons here in Florida, "Hurricane Season" & "Not Hurricane Season". I love the changing of the Seasons, live vicariously through those amazing photos and treasure the visits to my Parents' house is North Carolina.

What is better than warm apple pie? I decided to do a twist on the classic. When I was a kid, I loved waiting in my Grandmother's kitchen while she baked apple pie. "One apple slice for the pie... one apple slice for Terri". I watched as she mixed the apples with the spices, delicately laid the crust on top and popped it into the oven. As an impatient child, I wandered off while it baked, but as soon as the smell of freshly-baked apple pie wafted through the house, I came running to the kitchen. Usually we had to wait until after dinner to eat the pie, but there was one or two occasions when she caved and let us has a before-dinner snack.


This recipe has the spices and warmth of freshly-baked apple pie with the all the appetizing qualities of a moist and rich bread pudding. I hope you enjoy!

Apple Pie Bread Pudding
a Love & Confections original recipe

Apple Pie Bread Pudding Ingredients:
 - 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
 - 3/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
 - 1/4 teaspoon Allspice
 - 2 cups Granulated Sugar, separated
 - 4 cups Whole Milk
 - 6 Eggs
 - 1 large loaf of crusty Bread (Italian or Country)
 - 5 small Apples, or 3 medium Apples
 - 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
 - 4 cups hot tap water

Apple Pie Bread Pudding Directions:
 - Combine the Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Allspice and set aside. Cut the Bread into inch-sized cubes and set aside.
 - In a medium saucepan, scald the Whole Milk but do not bring it to a boil. While the Milk is heating, crack the Eggs into a large bowl and whisk vigorously with 1 & 1/2 cups of Granulated sugar.
 - Once the Milk is warm, slowly pour into the Egg and Sugar mixture while whisking constantly (called Tempering, so the Eggs don't curdle/scramble). Once all the Milk is added, whisk in 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of the homemade apple pie Spice Mix.
 - Place all the bread into the large bowl so it can soak up the mixture. You can toss it with a spoon and press down to make sure all the bread touches liquid. Leave it to "soak" for 30 minutes.
 - Heat the oven to 300F. Wash and dice the Apples into 1/2 inch cubes. I prefer the skin on for an added texture, but you can peel them if you do not like the skin. Place the apples in a bowl and add the Lemon Juice, the rest of the Spice Mix, remaining sugar and stir until the apples are completely coated.
 - Using a 2.5 quart Corningware or deep casserole dish (or if you prefer, individual portioned dishes) layer the soaked Bread and the Apple Mixture in 5 layers, beginning and ending with the Bread.
 - One of the most important steps when making bread pudding is to use a water bath, or Bain Marie. Place a large dish or pan (big enough to fit the casserole dish and about 4 cups of water) on the rack in the middle of your oven. Place the casserole dish inside and then add the water - this is the easiest way so you don't create a big mess by moving the already full water bath into to oven.
 - Cook for 45-55 minutes. The top will look slightly crisp and the bread should be moist, but cake-like with no excess liquid around the edges. Very carefully, and if you can, take the bread pudding out of the water bath and let it cool slightly before eating. If you can't grab the casserole dish, take both containers out of the oven and let the water cool, until you can get the casserole out of the water bath. Again, please be careful, because the water bath is extremely hot!
 - Best served warm with either vanilla ice cream or homemade Creme Anglaise

Until next time,
LOVE & CONFECTIONS!

September 1, 2012

Honey-Nut Blackberry Peach Crisp

3 comments:


Is there such a thing as a farmer's market shopaholic? I am infamous for wandering through farmers markets and buying fruits and vegetables without having a clue or plan what to make with them. Blackberries were at the farmer's market a while ago and I just couldn't pass them up.


I usually ask the couple who runs the produce stand if I can taste the fruit before buying  (cherries, blueberries, strawberries, etc.). In my rush to buy them, I forgot to taste them. They looked absolutely beautiful, but looks were deceiving. My friend, Jill, grabbed one and popped it straight into her mouth. Not a moment later she almost spit it out, saying it was way too tart.


I realized that my mistake of not tasting them, and impulse buying, added to the confusion of what to make with these tart beauties. I washed them and stuck them in the freezer, thinking that I would eventually come up with a plan.



A little while later, I had a few peaches on hand. There weren't enough to make a full cobbler with, so out came the blackberries from the freezer and wonderfully delicious, tart and sweet crisps were created. As I pulled the crisps out of the oven, my mouth watered with the still slightly tart smell of the blackberries mingling with the sweet peaches. I barely let them cool before having a huge, hot spoonful.


Honey-Nut Blackberry Peach Crisp
a Love & Confection original recipe

Honey-Nut Blackberry Peach Crisp Ingredients:
 - 1/4 cup of your favorite Honey Nut Cereal (I used Cheerios)
 - 1 package Instant Oatmeal
 - 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
 - 3 tablespoons Granulated Sugar, separated
 - 1/4 cup Pancake or Baking Mix (I used Bisquick)
 - 3 Peaches
 - 2 cups Blackberries
 - 1 tablespoon Corn Starch
 - 1 tablespoon Honey
 - 4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cold and cubed
 - Vanilla Ice Cream (optional)

Honey-Nut Blackberry Peach Crisp Directions:
 - Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
 - In a food processor, combine the Honey Nut Cereal, Oatmeal, Brown Sugar, 2 tablespoons of the Granulated Sugar and the Pancake/Baking Mix. Pulse until combined, and the cereal is in smaller pieces, and reserve.
 - Cut the Peaches in small wedges or cubes.
 - Combine the Peaches, Blackberries, Corn Starch, Honey and remaining 1 tablespoon Granulated Sugar in a bowl
 - Portion the fruit into individual ramekins or a small/medium baking dish prepared with non-stick cooking spray.
 - Divide the cereal mixture onto the individual ramekins, or if using one baking dish, spread evenly on top. Place the cubed butter evenly over the cereal mixture.
 - Bake on a sheet tray covered in foil, in case the fruit mixture bubbles over. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
 - Let it cool a few minutes before eating. It will be hotter than it looks. Best served warm with a big scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream!

Until next time,
LOVE & CONFECTIONS!

August 27, 2012

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

1 comment:


Since the weather has been in the mid 90s here in Central Florida, I have been experimenting and enjoying making homemade ice cream over the past few weeks. To start off, this ice cream is awesome! I don't mean to brag, but my light bulb idea turned out really well this time... you know when you have the "light bulb", right?  Believe me when I say, you HAVE to make this. This ice cream is friends, family and local chef/food truck owner approved!

So my light bulb idea started when I made a huge batch of Key Lime Curd. It was delicious, and I put it in various things, including these amazing Key Lime Cupcakes. I had quite a bit left over and decided to combine it with one of my all-time favorite sweets - ice cream. Added some sweetened condensed milk and toasted graham crackers... and Key Lime Pie Ice Cream was born.


This Key Lime Ice Cream is a 2 day process - but so worth it! I love the taste and texture. It stays creamy and easy to scoop, even after days in the freezer. I don't particularly like rock solid ice cream that is hard to scoop and goes from impossible to eat in one minute to melted in the next.


On a side note, thank you Chef Tony from Big Wheel Truck & Big Wheel Provisions and Lake Meadow Naturals for making farm-fresh eggs available to the public! If you are in the Orlando, FL area, you can pick up fresh eggs from Big Wheel, Monday nights at the Audubon Park Community Market, or directly from the LMN Farm Store. Please check the Lake Meadow Naturals website for store hours and information.

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream
a Love & Confections original recipe

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream Ingredients:
 - 350 grams Whole Milk
 - 120 grams Heavy Cream
 - 100 grams Egg Yolks
 - 140 grams Granulated Sugar
 - 200 grams prepared Key Lime Curd
 - 200 grams Sweetened Condensed Milk
 - 200 grams toasted & cooled Graham Cracker Crumbs

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream Directions:
Day 1 (Ice Cream Base)
 - Bring Milk and Heavy Cream to a slight simmer in a small sauce pan, careful not to boil it.
 - While Milk & Heavy Cream are heating, crack eggs into medium bowl (bowl needs to be big enough to contain the egg and milk/heavy cream mixture). Add Sugar and whisk together
 - Temper* the warm milk & cream into yolks
 - Return the whole mixture to the sauce pan and heat to around 105F or nappe**
 - Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
 - Once cooled, store in the fridge, with a lid, for up to 5 days.
 - Place ice cream attachment/bowl in the freezer at least 24 hours before churning

Day 2:
 - Whisk together the Ice Cream Base, Key Lime Curd and Sweetened Condensed Milk
 - Churn according to your ice cream maker manufacture instructions
 - Remove ice cream and fold in the toasted Graham Cracker Crumbs
 - Store in an airtight, freezer-safe container for no longer than a week (but I'm sure you will devour it before then)

* - Tempering (in this case with eggs) is increasing the temperature of a certain ingredient by gradually adding and constantly whisking a warm/hot item into it. Be careful not to add too much at one time and curdle/scramble the eggs.
** - Coat the back of a wooden spoon in the mixture and run a finger down the middle, if the mixture stays separated and doesn't run, then you should be good. Be careful not to overcook it and curdle/scramble the eggs.


Until next time,
LOVE & CONFECTIONS!

July 24, 2012

Key Lime Confessions...

6 comments:

I L-O-V-E Key Lime Pie. I'm a Florida girl, what can I say? Growing up in Miami, it was always on restaurant dessert menus and with the Florida Keys - especially Key West - so close, who can't help but to love this little, inconspicuous, intensely flavored lime! It goes without saying, that if I am ever out at a restaurant and decide to have dessert, if Key Lime Pie is on the menu, most probably my decision has already been made for me - with the exception of Chocolate Souffle... a great Chocolate Souffle trumps Key Lime Pie any day... mmm Chocolate Souffle... we'll leave the souffle day-dreaming for another day and another post.

On to the Key Limes...

Key Limes are indigenous to the Florida Keys. They are smaller and rounder than standard limes and are more yellow than green, having a yellow rind and yellowish-green fruit. Key Limes have more seeds, a higher acidity, stronger aroma, a thinner rind and are much more tart than common Persian Limes.


I am lucky enough to have some great local blogging friends. Orlando Foodie (Lenore) gave me some Key Limes from her tree. Little did I know that I would get 20 glorious, green, tart beautiful Key Limes! I was so grateful. Now, what to make? What to make? Like I said, I love Key Lime Pie, but I wanted to do something a little different with these babies. Cupcakes! Curd! Buttercream! Lightbulb! And the little cartoon light bulb above my head lit up. What?! Doesn't everyone have a little cartoon light bulb above their head?


Key Lime Cupcakes with Key Lime Buttercream
Love & Confection original cupcake recipe
Buttercream Recipe adapted from a culinary school recipe

Key Lime Cupcake Ingredients:
 - 175 grams Cake Flour (1 & 1/2 cups)
 - 1 & 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
 - 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
 - 1/2 teaspoon Salt
 - 113 grams Unsalted Butter, softened (1 stick)
 - 225 grams granulated Sugar (a little more than 1 cup)
 - 2 Eggs
 - 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
 - 1 teaspoon Key Lime Extract
 - 60 grams Sour Cream (about 1/4 cup)
 - 175 grams Milk (about 3/4 cup)
 - 1 tablespoon Key Lime Zest (or regular lime zest)

 - 1 cup prepared Key Lime Curd for filling
 - 1 batch Key Lime Buttercream (recipe follows)
 - 1 cup toasted Graham Cracker Crumbs for decoration
 - Green Sixlets or Sprinkles for decoration

Key Lime Cupcake Directions:
 - Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make sure your ingredients are room temperature.
 - Sift the Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Salt into a mixing bowl, or your stand mixer bowl.
 - Add the Butter and mix with the paddle attachment until combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula to ensure everything is mixed properly
 - Add in the Sugar, and mix until combined. Scrape the sides and bottom.
 - Add in the Eggs and mix until combined. Scrape the sides and bottom.
 - Add in the Vanilla Extract, Key Lime Extract, Zest and Sour Cream. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl.
 - Add in the Milk and mix to incorporate and create a smooth batter.
 - Portion into cupcake tins lined with cupcake wrappers. I use a 2 ounce ice cream scoop, to ensure that my cupcakes are even and uniform. Batter makes about 18 cupcakes
 - Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until light golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of a cupcake.

Key Lime Buttercream Ingredients:
 - 100 grams Egg Whites (about 3 egg whites)
 - 200 grams granulated Sugar
 - 226 grams Unsalted Butter (2 sticks)
 - 226 grams Powdered Sugar
 - 1-2 teaspoons Key Lime Extract

Key Lime Buttercream Directions:
 - Buttercream can be made a day in advance and kept in the refrigerator. I also keep mine in an airtight container on the counter if it will be used the next day. Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature before starting.
 - Create a double boiler on the stove by warming a small pot of water on medium until little bubbles form.  Make sure the bottom of your stand mixing bowl cannot touch the water.
 - Place Eggs and granulated Sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer and put on top of the pot. Turn the temperature down to medium-low and whisk continuously until the sugar completely dissolves and the eggs are warm.
 - Once warm, immediately place the bowl on your stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, and whip on high until white, glossy and doubled in size. (I place aluminum foil around my mixer to keep the heat in.
warm eggs whip better. Remove the foil once the eggs are ready.)
 - Continue whipping the eggs on medium-high until they are room temperature
 - Add the Butter into the whipped egg whites and whip until incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl
 - While on low speed, gradually add in the Powdered Sugar. (not all at once, or both you and your kitchen will be covered in white!)
 - Add the Key Lime Extract and mix to incorporate.

Assembly:
 - Once the cupcakes are cool, either with a paring knife or apple corer, take out the middle of the cupcakes.
 - Fill each hole by piping in the Key Lime Curd.
 - Using a piping tip (I used a star tip) and bag, pipe the Key Lime Buttercream onto the cupcakes.
 - Use the Graham Crackers for decoration and crunch along the sides of the buttercream and green candy of your choice. (I used green sixlets. You can use sprinkles or gummy lime slices also)


Until next time,
LOVE & CONFECTIONS!

July 18, 2012

Key Lime Crazy

3 comments:
 

I am lucky to have great local blogging friends. A while back, Lenore from Orlando Foodie told me she had a Key Lime tree outside her house. Me, being the helpful person that I am, offered to take any Key Limes she didn't want. Lenore said she would give me some when they were ready to be picked. About two weeks ago I got tagged in one of her Instagram pics - 20 Key Limes for @lovenconfection! Woohoo, Key Limes!


Key Lime Curd instantly came to mind. I didn't want to just make a Key Lime Pie - even though it is one of my all-time favorite desserts. By making the curd, I can incorporate it into a bunch of ideas I have... we're going Key Lime Crazy on Love & Confections! ... Also, don't forget to check out my Key Lime Cupcakes filled with this Key Lime Curd and frosted with Key Lime Buttercream! Yum!



Key Lime Curd
Love & Confections original recipe

Key Lime Curd Ingredients:
 - 200 mL Key Lime Juice, fresh if available
 - 120 grams Sugar #1
 - 120 grams Butter (9 Tablespoons)
 - 300 grams Eggs (6 large eggs)
 - 120 grams Sugar #2

Key Lime Curd Directions:
 - Make sure the Eggs are at room temperature before starting, and that you have a fine mesh strainer and clean bowl waiting for the finished curd.
 -  Place Key Lime Juice, Sugar #1 and Butter in a medium-sized sauce pan on medium heat
 - While the Key Lime mixture is heating, whisk together the Eggs and Sugar #2 in a bowl.
 - Once the Key Lime mixture is just about to boil, slowly pour it into the Egg mixture while whisking the entire time - otherwise known as Tempering
 - Pour the whole mixture back into the pot and cook on medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens. When a wooden spoon is dipped in the mixture and you can run your finger along the back, leaving a clear line, the curd is ready.
 - Pour the mixture into the sieve, over the clean bowl, to ensure no scrambled or over-cooked egg gets into your mixture. Immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap - to make sure a skin doesn't form. Let it cool to room temperature on the counter, then place in the refrigerator to cool completely. Use within 1 week - if it lasts that long.


Until next time,
LOVE & CONFECTIONS!

June 13, 2012

Food Blog Forum 2012 - Day 2

2 comments:


You can view my Food Blog Forum Day 1 post here.

Day 2

I was beyond excited to start day 2 of the Food Blog Forum. Our day started promptly at 8am. We had to take the monorail from the Polynesian resort, transfer at the Ticket & Transportation Center, and then another monorail to Epcot. Our Saturday seminar took place in the Odyssey Pavilion.

Since it was St. Patrick's Day, a lot of attendees, including myself, were festive and wore green. We had a delicious breakfast and got settled for the seminar. The first presentation was Photography & Styling: Sharing  Your Food Story Through Your Creative Voice by Diane Cu and Todd Porter.


They presented on Focus, Balance, Texture, Color, Lines, Movement & Motion, Height, Moment and Story. Among the great advice Diane and Todd gave, were a few points that I felt were the most valuable.
 - Don't compare your photographs to others
 - Authenticity is beautiful
 - Don't be afraid of highlights and shadows
 - Mood, Feel, Voice, Message. Know what you want to say

Another presentation I thought was very valuable was David Leite's How to Write Bigger, Better, More Badass Food Posts. David focused on twelve points in a "checklist" about how to write a better blog post. I could list them all here and discuss what he discussed, but I'm not going to. Instead, I am going to tell you something he told us, in fact, it is what stood out most from his entire presentation. "Write about life with honesty, authenticity and specificity." I think that definitely sums up how I want to write and how I want to become a better writer.

Lunch at Epcot was an event in and of itself - Disney really does know how to throw a party!


This is just a sample of the amazing food offered to us...

Seared Tofu with Zucchini and Eggplant Ratatouille, Roasted Mushrooms, Lentils and Sun-dried Tomato Puree

Slow-roasted Bourbon-induced Black Pig Heritage Pork Tenderloin Slider with Local Hydro Grown Greens and Heirloom Tomato on Golden Spelt roll, Super Grain (Quinoa) Fries with Himalayan Sea Salt & House-made Ketchup

Soda Float with Rotovap Extracted CO2-infused Vanilla Lemonade with Nitro Whipped, No Sugar Pomegranate Ice

Stewed Lentils, Spicy Cauliflower, Onions, Tomatoes, and Mint served with Basmati Rice, Pappadam, and an assortment of Sanaa Signature Dips and Spreads

In addition to the desserts, the Disney Pastry Chefs also had cake and chocolate showpieces decorating the tables.


Clockwise from top left: Berry Gateau with Port Wine Foam, Mascarpone Cheesecake with Lavender-infused Florida Strawberries, Peruvian Chocolate Cylinder with St. Germain Glaze, Olive Oil-infused Chocolate Truffle Mousse with Sea Salted Caramel, and Chocolate Ravioli with Cognac

After lunch, we headed back to the Odyssey Pavilion for our Round Table discussions. I chose Blog Design with Lindsay Landis, Writing Bigger, Better, More Badass Food Posts with David Leite, Photography & Styling Live Demonstration with Diane Cu and Aran Goyoaga, and Recipe Development & Writing with Jennie Perillo and Kelly Senyei.

All the sessions were extremely helpful, but I wish they were more than just 30 minutes each. Lindsay did a question and answer type session and focused on specific blog design questions we had. David did basically the same thing, and went into more detail on helpful writing tips. Diane and Aran styled and shot a salad in front of us, and showed us a little of the process between a food stylist and food photographer. Jennie and Kelly talked to us about the different types of recipe categories for blogs and tips for writing and testing recipes. I'm glad I chose those four round tables, because they are what I am currently focusing on trying to improve at the moment.

Photography & Styling Live Demo - Diane Cu & Aran Goyoaga

The seminar ended around 4:30 and everyone went their separate ways until later in the evening. I went back to the Polynesian hotel to drop off my awesome swag bag, and check on M - he spent the day (his birthday) with a friend, "drinking around the world" in Epcot's World Showcase. 

The After-party was later in the evening at Epcot's World Showcase. I met up with Emily from Sage Recipes and headed back to Epcot. We had an Irish themed dessert buffet and great views of the IllumiNations firework show. 

I took the two photos on the left. Diane Cu took the photo on the right of Emily and Me watching the firework show. 

Thank you to everyone that was involved with the Food Blog Forum Orlando 2012. I cannot wait until next year!

Mentions:
Diane Cu & Todd Porter - White on Rice Couple
David Leite - Leite's Culinaria
Lindsay Landis - Love and Olive Oil & Purr Design
Aran Goyoaga - Cannelle et Vanille
Jennie Perillo - In Jennie's Kitchen
Kelly Senyei - Just A Taste
Emily Jacobs - Sage Recipes

Until next time, 
LOVE & CONFECTIONS!

June 1, 2012

Food Blog Forum 2012 - Day 1

No comments:
Better late than never...

After almost three months of fighting with my computer, I caved and am finally posting from M's computer. The daunting task of going through a lot of photos and transferring them to his computer has made this more difficult than it should be (besides dealing with the fact that my computer is out of commission for who-knows-what).


In mid-March, I attended the Food Blog Forum in Orlando, FL. After attending last year, I was beyond excited for all the wonderful festivities, speakers and panels that were planned - along with the amazing food, of course.

Julie Deily, of The Little Kitchen, and Dawn Viola had outdone themselves again. This past year, the Food Blog Forum partnered with the Walt Disney World Resort! It was a fabulous and fun-filled weekend for many food bloggers.

DAY 1


A Friday night welcome reception at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa started the weekend off right.

Everyone mixed and mingled, chatting with old friends and making new ones, while enjoying the fabulous food Walt Disney World provided.

Antipasti Cones

Assortment of Shrimp

 Salad "Trees" - these were the coolest food sculptures I have ever seen. The martini glasses, filled with assorted salads, "floated" in these metal trees. I want one of my own ;-)


Desserts: Mango Haupia Verrines (top right), Blood Orange Timbale (top left) & Cake Pops

The Welcome Reception was great. I headed back to the hotel to celebrate M's birthday with my family and eagerly awaited the next day


Until next time,
LOVE & CONFECTIONS!

February 24, 2012

Peach Crostata for a Long Distance Birthday Wish

3 comments:




Tomorrow is one of my oldest friend's birthday. We have known each other for 22 years!

MC and I went to the same elementary school and that is where we met. We became friends after I joined the Girl Scout troop her mom was the leader of. Twenty-two years is a long time. We have not only stayed friends, but have become like family.


When you call your friend's grandparents by the nicknames she gave them, when building forts together on the patio and swimming in the pool are your number one priority, when you have summer sleepovers and can't remember the last time you actually went home, when you have the absolute best stories from family vacations, when you make plans on how to scare your younger sisters' troop while camping, when you help each other get ready for your proms and graduations, when, as adults, you and your friend make vacation plans together, when you hug each other after a grandparent has passed, when your friend helps you get ready on your wedding day... those are only a few of the memories from our friendship, the memories of twenty-two years, the memories of good friends.


One such memory:
Our families took an Easter trip to Georgia many years ago. We stayed on MC's grandparents' farm... with an orchard and a golf cart. Yes, the golf cart is very important. We could drive it, as long as we stayed on the property. That was a big thing to a little girl. We had such a blast - roamed the property, played outside, and drove the golf cart as fast as we could over all the little "hills and valleys". One night, our families had a traditional fish-fry, right out of the back of a pick-up truck. The food was delicious and the company was great.

I remember waking up early one morning, before dawn, and looking out the window at the orchard. It was eerie and beautiful all at the same time. The fog enveloped the trees and I could tell the sun would rise soon. We just sat there and watched the fog for a while, before falling back asleep on Easter morning.

We don't live in the same city and we don't see each other often. I have countless more stories with MC, and will continue to make great memories, wherever life takes us. Hopefully we can see each other again soon! MC loves peaches, so I decided to make a Peach Crostata in honor of her birthday.


Happy Birthday MC! All my love!!!

Peach Crostata
Love & Confections original recipe

Peach Crostata Ingredients:
- 375-400 grams Sugar Dough
- 2 ripe Peaches
- 1 tablespoon Sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 1/4 cup Almond Meal/Flour
- 1 tablespoon Butter, cut in small cubes
- 1 Egg for egg wash

Peach Crostata Directions:
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Keep dough cold until ready to use. Cut peaches in half, and each half in 6 pieces. Place Peach slices in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Sugar and 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice. Mix by hand, making sure each piece is coated.
- Roll out dough, on a floured surface, to about a 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick round.
- Sprinkle the middle of the dough with the Almond Meal, leaving about 2 inches around.
- Place the Peach slices on the Almond Meal. Place the cubed butter on the peaches. Brush the uncovered 2 inches of dough with the egg.
- Fold up the sides of the dough, making sure you press it together, so the dough sticks. It's a rustic tart, so it doesn't have to look perfect - and I am anything but perfect. Brush the top of the dough with more egg wash and sprinkle the top of the entire tart with sugar.
- Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until the dough is cooked and golden brown. I baked mine on stoneware, but if you don't have any, you can use parchment on a baking sheet.

Until next time,
LOVE & CONFECTIONS!

February 6, 2012

Blueberry-Strawberry Tart for my 2nd Blogiversary

1 comment:
Happy Birthday to Love & Confections!


I can't believe I started this blog 2 years ago. I started it on a whim, because I wanted to share recipes and techniques, was interested in food photography, and to continue learning, exploring, photographing and tasting all things baking and pastry. Over my two years of blogging, I have had ups and downs in life and in the blog world, but as Walt Disney said, "Keep moving forward," and that is just what I have done.


I am trying to blog on a more regular basis and continually striving to improve my photography skills. I have been fortunate enough to have family and friends let me use their dslrs whenever they can, as opposed to my point-and-shoot that I use on a regular basis - thank you Aunt W & Susan! I am also experimenting in the kitchen more - hoping to bring you lots of original recipes in the coming year.


I thought a tart would be a nice blogiversary treat, instead of the normal birthday cake. Whatever dough and frangipane you do not use, can be frozen for later use. Just remember to wrap the dough very well. The frangipane can be put in a freezer ziploc. Let it freeze flat, then you can move it on its side, or wherever else you need to put it in the freezer. Remember to label them properly - name and date - so you always know what you have. Whenever you're ready to use them again, just thaw for a day in the refrigerator.

Blueberry-Strawberry Tart
Love & Confections original recipe

Tart Dough Ingredients:
- 280 grams Pastry Flour
- 280 grams All Purpose Flour
- 225 grams Butter, cold and cut in small cubes
- 225 grams Confectioner's Sugar
- 5 grams Salt
- 158 grams Eggs (roughly 3 large eggs)

Tart Dough Directions:
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Combine first 5 ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, on a low speed, mix the ingredients until the Butter becomes pea-sized and the mixture feels somewhat like sand.
- Add the Eggs, half at a time, and mix until combined. This is a very sticky dough.
- Once mixed, enclose the dough on plastic wrap, shaping it into a rough circle, and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
- After the dough has chilled and rested, roll the dough out on a floured work surface. Gently place the dough in the tart pan without stretching it. Press it to the bottom, in the corners, and up the sides. Dock the dough, line it with a piece of parchment on it and pie weights or beans, and par bake it for 10 minutes. Remove the parchment and beans and let cool. The tart shell can me made ahead and frozen.

Frangipane Ingredients:
- 16 ounces Almond Paste
- 100 grams Sugar
- 195 grams Butter, room temperature
- 30 grams Almond Meal/Flour
- 250 grams Eggs (5 large eggs)
- 115 grams Flour, sifted

Frangipane Directions:
- This can be made while the dough is resting.
- Combine Almond Paste, Sugar, Butter and Almond Flour in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix the ingredients on medium, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl every few minutes.
- While on low, add in the Eggs one at a time, making sure the Egg is thoroughly mixed in before adding the next. Scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is mixed properly
- Add in the Flour and mix on low until incorporated.
- Refrigerate mixture until ready to use, or divide into freezer bags as stated above.

Other Ingredients:
- 1 pint Strawberries, hulled and halved
- 6 ounces Blueberries
- Apricot Jelly

Tart Assembly:
- Measure 300 grams of the Frangipane into the tart shell. Using an offset spatula, spread and level the Frangipane. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and springs back slightly when you tough it. Let it cool completely in the tart pan before going to the next step.
- Remove the tart from the pan and place on a cardboard cake round. Arrange the Strawberries around the edge of the tart. Place the Blueberries in the center of the tart.
- Warm the Apricot Jelly in a saucepan until liquid. You will need to add a few tablespoons of water, one at a time, to the jelly, so it doesn't burn or darken too much.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the strawberries and blueberries with the Apricot glaze. This is best done right before serving. Keep refrigerated.
- Enjoy!

Until next time,
LOVE & CONFECTIONS!