Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Getting ready for a wonderful Halloween here,
the weather is gorgeous!!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cappuccino Macarons

This month's choice was the ever popular, Macarons......They are increasingly by -passing the ever popular cupcakes. You can get them in many, many flavors. I chose to make mine in Mocha flavor, because that is my favorite.

Macarons can be tricky little things, even when you have made countless batches. Sometimes you pipe them out and are convinced that they will be perfect, only to bake them and have them come out misshapen or with no feet. Other times you are convinced that something has gone wrong, and then they bake up spot-on. And you really never know how it will go when you make a recipe that is not the one you are used to. But give these a try. You'll see how delighted you'll be with yourself!

French Macarons
adapted from The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern by Claudia Fleming
2 ¼ cups confectioners’ (icing) sugar
2 cups almond flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 egg whites (room temperature; whites that are a few days old are best)

**Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery. (Even when using purchased almond four, I like to grind it, along with the full amount of confectoiners’ sugar and any other dry flavorings or colorings, in the food processor to throughly incorporate the dry ingredients.)

**Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.

**Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.

**Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806)

**Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).

**Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.

**Cool on a rack before filling

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pistachio Fudge Brownie Torte

Tuesdays creep up too fast, when it is the end of the month.....
So much to do, so little time!
It happens that Daring Baker and TWD are on the same day,
and loads of cookies to be made for the kiddies for lunch,
So there is a lot of baking going on.
Then on top of that a Holiday at the end of the week.
Needless to say I'm planning my Halloween surprises.
Orange and Black sprinkles everywhere!
I decided to change things up a bit,
we're not fond of cherries here in most of the house.
I flavored it with some Pistachios instead.
And it was a hit!
The bottom is a thick moist brownie,
and the top is a light and creamy delight!

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, or read Short + Rose, as it was April’s choice this week. Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll
We give this 5 glasses of milk,
for utter goodness!

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Pumpkin Baby!

Well, it was about five years ago that I decided it would be a great idea to get my son in his birthday suit and lay him amongst the pumpkins and leaves. Not outside of course, but in a nice cozy photography studio. I have a friend who is an excellent photographer, and is always up for a new idea. So, since I love fall, I thought this would be the cutest picture. And for now, my son thinks so too , but will he in 20 years when I show it to his girlfriend? My guess is probably not. . But, in 40 years when he comes across this in his baby book, he'll be thanking his mother for having given him wonderful baby pictures.....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Turkish Zucchini Fritters

I recently had the opportunity to work a wedding that featured Turkish cuisine, prepared by the author of this beautiful cookbook. His mostly vegetarian menu, was wonderful. It featured lamb and chicken kabobs, spinach triangles, Mediterranean salsa, humus varieties, pitas, tabouli, and zucchini fritters. Along with two vegetarian soups that started off the service.

Chef-owner Özcan was born and raised in Turkey, a beautiful and exotic Mediterranean country whose many marvels include traditional cuisine that is recognized by food connoisseurs as among the finest in the world. Rooted in a diverse cultural history (Turkey is the cradle of many civilizations) Turkish cooking is characterized by infinite variety and a range of distinctive flavors - from subtle to spicy. At the core of it all is commitment to freshness and the firm belief that eating is, after all. one of life’s greatest pleasures.

With Sultan’s Kitchen, Özcan brings the best traditions of Turkish cooking to Boston. The menu reflects his 40 years of classical cuisine experience, including his tenure as chef in some of the finest restaurants in Europe and Turkey.

I knew after tasting the Zucchini Fritters, I would have to replicate them. They were easy and delicious. I added the addition of a Dill Yogurt Sauce: with dill, garlic, and Greek yogurt.

Zucchini Fritters
• 1 1/2 pounds zucchini, grated (use big holes), about 4 to 5 cups
• 2 to 3 teaspoons kosher salt
• 1 bunch scallions, chopped well (use both white and green parts)
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
• 1 cup flour
• 3 eggs
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
• 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• Freshly ground black pepper to taste
• Olive oil for frying


**1. Grate zucchini into a bowl and stir in kosher salt. Place in a fine mesh sieve and let stand for 30 minutes.

**2. In a large bowl, mix together remaining ingredients. Using your hands, squeeze the excess water from the grated zucchini and add to the large bowl.

**3. Coat a hot skillet with olive oil. Spoon out zucchini mixture to form patties. Cook the fritters until they are golden brown, approximately 4 to 5 minutes per side.

**4. As you cook the fritters in batches, transfer the ones that are done to a warm platter in the oven. Serve with dill infused yogurt sauce.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fall Cookies from the Cookie Jar...

Things have been busy around here, and the snow is starting to fall already.
Did we skip a season????
I haven't had the chance to do some Leaf Peeping yet.
I may have to settle for these cookie creations,
if the lovely colors disappear to quickly.
Fall is a good time to get in the baking spirit.
The weather gets cooler,
and turning your oven on makes the kitchen nice and warm.
And I just love making Cut Out cookies.
They are so-o-o tasty!

Sugar Cut Out Cookie Recipe
1 Cup of Softened Butter
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
3 c. of Flour
1 1/2 c. of Granulated Sugar (I use half brown sugar )
2 Large Egg
2 tsp. of Baking Powder

*Preheat the oven to 375°F.
*Cream the butter and sugar.
*Beat eggs and vanilla into the butter / sugar mixture.
*In a separate bowl, sift together the baking powder, salt and flour.
*Mix the sifted dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients one cup at a time, and continue mixing until the dough becomes stiff.
*Divide the dough in half and refrigerate 1 hour or more.
*On a floured surface, roll each half of the dough until it's approximately 1/8" thick.
*Cut out cookies using floured cookie cutters.
*Bake the cookies on an parchment covered cookie sheet for 6 - 8 minutes, or until they're golden brown
.*Let the cookies cool before frosting.

**Now for the frosting I use a confectionery sugar frosting and dip the cookies in to get that smooth texture.

Confectionery Sugar Frosting -
3 c. powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. lemon juice or extract, and enough warm water to get the dipping consistency you desire.
**It works best in a mixing bowl with a whip. I let it go to get all the lumps out.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday......Pumpkin Parade !

We went to a lovely Pumpkin Parade over the weekend.
It really got us into the spirit of carving!

How about you....Have you started carving yet??

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Apple Allspice Crumb Muffins

It's time for another edition of Tuesday's with Dorie, folks. This week Kayte of Grandma’s Kitchen Table chose Allspice Crumb Muffins. I decided to change them up a bit by adding two chopped apples and a teaspoon of cinnamon, to the recipe that Dorie provided. Boy, did this add to a already good muffin. It is not the best I ever had, but it was darn good! And super easy to make, I had everything on hand. You can find the recipe here.

I'll be sure to make these again!

We give this 4 glasses of milk,
for utter goodness!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pumpkin Cookies....Yummy!

Simple easy Pumpkin Cookies,
that you can make in just a short time.
I made these great soft cookies yesterday for a gathering. Sure to please your friends and family, these will stay nice and soft for a while.


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup Pure Pumpkin
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Glaze (recipe follows)

**PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease baking sheets.

**COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.

**BAKE for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle Glaze over cookies.


COMBINE 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in small bowl until smooth.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Trade In and Trade Up!

If your a sewing kind of gal or guy.....HusqvarnaViking has a
Trade In -Trade Up special running until October 31.
Take any machine you may have that you would like to trade in,
to any local Sewing Machine Dealer.
They will give you a value for it, to use towards a new machine.
That is for any brand, it doesn't have to be HV Brand....
What a great deal if your looking into a
new machine for the winter.
I hear sewing is making a comeback!!!
It's the Cash for Clunkers
for those of you who sew!!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hooked on GLEE!!

Have you seen the new Fox Family/Teen Sensation??
If you haven't, you can catch it on Wednesdays at 9 on FOX TV.
It is just a cute show with some great remixes of some goodies.
Fast becoming some of the most downloaded on ITUNES each day.
It has a little bit of everything that may have you HOOKED!
So jump right in and watch this great video,
it will give you a taste of what your missing......
To see what others are Hooked On
check out

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wordless Wednesday.....

Little kids do the funniest things!!
Make sure you video tape them,
when they do!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Kind of White Russian.......Smooth and Creamy!

Pudding is a comforting dessert and with the cooling temperatures and rainy days we've been having lately, this was really a perfect choice for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie. Garett of Flavor of Vanilla chose this for us and what a great pick it was! It's called Split Level Pudding from Dorie's book "Baking from My Home to Yours".

And what could be more comforting than pairing it up with some Kahlua!! I knew that a plain
vanilla just wouldn't do around here. Then after seeing that others had placed theirs in a short glass....I realized my vision. It looks like one of my favorite after dinner drinks, a White Russian!

This recipe was so easy, especially if you have some ganache leftover from last week's TWD in your fridge. Or if you don't want to go to all that trouble to make your own sub in some Hot Fudge Sauce...Yummy!

I am posting my easy version of the pudding here. There is no need to put it in a blender or food processor. Just whisking will be fine! And you can change up the pudding anyway you like. By adding in place of Kahlua.....Peppermint, Cinnamon, ect. To see what others have done check out the TWD button in the right lower page.

Vanilla Pudding
**Bring 2 c. milk and 3 Tlb. of Sugar to a boil, and turn down to simmer.
**In a seperate small bowl- 3 Egg Yolks, 3Tlb. cornstarch , 1/4 c. milk, 2 Tbl. sugar
Whisk this together with a fork.
**Temper in some of your hot milk, then place all back into pan, and continue to cook on low, continously stirring, until it becomes thick.
**When it starts to form big bubbles, turn off. Add in 2 Tlb. of Kahlua and 2 Tlb. cut up butter. Continue to mix to a smooth texture. Set aside.

In a small ramkin or glass, add to the bottom some ganache or fudge. Top with vanilla pudding. Refrigerate 4 hours.

We give this 5 glasses of milk ,

for utter goodness!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Halloween Centerpiece

I am revisiting one of my more popularpost of last year......Just in time for decorating!

After seeing this done on Martha Stewart, I knew I wanted to do it for my centerpiece. Going through her website to purchase items, it seemed a little out of my price range. But, after purusing through one of my favorite stores the Dollar Tree, I found they had all the makings for this centerpiece, except for the cheap 98 cent black paint I had at home already. And the item that put me over, was the Martha Glitter, which I found at AC Moore with a 50% off coupon. And the glitter goes a long, long way. So I will be able to use it for other projects too! You can check out Martha's how to here.

Tools and Materials

**Skull , Bones and Plastic Spiders***GlitterCraft **Craft Glue w/brush **Craft Paper or newspaper **Cheap silk bouquet **Black spray paint ** **grapevine wreath


1. Working over a sheet of craft paper, use a craft brush to apply glue to half of a skull or bone.

2. Hold object over a large shallow bowl or tray. Spoon glitter over glued surface. Place on a tray; let dry for at least an hour. Repeat process.

Bugs How-to

1. Apply glue to bugs. Place bugs in plastic bag filled with glitter. Twist top of bag and shake.

Wreath How-to

1. Seperate flowers and leaves from bouquet. Spray flowers, leaves, and wreath with black paint. Allow to dry. With a glue gun , glue them onto the grapevine wreath, all over.


1. Place wreath in middle, then place cake stand in middle of that with skull,bones, and spiders arranged. Place remaining skull and spiders on wreath.

Total Cost - $8.00

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hooked on My Front Porch......

We're headed into Fall and it's last days of warm weather.
I'm hooked on hanging out and enjoying the colors
of the leaves from my front porch.
We have a wrap around front porch that is so nice.
I love my chaise and I love my cushions that I recovered.
Nice place to read a book,
or watch the kids roller blade up and down the street.
So what are you hooked on this Friday???
To see what others are hooked on check out