Monday, November 29, 2010

pink French Macarons

My grandmother's Noritaki China Japan #5516 tea cup provides the backdrop to display this dainty pink macaron.  This is the first time I have added color to the batter.  The gel color was maroon.  I didn't know how much to add; I should have added more to achieve the color on the bottle.
Nevertheless, the shells are pretty. The shells were transferred to the freezer and will be filled at a later date.

The batter is colored and ready to pipe

piped and drying

just out of the oven; I never tire of watching through the oven door for the feet!

Continuing to use this recipe, and adjust to my oven.

macaron #8

Sunday, November 28, 2010

bourbon balls

Let the holiday feasting begin! 
 I enjoyed the bourbon balls (actually, more than I enjoyed the bourbon) during my fall visit along the KY Bourbon trail.  My adaptation of the sweet treat is not as pretty as those in KY; however, they are quite tasty.
I coated the centers with semi -sweet chocolate; in the future I'll use milk chocolate.  These received a 'perfect' from Nephew A.  That's good enough for me!

Made with Buffalo Trace Eagle Rare 10 year single barrel Ky Straight bourbon whisky 90 proof

Thursday, November 25, 2010

MarketSpice Tea flavored French Macarons

macaron #7, #11 - I adjusted this basic recipe slightly, and my macarons were not as pretty as I had hoped.  I should have given the batter one or two more turns. However, the oils from the tea gave these macarons a great flavor.  And, experience is the best teacher!

I added two bags of Seattle's Pike Place Market - MarketSpice's signature tea, Cinnamon-Orange to the macaron batter.
 piping bag ready
 batter in early stages of mixing
 ready to pipe
 close up of cinnamon orange tea macaron batter
close up view
 piped and drying
 butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar filling
displaying their feet

 MarketSpice Tea Cinnamon Orange French Macarons

popcorn with a BITE

Apple Pie Spice popcorn with a 'bite' from black pepper.

popcorn, pecans, & dried cranberries:

add a little butter and brown sugar, salt, spice, and pepper
This is a great 'munchie' when you are not in the 'something sweet' mood. 

You can find the recipe here.

Chocolate Espresso French Macaron shells

macarons drying

macarons just baked
macaron attempt #6; looking better

These are '4-bite' size macarons.  Even sandwiched together without filling, these are delicious!

Recipe adapted from here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

French Macaron success story

Macaron baking batch #5 - finally!!! - something that looks like a French Macaron.

The taste of the shell is good, but the interior texture needs more research.  I think it's too chewy, and that could be because I think I have under-baked the shells. Since I don't have 'the real thing' to sample, I'll continue reading and researching.  There are many, many opinions on the internet regarding macarons.

The shells are made from a basic macaron recipe of egg whites, granulated and powdered sugar, and almond meal.  I added the seeds of a vanilla bean to the batter to create speckles on the surface of the shells.

The recipe I followed can be found here.

double sift the powdered sugar and almond meal
 batter into piping bag
 batter looks a little over worked
 decorative tops
 vanilla bean seeds
 easy filling - melted kisses and powdered sugar
 an early taste of the season
 through the oven door
 macarons cooling on their feet
 bottoms up
 picture perfect
tasty . . . vanilla bean studded French Macaron shell filled with melted Hershey's Mint Truffle Kisses mixed with powdered sugar

my workhorse wooden spoons

My new wooden spoons--
 Can you pick out my favorite wooden spoon?
I've used wooden spoons made by the owners of this small business for years.  They are hand made by Sis & D in Clarksdale, MS.  Their web site link is

Sis & D's Handmade Spoons
1913 Woodlawn Circle
Clarksdale, Mississippi 38614


They would make a great gift for that 'foodie' person on your list.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

not popcorn, but POPCORN

I'm warning you, as I was warned by blog posts from 'Love Your Mother Earth' and 'Our Best Bites.'
(You can find the recipe on either link above.)
I didn't believe them, and you may not believe me-

This is ADDICTIVE.  One bite leads to - ten bites - leads to twelve cups.
Yes, over a period of days, 'I ate the whole thing!'  And-it-was-delicious.

The popcorn was at it's absolute peak of flavor just out of the oven and slightly cooled; however, it's flavor and texture were great days later.  The outside of the popcorn was sweet and crunchy, and the inside of the popcorn kernel was soft.

Quiche w/roasted cauliflower and oven roasted tomatoes

Parmigiano-Reggiano, roasted tomatoes, herbed heavy whipping cream

quiche curst, ready to cool - I shaped this using a 6" cake pan; this helped me roll the crust into...

...a pretty round shape

lining the pottery baking dish with the herbed quiche crust

cool and cut

Quiche Crust (adapted from Rachel Allen Bake here)

200 gr flour
1/4 t salt

Rub into flour, 100 gr cold butter until mealy in texture

Add one egg, whisked to break yolk
Toss lightly the egg and flour/butter mixture
(you may need a few drops of water if the egg is small)

Shape crust into circle and refrigerate 45 minutes

Remove pastry from refrigerator
Roll to 1/8" circle
Place in baking dish
Blind bake @ 350 degrees for 35 minutes; remove beans; bake an additional 10 minutes; cool completely

Quiche Filling

Whisk together:
250 ml heavy whipping cream
4 eggs
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 t grated lemon rind (fresh would be better, but I use dried powder from Penzey's)
pinch of salt
pinch of Herbes de Provence
(adjust spices to your taste)

Layer into quiche shell:
1 head oven roasted, seasoned cauliflower, cut into small pieces
1/2 c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
6 oven roasted roma tomatoes
(or choose vegetables of your choice)

Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-60 minutes, until center of quiche is properly baked (insert knife in center- it should come out clean)

cooler weather - baked Ziti

adapted from Real Simple November 2005 page 338

Delicious on a cool fall day.

Lasagna-Style Baked Ziti

Cook according to package directions:
1 pound ziti

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In large pan:
heat 1 T oil

1 large onion diced
3/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
cook for 5-7 minutes

1 lb lean ground beef to onion mixture and cook 5-8 minutes, until no trace of pink remains
Drain any liquid.

Add to meat mixture & cook for 2 minutes:
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c chopped fresh oregano

Add to meat mixture and heat for 3 minutes:
1 26 oz jar pasta sauce

Remove from heat and Add:
drained ziti
1/2 c grated Parmesan
1 15-oz container ricotta
1 10-oz box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

Mix well
Spread mixture in 9x13 dish (I used individual serving dishes).

Sprinkle tops with
1 c. grated mozzarella

Bake until mozzarella melts, about 15 minutes.

(recipe states this makes 4 servings; I think it makes at least 8)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Buttermilk Pie

 cooling in the afternoon sunlight:

immediately out of the oven, butter bubbles on the edge of the pie tin:

This recipe is adapted from "Martha Stewart's Pies and Tarts," page 181.

Blind bake your favorite 8 1/2" pie crust.

To make the pie filling:
1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
3 T flour

4 eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 c butter, melted
1 c buttermilk

zest of 1 lemon
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 t vanilla
dash of freshly grated nutmeg

Mix well and pour into baked pie shell.  

Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees.
Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees, and bake an additional 35-40 minutes, until pie filling is set.

Let cool and cut.

I enjoyed the slight hint of lemon in my slice(s) of buttermilk pie.


FINALLY!  A macaron that looks like a macaron.  Of course, I photographed (iPhone quick shot) the best one of the batch.  Several were not pretty, but some were.  

I followed the instructions found here.  Thanks to Daydreamer Desserts.

I'll continue the quest.