Sunday, April 24, 2016

A little of this...

I've been longing for an adventure.  There's been too much sameness the last few months, with the busyness of work and trying to save money and vacation time for this fall when the baby comes.  And maybe it's because a baby is on the way that I feel the need to do something now, take a trip, drive to the mountains and find our favorite picnic spot, see something other than our neighborhood and the computer screen at my office.

And of course, there's this big change coming in our lives that's occupying so much of my thoughts lately.  I'm exactly 4 1/2 months today, and the tiredness is finally starting to ease up a little.  I actually stayed up until 11:30 last night to finish a movie, which is a record for me lately, since the first 4 months had me climbing into bed by 9pm every night, and waking up still exhausted.

Although I haven't blogged as much in the last few months as I used to, I'm still baking regularly and photographing everything.  Here is a little collection of treats I've made, to which I realize I might not find the time or energy to devote a whole post, but that I still wanted to share.

Above, mint chocolate chip cake - dark chocolate cake with mint buttercream and shaved chocolate.  A similar recipe can be found here from a previous post.

Next is a brown butter carrot cake with cream cheese buttercream.  I was practicing painting on buttercream, and I chilled the cake for several hours before painting the design on with a tiny paintbrush and black food coloring.  Find my carrot cake recipe here.

For a simple dessert one evening, I made a pot of vanilla bean custard.  I've made this custard so many times, to fill tartlets with salted caramel, to spread between cake layers with strawberries and cream.  We ate it that night with fresh blackberries.

My husband was out of town for 8 days when a massive blizzard hit last weekend and I was completely snowed in.  That Saturday morning, I made myself croque madame for breakfast.  I didn't have any ham, so it was a simple grilled cheese sandwich with sliced tomato, topped with an egg and b├ęchamel sauce.

The night he came home, I planned a special dinner starting with toasted crostini spread with goat cheese, topped with pickled corn relish and buttery steamed lobster tail.  The crostini was fantastic, and was a recipe I just made up as I went.  For dinner, we ate rack of lamb, mashed potatoes, and roasted vegetables.  And for dessert, I had made these pretty little parfaits.  Layers of crumbled cake soaked in a little bourbon were topped with whipped cream cheese infused with fresh orange zest, then strawberries, whipped cream and pistachios.  Sadly, they didn't taste as nice as they looked, and something was very off with the flavor - it might have been the orange zest that was too bitter, and I ended up throwing away what was left.

I made up for those the next morning, though, with some beautiful mini cherry pies drizzled with lemon glaze, that I will share soon...