Saturday, October 27, 2007

Halloween Birthday Party - 10/26/2007

My roommate's birthday is next week, so we had a get-together for her last night. There were some recipes I wanted to make to both pander to her tastes and show a little Halloween spirit.

Wicked Cupcakes

Wicked Cupcakes Close-Up

First are Wicked Cupcakes, a recipe from Food Network. In the online pictures, the cupcakes were a bit cleaner and more intricately decorated, but I think mine looked just fine. They are chocolate cupcakes with a peanut butter and cream cheese frosting to make the head. The hats are Oreo wafers and their features are made with various candies. The birthday girl ended up helping me with these, so I do have to thank her for that.


Next was a chocolate fondue. I am not posting pictures of the fondue itself, since I think most people can imagine a pot of chocolate. Above are all of the "dippins" that I put out: pineapple, strawberries, pretzels, oreos, and bananas. The fondue was flavored with a hazelnut liqueur, but I could not taste it too much. Also, I think the heat source was too hot because the chocolate started to burn and separate. But it is really hard to ruin the taste of chocolate so people were eating it anyways. Not pictured is a frozen pound cake that I cubed which was quite delicious with the fondue.

S'mores Pie

The last dish I am showing is my own creation: S'mores Pie. I first baked a graham cracker crust. For the filling, I melted together chocolate chips, whipping cream and marshmallows. The filling ended up setting up very densely and it was almost like fudge, but it was pretty good. For decoration, I put dollops of whipped cream for each slice topped with homemade marshmallows. The marshmallows are a bit more slippery than normal marshmallows and they tend to melt more than they brown over an open flame, but they tasted just about right. For a final touch, I sprinkled the top with graham cracker crumbs and shaved chocolate.

I attempted to make a pumpkin panna cotta, but they did not set up fully in the ghost and pumpkin molds I had, so I did not take a picture. That recipe still needs a little tweaking before it is blog-worthy. Once most everyone arrived, I also started cooking midnight breakfast: pina colada pancakes (pancakes with pineapple and coconut), bacon and eggs benedict. It was an extremely stuffing night, but it was a lot of fun.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pudding Graveyard - 10/21/2007

Pudding Graveyard

One of my roommates was having a get-together for her organization, so I decided to help out. On top of the usual preparation, I made this Jello pudding graveyard that I found in a booklet at the grocery store. My ghosts did not come out anywhere near as clean as the ones in the picture, but I felt contented. I will admit, though, that one of the ghost's eyes are a little too far apart, making it look like it rode the short bus when it was alive. It took the guests a while to start eating the pudding since they liked the look of it so much. I should have some more Halloween foodings made toward the end of the week, so keep checking back.

Banana Bread Triplets - 10/20/2007

Some people in my research group work with patients on a high fat diet to reduce seizures. And when I say high fat, I mean really high Atkins times ten and without being able to cheat or else you might increse your seizures. To help their patients, they have Meal Days to work on new recipes to increase compliance. I planned on stopping by, so I thought they would enjoy some high carbohydrate food to "cleanse their palettes." All of these are spin-offs of my favorite banana bread recipe since one of my roommates had a ton of ripe bananas that she didn't want.

Banana Walnut Bread

First is a basic twist on the recipe: add walnuts. I think the crease in the top happened when I turned the bread out, possibly before it had cooled enough. >-< But it tasted good. I made sure to sprinkle nuts on top of the dough before it cooked so people were aware of what was inside.

Coconut Banana Bread

Next is banana bread with shredded coconut inside. I was actually one banana short when making this bread, so I figured the extra coconut would give the bread the support it needed. Before baking it, I toasted some reserved coconut and sprinkled it on top of the dough. This one also came out pretty good, but I don't think the flavors were as strong as the others.

Orange Banana Bread

For this last one, I added the zest of three oranges to the dough and baked it. The result was banana bread with a very aromatic orange flavor to it. Banana was the primary flavor, but orange was a more subtle undertone. All of the breads were met with great appreciation and critical acclaim, so I felt I had done a good job.