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Last week we finally used the dinosaur cookie cutters, at least some of them-- there are still some prehistoric mammals and a couple of dinos that we didn't try.

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1/2/17
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Celebrating the arrival of fall with some fall leaf-and-acorn cookies to bring to work. The oak leaves are orange flavored, the acorns are chocolate cookies.

The new toaster oven worked flawlessly, and my new small cookie sheets that fit in it were awesome-- heavy aluminum that cools down enough for the next batch of cookies to go in by the time the current batch is done.
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10/2/16
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Making a Japanese style one pot meal. Started with making a dashi from bonito flakes, wakame, sea palm, and ginger, with some black sesame oil thrown in and a bit of mirin. Added fresh shiitake and snow peas from the local Asian market, plus eggplant and kabocha from my garden. Some fish balls for protein, and when the veggies are done, I have udon to add. There will be lots of leftovers, and they are even better later. It's fall!
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Had my favorite conspirator-chef over for dinner tonight. We used the spiralizer on part of the monster zucchini. Sautéed the results in meyer lemon infused olive oil, then added pesto and homegrown cherry tomatoes. Herbed chicken thighs completed the meal. Yum!
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7/7/16
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Pan roasted scallops on fennel and citrus salad. Took a cooking class at work that taught this dish.

The salad is thinly sliced fennel bulb with sections of blood orange and cara cara orange. Finely chopped cilantro and lime juice complete the salad. It was actually supposed to be a salsa, but my cooking partner wanted to use the whole bulb of fennel, so the proportions were more like a salad than a salsa. Really yummy though!
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I finished the cake for tomorrow's handfasting, and it came out almost exactly the way I wanted it. Now it's safe in a box on the washer out in the laundry room where the cats can't step on it. :-)

This was my first fondant cake. It's a lemon cake made with two 12" Wilton heart pans.

Each pan took a box of Duncan Hines cake mix, plus a box of pudding, to fill. I used lemon cake mix and lemon pudding, and I added dried lemon zest from Penzey's to the batter.

The layers are torted with Trader Joe's lemon curd. I piped a double row of buttercream along the sides to keep the filling from seeping through the edges.

A double batch of buttercream icing made enough to frost the cake and have about 2 cups left over. I used a bit of lemon flavoring in the icing, a tablespoon total for the double batch.

I did a basic crumb coat over the cake, and then rolled out my fondant. I used the Wilton online chart that said for a 4" high 12" heart cake I would need 48 ounces. The heart was 12" and the frosted cake was 3" high, so I aimed for a 12+3+3=18" circle. I didn't get it very circular, which bit me later. I had a 19" square embossing mat that I laid down on the smooth rolled surface of the fondant and did one careful roll across to get the texture.

Then I rolled up the fondant about 3/4 of the way onto my rolling pin and had my sweetie put the cake under it. I rolled the fondant onto the cake and smoothed it out as well as I could. I had a pair of fondant smoothers to use, but it was my first time and I felt clumsy with them. I didn't make a very good circle rolling out my fondant, so I ended up with a place where I had to close the edges together at the point of the heart. That's a no-no, oh well. I was afraid that if I rerolled the fondant it would get too dry and I thought it would stretch more on the cake as I smoothed it.

When I cut the edges and resmoothed things, I ended up with some ragged edges, so I piped a 21 star tip around the base.

I used Wilton fondant for the white main fondant, and then Cake Boss small packs of colored fondant for the colored hearts.
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2/13/16
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Fondant rose n calla lily from class tonight.
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Tried to make candy melt hearts just now using this "melt in mold" system from Wilton. The illustration showed a stationary microwave interior, and mine has a rotating tray. Apparently I have a hot spot in mine, or one stack of candy melts had a mutant explosive patty or something. One of these things is not like the others. Good thing I was looking thru the door periodically while it nuked. Might try again tomorrow night after it cools and I can clean the burnt stuff out. Any ideas what went so wrong?
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Flower garden cake from class tonight. I donated it to the staff break room at Michael's Crafts where the class was held. We don't need the calories at home!
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1/28/16
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