So this week I will be posting special Halloween themed Cupcake Toppers (remember the Octopus toppers? yeah you do!) and Cookies.  Oh, and did I mention, you will be able to order them online? Also, I am so excited for Halloween that I have decided to post Tricks and Treats though-out the weeks leading up to Halloween.  Stay tuned...
Dias De Los Muertos Cake!
Coconut Cake
Roasted Pineapple & Caramel Buttercream Filling
Coconut Buttercream

 
 
I told you August brought me lots of goodies in my garden! Take a look!
 
 
Pig Mountain was a complete success! It is amazing to watch and be a part of something that has grown from 4 chefs serving pig on a rainy day in horse park to 13 chefs taking over the beautiful town of Narrowsburg, New York.  Here are a few photos from the weekend.  I wish there were more, but I was having too much fun.  There was everything you could dream of this year at Pig Mountain.  There were multiple Asian inspired dishes, a few different takes on BBQ, and there was even dessert... Did someone say pork-fat Oreos?  Yeah they did!  You just couldn't understand them because crumbs were flying out of their mouth when they said it.
 
 
In other big news, this weekend is the long awaited PIG MOUNTAIN.

This is the third year for this magical swine dining affair.  There will be 15 New York City chefs, myself included, each with a whole hog to fix any way they like, and serve it to you fine hungry fellows.

So if you are in the city and need an escape, or if you are out-side of the city and want to experience an amazing food event (and some Blue Pantry goodness).
Here is the info and a couple links for you to learn more:

PIG MOUNTAIN
Where: Main Street, Narrowsburg, NY (2.5 hours North-West of Manhattan)
When:  Saturday August 24th, 2013
            4pm - 9pm
Tickets: $30

Read more about Pig Mountain at :
CoolHunting.com
InsideHook.com
 
 
Well, I guess it has been...and it has been a crazy 2 months at that.  In that time I have started exploring the field of Photo Styling, and it has been so much fun.  Below is one of the photos from my first photo shoot with Weight Watchers.

I have also started working as a personal chef, and exploring my love for farm fresh food and the grill. 

If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably seen the following photos.  And if you are not following me on Instagram, well shame on you.

I hope you enjoy the pictures.
 
 
Today is baking day for the "Octopus and Friends" cake and cupcakes for Nicky's 4th birthday tomorrow.  I will add some photos tomorrow when it's all said and done, but for now, here are some pictures of the "friends" that will be the toppings on the cupcakes.
 
 
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It was a golden early-summer evening, and guests were being welcomed with a glass of chilled rose, onto a beautiful New York City roof-top patio.  There were platters with seasonal Blue Pantry bites, like Spicy Shrimp and Mango cups,  and Savory Watermelon Strawberry and Avocado salads.  Chef Luke Deardurff could be found at the grill, serving Beef Sliders with "all the sours".  The Blackberry Pies with Creme Fraiche Chantilly, and the Chocolate Strawberry Cakes with Home-made Mascarpone Mousse were waiting patiently in the fridge, for their turn to shine.  But before they would get their moment in the summer sun, we would first have to realize the true reason for Wednesday night's festivities. No this was not your random summer soiree. This evening, festivities were part of a series of cocktail fundraisers by the Abzyme Research Foundation, led by ARF founder, Zachary Barnett.  After a few glasses of wine, and a few of those sliders,
guests gathered around a beautiful living room to hear how each of them could help bring the newest technology and medical discoveries in HIV/AIDS research to the front lines. They learned about truly amazing breakthroughs being made today, and what needs to be done in order to bring these advances forward into FDA testing and a cure.  Guests were interactive and engaged in the conversation, and it was an honor and beauty to watch my friend Zachary speak with such sincere passion and knowledge.  After the discussion, guests returned to more chilled libation and desserts, and complimentary to-go Blueberry Lavender Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream and Fresh Lavender Flowers, (from my garden *wink*).
I hope you got yours... there is a promo offer inside, that you won't want to lose.

 
 
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Recently I have been getting requests to see "my process".  Let me start by saying two things. First, the process of each cake is as individual as the cake itself. Second, this is by no means a comprehensive tutorial on cakes.  However, as an overview, I hope it helps a little.

First you need to consider the time it takes to make each component, the shelf-life of each component, and what components need refrigeration. 

Gumpaste flowers take multiple steps to create, and hours (sometimes days) of drying time between each step.  Thus, you will want to start on these days in advance.  Make more than you think you will need.  Some will break; some you will like more than others; some may be needed to hide problem areas.  Some fondant details can be made a day or two in advance as long as they are stored properly.  I could have cut the eyes and the swirls that make the mane, and stored them on a plastic lined sheet tray, wrapped super well with plastic. If you are using perishable fillings that need refrigeration, you should prep as many decorations in advance as possible. Some decorations should not be refrigerated (gumpaste and most fondants).  Although some fondants are created to withstand high humidity and moisture changes (Carma's Massa Ticino Tropic!!!), moisture and temperature changes from your refrigerator to room temperature can cause sugar to sweat, which will can make your colors sweat and your fondant sticky.

For fondant covered cakes, I usually bake all cakes, and make all the fillings, 2 days before the due date.  This gives everything a chance to set and cool before any assembly or carving is done.  Remember, you CANNOT fill or frost a warm cake.

To help illustrate the process a little better, I decided to break down the Unicorn Cake for you...also because a lot of you have been asking. 

Day 1 (Wednesday)
  1. Color all gumpaste and fondant.
  2. Create flower "centers" and allow to dry 4-5 hours
  3. Shape and assemble flowers and dry 24 hours
  4. Shape "horn" and set to dry 24 hours
Day 2 (Thursday)
  1. Bake Chocolate Cake
  2. Make Mascarpone
  3. Make Raspberry Preserves
  4. Make Buttercream
  5. Make Rice Crispy Treats
Day 3 (Friday)
  • Finish Mascarpone
  • Assemble and sculpt unicorn
  • Assemble base
  • Cover cakes with buttercream/crumb-coat and chill
  • Paint and finish all flowers and "horn"
Day 4 (Saturday)
  • Cover cakes with fondant and finishing details
  • Final assembly
  • Deliver!

 
 
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I can hardly believe how fast this Spring is flying by.  It is already Memorial Day Weekend! How did that happen? And how am I out of all those rolls of cookies in my freezer?  Oh well...I guess it's time to make a new batch.

Chocolate Surprise Peanut Butter Cookies!!! 
•Cream your butter, peanut butter, sugars and salt until it's nice and fluffy
•Scrape your bowl, add your egg, and let it incorporate fully.
•Add your dry ingredients and mix.

NOW THE SURPRISE!!!
• Portion out the dough with a Tablespoon and flatten with the heel of your hand.
•Place a large chocolate chunk, or a small pile of chocolate chips in the center.
•Flatten another Tablespoon of dough, place on top.
•Squeeze the halves together and toss in granulated sugar. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes.


 
 
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Somebody in the house had been dropping hints for a week, so I caved and made these amazing Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Now if you're household is anything like mine, you know if you bake them all... you will eat them all.  So, I take my dough and roll multiple 2'' round logs using parchment paper, and keep them in my freezer for up to 3 weeks.  Then whenever you have a craving, you can pull out a log, and cut a few half inch slices.  Bake these off and enjoy.  When you don't have the left overs lying around, you won't be as tempted to reach in the cookie jar for an extra, or to sneak one in the morning with your coffee (like me). Also, this means you get that warm, fresh baked cookie every time.  Enjoy it with a glass of ice cold milk, put a couple warm cookies in the bottom of a bowl with a scoop of home-made vanilla ice cream.