Kitchen Safari

October 30, 2009

What a busy + fun day in the kitchen!!!

And um, studying didn’t happen :( I might be a little screwed for Monday’s test.

But the baking needed to happen!

Prologue

First I had to pick a recipe. I wanted to do something pumpkiny for Halloween (DUH!) and after searching through about 100 pumpkin cupcake recipes, I decided on a batch of Vegan Pumpkin Muffins. I decided that cupcakes are just a means to serve icing so let’s go all out on the icing and save a little on the cake part. Plus, vegan ingredients are cheaper and easier! I only had 4 sticks of butter people and I needed 2.5 for the frosting!

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They turned into MINI cupcakes…and then will have an appropriate name when they are iced tomorrow.

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I bought all new baking leaveners today. We’ve had ours for …years….and the last time I baked I think the leaveners kind of ruined the cakes.

The old:

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Expired a year ago!

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I used my grandmother’s antique sifter. It’s always a blast.

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They turned out perfect!

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Next it was time to tackle Amelia’s Buttercream, which I had on my iPhone:

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Here’s the recipe I jotted down on our walk:

Swiss Meringue Vanilla Buttercream

10 oz white suger
10 oz butter (2.5 sticks. Half cold, half room temp)
4.5 oz egg white
3 tbsp corn syrup
Vanilla extract – 2 tsp

Create a double boiler with your bowl.
Add everything but butter to mixer and whip occasionally.
Bowl over boiler, heat to 120 degrees.
Whisk every now and then. Look for thinness.
At 120 remove from bath and put under mixer on low up to high and whip to stiff peaks to a meringue of stiff peaks.
Add cold butter in chunks. Then add room temp. Keep mixer on low. Up to medium-high at end. Will get soupy. Will curdle. Then will magically turn into buttercream. Once it turns to buttercram whip on low for 5 mins.

BEGIN:

Double boiler

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With whisk and thermometer

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To 120* (took about 5 mins?)

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Then whip until stiff peaks form

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As stiff as they’re gonna get! (This blob was solid – not dripping off) (Took 10 mins?) (Finger licking was kept to a bare minimum – go me!)

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Add cold butter, then room temp butter in chunks

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Cross fingers:

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The crossing of the fingers didn’t go exactly as planned. It did get soupy. I don’t think it ever curdled. I whipped it on high for about 20 minutes waiting for something magical to happen and it never did. It was still a little too runny to pipe onto the cakes. So I called Amelia, who told me to refrigerate it for 30 minutes. And then I got caught up in the movie. I did check it and it’s much harder now so tomorrow I will thaw a bit, whip a bit and then ice.

To be continued…..

Around 6PM Karen arrived to join us for dinner. My brew-lovin’ husband cracked open a Chocolate Porter. I swore I wasn’t going to drink tonight in preparation for the big 5K runway race tomorrow, but he poured me a taste anyways. It was awesome!

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For dinner we made

Garlic + White Wine + Clam + Asparagus Pasta!

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Don’t clam up about using clams!!! Other times I’ve used clams: The Surprise Ingredient, The Last Hurrah and Productive Night. They are so inexpensive and make a dish feel like a restaurant.

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First we sautéed asparagus in some canola oil

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Then added 4 cloves of garlic, then the clams…

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Then about 1/4 cup white wine – from a BOX. A Black Box to be exact.

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And finally half a lemon, red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt, a lot of black pepper and…

a smidge of butter for richness

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All served over Whole Wheat Gnocchi pasta from EarthFare

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The perfect pairing was too much to miss out on, so I had a splash of wine with dinner

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But the deal I made was to hydrate like crazy after dinner, which is just what I’ve been doing!

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MY NEW MONITOR IS SOOOOOOOO FREAKIN’ AWESOME!!!!!!!! It’s 21.5 in. wide and I can see Windows Live Writer and Windows Live Photo Gallery side by side. Blogging bliss. [And look at that Eye-Fi go! It’s been working perfectly since I got the new card)

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Now I just need that blazin’ Windows 7 system to arrive!

We’re getting up at the crack of dawn in the middle of the night to get to our race on time. I get nervous whenever I think about it!

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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Eileen October 30, 2009 at 8:53 pm

Dinner looks like it was scrumptious!

Have a great race tomorrow- go kath go!!

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2 Food Makes Fun Fuel October 30, 2009 at 9:00 pm

I’m sure those cupcakes are going to come out ridiculously amazing

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3 maria October 30, 2009 at 9:05 pm

Your new computer looks awesome. I’m downloading Windows Live Writer now. I’m tired of always using the Wordpress page… it sucks!

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4 Wendy October 30, 2009 at 9:07 pm

Good luck at your 5K tomorrow. You’re gonna FLY!! :)

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5 Jocelyn@JocelynEatsFresh October 30, 2009 at 9:10 pm

mmmm Can’t wait to see the finished cupcake products! I’m sure they will be amazing!
Good luck with your race and getting up early :) I’m sure you will rock it.

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6 Nan October 30, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Busy…baking…needed to happen… Sounds like the night before every race I’ve ever run…enjoy!!

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7 Jess October 30, 2009 at 9:15 pm

I look putting clams in pasta too. Do you ever keep the leftover clams and use them later? They always look so nasty when I do that.

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8 Cynthia (It All Changes) October 30, 2009 at 9:17 pm

I like the idea of vegan cupcakes. I’m off to check the recipe for my own pumpkin goodies.

Hope the butter cream turns out.

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9 Whitney @ Lettuce Love October 30, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Good eats and fabulous monitor :)

Good luck at the race tomorrow!

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10 Mastering Public Health October 30, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Very cute turtleneck! Yep, baking often pre-empts studying. I agree about the cupcakes being all about the frosting so you might as well save on the cake part. Looking forward to seeing the final result.

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11 Estela @ Weekly Bite October 30, 2009 at 9:39 pm

I love baking! So much fun!!

Your new computer looks awesome!!

Good luck in the race tomorrow!

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12 Jenn (www. j3nn.net ) October 30, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Pasta looks awesome! I made clam chowder yesterday, LOVE clams! All shellfish, really. :)

Good luck with the race!

Jenn

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13 Jessica @ How Sweet It Is October 30, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Kath….I use expired baking products like that all the time. :) So did my grandmother. We’re still kickin’!

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14 Rebecca October 30, 2009 at 9:49 pm

I love your sweater! I also love this post and the title of it. I think if I spent that much time in the kitchen, I’d explode.
I mentioned in my post this morning that I should write a song about oatmeal and it made me think of you!
Good luck at your race!!

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15 Angela (Oh She Glows) October 30, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Kath, just picture yourself as a PLANE during your run tomorrow and TAKE OFF! Corny, but it will work I’m sure! lol. Goodluck.

The baking looks like it was a huge success too. You can’t go wrong with pumpkin anything.

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16 Emily Eats and Exercises October 30, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Dinner looks great – I’ve never used canned clams before – I’ll have to try it. Unfortunately neither my boyfriend nor I are white wine drinkers. I always want it to cook with but then I don’t want to open a whole bottle (or box) because it always goes bad. I’ll have to make it for a party or something.

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17 Lizzy October 30, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Good luck tomorrow! :)

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18 Joelle (The Pancake Girl) October 30, 2009 at 10:48 pm

Have a great race tomorrow! Is everyone running in costume, since it’s Halloween?

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19 Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope October 30, 2009 at 10:50 pm

What fun kitchen adventures! Can’t wait to see the final result.

Such a great Friday night dinner. Simple, yet so tasty!

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20 Madeline @ Greens and Jeans October 30, 2009 at 10:50 pm

man lady! you’ve had some great eats today! best of luck on the 5k tomorrow!

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21 KatieMoo October 30, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Yay for getting new baking powder! Did you know that old baking powder sucks the thiamin out of baked goods (haha, remember that for the RD exam)!

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22 BroccoliHut October 30, 2009 at 11:05 pm

Yum, I’ve always thought that asparagus makes the perfect accompaniment to pasta.
PS Went to a Great Harvest location for the first time today (with a fellow food blogger) and thought of you and Matt!

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23 Mama Pea October 30, 2009 at 11:07 pm

I made vegan pumpkin cupcakes this afternoon with vegan cream cheese icing! We are so smart…and beautiful…

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24 lynn (The Actors Diet) October 30, 2009 at 11:53 pm

i love that sifter! reminds me of home ec class back when they had home ec in schools….

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25 Diana October 31, 2009 at 2:41 am

That monitor must be awesome!

Those mini cupcakes look awesome. :)
Good luck on your run!

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26 theskinnyplate October 31, 2009 at 3:25 am

Good luck with your race tomorrow!

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27 christie @ honoring health October 31, 2009 at 5:30 am

Good luck at the race!

Can’t wait to see how the cupcakes turn out!

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28 Julie October 31, 2009 at 6:06 am

Good luck at the race!!

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29 Andee (LAEasyMeals) October 31, 2009 at 6:27 am

Great dinner idea using clams! They sure do make dishes more elegant and fancy :) Good luck at the race! You will rock it

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30 Susan October 31, 2009 at 6:43 am

Clams are one of the few canned seafoods I have yet to adventure in. I trust you if you say it’s not scary! :) Also, the idea of chocolate beer just blew my mind a little :P

Goood luuuck todaaaay!!!!

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31 skinnyrunner October 31, 2009 at 7:48 am

those cupcakes look adorable in mini size. and your dinner looks like something you’d buy at a restaurant.
good luck on your race!

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32 Deanna - the unnatural mother October 31, 2009 at 7:55 am

Can’t not to wait to try those pumpkins!!!!

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33 Emily, homecookedem October 31, 2009 at 8:27 am

If I were you I think I’d dive head first into that icing. Ok, I guess I wouldn’t but the thought would cross my mind a few dozen times!! :)

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34 Kelly October 31, 2009 at 8:32 am

My grandma has an old-timey sifter too! Her sifter is the kind that has the crank on the side to sift, but when she taught me how to make her homemade biscuits she gave me a different type that you sift by pumping the handle. Which one is yours?

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35 ashleigh October 31, 2009 at 8:38 am

dinner looks very good. i hope you had a good race!

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36 Kasey @ Fit For Wellness October 31, 2009 at 8:43 am

Good luck at the race :)

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37 Jenna October 31, 2009 at 8:45 am

great cupcakes and dinner looks delish!
good luck on the race tomorrow :)
jenna

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38 sarah (ghost world) October 31, 2009 at 8:50 am

josh uses two, large vertical side-by-side monitors. he swears by this as a productivity tool! i should try blogging from his desktop rather than this slow, gasping mac laptop. someday :)

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39 SweetiePotato October 31, 2009 at 9:07 am

hmmmm…. vegan pumpkin muffins! sounds tasty

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40 Amanda @ Cakes and Ale October 31, 2009 at 9:15 am

Dont worry – your frosting will come together! It just needed some cooling down, I bet.

I’m a big fan of canned clams – good, cheap way to add protein to a pasta dish like that. I just wish my hub would get on board with it… unfortunately, he refuses to eat any canned fish / seafood!

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41 Chelsea (Chelsea's Chew and Run Fun) October 31, 2009 at 9:24 am

That pasta looks sensational! Asparagus is such a wonderful veggie with pastas, it never fails to give some oomph.

Hopefully your icing will pull through, but those muffins look delicious enough by themselves!

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42 Deva (Voracious Vorilee) October 31, 2009 at 10:02 am

Good luck with your race! Those muffins look delcious! I have some pumpkin in my fridge, and t his may be how it gets used! YUM

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43 Tina October 31, 2009 at 10:09 am

The cupcakes look soooo good! Vegan goods are always surprisingly delicious. And it’s a good idea to “save” on the cake part and indulge on the frosting :)

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44 Kath October 31, 2009 at 11:00 am

Jessica,
Not worried about safety – the leaveners stop working after a while and your baked goods will be flat!

KatieMoo,
I didn’t know that!!

BroccoliHut,
Woo hoo! What’d you get?!

Kelly,
Mine has a handle that you crank on the right side.

Kath

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45 Erin October 31, 2009 at 11:01 am

Good luck on the cupcakes AND the race!!

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46 debbie October 31, 2009 at 1:55 pm

Congratulations on the race. I would love to be able to run like that.. I’m a little confused about the VEGAN pumpkin muffins you made(they look yummy) Were you going to frost them with frosting made from real butter and egg whites? I thought this was a vegan blog because I found you through the ‘Best Vegan Blogs Directory’, but I see animal products in you stuff. I think it’s a very nice blog but maybe it shouldn’t be hooked up through that directory. I don’t know, maybe I’m way off on this. I don’t mean to be a downer, because like I said, the blog is great. And it would be really easy to veganize the frosting. Anyway, I think you’re setting a good example of being healthy with all your exercise and keeping your body moving. I REALLY need to do more of that.:)

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47 Kath October 31, 2009 at 4:30 pm

debbie,
I am definitely not a vegan. I am not sure which directory I’m listed in, but it’s a mistake! I didn’t put myself there :)

Kath

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48 debbie October 31, 2009 at 6:40 pm

Thank you for replying so quickly. The blog I found you in is http://www.veganblogs.com. Maybe one of your followers listed it. Take care.

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49 Marianne November 10, 2009 at 9:39 pm

That is my kind of pasta – seafood, especially clams, are always delicious in a pasta dish, and I love that it’s a light, non -tomato, non-cream sauce. Yum :D

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