Tuesday, October 06, 2009

TWD--Rewind All The Way to Last Week--Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart, and Happy Birthday, Kevin! (Sorry--I Tried and Couldn't Get the Pudding Made For This Week's TWD!)

First of all, Happy Birthday, Hon!  (Oct. 5) 

Second, sigh--it's been a crazy, busy two weeks!  After going to San Francisco to attend the Food Blogher '09 Conference, I got back from that last Monday night, then Kevin and I left on Thursday as he had an interview at Virginia Tech and they invited me to come along.  My mom watched the boys for us (THANK YOU, MOM!!!) and we had a great trip.  Interview went well (glad it wasn't me), Virginia is beautiful and Kevin and I decided Roanoke, VA has the cutest, little airport in the world!  It had six gates.  Six.  That's all.  This was heaven for Kevin as he really hates crowded places.  I joked as we waited in the rental car line that when two people came and got in line behind us that they just doubled the population at the airport!  As we sat waiting for our airplane (thank goodness those weren't too small!), it was so nice and quiet and peaceful and so not crowded.  Kevin said, "I seriously feel giddy."  I asked him if he wanted to skip around a bit. 


That's the whole airport.  See, cute, huh.


Kevin and I were really upset that our plane was at Gate 6, I mean, we had to walk all the way down to the end of the terminal!  Why is it that whatever plane you're getting on is always the farthest gate away?  Those lucky people who had Gate 1!  (Seriously, From Gate 1 to 6 was probably maybe 100 yards!  CUTE! ;)  Okay, moving on.

Loved the gorgeous rolling hills in Virginia!  And no Blacksburgians, them are not mountains! ;)


We missed the changing leaves by just a week or so.  In fact, we got there on Thursday and barely any trees were starting to change.


Virginia Tech Campus is beautiful!



Even just in the few short days we were there, the trees were working their autumn magic.



We loved the buildings on campus.




Then I just have to show you this.  As Kevin and I were leaving Blacksburg to drive back to Roanoke to the airport, we passed a Wienermobile.  Even just one split second later and I would have had a perfect shot for Kevin to have opened his mouth and get a bite of the thing!  How cool of a picture would that have been!


Okay, where were we?  Yes, by next summer, we will be moving.  Not sure where yet.  We will know in the next month or two.  The suspense is killing us! ;)

We got back Sunday afternoon.  (I always write my TWD posts on Monday night.)  So it's Monday, but you're really reading this most likely on Tuesday.  Anyway, today (Monday) is/was Kevin's birthday.   For the occasion, I just couldn't pass up last week's TWD that I missed.  So I made the Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart that Carla at Chocolate Moosey chose. 

I have an 11 inch tart pan.  So I made one and a third the recipe for the sweet tart dough.  Perfect amount.


I should have gone with my instinct and doubled the caramel, but after spreading it as thin as I could with the pecans I used, it just wasn't enough.  So I made another quick batch of the caramel.  I followed Dorie's instructions to a tee  and had me some nice caramel.  The only thing I thought was that it was just a bit too solid.  I wanted ooey, gooey caramel like the picture in the book looks and like many TWDers tarts looked that I drooled over last week.  Mine was a bit more like maybe a Sugar Daddy--remember those--teeth pulling candy on a stick from back in the day. 

I'd seen that many said there was plenty of ganache, so I made the amount the recipe called for and it was perfectly enough for the 11 inch tart.  The ganache set up beautifully, but I liked it better fully chilled and served right from the fridge than having it at room temperature.  But everyone we had over for Kevin's birthday loved it.


In my haste to serve a 14 people or so for the birthday festivities, I didn't think my pictures of a slice of the tart turned out very well.  Oh well, that's all I've got.  Still, the tart was pretty good.  I would definitely tweak a few things if I made it again.  For the caramel, I wouldn't cook it that last two minutes after adding the butter and cream and hopefully it wouldn't be quite so chewy and toffee-tasting. Then, I would try it with a milk chocolate.  I just think the darker chocolate is not quite sweet enough.  Rich enough though!  I'm picky about the things I make, I want them to be perfect, but everyone who ate some of it said it was great. 



Kevin actually hasn't even tried it yet.  When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday treat, he said he really just likes brownies.  So I also made a super quick batch of brownies (boxed, shhhh!) with walnuts (per Kevin's request).


So this was Kevin's birthday treat.  A couple brownies with a little Chocolate Ice Cream and of course, a candle.


My mom and Taylor made Kevin a birthday crown.  He wore it proudly all evening.  Then I missed the shot of him blowing out the candle, so I made him pose for a couple.  You're welcome, Honey.  (He loves it when I post goofy pictures of him on my blog!)  hehe


Happy Birthday, Kevin!  We love you!  (The boys all proudly made him some fun homemade cards and were so excited to give them to him all day.)


Missed getting a picture with all the boys together and their daddy.




He got himself some nice (read-expensive) sunglasses for his birthday. 

My mom doesn't eat chocolate, so I also wanted to have a treat she would like (and I knew others would like it, too!)  So I whipped out My Divine Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.  I've been wanting to make it again for a while now.


Sorry for such a long post.  And sorry also to Garrett of The Flavor of Vanilla for not being able to get to the pudding this week.  I really wanted to get it done and post a two for one, but it just didn't happen.  Check out his pudding and the recipe on the link to his blog, along with what the other Tuesday's With Dorie bloggers have done this week!  Life should be slowing down just a bit now for a short while.  Sigh!  Yay. 


♥peachkins♥ said...

Happy Birthday to Kevin! looks like you had so much fun the past week!

Donna-FFW said...

What a load of great treats for Kevins bday. The tart looks gorgeous. Carrot cake is one of my favorites.

Happy Bday to Kevin!

Grandpa said...

Hey Katrina, nice looking choclate stuff. Why couldn't you have that when I was there?

Any way. Can I have your Mom back now? Thank you very much. I miss her. Dad

Anonymous said...

The tart looks great. Is the caramel that chewy if it's at room temperature as opposed to chilled?
Happy belated b'day to Kevin.

Megan said...

Happy Birthday to Kevin - it looks like he had a terrific party, complete with crown!

Your tart looks perfect, amazing, and like it should be posing for the cameras.

BOXED BROWNIES? I am going to tell Anna. I'm not responsible for what she does to you.

Becky said...

Virginia Tech looks beautiful and so did that tart. I loved the picture of Kevin and his boys, another beautiful thing.

Welcome to our crazy blessed life said...

Wow! Virginia Tech looks stunning! My caramel was b reak your teeth hard...not even sugar daddy hard. Glad eveyone liked it. Happy Birthday Kevin!

Maria said...

Brownies are my favorite b-day treat. I am not a cake fan! Fun photos!

Eliana said...

You're a great wife. Your brownies look super delish.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Happy belated b'day Kevin! Kevin shares his b'day with my oncle, so he really has to be a cool person like my oncle ;)! Yummy treats Katrina and gorgeous pictures of Virginia! I can't wait to see if you're gonna move there or not! Let's hope so, if that's better for all of you. Well, Virginia, is a bit closer to Portugal, so that's cool with me, ahahah!

noble pig said...

Now I am just craving chocolate like a mad woman. All looks fab even the b-day crown of glory!

Hindy said...

Whew, I'm tired just reading about your last few weeks. And you still had time to make pie with two caramel recipes and brownies and carrot cake! Everything looks perfect. Now put your feet up and have something sweet.

spike. said...

Wow, you've been busy! The tart and everything else looks amazing as always!

Fallon said...

Virginia is beautiful!!!!

The carrot cake sounds so good. I clicked the link and you mentioned it an Ellie Krieger recipe! Makes it even better I'll have to find the original.

Amy Franklin said...

Um, hello, Virginia? That is out here in my neck of the woods! Would be be close enough for a weekend trip? I get a little excited thinking about the possibilities...

Leslie said...

What a nice person you are to serve your guests rather than concentrating on posing your tart slice for the blog pics! I loved your recap of your VT trip and hope things work out for you guys to end up wherever your hearts lead you. That carrot cake looks AMAZING! How could I have missed that?!

Bunny said...

First Happy Birthday Kevin!! Where to start...that tart omg!! It looks fantastic, the brownies are terrific. The carrot cake is calling me!!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, all of those goodies look delicious! Happy birthday to Kevin - looks like it was a good one!

And I just love the Wienermobile!

Teanna said...

Sorry for a long post!? It was a GREAT post! It looks like you had such a great trip to VA - I must say, when I lived in DC for those two years, that the fall is SO beautiful in the Mid-Atlantic. And I LOVED that tart - yours looks perfect! Sorry about the caramel though, but I love that you "whipped up" some more caramel - shows what a great baker you are! Happy birthday to Kevin! Good luck with finding out about the move! Keep us updated!

Soy*Baby said...

The tart looks delicious. So do the brownies and carrot cake. You are the baking queen. Looks like it was a great birthday.

Valerie said...

Beautiful pics of Virgina. Sounds like fun---although the waiting doesn't. Hope you get to find out soon where you'll be headed.

I've seen that tart on several blogs now and I really want a bite!

Amanda said...

Happy birthday Kevin! Ummm, is that a Blue's Clues candle??? :)

I think that is the longest post title I've ever seen LMAO I love the VA pictures and OMG about the airport! I thought the Milwaukee airport was bliss (compared to OHare), but 6 gates?? Wow!

Anonymous said...

Great pictures and all the desserts look wonderful, especially the tart. Happy Birthday to Kevin!

Anonymous said...

Wow Katrina, your dessert buffet looks fabulous! I'd love to celebrate my birthday at your house! =)
The Chocolate-Crunched Caramel tart looks fantastic - the caramel especially! I think I'd like to try it again with sweeter chocolate too!

Jacque said...

First off, Happy Birthday Dad! Second, best wishes on the interview... thanks for the virtual tour of VA Tech... I love the stone buildings.

Your caramel tart looks fantastic. Sorry about the caramel, though. Caramel is a persnickety thing, that's for sure. And nice job on the other treats too, I'm impressed you made all of that!