Sunday, April 18, 2010

In Which I Bake Things

Like I said a while ago, I've been trying my hand at baked goods this year, specifically bread. Aside from that one mishap, the results have been pretty good and even delicious. Bread has always been pretty intimidating to me. Yeast is kind of scary. It has to rise and rise and rise some more. You have to KNEAD it. There are just so many ways it could turn into a disaster. Basically, the ability to make bread from scratch is a sure way to impress me. But now I'm joining the club! Let's look at my efforts this year.

In January I made rolls. Betty Crocker supplied the recipe, but since our (old) apartment was not supplying heat, I put the rolls in front of a wee space heater to make them rise. They turned out tastily, though not quite as hearty as I like for my rolls.
I made a second batch of these and made crescent rolls. This was in the days before I owned a rolling pin so I used a can for the rolling. The end result was fat little crescent rolls that tasted just fine regardless.

Next I made yet another batch of these rolls but tried a different shape. Once again, they tasted just fine, but my, um, even shaping skillz have a ways to go. A few were giants, some were a little small and the rest were normal.
After my two breads, I decided to try ciabatta bread because it is delicious. This one I made myself and it came together just fine. While the loaves were rising I realized I should have put some herbs into the dough but I settled for sprinkling it with rosemary. It didn't really add any taste, but it looked pretty. The texture was great, though the flavor was a little too mild. Herbs would probably make a world of difference. But taste aside, I felt quite sophisticated for making such a fancy-sounding bread that was very easy to make.
Okay, this isn't quite on par with my other efforts, but Mr. Graham had his birthday in March and he requested a funfetti cake. So I made it as requested, but I thought of the decorations myself. I've never decorated a cake in my life, and it turned out fine, if amateurish looking. But Tiana and Naveen made up for my weak frosting abilities!
Side note, I could not figure out how to get those sprinkles onto the cake. My method was to throw them and hope that some stuck. Also, since this cake had to be transportable, I didn't get to use our still-unused pretty glass cake tray (though you can see the box in the picture). Woe.

Finally, this very evening, I made scones! My recipe came from Comrade Ferskner's sister. It came together fine, for the most part, but it did make me realize that forks are not pastry cutters. The dough took its sweet time coming together and Mr. Graham had to distract me from my frustrations by telling funny stories about people losing their swimsuits in the ocean on their honeymoons--not that I would know anything about such experiences.
In the end, the dough obliged, they went in the oven and they came out delicious! I followed Elizabeth's recommendation to make two separate scone batches and I'm glad I did since they are just the right size. Unlike her, I wish I *had* done a glaze, rather than just milk, because they look a little unadorned and I had the ingredients. They're sweeter than the scones I've made in the past, but as I said...delicious.
Mr. Graham enjoyed his with Nutella.
Check out this sweet apron my Mama made for me! She also made a matching hat, just for novelty's sake.

What future baking delights await me? Focaccia intrigues me and red velvet cake is sounding both daunting and delectable. In the meantime, I will just have another scone.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Something to Make Your Weekend

I follow a few art blogs. Partly because I have a thing for following the lives of strangers, and partly because I like to see new art from people with skillz I envy admire. Just tonight I was looking one artist's* blog because she recently had a contest for funny Disney fanart and I hadn't seen most of the entries. Some were funny, some were stupid and some were just...peculiar. But these...these are gold (gold, Jerry!).

If you're interested, you can see all the entries here, and while these didn't win, they won in my heart (aw). Semi-relatedly, I have been going back and forth for a long while about starting an art blog of my very own. Yes, there is the Deviant Art, but I like the idea of something more casual. But do I really need one? And should I have it on blogger or livejournal? And what should be the name, most importantly? These are the occasional wonderings of my art brain.

Back to the funny things, they made me laugh so hard and just now they reminded me of this, which is also hilarious to me:

*She of the Potter Puppet Pals.