Monday, February 23, 2009

Is a self-scraping beaterblade attachment an extravangance?

This is the question I posed to some friends last week, to which I got really quizzical looks. I'm on the Sur La Table mailing list and they sent me an email about such blade, and how can one resist? Just look at the picture below and read the description.

You voted this as one of your favorites: Continuously beat, scrape and fold ingredients in your electric mixer in about half the time with the BeaterBlade. The flexible, high-quality, food-grade plastic eliminates hand-scraping bowls, unmixed flour on bowl’s edges and batter build-up on the blades. Patented ‘wing-system’ design acts like a wiper blade that continuously scrapes sides and bottom of the bowl while mixing.

Ingredients are thoroughly included and mixed, ensuring foolproof baking preparation. BeaterBlade scrapes even the dimple at the bottom of the bowl. Perfect for cakes, cookies, frosting, bread, compound butters, meatloaf, pie fillings, mashed potatoes, gum paste and more. Fits either 5-qt., 6-qt. or 7-qt. mixers. BeaterBlade doubles as a spatula. Made in the USA.

What really got me is that it even scrapes the dimple at the bottom of the bowl. At $24.95, and in these economic times, I can't really justify spending the money on such an object. Plus, it just sounds so pompous...

...but it would have come in handy for the coconut cake I made last week. Pictures below!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thank you Gina for the Baked Alaska

Gina made me a Baked Alaska for my belated birthday yesterday (which was also coincidentally the day after my half birthday!) I think that she resisted it for a long time since it is a really hard dessert to make. Subsequently she is requesting Bananas Flambe for her half birthday next month, which isn't so hard except for the fact she wants it to be already flaming when I get off the elevator at her office. Somehow I think carrying a dish of flaming bananas down Canal St. isn't going to go over so well...

What is Baked Alaska? Baked Alaska is ice cream (Gina used strawberry) on top of sponge/pound cake encased in a cocoon of meringue which is placed in the oven long enough for the meringue to brown. The meringue is a good insulator so the ice cream and cake still stay cold.

Unfortunately Gina had to take the Baked Alaska out early since the meringue was dripping and melting (she thinks it has to do with the sugar deflating the meringue) so the picture above does not really resemble the one below, even though it was still very tasty.

On another interesting note, according to the Wikipedia entry, no one really knows where Baked Alaska came from, but one theory is that, while on a visit to Paris, a Chinese master chef introduced the concept (with a pastry casing) to French chef Balzac of the Grand Hotel. Balzac then decided to substitute the recipe with meringue and renamed it omelette surprise.

What is the lesson to be learned here? The Chinese invent everything and other people take credit for it.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Superbowl Ad: Cheetos

I really like Cheetos, but after watching this slightly creepy ad tonight, I'm less keen (an aside: has anyone ever tried Baked Cheetos? Not as good. I'd definitely eat the regular ones for 30 more calories).