cakes, prose, woes -- the photos, food & thoughts of a french-speaking seattle-native in brazil

In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it. -AB
In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Avocados and Lemons - Abacates e Limões

Oi Kaitles! Feliz Aniversário! This is becoming a pattern...

Avocados are fruits. Wait--what? I doubled back as i looked at the blender that began as a sweet apple smoothie but finished as apple guacamole. Avocados and apples in a milkshake? My face twisted up. You eat avocados sweet? I mumbled more stream of consciousness than actual question. They are a fruit, how else do you eat a fruit? H laughed later when i confessed my bewilderment. Well, i said, in the US they are a vegetable. A vegetable!? A surprise to all. But when I took a sip--the angels in heaven smiled down upon me. holy shit. holy shit this is good. this is really good. I have found my new favorite food, you know the one that is orgasmic. Avocado and apple milkshakes. Abacate e maçã. Ahhhhhhh. But, i continued, i never would have thought to blend it. D answered simply with oh, well, in brasil we just blend and juice everything. A liquid diet? S are you hearing this? excellent. And now i have avocados on the mind. on y va.

Saturday was homework day. Fifteen bloody international commerce questions worth. But wait Mal, we thought you just graduated? What are you doing researching importation agreements at the wto website? Whereas I decided that 19 years of straight schooling was enough, my editor is still taking classes as post graduate work, what we call masters. How can someone work 45 hours a week and still take friday night classes? a crazy person that's who. But we here at the Salty Cod cater sympathy toward crazies, often being considered one ourselves, so we try to help. No wait--we insist on helping. Well i can't write in Portuguese, but i know how to research. I know all too well the classic saturday spent in bed with papers strewn everywhere waiting to be organized into an essay. But though it is a pain in the neck to be stuck inside when the sun is out coolly shining on one of the two days he's finally home, for some reason i didn't mind. i-tunes on shuffle, pajamas all day...the only two distractions being the continual mallory act of hey look at this photo, and that bloody Brasil versus Paraguay Uruguay soccer game--mal, please please please can i go watch just the first ten minutes? ten little teeny minutes? What am i a slave driver now? I will embarrass him yet further by stating that out of appreciation for the unnecessary seeking of permission--i humanitarianly gave up the minutes; which rounded up more towards an entire first half, but meh. Brasil won 4-0 by the way. But look how lucky i am; three perfect saturdays in a row. Viu? Well once i grew tired of pretending to write bullshit about things i really had no clue about, i reached for my cake drawing book--time to draw birthday treats for Kaitles for her 19th on monday...but what to make...

Last year on this day we made this pretty lady a chestnut cream mousse for her birthday. She was in Seattle, and the mousse was in France. this is becoming a pattern. Kaitles your cakes are in Brasil, though we eat them with wishes for your health, happiness, and good fortune! did i just quote a Chinese fortune cookie? maybe. These are called Kaitle cakes. Avocados still on my mind...i originally was thinking of small orange tea cakes with candied orange peel, so i ask H, what do you think of avocado and orange together? he replies, sounds fine, after all i usually eat avocados mashed up with lemon and sugar. Really? hmmmm brilliant! Avocado lemon cakes with chocolate avocado cream, lemon cream, and candied lemon peel. Kaitle Cakes born in Brasil. Next year i will make for her 20th a pot of rice pudding in Tibet. Last year we did your birthday at TarTar's little apartment in Paris, with a chorus of "joyeux anniversaire Kaitlin!" and now--in a Brasilian kitchen to a chorus of "feliz aniversario Kaitlin!" What fun indeed.

There are two butter creams for the cake: a chocolate avocado, and just a simple lemon. For this, obviously, i needed a whisk, and powdered sugar. a whisk...why can't we find a bloody whisk! and powdered sugar, how am i supposed to find this when i can't even explain it to anyone! Ah the challenge! I accept. We went to a paper store to get cupcake wrappers, and well well well what do you know, this store turned out to be a Michaels equivalent, and down one very chic candy making aisle held the solution to my quandaries: not only powdered sugar, but an excessively large quantity of cocoa powder (yes finally something other than chocolate milk mix!) and a costco-size bag of chocolate chips. Chocolate chips! Two days ago i couldn't even find a chocolate bar to cut up. To quote the words of some new friends--successsss. We then decided to skip the market and go to Carrefour. yessss. Do you think i am evil? I must say that i did in fact miss Carrefour, i won't lie, i did most of my grocery shopping at carrefour whilst i lived in Paris. It was good to be back. But--i knew, if anywhere a whisk was to be found, it would be carrefour. Sure enough---successsss. Since we happened to already be in the location, i thought, ah why not pick up a few things for the thai food i was going to make for dinner. Erm. I had almost everything on my list written in Portuguese except the meat. Not a problem, i know how to talk about meat. Carne. So i say to D, e agora, carne--mas, frango ou peixe, um ou outro...não dois. Which means in some disturbing primal form of Portuguese, now we need meat, chicken or fish, one or the other, but not both. I have a very terrible pronunciation, and she could not understand my words for chicken. No problem, i am experienced in situations like these: i turn to her and cluck and jump around next to the bucket of tamarind the grocery atendant presently led us to. He was quite ammused i must add. Grocery shopping is quite fun, and we eventually got the chicken. So. Successsss. Last thing i needed was corn syrup; i tried to explain it as liquid sugar, but no one in the entire store had a clue. So. Não Successsss. Can't win every time. We've enough to make hundred cakes though, so não importante!

Kaitle Cakes: makes 10 cupcakes
Lemon sponge cakes:
ingredients: 1 cup flour ~ 1 tsp of something that will rise (i am not entirely sure what this little jar is in the fridge. but meh, it works) ~ 2 tbsps fresh squeezed lemon juice ~ 2 eggs ~ 3/4 cup granulated (now i see the importance of the word granulated) sugar ~ 3/4 cup milk ~ 1/2 cup smashed avocado ~ pinch of salt

method: scald milk and avocado (if you want, run it through a blender before scalding) set aside. 2) mix the dry ingredients together, and beat egg yolks with sugar. 3) combine the sugary eggs, milk, and lemon juice. add to flour mixture, combine, and divide into 10 paper cupcakes (i didn't even use a cupcake pan, just wrappers on a tray, and it worked!) bake until they are done. I have no idea what temperature this oven is. it is gas and there are no gauges.

butter creams: cocoa powder + butter + avocado + milk + powdered sugar. lemon butter cream: lemon juice + powdered sugar + butter.

candied peels: cut off the skin of a lemon, boil for five minutes in water, add a lot of sugar, and boil until translucent. roll in sugar when cool.

I am sorry i missed your birthday again, but you see i never actually miss it. And this way, many many more people get to celebrate your birth than you ever could have possibly imagined! Creepy? well yes. but that's ok. Homework stained pajama Saturdays are ok. Sunday strolls in graveyards and parks are ok. Monday night birthday cakes for a sister a million miles away are ok. Happy birthday Kaitles, i drank a strawberry caipirinha in your honor. Beijos!

a bientot


Anonymous said...

It's Uruguay!!! Not Paraguay...

Yummy cakes, by the way!

Feliz niver, Kaitlin!


Mallory Elise said...

thanks. im glad i couldn't just fix it. but Uruguay, Paraguay--what's the difference! finally doing your job as editor. getting my moneys worth.

ps. youre sitting right next to me right now!

The Cooking Photographer said...

Avocado and apple milkshake?? How was it made? I have to try it!

Mallory Elise said...

milk + avocados + peeled apple + sugar + blender = apple avocado milkshake. doooooo it. you won't regret.

M.Lane said...

What a great post!!! And you are a great sister.

These recipes sound fantastic, I cant wait to try them!


The cute sister said...

two of my favorite things put into one birthday cake! Well cupcake. I wish I was in brazil to celebrate. =]

dessert girl said...

Those look so yummy! I've been wanting to try the whole "avocados in baked goods" thing, but I still haven't gotten around to it.

lisa (dandysugar) said...

I love avocado ice cream so I know these cupcakes would make me very happy. They look delicious. Lovely combination of flavors.

Marta said...

Mallory, your adventures in Brasil have me absolutely captivated and intrigued! I can't wait what other wonderful concoction from the gorgeous land you're going to present us with. I had never heard of the avocado milkshake, but I can imagine being perfectly smooth and silky... talk about getting your anti-oxidants in!!!
Really nice cupcakes, I'm glad you kept the avocado theme going!
How long are you in Brasil for?

Sierra said...

those look what are you making me for my birthday hmmm?? oh thats right, you are going on a trip and i dont even get a cake...boooooooooo.....umm i love you though :)

chocolatecup said...

i want to make this for my own birthday!:) yuuuuummmm said...

You said:
"I have found my new favorite food, you know the one that is orgasmic. Avocado and apple milkshakes."


I love avocados. I often describe them as versatile, delicious, filling, and healthful. I'll have to think about adding orgasmic to the description.

Anonymous said...

i dont think we view avocados as vegetables in the us. that might be a unique trait to the salty cod mind.

Mallory Elise said...

i stand by what i say. when the main use of the avocado, in the US, is for savory purposes such as guacamole and sandwiches and salads, the characteristics of a vegetable are taken on. i am not saying that we classify it as a species of vegetable--i think of it like the tomato, which as we all know is a fruit. do we treat it as one? no. do we eat it like an apple and stick it in cakes? no. do we do the same thing with the avocado? yes. yes. and that is my argument. your turn!

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