Sunday, February 28, 2010

I Should Have Just Stayed Home

Grrrrr - how can one day be so irritating! I should have realized, when I made my coffee this morning and poured the grounds out of the maker BEFORE I hit the brew switch, that it was a good day to stay home. But I didn't. Instead I traipsed up and down the stairs, back and forth to the car four times before I had everything I needed. Then I got my "usual" at the bagel shop: flat everything with vegetable cream cheese. Only the gal helping me, after spending 30 seconds pre-occupied over not being able to get her glove on, made me plain cream cheese on a regular everything (and I didn't check until I was on my way). And it didn't get any better - later I went on to the supermarket where: I left all my reuseable bags in the car; my coupon for $3.50 off was expired even though I only got it last week and the self-checkout scanner did not pick up half my items. Fun time passing that 25 lb box of logs over and in front of the scanner again and again and again! Like I said - GRRRRR!

Friday, February 26, 2010


Well that sure was interesting! I don't ever remember it snowing that long uninterrupted! A total of somewhere near 24 inches. And now, barely 2 days later, the streets are clean as a whistle and the walkway looks like it's been snow-free for weeks. Crazy.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


It's that time of year again when we, as a working group, are challenged to develop something "new". New? What do you think that means? Creating is something we (in the group) all do but are we really in the business of new? I think our creations are about many other things: beauty, charm, wit, expression, feelings, passion, anger, frustration, action, thought. All very personal things, for that's really the core of creativity. Now, I realize that by choosing to use our skills to produce saleable merchandise for the mass market we are admitting that our personal expression will need to morph a bit (okay, a lot) into something more universal. I can live with that. But still, after doing this these many years, I resent the absence of creativity in the decision making process. So again, this year I will listen to business majors and bean counters who think their development homes are the very embodiment of beauty. I will bear with their critiques. I will heed their proclamations. And finally I will abide by their decision making. But I do not think I will embrace their aesthetic. I will continue to try to create things with some intrinsic beauty, to consider my customer's collective soul and believe that we can influence the visual world - just a little bit - for the better.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Weekend With Ma

So it's Saturday. Really just the beginning of the weekend to most but I fell like it's done for I had Mom over for a couple of nights, having picked her up after work on Thursday. We stopped on the way North for a quick bite and arrived in time for a nice cup of coffee, the late news and off to bed. I made our favorite, Eggs Benedict, for breakfast on Friday, then we spent the afternoon browsing at Adams Fairacre Farms which we both always enjoy. We had dinner at Cosimo's Newburgh - I love, love, love their flatbread with truffle oil, caramelized onions and 2 kinds of cheese - and spent some nice, quiet time together. Back to Queens this morning and now....ugh housecleaning, laundry, long until Monday??

Friday, February 19, 2010


Lately the weekend has been all about cooking. I'm not going to say I am on a diet because in reality I am just eating healthy (healthily?). Unfortunately to do that food has become my sole obsession. It's funny because the last time I successfully shed significant pounds I had to remove myself from the world of food. No more restaurants, Gourmet magazine, Food Network or Balducci's. No more entertaining, dinner parties or Super Bowl Sundays. Now to obtain the same end I am taking a completely opposite approach. I spend hours researching healthy recipes, analyzing nutritional content, and planning what I am going to eat. My i-Phone is HOT...not just because it is the sharpest toy ever made but because it is constantly on as I log menus, assign point values and tally every meal's calorie-fat-sodium-carb-cholesterol content. It is taking a lot of effort to lead a normal life while eating low calorie, salt-free (thus homemade) foods. Another attempt to improve the state of my state. We'll see how this one goes!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Finishing Off The Work Week

Yes, thank God it's Thursday...the end of MY work week. I finally got around to baking off the mini cupcakes I've been planning since Christmas so my work mates got a sweet treat to help 'em to Friday. It's a crazy good recipe from Birnbaum's Cake Bible but nearly not worth the trouble...NEARLY.

I start off with the All American Chocolate Butter Cake. This part is not too difficult and really, really yummy. Reminiscent of a Devil Dog (kicked up a whole bunch of notches) this super chocolaty, melt-in-your-mouth cake gets it's strong flavor from Dutch-processed cocoa. Seemingly a bit dry (like the Drake's Dog) when you first take a bite, the butter in the cake literally begins to melt releasing a great fudgey flavor.

The tedious element to this confection is a Caramel Silk Butter Cream filling. I have never tried any other recipe for this but I think another could be satisfactorily substituted. I use this because I had never seen a caramel flavored frosting, which in my opinion is what puts this cake over the top. Birnbaum's recipe is made in 3 separate steps - first you make a creme anglais, then a silk meringue. The 2 come together when whipped with a significant amount of pure sweet creamery butter. The process is long and precise and I never have luck with the 'from scratch" caramel syrup. It always goes to hard ball/crackle stage before I can get it incorporated so I have to do some fancy footwork to make it happen. I have recently found a more conventional butter cream recipe with the caramel flavor so I might try using that one next time.

I top the cake off with a lovely, rich smooth ganache. With a very noticeable flavoring of Cognac, it is too die for.

I made the cake in two 9" layers and used a very small biscuit cutter to make little rounds. They didn't hold together as well as I had hoped but as Grandma used to say: "It doesn't matter - it will look worse than that when it gets where it's going!"

So au revoir to mes amis at Variety...until Monday! Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Day After

It's a really beautiful day in New York, cold but sunny and crisp. It is very annoying that so many citizens and businesses do not properly clear the sidewalks. So today we are slipping and sliding as the slushy bits left behind from yesterday's odd snowfall have frozen overnight. But as the inconveniences of New York go, that one is small.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A New Undertaking

Welcome to my meaningless, directionless, whim of a blog! Through this first post - the inauguration if you will - I intend to set the stage for the future.....hmm.....ummm....huh. Finis.