Tuesday, February 8, 2011

An Anniversary Preview

Micah and I are celebrating our four-year wedding anniversary this month. The four year traditional gift is linen or silk, so that inspired Micah to commission a local artist, Sloane Merrick to create a custom piece for my currently-being-renovated office. Sloane is dating someone I have grown up with my whole life so we are still getting to know her, but from what we do know, we adore her and her work. She definitely has some fancy pieces in her gallery of work, so please, take a minute and visit her site by clicking here. We are still quite a ways away from our custom piece of art being completed as we are only in the discussion / ideas phase, but of course I will post a picture once it is complete. I can hardly wait!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Heart Shaped Scones for your Valentine

My friend Jessica taunted me by only TELLING me about some delicious cranberry and hazelnut scones that she made at her house (which I can't get to because of the snow!), AND she wouldn't even give me the recipe because she wants me to try them first. So, it got me thinking about scones and I wanted to make some as equally delicious as the ones Jess described. I searched on my epicurious app and well, I happened to have all the ingredients to make Glazed Raspberry Heart Scones. When you only have slightly less than 1/3 cup sugar, it is hard to find any baked good to make. (I was also out of raspberry jam and substituted with strawberry.) These were fabulous and pretty. Once they came out of the oven I forgot completely about the glaze, but now I figure it was a few less calories I needed to consume this morning. With the jam and the sugar already in the dough, they are plenty sweet without the glaze, but I'm sure the glaze would have made them so much prettier. I also froze half the dough. Since it is only Micah and I eating them, I figured we didn't need to each consume a few tablespoons of butter and half cup each of whipping cream! With the dough I was freezing, I added about 1/4-1/2 tsp. almond extract. I wish I had thought of it before I baked the first half, but alas, I did not. So, the almond is added to the next batch, and I did taste that dough - and WOW, it is going to be amazing! These are reasonably simple to make but they look so complex (in a fancy, delicate way), and they are absolutely delicious. Please note that never once do I say they are healthy. This is a far cry from my raw desserts.

Glazed Raspberry Heart Scones
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons whipping cream
1/3 cup (about) raspberry jam (do not use seedless)

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon rose water (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in large bowl. Add butter; rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles fine meal. Gradually add 1 cup cream, mixing until dough comes together. Turn dough out onto sheet of foil; pat to 1/2-inch thickness. Using 3-inch heart-shaped or round cookie cutter, cut out scones. Gather scraps; pat to 1/2-inch thickness and cut out additional scones. Using floured knife, start at point of each heart and cut horizontally halfway through scones; fill with 1 generous teaspoon jam (jam will show at edges). Transfer to baking sheet. Bake scones until brown, about 18 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool scones until slightly warm.
Meanwhile, mix powdered sugar, remaining 3 tablespoons cream, and rose water in bowl to blend. Spread glaze over scones. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Bon App├ętit
February 2005

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Snowpocolypse

Oklahoma has been hit by a snow storm that apparently is so severe we haven't seen one like it in 100 years! The proof is my backyard. The railroad tie you see peeking out is about my waist level, and the snow is almost there! It does make for a wonderful week of being snowed in with my husband and baby though. Daisy is quite enjoying snow for her snacks.
And this all brings me to my "fancy find" I want to share. There is a good chance you already know about the iphone and ipad app, Epicurious, but if you don't, well, you need to download it. The app is free and it has tons of recipes and is updated often so it fits with holiday planning or specialialty categories like cocktails even. For valentines day they have sinful desserts and chocolate dessert categories as well as romantic dinner recipes. Since we were anticipating the great snow, I did have to meal plan and grocery shop yesterday and here is my menu for the next week + (the snow is expected to last one week):
Winter Vegetable Soup and Artisan bread
Roast Turkey and Winter Vegetables
Tuscan Turkey Soupy Noodles
Black Beans and Rice
Chicken with balsamic roasted brussell sprouts
Chicken Ceasar Salad
Curried Lentil Soup
Braised Chicken with Dates and Morrocon Spices
Homemade Hummus
Roasted tomatoes with mozzerella
Can you tell I love my veggies roasted? I am sure if they are amazing I will share the full recipe here, but until then, download Epicurious!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Newest Members of the Family

There are two new family members since December - one is a fish and the other (and more importantly) a nephew - so, no, I am still NOT pregnant. So, for the fish ...Micah and I went to a Christmas party where they had a white elephant gift exchange. I took home a goldfish and a bag of fish-fry. I thought I was a winner since I knew Daisy would love having a pet at home, even if it wasn't pettable or make any sound. Sure enough, she was thrilled until the next morning when it died and she saw me dispose of it in the toilet. As my brother Eric would say, I have a cold heart, so I didn't think Daisy would be attached or know what was happening. Well, she cried right after and waved at the toilet and all day said "bye - bye fish". And when I mean all day, I mean all day, at random times, and especially whenever we passed by the bathroom. So, that night, Micah surprised Daisy and I by coming home with a new fish - a beta, and one we named "brother". We were tossing around names, and we said "brother" and it was the first name Daisy repeated, so it was decided - she has a "Brother". Every day Daisy still likes to go feed brother, kiss the bowl, say "hi" to brother, hug the bowl, give Brother a nickel or penny, and point at his nose and eyes. Some might say this is torture that I have not given the girl a dog, but I say it is teaching her patience and gratitude! (or really I just don't want the added responsibility or mess or expense)

The other family member, not to be second to Brother in the slightest - is our new precious nephew born to Micah's sister Sarah and her partner Justin. They had quite the labor and delivery story, which has given us a new appreciation for the miracle of birth and the knowledge and tools of modern medicine which certainly saved both Sarah and her sweet baby boy, Hero's lives. We are thrilled he is here and that they are both now healthy and on the road to recovery, and of course the more cousins and kids, the merrier!

I bet you wish you worked with me

I realize how late this is, but I think I should save my breath on apologizing for the delays between postings because, well, I just get to it when I can and who needs more guilt in their life? So, with that said, I do think after reading this, you will wish you worked with me and here is why... I made peppermint patties for our co-worker's Christmas gifts. The recipe is from the November issue of Family Fun - a magazine I found in my doctor's office.

2 tblspn plus 1 teaspoon water
1 tblspn light corn syrup
1 tspn fresh lemon juice
1 tspn peppermint extract
1 1lb box confectioner's sugar (3 3/4 cup)
1 tblspn shortening
10-12 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
6 hard mint candies crushed in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, stir together the water, corn syrup, lemon juice, and extract. Then sift in half the sugar. Add the shortening and beat on medium, then slowly sift in the remaining sugar until the mix is well combined.

2. Knead the mixture into a ball (it will be very stiff, add 1/2 tspn water to make workable if necessary). Use the bottom of a glass pie plate to apply firm even pressure to flatten the ball between sheets of waxed paper into a circle about 9 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Lay the waxed paper- covered disk on a cookie sheet and freeze until it's firm - about 15 minutes.

3. Place the frozen disk on a cutting surface and remove and reserve the waxed paper. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment. With a small round cutter, cut out circles from the disk, then place them on the cookie sheet. Gather the scraps into a ball and use the pie plate and waxed paper to flatten it again and cut more circles until the entire disk is used up. Freeze the circles for 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, melt, the chocolate in the top of a double broiler over barely simmering water. Coat the patties one at a time; balance each on a form and dip it, then shake off any excess chocolate before returning the coated patty to the parchment. Sprinkle each patty with a bit of crushed mint candy. Add more chocolate to the double boiler as necessary until all the patties are coated.

5. Harden the finished patties in the fridge for at least an hour, and preferably overnight. Store them in an airtight container int he fridge, layered between sheets of waxed paper, for up to one month. Makes 5 dozen (approx, depends on the size circle you cut).

Tip - I used two cookie sheets and would rotate them in and out of the freezer during the chocolate dipping stage. If they would get too warm or room temp, they would tend to fall apart a bit in the chocolate. So, I tried to only dip them if they were still pretty cold from the freezer.