Friday, May 28, 2010

The Mother of All Cupcake Books. Buy it. Now.

BDJ rarely posts about the same thing two times in a row, but this here cupcake tome is worth repeating ourselves for. You'll remember we posted a pic and a blurb about Who You Callin Cupcake?, the just-published collection of recipes by Michelle and Vinny Garcia, the folks at Chicago's Bleeding Heart Bakery. Now, we've had a chance to peruse the publication and share our thoughts. Our one-word review would probably be "fabulous" or something similarly glowing, because this cookbook kicks holy ass, but you probably need a few more words to convince yourself. Here's a few:

First of all, don't be surprised by this book's compact size. There are a whopping 75 recipes in this baby, each more tantalizing than the next. You could make a recipe every weekend, and then one on every major holiday, and still not make it through the damned thing.

Second, if you've stopped in and sampled the wares at Bleeding Heart, you're probably a fan and might even have a special favorite among the 'cakes (ours, naturally, is the choc/PB/bacon number). If that's the case, you'll be thrilled to learn that all the BHB masterpieces--from the ones on the menu every day, to the specialty flavors the bakery rotates--are listed in here. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

Third: Praises be, the recipes are simple, straightforward, and easy to follow, so even a novice in the kitchen has a chance at creating masterpieces of his/her own. Further helping the newbies, the authors offer tips and tricks to help you avoid kitchen mishaps (i.e. avoid overmixing the vegan cupcake batter). Head BDJ Lab Tech Jenni S appreciates this because she completely sucks at making cakes and can use all the expert advice she can get her hands on.

Fourth: Vegan cupcakes! Just because your diet is cruelty-free doesn't mean it has to be flavor-free, too--and these recipes prove it. Also helpful to have if you have vegan buddies (and who doesn't these days), so they don't get left out of any cakey occasions (birthdays, weddings, bat mitzvahs, divorces, haircuts--cake's awesome for any occasion, really).

Fifth: Even if you're a total klutz in the kitchen, never bake a thing, and basically just use your home oven to store the pans that you also never use, you'd be wise to buy this book just for the photography. Bill Lambert's a seasoned food photog, and his shots definitely do the cupcakes justice--you'll want to lick the pages (don't--they just taste like paper). Incidentally, Mr. Lambert also shoots for, one of our favorite food sites, so the dude knows how to photograph the food porn.

I'm going to stop writing so you can stop reading and get yourself a copy right now. If it's before 7pm and not Monday, you can go to the bakery at the corner of Damen and Belmont and get a copy. Or, Amazon. Or, fine booksellers everywhere. You can't have this copy, though. Sorry.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dandy candy; Cupcake cookbook

The Sweets and Snacks Expo launches tomorrow. We at BDJ LOVE our candy and snacky morsels almost as much as we worship bacon (almost) and starting tomorrow morning, most of Chicago's behemoth McCormick Place expo center will be wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, asses-to-elbows with noshes, both sugary and savory. Not much bacon--but there is if you look. We'll come back with plenty (trying not to eat it all, and probably failing). When we return, we'll wrap a bunch of it in bacon, hopefully making up for the fact that we've been slackasses about updating lately, about which we feel horrible.

This picture has nothing to do with candy, except maybe candy is delicious, just like Bleeding Heart Bakery's treats are delicious, and this here is Michelle the grand poobah of BHB, and she's sweet/zingy like a Sour Patch kid, or something. Anyway, she has a new book that you should run out and buy so you can make yourself some awesome cupcakes at home. They won't be as good as hers, but then again, not everyone that picks up a baseball bat is Babe Flippin' Ruth, either. Who You Callin' Cupcake? available at fine booksellers everywhere, and maybe a few less-fine ones. Just buy it, okay? Gawd.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

BREAKIN' BACON: Pork-scented tweets

Bacon is a favorite subject among the citizens of the social media site BDJ Labs credits twitizens for spreading the word about our bacon-positive mission far and wide and making the blog the hugantic success that it is today. Why, just this morning, within the span of only a few minutes, thousands of people sent out bacon-related tweets to their followers. Here are some of the highlights.


from DulceCalor: @ChicoFC When don't you need a bacon fix? I mean, seriously. @tuscanfoodie
from Sunni_Delight: The way to @MrAndIthankYou 's heart is wit a plate of bacon lol 

from Alice Bryant: i just watched a video about bacon weaving instead of doing revision

from iHottys: Gratuitous Food Porn: Dram Shop Bacon Cheeseburger in Park Slope ...: Lettuce, tomato, chopped onion, dill pickle ...

from FearOfCode: @importantshock bacon being amazing is merely a special case of pork as a whole being very underappreciated.

from Julzzzzz: "Jake... Put down the bacon." "NOOOoooOOOOoooOOoOooOoaaHHAaahHhuhHHhHh!" ""

Monday, May 3, 2010

Test #208: Bacon and FROZEN FRUIT

The subject
In a fit of good intentions, the folks at BDJ Labs decided to make a conscious effort to eat better--ironic, considering the cholesterol fest that is our bacon-scented existence. Outside of salted pork, though, we vowed to stock our pantry with wholesome stuff--fiber-filled bread, lean meats, vegetables, and fruits. This included smoothies, so we purchased plain yogurt, and frozen fruits to blend in 'em.

Turns out the big-ass bag of frozen fruit we purchased contains diamond-hard nuggets of pineapple, berries, melon and the like, which our non-industrial blender can't handle. Balls. So, we're stuck with a bag of fruit that we can't eat--unless we thaw them, which just leads to a pile of flavorless mush. Not wanting to chalk it up as a total loss, we figured we'd wrap a few chunks in bacon and see if that led to anything positive.

The results
Nope. Each nugget of fruit just totally gave up on life--took on a wee bit of bacon flavor, but the consistency was all blegh. The pieces got all watery and, depending on the size, some even were still borderline cold in the middle. Not a pleasant eating experience at all.

The conclusion: Bacon + frozen fruit = super meh.