Monday, June 27, 2011

I Might Have a Pyrex Problem

I spent the last weekend perusing garage sales and flea markets for some new Pyrex. I am kind of obsessed with it. This weekend, I acquired quite a few new pieces! The best part - all of this cost me only $35 total!

At one of the garage sales, the woman showed me her Pyrex collection. It took up the entirety of her built-in shelves in her living room. And she had just started collecting and had found all the pieces locally at what seemed to be very reasonable prices. Gives me hope!

On to the new Pyrex pieces!

 Three of four Gooseberry pattern cinderella bowls - I actually ordered the 4th bowl off eBay today, because I am an addict and I can't stand an incomplete set.
 Three casserole dishes. From bottom to top, the patterns are Snowflake Blue, Butterfly Gold 1, and the famous Butterprint. 

These next two bowl sets are remarkably similar in color and pattern. Apparently they are confused frequently.

According to my research, these two bowls are part of a three bowl set of Crazy Daisy/Spring Blossom Green mixing bowls. I'm missing the middle bowl, which is a lighter yellow. I will find it...

 This set is a set of cinderella mixing bowls in the Spring Blossom pattern. I am missing the second bowl, which is white with green flowers. I am now intent on finding it somewhere. 

After I took these photos, a very sad thing occurred. Very sad, indeed...

This last set of bowls was unstable as I'd stacked them, and the top bowl slipped off. I couldn't catch it because I had the tower of three casseroles in hand. Sad times. So now I'm going to have to find both white bowls with green flowers.

Now I can't wait until next weekend, for more garage sales and opportunities for finding new pieces!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Raspberry Peach Bellini Cupcakes

This is my entry for the very last Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge. The theme this month was "Fizzy." I have a bottle of my beloved Andre Spumante sitting around from the last time it was on sale at the grocery store, so I decided to make a champagne cupcake.

I've always been a fan of the peach bellini, so I decided to try to capture that flavor in a cupcake. I read online that traditional bellini's also incorporated raspberries for their color, and I had some fun raspberry sugar from a visit to Ann Arbor, so I decided to add that as a garnish and put a glaze of raspberry jam over the cupcakes before I frosted them. '

The cupcakes themselves are a variant of this recipe except that I reduced the champagne a bit and then added some peach juice in its place. I added a little bit of red and yellow food coloring to make the batter a peachy color. I also baked them a little bit less than they recommended - about 27 minutes.

I used Smucker's Rapsberry Spreadable Fruit for the glaze. I microwaved the jelly a bit and then dipped each cupcake into it. I let if dry before going on to frost them.

The frosting is a basic buttercream with champagne, peach preserves, and a bit of the raspberry spreadable fruit.

Now, on to the the challenge! The official rules are here and voting starts the 20th.

The winner of June’s Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge will receive prizes from:

Thank you to all our prize sponsors!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Peach Pie

My friend Michael jokingly told me to bake him a peach pie for his birthday. I did it last night, though it's admittedly probably not my best work as it's made from pre-made pie crust and canned peaches. Still, my first real lattice crust looks pretty good. Also, I'm in Iowa City for the day and my camera's hanging out on my bed in Des Moines, so it's a phone photo.

This is the most complicated thing I've made in awhile. Before that, it was a a pepperoni sandwich that required cooking. This is not the summer of advanced culinary arts.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Spumoni Cheesecake: Version 1.0

Two Saturdays ago, my mother and her boyfriend decided to take M and I to dinner. But first she wanted to go for a walk around Gray's Lake in Des Moines. Fine, I thought, it's just a little walk around the lake.

On our way back to the car, my mom remembered this other attraction she would like to see - it's call the high tressle bridge and it's located in a town about 30 minutes northwest of Des Moines. Fine. Let's go. So we drive. We get lost. We go to a Casey's. We find the trail leading to the bridge. And then we walk 2 miles total, so we can see the bridge and get back to the car. We narrowly avoided a thunderstorm, but we did not avoid a big buzzing cicada being trapped in the car with us. Let's just say I spent a good 3 minutes hyperventilating with my cardigan over my head while the rest of the car tried to get it out. I am not into bugs, and my outdoors capacity had already been met for the day.

High Tressle Bridge

By the time we got back to Des Moines, it was nearly 10PM. I don't know if you hang out much in Des Moines, but dang near nothing is open at that hour, and especially when you don't want to go to a bar. My mom remember that an Italian restaurant, Noah's, is open until midnight. So that is where we went.

Noah's has good classic Des Moines Italian food; more spectacularly, they have amazing desserts. Three of the four of us got desserts and shared them. The highlight for me was the spumoni cheesecake, something I'd never heard of or seen before.

I have searched the internet high and low and cannot find a recipe for this. I decided to create my own. it is. It's not perfect, and I'm planning to make it again and not use pudding. I think the pudding gave it a different texture. [EDIT: My mother was a really big fan of this cheesecake. She actually called to tell me how much she liked it. Hmmm.] I'm going to go all out the next opportunity I get and actually grind the pistachios myself and use real chocolate . Post forthcoming! I have no idea when that will be, by the way as I'm in the midst of my summer job and mostly living away from my apartment and baking supplies.

  • 1 C Crushed Chocolate Graham Crackers

  • 6 TBSP Unsalted Butter

  • 1/2 C Sugar

  • 3 8oz Blocks of Cream Cheese (softened)

  • 3 Eggs

  • 3 Packages of Instant Pudding: Chocolate, Pistachio, and Vanilla

  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract

  • 1 1/2 tsp Cherry Flavoring

  • 1/4 C Chopped Maraschino Cherries

  1. Mix the crushed chocolate graham crackers, butter, and sugar and press them into the bottom of an 8 inch spring form pan. Do not try to press the crust up the sides, just make a bottom crust. Bake for 7 minutes at 350.

  2. Mix the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Then add in the vanilla extract and mix until smooth.

  3. Split the cream cheese between three different bowls and try to do so as evenly as possible. Add about 1/3 of a package of pudding to each bowl - chocolate to one, pistachio to another, vanilla to the last one. Add the chopped cherries to the vanilla bowl and then add the cherry flavoring as well.

  4. Layer the cream cheese pudding mixtures on the crust - cherry, then pistachio, then chocolate.

  5. Bake for 60-70 minutes, until the the cake is solidified but still jiggly in the middle. If you have the patience or risk tolerance, bake it it a water bath - that will help to keep the cheesecake from cracking.

  6. Cool for at least 8 hours and then serve.