Wednesday, June 13, 2012

ch ch ch changes...

So my old (not even a year old!) sewing machine called it quits a few weeks ago. 

I was SO frustrated- I did everything I could think of to fix the problem- clean it out, re-thread, replace the bobbin shuttle, and repeat like 167345 times and why is it not working it's not even old it's practically brand new OMG and then I totally broke down.

So my husband politely suggested that maybe I should buy a better machine. He says- If you keep buying cheap machines, they'll just continue to break. So you can either buy a new cheap machine every year, or get a good (expensive) machine that will last forever. I balked- but no no no they are like thousands of dollars, you know I don't have that kind of money whhhhaaaaaa!  He pointed out that I use it everyday, and things that you use everyday should be quality, so he talked me into going to look at machines.

They next day we went to a sewing store. I told him- I don't want to get talked into buying a Bernina- they are too expensive. Well, after looking at all the options, and test driving a few- the Bernina's were actually the best deal for the money. (And yes, the top of the line 830 is $12,000, but the one I got was way cheaper so don't think I'm bonkers, ok?) I was pretty much sold when I tried to applique some cotton on top of a square of denim folded in quarters so it was waaaay thick- and that machine puuurred right through, no problem.

So now I owe my husband money that will take forever to pay back- considering I don't actually make money doing what I do but whatever. 

I think I might be the first wife ever to have her husband talk her into buying an expensive sewing machine- that being said- I am one very lucky wife.

Opening the box was glorious. I was hesitant, I wanted the moment to last. And so excited, obviously. Danny said it was probably like when he first got a Mac instead of a PC.

She's gorgeous. 

She's gorgeous because of how powerful she is, how perfectly she stitches. How easy it is to thread, to wind the bobbin. And she's square. I like square.

I finished the project I was working on- and I finally felt like this was my job. Like now this is for real- even though I've been doing it "full time" for 2 years- I finally feel like a pro. I didn't realize how shitty my old sewing machine was until I could just sew through piles of fabric without stopping to re-thread and blow out dust to get it to stitch right. I didn't know sewing could get "more" enjoyable, but wow. 

Look out world, I've got a Bernina.

(I do have to say that my old machine, the one I bought last September- something is wrong with it, I'll be returning it. Normally you shouldn't have that many problems with it. I just figured it was human error, and not the machine which is so stupid but whatever it's over.)

Monday, June 4, 2012

tres leches cakes

My friend Jane asked me to make some dessert for her fiance's birthday a few weeks ago. He wanted Tres Leches cake, she wanted them in jars topped with strawberries and whip cream. Easy enough! 

I've made Tres Leches cake before, and although it was good, it was far from perfect. I didn't want to end up with heavy, dense cakes that turned into mush. Absolutely so sogginess allowed.

At first I was going to use this recipe from Alton Brown, but after reading some of the reviews and the recipe itself, I decided that I wanted a recipe that was more sponge-like, so it would inherently be light and I wouldn't have to poke the shit out of it to get the milk mixture to soak in properly.

 I ended up using this recipe from the Pioneer Woman. It's a sponge cake- light and filled with holes ready to soak up all that sweet liquid. Perfect.

I sprayed each jar with Pam, filled them, using about 6 tablespoons of batter each, and baked them for about 20 minutes.

After they had cooled completely- I put the jars back into their boxes and covered them with plastic wrap where I let them chill overnight.

I also mixed up the milk mixture the night before and let it chill.

About 9 hours before the party- I tested out a few variations. Leaving some alone, poking lots of holes & using more/less liquid, then letting them sit in the fridge for 2 hours.

The best result: no hole poking, the sponge has plenty to start with.


6 hours before the party, I poured 2 tablespoons of liquid onto each cake and let it sit...

...and after a few minutes, the milk totally soaked in. I covered them again, and let them chill until it was time to deliver them to the party!


We topped them with sliced strawberries (I use an industrial slicer made for mushrooms that I got at Orson Gygi- I LOVE that thing, it makes perfect slices and so fast!) and whipped cream, them put the lids on. Most of them stayed in the fridge until it was time for dessert, but they did just fine sitting on the dessert table too. 

They were delicious. No sogginess whatsoever, and the strawberries and whip cream complimented the sweet cake perfectly. I highly recommend making them for your next party!