For My Sister, The Lawyer

If I was ever to open up my own catering business, I'm pretty sure I'd name it "My Sister's Caterer". Why, you ask? Well...

My sister is probably the person to whom I've catered the most, usually buffet-style. Jerusalem artichoke soup, salmon/cream cheese rolls, pigs in blankets (I know, so kitchy, but we love 'em!), salads, spring rolls, chicken skewers - lots of bite-size things. She's very much the tapas-eating kind of person.

And I should probably just clarify, here in Denmark, the word "tapas" has been misused to such a degree that any dish served in a cup or on a small plate, consisting of a maximum of say, 7 bites, would be called a tapa. I dunno, I guess the chef's just think it's smart. And if there are no tapas in sight on a menu when she's out eating, she'll be sure to make them happen anyways: "does anyone want to split something?" is a sentence you'll definitely hear somewhere around the time the waiter's pouring your first glass of water. I know no one like her that can change an appetizer or entree into fitting her exact needs - my cheeks are blushing by the mere thought of it! (I'm a waitress myself afterall, and I know what the poor girl in front of us have to deal with in the kitchen when she rings in an order like that)But I'm also strangely fascinated by her doing it, asking all those weird questions and ALWAYS getting away with it. I for one would rather pick out the corn in my corn chowder than ask if I could have it without. Okay, silly example (and no, my sister wouldn't ask that!!) but you get the idea.

We grew up together, living with just my Mom. T is 8 years older than me, and we have different dads. The age difference considered, I'm pretty sure there could have been a lot of sibling-fights going on, along the lines of "Get out of my room!!", "T is teasing!" but I don't remember any of that. I remember her tickling me so much, I once peed in my pants; me walking around the streets with her and her friend S, alternately screaming when holding their hands because they squeezed them, yet still wanting to hold their hands. Hey, I was 7 or something, okay?? And my Mom have the most fantastic pictures of me, aged 2 or 3 and her, 10 or 11, having a popsicle. In the first picture, I finish mine; next picture shows me looking longingly at my sisters popsicle; third picture, her giving me a bite and last, the fourth shows me with a BIG smile on my face! I'm pretty sure we had our share of arguments, but as my sister said the other day: there never really was any idea in screaming at you - if I just explained to you why I wanted you to do something, you usually understood, and did it. Ah, even then I was a very reasonable person!;-P

When I was around 10, she went to America to work as an au-pair. The following years she spend alternately in Denmark and the US, with me not seeing that much of her. I was busy beeing a teenager, my first boyfriend had presented himself, a guy I ended up being together with for 2½ years. At the time the relationship was ending, my sister was tugged away in LA. On a day that had been particularly rough, a lot of crying on both his and my behalf, I came home and found a postcard my sister sent. The one pictured in the beginning of this post. Call it weird bonds of sisterhood, or just plain mindreading across the ocean, but somehow, she knew exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. "What makes you stronger makes you beautiful" and the few sentences on the back just proved to me that no matter where in the world we might be, a 5 minute walk or 5000 miles between us - there's nothing that can take away the feeling of her always being there, knowing what's going on.

In 1999 (I think?) she moved back to Denmark to go to law school. She's got a huge crowd of friends (and a large family to boot!) and she takes good care of them. Every now and again, she finds there's an occasion to celebrate. That's where my catering business comes into play. I've set up the food for her graduating law school-party - her "18th. birthday" (ahem, probably more like 30th, but who's counting?;-)) - and a couple of smaller birthday-parties and family-get-togethers. The latest event was her being called to the bar (becoming, like, a lawyer for real you know) where she and one of her friends threw a BBQ party for 50 of the closest friends. I (only) took care of desserts - carrot muffins with cream cheese topping and chocolate chip cookies.

So this is for my Sister, The Lawyer. I'm proud of you. I hope our late night chatting in the sofa, about family and boys and futures; our dinners with Mom and you stopping by our apartement on an impulse; our Christmas Eve traditions and all the other stuff, will never end. Heck, I even hope you'll never stop being hopeless when ordering in restaurants! Congratulations Sis!

Carrot Muffins

I used this recipe, that I doubled. For the first batch, I forgot to put in the baking soda, and they actually turned out having a better texture (a bit firmer) than the second batch (in which I did put baking soda). If I'm to make them again, I'd leave it out. One batch made 30 small muffins (3 cm. in diameter) and 9-10 medium (6 cm in diameter)

The cream cheese icing I made with equal parts butter and cream cheese (300 g. each should suffice, with icing sugar to taste) and then piped it on the muffins with a star-shaped nozzle, for that posh look :-)

And just because some of the guests at the party might come here and look for it (my sister likes to brag about my blog, tee-hee) I'll give the recipe in Danish too: (the rest of you are allowed to have a great laugh at the weird language:-D)

Gulerodskage med Flødeosteglasur

Til kagen:
250 g. hvedemel
2 tsk. bagepulver
1½ tsk. natron (udelades hvis du skal lave muffins)
1 tsk. stødt kanel
1 tsk. salt
4 æg
345 g. sukker (jeg bruger gerne rørsukker)
280 ml. vindruekerne- eller solsikkeolie
300 g. reven gulerod (ca. 3 store)

Til glasuren:
175 g. flødeost (f.eks. Philadelphia eller Kirks Flødeost), ved stuetemperatur
175 g. smør, også stuetemperatur
Flormelis (ca. 2 dl., men efter smag)

Forvarm ovnen til 180 grader. Smør to springforme med en diameter på 23 cm og drys dem med mel (alternativt kan du bruge muffinforme - som sagt fik jeg omkring 30 helt små og ca. 10 medium ud af en gang af opskriften; ELLER du kan vælge at lave én stor kage, så skal din form nok være en 28 cm. i diameter, og bagetiden bliver noget længere)

Sigt mel, kanel, salt, bagepulver og natron sammen i en stor skål. I en anden skål piskes æggene med et elektrisk piskeris, ved høj hastighed. Tilsæt sukker og pisk, stadig på høj, til de bliver hvide og luftige. Tilsæt olien i en tynd stråle, lidt ligesom når man laver mayonnaise. Blandingen skal konsistensmæssigt også minde om mayonnaise når du er færdig - lidt tyk i det, og sådan så piskeriset nærmest kan trække spor i blandingen. Fold forsigtigt de revne gulerødder i, og fold derefter mel-blandingen i.

Fordel i de to forme (eller muffinsformene) og bag i 30-40 minutter for kagerne, ca. 15 min. for muffins'ne (men check, jeg tog ikke rigtig tid, checkede bare efter 10 minutter og derefter sådan hvert 3-5. minut til de virkede færdig. Ja sorry, men jeg er jo sådan lidt la-la i mit køkken, ik?;-))

Når kagerne er færdige, tages de ud af ovnen og skal køle i 10-15 minutter i formene - IKKE LÆNGERE, slet ikke hvis du lave muffins, for så sidder de altså fast i formene (tro mig, jeg har prøvet det!) Lad dem køle helt af på en rist. Lav glasuren imens:

Sørg for at både smørret og flødeosten er VIRKELIG bløde (tag dem ud af køleskabet når du begynder at lave kagen, gerne før), ellers får du det aldrig til at hænge sammen med flødeosten. De to slås sammen (jeg plejer at bruge en dejskraber til formålet) til du ikke længere kan se spor af den ene eller den anden, men det er blevet en homogen masse. Smag til med flormelis. Jeg kan godt lide den ret så sød, men smag dig frem. Kom glasuren på kagerne når de er HELT afkølede - hvis du har lavet to store kage, så kom først glasur ovenpå den ene, læg den anden kage ovenpå den første og kom så glasur over hele molevitten. Nyd den i små eller store stykker, der går nok ikke lang tid før den er væk! (men den holder sig faktisk fint i køleskabet, skulle der blive noget tilovers...)


Anonymous said…
Those look so good Zarah! The icing is piped on so beautifully! Congratulate your sister for me, passing the bar is a great accomplishment!
Anonymous said…
What a nice post! No wonder your sister likes to brag about your blog. ;) In all seriousness, I enjoyed reading about you and your sis...I don't have any sisters myself, and have often wished I did. The muffins do look gorgeous!
tanvi said…
the cakes look yummy- i like that you piped the frosting, since usually i find that the cream cheese overwhelms the carrot cake.

ps. sisters can be wonderful, cant they?
Pille said…
Jer har en lillesøster who doesn't particularly enjoy cooking, and she frequently begs me to help her with cooking or menues for her parties (or ends up complaining that I'm not doing it, as she's in Estland and I'm in Skotland:)
Sounds like you and your sister really get along well - congrats! Og disse gulerødmuffins ser meget god ud (speciellt 'posh' glasuren:)!
(Og unskyld min dårlig-dårlig dansk - jer har ikke været tilbage siden 1992:)
Anonymous said…
Oh wow! Piping the icing is a nifty idea! I'll have to borrow it one of these days. ;-)

This is one of your best posts Zarah. You remind me of one of my nieces, when her mom (my cousin) remarried and had a son and her (my niece) classmates would ask about her 'half-brother', she'd reply: "There's no such thing as a half-brother. It's either he is or he's not." Your closeness to your sister is enviable.

Congratulations to T!
Niki said…
Beautiful post and great photo!
The ubiquitous tapas thing is also the rage down here in Australia. Suddenly any little bite sized random thing that was once called antipasto is now a tapas. Call me pernickty, but I just don't think bits of smoked salmon with dill cream cheese is vaguely Spanish tapas!
Anonymous said…
This is such a beautiful post! I don't have a sister and it's stories like these that make me wish for one (Santa, you listening?). Congratulations to her and I hope both of you share tons more wonderful moments together!

The little cakes look lovely...especially with the piped icing. And I like the way you made two sizes...that's you and T together as carrot cakes!

BTW...thanks for adding me to your links! I'm honored :-)
Cathy said…
Beautiful cupcakes Zarah! I too really like the way the piped icing looks - I'm going to have to get some bigger tips so I can do that sort of thing (I only have the little cake decorating type tips). This was really a wonderful post too - so nice to hear a little more about you and your family!
Molly said…
Beautiful little cakes, Zarah! I especially love the mini ones--so adorable with that topknot of icing. And it's wonderful to hear about your relationship with your sister--it gives your cooking a different sense of meaning. Thank you!
*fanny* said…
Hi, that's so sweet Zarah Maria. I'm almost crying at the moment because i am a sister of a 11 years old sweet girl i'll be missing next year when i'll go studying far away from home.
Thanx for making me remember all the good moments i spent with my beloved sister.

PS I love carott muffins with cream cheese icing; actually i love the cream cheese icing (ahahaha).
Cerebrum said…
Gemma - thank you, and thank you from Sis!

Alice - I treasure her, that's for sure - I think everyone should have one (sister or brother) I'm so happy I have someone to remind me of what it was like when I was little, squeezing my hand every now and again ;-)

Tanvi - sisters and carrot cake - it really doesn't get much better, does it?

Pille - wauw, your Danish is GREAT! I think that's the first Danish comment I've had - EVER! And you know, sisters will be sisters, no matter where they are - I'm sure my sister would be doing the same as yours if we're ever in different time zones again!

Karen - borrow away! I was quite pleased with how it turned out. I contemplated a plain nozzle, but grabbed the star-shape one just before I ran out the door to go to the party (where I finished them off) and opted for that instead. And thanks for the kind words. Your niece sounds like a fantastic girl.

Niki - thank you. I know just what you're saying on the whole antipesto/tapa thingy - why the heck can't they just call it small dishes or bitesized or canapée?? Why this putting it into a category in which it clearly doesn't belong? Ush! But as long as it tastes good, I can't get too worked up about it (as you can clearly tell ;-P)

Joey - thank you to you, too (My, I'm blushing with all those thank you's!) I hope my sister and I have lots of time ahead of us and that we'll enjoy it just as much as we have until now. I'll cross my fingers and hope Santa will send you one for Christmas. I love your carrot-muffin/me and T allegory!
And you're welcome re. the link - I know just how you feel, I can't help but let out a little cry of joy when I find my blog's name on other blogger's lists!

Cathy - You can never have too many cake decorating gadgets - or can you?? Hmmm...:-) I really liked doing the post - I love writing all of the foodie stuff, but have found that I miss putting down more of my thoughts on screen/paper - and you know, it is Food & Thoughts, eih? I'm glad you enjoyed reading it!

Molly - thank you! You know what, one of the girls at the party noted the exact same thing: "Look at that little detail with the knot on top - that's just attention to detail!" - more like me being lucky with the nozzle, but shh, don't tell anyone! Thought it about time to share some more of me and my family, so I'm happy I haven't scared you off!

Fanny - treasure it, treasure it! And you'll be back before you know it. I'm lucky to also have a 7-year old sister (and a 10-year old brother), and I hope we'll grow up to all be one big happy family. Make that one HUGE happy family! (And I'm with you on the cream cheese icing - I just can't seem to make myself believe that it's okay to just be licking the bowl clean, I need the cake as an excuse for eating it, LOL!)
Nic said…
Great post, Zarah. I love that you had both mini and regular sized cakes. I think the contrast is brilliant - I'll probably steal the idea next time I'm baking for a group!
Ana said…
Beautiful post Zarah Maria and congrats to your sister. Love the mini carrot muffins and the recipe is really easy to understand ;)

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