Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Day Hobbiest Bakes

Granted, I am a long time baker, shamelessly indulging in pies, cupcakes, crostatas,  and cookies of all sorts since my youth, nonetheless, I feel that baking might just be the perfect day hobby. Imagine starting your day with a cup of coffee and a wild determination to conquer a confection! To truly pursue baking as a day-long hobby, your post-coffee day may include a trip to your local, acclaimed bakery {pilgrimage to Sprinkles, perhaps?}and a post baking soiree to flaunt your new-found skills. But, the glory of baking is that requires little to no mobility, which, for the wheel-lessly impoverished college student is icing on the proverbial cake. Whatever route you choose, baking as a day-hobby is not without challenge. For the impoverished, dorm locked collegiate, it is not easy to pull together a dessert out of the contents already present in your hopelessly small kitchen. For the inspired confection conquerer, while the possibilities are endless, time, skill, and availability are always obstacles. 
{With my own photos woefully lost in
cyber-space, this prime example of your potential
was one of the first images under 'hipster baking'}
Here are a few ideas: 
For the Gun-Ho
The Timely Classic, the Cupcake. 
For their adorableness, enduring popularity, and the simple fact that entire boutiques have been dedicated to their existence, cupcakes are a fabulous place to start in baking. While not bite size, they are certainly not more than any amateur baker can chew, metaphorically speaking. For a little inspiration, check out Cupcake Wars, Sprinkles, and my personal favourite recipe for 'Coco-nilla-licious' cupcakes {having no affiliation with chocolate or Nilla wafers}. 

For the Aformentioned Student
Easy, Breezy, Summer Fruit Crostata 
The glory of the crostata is its incredible adaptability and versatility. Using this recipe as a guideline, you can create innumerable masterpieces out of flour, butter, and that frozen fruit you have long intended to turn into a smoothy. Literally, you can throw any filling, even chopped candy bars, in this dough and it would taste amazing! Top it with whipped cream, if you have it, and voila!

For the Oven Challenged
Perhaps now is the time to master the no-bake subculture of the baking world. While I have yet to explore it much myself, Epicurious is a fantastic resource for everything in the food genre. 


Thursday, July 5, 2012


{Image of the the original
Star-Spangled Banner
snatched from the Smithsonian}
Curious, isn't it, the traditional American Independence Day? I never stopped to ponder the significance of the fireworks, cook-outs, and apple pies that rule the day until I found myself surrounded a crowd of international students who could really care less about the Declaration of Independence. Sitting with them around a campfire, eating s'mores, and observing as representatives from all the world over sang their national anthems,  I found myself pondering the meaning of being an 'American' relative to being French, German, Spanish, or Russian. There was a certain reverence in the voice of a boy we affectionately call 'Phil'as he sang "Deutschlandlied" {the German National Anthem} solo, hand over heart, eyes to stars, as if he could see the very reflection of his homeland in the sky. This soul element present in almost every anthem was markedly absent from our playful version of the "Star-Spangled Banner." Why the lack of reverence for the nation that empowered me to influence its future, encouraged me to use my voice, and   gave me the chance to pursue happiness as I see fit? My question was interrupted by a sudden burst of what has apparently become the theme-song for the summer,Fun.'s 'Some Nights'. The recurring question, 'What do I stand for,' ushered in the realization that perhaps my generation is taking this question outside of its original musical microcosm and asking,
"What do I stand for as an American?" While we could point out a thousand different meanings of 'American' in years past, at the end of the day, "Most Nights, I don't know."