Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Guest Blogger Week Day 4;ComfyTown Chronicles

You Can’t Own a Rainbow
 
I am so thrilled to post for Ginger, for so many reasons and also because I have been wanting to do this rainbow dessert post, and honestly I don’t think anyone who knows me, or follows my blog would trust a recipe I post on my page or blog!

My Facebook page is full of BURNED food, failed Pinterest attempts and my mostly unsuccessful attempts at cooking. There are a few things however, that I have made so often that I actually make them WELL.

I’m a big dork for rainbows, and all things rainbow-colored, so I have made rainbow cakes and rainbow Jell-o quite a lot. So much in fact, that my son got sick of making them. We had a blast making them the first thousand times, my nieces would come over and we would try making rainbow Rice Krispy cookies and all kinds of stuff. They are all pretty much OVER IT now. Of course, they are all 18 and older, so yeah if it’s not Jell-o SHOTS? They’re out. Yes, I have made those too and will again in 3 weeks for a summer party. It’s in here!

These are sometimes foods because they contain SUGAR, (my kids act like monsters if they get too much) and they take a little work to make. They are COLORFUL, and that means using either artificial coloring or a lot of hard work. This is your call to make which way you want to go here.

I feel like everyone has to like rainbows, amirite? Don’t worry, no group can OWN refracted light. I love this Demetri Martin quote (he’s a COMEDIAN btw):

Demetri Martin: I'm in a weird position, because I like rainbows, but I'm not gay. So whenever I go out wearing a rainbow shirt, I have to put "Not gay." But I'm not against gays, so under that I'll have to put "... but supportive." It's weird how one group of people took refracted light. That's very greedy, gays.
 
 
Rainbow cake and cupcakes are a LOT easier than I thought they would be. I am not a natural baker, or candlestick maker, shockingly, so if I can do it….yadda yadda.

There are a variety of different ways to get the rainbow colors, the easiest is with artificial food coloring, but you're not exactly going to *TASTE* *THE* *RAINBOW* like a Skittles commercial. If you want good color, you're going to taste.....well, less of a rainbow, and more like cancer

You can use pureed food for color, and/or a mixture of both fruit AND food coloring, which I like best.

Nature’s Flavors < http://www.naturesflavors.com/food-color-food-colors/food-color-organic-food-color-natural-food-colors-kosher-vegan-gluten-free-certified-organic-for-coloring-ice-cream-baking-beverages-candy-dairy-milk.html > also makes all-natural food coloring, I have not tried that yet because when the mood strikes, I’m far too impatient to order it online or drive around trying to find it.

  This cake is just a matter of separating the cake mix, it doesn’t matter if you make it from scratch or buy a box of mix, and coloring the cake mix in six SEPARATE bowls. Then you just pour the mix one color at a time into the pan, in rainbow order. ROY G BIV, yo. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo,  and violet..






 
As long as your cake mix is not watery and you pour it slowly into the pan, they won’t blend together. This is one reason I had a hard time using JUST the fruit/veg to color the mix, it tends to make the cake mix too watery, and the colors bleed together. 
If you’re brave and/or an experienced baker, you can google how to cook fruit down to less watery/more concentrated syrup, which would work best.

I am way too sick with the comfy to do all that, so I just used a combination of some fruit and a little food coloring. The only reason I started adding the fruit is the taste. As I said, if you use a lot of food coloring, especially for a darker blue red or purple, you can really TASTE the ARTIFICIAL RAINBOW coloring.

These foods worked best for colors:

Cherries work best for red, they’re not very watery and they are dark so you don’t need many. Frozen are too watery, but they don’t have pits.
Papaya and 1 or 2 cherries works best for orange. If you’re using yellow cake mix, try to add the cherries right to the yellow cake mix and see if you can get a good orange. I could only get pink doing this, but if I mixed some papaya and cherry together, BEFORE I added it to the cake mix, it was orange. You could use oranges, but again they are watery, and when you try to pour the mix, the colors tend to try to blend together. Annoying.
Mangoes or egg yolk for yellow, or if you use yellow cake mix hey, you’re done.
Spinach for green. I know, but you only need a few leaves pureed in the Magic Bullet, and you can’t taste it. If you’re not getting a dark enough green, you can add a COUPLE of drops of coloring.
Blue is the tricky one, blueberries turn everything purple. I use a few blueberries, and the fake dye for blue and just don’t use a lot. It winds up lighter blue but it doesn’t take like plastic.
Blackberries for purple.

One option: If you are really worried about the artificial colors, the better way to get a good rainbow affect without sacrificing taste is to bake SEPARATE cakes and frost them in between the layers, see picture. You have to bake SIX smaller cakes, and I only have 2 cake pans. This is more work and I don’t like the effect as much, but the taste is better this way IF you’re a frosting fan. I like the cake more than the frosting and I like the way the other cake LOOKS but hey, it’s still pretty cool.


                                                                  
                                                               
 

Again, it's all about the layers. You can make one big rainbow mold in a big, clear bowl, or use clear cups to make individual servings. It’s obviously faster and more environmentally conscious in ONE big bowl, but at a party the cups are SO MUCH faster. These ARE sometimes foods, so don’t beat yourself up either way.

This is a day before or start REALLY EARLY project, because you have to make it one layer at a time. You want each layer to solidify a little before you add the next layer, otherwise it all blends together in one big puddle of mud. Mudbows are not as pretty as rainbows, IMHO.
I start with purple on the bottom, pour purple to a little less than 1/6th of the container(s). The hardest part for me is cleaning out enough room in the refrigerator to store the cups while they are in the process. Let the purple layer solidify for at LEAST ½ an hour, probably longer. Then do the blue layer green, etc. You can do red on the bottom and go up to purple on top, but I don’t recommend that. The darker colors tend to hide the lighter colors that way and you don’t get as pretty of a rainbow effect. I didn’t take a picture of the time I did it that way, but it’s not as pretty.

There are only a couple different ways to make these, buy the ALREADY COLORED gelatin (super easy, cheap highly recommended method) or you can buy or make CLEAR gelatin and try to mix the colors, (but, why?) If you can, and WANT TO make your own gelatin (WHO does this?), I would bet you kick Life’s hams pretty regularly! (I also think you and I will probably never be good friends. And that’s okay. You can join the club of people who laugh at me! :)


There are eleventy BILLION recipes for Jell-o shots, all you do is typically replace the COLD WATER part of the recipe with alcohol. It's okay if you don't chill the alcohol first, but you NEED the hot water to make Jello as you know. I know you are all familiar with search engines and how they work, but I can save you some trial and error with a few tips:
Less is more with booze in these recipes. If you add too much, they can taste like hair spray. People can always have MORE booze, but after a few of these sometimes people forget there IS alcohol in them, and well, it can get ugly.
The best tasting ones I have ever done use FLAVORED vodka and rum. It's okay if it is not the EXACT same flavor as the Jello flavor, most compliment each other. You just replace all the COLD WATER (or HALF of the cold water) in the recipe with say blue raspberry vodka.  Leave at least all the HOT WATER as just water, unless you really enjoy cleaning up multi-colored vomit.
If there will be kids or anyone under age, or say DESIGNATED DRIVERS, ALWAYS also make a batch with no alcohol. Make those EASILY RECOGNIZABLE. Use a different kind of cup, or a specific color of Jell-o, so all the adults can keep track of which ones the kids/drivers/people on medications where they can’t drink *cough, cough MOM* are eating!
Always lightly spray the cups with non-stick cooking spray before you put the Jell-o in. Preferably NOT butter flavored if you have the option. This way, the Jell-o doesn’t STICK so much to the sides of the cup. It’s okay if this happens, just have toothpicks or plastic cutlery on hand.
I also tried this beauty from Pinterest, never again. 

It looks kind of cool, but it was a PAIN in the hams! Just clearing out the orange halves and leaving the skin totally intact took FOREVER and it was not worth the time. I made about 10 oranges worth, took me over an HOUR and an ENTIRE bag of oranges just to have TEN usable ones, then everyone just said “Cute” or “Wow, that must have taken forever” and they were just as happy with the cups! Maybe do a few, unless you have the kind of family and friends that really appreciate this effort. Mine? Didn’t really care. Not worth it.
 The best way for me was to use those tiny cups and lids you get at a party supply store. They stack well when you're making them, they transport well in a cooler, they are easy for people to grab and eat, and just recycle the plastic containers! Easy Peasy. Have fun and keep em COLD!




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 *Photo Credits

[rainbow shirt pic From Demetriemptyclosets.com]
Rainbow cake [picture from omnomicon.com]
[cake mix pic From jayhawkgirlskitchen.blogspot.com]
[separate layer cake w/white frosting from caketopia dot blogspot dotcom]
[one big jello hunk pic from wingledings.blogspot.com]                                      ^ I took the pic w/the cup of rainbow jello ^
[pic of jello inside orange peels from datingthedistrict.com]
pic of lil shots in a cooler from thecampuscompanion.com]

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8 comments:

  1. Wow, this is absolutely THE definitive digest for rainbow food! I LOVE using fruit to color the cake mix - I will definitely be trying that! (but I might do individual cakes - seems easier to me for some reason)

    Thanks for all the great tips!!

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  2. If you want a menagerie of color but are too lazy to try and make clean looking layers of batter, you can do a tie-dye cake, too! I made one for my sister's birthday (it was so simple, I did it while in labor with Cabin Boy #2) just using a white cake batter and artificial colors. Choose a main color then plop spoonfuls of different colors around the pan randomly. Then I made a cream cheese frosting and added a packet of kool-aid for fruity flavor and extra color, and decorated it with raspberries and blueberries. It was psychedelic and TOTALLY delish. If I'd had more time I would have invested in natural food coloring, but she didn't care, so I didn't worry about it too much.

    Thanks for linking up to the Glitter Fart hop!

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  3. Glad you liked it! Ginger you could NOT have picked a better day to post this!!!

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    1. Hahahaha! Hopping over to the Glitter Fart Hop now!

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  4. First of all, thanks for picking up the slack for me. I was supposed to be the blogger today, because I thought it was supposed to be for JULY 26th! Thankfully, Ginger is an awesome and very forgiving person who is ok with me being a douche. (I had company and then was out of town, blah blah blah-who cares, right?)

    Second of all, I LOVE THIS POST! All the rainbow stuff and Demetri Martin (who is one of the best comedians EVER) just made my day! I think I need some jello shots about now!

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  5. Ha! You had me at Demetri Martin! I think I must "borrow" that Tshirt shot for my own FB! This is so freakin' cool that you can make all these things. I burn everything! Though, that which does not go up in flames and bring down the fire department gives you plenty to blog about. Cheers!!

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  6. Thanks so much for sharing at A Peek Into My Paradise TGIF Link Party! I can't wait to see what you link up next week! I hope to see you at the (Not SO) Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop! http://apeekintomyparadise.blogspot.com/

    Have a terrific week!

    Hugs, Cathy

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