The Buttercream Project part 5

It’s funny, the things we feel we have to do to catch up with life.  Thursday was a big day: I successfully defended my dissertation, the last step on the way toward becoming a PhD in English literature.  So I guess I’m a doctor now, of a sort.  And now that the defense is over, and summer is (supposedly) on its way, I’m trying to find footing in the landslide of other responsibilities I’ve let slide: getting back in touch with friends, grading student work, cleaning up an office I’ll have to vacate in a month or so, and remembering (much to my dismay) an unwritten conference paper I have to present at the end of July.  And yet, rather than doing any of those things, the most important obligation I feel I must fulfill is this one: sharing how my most recent efforts on the cupcake front – now almost a month old – came out. 

The answer is spectacular.  I think, barring any further requests or complaints from the bride and groom, I have hit on THE mixture we’ll be using for the wedding.  And of course, as always, I’ve learned some things too.

Last time I made a floaty, creamy filling that coated the tongue and whispered with sweetness.  This time, I wanted something tart – almost aggressive – to to cut through the sometimes overwhelming clouds of frosting.  I combined 1 bag each frozen raspberries and frozen peach chunks, 1-2 cups champagne, and about ¼ cup of sugar in a small pot, and simmered them together for 20-30 minutes.  I was hoping for a thickened, jam-like compote, but I think there was too much champagne for that, and the mixture stayed fairly loose.  The flavor was great, though – with such a small quantity of sugar, the tartness of the fruit and champagne made the mixture bright and assertive.

When the cupcakes were baked, and both they and this ruby mixture were completely cool, I cut the middles out of the full sized cupcakes and deposited a teaspoon or two of filling into each.  To my relief, despite being thin, the juice of the filling did not bleed through and stain the exterior of the cakes.  Bright red splotches on otherwise pristine ivory-white wedding cupcakes would be disastrous.

When I mixed up the frosting this time, my butter and mascarpone cheese were not as terrifically soft as they were in my last attempt.  Therefore, they creamed together without the fearful separation I wrote about previously.  The edges and ripples of the swirls were still not as rigid and fluted as they are on bakery cakes, but they were still okay.  And when I went to frost the mini cupcakes, I finally figured out what was going on.

I ran low on frosting as I approached the minis, and because I was now out of mascarpone cheese I plopped a half-softened half-stick of butter into my mixer and let it rip.  Immediately, even though I hadn’t upped the ratio of sugar in the mix, this frosting was different.  The flowers, which I’ll say more about in a minute, actually had fluted edges, and the frosting required more pressure to liberate from my piping bag.  Mascarpone cheese, even when it’s cold, is already softer than butter.  It is never going to result in the same consistency as pure buttercream because it is such a soft cheese.  So while it is fine for simple swirls or covering a cake, it is not great for detail work that requires sharp edges or fine points.

As you can see, these are the best flowers I’ve made so far, thanks mostly to the higher ratio of butter to mascarpone in the frosting.  I still wondered why mine did not seem to ripple out of the petal tip I was using the same way they do in the instructional video I’m using, until I remembered – what an epiphany – that I’m left handed.  If you turn a cupcake to the left while you hold the piping bag in your right hand, you probably need to turn the cupcake to the right if you’re going to hold the piping bag in your left hand.  I realized this minutes too late to apply it this time around, but now I know.  That way the icing will emerge from the piping bag in the same pattern as it would for a right handed person. 

Survey said these were the best version I’d attempted yet by leaps and bounds.  The filling was perfect because it provided the right counterpoint to the achingly sweet frosting and the delicately sugary cake.  The flowers looked like flowers, and the blue sugar I found for the full size cupcakes is a deep enough blue to look sophisticated and adult (previous, lighter versions would bit better on sweets for a baby shower than on wedding cupcakes).

Next month, the challenge is piping.  I’ve purchased some beautiful ivory and gray cupcake wrappers that we’ll be using for the wedding, and I’d like to be able to imitate – if not copy – the leafy designs on them as the piped décor on one of the full sized cakes.  This will give me at least one more trial run with buttercream before the big day, and allow me to prove my theory about the mini cupcake flowers.  It will also, assuming Oregon’s weather gets its act together and remembers it’s Memorial Day weekend, give me a chance to see how the frosting behaves in warmer temperatures.

Fingers metaphorically crossed (it’s too hard to type otherwise)!

The Buttercream Project part 4

Time has come and gone and I am now not only a Bittman truant, but two buttercream posts behind. I’ve got to catch up. But I have an excuse. It looks like this:

Yes, the dissertation is complete. Well, it’s complete in the sense that I’ve distributed it to my committee. Three weeks from now – three weeks from yesterday, actually – I will defend it. But in the meantime, cupcakes!

What I learned this round, which I baked about a month ago:

Cake flour makes the most delicate, light, bakery-style cake. It’s worth the extra cost.

Barefoot’s Pinot Grigio sparkling wine is a good choice for cake; it has a crisp brightness and is strong enough to stand out as a distinct flavor once the cake is cooked.

Buttercream sometimes looks like it’s going to fail, but then you just continue to whip it and it comes together.

This round, I did champagne cake with a mascarpone and apricot jam filling, and mascarpone buttercream. I wanted to try a full sized cake so I could practice getting the frosting nice and smooth.

My assessments: the cake was perfect. It smelled good, it tasted good, it had a moist crumb with a slight squish between the teeth – excellent eating. Cornelli lace all over the top is really quite pretty, but not too twee or too formal.

 

The filling was… okay. Tasty, but not perfect. I think the jam with the mascarpone added too much richness to an already rich product. Perversely, I think this particular filling would be better with a chocolate cake. It would be a contrast in both color and flavor that simply wasn’t present here. J. and H. liked it, and of course their vote is most important, but I wasn’t satisfied yet.

The buttercream, my nemesis, was almost a disaster. I made a big batch of frosting, because I wanted to frost the full cake and practice making flowers on the mini cupcakes. I bought myself a petal tip from Michael’s and was itching to try it out. This time, it would have to be perfect.

Here’s the thing, though. When you double the amount of fat in a frosting, you also have to double the amount of sugar! As I whipped together a cup of butter and a cup of mascarpone cheese, and as I added cup after cup of powdered sugar, things were not coming together. No, in fact things were starting to separate. A pool of liquid formed as the clumps of butter and cheese turned into strange creamy granules instead of an even mass. I started to fret. I got a little scared.  This was NOT how this round was supposed to go.

And then, logic and revelation triumphed over fear. Maybe the fat was too warm. Yes, it was melting in protest. I stowed it in the fridge for twenty minutes or so.

When I pulled it out, it was better, but still disappointingly far from smooth. And then I remembered: if you have to use 3-4 cups of sugar for 1 cup of butter, you’ll probably have to use 6-8 cups of sugar for 2 cups of fat. And I’m trying to get a PhD…

As I added more sugar, things got a little better. As I added more sugar, it started to smooth out. And then after my final addition, I let the mixer rip for a good minute or two, and magic happened. The frosting smoothed and softened and became this delicious creamy cloud. My lungs heaved relief. The moral of this, apparently, is: if your buttercream isn’t perfect, add more sugar and beat it longer. Whip the resistance right out of it.

Despite the improved texture and the excellent flavor, my frosting attempts were still imperfect. The swirls I put on the full size cupcakes threatened to topple over the delicately curved hills onto which I optimistically piped them. They still looked nice, but the edges and ripples weren’t sharp, and I shoved them into the refrigerator before they had time to break down any further.

The mini cupcake flowers were another fresh learning experience. I tried. Oh I tried. I watched the video twice and followed it exactly, and again, the petals were thick and dull. They looked more flower-like than my previous attempt, but they weren’t the beautiful fluted edges Alice achieves with such ease. Nevertheless, for me, improvement is improvement. Progress counts. This was the best so far, and just needed some minor (I hoped) adjustments to make it wedding-worthy.

It’s a good metaphor for my own progress, really. Even the best work can stand improvement. Let’s hope my revisions, as I note them, are as minor as tweaking a frosting method. Flute the edges. Visit the thesaurus. Adjust a sentence or two. Or five. Add powdered sugar. Enjoy.  Aren’t these things, at their heart, not so different? Let’s hope so.

The Buttercream Project 3

My favorite weekends always turn out to be the ones that revolve around cooking.  You know the ones I mean.  You have a dinner party, or a potluck, or an afternoon on the porch surrounded by cookbooks, or you watch a marathon of FoodNetwork shows while almost absent-mindedly spooning one of your favorite indulgences into your mouth…

I wouldn’t know what that’s like…

Seriously, though, I am suddenly having one of those weekends.  Our friend Sh. is sharing a pulled pork dinner with us tonight, so by 9am (which felt like 8am, cursed Daylight Savings…) I was standing at the kitchen counter, pouring ginger ale and Jack Daniels whiskey atop 4 pounds of pork butt in my slow cooker, and deciding whether it needed anything besides salt and pepper to round out the flavors (I decided on a big chunk of fresh ginger and a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce).  Now, I’m sitting in the kitchen babysitting a pot of polenta, which I’ll cook, spread, and chill today to be cut into squares, pan-fried, and eaten later this week, and keeping a wandering eye on some cornbread, which we’ll have tonight with the pulled pork.

And yet this post isn’t about any of those things.  Whether you believe it or not after that extended tangential introduction, this post is about buttercream.  Again. 

I’ve completed my third buttercream experiment, and I must report mixed success.  I decided this time I’d better try out the cake recipe I’ll be using for the wedding in cupcake form so I could start nailing down baking times.  On a whim, I picked up some cake flour, which I’ve never used before.  This was for texture: often my cupcakes, if they are not chocolate, end up with a suspiciously muffin-like consistency, and I didn’t want that for these babies.  I also picked up some mascarpone cheese to continue the experiment in de-sweetening the frosting.

The baking process involved a lot of checking the cupcakes with a trembling toothpick, hoping for the barest of moist crumbs, not a completely clean tester.  I have found the completely clean tester is a recipe for overcooked baked goods, especially when it’s something very tender and delicate like cupcakes, because the cake continues to cook for a while as it sits in its tin on the cooling rack.  Tough cupcakes would not do.  Fortunately for me, they cooked up the color of pale cream and sported perfectly slight, perfectly shaped domes. They were pillowy tender.  They smelled good too – sweet and soft with the barest hint of floral fruitiness from the sparkling wine I used.

As they cooled, I started the buttercream process.  I wasn’t nervous at all this time – hadn’t my previous attempt come out smooth and creamy and lusciously perfect?  This time, I was golden.

This time, unfortunately, my kitchen was about 59 degrees Fahrenheit and, despite having left the butter out for hours and hours, it wasn’t the same squashy softness it had been last time.  The mascarpone cheese I decided to use was fresh from the fridge, since it was already soft enough that it didn’t occur to me having it at room temperature would make a difference.

It does.

Here’s what happened.  I whipped together a cup of butter and a cup of mascarpone cheese.  I sifted in about 3 cups of powdered sugar, a slight sprinkle of salt, and then trickled in a couple tablespoons of whole milk and a splash of vanilla (I can’t find champagne extract anywhere besides Amazon.com, where it costs upwards of $12 for a teensy bottle.  Needless to say I haven’t bitten that bullet).

Immediately I knew this wasn’t going to be perfect.  Already I could see tiny little clumps of butter, rechilled by the cold cheese, and tiny lumps of sugar, courtesy of a hasty and careless sifting session.  I pressed on regardless, deciding in the moment that this experiment was about taste, not texture.  Let’s get the taste right first, I told myself, to avoid the tumble into hysterical depression the blue poo cake had wrought.

So I loaded up a piping bag with my new fancy-pants metal star tip and went to work on the full sized cupcakes.  In the process I got enough frosting on my fingers to be able to taste, and I have to say I was incredibly pleased.  The mascarpone cheese added another layer of velvet and creaminess, and because it is not sweet to begin with, there wasn’t as much overwhelming saccharine powdered sugar taste to the finished product.  The touch of salt probably helped with that too.  It was just incredibly rich and moist and lovely.

The texture, on the other hand, sucked.  Well, that’s not fair.  It wasn’t ideal.  It was slightly grainy, and the star tip’s sharp edges combined with my not-exactly-quite-as-smooth-as-I’d-wanted icing produced rough crumples on my swirls of frosting rather than delicate demure rosettes.

Hasty, thoughtless, and stubborn, I pressed on to my next experiment.  I’d found this the previous month: a video tutorial about making beautiful blue flowers on mini cupcakes, and I wanted to surprise my bride by testing these out.  I considered, as I dripped blue food coloring into the remaining buttercream, rewatching the video.  And then I talked myself out of it.  I’d watched it twice, I remembered basically what she’d said to do, and she made it look abysmally simple.  I’m marginally artistic.  How hard could it be? 

For starters, the frosting was now looking a little wet.  Terrified of a repeat blue poo scenario, I added more powdered sugar.  But now I was in a hurry, because I had girlfriends coming over for a TV night and I wanted to serve them beautiful, frosted cupcakes (notice I didn’t say beautifully frosted cupcakes.  I was trying to be realistic).  So I didn’t sift the sugar.

This, as you might expect, resulted in more lumps.  But I was not to be discouraged.  I slapped some icing into a bag with a tip that looked similar to the one in the video tutorial, and started trying to make flower petals.  I made circular blobs.  There were no delicate curling edges, no gentle petal shapes, and the lumps of powdered sugar I’d stubbornly ignored made the frosting emerge from the piping tip unevenly.  I ended up with deformed starfish in a lovely cornflower-esque shade on the mini cupcakes, and a spotty lace pattern surrounded by blue blobs on the tiny taster cake I’d made for the bride and groom.  (It was supposed to be cornelli lace, but when hunks of cold butter in your frosting burst out through the piping tip, all bets are off.)  I did, however, glean a valuable tip for frosting a cake from the Barefoot Contessa: once you have your layer covered, dip your frosting spatula in very hot water and run it gently over the sides and top surface of the cake.  The hot water lightly melts the very outer molecules of butter and sugar and solders them together while smoothing them out, resulting in a perfectly level layer of frosting.  I tried this out to great success.

But back to the cupcakes.  Undaunted by their aesthetically challenged appearance, I sprinkled them with silver-gray sprinkles and presented them proudly to my friends, who pronounced them praiseworthy masterpieces.  I privately thought them too kind, but it is gratifying to have good friends who support your stubborn goofy screw-ups and prevent you from being too hard on yourself.

It was only the next day that I rewatched the tutorial video and saw that not only was a using the wrong tip to pipe these petals, but I was holding it the wrong way.  This gave me hope.  Next time, next time when butter and mascarpone are at the same temperature, when it’s warmer in the kitchen, when a fresh bag of powdered sugar and careful sifting result in a perfectly velvet texture, and when I acquire a rose petal icing tip, I will be on my way.  The flowers won’t be perfect, but they will actually resemble flowers.  Next time. 

I keep ending these posts by talking about what I will do next time.  Upon reflection, it seems dangerous to be counting always on next time in this project.  There will come a time when “next time” no longer works, and on that day in July I’d better get everything right.  What if the butter is too soft?  What if I over whip it?  What if there are lumps?

Fortunately I still have a few next times to lean on.

The Buttercream Problem 2: What Problem?

Thanks for the support and thoughts on my previous buttercream post.  I appreciate knowing you are out there, lurkers and likers!

The title of this post might be a bit of a lie, because can you really call something “Problem, part 2” if it isn’t too much of a problem anymore?  Maybe “The Buttercream Project” would be more accurate.

Anyway, I owe this amelioration of gloop, sludge, and anxiety in part to my own intuition, but in larger part to Leah at “So, How’s it Taste?” and her recipe for Cinn-Chili Chocolate Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream.  With a chapter draft submitted and a guiltlessly girly shopping trip/reward for my efforts over, I wanted to bake a little something for my officemates AND do a buttercream practice.

Here’s what I learned:

It’s important to sift the powdered sugar.  Otherwise you end up with little clumpy bits that don’t incorporate completely (which happened at New Year’s on the blue poo cake).

It’s important that the butter be fully softened, and that you whip it up well before adding any of the sugar, lest it not incorporate fully (which happened at New Year’s on the blue poo cake).

A couple of tablespoons of whole milk help smooth things out.

I probably should use champagne extract or flavoring, not champagne itself, because so little liquid is needed to keep this pipe-able and smooth (but not turning into blue poo.  I’m just saying…).

So the frosting whipped up really nicely – smooth and buttery and even – but the cupcakes were no slouch either. The combo of chocolate, cinnamon, and cayenne is, I’ve decided, one that should be present in everything from cupcakes to hot cocoa to coffee to a spread for sourdough toast. It was warm and toasty and dark and rich and left just a little lingering heat in the back of your throat after the last swallow of cupcake. The cakes were really, really dark – almost black – because I used Hershey’s “Special Dark” cocoa powder instead of just the regular stuff. They had a nice moist crumb and weren’t overwhelmingly sweet.

The buttercream was delicious too. It was pretty sweet, though that’s difficult to combat, I think, but the heat of the cayenne and the warmth of the cinnamon in the frosting cut the sugar. Also, after a night in the fridge the frosting seemed less aggressively sweet – giving the butter and sugar time to hang out together might have done something the mellow the cloying flavor buttercream can have. I used less cayenne in the frosting than Leah’s recipe specifies, though I did add the barest sprinkle over the top when the cupcakes were all frosted.

Here’s what I learned about the process of frosting: cupcakes are easy, and a properly made buttercream spreads with surprising smoothness over a flat surface (I made one tiny “cake” for the bride and groom as a taster and smoothed icing across the top). With an offset spatula or a metal scraper at my disposal, I bet I can get the thing even and gorgeous.

Here’s what I learned from the bride: she LOVES the idea of doing cupcakes and mini cupcakes as additions to the cake, and we’ve decided to use an asymmetrical cake stand  for the actual cakes. This means I don’t have to stack anything, just make three separate, differently sized cakes, and a Subaru-load of cupcakes.

So here’s the plan: the cakes will get frosted with buttercream and decorated in some as-yet-to-be-determined way. The cupcakes will get frosted with a star tip much like I’ve done here, and possibly drizzled with blue crystal sprinkles. As for the mini cupcakes, I found a tutorial for making pansy-like flowers out of buttercream on minis, and the next time I do a trial run I’m going to give this a try to see if it’s something me and my meager piping skills can pull off.

Next month: I’ll make the champagne batter the cake will actually be made of and bake it in cupcake form so I can start to get times down. It wouldn’t do to have dry cupcakes. Then I’ll try out this flower pattern on the minis and see how it turns out. With luck, it will go as well as this month’s new buttercream recipe did!

Stay tuned… I added a “wedding” tag, and all the buttercream and cake-related posts will end up in that category for easier access.

The Buttercream Problem

Folks, I have a problem.  It’s called buttercream.

I’ve been offered the great privilege of making a wedding cake for some dear friends who are tying the knot this summer.  I’ve never made a wedding cake before.  I’ve made a lot of cakes, most of them chocolate (in truth, most of them this one), but this is the big time.

I know the cake itself is going to be champagne.

I know the filling is going to be a lovely light whipped mascarpone cream, possibly dotted with fresh raspberries.

I suspect the frosting needs to be buttercream, because the bride wants to cover the cake in fondant (it’s going to be hot, it’s a cleaner look, it can be painted on with beautiful blue coloring).  But just in case I get good enough at smoothing out the buttercream, maybe we can just leave it at that.

I’ve done one practice run, for a small New Year’s Eve party we hosted (the wedding is in July, so there’s some time here).  The cake was delicious.  The filling was amazing.  The frosting was…

a disaster.

It was a simple American buttercream containing butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and a splash of champagne to go with the cake flavor.  I think the butter was too cold.  I think the powdered sugar wasn’t well sifted.  I think proportions were off.  The resulting frosting was gloppy and grainy and oozing, and when I spread it on the cake it clumped and ran and blubbered down the sides. You know how jeans that are too long for you puddle around your feet at the bottom?  Now imagine that in white, and made out of frosting, and on my cake.  That’s what it looked like.

When I was too frustrated to look at it anymore, I stuck it in the fridge for a while, hoping it would harden up a bit so I could spread it with more success.  While that happened, I mixed some blue gel food coloring into the remaining bowl of frosting and whipped that up, in hopes that a few rosettes on top of the cake would save it a little.

An hour later, I took on the icing again.  I scraped off some of the worst slumps and filled up my piping bag with the beautiful blue I’d created.  With a star tip, I piped on a rosette.  It dissolved into a blob and blurbed toward the edge of the cake.  I somehow lost touch with reality and instead of trying to scrape it off, I made four more around the cake.  They all slumped over the edge.  I tried to pipe a pretty pattern around the bottom edge.  It looked like a long ribbon of blue poo.  I shoved the cake back into the fridge and drank a couple of glasses of champagne before serving it. It was New Year’s Eve.  It was clearly the right thing to do.

So here’s the issue: I have to make a better buttercream.  I’ve done some research and found some killer looking recipes.  I’m planning to use champagne extract instead of actual champagne to avoid any issues with acidity or carbonation.  I’m planning to use fully softened butter.  I’m contemplating blending in some mascarpone to add body and lessen the overwhelming sweetness buttercream can have.

But I’ve also seen conflicting theories about how much milk to add during the whipping process and how long to whip and whether or not to add shortening so the color is a little whiter.  I’ve seen seen creamy dreamy looking recipes for Italian and Swiss buttercreams.  I’m in a buttercream frosting float.  Or, rather, I’m floating in ideas about buttercream frosting.

So I’m looking to you, tiny multiverse of readers.  Have you made buttercream?  How did it turn out?  What recipe did you use?  Was it American, Italian, or Swiss?  Did it spread smoothly?  Was it overly sweet?

Help!

Envision whirled peas. And weddings.

There are two stories to be told here.  One is the story of a wedding.  Well, a wedding reception.  Well, a backyard barbeque eight months after the wedding that was my way of providing the couple with a reception.  The other is the story of a van.  Both occur in mid-July.  Let’s start with the latter.

I had completed my first year as a bona fide college student and was, like any bona fide college student, enjoying the summer in between shifts at my first job.  I was changing into a tank top in the back of my friend’s car at the Santa Clara beach boardwalk before heading out to the beach when I saw a van parked a few spots down.  Okay, so it wasn’t a van, it was a vintage old style VW bus, complete with tie-dye paint job, beads in the window, and Grateful Dead stickers everywhere.  But there was, as I discovered after straightening myself out and exiting my friend’s car, only one bumper sticker.  It read “Envision Whirled Peas.”  Read out loud, of course, it emerged as the hippie/peacenik/ flower child ultimate mantra.  Peace + food + word play = my day was made.  Maybe my week.

But back to the wedding story.  Ah, weddings.
The love, the beauty, the glowing smiles…

On the eve of my own wedding anniversary, a hot, beautiful day three years ago, I bring you a tableau of another.  A reception, at least, where my role was slightly different:
The heat of the kitchen, the stress of catering, the need for perfection…
I’m being overdramatic.  I’ve never catered a wedding before, and I still haven’t.  I simply cooked for our dear friends K. and T. this weekend.  I made a whole collection of things (full list is here), but I want to tell you about the crostini.
Thanks to A. and her delectable food sense, I made a pea, lemon, and mint puree to spread on crostini.  She called it “whirled peas.”

I defrosted one 16 oz. bag of petite peas and jangled them into the food processor.
Joining them: the zest of about ¾ of a lemon (one spot didn’t look so nice),
the juice of half that lemon,
probably ¼ cup of mint leaves,
coarse salt,
freshly ground black pepper.
This fragrant mixture received an ample dose of olive oil (½ cup or so?  I didn’t measure) as I whirled it in the food processor for a good minute or two.  I wanted it as smooth as possible, but I still wanted it to be impossibly bright green.

As the time for the party approached (our first guest’s feet were practically climbing the front steps!), I sliced a slim sourdough baguette on an angle and, shielding each slice with a glug of olive oil, broiled them until they turned golden and crisp.  While the little toasts cooled, the lovely and accommodating K. helped me pick some nasturtiums from our front garden to top our creation.  Even a simple backyard barbeque needs a fancy-pants appetizer option!
I spread a generous helping of minty, citrus-y bright “whirled peas” onto each crostini before gently pressing the calyx of each flower gently into the emerald spread.  They looked like flower arrangements – miniature edible gardens that looked and smelled of springtime and fresh birth.

K. and T. loved them (and seemed to love everything about the evening – a hostess-and-wanna-be-caterer’s dream!), but I was a bit nonplussed.  The flavor was minty and fresh, but seemed to be missing something.  Perhaps tang.  Peas are naturally sweet, and mint paired with some sweetness reads as more sweetness.  I wanted something to tell my tastebuds this was a savory bite.  The pepperiness of the nasturtium was too mild to do the job.
Because I have plenty of leftovers, I am considering adding some lime juice, perhaps some basil and a zinging shaving of Parmesan, and turning this into something more like a pesto.  Whirled peas pesto.  Say it out loud with me… “world peace” pesto?

Envision it: One little crostini, two happy people, global cooperation and betterment.

Aren’t weddings fun?!

Stay tuned for results and additions!