Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Baking class. Uh-huh. (and lemon curd tarts and tartlets)

That's right: I'm in a baking class.  It's super fun.  I've been waiting to sign up for one of these since the summer when I was in the thick of my dissertation and had absolutely no business even thinking about signing up for a baking class.

Turns out, getting into baking class isn't easy.  This school is so popular, you've got to sign up even months in advance to get a spot - at least, if you can't go to any of the classes given on weekday mornings and need to hold out for an evening or weekend one.

I really like baking class.  The first week we learned to make cream puffs.  One of the students in my class made these gorgeous cream puff swans.  You can see the cream puffs I made in the back.  They're the round ones with white icing drizzled over the top.  That's amaretto icing, by the way. 

The next week we made tarts and pies.  These lemon curd tartlets were what appealed to me.  Here's some of what I learned.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

November rose?

What??  What is this guy doing out in the middle of November - and in New England, no less??  What's going on?

Spotted last Saturday on my way home from baking class, where I mixed, kneaded, and baked bread for the first time ever.

More on baking class soon.  In the meantime,

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Autumn Return: Orchids, weddings, cupcakes, and more

Dear friends, It has been a LONG time.  More than two months, in fact.  The Kitchen in the Yard has been on a rather extended vacation while I finished my degree and started new work this fall. 

So, yes!  That means I am a doctor now!  A research doctor - not the medical kind, mind you.

All the foodie-ness of this blog has been a saving grace for the past 10 1/2 months since I started posting, and perhaps especially during major crunch times with my dissertation since about April (e.g., when I was really tired, there were times I would tell myself: "As soon as you complete X part of this article, you can edit some photos and write a post!).  I did, in fact, finish the entire dissertation in that time and submitted the final version in early October.  Then all manner of life kicked in and it was time to start new work (more research training), buy a car (I haven't owned a car for almost 8 years!), and get used to many new routines.  

But now it's time for us to catch up.

In my memories of these very recent past few months, working on the dissertation definitely dominates.  However, other things happened, too.  Here are some of the highlights of the past few months since my last post.

Babysitting my friend Megan's orchids while she was between apartments early this past summer.  Having these around was so great, it tempted me to get some of my own.  But let's face it; my track record with plants is absolutely terrible, and that's why I no longer have any in my home - they have all gone to a better place.  Good thing Megan found a suitable home for herself and these, and took them back before too long.

Picking tomatoes in my aunt's garden in Lancaster, PA in August.  Gorgeous, aren't they?  These are all different types of tomatoes!

Stopping by random farm stands in Lancaster County, where lovely blooms, fresh vegetables, and home-baked treats were being sold by a rather eccentric city lady newly relocated to the country.  I love characters like these, and the tarts she'd baked were delicious!

Baking the wedding cupcakes for my dear friends Anna and Willie, who got married in August.