Monthly Archives: April 2011

Erasmus Reunion!

I’m so excited that I’m going to be seeing the majority of the people in this photo (plus my amazing kitchenmates and a few others!) soon =)

Photo fromAndrea

From left to right: Guillaume, Aurélien, Michiel, me, Andrea, Ann, Pierre, Len, Quentin <3

Here’s what the schedule is looking like so far, but it’s subject to change

May 29: RPI commencement
May 30: Cat’s 18th birthday
June 8: The BaShihlors of Arts and Sciences
June 12: Stanford commencement/diploma ceremony
June 16: Cat’s graduation
June 17: SFO -> CDG
June 18 – 20: Paris
June 21 –  24: , Castellarano, Modena, Bologna(?)
June 24 – 26: Venice
June 26 – 27: Florence (tentative)
June 28 – 30: Milan
June 30 – Jul 3: København!
Jul 3 – Jul 6: Athens
Jul 7 – 10: Naxos
Jul 10 – Jul 14: Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp
Jul 14: BRU -> SFO
Jul 18: First day of work!

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We are searching for Lufthansa clues!

Over the weekend, my good friend Steve asked me if I wanted to go to New York City on Monday to try and win some “sweet free tickets to Europe.”

“Yes,” I said, “I am absolutely down for that.”

And so, on Monday February 28th, Steve and I left Troy at 5am and made 30 hour the drive through the rain (while listening to Pimsleur Vietnamese!) to Liberty Harbor, where to took a ferry to the financial district. Once there, we parted ways and went to two of the four starting points.

Let’s back up for a moment. The event we were participating in was the Lufthansa Catch the A380 Crew! It was in celebration of the inaugural flight of Lufthansa’s A380 from Frankfurt to JFK. The premise was, screaming participants would run around SoHo trying to find “crew members” to collect 10 stamps in their “passports.” Once ten stamps were collected, the participant would receive a “golden envelope” that would contain a hint telling them where the final destination was. Before the race, Lufthansa released a clue to four starting points around Soho – if you could figure it out and meet them at 11:00am, you could participate. At 11:00, Lufthansa released a list of 23 clues of where the crew members would be. The prize? Hella bragging rights. Oh and tTwo round trip business class tickets to anywhere, values at $20,206 USD. Yeah, we were going to win.

Our supplies: Jamba Juice in Strawberry Surf Rider, two water-logged passports, two smart-phones constantly connected to our amazing ground team, the golden clue, and plastic bags! Also, Lufthansa sugar cookies that I baked =D They didn’t turn out as nice as I would have liked, but for a first try, not too shoddy!

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Cupcake Week, Day 6: Apple Crisp Cupcakes

Hello everyone! I actually only made six cupcakes for cupcake week, as I got incredibly busy with thesis on the last day. However, this and the mojito are my two most favorite cupcakes from the entire week! This cupcake plays off apple crisp and coffee cake, featuring real tangy granny smith apples and a sweet and crunchy streusel filling. In terms of texture, this is one that’s the best!

CUPCAKE: Apple crisp with real apples
FILLING: Streusel
TOPPING: Whipped cream
GARNISH: Apple, caramel, cinnamon (optional)

Want to try? If so, check out the recipe below the jump!! <3

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Cupcake Week, Day 5: Clementine and Olive Oil

Yeah, you heard that right. As soon as I saw recipes for olive oil cupcakes on vegan websites (not that I frequent them because I would die of starvation if I ever tried to be vegan) I knew I had to try them! For kicks, I looked up cupcakes with balsamic vinegar (it’s the perfect compliment!) and to my surprise and delight, I found balsamic whipped cream! SCORE. I had to try these.

CUPCAKE: Clementine and olive oil
TOPPING: Balsamic whipped cream
GARNISH: Clementine zest and basil leaves

Please ignore how hideous the basil is here – our local grocery store is not exactly know for the freshness of their produce. These cupcakes are a crazy combination, but surprisingly delicious! For those brave enough to attempt them at home, the recipe is below the cut!

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Cupcake Week, Day 4: Mango Cupcakes

My housemate recently discovered that the Asian market in Albany carried mangoes that were both cheaper and of a higher quality than the ones found at the local grocery store. So what would any sensible mango-loving individual who lives with other perfectly-sensible mango-loving individuals do? Buy a case. YES! There were still a few left when I was plotting recipes, so I called shotty on them, and this is my attempt to incorporate them into a pastry!

TOPPING: Mango frosting
GARNISH: Mango chunks, strawberry slices, nilla wafer w/ chocolate syrup

My original intention was to fill them with a mango puree, but they were so moist already that I was afraid the puree would make it soggy, so I skipped that step. And then I ate the rest of the mango <3 The frosting was my FAVORITE part. It was so light and fluffy and tasted like fresh mango! Recipe below the cut!

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Cupcake Week, Day 3: “This sounds like froyo!” cupcake

As I rattled down the list of potential cupcakes trying to choose the seven I wanted to make, my friend’s reaction to this one was “Ooo! That sounds like a froyo cupcake!” It was originally going to be a pound cake cupcake with strawberry Clementine compote and Clementine whipped cream, but the frozen yogurt comment got me thinking, and I attemped something else – a Calpico glaze!

CUPCAKE: Pound cake
FILLING: Strawberry Clementine compote
TOPPING: Calpico glaze
GARNISH: Clementine twist, strawberry, pound cake star

For those of you that don’t know what Calpico is, it’s actually the English name for the Japanese uncarbonated soft drink Calpis (カルピス) because English-speaking countries think it sounds like “cow piss,” which makes it slightly less attractive to drink! The taste is a little similar to plain yogurt because it has a nice tang, but with added sweetness. The name actually is a portmanteau of two works: cal from calcium and pis from sarpis (butter flavor in Sanskrit). It’s originally sold in concentrate form (which I used here) but also comes in a pre-watered down version and can be drank lie that! There’s a ton of different flavors too, but my absolute fave is the original <3 I use it on my shaved ice all the time, and I love mixing it with fruit juices (grapefruit, especially), and it totally works in soju cocktails as well!

Photo from Just Hungry

Pretty much, the best thing ever ^_^ Anyways, check below the cut for the recipe! It features something I hadn’t heard of before – the “cold pound cake” technique, but I thought it worked out well =)

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Cupcake Week, Day 2: Mojito Cupcakes

I made a list of about 15 cupcake recipes that I wanted to try for Cupcake Week, and spent quite a while narrowing them down. The selection process was extremely complex – read all the titles to my friend and keep the ones that he said “OOO” to! Hahaha, super hard, right? The one that I was most excited to try was this cupcake – after making a Kahlua cake for Rezzy’s 3-month birthday, I’ve been inspired to try more pastries with alcohol! For some odd reason, we have accumulated four bottles of rum in the liquor cabinet (two bottles of superior, one gold, and one 151)

GLAZE: Rum syrup
TOPPING: Lime rum cream cheese frosting
GARNISH: Lime, mint leaves

This one was DELICIOUS. It wasn’t too sweet, and the lime gave it a really nice tang, and having mint in the cupcake was a really refreshing treat! I even liked the frosting – and I don’t like frosting! That and they are super cute =D

This recipe is adapted from Cream Puffs in Venice. I have changed the cupcake recipe a bit though, adding mint to the cupcakes and changing a few of the processes to infuse the cupcakes with more minty-lime flavor! Check out the recipe below the cut!

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Cupcake Week, Day 1: PBizzle cup[cake]s

This is the first day of Cupcake Week! Today’s cupcake is inspired by the amazing Reese’s peanut butter cups and features a dense devil’s food cake, peanut butter filling, and chocolate ganache. Sounds decadent and oh-so-unhealthy, doesn’t it?

CUPCAKE: Devil’s food cake
FILLING: Peanut butter
TOPPING: Dark chocolate ganache
GARNISH: Crushed Resees

This cupcake is named after my good friend Ben for a few reasons. The first reason is because he will shove every pastry into his face before you can blink. The second is because I like to joke and call him a polar bear, or PB, which also is short for peanut butter! The last reason is because I always think of him when I eat peanut butter since he’s super ticklish so his siblings tortured him when he was a child by covering him with peanut butter and setting the dogs loose on him! XD

I love chocolate ganache. I use it as a topping on EVERYTHING because it is simple, gorgeous, and amazingly-delicious! I felt that chocolate ganache was the perfect topping for this cupcake because it would leave a finish that looked like a Reese’s peanut butter cup – nice and smooth and chocolaty on top!! (That was the reason I chose to make them in the foil baking cups as well!) Then I chopped up some Reese’s peanut butter cups (it was difficult making sure my housemates didn’t eat them when I wasn’t looking!) and put them on top.

Recipe after the cut!

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Seven days, seven random cupcakes!

Like the title suggests, I have made the executive decision to make a different awesome cupcake every day for the next week. YES I AM IN CONTROL OF MY LIFE!

And before you ask, there is absolutely no concrete reason behind this – there is no method to my madness!! This was one of those ideas concocted by too much boredom, and probably too much work to do. I tend to do this thing when I am studying for an important text the next day where I come up with random ideas that take a lot of work but would be really exciting, and then get so excited about the idea that I immediately open a new tab in EditPad (like Notepad, but better) and start typing my ideas. Studying? Completely forgotten – thrown out the window, never to be thought of again until the startling realization that I just blew off two hours of hardcore studying to make a list of 15 cupcake concepts. But… it’s cupcakes!

Let me just say upfront that while I love baking, I am in no way a professional. I would LOVE to open a bakery/coffee shop/bar (this is actually something Tiffany and I discuss at great length) but that is a dream for later, when I have the time and money to kick around and fund my inner desire to be super awesome and make everyone super happy. I also don’t like pastries. I don’t like frosting, I don’t like things that are super sweet – they make me sick. BUT, I love design, and the PDI major in me is always screaming for me to let it out and DECORATE SOMETHING! So why not cupcakes? Mini masterpieces, they are!

Here is a preliminary menu and schedule for the week – it is very much a draft and is definitely subject to change:

MONDAY: Reese’s-inspired peanut butter cup(cakes)
TUESDAY: Mojito cupcakes with a lime-rum frosting
WEDNESDAY: “This cupcake sounds like froyo!” cupcake
THURSDAY: Mango cupcakes
FRIDAY:  Dark chocolate with blackberry and strawberry compote
SATURDAY: Apple crisp
SUNDAY: Olive oil clementine cupcakes with a balsamic vinegar whipped cream

They might also have names eventually. I haven’t really decided yet.

If all goes well, there will be pictures and recipes coming up soon!

Love and a slew of cupcakes,

Tiff x

EDIT: Tito took me to the store!!!! And… I cannot believe I just spent about $100 on cupcake supplies. It’s the fruit that killed it – strawberries and mangoes here in upstate where nothing grows cost you your firstborn =( The upside is that a good fraction of that went into reusable supplies – a muffin/cupcake tray, a zester, a pastry bag w/ decorating tips, and food coloring. I guess I will be eating potatoes, noodles, and salad for the rest of the month! Then again… I love potatoes, noodles, and salad so I guess there really isn’t much of an issue. Oh and I should probably eat some cupcakes for like.. energy.