Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Suave Sophistication

I received this anonymous query in my email:

"Dear miss jin,
I have an etiquette question that I do hope you can answer for me. I attend luncheons with the MOST prim & proper women in the world. I try my best to fit in & follow all the acceptable decorum. There is only one problem I have had of late, which brings me to utter confusion. Here it is:

"Is it, in fact, appropriate to eat your place setting (plate, tea cup, napkin, etc.) after finishing your meal?"

Please help! I am at my wits end & know that you are intelligent & knowledgeable well beyond your years! (I also can't get through a single day without one of your splendid posts!)

Most Sincerely,
(signed) A Secret Silverware Nosher

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Oh, my! That is a problem indeed! But, never fear, for jin is here! I also know that you are not the only person to have been in this situation. I am quite positive that ALL my readers are eagerly awaiting my response, so they will not ever be put in this commonly occurring awkward position again!

The answer, in one short word, is:


Well, not always yes. You first need to determine one important factor.
Is the place setting made of chocolate?

Example below: this IS edible.

The entire place setting (place mat, napkin, tea cup, silverware & plate) has all been made out of chocolate, therefore, you may certainly eat every last bit. However, even though the vase & roses are also made from chocolate, you may not eat these! That is considered rude. Your hostess would not be pleased & you will probably never be invited back again!

Should you accidentally take a bite of a saucer that turns out NOT to be chocolate you must:
1) excuse yourself politely from the table taking care that NOBODY notices your bleeding teeth, gums & tongue
2) slip the half eaten china into your purse discreetly & walk slowly towards the ladies restroom
3) when inside, find the window leading to the parking lot & crawl out said window without making any noise
4) walk to the nearest hospital emergency room

Most importantly, never let these perfect women know that you have indeed made an etiquette faux pas. Don't worry, they won't even notice that you left, because if you are asking me for advice you are probably a nobody.

Hope this helped & really, HAVE A NICE DAY.

Flower Power

a rose is a rose is a rose
matters not how the saying goes
these words are simply my prose
don't turn up your nose
the top tier was froze
that's what they chose

a rose is here
a rose is there
damn roses everywhere
what a nightmare
piped more than my share
now you're aware

roses red-no, the roses are all blue
is this really true
turquoise roses for all of you
they look like dodgey glue
or the bottom of your shoe
no more, i'm definitely through

a rose by any other name
would never gain so much fame
buttercream roses, such a shame
to gobble them up & maim
like hair touching a flame
i'm not to blame


How do you feel about frosting roses or real roses?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Assiduous Weekend

Oh, for lack of posting! I sincerely hope, dear blogfans, that you understand--if I am not posting, I am also not sleeping more than 4 hours per night. This is how busy a pastry shoppe can get, with little, sometimes NO, notice! This past weekend was exactly that; & I have now consumed multi-mass quantities of caffeine just so I can keep my baby blues open long enough to post some absolutely fabulous photos for all your patience!

First up:
Two items from our Open House sale:

Are they really Irish? I don't know; but they sure do taste GREAT!!!

Frosted Cut-Out Cookies w/ real Vanilla Butter Frosting!

A pre-ordered baptism cake:

I'm not really one for all the crosses, but the cake was not for me & she happened to love it so much she got all teary eyed! It was a 12" round, 4 layer, white chocolate cake w/ raspberry French buttercream filling & vanilla French buttercream frosting. I also did this woman's wedding cake 7 years ago. I'd show you a picture of that but for the life of me I can't remember which cake was hers. (Ok, so I'm not 100% perfect, shut the hell up!)

A wedding cake delivery, which included a 'Groom's Cake':

The grooms cake was German's Sweet Chocolate Cake. He is in the military, hence the insignia & lapel pins on the sides.

The wedding cake was 3 different flavours. White cake w/ raspberry French buttercream filling, poppyseed cake w/ luscious lemon French buttercream filling & toasted almond cake w/ mocha French buttercream filling. It was 'dressed' with pesticide free rose petals.

The anniversary cake that accompanied the wedding cake:

They asked for this one to be wrapped, ready for a rendezvous with the freezer, not to see the light of day for 1 full year. (If they can really wait that long, could you? I didn't. Mine only lasted 6 months!)

Well now, will that do you all for a little while? Does miss jin, the food porn goddess satisfy your cravings for the weekend? I do certainly hope so. More tomorrow, if you're nice, same blog time, same blog channel. ;-)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Appease Again

"More Gratuitous Pastry Shots"

Which will it be?
One, Two or Three?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


"Gratuitous Pastry Shots"

Sorry, too busy for a proper post
Which do you want to eat the most?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tree Salvation

Budding growth
newly formed saplings
one day
clean the air
that we breathe.

Mother Nature
nurtures her offspring
us and
them all down
to make asswipe?

Animals & birds
build their condos inside
a tree
and rely on
uninterrupted continuity.

THINK about it!
(No trees were harmed in the making of this poem.)
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
(All pastries pictured here were, in a way, totally recycled. If you get my meaning. ;-)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Photogenic Comestible aka PHOTOLICK2

Mini Carrot Cupcakes
I make them with fresh carrots that I grind myself & a mixture of walnuts, raisins, organic coconut & pineapple which is pulverized briefly to enhance the texture of the cake. Piped with our very own cream cheese frosting. I made exactly one dozen extra to snack on over the weekend. Between the three of us - David, Brioche (the puppy) & myself - they lasted approximately 3 minutes & 27 seconds. Clearly a record!

Strawberry Tartlettes
A mini shortbread shell is filled with a scratch made vanilla bean pastry cream, a small fresh strawberry & a rosette swirl of freshly whipped vanilla cream. I did not make any extra of these. However, I made a whole 9" deep dish pie for us to eat over the weekend. Ohhhhh.....it was SO YUMMY! We're not complete gluttons, though.....I think there is a small piece left.

Sheet Cake
This was an almond butter cake filled & frosted with Belgian dark chocolate French buttercream. The resplendent bright flowers were requested by the client, for his youngest daughters wedding shower (I believe). His response when viewing the cake, "Oh, it's beautiful! You're going to make me cry!"

This actually reminds me of another bridal shower cake I made a few weeks back. I have to show you this one. I was rather pleased with myself upon its completion. What do you think?

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Ingredient 101 "German's Sweet Chocolate"

A 10" round 3-layer, rich moist chocolate cake, filled & topped with a coconut-pecan custard, the sides frosted with a thick Belgian chocolate glaze, decorated with molded Belgian chocolate lace pieces.

I sell a lot of German Sweet Chocolate Cakes. Funny thing is, the cake is not even German, the name comes from a play on words. It's a brand name.

A man named Sam German created an awesome bittersweet chocolate bar circa 1852. Pure delicious chocolate, no artificial ANYTHING in it! He was not German. They decided to grace the package with his John Hancock.

Supposedly, the originals were stamped with an "S. German, Dorchester, Mass." Imitations were lurking everywhere claimed the 'Walter Baker Co.' who manufactured these, among other, delectable chocolate products.

Many many years passed & they came out with more chemically enhanced packaging & in my humble opinion, chocolate that wasn't too awesome anymore. Bummer.

They say the recipe originated from a Dallas, Texas homemaker. Whatever! Mine's way better than hers anyway! What was I saying? Oh, yeah.....the recipe called for 'German's Sweet Chocolate'. Somewhere along the line those lazy-poor-proof-reading-illiterate Texans (Ok, Ok...I only mean ONE in PARTICULAR! Maybe he screwed this up, too! Who knows?!!?) published the recipe omitting the apostrophe s.

It's now known as 'German Sweet Chocolate Cake' & assumed by ignorant bastards that it tastes good if you buy them from the supermarket in-store bakery because you know they import them straight from Germany.

That's your lesson for this weekend & as always, you'll only get an A on the quiz if you shower me with compliments.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Customers From Hell Volume III
"Surely You Jest!?"

Help yourself to a brown sugary, buttery, caramel, pecan 'Turtle Triangle' topped with melted Belgian white & dark chocolate while you read my woeful tale.
Go on, take 2 or 3, they're small!!!

Yet another true tale
of a LOST pastry sale
many moons past
but the memory sure did last.

On a very busy Saturday, orders going out left & right, a wedding cake being finished off to prepare for delivery, my work momentum is suddenly shattered by the annoying ring-ring-ring of the phone. Luckily, my Mom is taking care of the customers so I can finish up on the wedding cakes.

I overhear what my Mom is telling the customer:
"Oh, that's terrible."
"No, we don't really do that."
"No, I'm sure you can't take it like that."
"No, Jennifer won't do that."
"Yes, I'm sure she won't do that."
"She's very busy finishing a wedding cake now."
"No, it won't help if she sees it, she won't do it."
"Yes I can ask her, but she'll tell you the same thing."
"Just hold on a minute."

She calls me over & starts to whisper with her hand over the phone.
"It's Mrs. So&So (another doctor's wife), she pre-ordered & picked up a cake from Copps' Bakery. She is taking the cake to a 'fancy upper-crust' party in Chicago tonight & is ashamed how terribly the cake has been decorated & wants to know if you will decorate it nicely for her."

(For those of you not familiar, Copps is a supermarket with an in-store bakery. To be blunt, their product is basically disgusting, putrid, fluorescent, repulsive, chemical, shit prepackaged to fool the average non-discriminating consumer into thinking it is really edible bakery.)

I say, "Surely you jest!?"
(Actually, I said, "You've got to be FUCKING KIDDING ME!!!" But I didn't want you all to think I'm crude.)

"No, I just checked with Jennifer & she said she won't do that."
"She only decorates cakes that she makes."
"Her designs are unique & she wouldn't want anyone to think she baked that cake."
"Yes. That's why many people order special cakes directly from us."
"No, I'm sorry, she won't do it, we can't help you."

She finally gets off the phone. Neither of us can really believe this woman called to ask that. Ah, well...I had to get going with the wedding cake.

About an hour & a half later I am turning back down the street my shoppe is on, the delivery went smoothly, one more to go & I'll be finished for the weekend.

When what to my wondering eyes did appear?
That woman's car, by our shoppe, parked so near!

(Small town...so of course I knew her car, plus it was a special model...for a special person...what do they call it? TS turboB, yeah, that's it Tight n Snooty turboBitch!)

I walk in, preparing to rush around, as I did have one more wedding delivery. Would you believe she actually brought that cake into our shoppe!!!??? Yes, sirree, she's standing there holding a Copps Crisco Catastrophe! I got lucky. She didn't see me come in the side door & as I'm collecting my thoughts in the kitchen (Remember what I told you a while back, I'm too nice sometimes (!) & I wanted to cool down.) I see her walk out the front door with the cake, get in her TS turboB & drive off.

It turns out that she had walked in while I was gone & insisted that my Mom decorate her cake because I wasn't there. Now, my Mom does a WHOLE LOT of awesome stuff, but decorating a cake isn't one of them & she'll be the first to admit it. The woman explained that she told Copps she wanted it redecorated, but their decorator had already gone home for the day. The girl behind the bakery counter gave her several bags of plastic decorations for free, but this woman thought they were tacky. Hmmm....I have to say it people....here it comes.....it was tacky to order a cake from Copps if you're trying to impress people in the first goddamn place!!!

Am I right, or am I right?!

I need to clarify something here. I truely go out of my way for people. That is, nice people & regular customers. 99 out of every 100 of my customers are fantastic, gracious, lovely people. That's why I still do what I do. I'll never be rich doing this, but I sure think I can be happy & isn't that what matters most? But then there are these freaks, every few years, that have kept their negative impressions in my brain.....I think I finally found the solution to letting them go. What's that, you ask? Why, passing them on to all of you, of course!!!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Virginal Viands

on white
Is it right?
Are they too bright
or too light
or just outta sight?
I might
that the cakes with height
are quite
ok, despite
all that white!

White means pure
but are you sure
you didn't deflower her?
Because there's no cure
to be like you were!

White dress, flowers & cake:
which I can bake,
quite easily make.
Maybe some pics for memory's sake
then I'll try to take
a break
from all this white cake.

What do you think, like it or not?
I do these, an awful lot.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Porcelain Panache

Enough of those
bug-eyed babies!
How about some
people, people?

These cakes
got what it takes
each a unique style
every little while
they bring this topper in
say, "put this on my cake, jin?"
I say,
As cool a figurine
as I have ever seen
in this neck 'o the wood
your cake will look really good
with that on top
baked in my shoppe."

My Fave is Number 2
How about YOU?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Customers from Hell Volume II
"Pukey Money"

If you were to visit me for breakfast when I was too busy to cook you something extra special, you might get an array like this:

Another true tale
of a pastry sale
many moons past
but the memory sure did last.

She used to come in for an open house sale almost monthly.
Very slim, the wife of a doctor, no need to worry about calories or pennies.
Every single time:
She- "How much for a cookie?"
Me- "One dollar."
She- "I don't really need any, I'll just eat them if I buy them."
Me- "Can I get you anything?"
She- "One dollar each?"
Me- "Yes."
She- "If I come back just before you close are they cheaper?"
Me- "No, I'm sorry, we don't do that." (Actually, sometimes I do. But certainly not in this situation as it was all the time!)
She- "Maybe I'll come back later."

Near closing time she would come back & if there weren't any cookies left, she'd leave empty handed (except for a cup of the free coffee we offer).
If there were cookies left:
She- "How much are they?"
Me- "One dollar."
She- "How much were they this morning?"
Me- "One dollar."
She- "You're only open a few more minutes, don't you sell them cheaper now?"
Me- "No, I'm sorry we don't do that."
She- "I don't really need any. I'll take two."
Me- "$2.00 please."

On one occasion this ended quite differently, much to my chagrin. She had a baby with her.....don't ask me how old, you people know I'm not a kid person by now.....but, it wasn't laying in her arms it was sort of sitting up on one arm. I turned my back to wrap the 2 cookies & as I turn back around to hand them to her & take the $2.00 I am mortified to see the kid puking & she is holding out the $2.00 to catch it with! (*AHEM* The kid was wearing a bib!!!) She then proceeds to hesitantly (because she didn't really want to part with them) hand me the dollars while saying, "It's only throw up."

What. The. Fuck!!!

I'll swear to all of you right now that she did it on purpose, expecting me to tell her to keep it. I'd be DAMNED before I did that! I grabbed a paper towel & handed it to her, while taking the 'pukey money' & keeping a smile on my face so as not to belie my absolute horror with touching those gross wet sticky dripping dollars! EWwww!!!

In the process of drizzling mini pecan pies.

Actual size of a Pecan Tassie.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Wow, what a Saturday! While I recount today's tales I want you all to know I am eating this:
A slice of flourless chocolate oblivion cake (3 ingredients: Belgian bittersweet chocolate, European style butter & farm fresh eggs) with a pool of vanilla bean creme anglaise at the side & edible organic tulip petals. The tulips came from a very cool couple that frequents our shoppe. They have a gigantic totally organic garden & the flavour of anything they grow is stellar! The petals taste like a sweet delicate melting ribbon of pure joy! ***jin loses herself in that moment of bliss for way more than a moment***

We opened at 7:00AM to a very slow start. That's ok, I thought, I've so much to do! Then the pastry clock struck 7:30 & what a crowd! They kept bombarding us all morning, until I realized that it was 10:45AM & I needed to deliver a $350.00 gift basket full of sweets for 11-11:30AM. The assortment was purchased by an individual who was donating it to an auction to raise money for the local museum. The auction was paired with a fashion show. I also had to cater small sandwiches & cookies for the models.

It's hard to tell the scale from this photo, but the 'hat box' was actually about 2-1/2 feet wide by 2-1/2 feet tall.

It contained:
50 Petit Fours
48 Mini Scones
2-9" pans of Pull-Apart Caramel Pecan Rolls
24 Cream Cheese Frosted Molasses Cookies
24 Nutty Chocolate Chunk Cookies
24 Death by Chocolate Cookies
12 Frosted Orange Cookies (made w/ blood oranges, YUM!)
4 Jumbo Hand-Decorated Cut-Out Cookies (2 Skirts & 2 hats)
A $50.00 Gift Certificate

Here's a close-up of the hat jumbo cookie:
they measured approximately 8" x 5" each.

When I got back from this delivery I had to finish decorating a 5 tier wedding cake that needed to be delivered before 4:00PM. I had hoped to leave at 2:30. Talk about efficient, I left at 2:15PM! WOOHOO!!!

In the photos that follow, you can actually go on the delivery with me & watch me set up the cake. NO FINGERS IN THE BUTTERCREAM!!! I MEAN IT!!!

Here I am carrying the tiers into the reception hall. I'm not even winded & it's up two flights of stairs! Did I mention I had to make 5 trips?

Assembling the tiers in the "Garden Stand".

Setting up the royal icing topper, which I piped out the evening before.

Adding royal icing hearts here & there.

Voila! Me & my creation!

As of now I still haven't heard what they got for the auction item. People can be pathetically cheap here. Maybe I should have told you all about it sooner? I'll bet it didn't go for more than a hundred bucks. That's like saving $250.00 at Uniquely Yours on pastry. One of you could buy a plane ticket for that!!!