Sunday, June 26, 2011

Things I want to learn, Books I want to read.

This post is not really food related, but I felt like writing it. I am going off to college next, and I am going to have to somehow pick a major and choose classes from all the different amazing classes I can take. I am pretty sure I want to be a science major, but there are a lot of other things I want to learn, and so I decided to make a list.

And so, in no particular order, the things I want to learn:

  • Photography. I want to actually understand what all the different settings do and I want to be able to take really cool looking pictures (of food!! (and other stuff))
  • Chinese. It would be so useful!! Because then I could go to my friends' houses and creep on their conversations with their parents!! (And also other reasons of course, like that a large portion of the world speaks it.)
  • Cello. It is so beautiful.
  • Arabic. It is just that boss. Also, this country lacks a lot of cultural awareness of the entire part of the world that speaks Arabic.
  • CS. Because then I would be able to do cool stuff.
  • How to make croissants (because they are freakin' delicious)
  • How to twirl my pencil (I know it is passé, but I still want to know (I actually once wrote a terrible short story where the main character was a really good at twirling his pencil. The story also involved aliens called "iglepuffs" and a π/pie contest.)
  • Robotics. It's just awesome.  (at least my robotics friends say so, and I believe them)
  • Knowing how to draw decently would be useful
  • One day I also should learn my funtional groups. You know, that aldehyde ketone esther stuff. Then I could look at a molecule and say a very a fancy name for it and look smart! Yay!
  • There are definitely more things that belong on this list, but I cannot remember them now.

Also, there are so many books I need to read. I am currently almost finished with my first real French literature book (Le Chercheur d'Or by Le Clézio), and then I have a long list of other books I need to read. Unfortunately, I often forget what books I need to read, so here is what I remember at the moment:
  • The series A song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin (AKA Game of Thrones)
  • Ender's Game
  • The Flavor Thesaurus (it's more of a looking stuff up book, but I kinda want to read through it)
  • Harry Potter 7 (I have only read it once! Completely Unacceptable!)
  • The Importance of Being Earnest (My english class ran out of time to read it, so we only watched the movie, and I was absent for half of it)
  • A Streetcar Named Desire (the title sounds cool and my friend likes it)
  • Oh, es él!  A silly book in spanish concerning Julio Iglesias and a crossdresser.
  • I should probably eventually finish the first book of Asimov's Foundation series (I have a tendency to start books and not finish them)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Raspberry Cupcakes with Chocolate-Orange Ganache

As the school year is ending (I had my last day of High School last Friday!) we had a good-bye party for a teacher who is leaving the country, so I decided to bring cupcakes! I have just recently been introduced to Sprinkles cupcakes, and there are really quite good (especially when they are free!!), so I was inspired to continue the cupcake trend.
I went to Joy the Baker's blog and found a tasty looking recipe for raspberry almond cupcakes with chocolate ganache, and I decided to make it. I gathered all my ingredients and started measuring and mixing, but when I opened my bottle of almond extract, it was empty! All of the extract must have had evaporated over the many years we have had that bottle. So, I replaced the almond extract with 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract and 1 tsp of orange flower water. Unfortunately, the orange flower water did not come out much at all in the final cupcakes, so next time I will put more in. In an attempt to bring out the orange flavor, I added some orange zest to the chocolate ganache, and it was delicious!

I made mini cupcakes instead of full sized ones, using a mini muffin pan and filling a regular pan 1/3 of the way. I also boosted the raspberries, going from the original 1/3c to 1/2c or more. The cupcakes were not soggy at all.

Raspberry Cupcakes with Chocolate-Orange Ganache (basically copied from raspberry almond cupcakes with chocolate ganache with a few variations)

Batter (makes 12 cupcakes)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp orange flower water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries, roughly chopped

  1. Put a rack in the middle of the oen and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt inside a bowl.
  3. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Beat in egg and almond extract.
  5. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and milk alternately in 3 batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating just until incorporated.
  6. Fold in the raspberries.
  7. Divide the batter among lined muffin cups. Bake until pale golden and a wooden pick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Turn cupcakes out onto a rack to cool completely.
  8. Spread frosting on cupcakes once cooled.

Chocolate-Orange Ganache
  • 3/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  1. Microwave the chocolate with the cream on low until the chocolate is partially melted.
  2. Stir until all of the chocolate is melted.
  3. If frosting is too loose to spread, let it sit at room temperature for 10 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, frosting will continue to thicken as it stands.