Monday, December 31, 2012

2013~



Here's to:
Health~
Love..
Happiness~
Peace~
Serenity~
Kindness~
Comments are Disabled for This Post~Enjoy your day!
I know we wish us all the very same~:)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A new bread~

The Birds Are Fed~


                   And that's a good thing~ A snowstorm here this morning~More Snow..And some said our winter would be easy peasy..not so much!


I received Mari Loggias new book for Christmas from a dear friend~ This is her second..I have mentioned her first here before..She is our local Italian Julia Child..Teaches classes..is charming ,beautiful and very talented..
I perused the beautiful book front to back Christmas day~



I was happy to discover that 2 of the recipes featured in this newest book are 2 of the recipes I learned to make in her cooking class~
I loved that class..you may have seen my post on it here~So long ago~ 2009..
You may remember that great salad Saveur published..here..or the olives  here..the polpettone..here..and a few other treats along my blogging posts..
She is definitely one of my very favorites along with Dorie Greenspan..Anne Lindsay..Jéhane Benoit..Josée Di Stasio..etc..
I also love that her books have so many local photos for me:)
Sandy Beach is there too~

In this book the first recipe I chose to make t..was her bread..w/ Anise and Bay leaves..it is wreath shaped..in keeping with the season..although it is featured in her autumn menu..(the book is comprised of menus..for the 4 seasons..)

It is lovely to look at..and I loved the taste~

My friend  Diane makes her pizelles w/ anise..and it's a taste I favor.
The recipe is different as you simmer the anise seed in water for 5 minutes prior to mixing all the ingredients..and it called for a lot of yeast! But it turned out just the way I wanted..I did make it all in the bread machine contrary to her technique..because I am hooked on the mixing and kneading in the machine..I just never bake in it..apart from the Gluten Free one:)

La Recette~

Panne all'Anice  e Alloro~

For the dough

 1 1/2 tsp anise seed
1 tbsp honey
1 cup milk
1 cup water
 7 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tsp salt
4 1/2-5 cups unbleached all purpose flour
6 fresh or dried bay leaves

In a small pot combine anise seed and one cup of water
Boil for 5 minutes
Pour mixture in a medium sized bowl.
Stir in honey and milk
Let the mixture cool until just warm 105 to 115 F
Stir in yeast 2 tbsp of the olive oil and salt.
set aside.
In a large bowl place 4 1/2 cups of flour
Add the yeast mixture mixing with a fork to form a soft dough.

Turn bread out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 8-10 minutes..incorporating more flour as needed.

The dough should be smooth and tender.
Oil a large bowl w/ remaining 1 tbsp of oil and transfer dough turning once to oil both sides.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap...then a kitchen towel.
Let stand away from drafts in a warm place ap 1 hr..or until doubled in size.
Punch down dough and let rise another 30-40 mins.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Oil a large baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal.
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and roll into a 30 inch rope..twsit the rope several times and shape int a wreath tucking ends under.
Place on prepared baking sheet.
Cut 6 deep diagonal slices and tuck a bay leaf in each..
Cover dough with towel and let rest 15 minutes.
Brush bread with an egg wash (1 yolk plus 1 tbsp milk).
Bake bread center rack ap 35-40mins.or until golden and cooked through.It should sound hollow when tapped on it's side..
Serve warm   dipped in fruity olive oil~

My Notes..
I did boil the water and anise seeds..  I stirred in the honey and milk..but then put it in my bread machine..it cooled down perfectly to continue adding all the ingredients..
and chose the dough cycle.
I then shaped the wreath and let it rest in a pre warmed  then shut off  oven for the 15 mins.
And baked as directed on  baking stones we keep in one of our ovens.
It's just right.
I find my bread machine kneads perfectly..without a mess.. the dough rises twice perfectly in a controlled draft free and warm and moist environment..
Then I bake according to instructions..
It makes baking bread so easy.
The little anise flavor and the look won me over~


The whole book is filled with menus.. recipes..lovely photos.. I have made and tried her carrot and lemon salad..and the cornish hens..DELICIOSO!


Keeper book..Feel fortunate to have in my favorites collection.
I can recommend it~




She's lost her eyes..her smile..and soon with all this snow she will be invisible~:)


PS re the BirdFeeders My Daughter Made~

My daughter made me a box of the seed feeders for Christmas..
I think hers are even firmer and better than mine yet our recipes seem quite similar:)

Here is a link to hers..
From a cute blog:)Saltwater Kids..cute cute cute..My daughter made me the gingerbread girl..  and a tulip..and a butterfly..
and these were the ones I made last year..they were posted here..In a Soul Food post~

Enjoy!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Need last Minute Gifts?


:) 
There's is no way I could not share these with you~
I went to bed last night after watching a pretty awful movie..(Solitary Man) instead of a Christmas Movie..or a Netflix French or Foreign movie..
Very disappointing..did nothing to get me into a more festive spirit..
However..right before turning off the light..I checked my mail..then  Pinterest..Foodgawker and Tastespotting..
And there they were..my little inspiration..for a wee batch of special cookies.
I like going to sleep motivated..in this case..these were all it took..
I have to tell you ..I read and reread the recipe many times until it made sense..I started this morning..and as I was about to make a very final decision..I asked my engineer husband to just come and read it through with me..so we got it figured out..I must have had morning brain fog..
I did them..and they are as cute as buttons..
I added vanilla bean paste..cause they're very basic..they could even use more oomph..wish we could do this with a shortbread type cookie..A sugar cookie is not my husbands favorite..but they are good..and honestly could they be any cuter?

The blogger in question has the cutest blog..go see..
That is where you will find the ingredients and the directions in full~
So as I mentioned..if you need any last minute gifts?
Try them:)
You still have time.
They are here.. at Hungry At Midnight~
Thank you Hungry at Midnight~


Monday, December 17, 2012

Peace On Earth~



Sunday Night..last night... a group of  lovely carolers came to our home..I think it is a tradition now..they collect food for the food bank..or $ donations..the snow was gently falling..many carried candles..Ages..from under 1..up until adult..
Three were right in front of me and caught my eye most as they were right there.. on our balcony porch..the others were down the stairs and up the path..
A young boy maybe 6..a young girl maybe 5 and another young girl maybe 8..

Holding these candles as I mentioned..in the dark of night with snow swirling by the lampstandards....it was magical.In a different magical way~

And they sang..so sweetly..Little Drummer Boy..Pa Rum Pa Pum Pum..
Watching these angels..I could not help myself but think of the tragic recent events~They have never left my thoughts for very long..

I will remember..


It was as if the carolers and snow were blanketing our street with such comfort and peace.
As if they were caroling for them ...their sound floating towards the heavens..
It moved me even more than in the previous year..  with reason...and as I bent to place my offering in a wicker basket ..(I didn't have things on hand that I would feel good about giving..)the little boy said.."But We Came For Food"!And everyone laughed..  so innocent ..so honest..I reassured him that they could buy  some things they may need to add..
I am certain everyone was touched Sunday night..and God Bless the little boy who actually make everyone smile~For one brief moment all was well with the world~

We had company this weekend and all shared our sorrow and thoughts..
It had been planned in October..one couple I had not seen in three years..they are great grandparents now..
All of us..  could not imagine going through such a horrific event.

We shared memories..stories ..food.. and drink..
It is comforting to talk about these things..and more so..while sharing food..breaking bread~
I made Susan's Nuts..there is a reason for me mentioning people and recipes...

If you are still looking for nibbles.. these are great..I have been sharing recipes with Susan..for years ..through the magic of the web..  we have shared   being moms..spouses..then becoming nanas..creating blogs..sharing Christmases..


I never tire of mentioning how grateful I am to those of you that I have formed bonds with over the years~
This time of year..reminds me to tell you even more..
To thank you for your sharing..camaraderie..empathy..trust..It is amazing what you can sometimes share through an email..that in person..is just too hard to do..
I will always be the one who says it too much..in my life:)How much I care..when I do.
The boys  are immune to it..(do you know how much nana loves you? "Gros gros gros comme le ciel~"the girls have it repeated to them so often..and Jacques also..

It's my nature.

So this is my mushy post..thanking you all:)

Even the dessert..I made..was from a dear blogger/Marie~



I made the mini versions..that you saw here..You will find the recipe there:)

and had enough left to make a 4 inch for 2 one..This year I added pomegranate seeds..because they seem to be plentiful right now..and we enjoy them so much..


We had many desserts that night..Diane's Pizelles..  made with her mom's pizellle maker...beautiful ...as always..and Clara's little twists..shortbreads..cranberry bliss bars..magic bars..

I hope..the carolers did SO well  in their gathering of goodies for the food bank.

And I thank them..for a moment in time~

Peace On Earth~




Friday, December 14, 2012

Home Made Wafer Paper Designs~

I enjoy wafer papers ..they dress up a plain cookie so well..I have had the pleasure of working with them..having purchased and received some from Fancy Flours..~
You can see some here~and I did make some for Valentine's one year also..

But having recently bought the Sprinkle Bakes book..I was tempted to try my hand at buying the wafer paper and hand stamping w/ edible food coloring~Her Paris cookies were so cute!

So ...I had to buy a bunch of them..don't ask how many..not too expensive..but I will have some for a long time..

:)
I made her sugar cookies..good little recipe..and made some royal icing,..
That day I made a few cookies..with my fun stamps.that have words in them..Petits Beurre etc....and with rubber stamps and wafer paper..





Oyoyoy..First of all..although I LOVE the look of decorated sugar cookies with royal icing..the taste..does me in..I prefer a cookie to taste like the cookie and not sugar..
I know I know..I love painting cookies:)and need the icing to do so..

It's not the stamping that is hard..or time consuming..

and it's so easy to dress the stamp with the food coloring and stamp and cut..it's the whole preparing the sugar cookie with royal icing..letting it dry..



and then..  making the wafer paper look better ..by outlining and adding edibles to hide the paper edges..
I was excited when the stamping went so well ...with the reasonable Christmas stamps I bought at Michael's..It's the finishing touches..that never finish!

Look at all the dots and pearls or mini trees or snowflakes one had to add..one by one~for small cookies.

9 cookies took me longer than painting the other ones~

So I will try and find other uses for the transfer papers..or an easier way to hide the edges..because so far I prefer and painting..

I'll put my thinking cap on~Maybe I will borrow the Red Baron's:)
He had a little cold this week and he and grandad played with this hat for a while..He made me smile out loud as he always does..It's quite festive too:)

There you have it..the truth ..for  me:)

But in her book..hers are great! and her sugar cookie recipe was spot on!I will try the Paris one one day..
I guess I just expected easier..yet my other ones..the transfers from Fancy Flours..needed as much camouflage also.
I just love playing in the kitchen so much..I could not resist..
On to.. deliciouser cookies or bars..and less time consuming:)
Don't get me wrong..I love the time spent in the kitchen..but these were over the top..time wise.

PS you can find her sugar cookie recipe here..It is her most recent one and the one I used..

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Gingerbread Man~

Loved that story when I was small..
Thus my lingering love affair with gingerbread men~

And reindeers and stars~
So each of the Alphabet boys will have one..


I saved some stars for ornaments..

Just because I love homemade on a tree~From Alicias' skates..To Mod Podged Holly Hobby ornaments~(1970's)~
The recipe I used was Pinned..CHEWY..Gingerbread..not so much..some were still hard~

But some..go figure..were softer..I am keeping the recipe and will add a bit more molasses next time..

La Recette~

From Stick a Fork In It~Thank you:)

3 cups flour
 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
 1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
12 tbsps butter softened slightly ..cut into 12 pieces
3/4 cup molasses
2 tbsps milk
In the bowl of a stand mixer blend together the flour, brown ,sugar, ginger ,cinnamon, cloves, salt ,and baking powder..until well combined..add the cut up pieces of butter..mix until it resembles a very  fine meal..add molasses and milk  mix  until well combined and moistened into a nice dough.
Divide dough in half..   place in between 2 pieces of parchment.. roll out to ap 1/4 inch thick ..Refrigerate at least 20 mins..

Preheat oven to 350F..take dough out and cut into desired shapes..place on parchment lined sheets and bake ap 9-12 mins..cool and decorate..
I didn't decorate mine this year..I just used cookie cutters and my favorite Williams Sonoma   cutters:)

You can also go see here to learn more about them..so glad I bought them!

I am seeing dear friends Saturday.  I have not seen them in years...while in Florida..I bought a BIG snowflake  ornament at HomeGoods..and made 2 for them..


They had Santas.. Trees..but the snowflake caught my eye~They are the only two I dabbed with Royal Icing~
I don't know how they do it? Home Goods..and find such charming things at such affordable prices..$6.99..

Online catalogs..their prices are astronomical for large..unique designs~

So Thank you..Home Goods~

Not taking a lot of time to get the right light..exposure..staging etc..  just too much to share before Christmas..I don't want to tell you about these things after Christmas:)

By the way..my favorite Christmas episode of my favorite all time show on TV aired last night and will air tonight again..
For those of you who follow..PARENTHOOD..
Tonight is a 4 hankie episode..
It's the only show I am faithful to..on real TV:)I am such a huge fan..:)
I love all the cast..their characters..the storylines.~
J'AIME~


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cranberry Pistachio Shortbreads~

Every year I make shortbreads..these..every year:)without fail..


These are delicious too..and festive looking..
I think these were my favorite looking..

But this year I added some cranberries and pistachios to some~


While away in the USA..we went to Target a few times..It's such a lovely store..It always looks new..and fresh..and everything is always so tidy..
I found their holiday sections had great prices for the quality of the merchandise..I was able to pick up different wrapping sand add ons for gifts..
And these cute little things in their $ stands at the entrance..Small treat boxes and bakers  Christmas twine..

I opted for a recipe I found last year and refound this year..
Cranberry Pistachio Shortbreads as Jacques..likes everything in the recipe..
They are good and colorful and hold their shape very very well.

They stack up nicely..and tuck into the little gift bags perfectly..


The recipe is as easy as 1-2-3.

And you can find it here..at Joy of Baking..in it's entire form..

Or here..

La Recette:

2 1/3 cups of flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup or 2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temp
2/3 granulated white sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract..I use the bean paste
1 cup unsalted pistachios coarsely chopped
1 cup dried cranberries coarsely chopped

In a large bowl whisk flour and salt
In stand mixer..beat butter until smooth..add the sugar and beat until smooth and creamy...beat in vanilla..  gently stir in f lour mixture ..stir in nuts and cranberries making sure to incorporate evenly.

I formed mine into 2 logs.. and wrapped in Saran Wrap..refrigerated overnight..

The next day I sliced and baked on parchment papered cookie sheet at 325(pre-heated) for about 15-20 minutes.
Cooled on racks..


Enjoy..


..P.S.
You know I enjoy Pinterest...very much..

And sometimes I go to pin something and go to the source and I get a warning..so I do not proceed..
Last night..I pinned some chalkboard freebies---no warning..nothing..so I pinned to share..in one instant..an extra annoying toolbar inserted itself to my browsers..slowed everything down..went on AOL..Firefox..IE..Pinterest..etc..I spent at least 2 hours..Googling ...to remove..being led on a wild goose chase..Jacques stepped in also and found the last browser culprit..
So..just a head's up..that all is not what it appears..
Be cautious..these were cute and seemed harmless.



Thursday, December 6, 2012

Joy~

December~...is Joy..
No matter what.. one just seems to find it somewhere deep inside oneself~
Be it the now..the past..with nostalgia..  without..somewhere we can scoop up a serving  of inner joy~
It can be hard..
But if you look deep enough..a small corner has a reserve for you..it can even be in the future if one has hope:)~
I have to  admit some of my most peaceful..lovely moments..are in the kitchen~

OK..and in the living room at night once the tree is lit~
My mom..I still have memories of her..sitting in our living room..in the dark..amidst the lit tree..just relaxing~ Smoking her last of maybe 3 cigarettes in a week:)..(1960's)...
She didn't have the easiest life..and could make most of us  weep at her loss..But her spirit never gave in..
And I loved watching her relax this way.
It was like magic for me..all of 6 was I in 1960~..it lasted quite a few years:)
My little angel mom:)
She loved to bake  Christmas treats..not many..not fancy..but delicious..
Wish I had her recipes~:)
I do have my own now though..and I bet she ..and my dad are smiling..looking at how much I love to be in the kitchen:)
Today I started with the traditional Tourtières..

There are so many variations~  and here~and so many more!
Unbaked..I freeze them this way..

I made 7..

The recipe is very easy..
Your favorite dough..

For 7 ..I used

 13 lbs of mixed..minced low fat pork and beef
10 minced onions
4 cloves of garlic
special tourtière spices I buy here in QC
added Cinnamon..cloves..s and p..
and some flour..very little..just to make the meat mixture creamy:)
Saute onions and garlic until soft and clear
Add meat
Brown until cooked through..while adding the spices..add just a bit of flour..once done:-)
If you can't find this special spice mix..
There are many variations..
Cloves,cinnamon,savory..salt and pepper..Google and find the mix you like..last year I found the perfect..already mixed spices:-)
We still add cinnamon:-)



I put a bottom crust and top..
Freeze..thaw overnight in fridge..

Bake at ap 375 for 1 hr
We like our tourtières golden...

My husband loves to add sugar on top:) His family tradition..:)

His maman made it that way~


They are really good..they are part of our Christmas Eve dinner..  le Réveillon..this year at one of my daughter's homes..

Santa..has already been to our house..and has left a letter..


That vintage typewriter is coming in so handy:)


Teeheehee:):)

I read it to Noah..but he has The Elf On The Shelf living at his house so this was far from exciting..and our other 3?
Well they have a CHRISTMAS ROOM:)..so we will see:)2 of our illuminated animated 1986 Christmas dolls made it there today..:)  Too funny to tell you the truth:)
I also tackled our "Pets De Soeurs"...pinwheels..  aka,, nun's poufs(farts)..I promise that's what they are called!

These too are very easy..

Your leftover dough..or your dough...

Roll it out into a rectangle..dough ap 1/8 thick..spread brown sugar all over..press in..roll up jelly roll fashion..  slice ap 3/8 inch.. dot with butter..place on parchment sheet..
Bake ap 375-400 until golden..

I could have sealed my edges..Just too much going on..You cannot have just one of these..SO GOOD SO SIMPLE...

I've had those skinny veiny hands since I am 30:)  and have worn all those rings day in day out for almost 40 yrs:)  The bump on the index..is in the last 5 yrs..it used to be on the other side  of my finger where I held my pen..it migrated I guess..
My daughters have such beautiful hands:)
It was a glorious sunny day to get my baking started..so grateful to be able to do baking..to buy the items..


I know we are all not in that place.
So for now..
I am grateful~
Happy Holiday Baking to you..
I am enjoying reading all your posts and gleaning:)
Thank you for everything you share..
I have pinned quite a few:)








Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Soul Food #136~

Hello..  :)

My favorite Soul Food~

Little boys by the beach~

We had a getaway to Florida..and 3 of the alphabet boys and their parents joined us for 1 week.
Heaven.
When our girls were growing up Sandcastles were castles with Princesses :)
These.. designed by Max and Oli..,grandad and Max's mom..designed to protect the beach!:)
I find little boy things so different..yet equally charming:)




We ate well..The very first time..I have eaten fish..cooked the same hour it is caught..So delicious.Caught by the boys..cooked by the boy:)
Not this particular one:)

The boys caught a few that magical day~

And even indulged in sparkly water challenges..

J'adore the diamonds on the ocean..and when 2 of my little gems :) are silhouetted by them..the whole scene is a blessing.

to be read..their:)



So cute. Every moment.

L M and O..


The Sea,Once it casts it's spell,holds one in it's net of wonder forever~ 
JYCousteau




The Sunshine State..It really is~
Thank you Florida for being a meeting place of many nice people from various parts of the world~for your beaches and skies..your fish and birds..Thank you.For enabling family vacations..the memories..Thank you.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

These Are A Few Of My favorite Things~

It's been a while~

French Inspired Tea Towels
My Old Flower Frogs
Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste
Sprinkle Bakes Cookbook..For ap $10.00 at Amazon..so much creativity in this book~
Fresh Scones in The Morning With Bonne Maman
Zinc French Christmas Tags
A Day At the Beach Candle..not  just for the label:)But mostly so~
The Last of My Neigbour's Fuschias..they look like...ballerinas..fairies :)
A Very Special Coffee Cup:-)
Sunsets
My Shark's Tooth Necklace..someone we have met found this big sharks tooth and offered it to me..a talisman of sorts:)a very nice gentleman..I made a necklace from it.
My Reading Chair,special pillows..and a special button:)
Staw  Hats~