Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Coffee Flavored Cake

The Brave Astronaut was having LASIK surgery yesterday and missed getting Monday's recipe out on time - so it's coming out today.  I'm off shortly to my first post-op appointment - I will say that the procedure went very well and I can see without glasses (or contacts), although my need for readers is much more pronounced.  But I knew that was coming.

Here's a recipe to help keep my eyes open,  From A Cookie Named Desire via BuzzFeed.

COFFEE FLAVORED CAKE WITH WHIPPED MOCHA GANACHE
PREP TIME 55 MINS
COOK TIME 30 MINS
TOTAL TIME 1 HOUR 25 MINS
A rich and moist coffee flavored cake that tastes just like your favorite cup of coffee in cake form. Finished with a mocha ganache for a truly decadent treat.
Serves: 1 layer cake 

INGREDIENTS
Coffee Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg (if using fresh nutmeg, cut in half)
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1 cup room temperature brewed coffee
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Whipped Mocha Ganache

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder (depending on the intensity you like)
  • pinch of salt
  • 16 oz semisweet chocolate 

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8" round cake pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, espresso powder, and sugar together. Stir to combine well.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the oil, milk, coffee, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk well until completely combined.
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in three batches, mixing gently between each addition.
  5. Evenly distribute the batter between the baking pans and bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Allow to cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Gently run a knife between the cake and pan, then gently remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour, preferably overnight.
  6. Heat the heavy cream, espresso powder, and salt in a saucepan until it is starts to boil. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, then stir to melt the chocolate and combine with the cream. Do not stir until after the 10 minutes or else the frosting will end up grainy! Chill in the refrigerator until completely chilled. At least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
  7. Pour the ganache in a mixer and whisk on high until doubled in volume and light in color.
  8. Cut the two cakes in half to make four even layers. Slather the whipped ganache on each layer of the cake and layer the cakes on top of each other. Run an offset spatula on the sides of the cake to smooth the ganache on the sides.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Strip Steaks with Blue Cheese Better

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, so at the grocery store on Saturday, I bought some nice strip steaks and fingerling potatoes to make a nice dinner for Mrs. BA (and LBA and SoBA, too).  Life of course, intervened, and dinner last night didn't materialize.  Given the boy's basketball practice schedules and I'm out at several meetings this week - we'll see about squeezing this in one night this week. From Fine Cooking.

New York Strip Steaks with Blue Cheese Butter
The stout flavor and aroma of blue cheese have always been a steakhouse staple as a salad dressing. But in recent years the blue cheese has moved from the iceberg to the red meat. This recipe gives you the basis for making compound butters, which are nothing more than butter blended with flavoring agents to add another dimension to your food. If you’re not a blue cheese fan, you can totally leave it out, or use rosemary, thyme, or an even stronger cheese if you desire.

For the blue cheese butter:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 oz. crumbled blue cheese, preferably Maytag or Point Reyes
  • 1/4 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
For the steaks:
  • 4 8- to 10-oz. New York strip steaks, 1 to 1-1/2 inches thick
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
To make the butter, blend the butter, blue cheese, garlic, and pepper together in a medium bowl. (A fork is a good tool for doing this. If you wish, you could use a hand mixer.) Pack the butter in a small container and refrigerate until needed. The butter can be made several days in advance and even frozen.

Allow the steaks to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling. Brush olive oil over both sides of the steaks and season generously with salt and pepper.

Oil the grill racks. Preheat your grill using all burners set on high and with the lid closed for 10 to 12 minutes.

Place the steaks on the grill, close the lid, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Add a minute or two to each side for medium; subtract a minute or two from each side for rare. Remove from the grill and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Smear at least a tablespoon of the butter over each steak and serve.

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Fresh Herbs and Garlic
from the Food Network
Total: 25 min 
Active: 5 min 
Yield: 2 to 4 servings
Level: Easy 

Ingredients 
  • 2 pints fingerling potatoes 
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary 
  • 2 to 3 sprigs fresh sage 
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme 
  • 6 cloves garlic, left unpeeled 
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus for sheet pan 
  • Salt and pepper

Directions
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F and place a baking sheet inside to heat.

Add potatoes, rosemary, sage, thyme, and garlic to a medium bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Remove sheet pan from oven, lightly coat with olive oil, and pour potatoes onto pan. Place potatoes in oven and reduce heat to 425 degrees F. Roast for 20 minutes, or until crispy on outside and tender on inside.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Brownies with Raspberry Swirl

I like brownies.  I usually am satisfied with the Ghiradelli Brownie Mix from Costco.  But if these came out of Mrs. BA's kitchen, I would be fine with that.  From the Washington Post Food Section, February 1, 2017 [link].

Brownies With Raspberry Jam Swirl
These not-too-sweet brownies from an easy batter rely on cocoa powder and don’t require you to melt chocolate (meaning no double boiler or questions about cacao percentages). The raspberry jam can be replaced by another flavor of jam or by nut butter (such as fig jam, cherry preserves, orange marmalade, peanut butter or almond butter). You can, of course, just leave the brownies plain. 

Make Ahead: The brownies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature (or in the refrigerator, which will make the texture fudgier). 

Servings: Tested size: 16 servings 

Ingredients 
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 
  • 3/4 cup sugar 
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 2 tablespoons strongly brewed coffee or espresso, at room temperature 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (may use Dutch-process) 
  • 1/2 cup flour 
  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam (may substitute any flavor jam or peanut butter) 

Directions
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray an 8-inch square pan with baking spray (flour and oil), and then line it with parchment paper (two overlapping rectangles work well) so that there’s enough paper left hanging over the edges. Spray the parchment in the pan as well.

Combine the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk for about 2 minutes, until thick and pale yellow. Whisk in the melted butter, vanilla extract, coffee or espresso and salt. Add the cocoa powder and flour, stirring until just incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly. Dollop the jam evenly over the batter. Use a skewer or the tip of a paring knife to swirl the jam into the batter a little bit. The goal is for the brownies to have bites of jam, not to have raspberry jam-flavored brownies (meaning don’t stir it in completely, just swirl it).

Bake for about 30 minutes or until set throughout (test by jiggling the pan) and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few wet crumbs and not raw batter (try to avoid inserting the tester into a raspberry swirl). Let the brownies cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes; then lift the brownies out of the pan and let them cool completely, if you can bear it, and cut into 16 even squares.

Serve at room temperature.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Sheet Pan Fish and Chips

Mrs. BA is one to order fish and chips if it's on the menu. Her usual follow-up question is if they are made in house, she's a stickler. Maybe I can put these on the menu at the Launchpad.  Thanks to Simply Recipes for the recipe.  I might even get SoBA to eat it.  Now to put tartar sauce on the Wegman's list.

Sheet Pan Fish and Chips
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings 

Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, or more if needed 
  • 2 1/2 pounds potatoes (3 large or 6 medium), unpeeled (I think that butter/yellow would work best - thought I'll probably use russet)
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 cup Panko, or other unseasoned dry white breadcrumbs 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 
  • 2 pounds firm-fleshed white fish fillets, skins removed (I've got some flounder in the freezer)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley 
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve 
  • Tartar sauce, to serve 
Instructions
  • Preheat the oven to 450F. Arrange 2 oven racks in the top and bottom third of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with foil and coat with olive oil (about 1 tablespoon per baking sheet) or with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Prepare the potatoes: Quarter the potatoes lengthwise into 8 spears. In a bowl, toss the potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spread the potatoes on the baking sheet with their wedges pointing up, if possible, so the cut sides are exposed 
  • Roast the potatoes on the lower rack in the oven for 40 minutes. Turn pan after 20 minutes of cooking and move the potatoes around the sheet pan
  • Toast the breadcrumbs in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add the panko (no oil needed), and lower the heat to medium. Stir frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes or until a deep golden brown. Remove the skillet from heat. Add olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper into the panko breadcrumbs until well coated. Transfer the crumbs to a shallow bowl.
  • Cut the fish into large strips. Rub with remaining olive oil. 
  • Coat the fish with the panko until well coated. Place the fish on the second baking sheet, spaced slightly apart. 
  • When the potatoes are almost done (about 15-20 minutes remaining), bake the fish for 10-20 minutes, depending on thickness, until the fish is firm and the coating is starting to brown.
  • Serve the fish and chips, sprinkle with parsley, serve with lemon and tartar sauce.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Lighthouses


The Brave Astronaut has a thing for lighthouses. In fact on our recent trip to Legoland, I may have bought this. As we all seek shelter in a port away from the storm - here are some lighthouse photos to soothe you.

Or maybe you're looking to get away from it all - and you want to go and live in a lighthouse?  It may not be the life you think it is.  Read more here.

If you live here in the DMV, maybe you'd like to visit some of the local lights.  Here's a list.
  1. Turkey Point Lighthouse - Elk Neck State Park 4395 Turkey Point Rd., North East, MD 21901: The 35-foot-tall tower was built in 1833 to direct ships along the Elk River toward the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. Perched atop a 100-foot cliff, the lighthouse remains the highest beacon on the bay. Its light can be seen for 13 miles. Another thing that sets Turkey Point apart is that four of the keepers were women, which was remarkable for an era when the physical labor and extreme isolation were seen as conditions only tolerable for a man. The last keeper, Fannie Mae Salter, was appointed after the death of her husband in 1925. In her early 40s, she initially was told she was too old for the job. It wasn't until President Calvin Coolidge stepped in that Salter was allowed to stay. She went on to serve until her retirement in the late 1940s - a feat that earned her the title of last civilian female keeper in the country. The light was automated in 1948 and now runs completely on solar energy. In the spring of 2007 the stairs were rebuilt in the same way they were in 1833, and visitors can climb to the top for a spectacular view. Interesting fact: The cliffs around the lighthouse appeared in Clint Eastwood's 1997 film "Absolute Power."
  2. Concord Point Lighthouse 100 Lafayette St., Havre de Grace, MD 21078: This 36-foot-tall tower of granite, with three-foot-thick walls at its base to the 27 steps in the spiral staircase, is not the quaint striped beacon many think of when they romantically picture a lighthouse. But it's absolutely worth a visit. The tower was built by John Donahoo, a legend among Chesapeake Bay lighthouse lovers: He is responsible for building 12 lighthouses on the bay, including Concord Point in his home town of Havre de Grace in 1827. His lighthouse was built to mark the entrance to the Susquehanna River. Despite Donahoo's request to be keeper, the honor went to War of 1812 hero John O'Neill. The responsibility was kept within the family with O'Neill's son, daughter-in-law, grandson and great-grandson each tending the light. The keepers' residence, 200 feet from the tower, went through several reincarnations during its history, including stints as a bar and restaurant. It went through a renovation in 1990 to restore it to its 1884 glory and now serves as a museum and gift shop. Interesting fact: The current light comes from a 100-watt bulb.
  3. Seven Foot Lighthouse S. President Street and Eastern Avenue, Pier 5, Baltimore, MD 21202: Seven Foot Knoll is a screw-pile lighthouse, meaning it was suspended above water on long cast-iron pilings screwed into the sea floor. It was built from 1855 to 1856 at the mouth of the Patapsco River and named for the shoal that it marked. Approachable only by boat, it also served as a home for the keeper and two assistants. So how did the bright red, 220-ton circular goliath end up on a pier in Baltimore? After the light was automated in the late 1940s, the structure succumbed to the elements and was retired. The Coast Guard donated the structure to the city, and in 1988, over the course of two days, Seven Foot Knoll was moved to its present location. Original features have been preserved, while interpretive exhibits have been added. Visitors can climb to the watch room (ladder access to the beacon is restricted) and take in a view that includes Federal Hill, the Domino Sugar factory and boats docked in the harbor.
  4. Lightship 116 Chesapeake E. Pratt Street and S. Gay Street, Pier 3, Baltimore, MD 21202: The Lightship Chesapeake is docked at pier 3, near the Seven-Foot Knoll lighthouse. First used in 1930, the ship was a movable aide used to direct maritime traffic everywhere from Fenwick Island Shoal in Delaware to the waters off Cape Henry. During World War II it aided in the war effort off the Cape Cod Canal. It was decommissioned and since 1971 has served as a floating museum. Interesting fact: The lightship has a gallery of photographs of dogs that served as mascots on Navy and Coast Guard ships from the 1880s through the 1950s.
  5. Fort Washington Park 13551 Fort Washington Rd., Fort Washington, MD 20744: It is easy to overlook the squat, 32-foot-tall wooden tower on the Maryland shore of the Potomac River. One's eye naturally goes toward the mammoth fort atop the hill looming behind it. History views the structure in a similar light. George Washington picked the location as a prime spot for a fort to protect the fledgling nation's capital. Subsequent forts were built around the same spot to reflect military advancements and to protect the city. But as maritime traffic along the Potomac River increased and the size of ships grew during the 1800s, a light was needed to direct ships away from shallow water near the shore. Before a beacon was installed, the military was calling the shots. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis approved the light so long as it was "not within any of the fortifications; and the light keeper shall be subordinate to the military command." Two other beacons preceded the one that visitors see today. Interesting fact: The first beacon was an 18-1/2-foot-tall post with a light on it, installed in 1857.
  6. Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum 213 N. Talbot Street, St. Michaels, MD 21663: Hooper Strait lighthouse, now at home on the grounds of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, once guided ships through dangerous waters between Tangier Sound and the Chesapeake Bay, 40 miles to the south. The screw-pile cottage was actually the third light used at that location. Beginning in 1827, lightships were used to direct the boats, and in 1867 the first screw-pile lighthouse was built. That lasted only a decade before icy floes carried it away in January 1877. The keepers nearly went down with the house, evacuating at the last minute on a small boat. The latest lighthouse, built in 1879, almost met a similar fate. After being automated in 1954, the lighthouse began deteriorating. It was set to be demolished, but the museum rescued it and moved it to the museum in 1966. Visitors can walk through the six-room house and explore what life was like for a keeper. Children are encouraged to explore and find tidbits of information hidden in everything from empty paint cans to desk drawers to a goose wing. Interesting fact: Youth groups can spend a night in the lighthouse select Fridays and Saturdays in the spring and fall. 
  7. Cove Point 3500 Lighthouse Blvd., Lusby, MD 20657: Cove Point is another lighthouse on the bay built by John Donahoo, and, like his structures at Concord Point and Turkey Point, it is a basic white tower with black lantern room. Built in 1828 to mark the entrance of the Patuxent River, the Cove Point lighthouse has been witness to two interesting pieces of history: the very early introduction of a telephone in 1899 and World War II practice landings and invasions. The keepers even once rescued a drunk man who, after losing the oars to his boat, tried to swim ashore. From World War II until its automation in 1986, there was enough room for three keepers and their families to live around the lighthouse. Interesting fact: The light is the oldest continuously operated light in the state of Maryland.
  8. Drum Point Light Calvert Marine Museum 14200 Solomons Island Rd., Solomons, MD 20688: At one point in time, you would have no trouble finding a screw-pile lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay - 45 dotted the waterway. Now if you want to see one up close you need to visit Drum Point at the Calvert Marine Museum. Like its screw-pile brother, Seven Foot Knoll in Baltimore, Drum Point fell into disrepair after it was decommissioned but was later rescued and relocated. In Drum Point's case, the 1883 lighthouse was originally at the entrance to the Patuxent River and was moved to the grounds of the Calvert Marine Museum in 1975, 13 years after it was decommissioned. Based on lighthouse logs from 1883 to 1943 kept at the National Archives, the museum was able to lovingly restore the building to its early 20th-century grandeur, and visitors can walk through it. Interesting fact: What passed for bathrooms on lighthouses like Drum Point were outhouse-like structures that opened up over the water.
  9. Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and Historic Park 44720 Lighthouse Rd., Piney Point, MD 20674: When most people think of lighthouses, they think of lonely towers isolated by water and rocks. Not so with Piney Point, on the Potomac River. It was once a popular resort area for wealthy Washingtonians, including President Theodore Roosevelt, who would ride down on his yacht to go fishing. With amazing views of the water and sandy beaches, it remains a popular spot for vacationers. The lighthouse was in use from 1836 until 1964, and in 2002 it opened to the public as part of the museum. The museum's historic park interprets the history of St. Mary's County with exhibits about Dory boats, World War II torpedoes and a separate building dedicated to a Potomac River Maritime exhibit. Interesting fact: There is a sunken U-1105 offshore, marked by a buoy. One of the rooms in the museum is dedicated to the German submarine, which the United States claimed after World War II.
  10. Point Lookout State Park 11175 Point Lookout Rd., Scotland, MD 20687: While the Civil War played an important part in the history of many lighthouses along the Chesapeake Bay, perhaps none was more greatly affected by the conflict than Point Lookout. The lighthouse was built in 1830, and during the Civil War, the Union used the land around it as a Confederate prison. It is estimated that 52,000 prisoners were kept there and more than 3,300 died. The lighthouse keeper during the war had Southern leanings, and it is noted in logs that she was reprimanded at least once for aiding the South. It isn't clear what she did, but she was allowed to remain in her position. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1966, and for a while the duplex was rented as a home. After the last resident moved out in 1981, the lighthouse suffered from vandalism and neglect. In 2006, preservation efforts began with the hopes of restoring the lighthouse to its last renovation in 1927. Visitors can take a self-guided tour during open houses, explore the unfurnished rooms and read interpretive posters. One of the former keeper's daughters, who grew up in the house, often visits during open houses to share her experiences during the '40s and '50s. Interesting fact: Point Lookout is believed to be haunted. Former residents and visitors have reported hearing footsteps, smelling a strange odor in one room and hearing disembodied voices saying "abandon" and "get out."
  11. Assateague Island and Chincoteague Beaches 8231 Beach Rd., Chincoteague, VA 23336: Assateague Island is perhaps best known for its annual wild pony swim and as the setting of Marguerite Henry's novel "Misty of Chincoteague." But a close second might be its iconic red-and-white striped lighthouse. The 142-foot-tall tower was built in 1867 to warn ships away from the dangerous shore between the Chesapeake and Delaware bays. About seven years ago it opened to the public for climbing, and when the weather is especially nice a line forms out the door. Visitors are advised to come early and wear tennis shoes. The parking lot is a short, shady walk from the lighthouse, and then the climb is 175 steps. There is a landing with a window every 25 steps just in case you need a break. Also be sure to visit the oil shed next door to the house, where artists take residence and display their work. The band Three Sheets occasionally performs sea shanties. Interesting fact: During the Civil War, the island sided with the north in order to continue selling seafood to Union states. The soldiers protected the light.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Cupcakes!

Cupcakes are perfect!  These would be problematic for the best way to eat cupcakes however, which is to make cupcake sandwiches.  From Cooking Classy via BuzzFeed.

Creme Brûlée Cupcakes 
Yield: 12 cupcakes 

Ingredients 
Pastry Cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream 
  • 2/3 cup milk 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided 
  • 1/8 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch 
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Cupcake 
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature 
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar 
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature 
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature 
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
Topping
  • Granulated sugar, about 1/3 cup 
  • Whipped cream (optional) 
  • 12 fresh raspberries (optional)

Directions
For the pastry cream:
In a medium saucepan, heat heavy cream, milk, 6 Tbsp sugar, salt and seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean along with vanilla bean pod over medium heat. Bring mixture just to a gentle bubble, stirring occasionally (remove from heat as necessary to prevent vigorous boiling while preparing remainder). Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks and 2 Tbsp sugar until well blended. Add cornstarch to egg yolk mixture and mix until very well combined and and slightly pale and fluffy. Take about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture from pan, and while vigorously whisking, slowly pour hot cream mixture (about 1 Tbsp at a time) into egg yolk mixture. Reduce burner temperature to medium-low. Then, while whisking hot cream mixture in saucepan, slowly pour egg yolk mixture into hot cream mixture in saucepan. Cook mixture, whisking constantly, until thickened (allow it to boil for about 30 seconds to cook out starchy flavor). Immediately force mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Mix in 1 Tbsp butter. Cover with plastic wrap pressing directly against surface of custard. Chill thoroughly, about 2 hours.

For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt for seconds, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Mix in egg then blend in egg whites and vanilla. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture and blend just until combined, then add milk and blend just until combined and finish adding in remaining 1/2 flour mixture and blend just until combined. Divide batter among 12 paper lined muffin cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Bake in preheated oven 21 - 24 minutes until toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To assemble cupcakes:
Pipe or spread chilled pastry cream over cooled cupcakes into an even layer. Working with one cupcake at a time, sprinkle entirety of pastry cream with sugar then heat with a kitchen torch until sugar begins to melt and caramelize (I would first coat the edges of pastry cream while rotating the cupcake, then sprinkle tops, then I would torch it and add another layer of sugar. I just found working in layers worked best so it didn't all bead up and just run off the sides, but just experiment and see what works best for you. I used about 1 - 1 1/2 tsp sugar per cupcake). Allow topping to cool then garnish with whipped cream and a raspberry if desired. Serve immediately (note: the pastry cream can be made the day before and the cupcakes can be made hours ahead of time but top with sugar and caramelize sugar just before serving).

 Recipe Source: vanilla cupcake adapted from Sprinkles Cupcakes via Oprah, pastry cream lightly adapted from Cook's Illustrated

Friday, January 20, 2017

Transitions

Just a few days after the election last November, Mrs. BA and I agreed that we could not be in the DC area on January 20.  So we've bugged out for the weekend.  The Brave Astronaut Clan has gone to Florida and are today at Legoland and headed to Universal Studios Saturday and Sunday.  Monday we will take in Cape Canaveral before flying home.

Later I'll figure out how to walk through the lobby of my building every day, where a portrait of the President hangs on the wall.  For the moment I will look back at this.  And I'll read this.  I'll be listening to this.

You can substitute the new President's name here wherever he says "Bob Rumsen"


And if you're wondering - Jed Bartlet is still my President.