Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mother's Day Dinner

Happy Sunday!  I just finished a really busy cake week, and I'm so thankful for a lazy Sunday afternoon to cook just for myself.  But this week's cakes were all a big hit, and I can't wait to share them with you starting next week!  

Last week for Mother's Day, my brother, sister, and I made a surprise dinner for my mom.  I planned the menu and they helped prepare it.  

Of course, they all wanted to know if I was going to blog about.  So, my dad (who doesn't cook at all) decided he would take pictures of the whole here's a picture of my dad taking a picture of me working...

On the menu for dinner was:
Crab-stuffed Tilapia with Lemon White Wine Sauce
Mushroom Risotto
and Sauteed Sugar Snap Peas

But, before we had dinner, I made Blue Cheese and Cherry Tartlets as an appetizer:

The tartlets were actually quite simple to prepare...puffed pastry filled with a smoked blue cheese, local cherry preserves, and sliced almonds, then drizzled with a little bit of honey.  The flavors blended together perfectly!

According to the cheesemonger at whole foods, this blue cheese was smoked over hazelnut shells and is the only smoked blue cheese made in America...interesting (at least I think it is, anyway).  

For dessert, I had planned to serve homemade Orange Curd Ice Cream with Almond Brittle, so my brother was outside with the ice cream maker, while my sister and I worked on dinner. 

She volunteered to stir the risotto...bless her heart.  Risotto is a deliciously creamy dish made with Arborio rice, but it must be stirred constantly.  She joyfully stood at the stove and stirred the risotto for an hour, carefully adding the chicken stock a half cup at a time.

I prepared the Crab-Stuffed Tilapia...which actually ended up being Crab-Topped Tilapia, since the tilapia fillets were so thick.   But, they were equally as delicious :)

In between tasks, I kept tasting and adding a little salt and pepper to the risotto...and everytime, my sister would roll her eyes and say, "Dad, she's doing it again.  I think she's dirtied 10 spoons already."

Dad kept snapping pictures of everything (I think he was really getting into the whole blogging thing!) without further ado, the pictures!

Shallots for the Lemon White Wine Sauce...

Crisp Sugar Snap Peas, beautifully cut on an angle....

Fresh thyme from my garden for the Mushroom Risotto....

And of course, you can't have Mushroom Risotto with mushrooms...I used a combination of baby portabella and shitake 'shrooms...

 And finally..........the finished product!

And as we all know, I don't really use recipes, but I actually do have one for the tilapia!

Crab-stuffed topped Tilapia

1 onion, finely chopped
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
2 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup bread crumbs
16 ounces crab meat
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Dash of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
5 tilapia fillets

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Sauté onion and celery in butter until tender.  Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.  Add parsley, bread crumbs, crab meat, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.

Lay the tilapia fillets out of parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Carefully divide the carb mixture between the fillets.  Gently press the crab mixture onto the fish.

Bake in a 400°F oven for about 20 to 25 minutes until the tilapia flakes easily with a fork.

Happy eating!

Monday, May 14, 2012

25th Anniversary Cake

Whew, its already a busy week and its only Monday evening!  I'm working on three different birthday cakes and a wedding cake this week!  So, be on the lookout for several fun blogs coming up....a Snoopy cake, an entire drum set made of cake (even a base drum and cymbals), a proposal cake (awww...), and the best strawberry cake recipe (made from real strawberries, no mixes or strawberry jello here).  Lots of work, but I love it!

Last weekend, I got to make another 25th wedding anniversary cake.  It was a simple, classic buttercream cake decorated with fresh pansies.  

The flavors in the cake were just a fresh...a buttery almond cake, filled with tangy orange curd, and frosted with vanilla buttercream...delicious!

I actually tried/made up a new recipe for the cake.  As the cake was baking (and I was peeking in the oven door, hoping that it would turn out since I made a double batch without testing it out first) I kept hearing my mom's voice in my head, "Never try out new recipes on clients."  Oops. :)  But, thankfully, the cake turned out beautifully!!  It had a perfect crumbs, delicate texture, and tasted great!  So, my gamble paid off this time, but I was a little worried for most of the baking time.

We planned to use pansies from their garden, which sounded like a great idea, until it started pouring down rain.  Luckily I got the cake inside without it getting too wet, but I can't say the same thing for me!  It was worth it though...the pansies were such a sophisticated choice.  I tried to arrange them so that the baby pansies trailed down the tiers.

Stay tuned for some more great cakes in the next few weeks...
As always, happy eating!