Monday, June 29, 2009

do the locomotion.

"Look, Ma, I can count! Look, everybody, I can count!" she cried, contrary to popular belief of many.
Guess what today is, gang?  Yes, indeed it is Little Eva's birthday, but it's also the blog anniversary! *cue emotional reflection speech* This past year has been so wonderful. I've begun to gain my own sense of style and have been able to get to know so many lovely blogging folks. Thank you to the entire four, possibly five, people that read this thing. You all deserve a doughnut bacon cheeseburger for taking the time to read my ramblings.

ANYWAYS, to celebrate this momentous occasion, I put on my polka dot dress that I scored the other day at an outlet mall and then proceeded to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Living, I tell you.

Outlet malls are frightening things. Essentially, they are masses of housewives wandering around in search of khakis from 2002 being sold for twice their retail price. But by some fluke I found this French Connection dress, with a retail tag of $198, for fifteen bucks. I am just over the moon. It's so shiny and pretty and I probably should have taken a detail shot of it *facepalm*. 

Excuse me while I go find a life that would permit me to regularly wear shiny cocktail dresses. Here's to another year of blogtasticness and excellent vocabulary -raises juicebox-.

Monday, June 22, 2009

sunshine in the sky and on my plate.

*Note: this post contains some pretty fantastic links to some pretty fantastic videos that brilliantly illustrate the pop culture references that took me fifteen minutes to think of.

Today was the last day of my first year of high school. WHAT? WHAT IS THIS MADNESS? I still feel like I am in fourth grade (although, mentally, I basically am). 

Of course, my school district has to go ahead and be all retro on us, keeping a junior high. So my freshman year of high school was sort of like the last year of what you folks call "middle school" (for some reason, I am reading this aloud in a Sophia Petrillo-esque voice and using air quotes. Just sharing that with you).

I didn't even get to experience that "High school. Whatever happens to us now will determine the rest of our lives" moment. Maybe I will experience that next year? I don't know. I cannot wrap my head around this stuff. Fourth grade intellect, remember? 

But one of the many benefits of no more school is that I can now devote more time to this neglected child of a blog. That and I can stay up and watch The Nanny reruns on Lifetime. God, during the summertime, I watch Lifetime like a single lady with a subscription to Cat Fancy and multiple containers of Yoplait Light in her fridge...

So, to celebrate, I bring you cake. Cake that I technically made for my dad's birthday last week. But, in my heart, I also made it for you, my dear friend. And we haven't had a food post in so long, now have we?

Orange Layer Cake (adapted from here)
This thing has a lot of steps. Lots of creamy, delicious steps.
Orange Curd Filling:
2/3 cup sugar
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 cup fresh orange juice (from about 3 large or 4 medium oranges), without pulp
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbs. salted butter
2-1/4 cups (101/8 oz.) all-purpose flour
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup salted butter
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
2 tsp. grated orange zest (from about 1 large orange)
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup fresh orange juice (from about 3 large or 4 medium oranges), without pulp
12 Tbs. salted butter, at room temperature
4-1/2 cups (about 18 oz.) confectioners’ sugar
Dash salt
1 tsp. grated orange zest
5 Tbs. fresh orange juice
1 orange, sliced into rings
1. Make the filling.
Whisk the sugar and flour together in a saucepan. Add the orange juice, egg yolks, and whisk that them to combine. Put the saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture boils, 3 to 4 minutes (Do not think you can be sly and walk away, keep whisking that thing like there's no tomorrow). Cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly (it will thicken and become less cloudy). Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Transfer to a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the filling, and refrigerate. Make sure it's nice and chilled before using.
2. Bake the cake.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees (that's Fahrenheit, for all you foreign folks). Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Grease two 9x1-1/2-inch cake pans (don't cry if your pan is an inch. It will work) and line the bottom of each with a round of parchment paper (trace the bottom of your pan onto parchment and cutout). Lightly flour the side and bottom of each pan. 

Using a mixer of some sort,cream together the butter, shortening, and zest. Slowly add the sugar, creaming until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions and scraping down the sides. 

Add the sifted dry ingredients, alternately with the orange juice, into the creamed mixture, beating on low speed after each addition. Pour equal amounts of batter into the prepared pans. Tap the pans against the counter before putting them in the oven (this removes air bubbles/anger issues). Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 28 min. Cool the cake layers in the pans for 10 min. and then loosen the layers by running a knife between the cake and the edge of the pan. Remove the layers from the pans and put them on a rack to continue cooling.
3. Frosting
Cream the butter with a mixer. Add the confectioners' sugar and salt and combine thoroughly. At this point it will look like dusty cookie batter and you will think something has gone wrong. If you have been following my directions, I can assure nothing has. If you have not, proceed to dig yourself a hole and take up residence there. Add the orange juice and mix on high speed until well blended, scraping down the sides. It will be light and creamy. Refrigerate.
4. Put this junk together.
When everything is cool, put one cake layer on a cake stand or plate (or other serving utensil of choice. I DON'T KNOW YOUR LIFE, GRRL). Spread orange filling over cake to make about a 1/4 inch later. You'll have about 1/3 cup extra that tastes scrumptious when eaten out of the fridge with a spoon at midnight. Just saying. Put the second layer on top and refrigerate until the filling has chilled again and firmed up, about 45 min. This is important. If you skip it, the filling will ooze out like the eyeballs of zombies in a low-budget horror movie. 

If  you're frosting has become kind of hard, beat it with a mixture or spatula. Spread a thing layer of frosting over the whole cake. This is what the folks in the business call a "crumb coat" because it loosens the "crumbs."  Refrigerate the cake for about 10 min. to firm up again. Put on final layer of frosting. If the cake slides, gently push it back. Top the cake with orange slices in a flower-like pattern. Eat.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

some (not so) nice things.

Today is just one of those days. Realized I was wearing my shoes that fall off unless I flex my ankle in a particular way, while running in pursuit after my departing bus. Failed my geometry test. Became aware that my bumblebee undies are visible through the dress I have worn 3 times in the past week. Terrif.

OH AND HAVE YOU HEARD? Archie has officially chosen Veronica. Just not a good day for nice girls.

But on a lighter note, have you seen Glee?  You must. If you value our relationship (yes, you), you will go watch it.

And lastly, 
Vivienne Westwood for Melissa jelly heels. Perfect for folks who are prone to spilling on their shoes, like me.  Forget anything I have ever said I wanted on this here blog. I just want these on feet. Soon.