Yoli wants everyone to know that her cakes don’t always come out right. Usually it’s because she forgets to add a key ingredient. Such was the case last night as she was baking a special cake for Valentine’s Day.
Yoli forgot to add sugar, but didn’t realize it until after she pulled the cake out of the oven and saw it had not risen very much. So she had to bake another one, this time with all the ingredients.
You can see a comparison of the good cake (left) and the messed-up one (right) in the photo above.
Fortunately, we have girls whose palates are not particularly discerning, especially when it comes to pastries.
Yoli offered them some of her “bread” and they have been happily chowing down on it ever since.
Groceries + girls = grumpy (me).
Well, at times. I enjoy shopping, but I like to do it quickly and peacefully. It’s when the girls act up and get silly that I become upset.
In recent weeks, though, I have seen the power of a special something.
That something is The Sample.
We have traditionally avoided grocery shopping on Friday and Saturday mornings for a few reasons. It’s busy, first of all. But also our schedule is usually tighter on those days because I go in to work a little bit earlier.
But we’ve had three recent excursions to Schnuck’s and Dierberg’s where samples were plentiful. Boy did the girls enjoy that.
A few “raw milk” cheese cubes here, a couple cups of yogurt there, a sip of sugar-free white honeysuckle tea here, a nibble of bread there = girls occupied, not bored.
The only downside I can see is that just like with toys, the girls can quickly become jaded. Thankfulness can be replaced by a sense of entitlement and expectation.
One of the ways we try to combat stuff like that is to deprive the girls. You know, spread out visits to restaurants, or limit the time and type of movies they watch.
So maybe just a sample day once a month will help the medicine go down. We’ll see.
Here’s a little photo gallery of various — mostly baked — foodstuffs Yoli has made over the years. (Truth be told, this really only scratches the surface Yoli’s culinary adventures. Usually we forget to take photos!)
This cheddar bread has no fats/oils other than the cheese. But it does have ale. Yoli says the “Z” is for “Zorro,” which is a family joke. She also says her dad would say the “Z” was for “Zegarra,” his last name.
Some delicious tiny loaves of bread with cranberries, nuts, and other dried fruits
We bought pita bread from the store the other day and the girls enjoyed making sandwiches with it. Yoli wanted to see how hard it would be to make her own pitas.
Yoli had some mashed potatoes, asparagus and pork for the girls. But those stubborn creatures have recently decided they don’t like potatoes. She turned them into a face and put some leftover cranberry sauce on the pork and they ate it all.
Yoli made a sort-of asiago bread that used cheddar cheese. It was very tasty, turned out better than other “cheddar bread” recipes she has tried in the past.
Eaten in Sweden on Dec. 13 each year. Jadzia read about this in one of her “Kirsten” books.
Yoli saw one of these for sale at the farmer’s market and decided to make her own.
Yoli made this for our anniversary. Very tasty.
I handled the grilling, but Yoli did almost everything else.
Who needs the Pillsbury Dough Boy?
Was designed to fit with the party theme decorations.
It looks like a chick!
For Jadzia’s 5th birthday
Pecan shortbread crust, a moscarpone cream, and strawberries in a sauce
A cake made for Yoli’s class
For Josie’s birthday
It was a pre-baked kit that Yoli and the girls decorated.
Jadzia requested a monster cake for her fourth birthday.
Jadzia requested a monster cake for her fourth birthday.
Made for Ludi’s birthday in San Antonio
With peaches and blackberries
Entered in the 2009 Ferguson Farmer’s Market pie contest.
This cake looks like the “Weighted Companion Cube” from the video game Portal. Yoli made it for our friends Eric and Nancy.
Pretty tasty-looking loaves of bread
This is a airy bread with dried fruit that is popular to eat at Christmastime in South America. In the past we have bought them from Walgreen’s, Aldi’s, and even Volpi on the Hill. Finally Yoli decided to learn how to make her own. And her own have always turned out awesome.
Made for my mom’s birthday
This is from an English recipe. It’s more like a pudding than what we would think of as a “cake.”
Another cake Yoli made for her niece’s 15th birthday.
A cake Yoli made for her niece Leya’s 15th birthday.
Yoli made this for Jadzia’s third birthday, in Bolivia. It’s a 3-dimensional teddy bear cake.
Took this for the Renaud Family Picnic one year, but people seemed to not want to mar its beauty by cutting it up and eating it.
The flowers and wreaths were especially pretty.
This is a pixel-for-pixel representation of Donkey Kong. Yoli made this to serve at the “Kong Night” movie event where we invited friends to watch the “King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters” documentary.
This is a Bolivian delicacy eaten for breakfast. It’s sort of like funnel cake, but with anise.
Yoli made this for me to take to work in the Post-Dispatch sports department after the Cardinals won the World Series in 2006.
For a kid’s birthday
Made for Yoli’s cake class
Chocolate buttercream icing woven basket-style
Made with fondant
Yoli made this for Jadzia’s second birthday.
Some of you may not know that Yoli and I sort of have two anniversaries.
Being from two different countries, it was necessary for us to obtain a visa so that Yoli could join me here in the U.S. After we got engaged the question we faced was which visa? Marriage visa or fianceé visa?
Continue reading “Three-day, seven-year anniversary celebration”
The unbelievably warm weather this week, plus the threat of rain tomorrow conspired to get us to try a recipe we have been putting off forever: grilled thin-crust pizza.
Continue reading “Finally tried grilled pizza – in November!”
My day at the Ferguson farmer’s Market started early this week.
I got up at 7:40 in order to get there right when the market opened. Yoli needed fresh strawberries for her entry in the strawberry contest that would be held 2 hours later.
Continue reading “Strawberry pizza”
We took two unplanned trips to Hermann, Mo. this week in search of Springerle cookie molds. Hermann is a wonderful old city on the banks of the Missouri River founded by German immigrants.
Continue reading “We sprang for Springerles”
So the Post-Dispatch recently published a story about Springerle cookies.
I pointed it out to Yoli because I knew she would be interested. How right I was!
The first thing that caught my attention was the recipe’s use of “hartshorn,” which is actually baking ammonia. This is an ingredient that is not cheap or available in every store.
We happen to have some that we bought in Bolivia, because Yoli has some recipes that call for it. Let me tell you, when you bake with ammonia, it will stink up the house. But once the smell dissipates, the cookies or whatever taste great.
Yoli was excited to try the Springerle recipe, but the problem is molds. There is a local artist who hand-carves them. His carvings are amazing, but at $20-30 bucks a pop, it’s a more expensive way to get started than we would like. We are hoping to find used ones at a thrift store or maybe some resin copies … something more affordable.
We did actually come across two Springerle “boards” at 309 Antiques here in Ferguson, but they are $50 each. Apparently, many folks collect these hand-carved molds. Yoli just wants to bake with them.
Anyhow, anyone out there have any local Springerle resources?
Speaking of recipes, Yoli has some recipes she’s been saving for almost 20 years. Many of them are hand-written or cut-and-pasted into a little notebook.
Last night she decided to try a recipe that she had wanted to make for a long time. The recipe was written in Portuguese, and it was called “Torta de Chocolate,” although it really looked more like a pie than a cake. She had found the recipe on the street back in Bolivia and had always wondered how it might taste. Now was her chance to find out.
(And yes, Yoli knows enough Portuguese to be able to prepare this recipe)
But there are always some monkeys to throw wrenches into things. In this case, the monkeys were named Jadzia, Ludi, and Josie.
All the girls wanted to be in the kitchen watching Yoli as she cooked. Ludi was standing on our step ladder, Jadzia brought in a stepstool from the bathroom, and Josie was just crawling and doing whatever.
When Yoli went to fetch a pan from the basement, Ludi sprang into action. She took Yoli’s good vanilla, and poured all of it into the mixture for the torta’s filling. The cap fell to the floor, where Josie eagerly picked it up and began licking it. Jadzia the eager spectator didn’t bother to call for help.
Suffice it to say that Yoli threw all three out of the kitchen, cleaned the mess, and continued cooking.
I got to taste the torta last night. It was very mousse-pie-like, but the crust was like a very firm cake rather than a pie crust. Very tasty, but it had enough vanilla flavor that it almost had an alcohol taste.