Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Sometimes a cupcake can be more like a muffin. For me, this is one of those cupcakes. You can find the other MS Cupcake Club members who participated in this bonus bake here.
On another note, I love chocolate and I would love to start a baking group based on Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard. If you like to join me in this yummy baking adventure, please leave a comment.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
My weekend baking turned into quite an adventure. One thing about getting older, I have mellowed and took it all in stride. Unlike 20 years or so ago when I couldn't get the Christmas tree in the stand and tossed it out the sliding glass door. My neighbor next door felt sorry for me and came over and helped us with the tree. Now that's a Christmas memory!
TWD didn't come without challenges. I don't own pie weights (they're on my Christmas list now), so I decided to use rice. Not such a great idea, some of the rice stuck to the dough. I was getting ready to start my caramel and realized I didn't have enough sugar. Was this a sign? I decided not to take a chance and waited to finish the tart until tonight.
I made a half recipe and used two mini tart pans. I used macadamia nuts instead of peanuts. My caramel came together nicely. However, I wasn't fast enough spreading it into the tart pans. It hardened and was very difficult to spread. I had a lot of ganache leftover. What should I do with the ganache? I am glad I made this recipe because it was a challenge for me and I tend to bake comfortable, easy recipes.
This week's Tuesday's With Dorie hostess was Carla of Chocolate Moosey . You can read about Carla and find links to the other TWD bakers here.
I have also discovered EBay is a great source for purchasing make up. You can find some real bargains!!
Foundation - Bare Minerals by Bare Escentuals - Mineral Make Up is good for your skin and the best thing...for all those nights you just can't bring yourself to remove your make up...you can sleep in it!!
Concealer - Summer Bisque by Bare Escentuals - Nice coverage without looking like cover up.
Finishing Powder - Smash Box Halo Hydrating Powder - Creates a nice soft finish and helps foundation stay on all day.
Eye Brows - Smash Box Brow Tech - So easy to work with and natural looking.
Eye Shadow - Well Rested by Bare Escentuals (Base) - Just as it's name says, it gives your eyes a great "well rested" look and is an excellent base.
Eye Liner - Waterproof Shadow Liner - Smash Box - No more of the thin pencil like eyeliner, this creates a beautiful smoky eye liner.
Mascara - BLINC - By far my absolute favorite find. I've struggled for years with mascara melting below my eyes and creating those lovely racoon eyes. This mascara stays on your lashes. It's so interesting, it creates a tube over your lashes. The first couple of times you remove it, you'll think you removed an eye lash but it's the tube of the mascara coming off instead.
Perfume/Body Lotion/Shower Gel - Amazing Grace by Philosphy - Love, love , love this fragrance. It's so clean and so natural. While standing in a check out line or being waited on by a sales clerk, I am often told how nice I smell.
Clarisonic Mia - My newest purchase and it's proving to be everything that I had read and heard it would been the talk of radio and tv shows. It was one of Oprah's favorite things and is talked about on Eva Scrivo's Beauty Talk on Sirius. This is a smaller version of the original Clarisonic. I have wanted one for a while but held off because of the price. The original was around $200.00.
The Mia is about half the size of the original but has all of the same benefits.
I am not going cold turkey breaking this addiction. The one product I am still not 100% sure of is blush. I've never found one that I just LOVE. Do you have any suggestions for me??
Sunday, September 27, 2009
We stopped at the farm store on the way home from Tim's moms and found an apple picker. Tim was able to pick lots of apples from our tree. I wanted to make something that would let us enjoy the apples when the leaves are off the trees and there's snow on the ground.
Crockpot Chunky Applesauce
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons brown sugar
dash of salt
1/2 cup water
Peel, core, slice and chop apples. To keep them from turning brown, place in a bowl with water and a little lemon juice. Combine all ingredients in the crock pot. Cook on low 8 - 10 hours or until soft.
My notes on this recipe: I decided I wanted a little thicker sauce, so I used my imersion blender to puree half of the sauce. I froze this freezer containers.
The applesauce is good to eat on its own. I used it for a topping for the SMS Pefect Pound Cake that was a little dry. It makes a wonderful topping for French Toast.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
When I mentioned to my husband, I wanted to make squash soup from one of our remaining acorn squash. SQUASH SOUP, he said? Remember this is the guy who really prefers all meals to involve some sort of MEAT.
Recipe Courtesy of Alton Brown
6 cups (about 2 large squash), halved
Melted butter, for brushing
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon minced ginger
4 ounces heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Brush the flesh of the squash with a little butter and season with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper. Roast for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the flesh is and soft.
Scoop the flesh from the skin into a pot and add the stock, honey, and ginger. Bring to a simmer and puree using a stick blender. Stir in the heavy cream and return to a low simmer. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
My notes on this recipe: The original recipe called for Butternut Squash. From what I have read the butternut and acorn squash can be used interchangeably. Acorn squash can be challenging to cut in half. I have found if you microwave for about 60 seconds on high, it is a little easier to cut.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Since I felt like I was in race mode today, I measured and arranged all of the ingredients in advance so as to not make mistakes. I read the recipe well or so I thought. I pulsed the dough and when I went to fold it into the wet mixture, I realized a lot of the butter had settled on the bottom. Too late to correct, half the dough is in the wet mixture. The dough seemed to have a good texture when I rolled it out, so I am hoping they are still good. As I put them in the oven, I realized the glaze was supposed to go on them BEFORE I baked them. I decided to go ahead and bake them and make an icing style glaze to drizzle over them.
The reason I decided to join the SMS and TWD baking groups, is to improve my baking skills and bake recipes outside of my normal comfort zone. It's a great learning experience and next time, I will check the food processor before I fold into the wet mixture.
This weeks recipe was chosen by Robin of Lady Craddock's Bakery. You can find the other SMS bakers here. There are some very talented and creative bakers in this group.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Last Saturday I went to the Farmer's Market. It was a beautiful fall like morning. I spent more time than ususal walking around. Everything I needed to make salsa was available. As soon as I got home from the market, I went to the recipe file and pulled out Susie's recipe. I had everything to make the salsa except the beef bouillion. I'd planned to go to the store but decided to try a substitution, beef gravy mix. Hopefully it's close to as good as Susie's.
5 green tomatoes (I used 10 tomatillos), chopped
10 red tomatoes (I used romas), peeled and chopped
4 jalapeno peppers, chopped and seeds removed
2 cubes of beef boullion (I used 2 tablespoons of beef gravy mix)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 medium sweet onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
12 oz. tomato paste
Mix everything, except the tomato paste in a large saucepan. Cook 1/2 hour over medium heat. Remove from the stove and stir in the tomato paste.
Makes 5 - 6 pints.
I froze this in freezer containers so we can enjoy the fresh taste of salsa when it's snowy and cold outside.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Seriously...first during President Obama's speech last week? Come on, he is the President. While you may or may not have agreed with the call during Serena Williams match, was her outburst necessary? Lastly, Kanye West's interruption of Taylor Swift's acceptance speech Sunday night?
It's all become too much for me to keep quiet about!! What happened to Respect & Manners?
This month's recipe was chosen by Tracey from Tracey's Culinary Adventures. You can find the blogroll of the MS Cupcake Club members here.
The recipe calls for a Cream Cheese frosting. I decided for the healthier version, just a dusting of powdered sugar.
My notes on this recipe: If you have leftover lemon zest, place in a freezer container or a ziplock baggie and freeze for next time.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I wanted to do something besides just a plain pound cake. I am trying to get a little more adventurous with my baking. After some deliberation as to whether or not the recipe would work in a bundt pan, I decided to go for it. I adjusted the baking time to 40 minutes.
In addition, I thought it would be yummy to give the pound cake a touch of lemon. I added 1 teaspoon of lemon zest to the batter. As well, I made a lemon syrup to go on top of the cake.
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
Combine over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
Place cake on cooling rack. Poke holes in the bottom of the cake with a toothpick. Brush 1/2 of the lemon syrup over the cake. Let the cake cool about 20 minutes. Remove from the pan. Poke holes in the top of the cake and brush with remaining syrup.
Although the cake isn't as tall as I would like, I think it turned out beautifully. The lemon is a nice addition to the already buttery pound cake.
This week's recipe is from The Victorian Sampler Tea Room cookbook. The book is a collection of recipes from a wonderful little tea room that used to be in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking power
2 cups grated zucchini
3 cups sifted flour
1 cup nuts (optional)
Beat eggs until foamy. Add sugar, oil and vanilla, beat well. Sift dry ingredients together. Fold zucchini and nuts into dry ingredients. Pour into greased pans (1 tube pan or 2 loaf pans). Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Frost with cream cheese frosting if desired.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Green Tomato Cake
Adapted from Diana Rattray, About.com
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup craisins
2 1/2 cups diced green tomatoes
Preheat oven to 350°. In mixing bowl, beat sugar, vegetable oil or shortening, eggs and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg; slowly beat into egg mixture. Blend well. Stir in raisins, craisins and tomatoes.Pour into greased 9x13-inch pan. Bake for one hour, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. .Serves 12.
My notes on this recipe: I wish there was a way to grate the tomatoes. To me when you take a bite of the cake, the chopped tomatoes are distracting. Also, I would use more cinnamon and less nutmeg next time, the nutmeg seems to overpower the cinnamon. The cake is dense and very moist.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Cut each quesadilla into six triangles and serve warm with Salsa and light sour cream.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
No matter if they are scenic or not, my husband loves to drive the backroads. I prefer the fastest route, how do we get from point A to point B the quickest? Usually that means the interstate. When we left Tim's moms , we weren't in a hurry and there was a lot of road construction on the interestate so we agreed to drive the scenic route home.
Our first stop was a backroad outside of Okoboji, Iowa. Tim found this road several years ago. We affectionatly named this road, "Rock Road". The farmers dump rocks in the fields on the sides of this road. Where do these rocks come from? Thousands of years ago the glaciers left these rocks in the soil and every spring the frost pushes these rocks to the surface. They make great landscaping rocks in our gardens. Today was an especially productive day, we collected four totes of rocks.
The next stop was Arnold's Park. We treated ourselves to an Arnold's Park mainstay, a nutty bar.
Back on the road, we drove through Sac County. I didn't really notice them but Tim pointed out all of the barns with quilts painted on them. Thank goodness for google and the IPhone. I googled and found what we were seeing was Barn Quilts of Sac County. I am looking foward to driving this way again and checking out more of the barns.
Our last stop was Small's Fruit Farm. We decided to buy Honey Crisp and McIntosh apples. Have you ever eaten a Honey Crisp? If not, you should. They are the best eating apple, so sweet and crisp. One of the orchard's weekend specials was Acorn Squash, so we purchased three. I also found ornamental gourds and small pumpkins for my outdoor fall display.
Thanks Tim! Your backroads adventure made for a wonderful, memorable day!
1 acorn squash, cut in half
(Microwave for 60 seconds and it will be a little easier to cut in half)
3 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Honey
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and Pepper
Place the squash in a casserole dish. Use a casserole dish that is a size so they will stand up while baking. Place 1/4 cup of water in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Mix together butter, honey, cinnamon and nutmeg. After 30 minutes, remove squash from the oven and brush with the butter mixutre. Cover with foil and return to the oven for 30 minutes.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
It is only fitting that my first TWD post would be a recipe with chocolate as the main ingredient. Chocolate is one of my major weaknesses! Chocolate Souffle is a dessert that, to me, says special occasion. The last time I remember ordering one was on the cruise we took to celebrate my 50th Birthday! Now that was truly a special occasion.
Since it's just the two us and a souffle needs to be eaten immediately, a recipe reduction was in order. Several members of TWD posted cutting the recipe in half or even one quarter. I decided to cut the recipe in half. I never have whole milk in the house, I took a chance and used skim milk. I was surprised the souffles didn't fall as quickly as I had anticipated, giving us plenty of time to take photos! Even though the souffle didn't raise as much as I would have liked, it was delicious!
Monday, September 7, 2009
My first exposure to a clafouti (kla-foo-TEE) was watching Ina Garten make a cherry one on Barefoot Contessa. A clafouti is a french batter cake. I just love the name, it's such a romantic sounding dessert. How fitting for my first clafouti to be the first dessert made with apples from our tree.
Recipe from Saveur.com
FOR THE BATTER:
1 cup milk or heavy cream
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup sugar
1⁄2 tsp. salt
FOR THE APPLES:
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1⁄2 cup plus 2 tsp. sugar
2–3 tbsp. brandy
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine milk, eggs, 6 tbsp. of the butter, vanilla, flour, sugar, and salt into a blender, blend until smooth, and set aside. Grease a 10" pie plate with remaining butter, then set in oven to heat.
For the apples: Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and brandy and cook until apples are glazed and warm, about 5 minutes.
Remove pie plate from oven and immediately pour in half the batter. Arrange warm apple slices over batter, reserving juices, then pour remaining batter over apples. Sprinkle remaining sugar and a little cinnamon over batter.
Bake until clafouti is golden and set in the center, 25–30 minutes.
Drizzle with warmed reserved apple juices.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
I roasted the eggplant, whole. Poke holes in the eggplant with a fork, coat the outside lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Place on a parchment covered cookie sheet and roast in a 450 degree oven until you can easily pierce with a fork, about 30 - 40 minutes.
1 large eggplant
1/8 cup tahini
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 pinch ground cumin
dash or two of hot sauce
Allow the eggplant to cool, slightly. Split and scrape the flesh from the inside. Using a food processor mix all ingredients until smooth. Before serving drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh parsley. Serve with pita bread or tortilla chips.
My notes on this recipe: I don't like a strong tahini taste, so I use less tahini. The tahini and lemon juice should be increased or decreased depending on your taste.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
1 cup fresh basil, firmly packed
3/4 cup sun-dried cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 minced garlic cloves
1 teaspoon balsalmic vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
Process all ingredients in a food processor until mixed well. Slowly pour in basil and process until incorporated.
Serve with your favorite pasta. I used linguini and mixed a small amount of the pasta water with the sauce.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
I checked the refrigerator and realized I didn't have any lemons. I do have the bottled lemon juice but don't like to use it in baked goods. I see this bottle of limoncello we purchased after enjoying limoncello on a cruise. Why is it the limoncello we had on the cruise was much tastier than the bottled variety. Maybe it was the ocean air or maybe the bottle of wine we had with dinner?? Anyway, I decided to try limoncello in this recipe as a substution for lemon juice.
3 tablespoons of Limoncello
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into thin pieces
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Arrange the peach slices in a buttered shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with the limoncello, cinnamon and nutmeg.
In a small bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar. With your fingers, blend the butter into the flour-sugar mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in the oats and sprinkle the mixture on top of the sliced peaches. Bake until the peaches are soft and the topping is brown, about 25 minutes.
Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
This month's recipe was Jammy Donut Muffins. You can find the recipe here. For the filling, I decided to use some of the delightful strawberry/rhubarb jam , my mother in law made.
My notes on the recipe:
I had a little trouble deciding just how much batter to put in the muffin tins before putting in the jam. I think I used too much for the first few muffins. I didn't need all of the melted butter for dipping but no problem, it will be great for tomorrow morning's French Toast. I don't own a kitchen scale, so the measurements for this recipe were a bit challenging. I did a search and found what I think was the closest conversion possible. I think I need to invest in a scale.
These muffins are melt in your mouth delicious. Next time I want to try them with a cream filling. The muffins are best eaten on the first day, so share with some friends and enjoy!!!
Thanks Rosie and Maria for taking the time to create this group! I look forward to next month's recipe!!!