Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pizza, Soup, and Hummus, Oh My! and Cupcake Wars

And cupcakes.  Let me explain first about the cupcakes.  Last weekend (the long holiday weekend), I vegged on the couch a bit and watched Food Network.  And I came upon Cupcake Wars.  Now, I do like my food TV and competitive shows.  I like Anthony Bourdain.  I faithfully tape Top Chef.  I enjoy a good episode of Chopped.  When I was on maternity leave 6 years ago (almost), I watched a lot of food TV while nursing my son (my husband ate like a king during those 3 months, and I watched so much that it was over a year before they showed an episode of Barefoot Contessa, Giada, or Rachael that I HADN'T seen.)

But these "challenges" and "wars" - not really into it so much.  Maybe it's because I'm not really into dessert.  But we caught the start of an episode, and lo and behold, one of the contestants was from Santa Barbara!  We have more than one cupcake shop in town, but Crushcakes Cupcakery is one we drive by weekly.  It's in downtown and on the way to the farmer's market on Saturdays. 

I enjoyed watching the show and so did my son (probably had something to do with it being cupcakes).  The editing on the show isn't that great.  I've seen 4 or 5 episodes so far, and it's pretty clear very early who is going to win. Thus far, it's always been the "pretty girl" (young and pretty, and I'm not exaggerating), and she gets a lot of air time.  So alas, our local girl came in 2nd (for the THIRD time). 

Yesterday, we (I) decided to stop at the shop after our grocery shopping.  Spouse picked vanilla (not lemon, who knew?)  Kiddo picked "peace" because he liked the frosting.  Mommy picked peanut butter cup.

We waited until after lunch and after a trip to the park to try out my son's new bike to eat them (and did that while watching another episode).  I am pretty amazed at the combinations of flavors they come up with and the decorations.  I'm pretty sure the contestants know the "theme" before the go (such as poker or surfing), so that they can take the decorations they need and design a final display.

The cupcakes were pretty good, but were $3 each, so they are a treat for sure.

On the home front yesterday, I decided to make hummus. I've had the ingredients forever, including an unopened jar of tahini, and have just been lazy and have been buying it.  I use the Cook's Illustrated method, which basically involves putting the water-based items in the food processor first (chickpeas, lemon, water, garlic, spices) and puree'ing them pretty fine, and drizzling in the olive oil/tahini mixture later.  Makes it really smooth.

How come the hardest part about making hummus is the 10 minutes that it takes to stir in the oil in the tahini jar??

Next up: Creamy cauliflower kale soup

I saw this recipe in my MIL's Martha Stewart Living magazine, and basically bought the magazine to try it out.  It is vegan, and tasted pretty good.  However, it uses water as a base.  So it could have used a little more seasoning.  Maybe extra salt, or some homemade stock.  I'll make it again, but with stock next time.  It's cauliflower, kale, garlic, onion, water, salt, pepper, and dill.  Pretty simple.  If you use the blender, it gets really creamy and frothy.  And we love soup in this house!

And finally: Pizza

You know me, I love pizza.  And I had some time, so I fired up the bread machine.  The bread machine makes it so easy.  To make the dough the way I like it, it still takes a couple of hours.  The bread machine only runs for 45 minutes, but there is a little bit of kneading, resting, shaping, resting, par-baking...much of this isn't necessary, but it's what works with my oven and pans.

This is our standard pie, with sauteed onions, pesto, cheese, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes.  Eaten with ranch and sriracha of course!


Biz said...

OMG, I want pizza - now! Everything looks good - even the very green soup!

Yep, my old gym membership cost $135 a month for 3 of us - I had hoped my husband, being unemployed would take advantage of it, but he hasn't stepped one foot in the door for a year.

So I'll basically be paying in a year at the new membership what I was paying A MONTH at the old one!

Happy Sunday!

Marcia said...

I still have a membership at 24 hour fitness for $99/year. But we just joined the YMCA to have access to the pool and the other amenities for our kiddo, and that is $99/month.

It's worth it though - he gets to swim 2x a week!

Rosemary Evergreen said...

If you want to try another cauliflower soup, consider this one

It was delicious! I made a couple of changes - reduced the oil to about 1/2 tsp, roasted some carrot pieces along with the cauliflower and pureed in the soup, as well as topping with carrot "crouton" pieces. If you have goat cheese, it's a nice additional garnish.