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Darcie B

eG Foodblog: Darcie B - Bakin' with bacon

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My paternal grandfather was born, and lived his last years, in Parkersburg, WV, but I've never set foot in the state (I think he and my father had some sort of falling out before I was born that no one ever talked about).  Your blog makes we want to go explore my roots one of these days.

Please do come and visit. Parkersburg is a quaint town, and is the home of Holl's Chocolates (mentioned above). There is also a good Italian place there as well as a decent deli (OK, good by WV standards but probably not by NYC standards).

The eastern mountains are gorgeous, and you could drive down the PA Turnpike and hook up with Route 50 if you aren't in a hurry, and wind your way across WV to get to Parkersburg. That would be quite a scenic route.

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Dinner this evening was quick and simple. Seared pork chops finished in the oven, vinegar peppers, and buttered noodles. Pan sauce w/chicken stock, white wine, thyme and butter.

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While I was studying recipes and making up my mind about the Birthday Baking Extravaganza, I had some tea.

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(Husband had the Kusmi tea, I had the Stash Earl Grey)

And now drum roll please......

The Birthday Baking Extravaganza will include:

1. The White Chocolate Mousse Cake from Epicurious. However, I will assemble it differently and, based on the reviews, will use a different genoise (perhaps almond as someone suggested).

2. The Peninsula Grill Coconut Layer Cake. I may make a smaller version since it is HUGE. I may also play around with the cake or filling a little as Ling has done.

3. Orange Chocolate Crown from The Cake Bible, using blood oranges. It is pictured on page 20 of the book in case anyone has it. It is an orange bavarian cream topped with a whipped chocolate ganache and covered in ladyfingers.

While the Black Forest Cake received many votes, I do not think I can find good canned cherries and I don't know if I can afford to buy the kirsch. While I am shopping tomorrow I will look for these things and if they are affordable and available I may still make this, as I would like to do something dark to offset the lightness of all the other cakes. (I will list this as an alternate in case any of the other cakes can't perform :raz: )

Boy, I better get to bed so I can get my rest.

Next challenge: baking 5 dozen cookies for a meeting at work on Monday. I need suggestions! I want to make at least 3 different cookies.

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...

2. The Peninsula Grill Coconut Layer Cake. I may make a smaller version since it is HUGE. I may also play around with the cake or filling a little as Ling has done.

If you love fresh coconut and have the time...it's really great using freshly grated coconut for the filling and the cake. I cracked the coconut and peeled pieces the day before and then just grated it when I needed it. Another note is that they recommend making the filling the day before and letting it chill overnight in the fridge. (Since fresh coconut does not have extra sweetening, I found the sweetness of frosting and filling to be fine as is. If you use sweetened, dried coconut maybe decreasing the sugar would be a nice idea.) Just my 2 cents.

Happy Birthday and enjoy baking, sharing and eating your cakes!

(I have to chime in also regarding the marvelous bagels; you may have given me the courage to try this sometime!)

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Quick note: for the #3 cake, Orange Chocolate Crown, I will be making the variation that is topped with chocolate curls and orange zest instead of the daisy ladyfinger top, so it won't look exactly like the book.

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Dear Darcie-

You are to be sainted. I had a boss like that at one time. Although I loved her dearly she was completely "mashugena" (OK I have no idea how to spell it - someone help me out here?) and would drive me nuts with her idiosyncrasies (ha! spelled that one right! When is eG going to add a spell check???). Just breathe, smile and repeat after me "he's not good or bad, it is jus how he is." Feel better? Ha, ha. It didn't always work for me either. :biggrin::blink:

Now for the cookies: I recently made the Black and White Cookies from Gourmet and they were light and yummy. Recipe Link Here

Or, a new favorite of mine are butter cookies that I juiced up with orange oil and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Oh, I gained weight that week!! I just love the orange/chocolate combo.

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Bonne Fete a toi!

I'm excited about your cakes!

Genny I love the sound of those butter cookies. Are they like shortbread?

These are half way between a pastry and a cookie and fun to make. I love to roll the triangles of pastry from the wide end to the point like miniature croissants. You know they are done when brown flecks appear of the tops and they smell like they are done.

Cottage Cheese Crescents

1 c. butter, soft

1 carton small curd creamed cottage cheese (454 grams)

2 c. flour

grated zest of two lemons

Combine Ingredients. When well mixed, divide dough into 5 equal balls. Working with one ball at a time, roll out onto floured board like a pie crust. Cut with sharp knife like a pie. Roll big end to small end to form crescent. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet two inches apart. Bake 25-30 minutes or until bottoms are golden and little golden flecks appear on crescent. Remove from pan and let cool for five minutes. Glaze with icing below. Makes about 40.

Icing:

3 tbsp. milk

2/3 cup icing sugar

grated peel of one lemon

(These do not freeze.)

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Darcie - this is a fun blog, love to see how you live day to day. Try the Stash Earl Grey Double Bergamot tea. It's the best. I start evey day with it. I usually get it at Whole you know who, but it's cheaper on line. Keep up the good work!

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I've just gotta ask :raz: what is that tea-making thingie with the cup on the end of its chain, back in your husband-and-wife teatime photo upthread?

We have moments of beverage confusion in our house, but I'm reluctant to get out the tea-ball, because I always break my nails opening the darn thing. I'd love to see your alternative!

Looking forward to seeing your baking extravaganza, and meanwhile writing "cottage cheese" on my shopping list so I can make Mama Zuke's recipe.

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the simplicity of butterd noodles

always makes me weep openly.

i love them so.

you made me crave...

thanks.

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Next challenge: baking 5 dozen cookies for a meeting at work on Monday. I need suggestions! I want to make at least 3 different cookies.

Last weekend I made Korova cookies and peanut butter cookies (recipe by Ling in RG). Both super easy, and they both went over very very well. And peanut butter cookies are practically breakfast, with all that protein from the peanut butter!

And happy belated birthday!! I think you shouldn't post pics of the cakes you make--it'll make me too hungry and jealous!

All your food looks fab, by the way!

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^Oh my! Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed the PB cookies so much! (I should note that they are best eaten the day they are made.)

I love the Korova cookies as well....though the dough is, imo, even better than the baked cookie.

Another one of my favourite recipes are the Chez Panisse gingersnaps, and the Lime Meltaways here.

I always like to do an interesting mix on a cookie tray...maybe one citrus, one spice, one chocolate, a biscotti, and a filled cookie (like linzer cookies? or rugelach?). :smile:

Can't wait to see you baked goodies!


Edited by Ling (log)

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I loved the link for the newspaper. I was born in Minot * . We weren't there for long, just a few years, but I remember the cold and snow still.

Coincidently, I had a flat tire in Charleston this past summer on our massive road trip. And we had sandwiches & Cokes, to keep this blog about food :wink:

Your birthday bakapalooza looks amazing! Happy blogging

*Why not Minot? Freezin's the reason

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There will be a slight delay in the bakeapalooza - we "inherited" another cat yesterday, after the boxer that the former owners had in addition to the cat attacked it. We took it to the vet this morning because it was limping a bit, and it turns out that it wasn't an injury from the boxer attack yesterday, it is either an old untreated injury or bone cancer! :shock: We are having a biopsy next week. If it isn't cancer, eventually the leg has to come off because the knee joint is a wreck. So please forgive me if I don't post until later this evening. I am going out to get ingredients now, though, so I will still be making cakes, albeit a bit behind schedule.

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First cats, then cakes. You have your priorities straight!

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Oh dear! Poor kitty! Hoping all goes well at the vets, and with your cakes. Oh yes, and happy belated birthday!

(Edited because I'm still half-awake and not processing cats and cakes properly... :smile: )


Edited by mizducky (log)

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Sorry about your cat.

Happy birthday. I am happy that you decided on the White Chocolate Mousse cake.

As for the Kirsch, I am sorry I did see your comment earlier. You could also soak them in rum, if you can't find Kirsch. I realize that it is not the same, but I have soaked them in rum before and it still tasted just fine.

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Hi Zuke, I think of the shortbread as harder cookies. These are fairly soft. They are just the butter cookie recipe from The Best Recipe cookbook altered to fit my whim. So yummy!

Helen, I used to drink loose teas all the time before I aquired a taste for coffee. I had a really nifty infuser that was really easy. It looked like this. There are other styles as well. No more broken nails! I have also found some outstanding bagged teas though made by a company called R Evolution Tea.

Darcie- poor kitty. I've got my fingers crossed that she just has a bad knee and that she can find a loving home with you. Good luck! I was checking in to see if you had posted any baking pix yet so I'll check back in later. You'll certainly have your hands full today!

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Darcie, for some reason I had in my head that your birthday was not until this Sunday, now I see that it was past Thursday so I did not congratulate you on the Day!

To make up for it, congratulations in Dutch ... hartelijk gefeliciteerd!!!!

I'm sorry to hear about the cat.. I'm sure that whatever happens, it'll have a loving home with you. I hope all works out well and that you'll be able to have a great baking session. I'm really looking forward to those cakes (especially after seeing that very professional looking wedding cake!)

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OK, first cake done. I did the easiest one first, the Peninsula Grill Coconut Cake. But first I had to have some sustenance.

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Nachos, courtesy of:

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If you like deep frying, I highly suggest this little baby. It does a great job. We will probably have wings tomorrow or Monday, so you'll see this puppy in action again.

And this is for torakris:

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I never had Pocky before. It's addictive. I wish we could get more of the exotic flavors here; we just have the chocolate and strawberry.

On to the cake. In the photo below you'll see one of my favorite bowls. It's an old Texasware bowl that my grandmother had. It reminds me of being in her kitchen baking up loads of kuchen.

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I made the filling last night (thanks ludja for the heads up on that). I made 2 changes to the recipe. I had some Coco Lopez left over from making macaroons, so I substituted 1/4 cup of that for 1/4 cup of the cream in the filling and the cake. I also added a couple drops of coconut extract to the filling and cake too. The cake really doesn't have any coconut in it so I thought this would round out the flavor.

I used fresh coconut on the outside of the cake but sweetened flaked in the filling. Aren't coconuts fun?

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The batter was stiffer than usual, so I didn't have to worry about using Magicake Strips. For those who aren't familiar with them, they are aluminized fabric strips that you moisten and wrap around your cake pan to insulate the pan and help the cake bake more evenly (akin to a waterbath). I find that with stiff batters there isn't that much difference, but with looser batters it will keep the cake from doming. The cakes baked up beautifully.

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Here is the first layer covered with 1/2 the filling.

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Repeat, then spread on cream cheese icing and press in toasted coconut (mine got a little too toasty oops)

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I like cakes where you put coconut or nuts on the sides and top because you don't have to worry about the icing being perfectly smooth. This cake smells divine but I am not going to cut and eat it until tomorrow (I am taking it to the neighbors).

Next up: Orange Chocolate Crown. I will make part of it tonight and finish tomorrow, when I will also make my take on the white chocolate raspberry mousse cake.

Edit because I can't count.


Edited by Darcie B (log)

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Just wanted to add that I managed to save the coconut halves, and yes, I did gallop around the house making horse noises :raz:

helenjp, here are two close up pics of the teaball.

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The clasp works pretty well and I haven't busted a fingernail on it yet, but it is the kind that will probably rust up and become unwieldy. Oh well, it's cute.

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HolyOats, I LOVE the way that cake came out! Based on your results, I've decided to ask kiddle to make me a coconut cake, but with the addition or a berry/mango/ pineapple filling that I adore. Can you tell me how much extract you added to the batter? Oh, I HOPE that she will make me this cake! Actually, you know what happens... Mommy ends up baking the cake, and kiddle ends up making the big messes, and licking the bowls. :laugh::laugh: I'm going to make the filling for her, just to make it harder for her to say no. By the way, I use a coconut half for a salt bowl. Love it, and always save them for using as nut bowls, too.

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All in all, the food was much better than average, while not as good as, say, Frontera Grill. But the food was a durn sight cheaper than Frontera - a pitcher of margaritas and three meals were only $40 (not including tip). (I spent nearly $200 for my meal at Frontera in Chicago as part of a group - there were some issues with refilling half empty margaritas and charging full price - I was none too pleased to realize this when I sobered up.)

(Edit to add interior shot)

I was reading through thinking you sounded familiar. Until I read this and realized where I "knew" you from. :smile:

I am loving the blog. Anything with this much baking is sure to pique my interest.

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That coconut cake looks yummy, and not over-toasted at all, to my eye. How come you put it in that deep dish?

I am thrilled that you're going to demo your fryer! I have Fear of Frying, but we love tempura, and I would like to be able to do it really well, not to mention wanting to make Chufi's olieballen and bitterballen. I'm always wondering about getting a fryer, something I don't have any room on the counter for, and will be hanging on your every word and picture.

Wait, I forgot. You galloped around the house making horsey noises with your coconut shells??? Would you please upload that photo!


Edited by Abra (log)

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Mmmm...I can just about taste the coconut cake. I made that up for Mr. tejon's birthday last year and it was divine. Though I will agree that there isn't a ton of coconut flavor without messing with the recipe a bit.

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And this is for torakris:

gallery_28660_2436_69138.jpg

I never had Pocky before. It's addictive. I wish we could get more of the exotic flavors here; we just have the chocolate and strawberry.

I am glad to introduce the world to Pocky!! :biggrin:

It is also nice to hear about Parkersburg, I haven't beent here in years. I spent 6 years just over the border in Southern Ohio and spent quite a bit of time in Parkersburg, that area is really beautiful.

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