Tag Archives: vanilla

Chocolate and vanilla: it’s not so black and white

29 Aug

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It’s my birthday y’all! And I didn’t have time to make myself a cake.
Yet! I dare say I’ll fete myself with something sweet and homemade when I’m not fretting over 7 pages of sides for an audition that by the time you read this I hopefully will have dominated.
In the meantime you get to see a birthday cake I made earlier this month for the fantastically talented Suilma.

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I need to try this recipe again when I haven’t been karaoke-ing and champagne sipping for a couple of hours inhibiting my critical tasting abilities.
That was a good party, I’m looking forward to seeing how things play out when my various worlds collide at my most favorite-est wine bar in LA tonight.

So about this cake:
Vanilla is underrated. Why is it an insult to call something “vanilla”? Vanilla is so not vanilla. Chocolate gets all the glory while vanilla hangs out, chill and sophisticated, knowing it is awesome without needing to claim to be the devil, an angel, or life-threatening. Giving you the stink-eye, death by chocolate.

But chocolate is magical. So put them together and you get a fantastic shade of gray. Tan.

Chocolate Vanilla Cake(adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)

1/3 vanilla bean, ends trimmed and finely minced
1/4 c. Boiling h2o
1/2 c. Flour
6 Tbsp. cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs, separated
10 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 c. Applesauce
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Heat over to 350. Line a nine-inch cake pan with nonstick foil and spray. Put bean in big bowl and cover with boiling agua. Let it sit there.
In another bowl mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
Beat egg white until stiff in another bowl.
Add yolks, sugar, applesauce and vanilla extract to vanilla water. Beat until good and creamy. Mix in dry stuff. Fold in the whites. Spoon into Pam and allow to settle. Bake until it passes the toothpick test, around 20 minutes.

The frosting was from Mr. Bittman too, I’ll give you that recipe when I try again with the cake.

Getting Martha on your arse

16 Nov

Decided to make my own vanilla extract. That’s what Martha Stewart would do, no? Yes. The answer is yes.
I did not do this because I want to be Martha. Although I want to be a guest on her show and make pie with her while she interviews me about my acting escapades.
I made this partially to use a vanilla bean before it got old, and partially because the generic artificial vanilla I’d been using sort of sucked.
This is simple. One bean is halved, scraped, and added to a jar. All of it, pod and scrapings. Heat up some vodka and pour over bean. Vodka and beans. Yum yum. Put a lid on it. Shake every day for a week. Here is the extract day one:

And day seven:

And the finished product, jarred(in the bottle the bean came in-I don’t like to waste):

Thoroughly worth working up a sweat for. Plus it looks like a weird science experiment on your kitchen counter. I felt the need to explain it to anyone who came over that week lest they think I was keeping dirty twigs in jars. THAT would be special.

What is the most interesting kitchen experiment you have ever made? Inquiring mind of Ellen wants to know.

A Toast To a Blog Birthday

29 Oct


Happy Birthday Scrumptious Gruel! One year ago you started. I wanted to make you a cake. I did.
But my life has exploded in the happy doing work-that-I-love type of busy, so I made you a drink instead. Please forgive me. But I have to go off and play a ballerina in search of her missing leg, which was ripped from her by an evil doctor. The film is titled “Frankendancer”. Good clean fun. Actually it will be bloody fun.
I need a lot of energy to be playing a vengeance-filled one-legger hoofer.
So I went for an Espresso Martini.
Don’t worry. I drank this at night, at home. Not before heading off to the shoot. I’m thinking showing up drunk on set tipsy would not be a brilliant move on my part.
Actually, I didn’t even finish it myself. Too tired. anyway, happy birthday blog!
Espresso Martini(adapted from The Bar Book by Mittie Hellmich)
1 0z. vodka (enjoying the Sobieski)
1/2 oz. homemade vanilla extract(if it’s not homemade use 1 1/2 oz. vanilla vodka and omit plain vodka)
1/2 oz. strong coffee
1/2 oz. Kahlua
Stir all over ice. Strain into glass and garnish with espresso beans.

Next year, cake.

What is your favorite birthday treat?