Van Leuven Wedding Cake

Van Leuven Wedding Cake
August 10, 2010

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Balsamic Vinegar

Oh my. When did I discover the joy and pleasures of cooking with balsamic vinegar? I'm not quite sure, but tonight I was thoroughly delighted by the smell of this wonder ingredient as my chicken was roasting with a glaze made with balsamic vinegar...swiped over the pieces of chicken, mixed in with the red potatoes, peppers, onions and garlic cooking beneath said chicken. Oh my. D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S. It cooks down to such an enticing sweetness - as I smelled the aromas wafting from the oven, I was tempted to open the oven door and enjoy the blissful smell alone. But, being of an energy efficient mind, I kept my distance (not TOO far) and luxuriated in the essences of flavors emitting from the oven. Did I mention the vinegar's friend, rosemary? I do believe the dance they performed added to the lure.

Needless to say, I am fast becoming a balsamic vinegar devotee. Yum, yum, YUM.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What does the future hold?

I am checking out the blog "The Pioneer Woman" and although I am wishing for that countrified life, I am here. In Santa Barbara. A Southern California city. And I work full-time doing something other than my passion. But as a friend said last night over dinner..."Are you resigned to not... I've opted to just go with 'bloom where you're planted' and do for Jesus" or something along those lines. I need to opt for this more than I have allowed. Gratefully my job has opened up opportunities to do a LOT of what I enjoy - especially baking and catering. People have been so kind and encouraging. I have more opportunities to put in hours upon hours in the kitchen (mostly late at night owing to that full-time thing that occupies my days) than I imagined I would.

I made this wedding cake for a lovely couple last weekend - it's my "signature" lemon cake with lemon curd frosting served with a blackberry sauce.

I'm not into fancy frosting decorations, so the flowers are the key players in any "beauty" people behold.  Me - I'm into making a cake that tastes good.  Fortunately, that's what's helped sell my baking to people who want to pay me for my baking...and cooking.

Now...what does the future hold?  My piano tuner husband has purchased a Furniture Medic franchise and that is our new venture. I say OUR because I hope that is what it will be...I'm excited...and today I'm overwhelmed.  Can I do anything to get this off the ground? Can I really be a part of this business?  Can I market this? I know I can do the computer work on the office end, but someone needs to push this along and make it a viable and growing business. I see the future, but am feeling inadequate today.

So here's to blooming where I'm planted, and to knowing that this is a Michael and Karen thing. That excites me. Together, again, at last (I stole that line from a story-teller on NPR's "Snap Judgment").

Monday, June 13, 2011

April & May done...June here...July to go

Looking back over the past few months, I see that April involved scones for birthdays and an afternoon catering of Westmont's Student Research Symposium (plan on 100...think we had at least 150! New Science building venue probably ramped up those numbers).

May was filled with wedding cake for 240 for nephew Chad's wedding -- lemon with lemon curd and lemon curd/cream cheese frosting served with blackberry sauce and carrot cake (2 sheet cakes). LOTS of leftovers, which were gobbled up by co-workers. Always a satisfying experience to feed my work friends :-)

There were also two days of catering IT meetings, cupcakes for 30, and a little Memorial Day BBQ with my parents.

June to date, in one week's time: two more mornings of IT meetings, 60 chocolate cupcakes for a baby shower, a morning meeting for our division of 30+ people, and a nice set up for a CIO Roundtable hosted by my boss/me, and a few French-type desserts for a going-away party.  This weekend: graduation brunch for 35 in Ventura and dessert for our PCPA play group (just 10 people for that). And then one more going-away dessert on the 30th.

It would appear business is happening...and it is definitely time to figure out pricing and a name and all that! 

July already has two wedding cakes, one gig as a "day of" coordinator and one wedding as reception coordinator (which involves one of the July cakes as well). 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Did I really just start my business??

Jun 10, 2011.

I wonder if a blog is the way to go? After catering three breakfast meetings in 1.5 weeks, baking additional desserts for a going-away party and THEN getting asked to make more food for another going-away party AND a graduation brunch, I got to thinking...

Is this the day I officially start my catering business??  Do I want to be "ICook4U" or "IBake4U"??  I like this title as my piano tuning husband has a license plate that says "ITune4U" - kind of a Sloan family theme :-)

Let's just say that after being asked if I had a website, I decided I'd try a blog as a starter site.  Post a few "what I'm up to"s...maybe a photo or two...see what comes of that.

So...did I really just start my business??