Sunday, May 23, 2010

yummmM&M granola

Saturday, this recipe aired on the Food Network via Sunny Anderson.  Here's the link to the recipe.  Today, my freezer holds a gallon bag of this delicious mixture.  Yes, freeze your granola.  It will remain much more crisp.

ready for a taste...

This is delicious, and it's even better after about a week in the freezer!

This granola maintains much of it's crunch even in the high humidity of the gulf coast. (posted from my beach vacation chair in Destin, FL)

flourless chocolate cake

Many great things begin with chocolate:

Gently combine chinese five spice infused chocolate and egg/sugar foam:

Ready for a water bath in the oven.  I baked the cake in a 9" springform pan, well wrapped with aluminum foil.

Isn't she lovely......

Cooling in the afternoon sun...

Cutting the cake:

time to taste... firm and dry immediately out of the refrigerator; mousse-like at room temperature

Visit Ellie's web site.  Her recipe can be found here.  This is delicious and quite simple to make. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Swedish Oatmeal Cookies

...another cookie from The Cookie Jar, Hannah's bakery in Minnesota (all via Joanne Fluke's mystery series)

This cookie recipe can be found in Fluke's "Key Lime Pie Murder" on page 21.  The oatmeal in the recipe gives the cookies a wonderful texture; they are soft and chewy on the inside, and crunchy on the outside.  The flavor is that of a good, basic cookie.  Cinnamon or Chinese five spice would be a flavorful addition to these cookies.

spots of black and white cookies

...from The Cookie Jar bakery via Hannah via Joanne Fluke's murder mystery.  These cookies are brownie-like in the center and dotted with powdered sugar on the outside.  In the book, these cookies were baked to honor the local sheriff's department 'black and white' cruisers.

In a taste test, these won two thumbs up from Niece A (and me too!).


in the beginning:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Aren't friendships wonderful! ....and often found in the most unlikely places...

I attended a week-long 'baking bootcamp' at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY two years ago.  (Here is the link to my pictures.)  During the class, we were aided by student assistants.  They were wonderful, and they worked very hard to keep 14+ students on task.  I have maintained contact with Katerina (one of the student assistants) via the wonderful world of the internet.  She has since graduated from CIA, and is working in a bakery in Washington state.  I'll be traveling there this summer, and will have the opportunity to visit with Katerina, and sample something(s) from the bakery.

I follow the bakery's blog where Katerina is currently employed.
My blog was mentioned in a blog post from Bakery Nouveau in Seattle, Washington.  Here's the link:

Here's the link to the bakery's web site.

Such simple things can make us smile....

Friday, May 14, 2010

"The Cookie Jar" - a series

I'm reading Joanne Fluke's - Hannah Swensen Mystery series.  Hannah owns/operates The Cookie Jar, a local bakery in small town Minnesota, where she melts pounds and pounds of butter and occasionally finds 'bodies.'  On occasion, there are parallels to Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum; however, both female sleuths are 'ladies on the pages' you should meet.  Oh yes, and the guys - there are always two guys to complicate matters...

Throughout the pages of each novel Hannah shares her bakery recipes.  I've been testing a sampling.  Delicious, absolutely delicious!

The books are a fun read - the cookies are simple and quite tasty.  I encourage you to undertake the adventure...

**pictured above, left to right**

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder page 226
Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder page 91
Regency Ginger Crisps

Strawberry Shortcake Murder  page 134
Oatmeal Raisin Crisps

Watch for future posts as I continue to read and bake.
     Here's the link to 'black and white' cookies.
       Here's the link to 'Swedish Oatmeal Cookies.'

Sunday, May 9, 2010

espresso coffee cake muffins

I'm not a coffee drinker - give me my espresso in these muffins!  They are moist and flavorful and delicious.  And, they are very pretty, presented on a white dish/plate.

The recipe is from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice (blog link here).  I followed the recipe exactly as printed on her blog.  Add these to your relaxing - morning - life of luxury, or to your normal, hectic, everyday morning.

This display dish was custom made by "My Friend A."  Here's a link to her on line store.  She makes wonderful glass display pieces for my baking/food photography.


strawberry granola bars

In an attempt to develop healthier eating habits, I'm baking with oats at least once per week. There are oats in these strawberry bars; however, there is also enough butter in the curst to make you say - ahhh....butter!

This recipe is adapted from a recipe for raspberry granola bars from Delicious Dishings (here's the link.)

Rather than using the raspberry filling, I used strawberry jam made from Ina's recipe (here's my blog link.)

Though these bars are not exactly low fat, they do contain the healthy oat.  I'm going to try these with a fig filling next.


benne wafers

A trip to Charleston, SC last fall peaked my interest in benne wafers.  I first attempted to replicate the  famous cookies a few months ago; here's the link.

For this attempt, I followed a recipe from "Lost Recipes," a magazine publication by Cook's Country - page 46.

These cookies were thin, although, not as thin as those pictured with the recipe.  Regardless of thickness, the cookies were delicious!  And, the baked cookies freeze very well.


My Grandmother Easterwood raised chickens, so I'm not exactly a novice; however, I've never seen blue and green chicken eggs - until Saturday.  The Memphis Farmers Market continues to grow, and one of the current vendors is Donnell Century Farm (  They were selling farm fresh eggs; among the eggs were brown, white, green, and blue eggs.  Here's one link discussing the shell color of eggs.

The eggs (shells only) in the wire chicken basket are about 20 years old.  My Great Aunt Hazel pierced the eggs, and blew out the contents.  I've kept the egg shells for years.  She is no longer with us, but I remember her fondly.

These eggs are almost too pretty to use...almost...

vanilla bean loaves

...from "Cooking for Mr. Latte" by Amanda Hesser (page 189)  Here's the link to her blog

This pound cake is moist, moist, moist.  The loaves are made with vanilla sugar, and soaked with simple syrup containing vanilla bean seeds.  It's a good cake, and would be a great base for fruit, or chocolate, or just about anything.

pretty, just pretty

The picture may be pretty, but the muffin was dry and tasteless. The recipe contained expresso powder and chocolate chips.  Though that sounds good, the end result was bad  -  just bad.

Pottery is from Peter's Pottery in Mound Bayou, MS and McCarty's Pottery in Merigold, MS.

liquid gold


roast chicken

Oh my goodness!!!

The best roast chicken ever, and I just threw it in the oven!   What did I do?  What ingredients and measures? Can I do this again?

And worse yet, I didn't take a picture of the beautiful, golden brown bird.  I ate a large piece of the juicy, white meat and then went to grab the camera.

Juicy - flavorful - just good...really good...

Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit

Remove parts inside the bird (and lay them on the roasting tray - to be used in making chicken stock tomorrow)
Rinse the bird and pat it dry with paper towels.
Place on foil lined baking tray.

Chicken breast side up
Tuck the wings under the bird
Tie the two legs together close to the body (after stuffing as listed below)

About 10 cloves peeled garlic - some placed under skin - some placed inside cavity of bird
One large lemon, washed and sliced into thirds - place inside cavity of chicken
Drizzle bird well with olive oil (I probably used 2 to 4 tablespoons)
Corse grain Kosher Salt - I used about 1 teaspoon on the inside of the bird and about 1 to 2 teaspoons on the outside (actually I just liberally sprinkled it over the outside)
Penzey's ground black pepper - about 1 teaspoon sprinkled over all
Penzey's Herb de Provance - 1 heaping teaspoon sprinkled partly in cavity and partly on outside of chicken  (here's another wonderful use for Herb de Provance)

Place meat thermometer in chicken.  I put the probe in the chicken thigh first, but it seemed to reach 170 degrees too quickly.  I moved the probe and placed it deep inside the white meat breast.  When the thermometer reached 170 degrees, I removed the chicken from the oven, and covered well with 2 pieces of aluminum foil.  Total roasting time was between 1 and 1 1/2 hours.

I let the roasted chicken rest about 30 minutes.

When I went to taste the chicken, the leg bones easily twisted out (...ready for the stock pot tomorrow).
Peel the skin back and cut a juicy slice of the white meat......ahhhh......delicious

And if you want delicious +1, dip the white breast meat in the juices and then glaze over the salt/herbs on the outside of the skin.

Enjoy.  I did.