Sunday, January 29, 2012

Polymer Clay Pendants

Made a few polymer clay pendants this weekend. I'm trying to mix the media a bit and include gemstones, metal backings and painting to help it not feel quite so clay-like.

What I found the most difficult was keeping the clay perfectly clean. All it takes is a tiny speck of another color getting onto the clay and it's really hard to remove.

Painting is also really difficult on such a small surface, so my brush strokes definitely aren't as even as I'd have liked. But overall, I'm pretty happy with the results.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Egg Carving: First Attempt

Our Design Director at work brought "egg carving" to my attention a few weeks ago. I didn't even think such a thing was possible given how fragile egg shells are.

We just happen to have a dremel lying around, so I received a quick crash course on how to use it and started making holes in my egg. It took 2 different bits, one to make the initial hole and another to carve outward from the hole. The shell is surprisingly resistant. I got a bit too bold and tried drawing an S curve, which resulted in the big hole.

My first attempted ended abruptly since I didn't want noise complaints from our neighbors about someone drilling at 9:30pm, but hopefully there will be more refined attempts to come!

Wear a mask, or work in a well ventilated area so you don't risk breathing in salmonella dust! Either that or find a way to sterilize your egg shells beforehand.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Apple Sharlotka

I've followed the blog Smitten Kitchen for a couple of years, but until now hadn't actually tried any of the recipes, even though they all look amazing. Her photos of this cake are much more appetizing, so I recommend visiting her site to get the recipe.

This is a dense, super-moist Russian apple cake. What made me want to try it was seeing how many apples were put into it (6). There is no butter or oil in the recipe, but because there are so many apples, the batter absorbs the juices and stays moist without all the fat. I can definitely see myself making this more often.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Nutella filled Ebelskivers

Got an ebelskiver pan for xmas, so this was my first attempt at making them. They're small filled pancakes, so I put a nice little glob of Nutella inside. You have to work pretty fast, or turn the fire down really low so the bottom doesn't over cook while you're adding the filling and covering it with extra batter. Flipping it can be tricky too. The pan came with these strange wooden tongs made specifically for the job, but I think chopsticks would have worked just as well.

Here's the base recipe from Ebelskivers, by Kevin Crafts

1 cup all-purpose flour
1.5 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp melted butter, slightly cooled

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then whish in the milk and melted butter.
Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture and stir till blended. The batter will be lumpy.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites till still but not dry, peaks form. Fold about 1/3 of the egg white into the batter to lighten it. Then fold in the rest till no white streaks remain. Use the batter right away.

I recommend heating your pan up first, then turning the first as low as possible. Have your batter in a pourable container, so you can get it out quick. Originally I tried spooning it into the slots, but it took too long. Once you've filled each slot, put a glob of nutella in the center of each, then quickly cover it with more batter. At this point you can turn your fire back up to med.