Monday, August 23, 2010

Here we go again..

I guess we're on a bit of a roll when it comes to the featured item. Friday it was a fruit tart from one of our favorite places and today it is....a fruit tart from one of our favorite places. This time it is from Pastiche on Federal Hill in Providence.  They have been around for awhile and are another place that produces high quality products that look good and taste great.  In the picture you can see the similarities in the product.  The outer ring is even supposed to be mango but we're suspecting it is peach. This one is certainly very colorful and the fruit is all fresh.  There appears to be a glaze on this one but it is light and barely noticeable. It does serve to hold the fruit together so the berries don't go rolling off when you slice it. The pastry cream layer is a little thicker here but regardless these are great tarts and we are always happy to see one from  Check it out...more competition for those showy Hong Kong places!
Pastiche logo

Colorful Creation

Well designed!

The inner fixin's
Tomorrow is the pathobiology retreat. The sheer joy of having to participate is being amplified by the monsoon weather. Since the retreat takes place in a park it is looking like this is going to be memorable not just for the science. We can't wait to see who shows up since it is being pushed by those in the know here. 

Side view

It's going fast...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tropical Treat??

Doesn't the title sound enticing? The treat for today was indeed but the title reflect not so much the origin or tradition of the fruit tart served but more the fact that it had not frequently seen pineapples and mangoes on it.  It was a nice touch. Mangoes are usually mush so to see them so firm and neatly sliced was impressive. (Not as impressive as the mango cheesecake in the Hong Kong Bakery but hey.) The tart came from the Vienna Bakery in Barrington, RI which is always a favorite. You will never complain about the quality or the taste. We did think it interesting that they used whole strawberries with the leaves still attached and the blueberries were partly cooked which actually strengthens the flavor. It is a classic fruit tart with a thick crust, a layer of pastry cream or custard and then the fruit.  Sometimes is covered with a layer of clear gelatin but the Vienna does not usually do that. Since it can make the crust soggy we rather it without anyway.  Check out the website of the Vienna Bakery. The case rivals those Hong Kong places. Their pear tart is one of our favorite cake hour specialties.

There was a lot of buzz about the upcoming pathobiology retreat coming up. Folks were busy preparing posters and waiting for the day to arrive so they can get it over with. Apparently the retreat does not go down as one of the most fun things to do. But we would never dispute the educational benefit of attending. It will be interesting to see who shows up.

Thursday, August 19, 2010



There's a rumor going around that the Moss children are looking to wow us at a cake hour in the next week or so!  Can this be true! If so that would be wicked awesome and we can't wait to see what they may come up with.  I'm sure it'll be good but now that we know the pressure is on!

Unexpected advance

We showed up for cake time opened the box from Gregg's (yeah) and read the unexpected inscription on the cake. "Happy Birthday! Teresa!" Who knew!  But we love birthdays so we sang that old refrain many times. That is every time someone joined the group we would sing it again. Teresa must have been sick of it after the fifth time but it was all well intended. But then we learn it isn't her birthday yet. Well! It turns out it's coming on Saturday but since she did not expect to be here again before then she wanted to share a cake. ......Good for her! Thanks for thinking of us and we'll celebrate your birthday any time especially if you're providing the cake!
It was pretty yellow

A well constructed cake

Our birthday girl!

Can't go wrong with four layers

Somehow it always looks interesting when you lay out the slices

Gregg's does it again. This was a lemon cake as if you couldn't tell by the electric yellow frosting. As is usually the case the cake was very fresh, moist and somewhat light for the type that it was. The lemon filling was not overwhelming in quantity and was just sweet enough. The yellow frosting was also surprisingly good and not like so many of those commercial frostings that are almost inedible. We really like what Gregg's does but with the student's gone and some other people off for the end of the summer we might have to downsize some of these cakes...really!

We marveled at our new microwave which was actually a used one.  As it turns out some of the enamel is wearing off exposing the metal under the glass plate.  Let's hope that glass plate shields it well otherwise we'll all try to get front row seats for the lightning show that may occur. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It wasn't over yet...

One last hurrah for student cake month. It seems there was someone in the program who did not understand the significance of the month of July being the month for student's to bring the goods. Being the sport that he was, however, he agreed to a makeup and who are we to say no.  It was a four star effort also.  He came up with a great looking cheesecake from the Meeting Street Cafe...someplace we have not tried before. It turns out it was not made by the folks at the Cafe but came from a commercial bakery calle MD Bakery.  We hadn't heard of it so quickly checked it out as a possible source for the future. Since they don't sell retail themselves we'll have to check for other places that feature their products. 
No longer delinquent

Great look

A hearty thing for sure

And so it disappears...

This was a great looking cake and though we didn't get an official name we will call it a caramel pecan cheesecake.  Oreo cookie crust, good solid New York style cheesecake filling with a caramel coating and of course the decorative pecan whipped cream swirls at the top. It tasted good but was one of those things you had to eat a small amount of lest you remain feeling full for the next two days. It was a big cake for a smaller crowd then usual. Since most of the student have left for the summer a distinct quietude has settled upon the lab somewhat.  It's always good to have those summer students part of the gang but also quite fine when things return to normal.  This year's group was not the most outgoing but we'll just assume it was because they were serious scientists! Let's see how many of them come back in the fall!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Twice within a month

We clearly had seen this cake before and it didn't take long to find out where.  It was an entry for student cake month back on July 23rd.  It was only a three star entry which probably made it a little forgettable. Or today's cake donor missed that day.  For further comment on the cake see the entry for July 23rd entitled Back to Basics. There isn't much more to say about this.  But we always appreciate whatever someone brings in!!
Take two!

Looks the same as the one a month ago.

And you thought it was going to be chocolate on the inside

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mrs. Masa makes a mousse..

We really should stop calling her that. She is Mrs. Shimoda after all but Mrs. Masa sounds better so a little poetic license please.  The Mrs. makes the perfect chiffon cake that we have experienced before and that our Hong Kong cackler tried to replicate to some success. This time it was something different. We deemed it a strawberry mousse as calling it a mousse fit in with the attempted alliteration of the title.

Actually it was Strawberry Bavarian Cream. (Though one person called it a flan. Not!!) It had the consistency of a custard or a pudding more than a mousse and so was probably not based upon whipping up large amounts of egg white.  It was chilled, which was great, for a hot summer day and of course being like a custard or pudding it gave us a reason to slather on some whipped cream not that we need a reason to slather on whipped cream. We also had a little leftover strawberry shortcake from Hiro's departure celebration but Mrs. Masa's Mousse was preferred.

Creme Bavaroise

More custard then mousse.

A little strawberry aspic for the base

Just perfect when you add the whipped cream

Ready to be devoured!

The Shimoda family is from Japan which is known for having many long lived individuals and a large number of people over 100 years old. However that may not be quite what it seems which was part of our discussion. As it turns out a lot of those reportedly over 100 years were no longer around according to a report in the New York Times that was somewhat amusing despite the subject matter.

So if Grandpa has been spending a lot of time in his room and out of sight.. you may want to check on him!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Serious shortcake on Friday the 13th

Sometimes you need to just stick with the basics.  Gregg's bakery does that with their strawberry shortcake. Whipped cream, strawberries and yellow cake are all that you need and that's all that they use. We're talking serious cake though. There is no lack of whipped cream on this thing since they opt to fill it only with the whipped cream you get some strawberries in syrup to go along with it. This adds the final touch and even though  the whipped cream might have a saturated fat or two, the added strawberries add the sweetness and flavor to complement the whole thing. Good stuff! However, these things are really intended to feed an army. We somehow manage to get through it nonetheless.
Try one of their cakes pronto!

Back to basics!

Whipped cream on top...

Whipped cream in the middle..

Serious whipped cream in the middle.  We're all on statins now!

Today is Friday the 13th. Nobody cared!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Cookies we expected but then came some apple, cinammon, mascarpone, cocoanut, puff things!

This falls into the category of you can't get too much of a good thing..I suppose.  Our almost delinquent research fellow who had to scramble for those Pirouline's at the last minute came through with the promised cookies from his fiancee.  You really can't beat that Toll House Cookie recipe that is on the back of the Nestle's package.  You know how there are certain things you should not try to improve on? Well this is one of them.  These cookies were the classic recipe with the only modification being the addition of peanut butter chips to some of them. (I remind everyone again that cake hour is emphatically not a "Nut-free Zone".) So it was a twofer. Two types of cookies at the same time albeit from the same recipe. Thanks to the fiancee and the hard work on our behalf.
Toll House to the Max

An American Classic

Plate full of goodness

The expected cookies aside one of our finalist's from student cake month took it upon herself to bring in some additional treats.  They were very cute and as to what they were well they were apple, cinammon, mascarpone, coconut, puff things according to the baker.  The apple-cinnamon-mascarpone-coconut filling was added to puff pastry shells that were flared a little to give these treats a fun look. Fortunately they tasted good and were light enough to be able to go with the cookies which as everyone can see also came on top of the tiramisu and strawberry shortcake from earlier in the afternoon.  It was an embarrassment of riches to say the least.
The full smorgasbord!
Those...puff things

If I didn't know better I'd think it's a quiche

Well presented

Our fiance working in the lab had a great response to a query about his honeymoon which scheduling may dictate being short or nonexistent. The exchange was so:
Friend: For my honeymoon I'm thinking about Nantucket. How about you?
Fiance: Me, I'll be lucky if I can make it to Pawtucket!

How's that for a sense of humor!  We hear the Slater Mill is lovely and can hold a candle to the Old Mill any day!
We love them both!

Disappearing fast!

Sayonara, Koga..san!

All good things come to and end and so too did the fellowship of our cheesecake bringing colleague Koga-san!  We like to send everyone off with memories and a toast and his case was no different.  Continuing with our policy of trying to find something that is most inconvenient to have to schlep back to your home country on a plane we found a lovely print of the Brown University Quad. He now has to figure out how to get it to Japan. We also did a little bit of Brown U themed makeover and so you see our departing friend modeling the newest addition to Brown logo wear i.e. the new sweatshirt for the Brown Alpert Medical School or BAMS. That's a better name than the Brown University Medical School which was BUMS. Nevertheless, we wonder if anyone will get the connection without having it explained to them that the Brown Alpert Medical School is associated with Brown University.

After the BUMS,er BAMS makeover!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

He tried to back out..

He tried but we guilted him.  Our research fellow promised us some cookies baked by his fiancee. They were supposed to come today but something happened and the fiancee was called in by here boss and had to blah, blah, blah!  So he tried to renege only to receive a little bit of incredulity and a minor guilt trip in return. He asked if he should pick something up to which the appropriate response was - Duh?
Two flavors to try!

Everything goes with whipped cream.

..and all natural to boot!

Fortunately we have that Gourment Heaven nearby and he had to walk right by it on his way to get his marriage license - a-a-w! So once again we see the Creme de Priouline Artisan Rolled Wafers - in two flavors this time.  (What the hell is an artisan rolled wafer? Do they expect us to believe they are rolled by something other than a major piece of industrial machinery?) They hit the spot and sufficed to whet our appetite in anticipation of the cookies that are now to come tomorrow! And they are all natural to boot!

Then suddenly we remembered...

It was looking like it was going to be another day of scrounging for something for cake time and we had so far come up with the omnipresent whipped cream, some Cadbury chocolate and leftover ice cream as you can see. Then suddenly we remembered....our vacating - Yes, I've brought something for cake hour but since you have something else I'll take it back and have it tomorrow on Block Island with my friends - student had indeed left behind a few of her baked creations because - surprise - she had too much for that Block Island Trip. 
This was it, or so we thought!

Which one is gluten free/

Probably the stunted one!

Tasty but a little dry!

I guess you could call them Lemon Poppy Seed flatbread or flatcakes. They had been in the refrigerator since Friday, though securely wrapped in plastic.  We weren't quite sure how much they were supposed to rise but most breads of this sort do get a little higher. One of them might have been gluten free which would account for the flatness but the other might have turned out so due to the vagaries of the recipe or the vicissitudes of the baker. (You like those v words?)  The fact that they had been around since Friday may have contributed to the fact they were a little dry but that's why you keep the coffee and the whipped cream nearby!

One of our favorite topics came up today and that is the impossible scientific and technological capabilities of the labs on CSI Miami and shows of the same ilk. I mean I really want that software that takes the grainiest or most pixilated digital photo and then makes it crystal clear. Or the one where they can get a perfect shot of a person's face from the reflection of it in the sunglasses of a perpetrator in the rear of a picture taken by a low resolution security camera.  And they are the only labs in the world that can have a DNA result before the party at which a murder has taken place, is over. Why is it also that CSI Miami never investigates the murders of young gang members but always manages to find the person who was murdered by a friend who wanted to get even so they found some metallic makeup that killed the person when they started the microwave or something stupid like that. No wonder the judges screening jury pools have to remind prospective jurors that what they see on TV is not the real world. You hear that, Horatio! And straighten up while you are at it!