Tuesday, January 31, 2012

February~

At the time I am posting this..we are a few hours shy of February~

Le mois des coups de coeur~


Our eldest grandson..he is the ripe old age of 6..the first of the Alphabet boys~came for a visit yesterday.. ..We were in my craft room..w/ stuff everywhere..I had a Valentines' bag itching to get out of the closet..and a white tree my daughter and I bought..partly because it was 90% off the original price..so $2.49 and mostly because the years of my life with my parents.. that I remember...our tree was white and plastic..the late 50's ..60's and very early 70's..
I didn't have a whole heck of a time with them..19 yrs..seems like forever when you are nineteen..(little did I know it actually was~)..when you are 58..it's a splash in the bucket(Is that right?)

..It isn't plastic..but I saw myself with my canopy toy bed under that tree and bought the tree..
I thought..let's do a Valentine's tree~..Lulu..would that be fun? Sure!The idea had come to me the night before in bed..I do most of my thinking in bed and all day long:)



He is such a boy..and only enjoyed wrapping the heart glitter strand around the tree and eating a bracelet while he played with his pirate ship and watched me:)
I had everything on hand..Ephemera from the Graphics Fairy and Heather Bullard from last year or the year before..Ikea boxes..cupcake wrappers,cookie cutters..

It's a Sweets tree.. for bakers .. and drawers:)Nana got carried away and now it's in the little pink upstairs guest room..



I thought I would share to kick off February that often lacks a bit of color in my beautiful part of the world~



He's such a doll..I said do you like it Lulu? He said":" Ya it's cute nana:)"

C'est tout:)

I'll be making little ornaments to add to this frugal tree..Home made..Come back if you like and see.:)

February is a neat month..our youngest daughter's birthday.. 35 this yr.. a few yrs ago I was 35...my god daughter's birthday..sometimes it has 29 days..sometimes not:)

In short..Feb is unique for me.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A New Toy and a Good Little Cake~



So happy when I went to Winner's and found a Marabout kit..same Co.as my small cake silicone molds and cookbook..and the macarons kit and cookbook..This one was a kit too..with a book of cakes and a small Heritage Bundt style(the top part) the bottom is like a crown~ mold.With 4 mini molds.
I have loved Susan's since she got it:) Never found one here..never remembered to look in Florida.
But in essence,Jacques is the dessert eater here..so I was literally thrilled o find a mini version.Then he is not stuck w/ 12~16 portions:) Although an exquisite recent Lemon Tart disappeared dans le temps de le dire~
I perused the book..the recipes seemed substantial for the smaller mold..I remembered Susan's recipe and took a chance..I halved it.
It was perfect!



Even the tiny pearl drops above the jagged crown like base,escaped the mold flawlessly~


The tiny tots are so sweet also~


Very happy with my find.The uncanny thing is that these gift sets/kits retail on the box from France for ap. 25 Euros..All 3 of my kits were purchased here for under $20.00.The latter being $15.00.There was a second kit and I was so tempted to buy it as a gift..for a fellow bakeress..but the lady at the cash said she was going to get it:( How could I go back and get it?Not.


Here is the recipe I used from Susan's beautiful blog~
Only 2 notes here..I did as Susan did and added almond essence..we are crazy about almond essence..and I halved the recipe~So baking took less time..and of course the tiny ones took even less time~

Heritage Bundt Cake
Adapted from the Williams Sonoma Kitchen


Serves 16

2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar (I like to use Bakers Ultrafine Sugar)
4 eggs, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon vanilla extract*
1 teaspoon almond extract*
1 cup whole milk
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Advance Preparation – allow all ingredients to come to room temperature. Position the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 325F. Grease and flour the bundt pan, tapping out the excess flour. (I like to use very soft butter and a silicone basting brush to get in all of the crevices to grease the pan.)

In a large measuring bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

With an electric mixer using the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth for approximately 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of he bowl occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and beat until well incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and add 1/3 of the flour, then 1/2 of the milk, another 1/3 of the flour, 1/2 of the milk and then the final 1/3 of the flour, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl after mixing each addition.

Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan, spreading the batter so the sides are slightly higher than the center. Bake until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes.

Gently tap the pan on a counter or work surface to loosen the cake. Place a wire rack upside down over the top of the cake and turn the pan over onto the rack. Slowly lift the pan off of the cake and cool completely before serving. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

*Note - the original recipe called for 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Since I love the taste of almond extract, I decided to add it and it tasted wonderful in this recipe.


I love that post of hers w/the tea set and cup etc:)

Enjoy~!



Gracious Thanks to The Graphics Fairy for the Ephemera in my collage~
And if ever you come across one of those Marabout Chef kits and understand French..I highly recommend them.The quality of the silicone is like my Italian brand ones..Silikomart.Not the same..but as good quality.

Even Jéhane Benoit's Classic Gâteau Chocolat et Crème sure.. halved,worked perfectly for this mold~
This is one of Jacque's favorite cakes..he made it before I ever did.He cooked before I ever did~I learned after we married and I guess I just fell in love with the whole homemaking process~



Bon Appétit~
I recently found Marabout Chef gift sets..at Chapters..however the cost is much higher.Love that store though..and if I ahd never found these at W and C..I would not have known.Again..these kits were only available in French~

Friday, January 27, 2012

Soul Food #125~



A while ago..on Monica's superb blog at The White Bench..she gave a wonderful tutorial about making paper roses..Coffee Filter roses..I wanted to try..
I zoomed over to the Martha Stewart site on the weekend..and thought..just try drawing the petals without a template..:) Big mistake..free hand is not a template..

So..
A Rose Is A Rose By Any Other Name..
This looks like a rose kissed a dahlia.
I can tell you that it smelled divine though..
You bake it w/ coffee and cinnamon.
I knew I was making mine to adorn a bag.
I love brown paper packages tied up w/ string(these are a few of my favorite things~!:) or brown bags embellished with tags..I thought the flower would be cute..
I think it is..


Take the time to do it Monica's way..by printing the templates and cutting well:)It will BE a ROSE and look so much better.
I added a pearl to my center and stamped For You on a petal.
It is a lovely fun project..

Her wonderful tutorial is here..

Take the time to read the tut through..I never got to the end about shaping the leaves and the stamp.It amazed me I thought of the stamp..Perhaps when she first posted I read through:)I am sure that's it! And in my haste to make this time..never got to the end..I thought:"That's it you did it:)"! Wrong..the petals should be rolled..thus the dahlia look I guess..
Enjoy the beauty of her whole blog.
Monica..Ti ringrazio!

Footnote~ Nota Bene~
Determined to try and actually make one of Monica's Roses to look like a rose..I followed her tutotial to a T this time..and I liked it much better.



Use the thread like she did..I did this time..it makes a much nicer job than holding and bundling the florist tape..I actually curled the leaves afterwards also.
It's such a nice way of adding a little loving touch to a gift..etc.

I love when people share their creativity..I told Monica it's sometimes just the little lightbulb someone needed that day to get inspired..to busy their fingers and mind and to get creative..
You feel like a kid again when it's done and you like it.
Enjoy~

If you pop by her blog today you will see she has been published again in Somerset Life~ Bravo Monica!

Bon Weekend~

and a last PS..I know I should have just posted the better rose.. but we're all a little imperfect..and this gives hope to all..If at first you don't succeed and all that:)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Linda's Lovely Lemon Tart~



I recently blogged for joy about finding Meyer Lemons..They look like candy..so bright..so beautiful..I wanted to put them to their highest and best use..
Linda.. e-mailed me and suggested one of her lemon tarts.How nice was that? Out of the blue.Just to share.
I am not easy to persuade..and with w/ these treasures?:) But she is a great cook..she is such a nice person..and took the time to share a special recipe with me..
The next day..I was on a mission:)

We had just had ap. 7 inches of freshly fallen snow..it was 1 degree F outside.. and the sun..which had gone missing..appeared.A perfect nesting..baking cooking day~One thing I love about our kitchen..is the light..Because of it being exposed to almost 3 sides of our home..it benefits from lovely light on sunny days at this time of year when all the leaves are down....never perfect photo light..but perfect mood light.Every season..it changes and every season..when the sun shines..I appreciate it's new light~In the eating area of the kitchen I have :"To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose in the heaven~"

Right above that natural light.In gratitude.




I made a vintage pork and fruit ragoût.. from the Silver Palate group..can't remember which book..as I printed this one and stuck it at the back of my favorite THE Silver Palate cookbook..I think I have 3 in this type..~?You can see the unsightly lid of my Staub pot on the counter..I like to add a nice Puff Pastry crust on my ragoûts..:) That and whipped mashed potatoes..Mais..c'est bon!
Yogurt and flax seed and Chia for breakfast..broccoli soup for lunch..I think we can safely ..enjoy this:)

I was able to use the lemons.. my microplane..my dandy vintage juicer ..bought at the library sale many many many years ago..For such a small amount of money..it says Sunkist..all faded out.. works..like I do.. a bit of sport to get it going smoothly..Takes all the pits out..is electric.. it looks like my mom's things..that's why I bought it.


And put a new "gift" tea towel to use~

We give this tart a 9.9..That is quite Perfect for us:)

Oh Linda..loved your note..the recipe..your description.
Thank you..
Bisous.

La Recette..Courtesy of Linda..


How nice is she?She didn't even post it yet:) But said go ahead:)

PERFECT LEMON TART

Pictured on the cover of "Luscious Lemon Desserts," by Lori Longbotham, this tart is easy to make. After pre-baking the crust, look for any cracks that the filling could seep through. Make a paste of about 1 teaspoon of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of water, and smear it over the cracks with your fingers to seal them. This recipe uses approximately 4 lemons.

Serves 10.

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 granulated sugar
2 pinches salt (about 1/4 tsp.)
6 large eggs
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
Confectioner's sugar for dusting

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Have ready an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon zest, and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk together flour, 1/4 cup sugar and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Pour butter mixture into flour in a fine stream, stirring with a fork, and continue stirring until dough begins to come together when a small bit is pressed between your fingers. Transfer mixture to tart pan and press it with your fingertips evenly up the side and into the bottom. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust is light golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack while making filling.

Process remaining sugar and zest in a food processor until zest is finely ground.

Whisk together eggs, sugar and zest mixture, lemon juice and another pinch of salt in a medium bowl until smooth.

Beat cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a medium bowl just until it forms soft peaks. Whisk cream into the egg mixture just until blended.

Place a baking sheet in the oven, place the crust on the baking sheet, and pour filling into the still-warm crust. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until filling is just set in the center. Let pie cool on a wire rack.

Just before serving, generously sift confectioners' sugar over the tart. Cut into wedges and serve.





My friend sent me a great quote for this tart~I had mentioned it to her..

"Life is dessert...too brief to hurry."~
Thanks Di~

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Soul Food #124~

From Blogger Pictures



These are a few of my favorite things~2~


Black ware with words,wood boards,popover pans.(Popovers that actually popover)
Cloches,
Zucchini Blossoms
Minestrone soup with puff pastry stars,simmered with a big end rind of parm cheese
Pretty wine bottles
Muffin liners
Picture Frames with people I love in them
Grand papa's furniture
Dovetail details
Olive Oil
Jasmine Tea..the pearls..
Sage Bread/Old tole trays
Any Magazine Fifi is involved in:)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Marie's Pizza Puffs~



You all know Marie~ I have made so many of her delicious recipes..I admire her photos.. her "PINS"..her stories..her adorable artwork.
She made these and I just couldn't resist~
They're called Pizza Puffs~


She explains them so well..
They aren't like pizza.. but the taste is like pizza especially w/ a lovely homemade
tomato/pizza sauce..


They are like mini Italian popovers.Light..airy cheesy..soft.

La Recette~ Courtesy of Marie~

*Pizza Puffs*
Makes 24 bite sized puffs


A tasty little appetizer that most people love. I have chosen to keep mine meatless, but you can add chopped pepperoni, or chorizo or cooked and crumbledbacon if you wish.

75g of plain flour (3/4 cup)
3/4 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp dried marjoram leaves
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of chilli flakes
4 fluid ounces of milk (1/2 cup)
2 fluid ounces cream (1/4 cup)
1 large free range egg, beaten
120g of grated mozarella cheese (1 cup)
30g of grated strong cheddar cheese (1/4 cup)
45g of finely grated Parmesan cheese (1/4 cup)
85g of chopped mixed olives (I used green and black, the dry cured with herbs) (1/2 cup)
1/2 of a small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
a small handful of chopped sunblush dried tomatoes

To serve:
your favourite pizza sauce recipe, 1/2 cup
(reserve the rest for another use in the freezer)

Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5. Butter a 24 hold mini muffin pan. Set aside.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices and cheeses. Beat together the egg, milk and cream. Stir this into the dry mixture. Fold in the chopped olives, onions and tomatoes. Let stand for 10 minutes. Spoon into the muffin tin, dividing it equally amongst them. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until risen and golden brown.

Warm the pizza sauce through.

Serve the puffs warm along with the pizza sauce for dipping.


My Notes~

I followed Marie's Pizza Sauce recipe..but added some honey and 3 tbsps of grated parmesan cheese to the sauce.
I used green olives and soaked my sun dried tomatoes..these little puffs need the extra goodies Marie mentions.I am sure the meat lovers would love some Italian sausage or chorizo or prosciutto ..salami etc..in them.

It was snowing like crazy the day I made these for lunch ..they are an appetizer..but they made a delicious lunch on that snowy day~

I will make some this summer also for family BBQ's as hors d'oeuvres..something I think even the alphabet boys will like.


Thank you so much Marie~
Ciao:)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Soul Food#123


"A snowflake is a winter's butterfly"
Author: Hero Arts


Comments disabled for this post~
I love looking at photos of my alphabet boys~L~M~N~O~
We had 7 inches of snow the day I took this photo of our first alphabet boy..when he got off the school bus..Friday..
His mom was all bundled up waiting for him..They are like breaths of fresh air these boys..I watch them walk home..L relieved of his backpack and lunch box..his mom carrying them.. she,looking much like a very tall 6 yr old from the back:)
In the morning..so very early..his dad waits at the bus with him.
I never want you to feel that you have to comment when I post photos of my "alphabits":)These years will fly by for me.This way they are part of my little blog and I smile when I look back:)
When I won my Blog To Print at Susan's..seeing some of their photos in the book.. made me know I would continue..occasionally w/ their photos.
Have a great day~And forgive me my indulgences:)~

The only thing is..I don't know how to disable comments:)I tried..to no avail~:)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Martha's Blue Belles and her Cute Templates~



On vacation..I perused my friend's Martha Stewart magazines..and came upon her blue belles so prettily packaged..I resolved that after the holidays..I would make them..if only to try the pretty wraparound labels..


The blue belles are delicious..very similar to many of the great little lemon cakes we make..But this recipe called for the exact proportions for my little mini silicone molds..So I tried yet another lemon loaf recipe and it's a keeper too..

La Recette~

Martha Stewart Living, July 2011
Prep Time
35 minutes
Total Time
2 hours
Yield
Makes nine 2 1⁄2-by-4-inch cakes
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Ingredients

1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for pans
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 4 lemons)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Salt
2 large eggs
6 ounces blueberries (1 1/4 cups)
Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter nine 2 1/2-by-4-inch baking pans, and dust with flour, tapping out excess.
Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves and syrup is thickened, about 4 minutes. Let stand while making cakes.
Meanwhile, combine heavy cream, remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and the vanilla in a bowl. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in another bowl.
Beat butter, lemon zest, and remaining cup sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low, and add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Gently fold in blueberries using a rubber spatula.
Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet until a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Transfer pans to wire racks, and brush tops of cakes with lemon syrup. Let stand for 15 minutes. Turn out cakes from pans, and brush all over with remaining syrup. Let cool completely on wire racks.
Variations
To make a large loaf instead of several little ones, use a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan, and bake for 55 minutes.

My Notes~
I didn't have any heavy cream..so I used half 10% cream and half sour cream.Bon!


Her templates can be found..here

Have fun..they're really cute over waxed paper~



Do you see what I see? Not in this recipe they were..but look what my CDN Costco had..MEYER lemons..I am treasuring them:) Can't wait to make something Scrummy as my English blogging friends say so well~:)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Soul Food #122~



These are a few of my favorite things~
They came out of hiding..I was glad to see them~:)

I like saving the EVOO bottles..(don't like cleaning the labels off though..but in the end..worth it..I think I have saved and cleaned ap .10 now..:) )..and then using as water bottles..I just like those tops so much..

I like little individual butter dishes..

Old fish knives..
Glasses with words on them..actually anything w/ words:)

Rooster plates and napkins..

Snow frosted trees..
Salt and pepper shakers~
My "Maman's" silverware..plated..or not.

Loved Julie Andrews Song~ Knew it off by heart~
I may come back with more through the year~ :)

Do you have favorites also? We all do don't we?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Chicken Little~


We love chicken..
many ways.. and we love turkey..of course since we have had Frédérick's Tur~Duck~Bit:) nothing will ever compare..

He deboned a turkey,a duck and a rabbit.. all 3 were artistically combined..and it was a feast Christmas eve to savor it..

But usually..our chicken is roasted like above..in Henrietta..(you have met her)..or in our white Revol..or in a tabletop convection oven..I love honey lavender chicken the best I think..apart from asian inspired chicken dishes..

With leftovers..the potpies are my favorite..I have shared them before..But this time..Jacques and I had watched the best moments of the last 10 yrs of J DiStasio and a chef showed one of his meat pies presented w/ a bone in the center..the idea being it adds again more flavor..and when you remove it.. it leaves a hole to add gravy etc..Brilliant..we thought..and it is..
Jacques and I both loved the look and the presentation..


Pre -baked.. they are even cute..My friend Jain alerted me to the sale of these little chicken creusets when we were in Florida.The staff at Pier One Imports ..so nice..they had 4 left and put them aside for me..they were under $ 2.00 each..for a store to take the time to do this..was so appreciated.I know you are not reading Pier One..But thanks so much..Pier One in Florida.
It gave me the opportunity to make smaller versions than in my little red treasures..

And thanks Jain for the heads up..and tails up:)
Baked they are prettier..except night photography at Nanas..is not so use your imagination please..Picture puffed up perfection..all golden..with the little bone standing proud:)

My pot pies are easy..

I make soup w/ the carcass of the chicken but I reserve a good cup or more of flavorful broth..for these..

For the pies..I partially cook sliced carrots..sauté mushrooms in butter..celery....In a sep.skillet I sauté a French chopped shallot a smidge of garlic..in a good tablespoon of butter.. and add a tablespoon 1/2 of flour and cook down a bit..I add the broth..let thicken.. add some cream..let thicken..add chunks of chicken or turkey.. the cooked mushrooms celery and carrots..and add some thyme and frozen peas..season to taste.. Cover w/ puff pastry and bake at 400 for ap 1/2 hr.

Si bon!

You remove the bone before eating..:) if it is a meat pie.. you can add reserved gravy..I didn't need to add anything..It was just very cute,novel and it made us smile:)