Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Creamy Horseradish Sauce

Okay, if you have never seen real horseradish root, let's just say it's rather... ummm...phallic... and this is one of the "nicer" specimens.  Some of them are downright nasty-looking.  
Anyway...  My husband asked me to buy some horseradish root to make some real, homemade horseradish sauce.  Unfortunately, the first recipe he picked out was not meant to be made with raw horseradish, but with a prepared sauce.  Once I told him that, he picked out a second recipe.  This one was little more than pureed horseradish root with a touch of salt, sugar, and vinegar.  It was not spreadable by any means, and was fairly disgusting.  The horseradish smell was overpowering!  My eyes watered and my nose ran if I stood too close to the food processor!

Since that recipe obviously wasn't what my husband wanted either, we found another recipe.  This one added a cup of heavy cream, more vinegar, half of a pureed turnip, and assorted spices. 

The sauce was creamier, but the turnip and cream cut down the sharp, hot taste of the horseradish and made it too mild.  He likes it HOT!  I added more pureed horseradish to the mix, but he said it still was not hot enough and refused to eat it. {{sigh}}

I wasn't going to let it go to waste, as I had invested a minimum of two hours on this project, when I had been looking forward to a relaxing evening.  I ladled the sauce into recycled jars and labeled them.  (Okay, not beautiful labels, but maybe when I actually hook up and figure out my Cricut Expression, I can do better.)

I cleaned up the approximately 647 kitchen utensils and counters that had been used (or splattered on) in the preparation of the now unwanted horseradish sauce.  Finally, I posted a note on Facebook offering the horseradish sauce to friends.  Thankfully, three of my friends were brave and adventurous souls who took me up on the offer of free "horsey" sauce.  I am happy to announce that all three have gotten back to me and said they really liked it.  One even said, "That homemade horseradish was so good that my mom and I have been eating it with spoons!!!!" (emphasis hers - Thanks, Lisa!)   

So at this point, three out of three guinea pigs prefer my homemade horseradish sauce over no horseradish sauce at all! 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Steven King's "IT" Birthday Cake

A friend of mine asked me to make his son's birthday cake. He didn't have anything particular in mind, only that it reflect something having to do with one or more of Steven King's books. The first (and really, only) thing I could think of was Tim Curry's version of Pennywise, the clown from the television mini-series, "IT" (1990). That was one scary clown!

Now before anyone complains that this is more "cakewreck" than anything else, let me just say that: 1) this was the first time I have ever sculpted candy clay; and 2) I was injured in a traffic accident a few days before, and was working basically one-handed.  Also, I'm just an amateur, and I don't claim to be a world-class decorator, although I wish I was.  (I wasn't in a sling at the time I made the cake, but my left arm was pretty useless.)       ...and yes, I realize my shirt and camera match my shower curtain... sheer coincidence...
Anyway, here is the cake.  The angle isn't the best to show the clown, as it gives the appearance of having an elongated chin and you can't really see the creases in the face, etc.  The cake is not exactly as I had envisioned, but I think it turned out pretty well, all things considered.    This is a Red Velvet cake with Pure Buttercream Frosting "grass", a fondant "sidewalk", a candy clay "Pennywise" clown, fondant clown fingers, and giant jawbreaker "balloons".  I used a Sugar Craft gun to make Pennywise's hair, and used clay tools to sculpt the face and teeth, which were implanted in the mouth.  A Wilton Icing Writer pen was used to give the appearance of sidewalk chalk.  I had intended to dust the writing with different colored luster dust, but my friend came to pick up the cake before I could do that.  He liked it "as is", so I left it alone.  

The feedback was positive and I understand my friend's son was very happy with the cake.  They said he wanted to freeze the clown and keep it forever, and he talked about the cake for several days.  That's the ultimate compliment!