Tuesday I had a meeting at work in the morning, and before I got home, I stopped at the store to pick up some ingredients for lunch. I wanted to make Annie's Eats' newest recipe, which had definitely caught my attention: roasted vegetable chickpea salad. It is healthy, full of vegetables, and has feta in it: what more could I ask for?! I have also had a love for roasted vegetables these days. It makes them so sweet and tender. This salad has roasted onion, garlic, grape tomatoes, and the corn kernels from fresh ears of corn (the recipe calls for a poblano pepper but as usual, I left it out). They roast up for 45 minutes, then get tossed in a delicious honey and red wine vinegar dressing with chickpeas, feta, and basil and chives. I am honestly in love with this salad and will definitely be making it again soon. Even Mom liked it. Kenz realized she hates the texture of chickpeas, but this could be made with any kind of bean, really. Trust me though: make this salad. It's amazing. I ate it for days and now I am sad it's gone.
And now for the cake. Yes: the 9-hour birthday cake. Here's the thing: yesterday was Mark's 35th birthday, and since the week was so insane, the poor boy bought his own birthday dinner for my family, and brought over cupcakes. I felt like a dud of a girlfriend - particularly one with a cooking blog - so I promised him that today would be different. Today, I was going to make him his birthday cake. I had seen a picture of what I wanted to make months ago and vowed to make it for him. You see, Mark is obsessed with Bejeweled Blitz. He plays it on his phone constantly and is obsessed with always having the top score. So, when I saw a picture of a Bejeweled Blitz cake, I knew that I absolutely had to create it. The cake itself could be whatever kind Mark wanted; it was the decorations that needed the most work today. As for the cake, Mark chose chocolate, and on Mom's insistence, I made the cake recipe that is on the back of the Hershey's cocoa powder canister. It is called Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake, and everyone agrees that it is pretty perfect. It's always moist and chocolately and delicious - says Mom, the chocolate cake connossieur! Now, the recipe is supposed to make 2 round cakes. I wanted 2 squares to be able to decorate it like a Bejeweled game board, but we only had one small square, and one big rectangle. I used the rectangle. It sunk a bit in the middle, but I let it cool upside down on a rack, and it filled in. Whew!
|Nick hating fondant|
First: the crumb layer of frosting. I just made a quick buttercream with a stick of butter, 3 3/4 cups of confectionary sugar, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and 4 tablespoons of milk. Mom helped frost the cake, since I am pretty bad at that too.
Once the crumb layer hardened, it was fondant time. We banished Mark to the living room, and then it was a real family affair. Surprise surprise - I also suck at making decorations out of fondant, so I was quickly relegated to the sidelines as Kenzie, Rachael and Mom diligently cut out letters, shapes, backgrounds, and jewels. They were amazing at turning the balls of colored marshmallow fondant into exactly what I was looking for. Little by little, it actually started to look like a Bejeweled Blitz gameboard! And in the end, I am very happy with the result. It looks awesome; as Mom says, it's a bit "rough around the edges," but it was made with a lot of love and Mark could tell what it was right away. Nice job, family!
Okay, now that my fingers are tired from typing, I'd say it's time for bed. This teaches me not to postpone posting again :)
crispy black bean fritters with creamy cilantro dipping sauce
roasted vegetable chickpea salad
Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake
from the back of the Hershey's cocoa powder canister
Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
|9 hours, baby :)|
P.S. I feel it is important to note that today is my 100th post! Happy anniversary, blog! :)