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You would think by my lack of posting that I haven’t been cooking. Not true at all, actually. I have been all sorts of in my kitchen, but it was less for fun and more for work even though my version of work is FUN!

A friend of mine asked me to put together a Super Hero cake for her son’s 5th Birthday. I love sure heros AND cake so of course I was up for the task. I made a simple yellow cake with a homemade vanilla buttercream icing in every super hero color under the sun and then topped it some of his favorite Super Hero action figures. Considering it was my first big cake undertaking in a looooooong time I was quite happy with the results as were my friend & the birthday boy!

I sincerely forgot how much I enjoy decorating cakes. it is definitely not the easiest thing in the world to do, as I was reminded once I got started, but with some focus & patience it is quite…rewarding? That may be the best word I have for it. I am my own worst critic, and if I had to do this cake over again there are a few things that I would do differently, but overall it was fun to get back into it again. I worked in the bakery & pastry shop of a ridiculously huge & expensive (5 star/5 diamond glitzy rich!) hotel in Colorado Springs many, many moons ago; I spent most of my apprenticeship time in those 2 areas of the hotel kitchens by choice, I liked it the best & worked with some amazingly talented chefs while I was there; funny enough one of them owns my very favorite pastry studio here in the Burgh now :) Like riding a bike that artistic part of it comes back & your hands remember what they are supposed to do even if your brain isn’t 100% sure.

I had intended to do a half sheet cake, but when I was drawing it up I didn’t dig the lack of height, I didn’t want it to end up looking like a grocery store cake and I felt like that was going to end up being the case if I went that route so I opted for a two tiered beast of a cake that let me play a bit more with some colors and give some depth. My friend was kind enough to supply her son’s favorite action figures to go on the cake, he couldn’t decide on just one, and I added some decorative components to tie them all together.

On deck next is a small yet elegant 10 year anniversary cake & a 4 year old’s Angry Birds cake & matching cupcakes all for next weekend. I’ll take some better pics & get them posted before I send them out into the world. I remembered to snap a few shots of this one as my husband was being a sweetheart and delivering it to the birthday party for me.

Generally I prefer to drop off myself…but the OTHER thing that had me all tied up was a catering, of course all in the same weekend. That little adventure helped me tweak out a homemade bagel recipe that I loved and let me take a spin at curing my own lox – also  delicious…at least that was what everyone told me and what Hart said – I am not a huge salmon fan so to me it was good…for salmon. I am going to have to make both recipes again – I know the torture, right? – because in my obsessive need to make sure everything was perfect for the Bris I didn’t get any good pictures of the process (bagels) or the finished product (lox), making it pretty hard to do posts on either. I did get a couple decent shots of the set up that I can share :)

The Bris was at the Temple Sinai in Oakland. I had never been in there before. It is beautiful. The Library where the reception was held was the perfect size and really warm, perfect for the celebration. If I had been a smart girl I would have grabbed some pics of some of the gardens at the temple. They all reminded me of small, secret gardens sequestered away from everything. Like larger scale fairy gardens, specially when seen from inside old leaded glass windows. It was cool and I regret not taking any pics while I was there.

For lunch we have my cured lox & homemade bagels with all the traditional fixings, egg salad w dijon mayo, tuna salad w tarragon mayo & sweet pickles, fresh fruit… (please pardon the pics, I took them with my phone camera, far from ideal)

Have to mention, and I am not sure where Tamara got the inspiration from, but take a look at the ‘vases’ the flowers are in. Ball jars spray painted with silver. They were super cool. Like I am going to do up a couple for my house I liked the end result so much. I had the jars around the house, she supplied the paint. Really pretty & super affordable center piece idea for buffet tables or party that looks like a million bucks.

My favorite table? The dessert one, of course! Devil’s food cupcakes filled with peanut butter mousse & dark chocolate butter cream, vanilla bean cupcakes filled with blueberry compote & vanilla buttercream, fudgey triple chocolate brownies & tart lemon shortbread bars. I got emails about the devil’s food cupcakes – those were clearly a hit.

From the other side…

It was an honor to be involved with the family’s celebration and, as twisted as it sounds, loved the pressure of the deadline. It’s been a minute since I have been in that kind of spot, not going to lie, I can’t wait to get back to it.

In the “When do I get to open my own place’ front I continue to play the waiting game. Which, in case you didn’t know, might be the single most irritating game in all of existence, especially for Mindy – The Queen of Instant Gratification. The space I had my heart set on looks like it may be a bust, still waiting on the final shoe to drop there. In the mean time I have begun to hunt for another space to set me heart on. I’d be totally full of shit if I said this wasn’t a gut punch that, even if I was somewhat prepared for, didn’t knock the wind of me for a week plus – but it is/was my decision to start walking away and after a week or so of internal debate I have NO doubt that I am doing the right thing. It may pan out, but I am not putting any more eggs in that basket & have opted to go real estate hunting some more. If it were right, it would work out. It doesn’t look like it is going to work out, so it isn’t right. And I’m ok with that. Well let’s be real – I’m frustrated as hell that I blew as much time as I have on the North Side space…but I am ok with making the smart decision and not the desperate one. I think that is called ‘growing up’. At least that’s what my mom said :)

Recipes on deck are sausage gravy & buttermilk biscuits in a cast iron skillet, something with the delicious apples sitting on my table and some bagels. Time to get out of my head and back into my kitchen!!!