Can do it all. And modest to boot.

Mmm..loaf of meat…

Posted: October 9th, 2009 | Author: alyssa | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

Meatloaf is easily one of the most versatile foods on the planet.  Just on this website alone, you will find at least three recipes that are impressively different from one another.  This diversity is one of my favorite things about it, because no matter how you make it, its probably going to be good, and no matter what people say, it is still meat loaf ;) .  Growing up, I had meat loaf maybe a a half dozen times, but it was hardly a staple in our household, probably because none of us liked it.  As I got older and cooking on my own, it was always one of those foods I was curious about, but I had this weird feeling that I had to be a soccer mom of four in a crazy sweater with embroidered reindeer on it to make a successful meat loaf.   Somehow I thought the ingredients would not successfully make a delicious meatloaf if they were brought home in my Jetta and not a minivan.  However, about a year ago, I decided to conquer my fear and tackle the challenge that was meatloaf.  All of the meatloaf recipes I looked at sounded good, but didn’t really seem like they were my style, so I made one up.

Here is my take on the deliciousness that is meat…in loaf form.

Ingredients:

1lb ground beef

1lb ground sweet italian sausage

One medium onion diced fine

One large rib of celery diced fine

3-ish cloves of garlic diced fine

a couple of mushrooms (depends on how much you like them) diced fine

1 egg

bread crumbs

italian seasoning

basil

parmesan cheese

red wine – at least 1/3 cup (I usually go more, but I don’t think anyone is surprised by that)

The hardest part of this recipe is cutting all the vegetables up super fine, but the rest of it is cake.  Put the meat in a bowl and mix in all the vegetables  (your hands are your best kitchen tool here).  Mix in the egg and red wine, then the bread crumbs, cheese and herbs until all the liquid is soaked up, if you add too many bread crumbs, the easiest fix is going to be to add more red wine.  I know this would be a tragedy, but hey,  sometimes you have to do things you don’t like in the name of the culinary arts.  Schlep it all onto a cookie sheet and form it into a loaf type shape and top it with more shredded parmesan.  Bake it at 375 for appx. an hour…I usually just shove my meat thermometer in until it gets to 160 degrees.

Of course with this, I have to make mashed potatoes.  I usually try to make a different kind every time, but so far my favorites are the fully loaded mashed potatoes, carmelized onion and bacon mashed potatoes, and bleu cheese mashed potatoes.

Happy Carnivore-ing!

TT


Save gourmet cooking…start with Gourmet

Posted: October 6th, 2009 | Author: alyssa | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: | 1 Comment »

When my cohort, the improviser, told me that Conde Nast was planning on shutting down Gourmet, I was not particularly pleased.  However the more I’ve been thinking about it (and 6 hours on planes and in airports today let to a lot of ‘think time’)  the less angry I get and the more disappointed and frustrated I get.  I know, I know…’ in these economic times’…blah blah blah blah.  But this isn’t just an economic decision, this has been a long time coming and I am pissed about it.  These days, when everyone has to eat nothing but whole grain, high protein, sugar free and high fiber, I think that most people have forgotten how AMAZING food can be.  I know it might mean an extra hour or two at the gym, or (god forbid!!)  a pair of jeans above a size 8, but it is totally worth it to me to use whole milk instead of skim (and don’t even get me started on soy milk) or sugar instead of Splenda in a recipe.  Gourmet magazine is one of the few places I have been able to turn to get recipes that truly fit into the category of GOURMET.  These are recipes that I am more than willing to spend a little extra on ingredients to feed someone a meal that makes them close their eyes and make that happy food noise, that we all make, whether we admit it or not.

Now, don’t get me wrong…these are not everyday recipes by any means, but I think thats what makes them so important and special to me.  Whenever I have a special occasion, a holiday, or just feel like being impressive ;) , I always turn to my saved issues of Gourmet and flip through all the dozens of turned down pages to decide which one to try this time.  And while I love my Cooking Light and Food Network.com, my culinary life will not be the same without Gourmet.  In my mind this isn’t just the end of a magazine.  In a world where we put soy crap in EVERYTHING, and even damn Lucky Charms are whole grain, taste is always the first thing that is sacrificed.  The number of gourmet lovers seems to be decreasing precipitously,  and the loss of this magazine will only further that trend.

A message to Conde Nast: Killing Gourmet, means killing a love of food in future generations….don’t let it happen just to better your bottom line.

TT


This s**t is bananas

Posted: September 17th, 2009 | Author: alyssa | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 4 Comments »

I love bananas…sometimes.  Bananas are a food that I can go 2 years with out even thinking about, and then all of a sudden have a 2 week craving for them.  No idea what this strange phenomenon is, but hey…its better than craving doughnuts (although I tend to crave those too….)  For the past three days I have been eating about 2 bananas a day, so tonight I thought that I would change it up a little bit and use bananas in a new way.  I’m not sure what made me try frying them, probably a combined influence of Paula Deen and my deep seated love of butter and sugar.  Either way, it turned out completely different than I thought it would and it was freakin’ delish, so I’m happy :) .  Unfortunately my inner fat kid was so excited to eat it that I forgot to take pictures.  Stupid chubby kid in my head…always getting in the way.

Anyway, here is what I did, and I’m not sure if I will be able to recreate it, but I’m definitely going to try…

Ingredients:

1 Banana cut into  round slices (about 1/2 inch thick, maybe a little thicker)

Brown sugar

Butter

Vanilla extract

Cinnamon

I think this is how it went…

Melt butter in fry pan over medium-high(ish) heat.  While its melting, coat the banana slices in brown sugar.  Not a super thick layer, but more than just a sprinkle.  Put the slices into the pan and let them cook for a couple of minutes, until the sugar starts to caramelize.  Sprinkle some vanilla extract over them and then flip them.  Cook them on the other side for another couple of minutes.  Once the sugar is all melty and gooey, sprinkle the bananas with some cinnamon and toss them around in the pan to make sure they are totally coated, then remove them from the heat.

I’m sure there is a classy way to serve these, but I just dumped them in a bowl (at this point I was so excited to eat them that we are all lucky that I didn’t just eat them straight out of the pan).    The bananas got all gooey and delicious, and the sugar and cinnamon mix really well with the banana flavor…holy cannoli it was good.  Actually, because it was so good, I am SURE the next time I try this I will tank it, but hey! thats what cooking is all about.  Sometimes its amazing, sometimes its a flaming ball of tragedy…but thats how we get better :)

Sorry for the vague measurements, but everything is pretty much based on the flavors you like, so its hard to give specifics.  Happy frying!

TT


Mac’n'cheese ‘o’ lantern…..

Posted: September 11th, 2009 | Author: alyssa | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments »

Yesterday I recieved an email that was a bit frantic, and a phone call that was downright freaked out.  Josie, thats right, our very own improvisor, was accepted into the Brookly Cheese Experiment.  Basically she has to make a cheese based recipe for about 300 people and hopefully it will be amazing enough to win a prize (lets face it…OF COURSE it will be amazing enough!).  We spoke for a little while and tried to work out some of the details of her recipe because its actually one she hasn’t made before. I will let her give you the details, but basically she is making a pumpkin mac’n'cheese.   Since she only has a couple days to prepare I offered to do a test run of the sauce she wants to use to help her out and pinpoint any problems that might arise.  Basically it was just a pumpkin-white cheddar beschamel.

Ingredients:

1Tbsp Butter

1 Tbsp Flour

2/3 cup chicken stock

1/3 cup whole milk

1 1/4 tbsp pumpkin

3/4 block of cheddar cheese -grated

cumin, cayenne, and nutmeg to taste

 Ingredients

Its a pretty simple process, but you have to pay attention so that it doesn’t burn or over heat.  Just melt the butter over low heat in a sauce pan and add the flour.  Cook the roux until the flour and butter are fully mixed and form a sort of paste on the bottom of the pan.

P-C Roux1

Then just add the chicken stock and milk and raise the heat a little (still on medium low).  Stir for about a minute and let the roux blend with the liquids, and then add the pumpkin and stir until the pumplin is fully incorporated into the sauce and it it thickens enough to coat your spoon.  Add the spices until to taste*, but be careful not to throw your cayenne into the pan, because then you get to reach in and get it our before the plastic melts on the bottom of the pan, and its just a situation at that point…P-C Cayenne Poor Cayenne :(

Then stir in the cheese a little at a time until it is all fully mixed in to form a thick creamy sauce.  You may want to re-spice it after you add the cheese to ensure that it tastes the way you want it to.

One thing that happened that I did not expect was the the pumpkin actually caused the sauce to get frothier than usual which I think will help it absorb into the pasta and not settle to the bottom as much.

*I have been told that ‘to taste’ is not really specific enough for some people, but really there is no other way to describe it.  You just have to add some and then taste, and if it s not enough, add more.  The trick is…the closer it gets to tasting right, the less you add so that you don’t over spice :) .

The final product

The final product

If the dish turns out even half as good as the sauce, Jo will definitely put up a good showing in her first major food competition :) .  I am so excited for her and I’m looking forward to hearing how it goes on Sunday.  She is an amazing cook so I know she will do great.  GOOD LUCK JO!!!!

Thanks to all my loyal readers (if I have any…)

TT


A little fruity

Posted: August 31st, 2009 | Author: alyssa | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 4 Comments »

Today was the first day of school.  Those of you that know me, know that I love my job, however I do have some frustrations with it.  Today, all of those frustrations seemed to be in the forefront for some reason, particularly during volleyball practice.  So after practice, I did what I normally do when I’m angry, and served up 4 baskets of balls, then decided what I was going to do for dinner.  At that point I was torn…after I work out I am in the mood for super healthy food, but when I’m in a mood like that I really want comfort food.  So I wasn’t quite sure what to do.  Luckily for me there is one kind of food that serves both purposes….FRUIT!  I love all fruit, usually just cut up and thrown in a bowl, but sometimes prepared in other forms.  Tonight was just mango and kiwi cut up.  One thing I like about fruit is that it can be for any meal of the day and prepared in a crazy amount of ways.  Cut up raw, baked, grilled, marinated, mashed, juiced….etc.  When I want to splurge a little, I add some whipped cream, or put it over ice cream.  When I want to be a little more fun I soak it in mint infused white wine.  And when you want to get really fun, you can always soak it in straight liquer (one of my favorites :) ).  The point is, fruit is a food that I can always get comfort from, and never have to feel guilty about( except when I get drunk off it, of course), which makes it even more comforting.  So my question to you, my lovely readers, is this:  What is your not-so-guilty guilty pleasure?


Chicken makes me happy

Posted: August 26th, 2009 | Author: alyssa | Filed under: Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

It truly does.  Not just because it has good flavor, but because you can do ANYTHING with it.  Fried, baked, sauteed, grilled…breakfast, lunch, dinner…all of it.  It is also fairly easy to work with, although I have had some of my biggest culinary tankings with chicken, so I’m not going to be a big enough punk to say that its ‘impossible to screw up’, which by the way is the stupidest phrase ever.  If you know, you know that I can screw anything up (see pizza post).

Anyway, my life has been crazy lately.  As a volleyball coach, I am in precamp right now, and we have 3 practices a day as well as team activities, dorm duty, and OH YEAH…prepping for school which starts Monday!!.  Hence my lack of posting, for which I apologize.  So last night, I finally had the time and energy to cook, and for some reason had a strong urge to roast a chicken.  Now, that probably sounds like a strange urge, but for me its more normal than you would think :) .  So I figured I would go with it and roast a chicken.   I decided to go with my basic recipe rather than mess with it.  Luckily, living in Ohio we are surrounded by the Amish, so I actually got a pretty fresh chicken, which is nice…and free range/organic :) .  All I do it rinse the chicken inside and out, dry it off then salt and pepper the inside cavity.  Then I take a medium onion (white, yellow, red…whichever you prefer)  quartered, and about 3 large cloves of garlic and stuff them into the cavity.  Then I coat the outside in butter salt and pepper.  This was about a 4 lb chicken, so I roasted it at 375 for about an hour and a half (until it reaches 160 degrees).  Usually for about the last 10-15 minutes I turn it up to 425 to make sure the skin is extra crispy…because its just so good!  It turned out beautiful, golden brown, juicy and tender….so delicious.  However, my FAVORITE part of roasting a chicken is the leftovers.    From one chicken, I can get almost a weeks worth of meals.  I am currently using the bones of the chicken to make soup, and tonight some of the left over meat is going into a casserole with peas, corn, mushrooms, and onions all in a white wine garlic sauce and topped with super thin potato slices and parmesan that will get all brown and delicious in the oven.  Tomorrow it will go into a frittata or quiche with spinach and some sort of cheese that has yet to be determined (suggestions?).  Not to mention the lunches/wraps that I can make for lunch on the run between meetings and practice.

With my crazy schedule I love anything that I can make once and serve 4 times, so this is one of my constant fall backs.

Thats all for now, but I promise not to go so long without a post…thanks for reading!

TT


Idiocy in the kitchen

Posted: August 6th, 2009 | Author: alyssa | Filed under: Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

Sorry its been a while, but I have been in the process of moving, so cooking hasn’t really been an option.  In fact, it still isn’t since all of my utensils are still in boxes.  However I thought I would share a lovely story with you all tonight.  Since I still have to eat despite my lack of kitchen function, tonight I decided to make a frozen pizza and crack a beer, because who doesn’t like pizza and beer after a long and terrible week.  For me, frozen pizza means Freschetta or Digiorno supreme pizza with extra mozzarella and pepperoni thrown on top.  Easy as cake right?  FALSE.  First, as I’m waiting for the oven to preheat I decide to crack open my first beer (Sam summer sampler was on sale…Glory).  Around that time I realize that I have no flipping clue where my bottle opener is…crap.  So I try several different implements of destruction, to no avail, then I see it: my flathead screwdriver.  This could work.  After a minute of prying and a close call with losing a thumb, I finally get the top to pop, with about 1/4 of the beer spilling on me and my new floors.  Awesome.  About 12 seconds later, while looking for a cookie sheet for the pizza, I find one of my bottle openers, of course

Anyway, back to the cooking (if you can really call it that)…So I preheat the oven, and prep the pizza with the extra toppings.  I put it on the only cookie sheet it fits on and put it in the over.  Wait. No. That cookie sheet apparently doesn’t fit in my new oven.  So I have to fish around through boxes for ANOTHER cookie sheet that is smaller.  I finally find one, put the pizza on it and I’m ready to do this.  After the requisite 30 min, I take it out and notice it has started to curl up on the edges.  Now, being both a foodie and a scientist, I realize this is NOT normal.  Until I notice that in my brilliant hurry for cheap food, I completely overlooked the cardboard that the frozen pizza rests on in its box.  Of course the dough has baked onto the cardboard so I ahve to do major surgery to remove it and hope that it is still edible because the only other thing I have in the house is rice noodles and booze.  Luckily it was still edible and pretty delicious.  However this experience has made me come to two major realizations.

1.  I can cook complex meals for a lot of people…but I can’t cook a freaking frozen pizza.  Can anyone say idiot savant?

2.  This move has turned me into a complete and total spaz, and I hope that I get my mind back before I have to enter another year of teaching America’s youth

I promise I will cook a real meal soon :)

TT


The catering side of being a foodie…

Posted: July 12th, 2009 | Author: alyssa | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 7 Comments »

This weekend, my mother, my sister Paige and I threw a baby shower for my sister Leanne.  Of course, the baby shower was at Leanne’s house…so she and her husband did just as much work as we did, but its the thought that counts right?  So as usual for most family events, I ended up being in charge of food.   I have been working on this menu for a while,  but of course things like the guest list tend to guide the menu so it wasn’t truly finalized until the night before the shower when we all went grocery shopping.  We finalized the guest list at 12-15, so here is the final menu that we settled on:

Caprese tomatoes

2 loaves of antipasto bread

Chicken wraps

Roast beef wraps

Spinach Artichoke dip

Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting and blue sprinkles (Its a boy :) )

The roast beef wraps just had butter, and cheddar cheese.  The chicken wraps were Paige’s idea, and she spread the tortilla with cream cheese and  salsa, then sprinkled it with mexican cheese and added chicken.  It was something I wouldn’t have thought of, but they were really good.

For the spinach artichoke dip, I just used Paula Deen’s recipe which is super easy, and really good.  I haven’t found a recipe I like better yet, so I’m going to keep with that one until I find something better.  The only thing I do differently is add 1-2 cloves of finely chopped garlic…because lets face it, garlic makes everything better.

I also have to report that sadly, in the interest of time and ease, we used a cake mix for the cupcakes…so I can’t really report on that.

The antipasto bread is something that I have been making for a couple years, since I found a recipe in my mom’s recipe box.  Basically you take bread dough, once its risen completely, roll it out and then put in whatever you want.  Leanne requested pepperoni and cheese in one of them, so I just tooke sliced mozzarella and covered the dough, leaving about an inch on the outside, then I put down sliced pepperoni.  From there just roll the dough up like you would a jelly roll, pinch the dough all along the seam to completely seal it.  Score it across the top with a knife a couple times, then put it on a greased cookie sheet, seam side down and bake it at 350 for 30 minutes.    The second loaf is the standard loaf that I make.  Its the same process, but the ’stuffing’ is different.  I take a pound of ground sweet italian sausage and sautee it with garlic and onions.  Then, once the sausage is completely cooked, let it cool down and add one package of cooked chopped spinach and parmesan until it tastes like you want it to.  Line the rolled out bread dough with sliced mozzarella, and then top it with the sausage mixture, again, leaving at least an inch perimeter at the edge of the dough.  Roll it, score it, bake it the same way, and when you open the oven 30 minutes later, you have a delicious loaf of bread stuffed with deliciousness.  I forgot to take pictures, but I make it all the time, so I will be sure to do a follow up.

Now…the dish I am most proud of.  I am a HUGE fan of the caprese salad (for those of you that don’t know, thats just tomato, fresh mozzarella, and basil.  Usually with balsamic)  Its a really great summer dish, its easy, its light and its SO GOOD.  So I wanted to do the caprese, but decided to change it up a little bit.  Rather than making it a knife and fork kind of a salad, I wanted it to be more like finger food.  So I searched around and found a lot of stuffed tomato recipes, and a lot fo bruschetta recipes, but nothing that was what I really wanted.  Most of them talked about cooking the tomatoes, or doing some other crap that does not make sense to me, so I took some ideas I liked and came up with the most simple recipe on earth…and freaking delicious to boot.  I got two packages of campari tomatoes which are nice because they are like a two bite size.  I just cut the tops off of them and hollowed them out with a small spoon.  They tend to get a little wet witht he juice, so just wipe them with a towel to dry them off.  Then I took two large balls of fresh, water-packed mozzarella (try to find the firmest ones you can).  I diced the cheese fairly small, and mixed it with some fresh, chopped basil.  Then just stuff the tomatoes with the cheese and top them with some basil chiffonade.  Before you serve it, just drizzle them with balsamic, or you can serve it with a balsamic reduction dipping sauce.  Overall it worked out really nicely, and was delicious!IMG00141-20090711-1041By the way, I think this is also my best photography to date…so thats exciting too :)

TT


The only cleaning I like…

Posted: July 7th, 2009 | Author: alyssa | Filed under: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Is cleaning out the fridge.  I am going out of town on Thursday and will be gone for almost 3 weeks, so I obviously can’t leave a lot of food in the fridge to rot.  A lot people like to make sandwiches, or random casseroles, but I can only think of one thing when it comes to left overs….Frittata!  Frittatas are the greatest thing on the planet, you just take whatever you have in the fridge, throw it in a pan and add eggs.  This week I had all some GREAT stuff to use, so I was excited.  I used leeks,  chicken, dill, parmesan, garlic, and brie.

In the name of being somewhat healthy, rather than using 8 full eggs, I used 4 full eggs and 4 egg whites.  I just put them in a bowl and mixed them with a fork to break them up.  Throw in a couple of splashes of milk to help them stay light and fluffy.  Then I just threw in what I had…some salt and pepper, the dill, and shredded parmesan cheese.  While all that was going on, I cleaned the leeks and sauteed them with the garlic and some olive oil until they were tender.  Then I threw in the cooked chicken just to heat it up.  When that was done, I left everthing in the pan, and threw in some butter to coat the entire pan.  The just pour the egg mixture over it and cook it over medium heat until it is set on the bottom and edges.  Once the eggs were set, I took the brie(cut into medium pieces) and just dropped it on top of the eggs. Then I put the pan into a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes until it was completely set.    DELICIOUS.  The good thing about frittata is you can put in whatever the hell you want, and it is ALWAYS good.

Now, apparently I didn’t take my own advice and fully coat the pan with butter, because I had a little trouble getting it out of the pan…

Hideous...but delicious

Hideous...but delicious

Lets face it…presentation has never been my forte, but who cares, as long as it is delicious.

Happy Frittata-ing!

TT


Any excuse for cake

Posted: July 4th, 2009 | Author: alyssa | Filed under: Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

And I will take any of them :) .  For most people, cake has that mellowing effect.  One bite and the endorphins flow, but for me, the comfort is less in eating the cake, although I’m a big fan…its making the cake that calms me down.  Something about putting various parts together to create something that satisfying just clears my head.  When I am baking, I am focused on nothing but the ingredients, the taste of the batter or dough or whatever, and how it feels, too dry, to soft…whatever.  No matter what else is going on, I am only focused on the things I can taste and feel at that moment.

I have been trapped in my own head for the past couple days, and I have not been able to shake it, so I decided to try and clear my head the good old fashioned way…a bake fest.  I decided on chocolate cake, because when done right, can be the best thing on the planet.   Although just chocolate was not enough…I needed to create and construct not just mix and pour.  So I threw in a twist.  Two layer chocolate cake with chocolate raspberry filling.  I used this recipe for the cake, because I have yet to find one that I love enough to be faithful to (thats right, my cakes are like my men).  Since the filling is the best part, I’m going to gloss over the baking of the cake…just follow the recipe.  Although one hint: the recommended bake time is 30-35 min at 350, but I would lean a lot closer to the 30 minute side of that so that your cake doesn’t get dry on the edges.  IMG00131-20090702-1816Once the cakes are done, just take them out and set them on a rack to cool.  The easiest way to get the cakes out of the pans without damaging them  is to put a flat surface  on top of the pan, then just flip it.  Although if you have a large enough cooking rack for both cakes, set the pans side by side, put the cooling rack on top of them upside down then just flip it.

While the cakes are baking and cooling you can focus on the filling, which is pretty simple.    Take a pint of raspberries (save a few out for garnish if you like)  and soak them in bourbon or brandy, whichever you prefer for about 30 minutes, until the liquid starts to turn a little red, and the raspberries look like they are breaking down a little.  IMG00134-20090702-1915I acutally used American Honey, which is basically Wild Turkey mixed with honey, which is SO GOOD.   So just cover the berries with the liquor and let them sit.  Once they have started to break down, put it all in a sauce pan and simmer it over medium high.  Stir it to break up the berries further.  Keep it bubbling a little to help burn off the alcohol, because you don’t want a drunken cake, you just want the flavor in there.  Once the liquid has reduced a bit, start adding sugar by the spoonful until you reach your desired flavor.  Keep stirring until the raspberries are completely broken up.  Let it cool for a few minutes, then once it is cool enough to handle, pour it through a cheese cloth or strainer, to remove the seeds.  Set the remaining liquid aside to cool.

While that is cooling, You can go ahead and make the frosting.  Put one and stick of softened butter in a mixing bowl, or in your standing mixer.    In a separate bowl, combine 3 cups of confectioners sugar and 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa.  Finally in a third, much smaller prep bowl, put 4 Tbsp of heavy cream.  Add one cup of sugar mixture and one Tbsp. cream to the butter and mix until fully combined.  Keep adding them one cup and one Tbsp at a time until everything is mixed together.  Then take about 1/4 of the frosting and put it in a separate bowl.  The raspberry liquid should be cook enough at that point so you can add it to the separated frosting until you reach the desired raspberry-ness.  I personally added the whole thing.  If it is a little liquidy, just throw it in the freezer for a few minutes until it thickens.

Construction time….

Put one of the cakes on the plate, leaving the flattest surface as the top, so that it is easier to frost.  Take your raspberry frosting and spread it out on top of the cake, starting in the middle and working your way out towards the edges.  I personally like a thick layer of frosting, but add however much you want.  Take your second cake, again flat side up, and put in on top of the first.  Then using the chocolate frosting, frost the entire cake.  Again starting in the center and working your way out to the edges, then frosting the sides.  It is easiest if you have the plate on a surface where you can turn it easily to make sure you get full chocolaty coverage.  Again, use as much or as little frosting as you like, and viola!:

IMG00136-20090702-2043IMG00138-20090704-1152Hopefully you enjoy this cake almost as much as you enjoy my absurd ramblings on…

Happy Baking!

TT