Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tiger Cake with Peppermint Glaze for Cook Red to Remember

December 1st is World AIDS Day.

Back before I was blogging about baking. I was a food blog stalker. Admit it, many of us started that way.  At the time I was the author of expat blog that focused on my adventures living abroad and sometimes featuring my cooking. I found myself more and more fascinated by food blogs. One of my favorite at that time was Angela's Spinach Tiger. 

One day I read a post of hers calling bloggers to Cook Red to Remember.  Detailing the account of her brother's battle with AIDS, the piece was both moving and inspiring. Angela's gorgeous heartfelt writing left me in tears and I traveled back in time opening old wounds of my own.  The Cook Red to Remember challenge propelled me into the kitchen. 

I made these angel ribbon cookies, wrote a post on my own experiences during the heart of the AIDS epidemic and sent it to her. Like I said, I was not a food blogger at the time and I was and still am no great cookie decorator. The cookie design was inspired by Angels in America and executed with a Keith Haring style twist.  I believe Angels is one of the most beautiful plays ever written. I remembered sitting next to Yoko Ono in the Broadway production of part two on World AIDS Day in the early 90s, both of us sitting silent with tears streaming down our faces.  Anyway. I digress. When I sent my post to Angela it was one of the very first interactions I had with another blogger. I was insecure and sorta felt like the kid on the outside of the playground looking in.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Spice Macarons with Chocolate Ganache and Pumpkin Buttercream Filling

This is a cheater post because I made these macarons last year. They've languished in my drafts box all year waiting for an appropriate time (season) to share. Good thing, because I am still trying to catch up from my 8 days on the road ordeal from Sandy so not much baking going on lately.

Currently my brother and I are managing my mother's impending return to her house on a wrecked barrier island off of Long Island. Hard for an 83 year old but I am amazed at her toughness. It helps she has alway been a bit of a gypsy.

When I made these pumpkin pie spice macarons way back when I was trying out different options for filling. I used leftovers I had at hand. The chocolate ganache worked well for a fancier, more elegant version. The pumpkin buttercream version was straight up Thanksgiving dessert in a pretty macaron package.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Getting Sandy-ed & October's Funny Food Blogger Posts

Fence at my mom's house in a NY coastal town.

I got Sandy-ed in two states people.

I am fine and so are my loved ones but it was one hell of a ride last week and blogging just wasn't an option. Other people have it so much worse. So I am not complaining. I was only majorly inconveninced. That's all. After day 2 of the insanity I reluctantly said goodbye to all the cupcake liners, Halloween themed sprinkles, candy decorations, cookie cutters and that fabulous Wilton skull pan I got in an after Halloween sale at Michael's last year that I was waiting all year to use. I packed everything up, took a deep breath and focused on the tasks at hand.

House Around the corner from my mom

My 83 year old mother lives in a barrier island off of Long Island. On Thursday evening before the storm I went out and spent the night in order to take to her to an early dental appointment on Friday morning. Afterward, I drove her back home and after listening to the weather reports, spent the next hours putting everything in the front and back gardens of her house away in sheds and under the house I got most of it done in time to make a train back into the city to jump in the car with Dr. B to go out to the house in Pennsylvania for the weekend. Before I left, I pulled a suitcase out and told her to pack a go bag just in case.

National Guard cruising through  my hometown

On Saturday, the storm reports turned dire so Dr. B and I secured everything around the PA house. I bought $150 worth of groceries and supplies, prepped the guest room for my mother and roasted a ton of butternut squash to make puree to soup (no hurricane would stand in the way of my squash obsession.) Sunday morning at 7am-ish I took a NJ transit train to NY Penn station and then with 4 minutes to spare, ran to the other side of the station and hopped a Long Island Railroad train to my hometown.

Once there, I found my mother all packed and ready to go but I still had to finish securing the house. Finally, we wheeled the garbage cans into the living room, locked up the house, jumped into my brother's jeep he keeps there and had a smooth ride to PA. Good thing. A few hours later her town was under a mandatory evacuation.