Saturday, January 31, 2009

Darling Hors D'Oeuvres~

 Kathleen organized a Super Bowl Hors~ d'Oeuvres Darling Sunday~
I pondered what to make and even made a Pate a Choux w/ crab filling but they weren't my favorites..We ate them as a light lunch today..They were fine for that.
I went back to a tried and true..
A recipe I am certain I got from Bon Appétit or Canadian Living:) years and years ago.
A friend made them first for a cocktail party.They were the first to go~
Since then..they are the first to go here also.
My daughters make them and my daughter's MIL makes them at the resto she runs and cooks for.
They are always a hit..They may sound fussy..But they are not.

Spicy pork with orange hoisin sauce in wonton cups~I give them 4 stars.

The little accompaniement sauce is so delicious.A perfect marriage.

I place them..all baked on white platters.. the sauce on the side..w/ a few chinese soup spoons to spoon the sauce over each bite sized wonton.
Si Bon!

How nice to be able to use a dipping dish..a few spoons and lovely platters~ Chinese parasols are a cute addition too..:)

While I was working w/ wontons and pork..I also made Chinese Raviolis..
You simply boil..not steam them and serve with peanut dipping sauce.

With a side of fried rice.. just terrific..

The filling is different for these.. an egg is added.. some cornstarch.. lots of cabbage..It is a recipe I saw on "Du Coeur Au Ventre" last night with guest chef Jean Chen..Host..Daniel Pinard~
Very good show.I appreciate everything I learn on it.Very informative.

Thanks to my friend Susan...

Here is the recipe I misplaced!

Recipe as follows..
½ cup hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 green onions, minced
1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce
1 teaspoon (packed) grated orange peel
1-1/4 pounds ground pork
3 large green onions, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oriental sesame oil
1-1/2 teaspoons (packed) grated orange peel
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
2 12-ounce packages wonton wrappers
Vegetable oil
FOR SAUCE: Mix all ingredients in small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead; cover and refrigerate)
FOR FILLING: Mix first 10 ingredients in medium bowl.
Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 475 degrees. Using 2-3/4 inch round cutter, cut out round from each wonton wrapper. Brush 1 side of each round with vegetable oil. Gently press wonton rounds, oiled side down, into mini muffin cups. Fill each wonton round with heaping 1 teaspoon of pork filling. Bake wonton rounds with filling, 2 pans at a time, until wonton is crisp and filling is cooked through, about 15 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Refrigerate until cool, then cover and chill. Rewarm uncovered on baking sheet in 475 degree oven until heated through, about 12 minutes.) Transfer to platter. Spoon orange-hoisin sauce atop wonton cups or let your guests add their own.

A Pan New Day~

After the holidays I browsed our local Winner's..Similar to TJ Maxx but not as good..
I found this pan I had coveted on the net.. not on sale..but reasonably priced.
I love all small things..or smaller things I should say.
I really enjoy my Norpro mini cheesecake pans..and knew I would like this Chicago Metallic small crumb cake pan.
The removeable bottoms..are such a pleasure to work with.

While babysitting the boys..I browsed through a 2005 Bon Appétit of my daughter's and found a nice pound cake recipe by Dorie.
Of course I have never met a Dorie recipe I didn't I decided to try making smaller versions in this pan.
They turned out perfectly.

A few eggs..3 to be exact:) I love looking at eggs:)

And some yogurt .. some marmalade ...which I have plenty of since I made so much~

Just little delicious squares with a hint of tartness and a few pistachios on top..


Speaking of cute.. we went to see our DD that had Noah almost 7 months ago..
I remember making their food..putting it in ice cube trays..popping them out and Bagging them..
Look how cute these things are.
I marveled at her sunny stash in her freezer all ready to go..
The bananas and squash were sparkling in the containers.
She sent me a photo of her bananas and broccoli she had already taken.
So cute!

Lucky Noah~

I am thinking these would be great for pesto:)

Here is Dorie's Recipe~

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon (packed) finely grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup lemon, orange, or grapefruit marmalade (for glaze)
1 teaspoon water

PreparationPosition rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Generously butter 8 1/2x4 1/2x2 1/2-inch metal loaf pan. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Combine yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon peel, and vanilla in large bowl; whisk until well blended. Gradually whisk in dry ingredients. Using rubber spatula, fold in oil. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Place pan on baking sheet.

Place cake on baking sheet in oven and bake until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack 5 minutes. Cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Turn cake out onto rack. Turn cake upright on rack and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap and store at room temperature.)

Stir marmalade and 1 teaspoon water in small saucepan over medium heat until marmalade melts. Brush hot mixture over top of cake. Let glaze cool and set. Cut cake crosswise into slices.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Allegra can mean joyous in English~
I just had a busy "Allegraish" few days looking after 2 of our small grandsons with my husband.
How did I do this on my own in my early 20's when my husband worked?
It took the two of us to keep them as busy and as happy as we wanted them to be:)
They had room service..sofa service..lots of craft sessions..outdoor activities.. colds.. reading..toy room etc..
And at their home during the does it all:)
It's the age..busy busy.. 3 and 18 months..:)
Cute as buttons..sweet as pie.
From La Table De Nana

I love the way he is holding on to his red motorcycle:) I took over 300 pics in the days I had my camera..some are on their mommy's camera.
It was neat to see that even after more than 30 still want to try the same things their mommies did:)

Yes real boys do try and eat snow.


Lovely white fresh fallen snow in our backyard..rosy cheeks..runny noses.I was looking at my girls of over 30 yrs ago..but in 2 small boys:)

Before going I had made a batch of Alegra muffins..wanting to have something on hand and perusing my little muffin paper collection.They are all so cute the new papers..
Temptations abound:)

But I ended up using the brown larger parchment paper type ones I now favor so much..The hold a lot:)

From La Table De Nana

Do you remember these Alegra muffins?

They keep in the fridge 6 weeks..Ours were never around that long..

I used to make them years and years ago~
Alegra’s Six Week Muffins
Courtesy of California’s Best of Best Cookbook

1 (20 ounce) box Raisin Bran cereal
3 cups sugar
5 cups flour
5 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup oil
1 quart buttermilk
In a very large bowl mix raisin bran, sugar, flour,soda, and salt.
Add eggs, buttermilk, and oil.
This batter will keep 6 weeks in your refrigerator.
Bake as you need them.

As you're ready to use fill muffin tins 2/3 full and bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes depending on tin size.

My notes..Again I halved everything...and I add plumped raisins or other fruits .Needless to say.. quite a bit more cinnamon too~

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bread Baking ~

For a couple of little loved ones~

While in Provence.. la boulangère was nice enough to give me a few extra "pain"paper sheets.
I was there again this afternoon in my mind~
The warm glow off all the breads and patisseries..against the wood shelves..the smell.. her friendliness.

I even like bread sideways:)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Cupcakes~ The Darlings~

From Wikipedia~
A cupcake (the common US and Australian term) or fairy cake (the common British term), is a small cake designed to serve one person, frequently baked in a small, thin paper cup. As with larger cakes, frosting and other cake decorations, such as sprinkles, are common on cupcakes.

And from me..
Le or "Les"Cupcakes~

Jain organized this Darling Baker's and I was happy because of it's meaning:):

The name "fairy cake" is a fanciful description of its size, which would be appropriate for a party of diminutive fairies to share.
And you know I have and love Fairies in my gardens..

So I began with a new recipe for me..
Nigella's Fairy Cakes.
I've made "cupcakes" for years but never Nigella's Fairy Cakes..and they are on many many websites I browsed.

They certainly are as light as air..

And I find better eaten the day they are made.:)
I think I prefer a denser..moister cupcake..but these were effortless and tasty.

I kept some rounded..and sliced some of their heads off:)

My purpose for picking that I had just made a Fondant recipe.. my 3rd.. and... this one was crowned the first I would keep forever... I liked it's pliability and taste..Both!

I could use my fondant rolling pin.. but better yet..I could use these darling sugar flowers Mary had sent me in this MCB flower fairy tin last year.(I love both the tin and the flowers!)She sent them to me after I admired her own Fairy Cakes.

Thank you again Mary~

And I could use the sugared flowers I made and preserved this summer.I will make more this year.
I live in a pesticide free area..and grew these I know they are safe:)

I made the gumpaste leaves.

I thoroughly enjoyed making all of them..
I even got carried away..:)

And filled teacups with some:)

I tried tinting the fondant too and using the chocolate roses I learned to make..

It's here on a plate I found in Fl ..the original came from Debbie:)

My Hello Cupcake provided inspiration for these..

It was a perfect baking day to do these!

I wanted to add these that I made in 2008..w/ Rice papers from Fancy Flours..VIA Jain:)

Just in case any of you are perusing FF because of Jain..
She could be their spokesperson:)

And some I made even earlier.. to share the stand we can find anywhere's a good thing..

Those little gumpaste flowers I made..not as delicate at all as the ones sent by Mary.

Fun Bake-Off!

The one that stands out in my 2008 mind is the one I made for my daughter's baby shower..while we were waiting for Noah to arrive~

I want to leave you with a little gift.
I love Inspirational Blogs..Creative Blogs..Blogs that get your mind going with ideas..Blogs that let you admire artistic abilities and unique qualities..

This is my little Darling Bakers Cupcake Bake-Off link for you..

Hop on the link and talented!

Here's a peek..

Talk about Darling!

Her illustrations are Affairs Of The Heart~

I love that blog..

And a ..

PS of course..

Do you like Etsy?

I do..Look what one example of Etsy has for us:)


And cupcake jewelry too..


Or this..Etsy.

Or this one!

Or many many more!
I like Etsy..2 of my thoughtful Christmas gifts were from Etsy..
I have another necklace from Etsy..and I just received small paper art Crowns that I will share soon from there.

And there you have it.. a little cupcake exposé....

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Porky Pig~

There's a story that goes with this wonderful Italian Sausage we had 2 nights ago..

It is home made.
Last summer at my childhood friend Jojo's home..we had some wonderful prosciutto as an appetizer.We were visiting with Italian friends and they confirmed it was indeed delicious.My friend's husband told us he made it with his Italian friend..and began telling us the process.
Jacques and I were "oohing" and "aahing" and said : "We would love to learn something like this.."

Well our little wish became a reality and Jacques started our own prosciutto this week..Our friend did not forget us and invited Jacques to join in the process!

I gave Jacques my Sony and said oh please take a few photos so we have souvenirs!

And so he did:)

Above is our friend with his friend..seasoning the meat that has been salted and soaked in white wine..They started this process give everyone a head start.The meat was ordered well in advance.. the equipment is our friend's friend's..:) He has been making it for years.
Jacques enjoyed his time with them both very much..enjoyed the whole process.. and our son-in-law even called to see how all had went:)

It's a small world...
The gentleman.. sharing his expertise and equipment with Jacques..was also the kind stranger ..who many many moons ago..when we were without power for 13 days..and had no generator..(none were to be had during our terrible ice storm..) lent us his through our friend.We had never met him.
He's still sharing.

At the end of their time together this is what our prosciutto looks like..Until they get to the next steps..
We will enjoy serving it to our family..
I am already looking at new recipes.

The sausage was made by the 2 men with whatever pork was leftover.They were very good.

Our recent trip to Italy..reinforced our love for it..

From La Table De Nana

We're grateful to Jojo..Normand and Mr.P:)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Daughter's Scones~

I only had to work for a short while today.It was absolutely fantastically beautiful today..
When I came home..we had lunch..then went X-Country skiing out the back yard.It's not a beach day..but as the sun sparkles on the least a few days in winter..the sun sparkles on the snow and makes it bearable~
When I came in from daughter's blueberry scone recipe was calling to me~

Cupcakes are cute and sweet..muffins are grand ..but scones.. are my favorite.

I had made some honey butter yesterday..and played with my idea of never getting to The French Laundry restaurant:(

So I was ready for her scone recipe..

They are sooo good..I did halve the recipe..again just J and I..and they turned out very well..
Resting..before they go in my little basket..

Just soo good!

Thank goodness I did do a bit of exercise today..

Cold white paradise day~

So much milder than our frigid last week..

Even some natural decorations on the trees..

The recipe for the scones is very easy..
Just halve the recipe if you are 2:)

From Cook'


2 c. flour
2 tbsp. sugar
2 1/2 tbsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 c. butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 c. milk
2/3 c. blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and mix well.
In a small bowl, stir together butter, eggs and milk. Pour into flour mixture, and mix until ingredients bind together. Stir in blueberries.

Turn dough out on a floured surface. Pat out to a 9 inch circle and cut into 8 wedges. Transfer with a spatula to a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Makes 8.

There are MANY scone recipes.. This is the one I made today because she liked it..and I do too.
She took Noah out on the sleigh today.. it was so sunny he needs sunglasses:)He's 6 months old and anxious for Spring I bet!

My notes..I baked mine a little longer~

Monday, January 19, 2009

Soupe De Lundi~

I have many little odds and ends in the fridge.
It's still soup days here with the weather,so I thought of one of my favorites..Minestrone.
You can literally put whatever you like in yours.I put what I have handy..
Instead of starting with just haricots blancs.. I took a mix that I have..

I love their different shapes and sizes and colors.Personality plus~
I also use an idea I read in Josée Di Stasio's of them.. about saving the ends or your Parmigiano..etc cheese and putting them in your soup while it simmers ..removing them before serving..

They impart a wonderful flavor to the soup.

Nothing warms me up like soup..and satisfies me for the whole afternoon.

This is how I make mine.

I put ap. one cup of mixed beans in a pot of water...and 2 of my home grown bay leaves(I like that)
I cook them for ap 40 mins..adding salt halfway.
Drain the water.
Add your chicken my case ap. 4 cups.
Add one chopped onion
some celery root chopped
some sliced carrots
one chopped potato
some savoy cabbage
the cheese
some chopped parsley
my salted herbs
Season w/ pepper to taste.
Simmer ap 20 mins..till vegetables are fork tender.