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About Me:

My name is Olivia and I am a senior at Butler University. I spend most of my time in Lilly Hall as a BFA Dance Performance major. When not in rehearsal or ballet class, I write papers for my English Literature second major. In my super-abundant, never-lacking, this-is-highly-sarcastic spare time, I attempt to cook in my apartment kitchen, watch Youtube videos of ballet, knit sweaters that never seem to come to an end, and read books both silly and serious. If I could take any class at Butler just for kicks, I'd go for DiffyQ.

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Posts Tagged “baking”

The calm before the soup battle

On the second to last day before the last semester of my undergraduate career… I made bread. Lots of bread. Seven loaves of bread.

Soda bread

Okay, okay. One of the loaves was from the day before, when my boyfriend and I decided to make Irish Soda Bread. Then we discovered Irish soda bread uses baking soda, not yeast — hence the name. What to do with the yeast we carefully procured from our local Kroger?

The answer to that question is obviously “ciabatta bread.” We made a sourdough starter, biga, and let it rise for twelve hours overnight. Then we mixed in more flour, let it rise some more (I did laundry in the interval), formed numerous small loaves (two with cheese inside), let it rise yet longer, and baked them.

Good crust, check. Fully baked, checked. Reasonably uniform for a free-form loaf, check. Fluffy inside, check.

Fluffy inside!! On the rare occasions I make bread (see past blog posts), it’s usually rather dense. The soda bread would be exhibit A. Despite tasting like a buttermilk biscuit (since the only liquid came from buttermilk), it had the same super dense texture I’ve come to expect.

Exhibit B would be the German beer bread with caraway seeds I made over winter break. Dense. Also, I had to hold this huge meat thermometer to check the yeast’s water temperature. It was too hot so I placed it on the windowsill so the winter wind could do its work. This process looked ridiculous.

I am so cool.

End flashback. This ciabatta bread — the one with the starter — is actually somewhat light and fluffy compared to the usual homemade bread texture. Success!

Biga starter

Also, I had a Soup Battle with my boyfriend today, wherein we both made soups from celery, onion, and carrots. The kitchen was a bit crowded, but both soups — which turned out surprisingly different — was delicious… especially with the bread we pulled straight from the oven.

A successful conclusion to the Grand Soup Battle

Requisite Food Post: OMG So Much Cake

In the midst of writing a zillion posts about applying and auditioning for Butler University’s Department of Dance (see here here here here), I uploaded from my camera/was given pictures from my extended birthday celebrations. I haven’t written a frivolous post about food for a while. And OMGoodness, there was so much cake.

Cake on a Tuesday

There was homemade raspberry jam-chocolate-raspberries on top-carmel on top cake.

Clean plate

I handled that like a pro.

Thursday cupcakes and cake

There were the amazing almond cupcakes with carmel buttercream icing, courtesy of the extremely talented roommate whose mission it is to surround herself with the smell of baked goods.

Artsy photo of flourless chocolate cake. (Thank you, roommate, for the picture!)

And there was the delicious dessert platter ordered when I went to a restaurant with some friends: Flourless chocolate cake, two different kinds of truffles, apples, figs, and goat cheese. I loved mixing the goat cheese with the cake. I promise, it was delicious. I thought so, but this decision perhaps was not unanimous….

Goat cheese + chocolate cake = x, x = that face.

Long story short, I met amazing people when I came to Butler, people who are kind enough to make dinner, raspberry cake, and almond cake, people who take me out to dessert and try goat cheese and chocolate together and take photos on fancy cameras to document the event. Thank you, everyone who helped celebrate my birthday in the very long, drawn-out way it manifested itself (this is where English needs more explicitly reflexive verbs…). It was all delicious! And thank you, Mom, for the cookies you sent.

The waitress was totally uninterested, so we had to reenact the moment for the requisite photo.

Summer at Butler: The Baking

This summer I have the good fortune to live with my roommate from our school-year apartment–the troublesome one who forces me to eat cupcakes–the one who spent a semester in France–the one who bakes.

Butler offers more than one option for its study abroad programming. My roommate went with IES, which has programs all over the world. The IES program was not a direct exchange (meaning an international student would not come to Butler when she went to France), which changes the financial aid. The nice thing about Butler, she says, is that there are lot of different programs from which to chose and so a vast array of cities. The downside? “It can be a bit confusing,” she told me.

She makes wonderful things.

She airbrushed the cake underneath this captain for Talk Like a Pirate Day.

The row of three dozen delicious cupcakes on our dining/coffee table. Chocolate, red velvet, and almond caramel.

Cakes someone ordered from her. That wire rack has come in handy after all!

I’ve been baking a bit as well. Last time I mentioned banana bread and cake. Well, I did not take a picture of the banana bread — it’s good, I promise — but I do have one of the snake cake. My baking roommate had leftover homemade frosting from some cupcakes, and I started to swirl the two colors. With a few details, we came up with snakes!

Snake cake:

Have a good Fourth of July! I hope you get a cake like this one. Or a custard tart like this. Don’t they look delicious?

 

Sssssssss...

Summer at Butler: The Food

University Terrace, where I am staying this summer for Butler Summer Institute, has no microwave. This has not been too much of an issue. I did go upstairs to use a neighbor’s when I had a microwave Palak Paneer for dinner. (Is it still a “neighbor” if I live on a different floor, on the opposite side of the building?)

However, I am currently writing a blog post while my butter slowly comes to room temperature for the banana bread. Today I baked a cake for a potluck, roasted potatos/carrots/onion, and am about to finish banana bread. Since operations have stalled, I shall instead post pictures of food. Because I really, truly love food.

Pancakes– regular, chocolate chip, strawberry, and chocolate batter with banana

Quiche. A magical quiche my best friend made for me. It was quite a successful meal we had. Breakfast for dinner never fails.

The aforementioned quiche

Then I made a cake with my roommate.

We did a double-decker type model with my roommate’s homemade icing between the layers. I put blueberries on top. Then we put a glaze over the powdered sugar–and then it looked like a giant doughnut:

A huge doughnut

It was just a mix, but it certainly tastes good enough!

And then, I ate curry for lunch and dinner and lunch again. I left out the potatoes and chickpeas and added extra carrots, so it’s a lovely orange color.

So many good meals. I wonder if the banana bread’s butter has reached room temperature yet?

UT: Pictorial Tour IV

The final portion of my apartment in University Terrace is the heart of the home: the kitchen!

The kitchen, though quite small, is well stocked with oven, dishwasher, divided sink, and refrigerator. No microwave, so be ready to bring your own or heat up everything on the stovetop and forgo the microwave popcorn.

Bringing a wire rack like the one you see in the above picture? A very good idea. If you had four people in this apartment, I think the kitchen would be over-crowded, and a rack like this outside the kitchen would probably have to hold some pantry items.

Roommate who bakes delicious cake items not included.

Neither is the 6 Minute Moosewood cake with said roommate’s strawberry purée swirled on top into the shape of a heart. You can tell I made this instead of tasty-baking roommate because the batter is dripped all over the side of the pan and the glaze is haphazardly and unevening dumped on top.

The pictorial tour is now at an end. I hope you chose to fly with us again. If you want to review or catch up, here are the links to the rest of this tour through an apartment in University Terrace:

Living room and living room

Restroom

Bedroom

Cooking Adventures III

Well, classes resumed on Thursday. I had my Intro to the Discipline of English class, Romanticism, ballet, pointe, and rehearsal. Then I waited around on the main campus to met my Irish Lit professor: She is serving as my mentor for my BSI proposal, which I finally finished writing. Snow days are for Welsh/Irish literature comparisons, apparently.

BSI is the acronym for Butler Summer Institute. Look for a post detailing my experiences thus far with the BSI application process. Research, however, builds a healthy appetite, right? On to the food!

Dessert.

1. This was another recipe from my Moosewood birthday cookbook: Six minute chocolate cake. (Thank you, Mom and Dad! It was the perfect gift.) Supposedly, it take six minutes to mix all the ingredients together in the baking pan; then one sticks the pan in the oven to bake for twenty minutes.

I think it took my friend and me twenty minutes to put the ingredients in the pan and twenty minutes for it to bake. The photography might have slowed us down somewhat.

We chose this recipe because:

  • it was for chocolate cake. You can’t go wrong with chocolate cake.
  • the mixing and such all happens in the baking pan, so there is little to clean.
  • I actually had all the ingredients in my apartment. (Ingredient substitutions are usually my downfall.)
  • Did I mention? It’s chocolate cake.

Aesop would be proud: slow and steady won the race. Though it took us a while to get everything happily nesting on the center oven rack, the cake was delicious.

Oddly enough, it was delicious after it had been sitting on the counter (covered, obviously) for a day or two. The initial dessert was rather cakey. I prefer the moister consistency, and this cake rose beautifully to the challenge after we had given it a day or so to adjust to life after the heat of the oven.

2. Filipino hot chocolate. My friend’s father brought some chocolate tablets back from his trip to the Philippines. Boil water, drop in a little chocolate cylinder or three, add butter, and simmer. We clink our mugs together like they do in Despicable Me. What a tasty treat.

Thus ends my Cooking Adventures series. I am rather proud of my accomplishments. Living in my own apartment with my very own kitchen has been fun, and my cooking skills are vastly improved. Having friends over to assist and using my roommates’ cooking/baking knowledge to full advantage helps the process.

Successes are getting more common: Last night I cooked fish in a foil package with a random assortment of spices, green beans, and stuffing. Though I might have gone a bit easier on the paprika, it was still more than edible, which would not have happened at the beginning of the year!

Since I been gone

Looking at my post list, I see it’s been five days since I’ve released a new blog! Sorry about that. This past week has been super busy. Here are some of my excuses:

I saw the Paul Taylor Dance Company quite some time ago, so perhaps it does not quite count as an excuse. I harbored mixed feelings about the program, but I adored “Esplanade,” one of great masterworks of the twentieth century. The video below is from the beginning of the last, crazy section. I also enjoyed seeing the solo the Butler dance department’s modern teacher Susan McGuire originated in “Dust.”
YouTube Preview Image

Dancer Thanksgiving potluck. My roommate and I brought apple-cranberry bread. And when I say “my roommate and I,” I mean I provided some of the ingredients and got out the bread pan. Then I watched my dancer roommate and my troublesome roommate make it together. Moral support, ya know?

Trader Joe's apple bread mix with added, homemade, cranberry sauce

Nutcracker Studio Dress rehearsal on Saturday! Studio Dress is when the department first runs the entire production in order, in costume, in the largest studio. After Studio Dress comes a week of production run-throughs in that same studio (Studio 310). Then comes Thanksgiving Break. Then comes production week in the theater. The performances are fast approaching.

Attending the Jazz Combos performance in the campus Starbucks to see my two jazz-musician friends. One plays the French horn; the other, the bass. Coolness. Would anyone like a post on French horn majors or jazz minors?

Writing the introduction and outline to my dance history paper on Irish dancing
Writing and writing and writing my Irish Lit paper. I finally finished the rough draft last night–before 11 pm! My friend gave me a CD and said I couldn’t listen to it until I was finished with the paper. How’s that for motivation? To be completely honest, I am rather disappointed with the result, since my thesis is pretty convoluted and not incredibly dependent on my readings of Translations. Oh well. It’s done for now, and I can fix it over Thanksgiving Break. I turned the paper in earlier today–all 21.5 pages!

Writing my Irish Lit paper--do you like my stack of sources?

Mastering the art of the Rubik’s cube. I will defeat you! (And I have, just not without the aid of a cheat sheet once I get to the final layer. I confuse the algorithms for reorienting the corners with those for reorienting the sides: R2 B2, R F R’, B2 R F’ R is for corners and R2 U’, F B’, R2, B F’, U’ R2 is for the sides. Maybe if I type it enough times I’ll remember this. This is clearly the top priority right now.)

I have a massive physics test on Thursday. Like, with enough surface area such that one can’t ignore air resistance massive. Everyone studying for the past week massive. A friend’s friend telling me this test made her abandon her dream of becoming an engineer massive. (Said friend is now a sixth grade math teacher.) Now my Irish Lit paper is done for the next few days, I can turn all my attention to studying for this test.

Oh yeah. I have a bunch of reading for Irish Lit, too. Whoops.

This is a montage

The last few weeks of my life at Butler University, in picture form:

Photo Booth proof of my first independently completed Rubik’s cube. Useless talent? I don’t know. It was pretty entertaining, and I think I’ve upped my nerd score a solid A2 points.*

Here we see the promising beginning of cinnamon-raisin bread.

Now you see what happened when I decided it would be a good idea to put raisins on the outside of the loaf as well. Alien bread. A quick swipe of the hand knocked the raisins off–thank goodness since they looked ridiculous and tasted disgusting. (They had burnt in the oven. Burned raisins are not good.)

The end result turned out okay, though.

To the left is a very sparkly piece of green tulle, pictured here in its natural habitat in the Butler Dance Department’s costume shop. Members of Sigma Rho Delta are required to volunteer in the costume shop, and I actually enjoy it. Once you get into the groove of sewing or ripping or ironing (or whatever), it’s sort of peaceful. I gathered a million billion yards of this green tulle, which left sparkles everywhere. Everywhere. I accidently scraped the fabric against the back of a cloth-backed chair and left a smear of sparkles: It looked like the scene of a crime. Sparkle-guts.

We also recently received the news that Butler University president Bobby Fong is leaving at the end of this year to take over the presidency of Ursinus College. We’ll be sad to see him go!

So there are a few random things I’ve done/seen/heard in the last week or two. There are more, I’m sure, but my mind has gone blank and it’s about time to take my laundry out of the washer.

———

*Still confused about A2?

Fall Break fun

Despite immersing myself in criticism of contemporary Irish theater and reader-theory, I managed to enjoy myself this Fall Break.

Adventures I had:

  1. Thursday–I tried to make sweet potato and acorn squash soup, but something went slightly wrong. It wasn’t bad. It was just exceedingly watery. I conclude that I much prefer hearty, lump soups to smooth ones.
  2. Friday–I bike to a nearby coffee shop. I actually went on Wednesday as well to meet my Irish Lit professor, although it was raining all day. My brakes tend not to work when wet, so my roommates were kind enough to drop me off/pick me up. But Friday I biked and blogged and read this and drank Earl Grey, which I just recently started to enjoy.
  3. Saturday–I baked bread in the morning and had dinner with my friend A–, who never, never fails to make me laugh. Even if the rice in my risotto was more al dente than creamy plump.

Another dinner, another night. Pretty darn good, too.

Thus we find it wasn’t all Irish literature and libraries. There were friends and various other essays and I still need to do my physics homework as well. And food. And other excitement I’m not blogging about because I like to maintain an aura of mystery about my private life. Cue dramatic music. Michael Nyman, anyone?

[Pretend this is actually an embedded video. I’m having trouble with video embedding, so go here instead.]

Viva la Sunday afternoon before classes restart and The Nutcracker engulfs us!

Pictures of birthdays past

Or “birthday” past, to be precise. I gave my camera to a friend last night so he could continue to terrorize everyone with threats of pictures. (His camera had run out of battery.) When I was flipping through the photos he took this morning–most of them extremely awkward–I found these:

Eat me...

Aren't they beautiful?

Yes. This is indeed as it appears to be. Evidence that my troublesome roommate is still up to her old tricks.

For my birthday (way back in September–see how old these photos are?), she made me almond cupcakes with salted buttercream icing garnished with heart-shaped strawberry slices. That’s right. She cut strawberries into hearts. I was powerless to resist.

Choose your roommates wisely.

  1. Choose your roommates wisely. Hooray skilled bakers!
  2. Having a kitchen rocks. Hooray Apartment Village!