Friday, April 27, 2012

Biorad Cakes and Neon Cookies

We had another vendor visit today.  The plan was for them to bring in an instrument so that it could be tested for its efficacy in the type of lab work that we do.  It is some kind of plate washer for use in multiple assays.  It was once evaluated by someone named Lisa but she moved on.  Now another person named Lisa is the one to try it out. Anyway somehow the machine did not make it. But refreshments for cake hour did!!   We like vendors like this.

Our vendor offering for the day!
Real Whip Cream...bad grammar but gotta love it!
When asked what they should bring we told them anything with whipped cream would be welcome but they should avoid cheesecakes as we have had a lot of them lately.  They happily obliged.  They arrived with a basic chocolate cake that was frosted with whipped cream and embellished with some shaved chocolate. It was not a multilayer cake just a single layer moist chocolate cake with the chantilly as the French would say.  Basic and good and appreciated by most although we have learned that a couple of our Francophonic people are not fans of whipped cream. C'est dommage! Too bad for them.
Add a few cherries and some kirsch and it's a Black Forest Cake!

The swirl means that much more of the whipped goodness!

Just cake and whipped cream..simple and fine!

For them there was also a "Gourmet Cookie Gift Box".  Doesn't that sound nice. The interesting thing is that the gourmet cookies were neon colored.  Is that what makes them gourmet? They were along the lines of Italian cookies but really, really brightly colored.  However whereas the cake was good and moist these were good and dry.  Mainly a variation on shortbread but in need of more butter or something.  Perfect to go with a beverage to wash them down. As you can see from the expression, some were not enthralled.  We also had our first visit from the head of neuro-oncology who was checking in with the aforementioned second Lisa.  The fame of cake hour spreads further!

Sound good doesn't it!

Already looking colorful!

Not so bad looking!
On closer inspection the neon colors standout!

Pink and yellow and dry!
Anyone have a glass of water before I dehydrate?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Artisan Fresh Blueberry Pie and He's at it again!

Today we had a pie, and Artisan Fresh blueberry pie to be exact.  In case you do not know Artisan Fresh is the brand from Sam's Club. There stuff is usually pretty good albeit larger than most other items. That seems to be the trend in all these clubs and wholesale places. Maybe this has something to do with the obesity epidemic but we can't say for sure.
Artisan fresh, again!
Looks like a pretty conventional top pie crust!

Ample pie for a hungry crowd!
BTW, the holes are to let the steam out during baking!

Is this proper English...fresh baked in club?
It's a standard blueberry pie for sure and you really can't go wrong with one of these. Some whipped cream or ice cream would have complemented it nicely but we are not complaining. Since it was a large as it was we even have leftovers for the next day if the after hours gluttons don't get it all.
Lots of blueberries in the filling!
As you can see from more of the posted pictures our electronic device addict was at it again!  Electronics Anonymous anyone?

He's at it again!
Something intense must be going on!
Nothing else is registering! Total electronic immersion!
Even with the knife about to fall!
Siri loves me, what can I say?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Boston Cream Pie with Angel Poop in the knowledge district

Today's cake hour was supposed to be another of those delectable home prepared European treats that we get all excited about. Instead our friend opted to buy something having apparently not having had the time to prepare something from the heart.  Oh well we will have to wait for the next time.  Instead we got a Boston Cream Pie.  This of course looks like a cake because a Boston Cream Pie isn't really a pie it's a two layer yellow cake with a pastry cream filling and molten chocolate on the top. It is one of America's classic desserts that originated at the Parker House hotel in Boston hence the name.  They always have done things a little different in Boston so maybe that's why they called it a pie.  Perhaps also because it is usually not as well put together as a cake and the frosting does not cover the whole thing so you can see the pastry cream layer. Whatever, it's a Boston Cream Pie.
It's not European it's Boston!
As you can see it is really a cake!

Nice layer of pastry cream visible at the edges!
What's that dollop of white on the top?
This one was very good the cake was moist, the pastry cream fresh and the chocolate frosting just as it should be. It is usually allowed to drool over the edges of the cake so to speak and this one did so although more heavily on one side.  Maybe they set is some place slanted.  They could have been a bit more generous with the pastry cream but then this particular version would have been pretty tall.  The layer was much thicker around the edge of the cake than in the middle.  This one has a special dollop or what appeared to be butter cream frosting on the top; a little bit like you see on a cupcake these days.  This was really dense and much heavier than the chocolate.  Someone remarked that it looked a little like poop except that it was white. Our clever person then explained that it must be angel poop then.  You have angel cake, angel hair - now angel poop. Fortunately that part of the conversation did not go very far.
The chocolate drips for effect - at least on one side!
Heavy on the cake a little light on the cream inside!
Angel Poop?
The lab is located in a part of Providence known as the Jewelry District. At one point there were a large number of jewelry factories in the area and it was the largest area for the production of costume jewelry in the country.  Speidel watch bands and Imperial Knives were also manufactured here. Apparently we no longer work in the Jewelry District.  It has now been designated the "Knowledge District." With  Brown University, Rhode Island Hospital and Johnson and Wales taking up more and more of the property and with the new Brown Medical School likewise in an old jewelry factory I guess it was time for a rebranding. In addition the removal of the old Interstate 195 elevated road has freed up a ton of land for development and the above referenced institutions certainly would like to get a piece of the action. The story made it into the New York Times:
Aerial View of the "Knowledge District"
We think "Knowledge District"is a bit pretentious and thought it would have been more fun if they did like in New York with SoHo or TriBeCa.  Since the first major street north of here is Weybosset we could have called this area SoWey. "Hey, I moved to SoWay from the East Side!" Since it is also south of Washington Street someone joked it could be the SoWhat district. In truth despite the new moniker we will stick with the historical reference and continue to call it the Jewelry District.
This won't be the Knowledge District Association anytime soon, we gather!
Long live the Jewelry District!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cheescake #4 and addicted to electronic devices

Today we had cheesecake number 4.  As previously mentioned this was bought from the Cheesecake Factory using Cheesecake Factory gift cards that were received as part of a sales promotion.  We had the choice of many other vendors like Home Depot or Best Buy but what are we supposed to find for cake hour at those places?  It was our suggestion that the vendor get us some Cheesecake Factory cards and fortunately he was happy to comply.  This was the fourth one.
Déja vu cheesecake
It was also a repeat albeit the 6 inch version of the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake that we have already had.  The six inch cake really looks small but the pieces you end up cutting are probably about as many calories as you should have.  This cheesecake is good though there is no overwhelming flavor of white chocolate. Come to think of it is there ever an overwhelming flavor of white chocolate? Maybe the Lindt white chocolate truffles but not this cheesecake. The taste of the cheese is enough to overtake any white chocolate flavoring.  But no complaints, we've had this before and were glad to enjoy it again. 
Oreo type, crust, white chocolate cheesecake, raspberry swirl and whipped cream florets on top!
These commercial cheesecakes are bought frozen.  Since we seem to never be able to get them in time to defrost them we end up using a Microwave to soften them up.  Using the defrost cycle it gets them warm enough to slice but as they remain a bit frozen it is kind of like eating cheesecake ice cream. Some people actually prefer them this way.  Today we see the results of when you just microwave it on a regular setting. It does indeed thaw quicker however the presentation suffers a bit. If you think it looks a little deformed you are right.
The defrost cycle won't deform your whipped cream or shaved chocolate!
Today we saw the ugly spectacle of PED addiction such as was recently described in the New York Times Magazine as "The Hyperaddictive Time-Sucking Relationship-Busting Mind-Crushing Power and Allure of Silly Digital Games."

One of our cackler has been carrying on playing internet Scrabble.  He was getting agitated that one of the players was not responding now that she had her PhD and was working in New York. We concluded she was probably busy but he felt he was being slighted.  We concluded he was too involved with his personal electronic devices even being unable to ignore them during cake hour.  The pictures speak for themselves. Maybe he can ask Siri where to find help!
Why isn't she playing scrabble?

Is this an addict I see before me?

Just one more word....

Caught again!  Time for some detox!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bunnies with a choking hazard

Eat the waabbit!  Eat the waabbit! Not exactly the Bugs Bunny cartoon but eat the rabbits is what we got to do today. In the absence of anything signed up we finally got to chow down on the chocolate bunnies that were part of the Easter basket from last week. We had two - one milk chocolate hollow bunny courtesy of Lindt and another darker solid bunny from Russell Stover.

The Russell Stover bunny boasted of being hand crafted in small batches for Easter.   Given the decoration and the packaging it is hard not to conclude that this was made in a mold perhaps having been poured into the mold by hand but we doubt it. Still it was good and solid and went a long way.  We were amused at the description of the serving size as 1/5 of the rabbit. Someone wondered whether that would be traumatic for kids to read. That's a bit of a stretch.  The ears went first and when the next part to get lopped off was the rear end it provided the opportunity for us to learn the proper way to say it in French - derriere - as opposed to the impolite way - le cul! We'll add this to our expanding knowledge of vulgarités françaises!

The Lindt bunny was a little more elegant with its gold foil cover and festive red ribbon.  Apparently in Europe there is also a tiny bell with the ribbon tied around the neck of the bunny. Why Lindt chose to deprive the American consumer of this additional decorative motif is unsure but it is lame. We should get the same bells and whistles as the French!

These were somewhat predictable as far as taste goes. The Lindt milk chocolate was creamy and smooth and the Rusell Stover a little coarser and dark.  Lindt seems to have creamy and smooth down pat.  Whether it is some secret to the recipe or some secret added emulsifier will remain a mystery. Hopefully it is the former.

 Although our Lindt bunny is cute and innocent looking apparently it is also a deadly hazard.  This you can tell by the disclaimer label on the bottom. For children under three the ribbon is a choking hazard according to said disclaimer.  Well that ribbon can be threatening to more than infants. We concluded in the wrong hands it could be lethal to any age group. This bunny clearly should be taken off the market for the sake of public health and welfare!