Tuesday, May 26, 2009

She couldn't be whiter

Oh my goodness. I can only assume that you all are checking in on my blog, waiting for me to finish my cupcakes. And I will! I promise. It's just that I've been a little bit busy working on a new Off-Broadway musical. Want to check it out? It's really good.

Shafrika the White Girl
By Anika Larsen
Co-Conceived & Directed by April Nickell

With a name like Shafrika, it's gotta be a blonde girl from Cambridge,
Massachusetts, right? In Jaradoa Theater’s joyous new musical,
discover how Anika Larsen's unique and movingly quirky exploration of
race, identity and family uncovers the truth about growing up with Black,
White, Asian, Latino, and Native American brothers and sisters.
10 kids. 5 races. One family. Go.

June 12, 13, 15, 18, 19, 20, 22, 25, 26, 27 @ 8:00pm
June 20 & 27 @ 2:00pm; June 21 @ 7:00pm; June 28 @ 3:00pm

The Dimson Theatre at the Vineyard Theatre
108 East 15th Street, between Union Square & Irving Place

Tickets $18, 212-868-4444 or www.smarttix.com

Choreographer Luis Salgado Musical Director Karl Mansfield
Assoc. Musical Director Brian Usifer Scenic Design Josh Zangen
Lighting Design Herrick Goldman Costume Design Andrea Varga
Sound Design Mike Farfalla Assoc. Sound Design David Stollings
Propsmaster Brandon Giles Production Manager John Martinez
Projections Ben Demarest Assoc. Lighting Design Susan Nicholson
Stage Manager Lena Moy Borgen Asst. Stage Mgr. Catherine Lynch
Asst. Choreographer Alison Solomon Asst. Director Katrina Stevens
Press Rep Jim Randolph Asst. Producer Daryl Ray Carliles
Associate Producer Robert E. Schneider
Original music composed by Tim Acito, Joshua Henry & Janice Lowe

Featuring Chloe Campbell, Anthony Comis, Joamer González,
Stephen Gelpi*, Chris Harbur, John Harrison, Ricardo Hinoa,
Amanda Hunt, Anika Larsen*, Stephanie Martinez, Zonya Love*,
Liz Piccoli*, Elizabeth Racanelli*, Eileen Rivera*,
Lawrence Stallings*, Shelley Thomas*, Gregory Treco*

This production has been made possible in part
by Jack Sharkey and R.Evoluci├│n Latina.

*actors appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association;
an Equity-Approved Showcase

For tickets (and they're going fast), click here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cakes helps people come together

Last weekend, Bryn, one of my oldest friends in the whole world got married. It was a small wedding where everyone contributed something, her mom and aunt made the food, her new mother-in-law bought some flowers, her uncle and cousin provided live music and I volunteered to make a cake!

My dreams of making a large multi-tiered wedding cake were dashed when I realized that the wedding was in New Jersey and that I was going to have to take the subway and a car to get there. My plan B? To make cupcakes and put them in the shape of a wedding cake. Or maybe just eat them.

Bryn asked for "chocolate" so after I perused my cookbooks, I decided on Martha Stewart's chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing and chocolate curls. I am so good at taking direction.

First, I sifted together 2 cups cake flour (all I could find was whole wheat again. But whatever. No one noticed), 1 cup cocoa powder, 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt.

Usually, when recipes say sift, I just dump it all in a bowl. But Martha is known for her finicky tendencies, so I decided to humor her. This is a wedding cake after all. Here's my sifted mixture.

Martha recommends I use an electric stand mixer for the next step. But I don't have one of those, so I used a hand mixer instead. It worked just fine. I beat together 3 sticks of butter and 2 cups of sugar until it was "light and fluffy." Then I added 5 eggs (one at a time) and 2 tsp vanilla and beat it some more.

Then I added 1 cup of the flour mixture and mixed. Then 1/2 cup of buttermilk and mixed. Then flour. Then buttermilk. Then flour. And then I had cake batter!

I poured it into cupcake liners and baked for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees (or at least that's what I was supposed to do. My oven doesn't get hotter than 325 degrees anymore, so I had to bake them for a lot longer).

The frosting was super complicated, so I'll get to that tomorrow. But don't touch that dial, I'll be right back.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I have massive amounts of work to do! This so rarely happens to me, but I am being buried by electronic paperwork. All I really want to do is blog about cupcakes, but that will have to wait until tomorrow (or even Friday). But please don't forget about me! Keep checking back and I'll show you all about these:

Yeah, they look good, right? Keep reading.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Spring is here (and it's about damn time)

Spring has come to the Farmer's Market here in New York, and may I just say, finally! I am so sick of winter and root vegetables and apples. I need me some fresh greens. I got some quintessential spring vegetables - ramps and green garlic. Here are the ramps.

What are ramps, you may ask? They are kind of like scallions, but cooler. They have a mild onion-y flavor and you can eat the whole thing, the greens, bulbs, everything. They are only available for a short time every year, so people go nuts for them at the market. Here's the green garlic.

Green garlic is young garlic that was harvested before the cloves matured. You can use more of the stalk, also like a scallion.

Anyways, because these ingredients are more special and rare, I figured I should cook something that highlights them. First, I trimmed the green garlic and cut it into small slices (white and pale green parts only) and sauteed it in a pan with some olive oil and red pepper flakes until it got soft.

Then I trimmed the root end off the ramps and tossed them in whole.

While the ramps cooked, they shriveled and became long and skinny, kind of like spaghetti.

And then I mixed it with spaghetti! And Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper! Yay!

It tasted it so good. The ramps mingled with the spaghetti nicely, and the red pepper gave it a little heat. It was easy, quick and delicious.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Landmarks are emptier during the recession

One of the only pluses about the current recession is that if you want to go to a nice restaurant at the last minute without a reservation, you can go right ahead. This past week, Asha and I checked out Landmarc, one of the restaurants in the Time Warner Building (it's weird to have a mall in New York, but at least the food there is good - like the Bouchon Bakery).

We started off with the endive salad. I found it a little bitter, but then again, endives are bitter, so what was I expecting?

The cheese and nuts were a nice compliment to the endives. I found myself hunting for the bits of cheese and nuts while trying to avoid the leaves. Whoops! That's probably not the point of salad.

Asha had mussels - you can get them prepared a variety of ways, and she chose chorizo and onion (because it seemed different - you can get shallots, white wine and parsley anywhere).

They were very good - lots of flavor from the chorizo and yummy broth leftover to dip bread in and eat. I was a big fan.

(Dad, look away - don't scroll down any more, you're not going to like this)

Here comes one of my favorite dishes of all time.....be prepared to be a little grossed out if you're squeamish.

That's right, bone marrow. I love bone marrow. A lot. I will order it almost any time I see it on a menu. You've seen me eat bone marrow before. It is so delicious and creamy and decadent without being fancy or pretentious. You make a huge mess eating it - meat juices run down your face and grease gets everywhere. I feel super alive when I'm eating this - it takes all my concentration to dig out the marrow and then spread it with onion confit and sea salt. I pick and poke at every little bit and I'm not focused on anything else - just splitting apart bones and eating them. YUM!

So, I'd go back to Landmarc is what I'm saying, I think. I mean, they have bone marrow. And mussels. And some pasta specials that looked good as well. You should check it out.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A shameless plug, but not for me

So one day last year, I was running around Manhattan and I bumped into someone that I had done a show with, back in California - Lyndsay Faye. We were in South Pacific back at the Willows Theater together. I've got a picture!

I'm in army fatigues, and Lyndsay is the nurse on the left.

I didn't have time to stay and talk, but I said hi, gave her my card and continued on to Pilates class. We became friends on Facebook and I noticed that in her profile that she said she had a book coming out - Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson (you know, like Dr. Watson from Sherlock Holmes). Not sure if this was a joke or not (she always had a wry wit), I googled her and lo and behold, it was true! Well, this book has finally come out. Here it is on the shelf in Barnes and Noble!

It's not a great picture, but I was amused. I bought the book and so far, I am very pleased. It's an old fashioned mystery about Sherlock Holmes and his investigation of Jack the Ripper, written from the perspective of Dr. Watson. The one problem is that I get a little squeamish reading about serial killers before bed, so I can only read it during the daytime.

She's also got a food blog (who doesn't?) that I enjoy reading. So, check out her blog, buy her book, and all that jazz.