Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tarts on Tuesday ~

Your slice.  Do you like corners?

"My.  What a long post you have."

Easy peasy.  Nice and easy.  Though long winded in word.  It's the way I am. 

Tart dough.  Heaven forbid, I was just about out of powdered sugar, thus the granulated and powdered sugars in the same dough.  This makes more than the two tins shown.  Plan on making an extra little tart with the extra dough, say a cute 6" tart. You'll have almost a third dough leftover depending on how thick you line the tins.  Or toss it.  Or cut the flour by a third, the butter by a third, the sugars by a third and use one egg and one yolk.  Or just make as listed.  Options, options, always there are options. 

The ever forgiving tart dough ~

3 c. flour
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
Pinch salt
16 T. cold butter, diced 
2 eggs
  • Mix flour, sugars, salt in food processor, blend.
  • Add butter and cut in on pulse until pebbly.
  • Add the eggs and pulse until it just comes together.
  • Dump on a lightly floured counter and knead a few times if necessary.  Do not over knead.
  • Divide dough into halves to roll out.  There will be quite a bit of excess.
  • Roll out to 1/8"-1/6" thick to line pans.
  • Chill tart pans until ready to use.  I will do five to ten minutes in the freezer if I am to use them very soon, such as baking blind or par-baked shells

Parchment is your friend.  Par-baking for the caramel ganache tart.
Apple tart ~ oh, boy ~ yummers.

Pick your apples.  For pies I prefer a mix of Granny Smith and McIntosh.  For these quickie tarts, I used Granny Smith.  

The sugar and thickener ~

I use approximately 1/4 - 1/3 c. sugar for every two apples I use in tarts.  When I slice and arrange apples as I have in these apple tarts, each serving is a half an apple. Uh huh, I believe that is very generous.  This tart pan takes two apples. Sweetness is up to you, of course.  

I keep tapioca flour on the baking shelf.  I use a teaspoon per cup of sugar for apple tarts.

What this adds up to for this tart ~
(I had extra)

Sweet spinklings ~

1/3 c. sugar
Pinch salt
1/4 tsp. tapioca flour
Scant 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg.  

Is that oatmeal? 

I sprinkle some of the sugar/tapioca on the bottom of the tart, about a tablespoon.   Add struesel and nuts if you like.  I like.  :)
  • Add the apples halves that have been peeled, sliced to 1/4 tsp, fanned a little.  Eat the edges if you need to so that the apples can be laid out like falling dominos in the pan.
  • Sprinkle each apple with approximately 3/4 tablespoon sugar.  More if you like, you'll have enough.
  • Sprinkle optional streusel and nuts. 
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.

Delicious length

The tarts are laid out two by two, hurrah, hurrah

Friday, February 18, 2011

A little whole wheat sweet ~

For the four in the hood

I wanted something less sweet, a little less big, a little less fat, and completely whole wheat.  I wanted something this was not...boy how I do love that recipe, though.  *sugar love*   I also wanted to use the two leftover bananas I had sitting around, though I  prefer berries in my quickbreads.  Today I was merely practical, also working the whole grain momentum I have going and I had extra time to make the kidlets their after school snack.

The texture ~ this will be on the light spongy side as it's low in fat.  It has the hint of banana to it in taste and scent.  I truly like my baked goods less sweet and this first time experiment with ratios and ingredients hit the spot in satisfying that little sumthin'-sumthin'.   

Whole wheat banana cakelettes ~
(is that a word?)

1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg, freshly grated

4 T. butter, softened
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
2 T. white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. maple extract
2 overly ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 c. buttermilk
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Line six 4" pans with parchment.
  • Mix dry ingredients, set aside.
  • Cream butter and sugars, add extract.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  This will be a loose egg/sugar mixture.
  • Add the bananas at this point or wait to fold them in last.
  • Add half the flour mixture, mix well.
  • Add the buttermilk, mix well.
  • Add the remaining flour.
  • Fold in almonds.
  • Divide the batter into the six pans, top with extra almonds.
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes...make sure they spring back to the touch.

Banana almond cakelette

Crumb peek

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Playing in the kitchen with Love ~

Our yield

Bob's Red Mill Basic Pasta Recipe ~

1 1/2 c. semolina flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
2 T. water
2 T. olive oil
  • Beat eggs with water and olive oil
  • Mix flour and salt
  • Add wet to dry, knead 10 minutes.
  • Let rest 20 minutes, covered.
  • Roll as desired ~ we did to #6 on my roller, next time I'll stop at #5.  I prefer a thicker noodle, with some bite to it.
Nests of fresh flour dusted noodles

Love & Play

The obligatory really bad food picture ~ :)  Quick bolognese sauce with our noodles

Monday, February 14, 2011

I love.

Feelings of love in blue.  :)

Sofia's handmade valentine's card for me.  Her pop-up heart, her poem.....
You are my sun in the air.
My little baker.
You are my mayor.
You are a bird in the sky.
I will never know why.
You brighten my spirit.
Happy valentine's day, Mom.

Sofia Mae, 7 yrs. old

Is spreading ganache for someone that is appreciated, spreading love?  Yes.

 1 1/3 c. heavy whipping cream
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
Heat cream to boiling, pour over chocolate.
Let sit five minutes, covered.
Gently stir.
Let sit several hours until ready to spread.
Lick the spatula when done.

Love in the shadows.  

 I have extra hugs and kisses.
Never waiting for someday.
An ample supply.
Some are for you.

Happy Valentine's Day 
Happy Love Day

...love every day 
...love in every choice.

Happy Blue Monday!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Heartfelt conversations with self ~

Where we sit together every night, sharing love and food.  A photo from Summer 2010
  • Can a blog have recipes and no pictures?  Yep. 
  • Am I still blogging for myself, a hobby and my children?  Yes.   
  • (Annie was amiss when I said I was thinking of ridding myself of this hobby...she enjoys this little corner of myself.) 
  • Can I continue to stomach using my current camera, pointing it at my children, the things I love the most?  I don't think so.
  • Have you ever cleansed your spirit of material goods that held unloving energy, retaining only the lesson?  
  • Who is nodding?   
  • Does the search for a camera overwhelm me?  Sort of.  I take mediocre pictures anyway.  I only need something that makes me happy.  Happiness is easy.
Costco has some really cute little cameras for close to a hundred dollars.  I'll be mulling that over.  Until then --

I have several older pictures of food in my files, items I meant to write up the recipes and post.  I could just plug those in until a fresh camera makes its way into our little hood home.  Or I could simply wait to blog when I do get a new camera.  Internal conversations.

The Guest House
by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Crunchy Mocha Love ~

What is a cookie that isn't sweet?  A biscuit?  I am not sure, but this cookie is far from sweet.  This is one another recipe I played around with.  These are the times I feel I have an different than average like for what is not traditional.  This cookie, most likely due to the strong mocha flavor derived from the espresso powder doesn't not register a sweetness on the level of a sable or even a chocolate shortbread.  Given my addiction fondness for all things made with flour, I am fine with the none-too-sweet result of this cookie.  The chocolate ups the sweet factor, especially if using milk chocolate.

For less mocha flavor and more of a straight almond shortbread style taste, leave out the espresso.  Next time I think I will.  

Crunchy Mocha Love ~

8 oz. powdered sugar
1/2 lb. unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla 
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 T. instant espresso powder
9.5 oz. unbleached flour
3.5 oz. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4.5 oz. sliced almonds, chopped
  • Cream the butter and sugar. 
  • In a small bowl, whisk eggs.  Add vanilla and the espresso powder, mix until dissolved.
  • Add the egg mixture to the butter mixture. Mix thoroughly.
  • In a separate bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder and salt.  Add this to butter/egg mixture.  
  • Add the chopped almonds.
  • Wrap the dough and chill for at least two hours.
  • Roll out the dough to 1/8"-1/4" depending on how thin you like your cookies.  
  • Bake at 375 for 12-16 minutes.  They will be a little soft when warm, but will firm up when cool.

Three from the same batch ~ all a little different ~ like my babies

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February 1st, 2011

"I've not been very respectful of that what is love residing in self, especially in the handful of years past.  I think I'll fall in love with myself this year."   This was my thought last week while meandering the aisles of a thrift store, something to do outside my home to keep my mind busy.  A few minutes later I came across this item sitting on a disorganized shelf ~~~~
I've wanted one of these tin molds of this particular shape for double digit years on end, but would never justify the money on what was not a necessity.  I just had to smile at the timing, note what was now necessary and say Thank you ~ 
I'll be making the wonderful mousses I never have because I was waiting for that ridiculous someday that is happening every moment in time.  I'll share the results around Valentine's, for myself, for my children.  Happy-happy-joy-joy.  :)  I like falling in love with everything.    Happy upcoming Valentine's Day -- may you fall in love with everything.  
In the early dawn of happiness
you gave me three kisses
so that I would wake up
to this moment of love.

"The most desired gift of love is not diamonds or roses or chocolate. It is focused attention."
- Richard Warren

"A fool in love makes no sense to me.
I only think you are a fool
If you do not love."
- anonymous quote  

"Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit."
- Peter Ustinov 

"Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. 
They're in each other all along."
- Rumi

 Spring by Mary Oliver

a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring

down the mountain.
All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring.

I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
her tongue

like a red fire
touching the grass
the cold water.
There is only one question:

how to love this world.
I think of her
like a black and leafy ledge

to sharpen her claws against
the silence
of the trees.
Whatever else

my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its cities,

it is also this dazzling darkness
down the mountain,
breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her –
her white teeth,
her wordlessness,
her perfect love.