Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Return to the Blog

I have been trying to figure out how to word this post or how to get back into the groove of blogging after the last few weeks' events. While I promise I haven't stopped cooking (really, I haven't), I just haven't quite been able to find the words to say what I wanted to say in this post. So this is my attempt to find the right words and try to get back into the groove. 

My family has always been a vital part of my life and I have been very lucky to have the majority of my family still around and still playing an active part of my life. Unfortunately, this took a turn a few weeks ago when my Dido (the Ukrainian word for grandpa) was admitted to the hospital. He has been ill for a while but I, at first, just thought this was a little hiccup on our family's path. However, things didn't quite work out that way and on October 20, 2010, he passed away after 5 days surrounded by my Baba, all of his kids and the majority of his grandchildren. While it was hard, it was also a slight relief to no longer watch him suffer as he had been in the hospital.

Baba, Dido & I at Ukrainian Christmas in 2005.
Anyway, as I said, I have definitely been cooking along through these last few weeks but I haven't had the chance to blog. As anyone who knows me well enough (and maybe even those who don't know me well), the kitchen is my haven. It's where I go to relax and to forget about the 500000 other things going on in my life. As corny as it sounds, it's the one place where I can just go and be. And as such, without further delay, here is what I have been up to.

A couple of weeks ago I tried red velvet cupcakes for the first time and thought they were a little strange. I think my sentiments were that they didn't really taste like anything; not chocolate, not vanilla, not really anything and I was disappointed. My disappointment went even further because it was a Martha Stewart recipe and they're usually pretty flawless. However, I decided to try them again just to give Martha a second shot. Well... They were pretty awesome and the only thing that heightened that awesomeness to the next level was the cream cheese frosting that went on top of these beauties!

You must check out the recipe for these delicious little bundles of chocolately love but I have a few suggestions... Firstly, here is the recipe (click here)

My few suggestions would be that you use a higher quality red food colouring than one can typically buy at the grocery store. I find that the colouring that you can get at the grocery store either means that you're going to have to use the entire bottle of colour and it has a tendency to make things taste funny when you're using such quantities. For this batch, I used AmeriColor dye in Red Red. It's a soft gel paste food colour and it's wonderful. Secondly, when the recipe tells you to add the vinegar and baking soda mixture, let it fizzle and calm down a little bit before you mix it in the batter... I PROMISE this is a vital step that my darling Martha doesn't really mention. When I added my mixture, it still had some bubbles but it wasn't like I was pouring club soda in to my batter. 

Speaking of Martha, I also had the chance to make her Meyer Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Curd filling. I couldn't find a direct link to Martha's website, so I found iVillage's posting of the recipe here.  I'm not sure if I want to use this lemon curd recipe again, or maybe if I do, I will need to let it set more first because it was hell on wheels to pipe it into the cupcakes. Regardless, I did top them with the same cream cheese frosting that the red velvet cupcakes used and it just made them that much better... How can you resist these?!?!?!

While I do have a few more things to share, I think I will hold on to them for a few days so that I can share that with you as well. I apologize for the silence over the last few weeks and hope that some of you are still following along on this fun little journey despite our little hiatus! 

Happy cooking! 


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