The 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not brag about thy cooking skills or else thou shalt most definitely make an ass of thouself in front of thou’s new boyfriend. (Try saying that aloud!)
The first time I cooked for Jason, we had been dating less than a month. I don’t remember exactly why I’d been bragging about how great a cook I was – not my style so I can only assume that margaritas were involved… either way, I ended up on the hook to prove my self-proclaimed-over-tequila mad skills in the kitchen.
On the menu: A mixed green salad with strawberries, walnuts, and homemade raspberry vinaigrette; homemade rosemary and garlic focaccia; chicken alfredo; and homemade apple dumplings with vanilla ice cream. Safe choices, sure, but I figure the from-scratch element would prove impressive.
The salad. This was back in the day before I knew that he didn’t eat fruits or vegetables, much less “fancy” stuff. Unless it’s an avocado mushed into guacamole, my husband doesn’t “do green.” Strike 1.
The fettuccine. “How do you screw up fettuccine?” you ask. You under-cook the pasta and over-cook the chicken and your sauce ends up in some weird state between smooth and separated. Chewy chicken, tough noodles, strike 2.
The focaccia. My God, the focaccia. To this day, the foccacia incident remains the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me in the kitchen (if not ever). The linen towel that I used to cover the bread basket had a huge clump of lint on it from the dryer – and I didn’t see it ’til I uncovered the bread at the table. Furry bread = no bueno. Ring me up, strike 3.
The apple dumpling. There actually wasn’t anything wrong with the apple dumpling, believe it or not, but back to that whole fruit and veggie thing… He ate his vanilla ice cream with the caramel sauce and apple dumpling crust. It must have been damn good pie crust because he didn’t run away screaming
We celebrated our one year anniversary last weekend with the bottom layer of our wedding cake recreated and cake truffles (our wedding favors).
The flavor combinations are limitless:
- Carrot cake & cream cheese frosting, dipped in white chocolate
- Yellow cake & dark fudge frosting, dipped in semi-sweet chocolate
- Italian cream cake with toasted pecans & cream cheese frosting, dipped in white chocolate
- Chocolate cake with raspberry preserves & chocolate frosting, dipped in dark chocolate
- German chocolate cake and coconut-pecan frosting, dipped in chocolate
- White cake with strawberry preserves & buttercream frosting, dipped in white chocolate
- White cake with peach preserves & buttercream frosting, dipped in white chocolate
- Angel food cake with strawberry preserves, dipped in white chocolate
Cake balls (Cake truffles)
Bite-sized truffles made of cake and frosting.
- 1 standard cake mix (homemade or pre-packaged)
- 2 cups frosting (flavored to compliment the cake)
- 6 oz Chocolate (dark, semi-sweet, or white) to coat the truffles
- 4 oz add-ins (optional) such as mini-chocolate chips, nuts, preserves, dried fruit, etc.
- Bake the cake in a 9x13 pan as directed by the recipe. Allow cake to cool in pan for 5-7 minutes (should still be warm, but not hot). Tear the cake into small pieces. Add the cake, frosting, and any add-ins to a bowl and combine. Do not over mix - the cake/icing mixture should be swirly not homogeneous.
- Use a small dough scoop and form the mixture into balls and refrigerate or freeze until firm. Melt the chocolate over a double-boiler and use two forks to roll the truffles into the melted chocolate. Place the truffles on a cookie rack to rest so that they don't grow feet. (You can refrigerate briefly to speed up the process.) Serve when the chocolate coating has cooled and hardened completely.
- Add food coloring to white chocolate for a decorative drizzle.
- A note about refrigeration - the truffles will keep at room temperature for 3-5 days. If you opt to store the truffles in the fridge, you'll need to pull them out just before serving to avoid condensation and weepy chocolate.
Yields: 3-4 dozen cake balls
Estimated time: 2 hours 30 minutes