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Halloween Wrap-up and Two Bentos (411)

As you may have guessed by my sudden lapse in posts, after Halloween was over, I was burnt out. Halloween themed bentos, an 8-hour pumpkin carving session, a pumpkin carving contest with over 130 entries to judge, trick or treating, a disastrous cupcake situation, and a disgusting dinner (below) all combined to simply do me in.

Meat Loaf Hand

I mentioned this disgusting thing last week after Mr. Pikko saw it on Fark. Mine didn’t come out quite as good as the Not Martha one, but it still was disgusting enough to make Grandma J freak out over it. I had planned on simply molding it by hand, but when I went to Foodland to buy the meat, I just so happened to see the exact same Hand Gelatin Moldthat was in that blog post on sale for just $2.50. After I clamped my jaw shut, I eagerly bought it and showed it to Mr. Pikko.

Using it for meat loaf was really easy. All I did was spray the mold with Pam before smashing the meat in, then I simply put it in the pan and baked as normal. The piping of the mashed potatoes was actually quite difficult for me, so my fingers look pretty skinny. Still, it’s disgustingly disgusting and the onion “bone” came out really great too.

Meat Loaf Hand

If you can find the mold, I highly recommend you try this next year. It’s a great scary dish.

I’ve been seeing lots of spiderweb cupcakes on Food Gawker, so when I saw this chocolate ganache one, I decided to go for it. What a freaking nightmare that turned into.

I’m still not sure what went wrong, but after I looked up other ganache recipes, they all seemed to call for some type of cream while this one does not. I have no idea how they got their frosting to work with those ingredients, seriously. My first batch looked like this:

Botched Chocolate Ganache

It began to clump up as soon as I added the confectioner’s sugar. Maybe it’s because I used semi-sweet instead of bittersweet chocolate? If that made such a huge difference, I wish that had been mentioned. Thinking that I’d overcooked the chocolate, I tried again.

More Botched Chocolate Ganache

A little better, but again, it hardened up as soon as I added the sugar. Good thing I had a big, honking bag of chips from Costco otherwise I’d have been so much more pissed than I already was.

Eventually I took to the internet for another ganache recipe and this time used evaporated milk. The recipe for some reason didn’t give nearly enough chips in the frosting, so that one failed too. I ended up with something that looked like chocolate milk. By this time I was raging mad, so I just started dumping more chocolate chips in until finally it looked like a real frosting.

Chocolate Frosting

The sucky part was that this bowl is AFTER I frosted 24 cupcakes. I had to add so much chocolate in that I ended up with enough to frost about a hundred or more. I ended up trying in vain to eat these with strawberries, but about 3/4 of it got dumped.

Anyway, it all turned out well in the end.

Spiderweb Cupcakes

I still wish I didn’t have to dump so much chocolate…. but there was no way to justify just eating it all.

I made two bento on Monday for me and Mr. Pikko.

Teriyaki Chicken Bento

This one is his, simple enough after cooking the chicken. I simply laid down rice, topped with chicken, added broccoli, kabocha, and halfΒ  a tomato and done! Mine was slightly different with a lot of rice and a big ume.

Teriyaki Chicken Bento

I ended up not eating all the rice. It was just way too much, even for me. I hope everyone had a nice Halloween. Thanksgiving bentos are next!

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  • Seriously Im not sure what it is I love more about your bentos, the boxes? the food? the pair? Im not sure but you make me so excited to start doing my own, what would you suggest I start out with? I have a great Japanese store near me as well as a Japanese sister in law who can get me anything I need πŸ˜‰ I must make the cute boxes of food haha I (I think thats what I like most!) I love cutesy stuff!

  • Before you go out and spend oodles of money, try seeing what you can do with an ordinary tupperware. It’s really all about the food arranging. If after a couple of tupperware bentos you find that you want to stick with it, try shopping for a couple of inexpensive boxes at the store by you. After that, try the little food picks. Those are great for making a bento cute without much effort at all!

  • Aimee S.

    Glad someone else’s husband reads Fark too!

  • LizAndrsn

    You know chocolate chips are engineered to retain their shapes, right? It’s not impossible to melt them. but the disc chocolates or chucked up chocolate bars are easier to melt. If your Evap. Milk seperates in the can it will screw it up too (ask how I know!). The addition of dairy for a ganache is pretty standard — I go the cream route myself, but I can see where the butter would make the chocolate shiny, just as would a TBSP of Vegetable Shortening. As you learned, heat that is up too high is a no-no, as is ANY water.
    Luckily your end results look divine! Pass one through the screen, would you?!

  • Just like the previous poster said – heat that is too high or any sort of water (damp bowl, wet spoon, etc) will cause your chocolate to seize, which is exactly what it did in that first photo. For ganache, I always stick with cream. That’s pretty much textbook.

    Your final product does look yummy though!

  • LOL that hand is disgusting…. but I like it!

    Looks like your chocolate ‘broke’ that’s what they call it when it’s cooked to long. Don’t worry it happens to lots of us.

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  • I’m really sorry to hear you had so much trouble with the ganache! I’ve made that exact ganache frosting a couple of times and never had that happen to me. I double-checked the book to make sure I had the recipe right, and I do. I don’t think semi-sweet vs. bittersweet makes much of a difference. My best guess is that using chocolate chips instead of a chopped chocolate bar must be the problem. Chocolate chips sometimes have stabilizers in them to help them retain their shape in baked goods, so they don’t melt quite as nicely as plain old bars of chocolate. I used part of a Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet chocolate bar to make the ganache for the spiderweb cupcakes. Maybe try something like that next time? Again, sorry it didn’t work out for you!

  • Jen

    That hand is hideous! And I love it. πŸ˜‰

  • I can’t believe you found the hand mold for that cheap! Yummy looking hand. πŸ˜‰ As for the ganache, I have a lot of trouble too the first (and only) time i tried to make it. Next time, refrigerate the excess ganache and if it hardens, you can roll them into truffles!