February 21, 2017

More Moose! (February 8th and 20th)

The moose was eating lunch by Chena Hot Spring Road!

We have been seeing some moose in our property now and then this winter.
We went to Chena Hot Spring as a late St. Valentine's Day gift from my spouse yesterday,
and then we encountered a pair of moose (probably a mother and a child) on the way to the hot spring and also on the way back home!

バレンタイデーは、凍った雨が降っていて外出を控えていたので、
昨日、バレンタイデーのプレゼントとして、チナ温泉に行ってきました。
露天岩風呂でとてもリラックスできたし、温室で栽培してるレタスを使ったおいしいサラダも食べたし、
やっぱりここは最高です。
そんな温泉の行きと帰りに、またもやムースに遭遇しましたよ。

A moose was eating breakfast right by our drive way.
February 8th.

It was digging the pile of branches we made
after cutting down some trees in our property last summer.

Here are the mother and the kid of moose we met
by CHSR on February 20th.

The child one.

It was eating buds of bushes.

Here is the mother one...I guess.

She got the gorgeous brighter color fur.
It looked nearly orange.



Isn't it cute?
It was trying hard to reach the higher branch.

Experiment on Some Sweets


Macaron with lime buttercream.
初マカロン!

Here are some pictures of the sweet treats I made last week.
I have never made French macaron before, so I made it for the first time.
I also made another French-style sweets called "Tart Conversation" for the first time.
I used some kumquat in them.   I love kumquat!  Too bad that they are pretty expensive here in the U.S.  About 89 cents for 5 little kumquats!  I used to buy some at the farmers in our neighborhood in Mitaka, Tokyo.

バレンタイン・デーに作ったケーキと初めて試しに作ってみたお菓子2品。
作ったことないものを作るのって楽しい。
マカロンはいろんな失敗をやらかしてしまいました。また再挑戦ですね。

Chocolate layered cake for St. Valentine's Day.
I just fixed this from what we have in the fridge
so that I could use up some remains of heavy cream and mascarpone cheese.

4 layered chocolate Genoise cake with:
chocolate ganache with orange zest and Meyer's rum,
hazelnut spread mixed with mascarpone cheese,
and apricot jam for a little bit of tart flavor.

Here is the mistake #1:
I didn't use any parchment.
Nor did I grease the oven pan!  Duh!

They looked fine from the outside.

Here is the mistake #2:
Huge air pocket on the top of the macarons.
I didn't bang the oven pan hard enough 
on the table before setting it to dry the surface.

So, only 60 % turned out to be usable for sandwich.
We ate all the broken ones anyway, though!
I am not gonna waste anything!

I put some buttercream 
using pâte à bombe (egg yolk whipped with boiling syrup)
added a little bit of lime zest and juice. 

Here are the puff pastry called "Tart Conversation".
It turned out to be great and tasty!

I used some quicker way to make the puff pastry,
but it still took me a couple of hours
because I had to roll and fold the dough 3 times 
and needed to rest the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes between each process.

On the top of the puff pastry, 
I put some royal icing (egg white/icing sugar mix) before baking it,
which gives you nice and crusty texture on the top of the tart. 

Here is the inside of "Tart Conversation".
The composition is (from the top layer):
royal icing,
puff pastry,
almond cream with Meyer's rum,
raspberry jam and Canadian whisky flavored kumquat,
and puff pastry at the bottom.
金柑が売ってたので早速、使ってみました。
高いのでちょっとだけだけど、格段においしくしてくれます。

February 7, 2017

Moose (December 22nd and January 8th)

Around 10 a.m. on December 22nd.
A young moose was approaching about 6 meters away from our living room window! 
朝、パソコンで作業していて、ふと窓の外を見たら、
めっちゃ近くにいました!

I uploaded the pictures of nothing but baked sweets recently, so here is something different!
In winter, a few moose seems to like to hang out in our property.
We couldn't nice pictures of them, but we saw 2 of them rushing through our property towards the forest yesterday!

しばらくお菓子ばっかりアップしていたので、久しぶりに野生動物の画像ものせておこうと思います。
冬になってから、うちの敷地内で、度々ムースを目撃するようになりました。
どうやら森への通り道に使っているみたいです。

It stayed by our car for a while.
すぐに玄関先にでてひっそり撮影。

I wonder the moose was interested in that swing...
露出を加工して明るくしてますが、本当は朝10時でも
薄暗いです。

流石に気が付いて逃げていってしまいました。

This was taken on January 8th.
It was running through the forest between ours and neighbor's property.
これは1月8日に撮影。
家と隣の家の間を歩いていました。

拡大するとこんな感じ。
メスなのかな…角はありません。

 
極寒の中、彼らは何を食べて生きてるんだろう?


February 5, 2017

Baby Shower Cake (February 4th)

The first baby shower cake I have ever made!
It was so exciting!


A friend of ours asked me to make a cake for the baby shower,
so I tried my best I could.  It was a wonderful opportunity for me to make something like this.
It was my first baby shower to participate in, and it was really fun to thinking about what kind of cake I should make for the baby girl.

しばらく更新しない間に、新年…どころか節分、立春も過ぎてしまいました。
そんな立春の日にベイビーシャワーのケーキを作ってくれないかと友人に頼まれて、
2日間、ケーキと格闘していました。
女の子の赤ちゃんとのことだったので、自分的にはめいっぱいフェミニンにしてみました。

 Considering the baby is a girl,
I picked some soft pastel colors for buttercream flowers.
Rosy Pink, Peach Pink, Soft Yellow, Lavender and, of course, White!
イタリアンメレンゲのバタークリームでいろんな花を絞っていきます。

 I watched some short tutorials on YouTube,
I did some image training before making these.
However, I ended up "improvising" most of them by my self
using several kinds of piping tips.
お気に入りは何となく乗りで作ってみた
シャクヤク。それっぽく見える?

I also considered the cake it self, too.
I am not into the cakes just for decoration.
I like to make something I would love to eat!
So, I made a chocolate cake covered and sandwiched with ganache
which contains orange zest and Grand Marnier. 
見た目だけのケーキにはあまり興味がないので、
ケーキ自体もおいしいもの、かつ重さに耐えられるものということで、
土台になる部分はチョコレートガナッシュをサンドしたチョコケーキ(オレンジ風味)。

On the top of the chocolate cake, I put another smaller cake,
which is a lime-zest Genoise cake with mascarpone cheese/whipped cream,
sliced strawberries and raspberry jam/Kirschwasser.  
チョコケーキの上には、二周りほど小さいケーキを乗せました。
こちらはスポンジにラズベリージャム、イチゴ、
マスカルポーネ入り生クリームをサンドしてあります。

When I put the buttercream flowers, 
I felt as if I were arranging a bouquet of flowers! 
ひとつずつ絞ったバタークリームの花を
フラワーアレンジメント的にのっけていきます。
ここ、テンション上がるところ!

I made some roses, peonies, prim-rose-like flower,
jasmin-like flowers and violets. 
それぞれの花、単体だとそんなにリアルじゃないけど、
こんな風にまとめると、それっぽく見えてくるから不思議。

When I piped each flowers, they didn't look so realistic,
but when they were all assembled,
they looked pretty nice!

January 31, 2017

Cakes and Sweets in December and January

I baked some Stollens at the beginning of December.

 Before Christmas, I baked 4 Stollens and gave one to our friend here in Fairbanks and sent another to our friend in Oregon, who sent us fresh fruit, vegetables and lovely things.
  And for Christmas party, I baked two kinds of cakes.  One was a fruitcake and the other was a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, "Black Forest Cherry Cake".

クリスマス前からクリスマスにかけてもいろんなお菓子をつくってました。
シュトーレン・・・初めて作ってみましたがおいしくできましたよ。
クリスマスは、友人宅のパーティーに招かれたので、ケーキを2種、作って持参しました。   

  I started the project with preparing some orange peels and lemon peels by myself.
I didn't want to use the store-bought one filled with preservatives.
 オレンジピールとレモンピールも手作り。

Lemon peels enhance the flavor of the dough nicely.

I put several kinds of dry fruit.
Raisins soaked in Meyer's Rum,
Apricot and orange peels soaked in Grand Marnier,
Lemon peels and tart cherries soaked  in Kirschwasser.
 
 

Just before putting them in the oven.

After baking them.

Coated with melted butter and sugar.
I used granulated sugar because I couldn't find 
powdered sugar without cornstarch added.

We ate them slice by slice each day before Christmas.

I put some home-made marzipan in the stollens, too.
つくってからしばらくたった頃がよりおいしかったです。

I baked a simple fruitcake using the leftover dry fruit. 
シュトーレンを作るために用意した洋酒漬けのドライフルーツの
残りを使ってフルーツケーキを作りました。

I added a little bit of the leftover marzipan in the dough,
and then the texture of the cake became really nice and moist. 
簡単に手作りしたマジパンを混ぜ込むと、
ケーキの生地が格段においしくなりました。

Here is the chocolate version of the fruitcake.
I used only dried tart cherries. 
ドライチェリーを使ってチョコレートケーキ。

Gingerbread cookies.
We got a cookie cutter shaped of moose. 
クリスマス用にジンジャーブレッドも作ってみました。

 
We got a couple of reasonable pineapples at the store,
so I baked a bundt cake with them. 
よく行くスーパーでパイナップルが安かったので、
バントケーキにしました。

I sauteed the pineapples with Meyer's Rum and brown sugar. 
この日はパイナップル2個で5ドルでした。

I baked a Chocolate bundt cake with ganache (using the Angel food cake pan). 
チョコレートガナッシュで塗りたくったチョコレートバントケーキ。
(型はエンジェルフード・ケーキのものを使用。)

 The ganache melts in the mouth.

Here is the Christmas fruitcake.
I added dry cranberries and golden raisins 
to the ones I used to make the usual fruitcake I made before. 
クリスマス仕様のフルーツケーキ。
もの珍しさで買ったスターフルーツをのせてみました。

Here is the inside of the cake.

The Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte I made for Christmas.
I forgot to take a picture of the inside.
Here is the composition...
Cocoa Genoise cake, whipped cream, chocolate whipped cream,
Canned tart cherries soaked in Kirschwasser syrup,
the side coated with chocolate ganache.
It seems that the guests preferred the chocolate one to the fruitcake.
However, the host of the party told me that the fruitcake was great. 
シュヴァルツヴェルダー・キルシュトルテ…って言いたいだけで作ってみました。
やっぱりチョコは裏切らないようで、
フルーツケーキよりも断然、人気でした。