Tuesday, September 7, 2010

VLOG: it's flan you fool

In seventh grade, each student in my spanish class had to prepare a spanish influenced dish and bring it in for everyone to taste.  When a boy pointed to my dish and asked what it was, I was shocked and said "You don't know what this is?  It's flan you fool."  Ok, I didn't say that but it was something nothing similar to that effect.

Flan is such a treat to eat.  It looks delicious but has difficulty presenting itself well (especially if you fail at un-molding it).  I've made several pass/fail attempts to create, in my opinion, the perfect flan that stands up to my custardy standards.  But what I was searching for was an exemplary flan.  One that would outshine the previous contenders for the the best flan award and I found it.  Take a look.  



Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Guest Blogger: Banana Walnut Cream Cheese Time!

When Ms. Lollipop left, she gave me several of her things, including three blocks of unused cream cheese.  "I guess I'll eat more bagels," I shrugged. But no, no, no, the cream cheese was meant for a cheesecake that Ms. Lollipop was going to make, so she insisted that I make this cheesecake.  "Ok, fine," I said, "how do I do it?"  So Ms. Lollipop emailed me the recipe with detailed instructions.

"Holy cow!!! CHEESECAKE IS TOO COMPLICATED!!!" I said.

"It's super easy," she replied. "Which part was hard? Was it the double boiler step or the kitchenaid step or the hours long baking step?!  :P" <-- I rest my case.

So, Ms. Lollipop suggested a simpler recipe instead: Banana Coffee Cake
This was back in June, so seeing that the cream cheese didn't expire until September, I put it off. Ms. Lollipop kept me honest by regularly checking on me and the cream cheese. "How is the cream cheese? Did you make it yet?" she asked. "No, it's only July, it's still good!" I said.  "How is the cream cheese? Did you make it yet?" she asked next time. "No, it's August, I still have time!" I said.  "Hey! The cream cheese is going to expire soon!!" she warned me in late August.  "OK! OK!" I replied.  So today, with one week left to spare, I made banana coffee cake.

Note: As I wrote down the recipe, I decided that the topping is "wimpy" and that I would do the delicious streusel topping that Ms. Lollipop usually does on regular coffee cake instead.  So I copied down her streusel recipe and patted myself on the back for being so smart.

Ok, are you ready? Set? Go! Go! Go!

I purchased bananas and left them in the plastic bag to ripen for rich banana flava!
Here is the cream cheese with a week to spare!
Oops, I used the tablespoon instead of the teaspoon,
so I tried to scoop out the excess baking powder.
The recipe called for softened cream cheese and softened butter.
Mine wasn't soft enough so I pulled out... THE POTATO MASHER!
The bananas were nice and freckled!
Added B-A-N-A-N-A-S and mashed away.
The cream cheese made the batter silky smooth!
I decided to use muffin pans. Ready for the oven!
I worked on the streusel topping and incorporated walnuts.
Look at the muffin tops!!
Since the streusel topping would fall off the muffin tops,
I sawed them off with the bread knife!

At this point, I tried to sprinkle on the streusel topping, but it wouldn't stay on. Not knowing what to do, I called Ms. Lollipop. So it turned out that I am suppose to bake it with the streusel topping on.  Oops. Ms. Lollipop suggested that I toast the streusel just so the butter melts and then top the muffins. Before hanging up, she warned me not to burn the streusel.

Burnt streusel.  Oops again.

Ok, at this point, I had to get ready for work, and there's no more butter to make more streusel, so IMPROVISATION TIME!! I picked out the "candied" walnuts from the burnt streusel, placed them on the muffins, and then drizzled with a sugar glaze (powdered sugar + water), and VOILA!

Yum banana walnut mini cake!

Whew! One cream cheese package down, two more to go!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yay!  It makes me happy when you guys submit/share your baking escapades with me!  Thanks to C for such a fantastic blog entry!  I used to bake a whole lot for and with C and those were some good times, and I hope we'll get back into that rhythm someday again when the stars collide!   Until then, I've been dying to hear and read about this recipe for quite some time (as mentioned above) and I look forward to her future endeavors involving the remaining two cream cheeses!   The banana walnut cake looks delicious, although I have to say, assuming you shared these delectable treats, it seems you saved the best part all to yourself - the muffin tops! :)