Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve ~


                                                               Of a great need

                                                              We are all holding hands and climbing.

                                                              Not loving is a letting go.


                                                             The terrain around here

                                                              Is far too dangerous

                                                              For that.

                                                              ~ Hafiz



Let's offer flowers, pour a cup of libation,  
split open the skies and start anew on creation.


 Blessings to all ~ walk with love into the New Year ~

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On the third day of Christmas.....

My mother was born.   December 28th.  It's her birthday.  I have immense appreciation and love for all of who she was, our feminine lineage...which continues as I have two daughters.  I don't have one of her recipes handy to post.  I do have the first one her granddaughter made.

~ My loves ~

Miss Sofia Mae wanted to make this recipe from her sister's book, we've had it for years.  (Thank you, Karin)  I told her we could make it for our Christmas dessert is she wanted.  Oh, she wanted.  She was so excited and proud to do this for our Christmas before it was ever made.  After she mixed it, she was even happier, saying, "I made practically all of it."  She did.  

The book.

The recipe - and it is truly one of the best quick simple cakes I've ever had.  Why I hardly tweaked it at all...just a smidgen of change, three total, from the one posted in the book.  Yes, it's December, so the berries used were frozen.  It was still perfect, as recipes made from someone that you love always are.  :)   This was so good slightly warm a half hour out of the oven ~ we will be making this particular recipe repeatedly from here on out, we liked it that much.

Please note - I have a new(ish) oven, it isn't running where I am all that confident it was up to temperature when we made this.  The book states 15-18 minutes.  I baked mine for almost 35 minutes at 425.  Please choose a temp and start watching according to what is necessary to result in a springback when touched in the middle.

1 3/4 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, diced
1 egg, beaten
2/3 c. milk - I used 2%

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  
  • Sift flour, then sift together dry ingredients.
  • Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Add egg and milk, mixing just enough to moisten.
  • Spread dough in an 8" round.
  • Sprinkle the top of the batter with granulated sugar, approximately a tablespoon
~ Baked ~

~ Christmas dessert 2010 ~

~ Unconditionally loved ~

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas eve gratitude ~

...that I know and choose Love.

Chill December bring the sleet,
Blazing fire and Christmas treat.

-Mother Goose

 Backward, turn backward
O Time in your flight;
Make me a child again
Just for tonight

- Elizabeth Akers Allen

~ Two snuggled in a corner ~

Monday, December 20, 2010

Simply pictures ~

 One kind word can warm three winter months --
Japanese proverb

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Rosemary rolls ~

The before and after shots of olive oil
Out on the counter ~~ flour, both white and wheat, (I only had AP white and whole wheat pastry flour), yeast, olive oil, kosher salt, fresh chopped rosemary.  As I went along....

1 tsp. yeast
1/4 c. warm water - 110 degrees or so
Pinch sugar

Let sit for a bit, a few minutes.

Add ~

1/2 tsp.more yeast
3/4 c. warm water
2 c. flour
1/4 c. chopped rosemary

Mix, let sit for 30 minutes.

Add 4 T. olive oil
A couple tablespoons warm water
1 1/2  tablespoons kosher salt (yes, tablespoons)
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. flour

Adjust flour here if needed, but keep it slightly tacky and soft.  Mix, knead, let rise until double.

  • Portion into 16 tight small rolls, let rise until not quite double.  About three-quarters of the way to double.  
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Slit rolls on top.
  • Drizzle with olive oil.
  • Salt tops if desired.
  • Bake for approximately 20 minutes.  Three-quarters through baking, drizzle more olive oil on the rolls and return to the oven to finish baking.
I was very happy with these.  I was craving rosemary bread for our supper accompaniment.  Given my mood today, along with the few hours of steady snowfall we had today, I didn't feel like venturing out or spending the money.  I figured I would make rosemary bread and would know that it would not be close to the flavor pack of some of the artisan rosemary bread that is made here in town...with a home gas oven, only a few hours, no levine...I decided soft rosemary bread would be fine. Sort of fine....

I went looking at three of my favorite bread baking books, knowing that I wasn't going to find a quick yeast bread in their contents.  I was grasping.  Grasping the "not good enough" though never yields peace.  (Ohm.)  I practiced letting go of expectations, put the baking books away and decided to just wing an approximate general soft yeast dough made with olive oil, getting out the few ingredients I needed.   Oh...these turned out so very very nice, so much more than I had expected.   I'm grateful for how things turn out just how they are supposed to at every given moment.  *inhaling breath*  Mmmmm.  Exhale.

These were dense, full of rosemary flavor.  A fun result of the olive oil drizzle is that it makes the bottom of the rolls have a very crisp crackling finish.  

Slit one way
Slit another way
A peek at the underside

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chicken corn chowder ~

~ Mmmm, onions ~

Rough estimates - soup makers understand this.   Additional salt with each added ingredient when sauteing, building layers.  Account for the salt that is in any favorite stock.   There can be a feeling of contentment at what the stockpot will produce before the process is even started...simply with the feeling of knowing it's time to make soup....starting slow...taking time, as I imagine soup lovers do when they enter the kitchen to make such comfort ~~ as I wish for lovers, too.    

Chicken corn chowder ~

Four chicken thighs
Two cobs of corn, kernels removed (of course frozen is fine)
One yellow onion, diced
Three cloves of garlic, minced
Four yukon gold potatoes, large dice
Roasted red peppers, diced, maybe less than 1/4 c.
Chicken stock - 2 quarts - more if you like
Small can of chopped green chilis, drained
Touch of cream if desired

  • In a stockpot....
  • Saute (salt and pepper) chicken thighs in olive oil until done.  Remove, set aside.  Shred when cool.
  • Add onion, saute until there is some brown color (add a touch more olive oil if you need it)
  • Add garlic and corn, saute until soft  
  • Add chicken stock, and potatoes.  Cook until potatoes are almost done.
  • Return chicken to the pot.
  • Add green chiles and red peppers.
  • Add your desired cream, or half and half.  Go light at first.
  • Adjust seasoning, more fresh pepper here is good.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Someday ~

Someday.  Someday.  I've used the word and feeling a lot in my life.  Someday.  Saving this, saving that, putting things in the back of my mind that whatever I was thinking of doing/using in the moment didn't fit, but it would someday.  Turns out, every day is someday.

If one can hold affection for an aspen tree trunk, I do.  I have been wanting a slice for some time, they are just gorgeous.  I picked one up a few months ago as there was a tree service cutting down two trees near my children's school.  Two other women were also gathered - I had to smile - creative women appreciating beauty, coveting limbs and trunk slices of that beauty.  

I was very happy to have the opportunity to use it for the first time two days ago, at a cozy wedding in a Sunriver home.  There is something nicely intimate about smaller weddings.  This one felt especially warm, evening vows, natural tones and winter. { Someday.}

I wish the pictures were better - I was on my own again, confused and oddly forlorn, not knowing which setting to use with what lighting with what focus, wishing I had someone to call and ask as this was one of the prettiest table settings I have done to date.   The colors of the table complimented the natural accents that were used surrounding the desserts.

Chocolate stout cake, espresso buttercream, ganache covering
Crisp meringue mushrooms, mini pumpkin cupcakes with caramel buttercream

Oh Sweet Mother Earth - these were omg good, I love myself. Lemon tarts with dark chocolate drizzle.

Desserts for 38

Chocolate ganache, peanut-butter ganache dollop.

Buche de Noel 2010

Chocolate peanut butter ganache ~

12 oz. dark chocolate, chopped - semi-sweet is fine.
1 1/3 c. heaving whipping cream.  I use 40%.
Peanut butter of your choice.  I prefer a natural peanut butter.
  •  Place chocolate in a bowl.
  • Heat cream to almost boiling, pour over chocolate.
  • Let sit covered for five minutes.  Stir to smooth.
  • Let sit several hours to thicken.
  • Add peanut butter to taste.
This makes a lot for home use.  Truffles, anyone?

~ Someday ~ 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Forget me not ~

I don't take in large cupcake orders, not for weddings or events.  I find them less appealing than a cake, especially keeping qualities.  But I did take in one last week, for a memorial.  300 cupcakes. Though I didn't have as much time to spend on the accuracy of the flowers as I wished due to the other orders I had in place, then to add 300 cupcakes in a day, it was a lot for me.  It was a lot and I felt blessed to have this particular order.  His favorite color was blue, so I made Forget Me Nots - not so accurate, nice nonetheless.  The table was very pretty when all the different cupcakes were plated.
Baking that order touched me deeply, as I had someone special pass over recently, on November 17th.  I attended her memorial this past Saturday - someone that knew Karin spoke stories of connectedness with the date of November 17th "being a most auspicious day".  Sitting and listening to the story, I started piecing back to where I was that afternoon.  I'm sure for many people - November 17th was a "most auspicious day".  Love is in everything.  So I hope that this isn't morose in anyway - it is a loving gift to know someone, part of that knowing is their passing.

My youngest daughter said the following when I was telling my children of the memorial -- The love in someone's heart always goes to a baby when they die.  She's seven ~ children rock!!  :)

Coconut with cream cheese frosting

Pumpkin with cream cheese frosting
Chocolate with cream ganache

A poem from Karin's memorial ~ *love*

A VaIidiction

If we must part,
Then let it be like this;
Not heart on heart,
Nor with the useless anguish of a kiss;
But touch mine hand and say:
"Until tomorrow or some other day,
If we must part.

Words are so weak
When love hath been so strong:
Let silence speak:
 "Life is a little while, and love is long;
A time to sow and reap,
And after harvest a long time to sleep,
But words are weak."

--Ernest Dowson


Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas cookie season ~

Love dangling

More to do

Well worth the price ~ a lovely baking book.  It's not my recipe, I don't feel right posting from a book source.  If anyone loves Scandinavian baking, this book is so nice to have in one's collection.