Archive: September 2011

Today marks the release of Maureen Johnson’s delicious new Jack the Ripper novel, The Name of the Star. It’s the first book in Johnson’s new Shades of London series, and it is an absolutely perfect October read.

Read more on The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson…

I’ve wanted to go to Mario Batali’s Italian market since it opened last year, but it’s just one more thing on the neverending To Do list of cool things. But my father- and stepmother-in-law were in town Labor Day weekend, so we headed to Eataly for lunch at Manzo. I didn’t take photos of the food because my in-laws were with us, but I can tell you that the Mozzarella di Bufalo Campana, with almonds and brown butter, was so amazing. And the Spaghetti alla Chitarra was perfect. Such a good meal.

Read more on Eataly…

I’ve had a lot of adventures lately, but since I’ve been neglecting this blog a little in favor of sleep and school mania they have gone undocumented. So I’m starting with something from this past weekend, the Brooklyn Book Festival. Kathy and I went on Sunday, and it was quite cool.

Read more on Brooklyn Book Festival…

Yes, it has taken me almost a month to post about this. And yes, aside from growing a human being this was possibly the coolest thing I did all summer. We had a cookout last month, and to celebrate the festive occasion I made this:

It is all chocolate cake, with spearmint leaves for lettuce and fondant for cheese. Plus Rice Krispies for sesame seeds. This was a hit, and it was really pretty fun to do. I got the directions from the July/August issue of Food Network Magazine. And I did use the boxed cake mix for this, largely because I wanted to make sure I had the amount of cake and consistency correct. I even bought the exact right Pyrex bowl. Obviously that means the cake was nowhere near as delicious as cake made with actual butter and ingredients, but even mediocre cake is still cake! Next time I shall make the cake from scratch, no shortcuts.

Apologies for the some of the late-night photos with too much flash.

Cooking spray
2 18.25-ounce boxes chocolate cake mix
8 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup green decorating sugar or granulated sugar
8 spearmint leaf gummy candies
3 ounces orange rolled fondant (available at craft stores) **I had to dye my own fondant, the only orange I could find was neon. Not appetizing.
Cornstarch, for dusting
1 16-ounce tub vanilla frosting
1 16-ounce tub chocolate frosting
3/4 teaspoon yellow food coloring
5 drops red food coloring
2 tablespoons crispy rice cereal

Read more on Sunday Dessert: Cheeseburger Cake…

I got the tree started this year, but it was really the 4th graders who turned it into a masterpiece. This is my favorite tree yet.

I sketched out the tree on brown craft paper and cut it out.

Read more on The Making of a Library Tree…

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