Thursday, September 11, 2014

TWD/BWJ: Poppy Seed Torte

I tried.
I expected greatness.
But no. Just no.

This one didn't do it for us.
My husband said, "It tastes liquid-y and strange."
That about covers it.

But I did learn some things:

1) Real apricots have pits. And it's easy to over-poach them. Yes, I've led a sheltered life.

OK, they were "plumcots".
But I'm guessing that's pretty close.

2) "Cleaning out" the coffee grinder by running a piece of bread through it is not such a good idea. Gummed it up pretty quickly.

3) Hungry young men will eat anything with a big bowl of ice cream. "It's an acquired taste," my son said. "The first couple of bites were odd, but it's growing on me." (Remember, there was ice cream involved.) 

Feel free to laugh!
Everyone else's torte was so lovely. Mine was just sad.
4) Penzeys Spices is an incredible place. If you have one of these stores near you, please go there. Just for a visit. Personally, I think the website leaves something to be desired (not enough pictures) but if you can go there in person you will be forever changed. All these years I've heard people rave about fresh spices and thought they were just being overly perfectionist. I mean, really, if I had a bottle of something purchased from the grocery 5 years ago, no way I was going to go buy another one. They found spices in the pyramids, for goodness sake! But Penzeys is spice wonderland. There's a store over on the other side of town, and a friend from church was always handing things off to me in little Penzeys bags. The store was on my route to a quilt workshop, so I stopped. Actually I was in search of a spice mix called "Sunny Paris" that someone mentioned in a chicken recipe. I'd forgotten all about the poppy seeds until I saw bags of them. Which is why I took on the Torte. It didn't work out, but the Penzeys experience more than makes up for it.

Very few of the Tuesdays With Dorie bakers seem to have made the Poppy Seed Torte. Probably because of the quantity of seeds required (2 cups!). But some made it and liked it. You can see their links here

Finally, a shoe. Hitching a ride on the back of a truck.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

TWD/BWJ: Baking Powder Biscuits

Biscuit challenge

Baking Powder Biscuits from Baking With Julia
Low-carb Breakfast Biscuits from Up Late Anyway

Let the chips fall where they may.
Looky what I found on the windowsill - 2" biscuit cutter.
Those antique cooking utensils have come in handy lately.

The low-carb ones baked first.
Spread more than I expected.
Next time - muffin tin.

Light and fluffy. And yummy.

OK, let's be honest here. Nothing is going to beat a good old-fashioned made-from-scratch biscuit. Of course they were excellent. I was forced to try one for verification purposes. It wasn't really a fair fight. The low-carb biscuits weren't bad, especially when paired with a great little spaghetti squash casserole. I even found Mr Picky nibbling a second one the next day (though he refused the spaghetti squash). 

To each his own. They both have a place in the world. Speaking of the world, we've been out in it this summer. Another road trip through the Carolinas, Tennessee, the Virginias, and DC. 

Jumping on the...

The Biltmore

America On Parade
at Shenandoah Caverns

Our nation's capitol.
I love the national mall at night.

The National Zoo

And we lost our sweet Sallie, who outlived her sister Rachel by 8 months. Now they're back together again, chasing squirrels and running the green fields of doggie heaven, pain-free at last. But it's hard. The house is still filled with dog beds and unused dishes. I can't bear to part with them. And our one remaining dog, Lady, is lonely.

Here's a shoe. A VERY interesting place to eat in Hendersonville, NC. I was almost out of the lot when my boy spotted it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

TWD/BWJ: Phylloccine Ice Cream Sandwiches

What the heck is Phylloccine you ask?
It's phyllo that's been cut into strips resembling fettuccine.
So now we're making up our own words.

The recipe called for lots of extra goodies that I didn't bother with. Brown-sugar-sweetened whipped cream, a special raspberry/blueberry/mint mixture, and a fancy skewer threaded with berries. No doubt it would have been fabulous that way, but I took the easy way out and I can't imagine anything better than what I just put in my mouth. 

The little phyllo nests take almost no effort. If you're reading this and haven't done it yet, please pull a roll of phyllo out of the freezer, slice some up, drizzle with butter and sugar, and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. That's it. Layer with any ice cream you like and/or fruit and/or whipped cream. Or how about lemon curd? Or chocolate pudding? There are so many possibilities!

This time I used Blue Bell Pistachio Almond ice cream (run and get some now), drizzled with Hershey syrup (don't judge), and topped with a couple of pieces of frozen banana (in the freezer for green smoothies). It was like eating a little piece of heaven. And effortless heaven is pretty darn appreciated around this house.

If you'd like to see the fancy version made by the other Tuesdays With Dorie bakers, their links are here.

To "top it off", a shoe!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

TWD/BWJ: Tropical Napoleons

This is gonna be quick.
Totally lost my mojo for blogging.
But I don't care.

I didn't actually use the Baking With Julia recipe for the meringues. Instead I tried to go low-carb with this recipe. It was OK, but considering that there are still meringues in a storage container over a week later, it's doubtful that I'll make them again. I'll try the real recipe next time. Here are the experiences of people who did it right this time.

made my form out of a paper plate
we used the extra meringue to make some fun shapes

On another note, there was much excitement last week when B3 flew from the nest for the first time (it's called fledging). B3 is an eaglet that I've been watching (via nest cam) since she emerged from the egg 3 months ago at Berry College. The live feed is here. Following this drama has given me a whole new appreciation for the cycle of life. When I saw that she'd fledged on Thursday morning, I jumped in the car and drove up to Rome, Georgia to see B3 in real life. It was a magical day. And I did get to see her fly. Felt as proud as could be. When I think of all that little eagle family has been through - the snow and storms, the burial of the unhatched egg, the day of the intruder, the time mom went missing, the endless stream of meals - what a joy to see it culminate so beautifully.
I was not the only spectator...
There she goes!

Safely back to the nest

Mom and Dad in a nearby tree. He is smaller and sitting
on the branch to the right near the trunk.

This is threatening to get long but I do want to recommend the film "Fed Up!" if you can find it in your area. Here's a list of theatres where it's showing.

And finally, a shoe. Summer has officially begun in the States so here's a shoe from Memorial Day weekend at the lake. My daughter spotted it on an abandoned dock at the back of the cove. It was only there for a few minutes. Long enough for me to get a picture. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

TWD/BWJ: Cantuccini

Full of carbohydrates.
That pretty much says it all.
It's April 15th. Tax day. Tuesday of Holy Week. And chemo day. Not to mention the morning after a "blood moon" and a COLD, rainy, windy day here in Atlanta. It's supposed to drop down to freezing tonight. Things can only get better. 

See how I cleverly pre-shaped the ends?
Biscotti by any other name is still biscotti. They were fine. I tried one or two. Would have been better dipped in chocolate. I mean, there aren't many things that wouldn't be improved by a little chocolate. OK, maybe asparagus. To save myself the torture of not eating them, I sent most of these home with our boy who was here to do his taxes. It only took 2 hours to come up with $0 and $0 on his forms. Turbo Tax asks every question in the universe. Except maybe the important ones, like "how do you plan to make the world a better place?" Or "why do people litter?"

I have other pictures but don't seem to be able to add them anywhere except at the top of this page. I'm tired of trying so let's move on. The other Tuesdays With Dorie bakers are here.

And a shoe. Happy Easter. Or Passover. Or whatever the week may hold for you.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

TWD/BWJ: Potato Lefse

Oh my goodness.
These are amazing.
Spread with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.
Of course, I haven't had flour or sugar in weeks,
but had to taste one (or two - they're very thin).
It wouldn't be right to spend two days making lefse and not know how they taste.
Would it?

For a bit of irony. My reading material today.
And so you can see that duct tape is a valid baking tool.

I didn't have all the special equipment, but I do have a special friend in Norway. When I asked for words of wisdom about lefse, she said "buy them at the grocery"! Ha. Ha. It's been a very long time since we've cooked together, but she was here today in my imagination. 

knew I had a potato ricer somewhere...

well, well, well - might have to use this more often

hanging out with all the low-carb stuff

Used a scoop to portion. Made 28 I think.
Some may have disappeared along the way.

Set off the fire alarm SIX TIMES!
It really doesn't like the smell of burning flour.
Which explains it's disdain for our toaster.

Why do men insist that bigger is better?
He is compelled to use this huge heavy pan to fry bacon.
 Even though it doesn't fit on our stove or in the sink or in a cabinet.
But today it came in handy.
with cream cheese and sliced strawberries
The other Tuesdays With Dorie bakers are here and a video of the lefse-making process is here. The original Baking With Julia video doesn't seem available online. This is Beatrice Ojakangas, who provided the recipe, with Martha Stewart. She has the same ricer I do! But I'm coveting her lefse stick...

And here's a sweet little shoe that seems appropriate for Lent. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

TWD/BWJ: Mocha Brownie Cake

I baked a day EARLY!
It was St Patrick's Day.
So there was no mocha in this cake.
That bottle of Bailey's begged to be used.

You know, while we're at it, I seem to remember that last year we baked a decadent chocolate thing during Lent. And I was low-carbing it then too. But I had a piece anyway. Just to taste. Figured I'd already set the precedent and had a little sliver of this one. It's a good thing my son was here. Sent most of it home with him. It could've gotten ugly for my sweet little fatty liver...

Here we go. Notes to self:
1) Read the directions. There's chilling time to consider. 
2) Be sure you have ALL the ingredients and don't have to run out for cream at the last minute.
3) A little less than 1/4 cup on the liqueur is sufficient. If using coffee, make it strong.
4) Ganache = Heaven. Would this work for dipping bourbon balls? Look into it.
5) Try making little mini-cakes. Cupcake-sized. Or even smaller for a crowd. 
6) Going to need whipped cream, ice cream, or at least a good glass of milk.

This recipe can be found in the Baking With Julia cookbook. The other Tuesday With Dorie bakers are here.

Sorry, I don't have a green shoe for St Patrick's Day. But I did see a boot out in the middle of nowhere while doing the Quilt Shop Hop this weekend. Nowhere is officially Loganville, Georgia. They even have a slogan: "Where the heck is Loganville?" Think it was my first time driving through there and it offered up a shoe in the road. I like the place already.