Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chocolate Crunched Caramel Tart

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart, was chosen by Carla of Chocolate Moosey, and I'm very grateful for her selection. I am definitely a chocolate addict. I must have chocolate every day. And this tart, really sent me over the edge. It is so rich and decadent.

I changed it up a bit by making a chocolate crust and making mini 5 inch tarts. Then for the nuts, I replaced the peanuts with pecans. I knew I had to add a little whip cream to cut down on the richness. And drizzled it with caramel, and it was awesome!!!

This is a keeper for sure. Check out Carla's site HERE for the complete recipe. It is super easy to make. I should know, I made it today!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Puff Pastry with French style......

This month selection for Daring Baker's is Vols-Au-Vent, which is a french term for a Puff pastry shaped to hold a savory dinner or appetizer. I on the other hand, prefer to fill with Italian cream and top with fresh fruit, for a dessert canape. Except when making a chicken pot pie filling..... these are great made bigger, with a cut top. You can check out some great pictures and tips on our hostess's site....Steph of Whisk and a Spoon.

Most people for time's sake will by puff pastry in your freezer section at the super market. But I'm hear to tell you it isn't that bad to make. I have made it several times in the past along with it's sister doughs "Danish and Croissant". They are both what is called a laminated dough. Lots of fat and layers rolled in. Not too good of an item on your list of diet food. That is probably why I do not make it as often.

As it’s a little long, here’s a printable link to the recipe for puff pastry, as well as instructions for forming vol-au-vents and some extra tips. Also, there is a wonderful on-line video from the PBS show “Baking with Julia” that accompanies the book. In it, Michel Richard and Julia Child demonstrate making puff pastry dough (although they go on to use it in other applications). Don't’ be put off by the length of time it takes to make your own puff pastry (most of it is inactive, while waiting for the dough to chill between turns)…it really isn’t that hard to do! I encourage anyone who has never made puff before to take a look at the video, get some good butter, and give it a try! (And yes, some old school baker's still say Lard is the best!)

The September 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hooked on FAME....

Yes, It was May 16th, 1980, when the first FAME was released.
I can tell you that at that time I was totally hooked on that movie!!

Who couldn't love....Coco, Leroy, Bruno, and Miss Lydia.

The movie made us think anything was possible,
That you would live forever,
and everyone would remember your name!

That is precisely what I think will happen to this lovely young lady.
This is Kherington, my "suto" niece, so to speak....

I have known her mother since 1975,
and we were roomies in College, just like sisters.
After college her mother went to pursue her dreams in California,
and I would go out to visit with she and her sister.

I can remember taking this little cutie to those baby beauty pageants,
when she was six months old.

You may remember her from the summer dance show...

"So you Think You Can Dance"

She ended up in the top ten, and has traveled all over.
Now there is no stopping how successful she will be!

After SYTYCD, she was cast as Alice in the new version of FAME.

I say new version, because it is not a remake,
It's an update!

Directed by a hardworking 25 year old, who is on his way too!

The Movie comes out today Friday the 25th,
I believe it will have you hooked!

So run out and see it!

To see what others are hooked on check out

Julia's Hooked on Fridays Party

Also check out the trailer below,

and remember her name


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Baby Gift Idea......Rag Quilt!

This week I had to come up with a Christening gift idea.
What do you get the baby that has everything.....
I knew I had to come up with something that would sustain
through the years. And would act as a memory
of that special occasion.
I then started scouring ETSY for everything Baby.
And I found these beautiful quilts.....
I knew that was it, I could make a special Baby Quilt.
I hadn't made a quilt in years, but I was up for the challenge!

I had all the fabric on hand, because someone had dumped
large bags of Fat Quarters from Joann Fabrics,
at my favorite spot...The Swap Shop! Free :)
All I needed was the flannel, which was on sale at JoAnn's,
Buy one yard get one FREE!

After searching the Internet for tutorials.
I was off to cutting and sewing, cutting and sewing.....
It went together quite easy for a first timer,
and I loved the results. Nice and soft !
After finishing you wash and dry twice to get it that way.
Now they sell any where from $50 to $100 on Etsy.
I hope the recipient will appreciate it for a lifetime.
Check out the great tutorial HERE!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cottage Cheese Pufflets

Remember when the side dish you could order with your meal was cottage cheese with pineapple.......the late 70's I believe. You don't see it much on menus now, except for diners. And if you not specifically looking because it is on your diet, you won't have it on your shopping list. I myself enjoy it from time to time, but my children are another story.

Which brings us to today. Tuesdays With Dorie. That tasty baking group that bakes together, once a week, one delicious recipe from that equally delicious baking book, "Baking From My Home to Yours", by the also equally delicious baking authoress, Ms Dorie Greenspan.This week's recipe was Cottage Cheese Pufflets, on pages 148 and 149, as chosen by Jacque of Daisy Lane Cakes .

When I first heard of these without even looking at the recipe, I imagined something like a cream puff filled with a sweeter sort of cottage cheese. Then I went to make them, and found the dough to be similar to rugelach. And also similar to last weeks flaky turnover. I decided to make mine into small crescents and cover them in powdered sugar, And they came out great!!!

I'll admit the dough was easy to make in the food processor, but very sticky. It required a lot of refrigeration after mixing, and during the rolling process. If your a fast baker, you should have no problem. You can find the recipe HERE. Or go out and get Dorie's Book. Would I make them again....... definitely!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Beer with Sausage and Peppers

This weekend I worked with New Castle Brown Ale.
I did a cooking demo with sausage and peppers cooked with the ale.
It was wonderful and tasty, great for Octoberfest!
New Castle is smooth and goes down easy!

6 (4 ounce) links sweet Italian sausage
2 tablespoons butter
1 yellow onion, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup New Castle Brown Ale

**Place the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, and brown on all sides. Remove from skillet, and slice.

**Melt butter in the skillet. Stir in the yellow onion, red onion, and garlic, and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in red bell pepper and green bell pepper. Season with basil, and oregano. Stir in New Castle. Continue to cook and stir until peppers and onions are tender.

**Return sausage slices to skillet with the vegetables. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes, or until sausage is heated through

Nike has even made a sneaker in honor of New Castle,
with the Brown and Blue....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hooked on Sandcastles....

Who couldn't be hooked on Sandcastles?
As children that is the one thing we associate going to the beach with.

And I know I am surely hooked!
Each year there is a big sand building festival
that goes on in Revere Beach.
Artist come from all over to compete...

These are just a few of the beautiful creations that there were.
The crowds were so huge that it was hard to get a
picture of everything.

It is amazing the time and talent that go into these.
Along with the thought process going into the theme.

I really love this Celtic Knot one....

They bring in extra sand of course,
and everything is gated off for a few days.
Far from the shore, as not to have it fall into the Ocean.

I show you these to help you also know the region
where we live...near the Ocean.
And Monday my daughter's art class,
will be taking a field trip to build sandcastles.
Wouldn't you be hooked too,
if you could get credit for going to the Beach,
and your only in 7th grade........
To see what others are hooked on this Friday
check out
And head to the Beach before the snow comes!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday......Patrick Swayze

Tribute to Patrick.....

I have always been a Patrick Swayze fan, he was the guy every teenage girl wanted to date in Dirty Dancing, and the husband every woman wanted in Ghost.

He was such an excellent dancer, he would have blown everyone away on Dancing with the Stars. So when my friend Susan found this and posted it on her Facebook page, I knew it would be a perfect Tribute to Patrick. And also another great guy, Chris Farley. Boy did I love him!

So check it out!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Flaky Apple Turnovers...Dorie Style

Just in time for Apple Picking Season.....
today's recipe for TWD comes from
Boy, she sure picked this at the right time. Apples are ready to pick here in New England. And this recipe calls for one of my favorite kind....Granny Smith.
Still waiting for my number one choice of Honey Crisp,
but that will come in just a couple weeks.
This recipe was super easy and delish!
Perfect with a glass of milk or to send off in those lunches with the kids.
No need to purchase Puff Pastry, you can make you own low cal version.
I chose to do them in squares that were folded into triangles,
that way there was no scrap to deal with.
For the dough:
1 cup NO fat sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 sticks margarine cut into small pieces
**Mix the surgar and sour cream together, set aside
**Cut in the Margarine with the flour and salt mixture
**When into pea sized crumbs, add the SC/sugar and mix
****I mixed with my hand , so I wouldn't over mix
**Divide dough in half and shape into a rectangle, and wrap in saran wrap. Store in fridge overnight.
**Take out dough and roll out to a 9 x 13 rectangle, between wax paper works easiest.
Fold this rectangle into 1/3's and wrap again and put in fridge for 2 hours.

For the filling:
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into small chunks
** Mix all of this together and set aside.
**Retrieve dough from fridge, cut each piece in half. Roll each half an 1/4 inch thick.
**Cut into 6 squares, equally.
**Place a little filling on one side of square, moisten the edge of square with water. Then fold over to form a triangle. Press down the edges.
**Place on sheet pan, 2 x 6. Brush with milk and sprinkle with crystal sugar.
**Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
We gave this 5 glasses of milk,
for utter goodness!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

World Peace Cookies, Could they make a difference??

This guy has had a real tough week....Schools dissed his address on Tuesday and a member of the Congress calls out that he is a liar on live TV. Our schools are some of the many who didn't televise his message on Tuesday. And why wouldn't they....I agree that everyone has their own opinion.

His message was just stating that kids should try harder and strive to do better both academically and morally to obtain what they want out of life. And to wash their hands more frequently for fear of a flu breakout. Now what was wrong with that???? I know that as a elementary student, if I was addressed by the President over the in room television. I might strive to do better.

And the fact, that the man yelled out what he did last night...It was disrespectful for sure. It is agreed that not everyone will go along with this plan. But at least, something is being thought about, and going forward after all these years. Think of all the people out there with no health care. Is it fair??

Is it fair, that after working for 25 years with benefits, your company is now gone along with your income and retirement..... And you have no insurance...... And no one will insure you because of your existing condition???

I am repeating a post about I did back in the winter about these "World Peace Cookies". I can only dream that if each member of the House and Senate were given these with their daily coffee or tea, maybe they could act and proceed peacefully with this new President. And as we go into the 8th anniversary of 9/11, maybe we can reflect on the peace that is needed around the world.


If you haven't yet added this to your cooking and baking library, it is my suggestion that, this is a must have book. Well put together, recipes are delicious, and the pictures are wonderful. Having seen this cute baking group out in blogland, "Tuesdays with Dorie", I thought I would join in on the fun! , a year ago now....

This recipe, World Peace, comes from the cookie section of the book. It was first developed by Pierre Hermes and written in a different baking book that he had written with Dorie, under a different title. Dorie passed on the recipe in her new book with a title she felt more appropriate. This title was suggested by her neighbor. He said "These cookies are so good, that if everyone ate them we would definitely have World Peace".

At first I wasn't really sure about the recipe, because of the sea salt that was needed in it. I really do not like to put a lot of salt in everything. But, boy are they delicious!! I could eat them all.....

You can find the recipe posted HERE, and the funny tale how Smitten couldn't believe these would settle world peace, but now she's a believer!!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Chocolate Souffle.....Yummy!

Today's choice of Tuesdays with Dorie baking extravaganza, comes from
Be Afraid!, be very afraid!.....
not really :)
Some people will never attempt a souffle,
for fear it will fall.
Yes, it is important that you don't open the door while baking.
Just turn on the light and watch it that way.
You'll never know until you try!!
These were tasty and delicious,
especially with a dollop of whip cream.
Go check out Susan's site HERE for the recipe.
(It's super cute!)
And head out to pick up Dorie's book.
We give this 5 glasses of milk,
for utter goodness!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Cupcake tribute to Gone with the Wind

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of Gone with the Wind, Nikki at The Scarlett Rose Garden is hosting a blog party for fans of the movie. Has it really been that long......70 years!

Of course, you realize that Scarlett must not have been a foodie. Even though she was dreaming of biscuits, and desserts after the war had made her penniless. She had to retain her 18 inch waist.

But, what better food to dream of then fried chicken and biscuits with chocolate cake.... or perhaps this Red Velvet Cake. It might not have been around during that time period. We all know it now as a famous Southern dessert. Duncan Hines even makes a version of it in a box cake mix.

Tip of the day: The more red food coloring the redder it gets. This recipe takes 2 of those small bottles from the supermarket.

You can also check out a tribute to Scarlett's beautiful home at Julia's Movie Monday.

There are several different types of red velvet cake. Some are heavier on the chocolate flavor than others, some use less food coloring, and some use beets instead of artificial coloring. This one does not taste like a chocolate cake, although there is a subtle hint of cocoa. The flavor is unique and delicious, and I prefer it to the red velvet cakes that contain more cocoa powder. This cake recipe does not shy away from the food coloring!
Red Velvet Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz. red food coloring (two bottles)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.

2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.

4. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Yes, it will fizz! Add vinegar mixture to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Using an ice cream scoop, fill cupcake cups with cake batter (they should be 2/3 – 3/4 full). You may not fill all the cups, I ended up with 20 cupcakes. Place muffin tins on the middle rack of a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for approximately 20-22 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Check early and don’t overbake!

5. Cool the cupcakes in their tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove . Frost with a delicious cream cheese frosting

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mums the Word......

Clayton Family Farm
School has begun,
and it's mum season in New England.
Last year I picked up some great mums at the supermarket,
And this year I'm hooked on some more!!
They're only $3.50 for an 8" pot...
So who wouldn't be, right???

You can find Mums popping up all over.....
And today they're popping up in my garden!!

The ones from last year are wonderful.

Such a bargain for a perennial!

I love this one....

And of course the gold ones are grand!
To see what others are hooked on
check out Julia's Friday Party

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Espresso Cheesecake Brownies

Today's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was chosen by Melissa of "Life in a Nut Shell". And I have to say, it wasn't what I expected. Sure it was easy, and I had everything on hand. But, it just wasn't ooey, gooey, chocolaty enough for my taste. And the icing......forget about it, as most of the TWD bloggers did. It was sour cream based with a little powdered sugar. So it was just OK....nothing to write home about.
I really should have just left it alone with no icing. Next time.....if there is a next time. I prefer to stick to the Katherine Hepburn brownies, maybe add some cheesecake batter to them.
Check out Melissa's blog where you will find the recipe and her take on the brownies HERE. I believe she wasn't absolutely thrilled with them either. As always, I still love Dorie's book 'Baking from My Home to Yours', so be sure to put that on your Amazon wish list!
we're giving this only 2 glasses of milk,
for utter goodness that might have failed....