Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day, Free Graphics, and the End of May

Hope everyone is kicking off summer with some fun (unofficial summer but summer nonetheless.) I recently discovered a cool website where you can download vintage graphics, type, and clipart for free - thanks to a generous blogger! I found the bathing beauty above on her site:

One other thing - I've finished my "Post a Day in May" project and am AMAZED that I was able to post every day in May without missing a single day! I hope that my reader(s) enjoyed it. It was fun but I don't think I could do it permanently. Hopefully, I'll still be posting several times a week as the summer fun heats up!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cherry Pie Recipe FINALLY

Okay - finally. Here is the cherry pie filling recipe that I used. There's a link at the bottom to the piecrust recipe, too.


  • Canned Cherries (not the pie filling stuff, just cherries in juice/water) 16 oz
  • Drained cherry juice 6 oz
  • Cold Water 2 oz
  • Cornstarch 1 oz
  • Sugar 7 oz
  • Salt .25 oz
  • Lemon Juice .33 oz
  • Almond Extract To Taste
  • Butter .75 oz
1. Combine cold water and cornstarch in a small bowl to make a slurry.
2. In saucepan, bring juice to a hard boil (should be bubbling rapidly in the middle and the sides, not just the sides).

3. Add cornstarch slurry to juice, a little at a time while whisking vigorously. You want to make sure that there are no cornstarch lumps. You may not use all the cornstarch mixture but you want the syrup to be very thick, as it will thin out again once the sugar is added.

4. Add sugar and salt, stir until dissolved.

5. Add cherries and boil briefly. Mixture should continue to thicken. If you're worried that the cherries will become too soft, you can skip this step and just pour the finished syrup mixture over the cherries.
6. Add almond extract and lemon juice.

7. Cool mixture to room temperature. If filling is still hot, the bottom crust will become soggy. Add butter right before putting filling in pie tin.

8. Here is the recipe for the crust, as promised: I put a nice egg wash on mine (just a beaten egg, nothing fancy) for shine and to help it brown. I also sprinkled some swedish sugar on top for crunch.

9. Bake at 425F until crust is nicely browned and filling bubbles slightly in middle - approximately 35-40 minutes but it really depends on your oven. Rotate halfway through cooking.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Salty Tart and a milestone

I know, I know - I promised the cherry pie recipe for today. But, it's like this, I'm tired, it's past 10:30pm and I got a little too much sun today. Tomorrow - for reals.

Instead, a quick post with a mini-review. Guess where I FINALLY went today? Oh, right, you already know because you read the post header. Yes - the Salty Tart! I was supposed to meet someone at the Midtown Global Market today for a work thing. It didn't work out (not-really-hypothetical question: if you were calling someone to reschedule a same-day meeting, wouldn't you leave a message, even if you were heading into a building with no cell reception? Or would you wait until the person showed up, having driven across town in a car with no a.c. and found a spot in the pay parking ramp?Hmmph!) but there was a silver lining, as usual.

I have to do a little write-up about a bakery for my baking class, and it's due on Tuesday. So, I did a short interview with one of the kind folks at the Salty Tart, and it even turns out he is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu!

I didn't want to leave empty-handed but all I had was a dollar and I needed it for parking. Bummer! But wait.....if I bought something, they would validate my parking! The only thing I could get with my measly dough was a chocolate meringue (priced at buck plus tax). You know I'm not a big fan of meringues, but it was chocolate and I wanted to try SOMETHING. Plus, what kind of dummy pays for parking when they could get a meringue instead? Not this kind.

So, how was it, you're wondering? Seriously delicious! Crispy on the outside, gooey inside a little like a toasted marshmallow, deeply chocolatey, and with surprise crunch from bits of cocoa nibs inside. Score! I ate it all while still in the car.

I'm hoping to be back at the Salty Tart at some point with a bigger budget.

Anywho, guess what my milestone is? This is my 300th blog post!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Pies and Stuff

This week I made a cherry pie for one of my sister's co-workers. Excuse the weird yellowy pic above; the lighting in my place sucks at night. I'll post the recipe tomorrow, I promise. I'm way too tired tonight.

In other news....
I made the tray of pastries above for my practical exam today. Overall, it went well but I did get some points taken off for my chocolate croissants (see how they are unrolling a little? that means they're probably underproofed).
I also found this rock, below, in the school parking lot. Am I crazy or does it not look a little like a piece of chocolate cream pie (I put another rock under it as as "plate" cuz I'm goofy like that)? Maybe I just have pie on the brain :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Star Tribune's Taste 50 List

The Star Tribune came out with it's annual list of 50 Minnesota "tastemakers, trends, products, and places". Sadly, I have been to/tried very few of them. It's hard on a student budget. There are lots that I'd like to check out, though, including:

Do you agree with the choices? Any that you'd add? See the whole list at (my computer won't let me link to the actual list for some reason)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Home Renovation

In my real (rented) yard, a huge tree limb fell in a storm last night. Luckily, I have a little more control of my little container garden. It was time to do a spring planting, for sure. Above is the end result; what do you think? I planted it with weeds from the (rental) front yard and made a little rock garden.Despite the term "growing like a weed", I'm not sure these weeds will flourish in this shallow container. Luckily, weeds are pretty easy to find if I need to replant :)
Here is the winter blah Before shot above and another After shot below

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

More Candy

Today's been fun - talking to people (at school, in my family, on facebook) about the candy they loved when they were kids. People get so animated when they talk about those kinds of childhood memories!


there's an interesting article on Salon called, "Is Candy Really a Food?". One of the most interesting things highlighted in the article is that the difference between candy and notcandy (by government standards) is that candy doesn't contain flour. Isn't that weird and arbitrary?

You can read the whole article here:

Here are a couple other candy-related links:

Anyone else remember this Tootsie Roll commerical/song? It is insanely catchy:

Speaking of tootsie rolls, here's a tutorial on how to make a rose out of a tootsie roll:

Sea Glass candy at Not So Humble Pie:

Bacon Candy recipe from the LA Times:,0,7286449.story

Monday, May 24, 2010

Summer Treats of Years Gone By

Have I mentioned that it's super hot and humid right now? Yes, I know it's boring to talk about the weather, but I don't so much talk about it as whine about it.

When I was a kid, there was a convenience store located about, oh, a quarter mile or so away. One of our favorite summer pasttimes (all year round, really, but especially in summer) was begging my parents for a dollar so we could walk to the store and get some candy/snacks/sugar. The other was begging my dad to take us to the pond to go swimming (which started in the morning and pretty much never let up until he took us, usually after dinner when the fish were biting)

Anywho - back to pestering for money....sometimes we'd catch my dad in a good (or at least distracted) mood, and he'd give in. A lot of times, though, we'd have to collect cans (to return for the nickel deposit money, and come to think of it, I can't imagine people littering now like they did then. Oh - and there was no recycling program, either) to get our sugar money. Collecting cans was embarassing and kinda gross (most litter types preferred beer, it seemed) but a love for candy is a powerful thing.

Here are some of the treats we liked best:

  • DinoSour Eggs - anyone remember these? One of those things that would break your teeth if you tried to chomp it, but took forever to eat if you just sucked on it.
  • Nerds candy - usually strawberry/grape, because that's what was most likely in stock. I preferred blueberry/raspberry or cherry/lemonade.

  • Jolly Ranchers Sticks (not the little wrapped barrels you get nowadays) - A stick was ten cents and my preferred flavor was green apple or peach. My little sister liked the "Fire" flavor, which was cinnamon, I think? It was too hot for this wimp.
  • Pop Rocks
  • Now and Laters - why did I like these? They always stuck to your teeth.
  • Charleston Chew - the strawberry flavor was the best, especially when you would put them in the freezer

  • Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip
  • Whistle pops or Ring pops - half the time the whistle was broke and the ring would get all sticky and gross before you were ever done eating it.
  • Slush Puppies - I'm pretty sure they used to let us add our own syrup. Who thought that was a good idea? What kid is going to obey the "three squirts/pumps of syrup per customer" sign?
  • Italian Ice - usually we'd get the lemon flavor. The bottom was the best part because all the sugariest syrup sunk to the bottom.
  • Orange Sherbet Push Ups - it sucked when the stick broke.

  • Orange or Apple Slice - it was a soda pop, kids. RIP, Slice.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Attractive by EatLiz

Well, the weekend flew by again. It's hot and muggy here, which is not very motivating as far as getting the apartment decluttered. I was also going to make a cherry pie but I think I'll wait until the humidity goes down a little.

Anyway, here is an awesome stop-motion animation video by EatLiz. Isn't it cool that stop- motion has had a resurgence the last couple years?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Amazing Treehouses

Did you have a treehouse when you were a kid? I didn't but my sisters and I constantly badgered my dad to build treehouses, forts, go-carts, and lemonade stands. We did eventually have a fort, of sorts, but it was really just the topper to his pick-up that was held up by sawhorses. You had to crawl in and then couldn't quite stand upright.

Anywho, treehouses have come a long way since I was a kid and seem to be quite in fashion for adults. Check out the treehouse pictured above, designed by Kobayashi Takashi

The treehouse in this one above is a module by this company - Cool but spendy.

A great resource and website about treehouses is http:// They have basic guidelines and instructions for building a treehouse, design custom houses, and one of the fellows - Pete Nelson - has written a couple of books called Treehouses of the World and New Treehouses of the World.

And, most exciting, did you know that there are treehouses you can stay in while on vacation? The one below is Fernie Caste Treehouse in Scotland. You can find a listing of places here:

Friday, May 21, 2010

Night at the Guthrie

I'm rushing to get this done before midnight and a little tired to boot, so excuse the brevity. Tonight I went to see a play at the Guthrie Theater. Here are some views from the endless bridge during intermission:
The Gold Medal Flour Sign - an iconic sign in Minneapolis. The Guthrie is located right in the old milling district and just down a little from the Mill City Museum (and next door to the Mill City Farmer's Market!)

A view of the "new" 35W bridge that they built after the collapse. I've never see it at night from this angle, all lit up.

Here is the Stone Arch Bridge and, although its hard to see, the Pillsbury Flour sign lit in the background.
We went to Spoonriver for a post-theater treat. It's operated by Brenda Langdon, who helped to found the Mill City Farmer's market and who is an outspoken advocate of organic, local and in season food.

My friend and I split the "bete noir", which was a slice of dense flourless chocolate cake, served with white chocolate and passion fruit curd on the plate and garnished with a sesame cookie and small chocolate-covered crispies. The pic isn't that great (lighting in restaurants is always sub-par for taking photos) but it was delicious!

I almost forgot to take a pic of the Guthrie itself. And did I forget to mention that I enjoyed the play? Below is another pic of Gold Medal Flour sign, much later in the evening and getting close to my bedtime. Time to head home :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and Links

As promised, here is a link to the recipe I used for the Strawberry Rhubarb Pie I made last week. This is really only a recipe for the filling so just use whatever crust you would normally use (I've had good luck with the frozen pre-made ones - just maybe compare the amount of salt on the labels to avoid the overly salty ones):

There are a ton of rhubarb recipes floating around the interwebs right now. Here are a few that look really good:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Banana "Ice Cream" Results

So, I tried the one ingredient (banana) "ice cream" from the previous post. The results are in's seriously delicious, creamy and very, very easy. You do need a food processor, which we only recently acquired in my household. This is great, though, because we ALWAYS have bananas and soon it will be too hot to bake banana bread (yes, we live on the second floor with no ac!)

I would never have guessed that this was simply frozen bananas that had been processed. It has a strong banana flavor but has the texture of a soft serve ice cream. I sprinkled some cinnamon over the top but am definitely going to try lots of add-ins. I'm thinking cocoa powder, nuts, chocolate chips, other fruit - there are so many options!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Banana Bonanza

*this is a pic of nanerpus from Denny's. Please note - my bananas don't have googly eyes...or mustaches

I have a bonus bunch of bananas just sitting on my counter, crying out to be used up. Chef was going to throw out the overripe bananas, those too mushy for fruit tarts (or put them in the piggy bucket, which is what we usually do with edible scraps) and I volunteered to find them a more suitable home. Imagine wasting beautiful overripe bananas like that.

Anywho, I'm thinking of making this banana "ice cream" from the link below. Has anyone ever tried it? Or there's always the good old standby of banana bread, but that's a little tougher given the bareness of our cupboard right now (see yesterday's post if you don't know what I mean.)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Chocolate Cake You Make When ....

.....your fridge is ALMOST bare. Seriously, this cake has NO eggs, NO butter, and NO milk. I haven't been doing a lot of baking at home so we haven't been buying things like butter, milk, or extra eggs (they just end up going bad, sadly). I wanted to make a little snack, though, since we didn't really bake anything today in class (we made puff pastry dough for later use.) Anyway, the leavening in the cake is provided from the chemical reaction between the acid in the vinegar and the alkali in the baking soda.

This cake is nice and moist and tastes great - not too sweet. I also made an icing from sweetened condensed milk, powdered sugar, and dutch-processed cocoa powder. I didn't measure but just keep adding a little of each until I got a pourable consistency. It will set up pretty quickly once it's poured onto the slightly warm cake.

Here is the recipe I used:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Goodbye, Weekend (I hardly knew ye)

I had to work most of the weekend so had hardly any time to do anything fun. Here's another photo essay - this time scenes from our walk around Minnehaha Park. We're going to be moving out of neighborhood soon so we want to make sure to visit all of our favorite places while we can.