Archive for ‘Culinary Pursuits’

June 14, 2011

Can You Guess the Flavor?

Colin’s birthday cake – can you guess what flavor he requested this year?

Tough one – how old is Colin now?

I’ve made so many carrot cakes over the years so I always try to sneak the age in there along with the names When I look at old pictures now, I’ve some clue as to which birthday I’m remembering. That way, I don’t have to guess!

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Ephesians 3:20

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June 7, 2011

Black Bean Blender Brownies

Today, we’re testing recipes for Colin’s upcoming birthday party. He’s craving brownies and I just had to try this recipe I found on the Whole Food’s website: Flourless Brownies. I’d seen recipes for black bean brownies and really wanted to try it out. Since Colin is looking for a fudgy rather than a cakey brownie, we made a test pan.

Organic black beans…

All the ingredients are to be mixed in a food processor, but alas my processor died awhile back and has not been replaced. I used the next best thing, my blender…

Super nutritious and taste rich eggs from Ravencroft Farm…

More blender magic…

Blender black bean brownies baked (say this several times fast)…

Cut and ready to try…

The result: A fantastically fudgy brownie enjoyed by all:)

Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food? Job 12:11

June 6, 2011

New Chicks, Pizza & Donut Chips

School is finally out for most of us (except for my high school sophomore) so this morning we went to Ravencroft Farm to see the new chicks. New chicks mean more delicious, organic eggs – I love new chicks!

So precious!

The huddled masses…

After a fun day in the sun, we had home-made pizzas for dinner:)

Do you remember life before Domino’s Pizza? One of my dearest friends when I was growing up, her parents’ owned and operated a pizzeria – the kind everyone flocked to after Friday night football games. They made incredible pizza, but the piece de resistance were their beloved donut chips – oh, my! These lovely little bits of fried pizza dough were tossed in sugar and served with a bowl of hot fudge for dipping. Dreamy!!

It’s a little scary how some of my best memories are tied to food – hmmmm…

Donut chips are simple to make. I simply doubled my pizza dough recipe so I had enough for pizzas and fried dough. Since I don’t have a frier, I heated canola oil in a pan.  Using my pizza cutter, I cut pieces of pizza dough – some much bigger than others. I plopped the dough in the hot oil and within seconds the dough puffed and danced. I sprinkled and tossed them with granulated sugar & delighted my sons with a nostalgic after-dinner treat.

Not exactly uniform…

Dancing dough…

A whole lotta lovin’!!

And some hot fudge to boot:)

I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body. 2 Peter 1:13

June 1, 2011

No Bake Cookies for Graeme

Peanut butter quickly went from a staple to a luxury in our home once we discovered Graeme’s peanut allergy. We had to rethink our go-to lunch and give up peanut butter balls, peanut butter fudge, peanut butter cookies – the list goes on…

I’ve tried to find an adequate substitute in making sunflower seed butter. The reviews are mixed. The sunflower seed butter & jam sandwiches are pretty good, and the cookies are yummy.

But, I’d forgotten about No Bake Cookies. My older sons loved these little oatmeal peanut butter treats which were a breeze to pull together. Sooooo, why not try it with sunflower seed butter…

May 27, 2011

More Rhubarb Goodness

This recipe from Martha Stewart has been tucked away in my mind awaiting rhubarb season. It’s finally here and I had to try Rhubarb Upside-down Cake. With many recipes, I’ll make a few alterations because I don’t have the exact ingredients or just because I’m that way. For this recipe, I subbed plain yogurt for the sour cream and used orange juice concentrate instead of juice. Why yogurt? Simple, I had it. The orange juice concentrate goes back to a family recipe for Orange Drop Cookies which has been passed down for several generations. In my experience, it’s adds more “orangey” flavor.

I was intrigued by Martha’s recipe because I love rhubarb, I’ve not made an upside-down cake since I was about 12, and it sounded so yummy!

Another thing, I changed was to use my angel-food cake pan rather than the 9 inch. There’s the crumb topping which actually ends up on the bottom…

In my zealousness to upside-down the upside-down cake, I really didn’t let it cool enough….

The result is a delicious, moist cake with lovely fruity flavor…

A few pieces left the next day & still very moist and flavorful. Martha Stewart’s Rhubarb Upside-down Cake – you must try this!!

But come on, all of you, try again! Job 17:10a

May 26, 2011

Danish Dough Hook & 5 Minute Artisan Bread

When I’m at the library, I naturally gravitate to the cookbook section and absolutely lose myself among the stacks. My two younger sons go to their storytime and/or bookclubs & I play, play, play… I love library day:)

A promising book leapt from the shelves – Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg, MD, and Zoe Francois. This book made the cut and landed in the library bag.  After taking copious notes and reading it cover-to-cover, I reluctantly returned it. Shortly afterward, I found this website (http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/) and was thrilled to discover I could find all the information I needed right there.

Five minutes a day – yes and no.  Yes, it just takes minutes to prepare the bread on baking day.  But, no, you must dedicate some time to the process i.e. 40 minute rise, 25 minute bake.  Regardless, it just what I needed it to be: some tasty dough available each day for fresh baked bread.

Does anyone else get about 5 different flours for their birthday? No? Really? I’m sorry…

My new bread bucket that just fits in my refridgerator…

My new Danish Dough Hook (Happy Birthday to me!) really does the trick…

I doubled the recipe, mixed it up and now it’s ready for the rise…

Wow – that’s a lot of dough! This should make 8 1-pound loaves of artisan bread…

Already developing a sour dough smell – I’m in heaven…

Instead of making one loaf, I opted for a few smaller rolls…

The result: A fantastic bread with a crust that literally sings when broken (remember Ratatouille?)

Hot bread, fresh from my baking stone, anyone?

Give us each day our daily bread.  Luke 11:3

May 26, 2011

Rhubarb, Beautiful Rhubarb

I was gifted some loverly rhubarb & my kitchen’s been singing with delight…

Chopped rhubarb…

Frozen strawberries + rhubarb = yum, yum

Flour & sugar & some light tossing…

Bubbly, steamy and smelling divine!!

Strawberry-rhubarb pie = a sensational delight!

They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. Psalm 36:8

May 15, 2011

Date Night Special: Chocolate Ganache Honey-Carmel Corn

For date night (our “date nights” usually consist of locking ourselves in our bedroom and watching a movie of the romantic comedy genre), I mixed it up a bit.  I’d some chocolate ganache left over from Mother’s Day (Chocolate Roulade filled with chocolate mousse & drizzled with chocolate ganache – so yummy!) and I decided to make our regular movie night carmel corn a little more sexy.

Nuts or no nuts?  What do you think?

 I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; I have drunk my wine and my milk. Friends Eat, O friends, and drink; drink your fill, O lovers. Song of Solomon 5:1b

April 1, 2011

Show & Tell: Brotform Proofing Basket

I’ve always LOVED school and when I was a little girl “show and tell” was the ultimate!  I especially loved “show and tell” right after Christmas and my birthday.  Here’s the beginning of my grow-up version – self-indulgence at it’s best!  I received so many lovely and thoughtful gifts for my birthday a few weeks ago.

Two summers ago, I set out to really learn and understand yeast-based baking.  I’d baked before, but I really wanted something more like a class.  So, I checked out many, many books from the local library (and order others) on bread baking.  Some titles I read included The Bread Makers Apprentice, Crust and Crumb and Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads.  I read these books cover-to-cover and tried many new techniques and recipes (Poolish and Biga bread starters).  My head ached from all the new information, but I loved the journey.

In my study, I discovered the beauty and usefulness of bread proofing bowls.  Well, guess what I got for my birthday this year?  Yes, a Brotform Proofing Basket!!  Love it and I used it as soon as I could….

Not a great pix – but isn’t it just lovely?

My sour-dough bread dough (and do you see my organic bread cloth beside it? *smile*)…

I baked it on my bread stone – look at those pretty lines…

Looks beautiful and tastes yummy!

More show & tell to come…

You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit. Job 10:12

March 20, 2011

Birthday Croissants

Croissants are probably the most beautiful, perfect, delightful food invented by mankind.  They’re light and flakey and buttery and smell divine. They’re rather fussy to make so I’ve been, I admit, a little intimidated – after logging in hours of preparation, would if I burn them or they taste terrible?

As a birthday present to myself, I made croissants. The gift was two-fold: to challenge my culinary fears and to bake something which cannot be easily replicated.  The result: the heavenly smell of a French bakery and the rare experience of eating a croissant hot from the oven.  Happy Birthday to ME!!

Loads of butter…

Butter and flour mold ready to chill…

 

Butter and dough before layers and layers of folds…

Day Two:  Had to run to my parent’s (I almost, gulp, forgot about my dough…) and didn’t want all my work and, not to mention, butter to go to waste. I divided the dough (froze the other half), formed the croissants, and threw them in the van.  Upon arrival, I set them in a sunny spot to happily finish rising. After they were more than adequately risen, I popped them in my mother’s oven. The house soon smelled like a French Patisserie, and we devoured these little pretties fresh from the oven. And, a happy day was had by all!

Next time – pain au chocolat (chocolate croissants)…

What recipe or food intrigues yet intimidates you? Give yourself a wonderful gift – just make it! Bon appetit!

…now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:3