You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Baking’ tag.

xoxo

I don’t do Valentine’s Day, but when I do, I do it with cupcakes.

Stop it Mr. Timekeeper. The whole month of December is going to go so quickly that heads are spinning. Thankfully, I am going to sit on Santa’s lap with my girlfriends tonight [get mind out of gutter] and take in some holiday cheer. And see the Muppets. And I am currently sporting Miss Piggy’s ‘do.

Recently stumbled upon a very interesting read. I am pretty sure this article is titled “Thea, 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

Random baffle. When I lived in a one room apartment, I always put my clothes away in the drawers and closet. In a three bedroom house, my clothes are in the laundry room, on my bed and on the couch in my room.

I turn 30 in 64 days. Not excited. I will be here. With my favs. Uber excited.

I still love everything about baking. Phew.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love love love our tree. And that the people I love helped decorate it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am incredibly thankful for all of the wonderful people in my life, especially during the holidays. You make my stomach hurt from of the laughter, back hurt from all of the chocolate cake I clean out of the kitchen tile grout, my head hurt from the nights of mixing, my heart hurt from the thought of not having these moments forever and my cheeks hurt from all of the smiling when I know we have it so good. So so so good.

And despite all of this holiday cheer in the country, no body does Christmas like NYC. And I am really looking forward to breathing is all in next week. I miss my city.

“I can hear people singing, it must be Christmas time.” ~ The Pretenders

Commitment defined.

After much hemming and hawing, for reasons unreasonable to some, I got over it. Here  is Thea Sphere Sweets.

And this is a sample of what I make over at Thea Sphere Sweets:

Ever play the game “Never have I ever?”

That is how my latest project has come to be. Never would I ever have been able to shape my cooking and baking craft if I hadn’t moved to the country, found a roommate, rented the most colorful house in all the land and spent many of a night in the red and orange kitchen. Yes, the walls are prison orange and the cabinets are cherry red. I wouldn’t have it any other way, even if I had gotten to pick the wall color myself. So for the last two years, I have made cakes, cheesecakes, cookies and cupcakes for every holiday, birthday, sappy Friday, snowday and BBQ in and around the Hudson Valley. The confections made their way to Syracuse, the city, Long Island and New Jersey. And where ever the treats went I heard, “why don’t you sell these?” I had two, in my humble opinion reasons why not to make baking more than just a middle of the night de-stresser.

1. I love to watch people at food I have made. If I were to sell baked goods how would I ever go to every single order’s home and see them eat the confection I created.

2. People who cook for a living often end up hating it. And that I can not and will not have. Baking (and cooking in general) is the only thing that stops my eye twitch. I have a stress eye twitch that come from work, car and personal stress. It’s the right eye above and sometime below the lid. It makes me batty. So why would I risk not enjoying the one remedy I have?

Alas, I broke down and ordered business cards.

And I made this page.

And then I bought labels.

And now I am planning an open house for 11.11.11 to showcase what is available for the holiday season.

In the midst of baking and cooking in the country, friends and family have pushed me in the direction of making it official. And although I am not ready for that, I can do the local thing and bring baked goodness to the ones I love (and the ones they love). Thank you for the push [read shove] to the next step.

“Like” away at www.facebook.com/theaspheresweets and you can check out all of the amazing baked goods that I have come up with in the last year or so. Phew. I’m glad that’s out.

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.”  ~ Luciano Pavarotti 

1. I recently made this cake for a dear friend. It was 6 layers, one for every rainbow color, and was adorned with a rainbow lotus flower and rainbows with clouds.

In the next couple of weeks I have some confections on my plate and since the kitchen is the ONLY place where my month-long stress eye twitch goes away, I’m all for spending some time there. I am gearing up for an ice cream cake for my brother-from-another-mother, baby boy cupcakes for my absolute best friend’s little sister, a dear friend’s wedding shower cupcakes, a birthday cake for my mother, a graduation cake for my nearest and dearest massage therapist and nurse grads and something extravagant for my little sister’s graduation from NYU. OMG. WTF. When did my little sister become legal to drink, get a job and rule the world. I must have blinked.

2. I am desperately awaiting the arrival of ramps.

Last year’s ramp selection, at $11.99 a pound, I used them wisely. Bacon ramp pizza, buttermilk ramp biscuits and ramp alfredo.

Perhaps what is more exciting than waiting for them to hit my local store is the 2011 Ramp Fest. The anticipation is unmanageable. Anyone else want to join me on the 30th from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. I will be the girl in all my ramp glory. Smiling and taking pictures and undoubtedly getting inspired by some amazing chefs in the Hudson Valley.

3. The sun.

I know it is hiding out there somewhere and it teases me just enough to let me know it’s coming. The grey needs to go away. And the sun needs to stay longer than a day. I have faith, it will stick around eventually.

4.  Over the next couple of  months our lives have been and continue to be filled with music… “everyone deserves music, sweet music.” ~ Michael Franti

We recently checked out Rachel Yamagata at the Bearsville Theatre in Woodstock, the Wood Brothers at Club Helsinki in Hudson, Bob Marley Tribute at the Bearsville Theatre and Badfish at The Chance in Poughkeepsie.

And on our plates is Mountain Jam at Hunter Mountain, Mendelson Men Choir at the Old Dutch Church in Kingston, Shemekia Copeland at Club Helsinki, Festival for Humanity in Vernon,  and the Dave Matthews Caravan in Atlantic City.

5. It’s hard to imagine BBQs and patio time when it is so grey out, but I am sure we will get there soon. Right?

Awake, thou wintry earth
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
~ Thomas Blackburn from “An Easter Hymn”

Why, hello there little peaches that I picked from my backyard. It’s very nice to meet you and your little friends.

From the HOUSE peachtree

When told of your arrival, most reactions from my country bumpkin’ friends included a sweet serenades of this:

I personally was thinking with much excitement and joy this:

And about all of the wonderful things I could make with you. Especially this from the Pioneer Woman. This from Smitten Kitchen. And this from Joy the Baker.

Happy 4th of July to my sweet little guests, you are going to be a major star at the housewarming party this weekend.

And from 1991, and no other reason that I heart this song, sweet America:

Best text ever:

OMG, they have ramps at Adam’s! $11.99 lb. : – )

Immediately after there was trip to Adam’s Fairacre Farms in Kingston to purchase the much sought after ramps. Perhaps there was a ramp-dance and a commotion, but I feel that is a whole other post in itself.

What is a ramp you ask? I’d be happy explain. Ramps are an early spring wild onion / scallion / leek-like vegetable that grow between North Carolina, New England and Minnesota. They are in season only from late March to early May. It is the end of ramp season, so if you are interesting in making this a part of your life and want to receive great amounts of joy, order it off the next menu you see it on or keep it in your cranium filling cabinet for next spring.

Where did I first hear of said ramps? At dinner with my roomie at Mercato in Red Hook. We consider ourselves fairly (highly) educated people. Ones that did not know anything about ramps prior to the wonderful waitress providing the specials, “Ramps sautéed with garlic and olive oil with a dusting of shaved parmesan.” The beginning of the ramp-love-affair.

Fast forward through weeks of ramp ranting. Foodie blog post about pizza, menu items, biscuits and trends all kept appearing in front of my wide-eyed blues. Email chains, Facebook posts and photo texts. Phone calls, in-person gawking and post-it notes.

And then on a magical Sunday afternoon ramps were in kitchen.

The first adventure was Ramp Buttermilk Biscuits. This is an adaptation from Epicurious.com. The recipe was ramp and buttermilk biscuits with coriander (which I created minus the coriander).

First, I chopped up the ramps and introduced them to the buttermilk.

Then, the dry ingredients gathered nicely together.


Next the chilled butter and flour mixture had a lil party.

And because they were having so much fun, they invited the buttermilk ramp mixture.

This was hand-stirred until dough formed.

Pressing the dough out, making the rounds and getting them to the baking sheet was a lil ugly, I’ll spare you the details.

The cut rounds mellowed out on the baking sheet with parchment paper.

And were dressed with some scrambled egg.

The biscuits baked for about 20 minutes until they had a brown tan.

The biscuits were ready to go to the dinner party…

 And we were very happy to have them… as in happily-ever-ramp-after.

The end.

This is what homesick looks like… cake batter.

And not just any cake batter, but the real deal. Funfetti. The topping of this cake (total pun intended) is that it is the holiday version. Green and red Funfetti.

It’s Thursday night and Friday can not come soon enough, therefore, I am baking a cake for the actual day. Friday.

I am also baking this cake for my co-workers. It’s not often that you are thankful for light-hearted co-workers who make the day go by effortlessly. There is a good dynamic going on and I am very happy to see it after only five short months at the new digs. The energy makes the day go by and Friday a little more Funfetti worthy.

I didn’t realize how homesick I was until I was in Target staring at cake mix. Something about the easy baking made me think it was just a year ago I was baking for a different office. So rewind a year ago, a typical day in the life of a pr agency. Hussle and bussle pre-holiday break. Venting about who was off and who was on, complaints about clients, co-workers and pay, whispers of the economic decline and what it would do to us and the fondest memory was the daily arrival of baked goods, pre-packaged cookies, cupcakes from (fill in the blank of your favorite NYC bakery) and left over’s from each other holidays at home. We were a “sharing is caring” bunch.

At that time 2009 wasn’t so scary, it was just rumbling, like a bad stomach you thought was going to pass. Not sure any of us really believed money could disappear, accounts would slash budgets and co-workers would come and go.  And if you told me that a year from then I would be in the middle of the country, baking for a whole new set of co-workers and feeling homesick, well,  I would have told you that you were bat shit crazy.

My holiday season advice: Bake a Funfetti cake for your co-workers and never say never.

Enter your email address to subscribe to City Mouse in the Country and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 457 other followers