Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ideas for Party Munchies....

When the ship docked last week in the Boston Harbor, they needed a few munchies before taking a tour for the evening. I was asked to supply some 'not so fancy' finger food. They would be having hot appetizers on the ship as they muddled around. It was a delicious spread of everyone's favorites.

I decided on the following....A Spinach-Veggie Dip with a wonderful assortment of veggies.
Some even from my garden!

I couldn't keep this cheese platter full enough.
Those guest surely enjoy cheese.....
Colby, Cheddar, Jalapeno, Sharp
and I smothered some Brie in Orange Marmalade on another platter.

I also supplied Pita and Tortilla Chips,
with two types of Humus and Salsa.
I also had Buttered Wheat Pretzels
with a Bar Cheese Dip....Yummo!
( I failed to get a picture)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

These are both a remake of classic Supermarket cookies. The Chocolate Covered Mallow Cookies were a little time consuming to make. But, my chocolate melting pot really came in handy when making both. Of course the kids liked the fact that they included marshmallow, their favorite go-to snack.

And the faux Peperidge Farm Milanos came out great. Awesome when savoured with a cup of tea. But, they too, were time consuming if you think of the way my family gobbles down cookies. They would definitely have to be those special event cookies.....

Both Milan cookies and Mallow cookies recipes can be found on their sites.
You can also check out Nicole's site here for more info.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

This weeks selection for TWD comes from Lynne of Cafe LynnyLu. She chose Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, which is absolutely delish! It is so creamy and wonderful, and just right for that summer day. I chose to put mine sandwiched between a chocolate flourless cake, set on a drizzled chocolate plate. Sure, the ice cream is great by itself, but why not add a little chocolate when having guest over.

Lynne has some great ideas how to change and dress up this Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. So hustle over to her site HERE. Or check out pages 428-429 in Dorie's Book " Baking from my Home to Yours", One of the best investments you will make!

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 moist, plump vanilla bean, split and scraped,(technique) or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar

Bring milk and cream to a boil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. If you are using a vanilla bean, put the seeds and pod into the pan, cover and set aside for 30 minutes, then bring the milk and cream back to a boil before continuing. If you are using vanilla extract, wait until later to add it.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar together until very well blended and just slightly thickened. Still whisking, drizzle in about one third of the hot liquid-this will temper, or warm the eggs so they won't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remaining
liquid. Pour the custard back into the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring without stopping, until the custard thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon; if you run your finger down the bowl of the spoon, the custard should not run into the track.

The custard should reach at least 170°F, but no more than 180°F, on an instant-read thermometer. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and strain the custard into a2-quart measuring cup or clean heatproof bowl. Discard the vanilla pod or if you are using vanilla extract, stir it in now.

Refrigerate the custard until chilled, before churning it into the ice cream.
Scrape the chilled custard in the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Pack the ice cream into a container and freeze it for at least 2 hours, until it is firm enough to scoop.

We give this 5 Scoops
for utter goodness!

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Weed Wacking Monster......

As you can tell, I haven't posted as much as usual. I am on Work-Vacation in Michigan right now, where the weeds grow like crazy. I am here helping out the Innkeeper. I have never seen weeds grow so big in such a short amount of time. The soil must be fertile.
So this is what I have been doing....weeding and weedwacking. Doesn't that sound like fun???

Just think of this and add on a million more....give or take a few!
At least I am working on my upper body strength, right?
I wish there was something you sprayed on and they disappeared, not harming the perennials.
If you know of something let me in on it, please!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Field of Daisies....

Wordless Wednesday is
Dreaming of a Field of Daisies

My Garden Daisies get bigger and better every year.

Soon I'll have the field of my dreams.......

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Raspberry Blanc Manger for that Summer Delight

This week's choice of Raspberry Blanc-Manger was chosen by Susan of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy.....(what a mouth full). You can check out the recipe and Susan's tale of losing power just as the mold was setting. Then having to make it all over again. It happens to the best of us. I've had a few desserts that I was using for special occasion, bite the bullet too!

Blanc-Manger (pronounced “blah-mahn-jhay”) is a sweet, creamy dessert made with milk, cream and sugar, thickened with gelatin or cornstarch. Most versions are also flavored with almonds, as is this one. The true origin of the dish is unclear, but it is believed that it was a result of the introduction of rice and almonds in early medieval Europe, perhaps around the mid 13th century. If I had to compare it with something more familiar, I would say it is similar to a Bavarian or a panna cotta. Dorie’s version also includes fresh raspberries, although any berries or fruit will do.

I did mine plain with a blended Raspberry sauce as a accompaniment. You can use those great looking cute molds. But be sure to use plastic wrap to line the mold, to make it easier to come out. To see what others are up to check out Tuesdays with Dorie. And go out and get Dorie's book "Baking from my Home to Yours" on Amazon....You will love it!!!

We give this 5 Berries
for being Berry-Delicious!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Kalmar Nyckel...Weekend of Food and Fun!

Meet my New Friends!

This past weekend the Kalmar Nyckel,
arrived to dock in Chelsea, Ma. on it's way up the coast.

The Kalmar Nyckel is a full scale re‐creation of the original 17th century ship, whose historic significance rivals that of the Mayflower.

This is an amazing beautiful ship ran mostlyby volunteers.
They pulled in Friday morning and stayed until Sunday,
for tours, food, and fun.

In 1986 a group of citizens in Wilmington, Delaware established the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, whose primary source of funding comes from the taxpayers of the State of Delaware along with donations from corporations and individuals to design, to build and launch a re-creation of the Kalmar Nyckel. The ship was built at a shipyard in Wilmington on the Christina river near the original 1638 Swedish settler's landing site at Fort Christina. It was launched on September 28, 1997 and commissioned on May 9, 1998. The re-creation measures 93 feet overall with a 25 foot beam, a 12 foot draft, and displaces 300 tons.

The ship is operated and maintained by a volunteer staff, under the leadership of a paid captain, boatswain, and a chief mate. In November 2006 the captain of the new Kalmar Nyckel, David W. Hiott, who skippered it for nine seasons, died suddenly, from the effects of recurring melanoma. Captain Lauren Morgens took over as Captain April 1, 2007, with Captain Sharon Litcofsky, Chief Mate/Relief Captain and Corey Young, Second Mate/Education Officer.

I made the mistake of making a little joke about Captain Lauren name when I first meet her,
not knowing there was a 's' on the end of Morgen.

"Captain Morgan, like the RUM!!"

(She didn't think it was too funny, she must get it all the time!)

The Foundation is now entering into its 11th season. Volunteers maintain the ship, run the education program, and sail from port to port. The youngest volunteer, can be as young as 14 years old. After 13 days of training and a few health and background checks, your on your way!

This ship was so beautiful to gaze at in the harbor.

They even set off the cannons for a little show.

To learn more about this ship, and the opportunities you can have,
or perhaps your high school student would like an adventure during the summer.

What a great way to spend a little of your summer vacation.
Check out this Website.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches

What's better than just a chocolate chip cookie by itself.......but two chocolate chip cookies with cookie dough ice cream sandwich between. These will have you totally hooked!!

I make up a bunch, paper them and pop them in the freezer, for that oh so hot type of day. Which we are just coming around to have in the New England area. Is it true, summer is finally here????

This recipe is so awesome, especially made with milk chocolate chips, as opposed to semi sweet. I happen to like milk chocolate better. I doubled the recipe and was able to get plenty of sandwiches. I refrigerated the dough first so that I could make bigger scoops and roll them into balls. Then I flatten them slightly, before baking. After baking , they were cooled. Then I added the ice cream and froze them in the freezer in little brown bags.

These sandwiches will have you totally hooked!
To see what others are hooked on check out
(because isn't chocolate and ice cream beautiful)
(because these are in Fashion , right?)

Awesome Chocolate Chip Cookie
1 cup butter flavored shortening
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk chocolate chips

**Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
**In a large bowl, cream together the butter flavored shortening, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla .
**Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually stir into the creamed mixture.
**Finally, fold in the chocolate chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
**Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until light brown. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Brioche Blueberry Tart....TWD

Today's choice comes from Denise of Chez Us, which is Brioche Plum Tart. Now if your like most people, you envision the brioche in the form of the picture above. But, Dorie has taken it a step further by adding fruit to the top and putting it in the tart category.

I didn't have any plums on hand this afternoon, so I decided to go with blueberries. The recipe was an all afternoon event. The dough was easy to make, but took alot of rest in between knock downs. I used my smaller petit four type tart pans, because I envisioned them being served with tea. I changed the recipe up a bit....It calls for plum jam in the bottom of the tart, of which I didn't have any jam in the house at all. So I thought ......what about cream cheese spread. So I spread that on the bottom, then the Maine Blueberries, then a almond-cinnamon sugar mix as the topper.

I must say they are very tasty. I could see them being served at HighTea or a nice Bridal Brunch. They took a little more time then normal to rest. It would be better to let them rest overnight in the fridge...per Dorie's suggestion. So take the time to make Dorie's easy recipe found in her book "Baking from My Home to Yours". I have made regular brioche before, and found this to be a very easy version.
Thank you Denise of Chez Us for selecting this gem of a recipe (please visit Denise's blog for the full recipe)! Also, make sure to visit the TWD blogroll to see the beautiful creations of my fellow bakers.

We give this 4 Blueberries,
for being so Berry Delicious!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Hooked on these Evian Babies

Are you one of the 3 million + people who have seen this ad already??

When I saw this it had me hooked.

It is so cute, all the different faces, skating and dancing...
I have watched this over and over,
trying to figure out how they could put this all together.

What would they do without computer animation...

So what do you think,
Is it creepy or cute??

After seeing this "Are You Hooked or What?"

To see what others are hooked on

(These babies are so fashionable in their onsies)
(Because babies are so beautiful)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Katharine Hepburn's Brownies and her love for Chocolate

I loved seeing Katharine Hepburn in the movie "On Golden Pond", where she starred alongside Henry Fonda. Incidentally filmed two hours north of Boston. At that time, she was no longer young, being more than 70 years of age. Yet, I noticed that this iconic actress, playing a retired woman, still appeared spry and energetic. And she also did all of her own stunts, including swimming in very cold water without a wet suit like the other actors.

Many wondered what Hepburn’s secret was. How did she keep so fit and slim even at such an advanced age? The masses wondered. One day, to a Good Housekeeping magazine writer, this iconic actress’s secret was revealed. “Do you watch your diet carefully?” asked the writer.

The answer? “What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate . . . a pound a day often.” This actress loved chocolate. Often she could be seen haunting chocolate shops in New York, searching for new delicacies. Hepburn added that she did not have to watch her figure because she didn’t have much of one to watch. She did love exercising, and used that to keep “in shape.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, Hepburn’s brownies are celebrated by many. Made by her own hands, she herself brags that they are “sensational.” And no wonder, because many agree that they are. And Dorie's version of those are no different in her love for chocolate. Today's selection for TWD of Katharine's Brownies comes from Lisa of Surviving Oz. Lisa entered the Logo contest and won. The prize was to choose the next recipe, and being that Lisa isn't a self proclaimed baker......she chose one of the easier ones. You can find her first attempt of making Dorie's version of Hepburn's Brownies Here. And her post is very cute with those happy eggs she has. Or go out and buy Dorie's book 'Baking from my Home to Yours', you'll find the recipe on page 97.

These brownies are moist, chocolaty, and delicious. Dorie did a great job with her interpretation. And I love the small amount of flour used only 1/4 c.

You surely need a tall glass of milk with these!

By the way, Katharine ended up passing at the ripe age of 96,
Do you think her love of chocolate had something to do with that???
I can only hope so....
from one chocoholic to another!

We give these 5 glasses of milk,
for utter goodness!