Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Early Fall~Acorns~

It was September 23rd~ The beginning of fall here..

I love this farm situated on the waterfront near our home..~
I did some baking in the morning with a mold I bought last November..half price at Williams-Sonoma in the USA.
That is such a great store..I wish we had it here.. Ontario has them..well Toronto does at least..but none here.I wish they would open a store here..w/ all the wonderful sales they have in the USA.~It was to make a cranberry mold..but I gave it a try for Granny's coffee cake..It works:) I made 4 individual ones for a nearby family:)

The little ones I placed in those neat parchment type muffin cups..

The basket looked like fall to me..
It's a season I adore.. for the hues and warm is short I take it all in..
The parchment muffin cups remind me of Fortune Tellers in a way:)
Remember these?

I loved these when I was young and always truly believed what my future was..I only write good things in the fortune tellers.I made one for Lucas once and he loved the motions of the paper..Remember that feeling too?

And the anticipation of what you were to read? Or be read?:)~

I don't think it's my imagination:)

I also made different acorns last week..

The Williams-Sonoma Acorn cakelet pan..

It's so nice to use at this time of year especially when our front side garden gets littered with real acorns from our neighbor's tree;)

Where else would I have a prop at such short notice?And such a feast for all the neighborhood's squirrels~
For the acorns I used the .

We like almond they worked for us..and my daughter liked them also:)

La Recette for the coffee cakes.. courtesy of Jubilation Cookbook~

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup golden raisns..or dark (I plump mine

Topping and filling

!/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped nuts
1/4 cup golden raisn..or dark and I plump mine.

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees..Cream butter and sugar..Beat in eggs and sour cream.Sift dry ings and add to creamed mix.Spread half of batter into greased and floured spring form or tube pan.Cover with half the topping..

Spoon on remaining batter and lightly press remaining topping.
Bake for 40-50mins or until toothpick comes out clean.Let sit for 10 mins..unmold.

Freezes well~
PS I adjusted baking time for the smaller cakes.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Soul Food #108~

Every artist was first an amateur.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

And many are still and will always be:)~
Upon a lovely suggestion to paint the boys at the bus I once showed on my blog recently....I played with my paints again and enjoyed the moments~
Everything I paint is small:) My friend has a huge book like this one..and I wonder if I will ever broaden my horizons?:)

I love that Max and Lucas knew exactly what this was..and Max said :"and after Lucas changed into his Darth Vader costume"....It sounded exactly like what I told you here..

I said to his mom..:"Has he been reading my blog?"He's 4..and no..

I scribbled these words on my journal.. I think I will never forget what growing a foot can mean to a child~

If everything was so charming..and innocent in life:)~

PS my apologies I do not remember my source for this texture.Thank you to whoever shared it~

The Weeping courtesy of a lovely farm I visited the gardens thereof..having been welcomed in by a kind gentleman that is a relative..and owner of the adjacent adorable home~
Thank you~

I appreciate your indulgences for all my Soul Foods~

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bun Appétit!

I first made these after my trip to Italy..from a beautiful Italian cooking magazine..I only had a photocopy of the Italian... and worked on it..after first having our friend who speaks Italian help..
They were delicious~
However it's been yrs and I worked hard on the translation..And went by FEEL..also..
It's hard to put FEEL in a recipe for here..So I reached for an older Bread Machine Cookbook I had and picked a recipe..and adapted.
It works..Many would work..I bet even Jacqueline's recipe below would be perfect!

Bocconcini filled little Rosemary Buns/Breads..

You just start with basic ingredients~

I'll post the recipe below..for the bread machine bread..I simply rolled the bread dough once done around a bocconcini ball..and put in muffin cups ( I love muffine cups)

let rise until doubled.. and baked..
They are wonderful w/ a pasta dish..or on their own..the sun-dried tomatoes..rosemary..and melting cheese are a perfect Italian combination..

And really darling to look at..

In a basket..they are eye catching and ask to be eaten..and even painted:) I tried my hand at a little watercolor but the real things looked way better:) and real..

La Recette~
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsps sugar
2 tbsps butter
3 1/4 cups bread flour
1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

1 egg yolk
1 tbsp water

My Notes..
I added rehydrated sun dried tomatoes, rosemary,and boccocini

I halved the recipe and made 8 breads
I added one tbsp Olive oil
I omitted the glaze..I wanted a bread like top..w/ a crisp.

Place all ings except the sun dried tomatoes and boccocini in the bread machine as per breadmaker's advice.
Use dough cycle

At the beep to add things..add your sun dried tomatoes that you have chopped..
Remove dough.. divide into 8 balls..spray your muffin cups with a cooking spray..lightly..

wrap some bocconcini inside each piece of dough forming a ball..
Cover and let rise until almost doubled.

Place in a pre-heated 375 degree oven and bake for ap 15-20 mins.

When done.. I add a fresh little sprig of rosemary on top.

Since I made my little buns..I also made Jacqueline's.. bread twists on skewers..
I have to say..that this is my favorite breadstick recipe..along with my husband's w/ his pizza sauce..

..for presentation ..taste.. softness yet with a "croquant" that is palatable..My daughters..and Noah.. loved them..did I mention METOO?
I do..below:)

They look great in a vase.. etc..Jacques slides his whole twist off..I tried works:)

They are just so good..Her recipe is delish and fool proof:) I use my breadmaker most of the is nice to use the KA..

Here is her recipe..

Pizza Factory Twisted Breadsticks

1 T. yeast
2 T. sugar
1 1/2 C. warm water
1 T. oil
1 tsp. salt
3 1/2 C. flour

3/4 C. melted butter - divided
3/8 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary leaves
1/4 tsp. Season All
1 T. Parmesan cheese

8 - 1/4 inch wooden dowels
cut into 18 inch lengths (craft store)
or 8 - 12 inch skewers
I tried them both ways and decided
I wanted the long wooden dowels like
Pizza Factory uses, but the skewers worked too.

Mix the yeast, sugar and water and
let sit for a couple of minutes to dissolve
the yeast. Add the oil, salt and flour and
knead by hand or with your mixer with a
dough hook for about 5 minutes.

Cover and let rise until double.

Divide dough into 8 equal parts,
about 4 oz. each if you want to use
a kitchen scale.

Lightly flour your hands and roll
the dough into about an 16-18 inch
long "snake". Moisten the top of your
dowel or skewer and begin wrapping
the dough around loosely. Moisten a little where
the breadstick will end too. Pinch to secure
the dough at the top and bottom. Leave about
5 inches at the end of the dowel, if you are using
the longer dowels.

Hang over the edge of a 9x13 inch cake
pan with all of the dough inside the pan.
Let them rise until doubled.
Brush with 1/4 C. melted butter.

Heat oven to 375. Bake at 375 for
about 15- 20 minutes or until just golden.

Meanwhile mix the remaining 1/2 C. melted butter,
seasonings and parmesan cheese.

When the breadsticks come out of the
oven, brush them with the seasoned melted
butter mixture.

The butter just sizzled when I
brushed it on the hot from the oven breadsticks.
Go see her post on has the how tos.. etc..

Her photos made me want to make these:)

I love them too..and the topping? Use what you love!

Thank you Jacqueline~

A little Italy..and a little here~

Oh oui..and a little France~

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Soul Food #107~

Bloom Where You Are Planted~

I received a gift I really liked a while back.. a long while back...Edible Blossoms from Victorian Epicure and Hélène~..
I said to myself.."you must make your own" and I did..
I saved nasturtiums.. lavender,mint, zucchini blossoms, roses,so many edible blooms..

I dried them..just scatter them on a plate..put them in a dry place.. and then crush them and save them..I love edible blooms for my sweet butters.. to top off deserts..

You must be certain they are from a pesticide free garden..(mine is)..c'est la loi here..

I love looking at them fresh..and even drying up..I love crumbling them..and all their colors w/ my fingers and putting them in jars w/ home made labels.

Nature..Gotta love it..
Whip up butter w/ honey..a touch of icing sugar and these.
Un plaisir!

I have a lovely plateful of Russian Sage.. but my verdict is not out yet on it's..edibilty:)It's so pretty w/ the last rose petals..Any ideas if it is?

I miss my Calendulas..and need to find more seed ..any ideas on that also?
They just forgot to come back last year and this year..

The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”
Thich Nhat Hanh quotes

I love this photo my daughter took of Noah.. who came for lunch today sporting a beautiful potted mum in his child's arms for me:) And Timbits for his grandad:) in one of our most spiritual and lovely places to head to for a walk in the woods and a visit to a Mindful Place~

Close to home..

Fall is definitely in the air now~
I wish it lasted 5 months..then 6 months Spring and Summer and 1 month winter:)

The edible blossoms are so easy to make..and look lovely topping little desserts also~

This was the most inviting chair I saw all week~

Apart from my son-in-law's tomato table for one chair~.
I wish you a MINDFUL week~

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blueberry and Vanilla Ricotta Pots~

I was browsing some of our older issues of Food and Drink..and this one caught my eye..

It just looked like a creamy little light cheesecake..and I had never made a small one with Ricotta~

La Recette~

By: Marilyn Bentz-Crowley

These sophisticated treats are also delicious made with many other fresh fruits and berries.

6 medium-size ripe black or red plums
1 tbsp (15 mL) butter, softened
1⁄2 cup (125 mL) ricotta cheese
3⁄4 cup (175 mL) whipping cream
1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1⁄2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup (50 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (15 mL) vanilla sugar (see TIP)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

2. Pit plums and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) chunks. Use butter to heavily coat 6 ramekins or custard cups (each holding 3⁄4 cup/175 mL).

3. Fill blender jar with ricotta, cream, vanilla and eggs. Whirl until smooth. Stir granulated sugar with flour in mixing bowl. Stir in ricotta mixture until smooth.

4. Pour into ramekins, dividing equally. Add plum pieces to cheese mixture, dividing equally. Set ramekins on a metal tray. Bake in centre of oven for 30 minutes or until browned about edges and set.

5. Remove from oven to cooling rack. Sprinkle with vanilla sugar while hot. Cool; serve warm or at room temperature.

TIP: Vanilla sugar can be purchased in the baking section of grocery stores; however, for a pantry staple, plunge a split vanilla bean into a jar of plain granulated sugar. Let sit, tightly covered, for a couple of weeks to develop flavour. The mixture keeps indefinitely and more plain sugar can be added to replace removed vanilla-perfumed sugar. Replace vanilla bean when flavour and fragrance decreases, usually a year or more.

Serves 6

If you are in the mood for BLUEBERRIES to sweet on..

That are quite resto/pastry shop worthy..but want to stay home.. and eat your own easy delicious creations..

These little pots will hit the spot~

The recipe..Courtesy of one of my favorite magazines.. The LCBO's Food and Drink..Summer 2009~Their recipe used fresh plums,but they said you could use any fresh fruit.There is a blueberry dessert my friend buys for us sometimes and I am addicted:) I tried this to see if it could come close~

My notes..I added almond extract to one batch:) Love that.. I used a wood skewer to smoosh some blueberries on the sides to imitate the LCBO photo:)..

And I often double the recipe to make more and keep.
I think cream cheese could work well also.

It's not quite..but close..cute and good:)And I used a skewer to "mush" a few blueberries on the I wanted the dessert to look like the ones in the magazine.
Just a little before that..I made Closet Cooking's Blueberry Crumb Bars With Lemon Filling that Jacques had loved so much..

He still does..I made them in my individual crumb cake pan..and they turned out great..
My family loves them also..even the 10 and 12 year old:)

La Recette~

Courtesy of Closet Cooking.

Blueberry Crumb Bars with Lemon Cream Filling
(makes 9+ bars)

3/4 cup unsalted butter (melted)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg (separated)
3/4 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 cups blueberries

1. Mix the butter, flours, rolled oats, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl until it forms crumbs.
2. Set 1 cup of the mixture aside for the topping.
3. Mix the egg white into the mixture.
4. Press the mixture into the bottom of a greased 8 inch square baking pan.
5. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 10 minutes.
6. Meanwhile mix the egg yolk into the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and zest and let it sit.
7. Spread the blueberries out over the bottom crust and top with the lemon mixture.
8. Bake until the lemon mixture forms a shiny skin, about 7-8 minutes.
9. Sprinkle on the reserved crumbs.
10. Bake until the top is golden brown and the sides are bubbling, about 20-25 minutes.

Both recipes are keepers here..I hope you will like them also~

Monday, September 12, 2011

Soul Food #106

Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero. ~Marc Brown

Even better..being brothers and superheroes~
Lucas changed into Darth Vader shortly thereafter.

It must be great to be met coming off your school bus to walk home by your mom and a Ninja Turtle~
Then spending part of the afternoon in a world of make believe..
I love the lives our 4 grandsons have.
It warms my heart so much~
I don't think anything makes me happier~

All for one and one for all
My brother and my friend
What fun we have
The time we share
Brothers 'til the end.
~Author Unknown

Friday, September 9, 2011

Barbara's Scalopped Tomatoes~

Ok...I am really early on this should be next Thursday:)But these tomawtoes..tomatoes..well you just have to make them as soon as you can.. and tomatoes are IN now:)So without further ado..I favorite tomato dish of the year..
It would actually be unkind of me to not share right away~

When I saw these tomatoes at Barbara's Beautiful Blog~ I thought..MMM I want to try those..bacon and tomatoes :) Yum..

The above photo shows them unbaked..even nicer baked..but by then it was darker..and we were so hungry..We had Cod..and rice and this as a side dish.Perfect.

I made only some modifications..I used Jacques' croutons that I had coarsely pulverized..and I used real bacon. chopped in little pieces...cooked them crisp and kept the fat and the bacon in the dish..If you knew how much fat I ate you would be happy I actually did this~
Jacque's croutons are sooo good..I added some fresh basil to the pulverization:)
And of course I mini'd the recipe for just J and I~
This dish is a keeper.Thank you so much Barbara..

La Recette~

Scalloped Tomatoes
From Cold-Weather Cooking by Sarah Leah Chase
3 tablespoons bacon fat
2 cups (1/2-inch diced) French bread
16 plum tomatoes, cut 1/2-inch dice (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup julienned basil leaves, lightly packed
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the bacon fat in a large (12 inch) saute pan over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and stir to coat with the oil. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the cubes are evenly browned.
Add the tomatoes, garlic and sugar to then pan and continue to cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the basil and remove from the heat.

Pour the tomato mixture into a shallow (6 to 8 cup) baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly. Serve hot or warm.

My notes..of course I made 2 small casseroles.. for J and I I EYED the ingredient amounts..I added a smidgeon of crumbs on top..I used crumbs instead of whole cubes..We baked them for 10 mins.. ap at 400F..they were small.Until the cheese melted and the tomatoes were warmed..SO DELICIOUS..I could eat them for breakfast:)

The perfect season for this dish~

My friend grew Sunflowers..I did too.. not one in sight for me :(
At least she got was was small..and one grew and grew into a beauty..she missed I too photos for her..
That's the star in the collage.
She turned out to be a beauty~
My son-in laws..have grown great veggies.. One has spoiled us with his abundance.. cause he got abundance..he worked hard at it:)..My gazpachos have never tasted better,nor these baked tomatoes~
The other.. has spoiled me with the laissez-faire artistic quality he just HAS.

He tidied up his garden and put his tomatoes aside..but not just anywhere..
You must would have taken your camera out too:)
Table for one?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Monograms and Muffins~

One of my daughters.. lent me a few of her In Style Magazines..
I had just received this butter stamp I ordered from Etsy..had made some pull-apart cinnamon bread..and made little butter rounds with the monogram..cute..
But cuter were the cupcakes in the In have it..Monogrammed with fondant..
As luck would have it..our other daughter brought us delicious apple muffins.. which we ravenously ate.. but one ..stayed behind for a few hours..and I knew what to try:)
From La Table De Nana

So now I know how much easier it is to monogram fondant than butter:)How easy it is..and how sweet for gifts:)

I can't leave you without her apple muffin recipe..I removed the fondant for Jacques to take the last muffin to golf:)They are delicious!

La Recette~

My daughter found the recipe through Foodgawker..Here..

Apple yogurt muffins
adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Muffins

2 cups (280g) all purpose flour
½ cup (100g) sugar*
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 ¼ cups (325g) plain yogurt
2 large eggs
5 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Gala apples, peeled, cored and diced

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg and make a well in the center. In a small bowl or jug, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, oil and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, add the apples and mix with a fork until just moistened – do not overmix; the batter is supposed to be lumpy.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pans filling each cup ¾ full.
Bake until golden, 16-20 minutes, and cooked when tested with a skewer.

* these muffins are not too sweet, and in my opinion that makes them perfect for breakfast – add a bit more sugar if desired

Makes 12 - I halved the recipe above, used 1/3 cup (80ml) capacity muffin pans and got 6

That blog looks so nice!

I have all the ingredients so I will be making them next~

Monday, September 5, 2011

Soul Food #105~

Hydrangea Season~
Now is the time to cut and in QC..

Most of them..

They are just so pretty..the Annabelle's The Pee Gees,the Pink Diamonds,the Endless Summers..the Kyushus..The Nikkos..
I enjoy them all..

This year instead of putting them in baskets and vases to enjoy all winter..I crated them:)

I don't have a technique..I just cut them and stand them upright the container I want..and they just dry there..I usually let the arrangements dry in the garage..that way the little insects that can be hidden in the flowers, are long gone by the time I bring the arrangements in..I did recently read that ou can smash the stem.. but since I don't put mine in water..i don't know if this would make the process better.Still waiting for my Pink Diamonds to peak..peek:) Then the old arrangements will get replaced~
I just don't know where to put this one yet:)
The boys are getting older now and one of their thrills is not hiding behind a floor arrangement and making all the dry petals fall...:)

Friday, September 2, 2011

La Magie De Fifi~ Romantic Prairie Style~

Welcome to my home..:)
Amazon recently delivered my latest and very anticipated order~

Romantic Prairie Style~

I had put this book in my Wish List..only to find it had disappeared..all sold..and I could only get used:( If at that..

Lo and behold still had I ordered it from there.

I am so happy to have this book.
Do you know Fifi? I have mentioned her several times on my little blog~

I met her once you know..
My husband and I were invited to her charming home..while we were vacationing in Florida one year.She didn't even know us..
I had commented on her beautiful blog(I was in awe..ahh).. and she had responded..and so it went..
We had tea ..sitting on her white couches.. we met the kitties.. toured her home..gardens..and at that time the barn that was not remodeled but filled with goodies:)My eyes were like saucers.Taking in all the feminine shabby chic.. the real one..

You know when you meet someone and they leave a mark? A nice one? A gentle one?
A genuine one?
That was one of those days.

So you can imagine that I am thrilled to have her book here with the exquisite photos.. the lovely words..

I thought I would tell you about it in case you didn't know it existed..It's a treasure~
I don't own many many many books.. Of the Decorating Nature..I don't own many coffee table books..
I have been a bit frugal in the regard to buying decorating books..
But this one was a must have.

Even the beginning got to me.. She writes a beautiful acknowledgement ..

Forgive the slight blur..but the pages were opened and I had no one at the time to hold the book open..
I for one..cannot hold an object steadily with one hand while focusing and taking a photo with the other..especially w/ a heavier DSLR:)

Talking about lovely and white ..and DSLRs..I do covet that white Canon lens:)
A covetous moment.

But I am must be the amazingly beautiful photos in the book that made me covet:)

And at the end another acknowledgement that touched me..


How nice is that?

I'll post one photo of inside the book..I don't really know the protocol..I'll slip this one in..but really the book is page after page of gorgeous photos..

If you are looking for a beautiful book.. as a gift or for yourself..I can honestly recommend this one~

To go along with this post..

I took some white photos and have added a texture of my urn out back for you to use~

Here it is..

You can turn an ordinary Pink Diamond Hydrangea(not yet turned pink) into an old world photo by juxtaposing my urn texture on a photo..and adjusting the opacity of the layers and changing the your liking in Photoshop..I like the effect and think it goes well with Fifi's genre:)
You can see the difference in the collage below..of the before and after hydrangea~

The before is in the collage..

Here is the after~ 

Feel free to use my texture without any acknowledgement.
Jut enjoy it.

Have a great weekend everyone~