When we lived in New York, one of my favorite outings was a trip to NY Cake and Baking, serendipitously located just down the block from Pete's agency. This no-nonsense supplier is best suited, I suppose, for hard-core amateur and professional cake decorators, but I would spend hours and a fortune on the sparking, metallic dragees and gum-paste flowers so intricate they could hardly be discerned from the real thing. What I had most occasion to buy were the little hardened royal icing flowers, perfect for adorning the tops of cupcakes. I even carried some of these fragile treasures back from our most recent trip to the city because I can't find them in this area.
I have a little celebration coming up next weekend and wanted to use my little flowers on a dessert, but really didn't have enough of them. However, when I looked closely at them I couldn't help but remember nights spent in a back room at JC Penney, just 12-yr-old me and about eight other women over 60 taking a Wilton Cake Decorating Course. Surely I could make these suckers.
So this morning I got up and piped out about 120 little flowers, my own crystalline, edible garden. Some I am going to use for the party, and the rest I will just hold onto until the next time I make cupcakes or chocolate mousse. You really should try this. Once the consistency of the icing is correct, it is seriously easy. All instructions are found here. Just pipe them out and let them dry. This is not Ace of Cakes.
Last week I ordered a cookbook I have wanted for a long time, Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros. Sometimes when I get a new cookbook, especially one this gorgeous, I am kind of paralyzed when trying to choose a recipe.
Everything in here is so achingly beautiful and simple that I literally do not know where to begin. I have to quickly shut the book and then my eyes to avoid overstimulation. Sometimes too, I think that I am almost afraid to try a recipe for fear that it won't be as luscious as it looks on the page, recipes which are beautiful but lack substance, a sad state of affairs in any situation.
Today I finally selected a recipe but started small, making her Ripe Tomato Salad, which basically just involved cutting up some ripe tomatoes, coating them in olive oil, and giving them a gentle toss with some oregano, fresh basil, a bashed-up garlic clove and some salt. Give it about an hour to enjoy it's savory bath and serve with good bread and cheese. A perfect lunch. Of course.