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

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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 25, 2011

You’re Special Today – Part 2

You Are Special – dinner, but no plate….

One of my favorite dinners to make for Drake is my variation of Souvlaki.  He loves this meal and so do I.  There’s a fabulous little Greek restaurant near St.Anthony Main, were I used to work, in Minneapolis.  Garden’s of Selonica is a family run, authentic Greek cafe which makes indescribably amazing food.  My employer was this lovely & gracious woman of French descent who took me under her wings and treated me more like a daughter than an employee.  She knew I loved Souvlaki and Cafe Mochas, and would take me to that special little cafe just on a whim. Afterward, inevitably she would by me a some beauties such a parrot tulips or brilliant purples iris from Fiori’s to grace my desk – I was indeed spoiled-rotten!

So, to spoil my son, I try to replicate that delicious meal consisting of fresh pita, tsaziki sauce with real yogurt & chunky cucumber bits, marinated and grilled chicken, tomatoes, and hand-cut french fries.  I’ve the added benefit of having a brother-in-law who is Greek who shared his family’s tsaziki recipe with me years ago.

Dining Alfresco…

We dined alfresco that evening at Ravencroft Farm, my parent’s organic wonderland established in 1999.  The weather was just perfect and the food was dreamy.

Oh, my! I’m craving Garden’s of Selonica!!

No cake & candle pictures, but the Mother’s Day Chocolate Roulade with chocolate mousse did make an encore appearance:) Happy Birthday to my crazy-wonderful son!!

I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. Romans 1:14

May 23, 2011

You’re Special Today – Part 1

I really, really love family celebrations!  My mother and sisters and I share this passion so our family events range from very large gatherings (family of 23) to over-the-top themed-parties complete with bouncy castles and fondue fountains.

So, for my immediate family, I like to keep it simple. A birthday box is filled with supplies including a birthday banner, birthday lights, birthday plate and candles which come out for each birthday.  The decorations adorn walls and table the night before (0r just before dawn) in preparation for our morning celebration.  Birthdays begin with a sleepily-sung birthday song, candles to blow out and the traditional cupcakes.  For dinner, the guest of honor chooses a special meal & cake (usually carrot cake or strawberry pound cake) served for them on our traditional “You Are Special Today” plate.

Of course, this is a rough draft and each birthday writes it’s own unique script…

Drake’s 16th

Some more of my birthday presents (aren’t the silicone teacups just plain fun?), slated to be transformed into birthday cupcakes for Drake….

Graeme, my baking companion, doing a little taste testing…

Red Velvet ala Sprinkles!!

Yummy cream cheese frosting…

You Are Special Today and every day in my heart!!

You have a special place in my heart. Philippians 4:17a

May 19, 2011

Meet Betty

Let me introduce you to Betty…

She’s my new scrubber, a birthday gift from my 4 year old niece, Cadence.  Just thinking about Cadence with her cute little red glasses and enormous personality makes me smile.  I understand Cadence.  Well, apparently, she picked this particular scrub brush because she thought it resembled her, “Auntie Jane” – so funny!!  Cadence understands me.

I named my scrub brush, “Betty,” in honor of…

“Betty!”

Graeme needed a “girl” when he played cowboys (“I need a gurl” – not sure where this came from, but okay) so I created “Betty” from a chair, boxes, pompoms, nightgown, scarf and paper.  He even picked her name.  I laugh still because it’s so fitting a name for a cowgirl.

Back to Betty & me…  Betty reminds me of Vivian, and I’ve always thought Vivian Leigh is a vision of perfect beauty. Truth be told, I wanted to be Vivian.  In this stunning red dress (the most amazing dress ever fashioned!), she’s simply gorgeous…

Well, Vivian & Betty remind me of this ravishing red kitchen…  Wouldn’t Betty the scrub brush (who can’t be used EVER because it would completely muss up her hairdo) just love being a showpiece here?

A girl can dream, right?  I’m crazy in love with the red Aga oven – my dream appliance (**deep sigh**).  Sometimes, I catch Betty just staring out the window.  I think she’s dreaming, too.

“Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. Genesis 37:19

May 18, 2011

Sometimes…

Sometimes, God speaks to us without any words….

Even in the muddy moment of life, His amazing LOVE shines through.  Are you experiencing some muckiness in your life?  Know this, my dear one, God loves you eternally & unconditionally & lavishly!

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16

May 17, 2011

Spot fabric and a birthday

I’m feeling very nostalgic today – my Drake is 16 today! I’m pondering the precious memories of holding Drake & sitting for hours reading his little board books over and over and over and…  When he started speaking, he did so in sentences – “Read this.”  My precocious 9 month old would then grab his little book in his chunky little hands and put his little arms up.  I’d pick him up, plop him in my lap, snuggle close and begin.  Good Night Moon…  Spot… Goodnight Gorilla…  Hungry Caterpillar…  Winnie the Pooh...

I cherished those moments & this fabulous Spot fabric makes my heart full – just look at this monkey full of mischief and cuteness…  I’m not usually into commercialized fabrics, but this Spot fabric won my heart.

Almost too cute to cut into, but I’m excited to transform these fabrics into some more handmade cuteness:)

Happy Birthday to an amazing, talented, kind, wise, smart and incredibly fun son!!  I love you so much!

The Lord your God is with you.
   He is a hero who saves you.
      He happily rejoices over you,
         renews you with his love,
            and celebrates over you with shouts of joy.

Zephaniah 3:17

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