Archive for August, 2009

My Attempt at Dessert Sushi

Friday, August 28th, 2009
Sushi anyone?

Sushi anyone?

As promised in my previous post, A Collection of Dessert Sushi, here is my version of dessert sushi in all its glory.  I used almond paste (marzipan) for the mock raw fish…which worked out well.  I could dye it any color I wanted, and craft it into any shape I wanted.  I was only limited on my imagination here.

I also did a lot of research at the grocery store on what type of “nori” to buy.  I tried the organic versions of fruit leather – these did not work.  Although some had a more realistic outer texure and color, they ended up being too thick and did not wrap properly.  The “fruit by the foot” did not work out well either.  The width of the roll was too thin.  I ended up purchasing plain old fruit roll-ups with no printing on them.  Which by the way, plain fruit roll-ups are hard to find.  They have certainly changed since I was young -  they are now tie dyed, multi-colored, printed with funny jokes and fake tattoos on them, incredible. 

As for my maki roll fillings, I used licorice and gummy worms.  These worked out well because of their length.  I thought the green apple licorice looked like a cucumber maki roll.  The flavor and texture was also a nice compliment to the crisp rice cereal.

dessert-sushi-ingredients

Dessert Sushi
What you will need:

  • 6 cups of Rice Krispies
  • Bag of marshmallows – about 40 large marshmallows
  • 1/3 of a cup of butter (1/4 cup for your Rice Krispies Treats, the rest for your hands)
  • Tube of almond paste for sculpting
  • Food coloring
  • Various gummy candies for the maki roll fillings
  • Fruit roll-ups

dessert-sushi-nigiri

Directions:

1.)   Prepare your work area.  You will need a baking sheet that is topped with a piece of lightly buttered parchment paper.  Set aside.

2.)   This is the best time to make your mock versions of raw fish, tamago, fish roe, pickled ginger, wasabi and whatever else you want to craft out of the almond paste.  If you have ever worked with Play Doh, you will feel comfortable doing this.  Simply die the almond paste the color you want with your food coloring, and go to town.  It was fun trying to sculpt the perfect shrimp.   Have fun looking at pictures of actual sushi on the internet to come up with your own versions.  Set them aside.

3.)   Ok, now you will make your basic Rice Krispies Treat recipe.  In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.

4.)   Add your rice cereal. Stir until well coated.

5.)   Using buttered spatula scoop the mix onto your buttered parchment paper, pat with your buttered hands into a thin layer, about ¾ of an inch thick.   This will form the “rice” for your maki rolls.

6.)   Immediately start making your rolls.  Place a layer of your gummy candies about an inch from the edge.  Now roll your parchment paper with the rice cereal over the gummy candies making your dessert maki roll.  Once it is in a roll form, slice the roll from the rest of the pressed cereal and set the roll aside to cool.

7.)   Make a few more rolls, leaving a few inches of the gooey rice cereal to work with.  You will make hand formed rice clumps to make mock nigiri sushi with the remaining rice cereal mixture.  Simply ball it up in your hand to form a little egg-like shape.  Your almond paste creations will sit upon these.

dessert-sushi-rice-krispies

8.)   Once your rolls are cooled, it is time to add your mock nori to the roll.  Unfold your fruit rollups and cut them into strips that 1.5 inches thick. 

9.)   Cut your rolls into 1.5 inch thick pieces, now wrap these rolls with your strips of fruit rollup. 

10.) Finally, assemble your nigiri sushi pieces by placing your almond paste raw fish on top of these mounds of rice cereal.

Is that a real shrimp?  Sure looks real.

Is that a real shrimp? Sure looks real.

Cakes of All Shapes

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Over the past year the world of cake decorating has gotten great exposure due to television – especially the Food Network.  I am like a moth to a flame when one of these shows are being aired.  Ace of Cakes, Cake Boss, Amazing Wedding Cakes, Food Network Challenge, the list goes on from here.  These programs have given people like me the tools and inspiration to try cake outside the box

This past month in cake has been fantastic!  Many fun and creative confections have come from my kitchen in the past couple weeks.  Here are a few of the highlights.

First on the list was a beach inspired birthday cake.  Nilla Waffers were the perfect ingredient for making sand, not to mention they taste great too.  The palm tree, beach ball, starfish, coconut, and shark fin were all crafted out of marshmallow fondant. When finished, I couldn’t help but smile. 

Beach Cake

Beach cake with Nilla Wafer "sand"

A 59th birthday cake was next on the list.  This one needed a bit of edge to it, something to laugh about.  I had made a few cakes for this couple before and knew my boundaries.  After much research, a decision was made – a toilet bowl.  What better way to say it, “Another Year Down the Shitter”. I was there for the grand unveiling of this masterpiece and you would have thought they won the lottery by their expressions. It was a sure fire hit! 

Lovely isn't it?  Yep, that is a toilet.

Lovely isn't it? Yep, that is a toilet.

The most recent cake to come out of my kitchen was for a dear friend’s surprise birthday party.  When baking a cake for a close friend I try and give it some personal meaning.  Immediately after hearing about the party, I knew what I was going to make.  Kristy, our birthday girl, hates the sight of bare feet.  What better way to say Happy Birthday than a gnarly foot!  The look on her face was priceless and I’m sure we’ll be talking about it for years to come!

Really, we don't want to gross you out.

Really, we don't want to gross you out.

Baking gets me in my happy place, it allows me to be creative and put a smile on someone elses face. I find with every new challenge I become more confident and comfortable with this craft. Keep’em coming –  I can’t wait for the next challenge!  If you are interested in ordering your next cake from Frosted, please email me at Jody@LifeWithCake.com.

A Collection of Dessert “Sushi”

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

I have always been fascinated with cakes, cupcakes, candy, cookies (basically anything sweet),  that is disguised to look like other types of food.  You know, things like French fry cookies, corn on the cob shaped cupcakes, a cake that looks like cheeseburger; all these are irresistible to me. 

Another thing that fascinates me – sushi.  The skill and time that goes into making it, the beautiful way in which it is presented, all of these things make sushi special.  So naturally, I would be drawn to sweets masquerading as sushi. This is why I am taking on the challenge to showcase my best attempt at “dessert” sushi. 

But before I dive head first into a vat of Rice Krispies, I thought I should showcase some of the best versions of dessert sushi I could find.  There are sushi cakes, sushi cupcakes, sushi candy and the like…all unique in their own way.  All bring a huge smile to my face.

Do you have a unique version of dessert sushi?  Email me your versions of dessert sushi at Megan@LifeWithCake.com – I will feature them on the site.

Sushi Cupcakes

Sushi Cupcakes by Debbie Does Cake
Sushi Cupcakes by Debbie Does Cake 

My absolute favorite version of Dessert Sushi was made by Debbie of Debbie Does Cake in San Francisco.  The white jimmies for rice are ingenious idea.  These sushi cupcakes are a true work of art.  Check out Debbie Does Cake’s gallery for all of her crafty cakes and cupcakes.

Sushi Cakes

Sushi Cake by Whipped Bake Shop

Sushi Cake by Whipped Bake Shop

This sushi cake was created by pastry artist Zoe Lukas at the Whipped Bake Shop in Philidelphia.  Check our her creations via Flickr as well as on her website.

Sushi Cake by Kellechu Confections

Sushi Cake by Kellechu Confections

Kelley Stockton of Kellechu Confections created this amazingly realistic sushi cake.  I love the detail in the maki rolls.  Browse through Kelley’s gallery – you will fall in love with her popcorn cupcakes and her taco and bean dip cake – so darn cute! 

Sushi Candy

Sushi Candy by Koo-Ki Sushi

Sushi Candy by Koo-Ki Sushi

Koo-Ki Sushi “made” some of the most realistic rice cereal based sushi candy out there.  I say “made” because, sadly, they are now closed for business.  

JGLee's Dessert Sushi

jglee's Sushi Candy

This great looking dessert sushi was discovered over at jglee’s Food Musings.  She crafted most of the sushi details using marzipan, what an inventive idea! 

Fresh fruit makes realistic looking tuna slices

Eye Candy's version of "Fake Sushi"

 This “fake sushi” from Eye Candy uses fresh fruit, grapefruit or blood orange slices, to form the  ”fish”.  The blood orange slices resemble the texture of raw fish.  Ingenius!

 

Dessert Sushi Step by Step Guides

If you are looking to make your own dessert sushi, I suggest the following resources:

1.) About.com’s Step by Step guide to Sushi Candy.

2.) Mommy Knows put up an informative guide for making Sushi Candy along with some gorgeous photography. 

3.) Looking for even more detail?  Check out Family Fun’s video on making “mock” sushi.

My dessert sushi adventure begins today. Check back for my step by step guide to making my version of dessert sushi

Shredded Chicken Tacos

Monday, August 17th, 2009
Shredded Chicken Tacos

Shredded Chicken Tacos

After an entire weekend of cooking and sampling recipes for the blog, I realized something – good recipes are hard to find.   It is difficult to find recipes that are not only nutritious, but that are also tasty and easy… recipes you won’t get bored with. 

I like simple flavors; I like rustic cooking; I like spicy; I like southwestern flavors; I like the combination of sweet and salty; but something I don’t like much…olives.  This is why the perfectly pretty and dainty tomato basil tartlets with olive tapenade didn’t make the cut.   I honestly couldn’t tell if I liked them or not.   I just couldn’t get around that overpowering olive flavor.  If I would have only gone with my gut and replaced the olive tapenade with a rich tomato sauce – you would be reading a different post.  But anyways, I digress…

Finally after a weekend of hot pans, mountains of dirty dishes and a load of unsatisfying cooking I made a real winner – shredded chicken tacos. Not your traditional ground beef hard shell tacos, but rather a shredded chicken taco with gooey Chihuahua cheese.  Mix in some crisp lettuce, diced tomato, fresh cilantro and a bit of Siracha and you are set. This is a recipe that is nutritious – it is tasty – it is easy.  It is all of those things and more.  Hold onto this one – you may end up using it often. 

Shredded Chicken for Chicken Tacos

Yield: 6 to 8 servings 
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 dried chili peppers
  • ¾ cup of your favorite beer
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1.    Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot or saucepan and add water to cover. Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil. Partially cover and adjust heat so mixture simmers steadily. Skim any foam that comes to the surface. Cook until meat is very tender, about 40 minutes. Remove the chicken from the liquid and set aside to cool.

2.    Strain the solids from the simmering liquid and return to the heat.  Let simmer until slightly reduced.  Turn off heat and let cool. 

3.    While your simmering liquid is cooling, shred your chicken thighs.  Do so by pulling the pieces of chicken apart by hand – this seems to be the easiest and most effective way.

4.    Once your simmering liquid is cooled, add about ½ cup of it back into the shredded chicken and toss.  Your chicken is now ready; you can now assemble your shredded chicken tacos.

Shredded chicken thighs

Shredded chicken thighs

Shredded Chicken Taco Assembly

What You Will Need:

  • Flour or corn tortillas, 6 inch in diameter
  • Cheese, shredded –  I like Chihuahua cheese for this recipe
  • Lettuce, shredded
  • Tomato, seeded and diced
  • Cilantro, the leaves removed from the stems
  • Sour cream
  • Siracha, or your favorite hot sauce
Chihuahua cheese for chicken tacos...delicious

Chihuahua cheese for chicken tacos...delicious

Directions:

1.)   Wrap your tortillas in foil and place them in an oven at 350 Degrees to soften for 5-7 minutes. 

2.)   Lay your softened tortilla down on a plate, add your shredded chicken and top with your favorite toppings.  Be sure to add hot sauce.   

3.)   Eat and repeat.

Ingredients:

Watermelon and Feta Salad

Saturday, August 8th, 2009
Watermelon and Feta Salad

Watermelon and Feta Salad

Boy oh boy, we need to make a post.  I have been swamped at work, and we are currently doing some work on the site (a slight redesign is in the works).  It is funny how guilty you start to feel as the days add up between posts.

So, I have decided to quickly put something together to ease my guilt…a Watermelon and Feta Salad recipe. 

This salad is like this post…quick and fresh.  Some of you may be able to throw it together without even hitting the market; these six ingredients may be sitting in your fridge now.  

The combination of salty, tangy feta and the sweet, cold watermelon work extremely well together.  It is really an amazing combination of flavors.  And to make it even better, the cucumber adds texture; the tomato adds nice flavor; the red onion brings a bit of zing to the party.  Top it with fresh parsley and fresh ground black pepper – and you have a perfect summer side dish for any picnic or cookout. 

My tips for this Watermelon and Feta Salad:  Cube the watermelon, cucumber and tomato so that they are all about the same size.  It makes the overall look of the salad more appealing.  Serve it immedietely.  This is not the best salad to have sitting around before you plate it.  Toss and serve; this is key.

Cubed Watermelon

Cubed Watermelon

Watermelon and Feta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups watermelon, cubed
  • 1 cup tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup cucumber, seeded and and cubed
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Red pepper flake (optional)

Directions:

1.)   In a large bowl, combine the watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber, feta and red onion. 

2.)   Top with fresh ground black pepper and fresh parsley and toss gently.

3.)   For some heat – add a few red pepper flakes.


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