Monday, May 30, 2016

SalleeB Shares: Season 12 of Food Network Star

Creating Some Homemade Happiness on a Plate!
Have you checked out the finalists at Food Network's website yet?
I didn't until after I watched Comeback Kitchen to see which finalists from previous seasons of Food Network Star would be given a second chance to compete on Season 12.

Of course, Food Network execs decided to make everyone wait to find out who the winner was until the premiere of Food Network Star! 

Was the winner Dom from Season 11 or Martita from Season 8?

After that last episode of Comeback Kitchen,
I checked out the thirteen finalists on the Food Network website and I have watched the first two episodes of Food Network Star.

Click Here to see the pics and bios for the thirteen finalists.

Season 12 seems to be concentrating on food professionals, rather than home cooks.
Two finalists seem to qualify as home cooks, Monterey Salka and Melissa Pfeister. However, the rest of the finalists are already in the food business as a restaurant owner, restaurant manager, caterer, bakery owner/manager, executive chef, or cookbook author.

Update: 6/5/2016   I received an email from a reader that informed me that Monterey is definitely NOT a home cook. Thanks Janie!

Camera Savvy Bakers and a Miami Housewife
I was thrilled to see Erin Campbell, the winner of Holiday Baking Championship, and Damiano Carrara who was a finalist in the Spring Baking Championship. These two contestants should be very familiar with having a camera crew around them. Another finalist with LOTS of camera time is Ana Quincoces because she was on "Real Housewives of Miami." Additionally, Martita is another camera savvy finalist.

Immediate Camera Time
 In my opinion, the Food Network executives want to get rid of contestants with camera issues immediately. About 10 minutes into the first episode, thirteen, thirty second videos were made by the contestants to introduce themselves and their style of cooking.

Surprisingly, Ana didn't do well.  However, Martita's lead in was almost identical to her Comeback Kitchen videos. Come on Martita, we know your culinary point of view, give us some new information.

The contestants were right back in front of a camera crew on the second episode. 
Teams of two were formed by the contestants. Each team went to a restaurant and filmed an "on the road" film clip. After viewing the short film clips, each team was judged to have a winner and a loser. Honestly, most of the losers were apparent.

These contestants have already had to make a thirty second intro video,  make a team video, AND sway a live audience to eat their food.

Problem: An Extra Contestant
With Martita's entry, there were fourteen contestants instead of the original thirteen I believe that adds up to one extra contestant. How was this problem going to be solved? Well, viewers found out in episode two, when two finalists, Aaron Crumbaugh and Melissa Pfeister, were sent home.  Problem of one extra contestant solved.  Havird Usry was sent home last week.

Aaron's Stormy Departure
 In the world according to Aaron, Bobby and Giada don't know what they are doing because they sent him home. Aaron was convinced that he is a much better chef than some of the other contestants that the mentors decided were safe. Aaron's last words to the mentors? "Suck it." 

Honor our Heroes on Memorial Day

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Three Tier Basketball Themed Cake

Left: Inspiration photo                                Right: My completed cake

My daughter asked if I could help make a cake for her boyfriend's son.

Cautiously, I asked if she had a picture of the cake.
Happily, she whipped out her phone and showed me the inspiration photo on the left.

I have only made one fondant covered, stacked, three tiered cake before. 
Now you understand my caution. My wedding cake, six years ago, was the first and only cake I have ever made that was a stacked, three tiered cake. However, as you have seen in my spring posts, I've been making layer cakes with three layers. My self-assessed, cake leveling skills have progressed with each cake I make. 

As I carefully examined the picture and filed away the individual details, I knew she didn't have the equipment, or the experience, to make a cake of this size and type. Luckily, Mom does have all of the equipment, recipes, and knows how to stack a cake.

Anyone else have adult children who approach you like this? 
I wasn't being directly asked to make the cake. you think there was an unspoken question being asked?

My next question was,"When do you need it?"
"June 3rd or 4th." she replied.
I sighed in relief. My calendar was empty for the first week in June. We discussed the pros and cons of making the cake. Finally, I told her if she would buy the ingredients, I would make the cake. 

About a week later, 
she brought me the cake mixes, powdered sugar, corn syrup, and shortening to make the cakes, frosting, filling, and rolled buttercream fondant. 

After putting the ingredients away, 
my mind filed the cake plans away and I concentrated on subbing for summer school.

During summer school on May 19th,  
I received a text from my daughter that read,
"Mom, we had to change the date of the party from June to May 28th."

Sheesh! I wasn't even supposed to be at home from May 26th -May 29th! 
My immediate reaction kind of overwhelmed me. However, after thinking it through, I knew I could make the cake and take it to her to refrigerate on Wednesday. Hopefully, my moist cake would still be moist. 

Then, stormy weather stepped in and changed my original plans. 
The hubby and I stayed home and I was able to make, store, and deliver the cake after all! Thank-you Jesus for making everything work out. 

Check out the pictures and tips below.
Ten inch base, or bottom tier covered in rolled buttercream fondant with fondant lettering and decorations applied. Cardboard and supports are in place for the second tier to sit on.

Click Here   for the rolled buttercream fondant recipe.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY lettering cut with alphabet fondant cutters.
Tip: Dip fondant cutters into a bowl of powdered sugar until they are well coated . Then cut the letters. Dip cutters back into the sugar as needed to prevent sticking.
Eight inch, second tier covered with black fondant and fondant flames. My first attempt at making flames, ever!
How to Make the Flames
I used a 3" crown cookie cutter to make the flames. 
First I  cut out 7 fondant crowns. 
Next, I cut the crown points with a sharp knife and formed flame points. The handle of a paintbrush and the tip of a paring knife were helpful in forming the flames. 
Four inch top tier. I cut and layered two jumbo cupcakes to make the tier. The covering, lettering, and decorations are made of rolled buttercream fondant. The basketball lines are piped royal icing  

1. Fondant basketballs with flames. My flame making skills progressed as I worked on this project. 
2. The red and blue logo at top is made of fondant and the white figure is royal icing.

Lesson learned: pipe royal icing figures onto waxed paper at least twenty-four hours ahead of time. 
How to Pipe the Netting using Royal Icing
1.Pipe evenly spaced dots of frosting around the top of the hoop. 
2. Pipe a second row of dots below and between the top row.
3. Pipe lines from the top row dots to the second row dots forming upside down triangles. 
4. Pipe a third row of dots below the second row. These dots should be aligned vertically with the dots in the first row.
5. Pipe lines from the dots in the second row to the dots in the third row. This will form diamonds. 
6. Pipe a fourth row of dots around the base that are aligned vertically with the dots in the second row.
7. Pipe lines from the tip of each diamond to the dots in the bottom row. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Summer School Monster Themed Cupcakes

Monster Cupcakes for Monstrously Good Students! 
Update: 5/20/16
The students loved the cupcakes. In fact the consensus among the 4th/5th graders is that I should bake for a living. However, they also thought the cupcakes looked more like Patrick on Sponge Bob Square Pants, or a regular starfish. Then, we watched the movie,"Home" and decided the Blob candy looked just like the Gorg commander without his space suit on. 

I subbed for the first four days of summer school.
The classroom theme was monsters. The students worked well and completed all of their work for me. I decided to make Monster cupcakes as a treat for Friday Movie Morning.

  • These incredibly easy monster cupcakes start with a box of cake mix. I used confetti cake mix.
  • Following the package directions on the box of cake mix, bake two dozen cupcakes and cool.
  • While the cupcakes are cooling, either make green butter cream frosting, or use purchased frosting and tint it green. 

Russian decorating tip used to create the spiky green puffs.
  • Create puffy spikes with the Russian decorating tip shown above.
  •  I started with a puff of frosting in the center of the cupcake. Then, I filled in around  the center puff for a total of about seven spiked puffs as shown in the picture below.

Spiky puffs of frosting decorate confetti cupcakes
  • If desired, sprinkle clear sanding sugar on each cupcake before placing the piece of Blob candy in place. I bought the Blob candy at our local Dollar General Store.
Frosted confetti cupcakes that have been sprinkled with clear sanding sugar, awaiting a piece of Blob candy as a cupcake topper.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

BVHD Ladies Ride to The Blue Owl Restaurant and Bakery

Happy ladies warming up at the Blue Owl Restaurant, Kimmswick, MO
The porch thermometer was reading 48°F and I was wearing two layers of clothing plus my winter riding gear as I prepared to leave on my bike Saturday morning. 
I waited as long as I could, but I knew if I was going to meet my two friends at the Mobil station in Leasburg on time, it was time to ride. Yes, it was cold, but my gear would keep me warm. As I rode out of the driveway, excitement filled me.

The sun kept playing hiding-go-seek with the clouds all the way to Leaseburg. 
Man, oh man, was it ever good to listen to my rumbling bike, to feel the wind tugging at me, and to feel my black leather gear absorb heat during the brief spells of sunlight.

I was the first rider at the Mobil station.
As I pulled up to the gas pump and shut Revelation off, a man asked me if I knew the woman who rode a Harley and had spikes on her helmet. That would be my friend D. Anyway I said yes and told him she would be arriving shortly.

Pumping gas was interrupted twice by other guys wanting to know how many miles were on my bike, what model it was, etc. D's arrival on her purple Heritage and then R's arrival on her Roadglide stopped the questions.

After fueling, we fired up the bikes and headed for I-44 East. 
We were going to the Bourbeuse Valley Harley Davidson dealership in Union, MO for the Ladies Ride to Kimmswick, MO. Honestly, I didn't know anything about Kimmswick. I just wanted to go for a ride with my friends and meet some new ladies who ride their own bikes.

To make a long story a little shorter, I am skipping to our arrival in Kimmswick.
The owner of The Purple Pickle Gift Shop had reserved parking for us and we all backed our bikes into a long row beside her shop. Chilled from the ride, the decision was made to eat at The Blue Owl Restaurant and Bakery first so everyone could warm up. What a great decision this turned out to be!
The arrow is pointing to my bike, Revelation.
Unbeknown to me, The Blue Owl Restaurant is famous. Here is an excerpt from their "Our Story" tab at :
Jamie and Bobby Deen brought their Food Network Show "Road Tasted," to The Blue Owl in 2006 and featured our Famous Levee High Apple Pie® with Caramel Pecan Topping... In 2007, Paula Deen's staff invited me as a guest to "Paula's Party," a show filmed in Savannah, Georgia...Also, in 2010, The Travel Channel featured us on a show called Pie Paradise!.  In 2011, The Blue Owl Levee High Apple Pie® was chosen as One of Oprah's Favorite Things  in O Magazine and by OWN, The Oprah Network. 
After eating a slice of Warm Chicken Salad Pie and Snicker Pie, I can vouch for their flaky, tender pie crust whether is is under a savory or a dessert pie.
The Warm Chicken Salad Pie was full of chicken and veggies, plus water chestnuts that gave a crunchy texture to the poultry pie. Snickers Pie is going to be my new favorite pie. Who doesn't want to eat creamy chocolate filling and chopped Snickers bars?
Guess where I am riding to on a nice warm day? Yep, I am going on a pie ride AND all my friends have already said they are going, too.

Click Here  Blue Owl Snickers Bar Pie Recipe

Monday, May 16, 2016

Finale of Spring Baking Championship

The finale of the Spring Baking Championship - Season 2 is over! 

The final three contestants, Susana Mijares, Dan Langan, and Jane Soudah whipped up three gorgeous, destination wedding cakes in 5 hours. It was a tough day of judging for Duff, Lorraine, and Nancy. Duff tweeted that it was the longest deliberation yet to pick the winner.

Duff Goldman looked at Susana's Italian Colosseum cake and said,"I couldn't do that in 5 hours." Wow! What a compliment.

Dan used edible paper to create paper flowers and then air brushed them, authentic Mexican paper flowers that you can eat. The only problem with his cake was an edible chalkboard that none of the judges felt was appropriate.

Jane's Hawaiian Lei Wedding cake was elegant. Her almost fail, the cakes stuck to the pans, was handled with grace under pressure. Jane pieced her cake layers together, cooled and frosted the layers, and you could not tell that the layers weren't perfect. PLUS, the judges loved the flavors in her butter cake - passion fruit butter cream filling, coconut rum syrup, and American buttercream/creamcheese frosting.

And the winner is: Jane Soudah 

I am going to miss watching this show, BUT I am looking forward to the May 25th premiere of Cake Hunters. AND Cake Masters always provides a pyrotechnical sweet baking fix, too.

Click Here   Recipes From the Spring Baking Championship

Friday, May 13, 2016

Creating Simply Terrific Oven Lovin' Ribs

Yes! I can create  a simply terrific rack of baby back ribs, in the oven. 
The ribs are tender, pull-off-the-rib-bone, restaurant quality ribs. The secret to this achievement? A great recipe and Old Bay seasoning. 

Yep, the Old Bay label is right in saying it can be used on meat. It is definitely good on meat. So good in fact, that I chose to update my "Simply Terrific Ribs" recipe that I posted in 2014.

Want to try making some killer. oven lovin' ribs at home? 

Click Here for the only recipe you will EVER need to make a perfect rack of ribs.

Use this recipe to create some oven lovin' ribs that your friends and family will rave about for days, weeks, or maybe months! 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Black Forest Cakes for Multicultural Week

Multicultural Week is...
Multicultural Week is the week when each elementary grade level explores and makes projects related to a specific country. The second graders learn about the culture and food of Germany.

A Teacher's Request
This week, one of the second grade teachers brought me a recipe for Black Forest Cake and asked it I would consider making two of them for the students.

Of course I said YES! 
After all, it is for the kids and that is what working at an elementary school is all about.

Parent's Posts to Me

  • ...came home singing the praises of this cake! "Mama, I had the BEST CAKE EVER today! Can you bake German?"
  • ... has told me about this three times tonight! He absolutely LOVED it! 
  • ...really enjoyed it.

Click on the link below for the recipe I used.

Black Forest Cake Recipe