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Archive for November, 2010

Crostata is the name of the game for this months Daring Bakers Challenge.  It’s basically just a fruit tart, which I made 4 months ago in a baking party with my friend Alicia.  We hand made the dough, blind baked the shell, then filled it with pastry cream and fresh fruit.  It was pretty and delicious.  So for the crostata, I chose to do the more traditional version with fruit preserves baked in the oven.  Didn’t want to redo what I’d already done.

The pasta frolla (dough) was very easy to make and work with.  Once rolled out, I filled it with blueberry and cherry fruit preserves that were low in additives.  I also alternated the preserves with pastry cream since that was the other version of a crostata.  Baked pastry cream gets the consistency of cheesecake and is quite tasty.  The whole process didn’t take long at all.  The challenge would probably have been more interesting if we had to make the preserves ourselves.  Overall, I was surprised how good a jam tart tasted.  I thought it’d be weird, but it tasted basically like a fruit pie.

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

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Cookie Kelly, Cookie Monster, or Mecker Homewrecker.  Who do you know me as?  I’d probably prefer the first, tolerate the second depending on who you are, and laugh at the third, which is not altogether false, but definitely blown out of proportion.  And the last weekend of October, I was all three.

I went to Florida with a friend recently to see the Script.  I had it all worked out:  free lodging at the JW Marriott Orlando, free flight, discounted car rental… all thanks to the perks that come from my job.  However, the free flight was on standby and became a pain in the ass.  We managed to make it to Florida, but had to change our car rental and drive a bit extra because the only city we could get to was Tampa.  First show in our mini tour was in Orlando.

It all worked out, though I was worried for a bit.  The concert was sold out and the couple connections that I have were no longer affiliated or couldn’t help.  A very nice guy saw our distress and gave us an extra ticket that he had.  A girl saw that go down and she sold us her extra ticket, which was a bit higher than face value, but worth it to see the show.

As usual, I had cookies for the band.  Lead singer and hottest man on the planet Danny O’Donoghue recognized us from the Arizona show, but I’m sure me holding cookies helped put the pieces together.  Bummed that we hadn’t gotten a picture with him in AZ, that was the first thing we asked him for.  Well, that was basically the only thing we asked him for.  I didn’t have the guts to ask the other question of “Will you marry me?”

We were also reunited with the rest of the band and crew to continue what we started in AZ, a drink-fest!  And where do you think we went?  That’s right, an Irish pub!  There we were joined by the opening band sans lead singer Joshua Radin.  Though he didn’t come out to party, I’ve seen him many times so he received cookies as well.

The night was definitely entertaining and ended around 4 am when we finally left to check in at the hotel.  After a bit of sleep and coffee, I was off to Universal Studios to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Unfortunately, not much could be done in three hours there, but at least I got to see it.  Back in the car and a two hour drive to Tampa for round two.

Tampa was definitely interesting.  We basically saw a different side to everyone.  It was odd, but explained later.  And no, I’m not going to explain it to you.  But I’d say the craziest part of the night was seeing a friend and being accused by his girlfriend of flying to Tampa to see said guy.  Dating musicians (or crew, for that matter) takes a very self-assured woman.  Not all of them are bad, but most of them . . . indulge in the lifestyle.  That being said, I’m sure some are just fine with monogamy when in a relationship.  And the woman just needs to realize that they have a past and have put the others in their past.  Unless they haven’t put the others in the past, which Mecker Homewrecker has seen quite a bit of.  The aforementioned woman did send me an apology.  And I sincerely hope that they can work things out.

The Script had to take off pretty early that night so we sought them out to say goodbye.  When sexiest-man-in-the-universe Danny saw me, he said “Hey Cookie Monster!”  I tried to correct him and say it’s “Cookie Kelly,” but he said “no, it’s Cookie Monster.  Wait, I guess I’m the Cookie Monster.  Had three of those bar cookies for breakfast.”  Umm . . . if Danny O’Donoghue wants to call me Cookie Monster, with an Irish accent no-less, or really anything, that’s fine by me!

So how does this entry pertain to learning new baking skills?  It doesn’t.  Oh wait!  I do have a new one.  I wouldn’t say it’s a skill really, but I did make a new recipe for Matt the Electrician last week.  He has gluten allergies and I felt that I needed to make something other than chocolate chip meringues, like I’ve made him the last couple times.  So I whipped up a flourless chocolate cake, which is basically a rich, dense brownie.  And his guitarist Jud Newcomb (AKA Scrappy) got chocolate chip walnut cookies.  Always nice when they come through town.

On a slightly random note, okay, really random note, I got to sing a little bit on a local musician’s new EP.  J.D. Stooks – Shutterbug.  Check it out.  I’m on track 5.  Probably the closest I’ll ever be to releasing music publicly.

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