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Sunday, September 12, 2010


Victor and I held a benefit show at the end of August to help raise money for a friend undergoing cancer treatment. We were able to successfully raise about $3000 which was great and everyone had a great time coming together for the cause.

About two weeks before the benefit, we started to solicit food donations. At that time, we had also been watching a lot of Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. Inspired by the bakers would could turn out 1,000 cupcakes in 2 hours on the show, I volunteered to make 100 cupcakes. I actually made 120 cupcakes, but I had to trash 20 of them due to the concept just not quite coming together.....Here's what I made:
  • Red velvet cakes with cream cheese icing
  • Devil's food cake with peanut butter cream cheese icing
  • White cake with vanilla buttercream icing and coconut
  • French vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream and sprinkles
  • Chocolate cakes with marshmallow filling
The chocolate cakes with marshmallow filling were the ones that we ended up having to throw away. I got the recipe off of Martha Stewart's website but something just wasn't right with the marshmallow was way too runny and wet. It was getting absorbed into the cake and then running out the sides...marshmallow disaster! Luckily, I still had 100 good cupcakes left. We sold them at $1 a piece and ended up selling 93 of I felt pretty successful. That was the first time I had ever sold any of my baking! The pictures above were all of the cupcakes boxed up right before we left for the event.

Nobody likes Mayo

I bought this tee shirt at the Los Angeles Renegade Fair. It reminded me of my sister. Growing up, she was not a fan of mayo (now give her some Lebanon bologna with mustard and she was in heaven...). Despite her disdain for the white stuff, she loved cole slaw...yes, I know that most cole slaws are made with mayonnaise but kids don't really take the time to breakdown the ingredients mentally at a BBQ. Now that she is older, she appreciates that mayo can add some flair in specific dishes but....still not a big fan.

Me on the other of my favorite childhood sandwiches was ham and cheese with mayo. I love potato salad, mac salad, cole slaw....however, I do not like mayo on a burger. I feel it adds nothing and just makes my burger slide around. Don't even get me started on the dipping of french fries into mayo. I am definitely not a supporter of that practice.

I suppose most of us have mixed feelings on mayo. I guess what I am saying is: Don't shun mayo; it's good condiment when used correctly.

Oro blanco

My farmer's market obsession this summer was the Oro Blanco! It is a sweet white seedless grapefruit with a thick white skin. Did I mention it was sweet? I like all grapefruit even the tart ones...but some folks can't handle the tart. For them....Oro Blanco!! I have placed my favorite grapefruit of 2010 next to an egg so you can get sense of the size. Once you peel it, it is pretty much the same size as a regular grapefruit. It just looks huge due to the thick skin around it. Click here for more information about the Oro Blanco!!

Fried food mecca: The OC Fair

It's impossible to describe for the uninitiated the endless options of junk food at the OC Fair. In a part of the country known for beaches and bikinis, the fair shows that at least once a year, people relax and let it all hang out. From 2 foot long corn on the cob to chocolate covered bacon, there is truly something for everyone. While I am known to enjoy a Krispy Kreme donut here and there, I can't bring myself to order a chicken sandwich where the "bread" is 2 Krispy Kremes (see sign in upper left of the picture).

We went to the fair twice this summer, both times to see concerts (The B-52s were AMAZING). You can't walk through the fair on the way to amphitheater without being tempted by some dangerous delectable. The first trip, I really wanted a soft serve cone but tried to be good and have something nutritious first. I bought a gigantic chicken kabob, spent the rest of the night in gastro-distress and never got my ice cream cone...apparently, too much of a semi-healthy thing (grilled chicken, onions and green peppers) is still going to put your stomach into overdrive. The second time, I followed my gut (pun intended) and went straight of the soft serve vanilla/chocolate swirl cone dipped in sprinkles ("jimmies" for you east coasters). I felt much better this time...Lesson learned: if you want soft serve, just go straight for the soft serve and get your nutrition another day!

Zen through Zucchini

I could have sworn my mom's Zucchini Bread recipe had a chocolate base? Maybe that is Chocolate Zucchini Cake...which incidently I will be making in a few weeks. Anyway, with fall in our sights, I started to have visions of zucchini bread. The zucchini adds a wonderful moisture to your average quick bread recipe. I found a 3-5 lb zucchini at the Torrance Farmer's Market and lovingly assembled my mom's recipe. Note that the actual recipe said 3 "medium" size zucchini....the size is irrelvant as long as you can get 2 cups of grated and drained zucchini out of it. The recipe makes 2 nice sized loaves.

Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
1 cup oil (as usual, I used apple sauce)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 cups grated and drained zucchini
2 ts[ vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 cup raisins and 1 cup chopped walnuts

Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in oil, zucchini and vanilla. Sift flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt onto wax paper. Stir in egg mixture until blended. Stir in raisins and nuts.

Bake in well greased (I sprayed with olive oil spray) loaf pans at 375 degrees for 1 hr. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.