Tuesday, March 31, 2009

An E~Mail and Pasta~

Ahh... the power of an e~mail! I am on a Barilla mailing list and this recipe was e~mailed to me before work yesterday..I had everything on hand~And thought about eating it most of the afternoon..It's good:)

Penne Integrali con Asparagi e Bacon Croccante~
Penne.. petites tomates.. bacon and asparagus..

I added some pasta cooking liquid and did not cook my bacon seperately..What's the point?:)I simply sautéed all the veggies in the bacon and added quite a bit of cheese..and hot chili peppers and rosemary..I didn't have whole wheat penne..so used regular~

It works for us~

My tulips are opening beautifully even though the days have been cloudy~

It's like having your garden coming to life way before it's time..

Pasta.. took on a whole new meaning for me in Italy..Bread in France..Pasta in Italy..(Both..wine:) )I think we sampled one kind or another in every town.

Venice held it's own special dining charm~

The tables remind me of the sinuous rows of gondolas that I loved so well~This is not the resto we ate in.. by the time we ate..it was even MORE beautiful.. w/ all the lights reflecting on the canals..we ate in a charming little resto w/ the handsomest host:)I loved the fact that a woman..perhaps 90 truly..spoke on her cellphone in a dark corner at the back eating w/ her 90 yr old companion.I pictured them speaking to one of their children saying their 5th honeymoon was everything they had ever hoped for:)

Here is the recipe from Barilla if you care to try it..
I always warm my plates first.More comfort..on chilly days w/ wanton snowflakes:(

Barilla® Whole Grain Penne with Asparagus and Crispy Bacon (Penne Integrali con Asparagi e Bacon Croccante) Ease of preparation: easy

Prep Time: 6 minutes

Cook time: 18 minutes

Servings: 4-6


Wine pairing: White


1 box BARILLA Whole Grain Penne
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 pound asparagus, sliced thin on bias
1 pint cherry tomatoes
to taste salt
to taste freshly ground black pepper
1 cup bacon, julienne

BRING a large pot of water to a boil.
HEAT a medium sized skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Crush garlic gently with the side of a knife and sauté. Add asparagus and tomatoes to skillet with the garlic; season with salt and pepper.
SAUTE bacon in a separate skillet until crispy. Drain excess fat from bacon Meanwhile,
COOK Whole Grain Penne according to the directions and drain.
REMOVE garlic from skillet. Add pasta and bacon; toss with the sauce

Easy and good.

Pie Weights~

I hope Lulu doesn't mind~ I couldn't find my pie weights and needed to blind bake.I had bought him new spring marbles..


They work great.

I don't think I will go back to my others when I find them..

Monday, March 30, 2009

Where did the weekend go?

It flew by~ Work.. garden.. birthday party..
and a bit of cooking..
6 week muffins..that we now always have on hand but with addded flaxseed and wheat bran and plumped raisins..I like them with my coffee and so does J..
I also made my daughter's Oatmeal cookies.. kinda like the CCSC cake..everyone has a recipe..I have..(many;))..but you know how good something tastes when someone else makes them for you?The taste just stuck to me..
You just have to make them yourself:)

Lots of raisins again:)

We have a stocked cookie pantry..my dear neighbour decided to bake yesterday afternoon..it was cloudy and raining.. she brought us chocolate chip cookies.. so we are set here for a few days~~

My Daughter's Oatmeal Cookies

12 tbsps butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups oats
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp of salt
1 1/2 cups raisins

Cream butter and sugars..add the egg mixed with the vanilla..add remaining dry ingredients..Mix well.

I rolled mine into 1 inch balls and flattened
Baked at 375 for ap 12-15 mins..
The directions here are quite general.I wrore the recipe on a tiny piece of paper:)

Speaking of daughters.. another made 2 very delicious HD's this weeekend..one is from Mary:)Her Shrimp Blossoms.. disappeared dans le temps de le dire!

And the other is from Epicurious..I will make them soon and share.She added a twist to the original recipe and they became perfect HD's..instead of a tea sandwich:) You'll see!
Dinner there was divine as usual with Chef Frédérick serving Mussels and fish w/ a wonderful salsa and rice..
A delicious meal.. and our 3 little boys there:)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Kitchen Tulips and Henrietta~

Home from my walk to the village ,I love laying my store bought tulips over the sink while I unpack groceries ..It's a sight I love.

I rarely give in to the splurge..but this is a color I can't resist..

On my walk to the village I stopped at the library tag sale..

and found Henrietta.
I loved her on the spot..she's a clay baker..unglazed..and I had wanted one for bread..

She's quite large and I had to carry her home with me along with a dozen eggs(How perfect!!) and milk..

I took some 5 minute artisan bread dough out..and put it in the sun.. the phone rang and I had to leave for work..so J was in charge of baking it..I called from the office and said..So?

He said.."It's fine".."Fine?" I said...

It can't just be fine..It was baked in Henrietta..it's better than a cloche..I am excited about this I said inside myself..
I couldn't wait to get home to see it!..Next time I will remove her head for the last 10 mins of baking.He did a great job..
I can safely say I have brought my bread making to a higher degree of pleasure with Henrietta.She's just got this face:)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Weekend Hiatus~

And Jain's DB's Spring Fling~

We are busy this w/e.. with a celebration.. and work..
I got a jump start.:)

From my most recent favorite cookbook~

Not mine though~

I did not follow the menu at all..I just loved the page~

I started with the idea of my place setting in mind..
Lucky little US dishes:) And beautiful placemats and napkins from Susan for my birthday last month~

The soup bowls are from here.. a friend picked them up for me..I found the price very reasonable..for here:)

Last year..they were at HomeSense..I have 2.

If you look closely enough you can see me and Mary~

We started off with a Ricardo recipe..I LOVE it..I substituted the gelatin for Agar 2(my new addiction)..you have to do it differently but it works beautifully!

It's a Different Panna Cotta.. salad:)That's almost the name of the recipe!... and leek..you spread it on croutons and enjoy the salad apart~

I added chive oil I made and it was super w/ it~

I also made 5 Minute Artisan Bread in my mini Le Creusets..If you do not have that book..Buy it:)

With honey butter..Oh my gosh~

I decided to make the Williams-Sonoma Pea Soup recipe which is DELICIOUS!

and finalized the main course on an Asparagus/Emmental Quiche~ Accompanied by sautéed brussels sprouts with Sesame Oil.. ginger ..garlic.. and soya sauce..

It was a lovely..light dinner..

I did not make dessert because we still have the SCCCcake..and I made muffins and my DD's Oatmeal cookies for the weekend..But IF I had..
I would have picked the Flower pots..w/ chocolate rocks....from Jain..:)

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Daughter's Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Cake...

Is way better than mine~

I always loved mine..

Till I had hers this weekend..It's the same one my other daughter makes:)

I thought hers tasted better too..but she said it was my recipe that M had..
It's not..

It's much moister.

Undeniably so~
I wrote the recipe down on a napkin Sunday and made 2 today..One for us and one for my neighbour/friend~

I love those paper pans you can give as gifts~
I picked at it a lot:(

It really is very very good~

Glad I could give one away:)

The Recipe~

1/2 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
One 6-ounce package of chocolate chips
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
Grease and flour a 9-inch tube baking pan. In a medium bowl cream together the sugar and butter..and add eggs until the mixture is light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream and milk and set aside. Sift together, the flour, baking soda, and baking powder and add alternately with the sour cream mixture until well blended. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan. Combine the cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar and sprinkle half of the mixture over the batter. Spoon in the remaining batter and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon mixture. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Birthday Lunch Out and About~

At France's~

We of course needed a refreshment~

I asked for the special table~
Looking out at the water~

The lake is starting to melt..the sky was blue..and with the camera you can see clear to the other side~

It's like Carmel~By~The~Sea:)(Kidding Jain:) )
This resto is the faculty club as I mentioned..It's a University but houses a college too..I was one of the first yr grads there..in the 70's..as you walk out of the resto and look across the street some of the on campus housing for professors..is right there..I like the 70's look of this pic.. (Pioneer Woman) I don't have PS CS2 so this is as far as I get..

The college itself..the old building..is beautiful..

Next time I will drive up and take a pic!

The inside is quite faculty clubbbish.. tasteful..I like all the wood..We eat in a sunroom/dining room with windows all around overlooking the water..

The food was as good as last time.. We had the escargots again..Jacques had rack of pork~

With veggies and mushroom sauce..
I had the Napoleon of Fennel and Eggplant w/ salad.

Jacques had the Profitéroles for dessert and I succumbed again..

To the crunch of the beautiful maple syrup CB..

It is just so perfect..

Everyone was as nice as can be.. We had a lovely time..If you look closely enough..you will see our wonderful chef..my daughter's MIL..

As we drove past the front..Jacques said..look there she is in the kitchen..she saw us wave and opened he window with a big smile to wave goodbye..the stone..the blue..the way she looks and her name.. of course reminded me of France..right here.
A perfect day for J.

Kitchen Geraniums~

Actually they are office geraniums but I brought a bloom home..Little touch of red in the kitchen always adds joy~
My husband's Birthday today..and we are going to France's resto for lunch~
I am bringing my camera:)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Agar 2~Part2.

I love Creme Brulée..
It's so rich though..I am just about to make the real shebang..but after making the coffee flan..I decide to experiment..
I used 100 ml of 2% milk.. 1 tsp of pure vanilla ..1 tsp of REAL maple syrup..and 1 tsp of Agar-Agar flakes.. Boiled for a couple of minutes and set in the ramekin.. chilled.. it really doesn't take long..then a touch of light brown sugar and used my mini torch..
I liked it.
And hardly any fat.

I am really enjoying this agar agar..
I made little molecular balls too..I am saving that idea to show you at it's best use..
They are really cute~
Anyone else using Agar~ Agar?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Agar -Agar~

Do you know of Agar- Agar? Or Agar2?
I had read many recipes from France using this..And was always curious..I spotted a recipe that made me buy some this week..And although I have not made that recipe yet..I did do a couple of trial runs to see how I liked working with this and I do.
I started with the small coffee flan above..
It's a very healthy natural product to work with and I will keep sharing when I continue to experiment with it..

From Food Epicurious:

agar; agar-agar
[AH-gahr, AY-gahr]
Also called kanten and Japanese gelatin , this tasteless dried seaweed acts as a setting agent and is widely used in Asia. It is marketed in the form of blocks, powder or strands and is available at Asian markets and health-food stores. Agar can be substituted for gelatin but has stronger setting properties so less of it is required.

© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.

I have visions of retro aspics:)

Friday, March 20, 2009

1927~And Finnish Apple Cake~

This is my friend's mother-in-laws' cookbook..1927.
She lent it to me to peruse today~

Can I tell you every page is special? The French words are so perfectly elegant and even old fashioned already~
This ..from the net..:

"La bonne cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange is a French cookbook written by Evelyn Ébrard (writing under her maiden name, E. Saint-Ange) and published in 1927 by Larousse. It is a highly detailed work based on the cuisine bourgeoise of early 20th century France, including technical descriptions of the kitchen equipment of the day as well as instructions on preparing food such as freshly-killed chickens and similar farmhouse products. Originally published as Le livre de cuisine de Madame Saint-Ange, the current title was drawn from a later abridgement, and was retroactively applied to a modest updating of the original work by the publisher in the 1950s.

Many chefs and cooking teachers working in French cuisine have cited it as a significant influence, including Madeleine Kamman, Julia Child, and Chez Panisse co-founder Paul Aratow, the last of whom translated the 1982 edition into English (published in 2005 by Ten Speed Press).

Although comprehensive in its scope, many modern critics[who?] consider it more of a historical document than a working cookbook due to its elegant writing style and dependence on 1920s kitchen technology."

I am facinated that so many recipes existed then that are popular now!
One of the last ones in this over 1000 page book caught my eye..Eau De Fraises~ I will surely make some this summer..

In the pages.. are tucked away handwritten little recipes.. and cut out recipes.. It's very very dear..
I had decided to make an apple cake a Finnish client made regularly and shared the recipe ..albeit not extremely willingly.. strings attached:)

I thought..How could I step it up a notch and make Mme. St-Ange proud?

Ann T's Dulche De Leche came to mind~

I could have cooked it a bit longer than 2 hrs..I worried at that point..The taste was great.. consistency too..but lighter than I hope for.I will push the envelope next time..But wow.. what a perfect addition!

I know she cared for apples~!I think Mme. St-Ange WOULD approve~

That Dulce De Leche.. is great even alone:)