It’s my Blogoversary!

Cake Business: I did not bake a cake for my blogoversary. I baked it for my birthday party, which was earlier this month. It is a Mint Chocolate Cake. The recipe comes from the August 5, 2009 Los Angeles Times Food section and you can find it HERE. I added crushed Newman-Os Hint o’ Mint cookies in between layers and on the side of the cake (I used the whole 16-oz package, minus 1 cookie which I gave to my Dad). Instead of baking it in the 9″ rounds, I used 7″ squares, which made nice thick layers.

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been a year.  It’s been so much fun and I’ve learned so much, but more importantly I’ve met a bunch of great people from all over the world and joined the wonderful community of food bloggers. We’re an amazing group, aren’t we? I started my Cooking Odyssey in March 2008 and by summer of that year, I found and was unofficially baking along with Tuesdays with Dorie. I didn’t officially join, because I didn’t have a blog and wasn’t motivated to start one.

On August 4th, I was selected as “Juror #1” for a murder trial that ended up lasting 5 weeks. There were three defendants with three defense lawyers and everyone got their opening/closing statements and questioning of witnesses. It was interesting at first, but then it dragged on. One of the benefits of Jury Duty was that  the court would adjourn for the day at 3 pm and I ended up having all this free time in the afternoons. Because of this, I finally decided to start a blog.{The outcome of the trial: 1 guilty of lesser charge, voluntary manslaughter; 1 no-decision, hung jury; 1 not-guilty}

Pink Stripes was born on August 22, 2008. The name comes from the pattern of the William-Sonoma apron I always wear while cooking/baking. A lot of things have changed since then, I’ve grown not only as a blogger–but as a person too.  In fact, while you are reading this I am on a boat on the way to Catalina via Long Beach for my first 3 California open-water dives. Once today is over, I will be a PADI-certified open water diver.

My Cooking Odyssey Anniversary Post focused on what I learned in my year of cooking/baking, so now I’m focusing on Pink Stripes facts.

Total Number of Posts: 220

Total Number of Comments: 5,200+

Top Posts (based on number of views):

1. Cheese Danish

cheese-danish

2. {sms} Bee Stings, omg

beestings

3. Whole Wheat Zucchini Muffins

zucchinimuffin

4. {sms} Lemon Boysenberry Mini-Cheesecakes

lemonboysenberrycheesecake

5. Bagels

imgp5018

6. {SMS} Lemon Icebox Cake with Fresh Blackberry Sauce

lemon-icebox

7. Pomegranate Frozen Yogurt

pom-frozen-yogurt

8. I did it! And I’m never doing it again...

croissant

9. Yes, I did it again.

choc-croissant

10. Morning Buns

morning bun

Looking at this list reminds me of something my mother told me as we were waiting in line at The Coffee Bean. She said, “Wendy, do you realize you have made a version of everything in this pastry case?” Looking at the case, I realized its true. I’ve made cookies, brownies,  bagels, croissants, danish, muffins, scones, lemon bars, pizza, carrot cake, coconut cake, granola, madelines, bear claws, cinnamon rolls….” And because she is my mother she also said she bets that they all tasted 10x better.

Anyway, it’s been a great year and a wonderful journey. Thank you to all of my readers and new friends, I feel like we’re family! 🙂

Honey-Wheat English Muffins

I’ve baked the English Muffins from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice before and they were delicious as written.  I made them again for The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, but this time decided to make a honey-wheat variety. I used 1/2 traditional whole-wheat flour and added 1 tablespoon of honey instead of the sugar. I made them 2 ounces each  and was able to yield 8 instead of 6 muffins. They turned out great–light and fluffy and pretty tasty.

Or at least I thought so, until I tasted THE BEST BREAD EVER. I went to Bouchon for dinner while in Las Vegas. I can only dream of baking bread this good. The crust was unbelievable, it was just the right crunch, just sweet enough, and the inside was light and fluffy. It all just melted in my mouth. I bonded with the person that refilled our water over the bread. I was giddy and excited and he told me the bread was his favorite too. I can’t wait for Bouchon to open in Beverly Hills. (By the way, the rest of the meal was amazing–but this is about the bread!)

THE BEST BREAD EVER

THE BEST BREAD EVER

{twd} applesauce spice bars

These turned out more cake than bar for me but still delicious (thanks to Karen of Something Sweet by Karen who picked this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe–Applesauce Spice Bars–for the recipe visit her BLOG) and I’m cutting this post short because of THIS {I also realize the week is over, but I’m technically writing this during the week of the challenge so it counts 😛 and I’m on the road back from Las Vegas today}.

Avocado Ice Cream

You all know that ice cream is my thing and I enjoy trying new flavors and so far I have liked every flavor I’ve made {some more than others}, that is, until now: Avocado Ice Cream from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop–>it tastes like frozen sweetened guacamole {with sour cream, which to me is a guacamole no-no} and I was so disappointed because I really really wanted to love avocado ice cream {and I love love love avocados; I buy 7 for $5 every week at the farmers’ market} but maybe I would like it more paired  with coconut ice cream, Vietnamese-style, as explained recently by Dorie Greenspan {nice, quick post today because of THIS}.

Avocado Ice Cream

Recipe from The Perfect Scoop

Makes: About 1 quart

3 medium ripe Hass avocados (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Big pinch salt

Slice the avocados in half and remove the pits. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh, then cut it into chunks.

In a food processor or blender, combine the avocados, sugar, sour cream, heavy cream, lime juice and salt. Puree until smooth and the sugar is dissolved.

Freeze immediately in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.