Tuesday, June 23, 2015

TWD/BCM: Strawberry Shortcakes, Franco-American Style

Hi there!
I'm back.
Actually, I've been here all along.
Baking, taking photos, tasting, enjoying, reading your posts.
But too lazy to blog about it.
I would say "too busy" but that's not entirely accurate.
And I feel guilty enough without adding a lie, LOL!
After missing a few posts, I couldn't decide:
Go back and write each one very very late?
Or lump them all together?
And then there was another one.
And another.
And another.
Did I mention that decision-making isn't my best quality?

Well, let's forget the others for now and talk about the Strawberry Shortcakes.

First let me say that I LOVE Baking Chez Moi! Seriously, every recipe has been surprisingly easy and tasty. Except for one - I'm looking at you, tapioca. Not a quitter. Still working on that one. But I digress. Dorie's stories (did that just rhyme?) and hints for changing up the recipes make it a fantastic book. And this is from someone who never really loved cookbooks. Did I just say that out loud to a bunch of bakers? Sorry. I beg your forgiveness. 

The Strawberry Shortcake recipe drew me in right from the start. I already had all the ingredients. Hello? That's the mark of a great recipe! Doesn't hurt that organic strawberries were on sale this week. And the kids were home for Father's Day. Everybody liked this. What more can I say? 

Chance to pull out some of my
mechanical drawing tools.
The circle template still has tape pads
on the back from the *olden* days
when we physically drew with ink.
Piping is fun. Even from a baggie.
One day I'll remember to buy a 1/2" tip.
And an offset spatula.
This is our Lady.
That's her name. Really.
She didn't care about the
"lady"finger batter but
she loves strawberries.
Here's a little quilt I did of her last year.
It's called "Lady in Blue".

You can find the other Tuesdays With Dorie participants who made Strawberry Shortcake, Franco-American Style here

Much time has passed and there have been many many shoes in the road. This one may not be the most exciting or beautiful, but it's the one I saw today.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

TWD/BCM: Brown Butter and Vanilla Bean Weekend Cake

Hard to find something the patient can eat on chemo day.
But this did the trick.
"It's pound cake," he said.
Well yes.

Dorie explains that they call it a weekend cake in France, because it's something you can take on a picnic or nibble on all weekend. I doubt if this one will make it to the weekend at the rate we're consuming it. 

This nice little cake is enhanced with the flavors of:

- browned butter (WHY haven't I ever browned butter before?)

- lots of vanilla (my bean was more crisp than sticky, so I used extract)

 - and rum ("spiced rum" because it's what we had)


And it was easy. Oh how I love that the recipes in Baking Chez Moi are easy! Thank you Dorie. 

The other Tuesdays With Dorie bakers are here

And for your entertainment, a shoe. This picture was taken in the side mirror of my car. C'mon, you know that's a skill!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

TWD/BCM: Granola Energy Bars

For once, I didn't follow the recipe the first time.
I could have.
Had the right ingredients.
But a chocolate and peanut craving won out.

These bars can be made with any combination of oats, nuts, and dried fruit. I believe there is very little you could do wrong. 

 Here's the secret ingredient.

Thank you, Dorie, for expanding my world. It took two trips around a very large grocery store to find the brown rice syrup. Wouldn't have had the heart to go back and search the second time if I hadn't been waiting for a prescription to be filled. I hope Kroger appreciates its pharmacists as much as I do. 

Got distracted and also picked up some nice cheese while I was over on that side of the store. Heard a little story on NPR this week about a time when a woman first discovered that "some people spend money on really good cheese". That phrase stuck with me and for once I couldn't resist inspecting all the interesting selections at the cheese counter. Three tiny pieces for about $20. Looking forward to savoring them. 

Back to the granola bars. Oh so easy. I may never buy commercial granola bars again. Can't wait to try a variety of different ingredients. I can report that peanuts, raisins, coconut, and dark chocolate make a dynamite combination. The chocolate melted and made the whole thing reminiscent of no-bake oatmeal cookies. But somehow they seem healthier. I'm trying not to think of the carb count. At least this is real food. I know what's in it. My goal for the year is to stop eating food-like products. I don't eat that much junk to begin with, but after consuming "prepared" and "fast" food for a few days on the road, it's obvious how different my body feels. 

The other Tuesdays With Dorie bakers are here. Let's see what kind of granola bars they all made. 

Just for fun, here's an interesting story I found while looking for the NPR story mentioned above (which I did not find). I LOVE Norwegian brown cheese. Sliced extremely thin and piled on top of crispbread. With an apple. Makes an amazing snack. Sometimes you can find it at the regular grocery store. I'ts always available at the farmer's market. Treat yourself. Trust me.

And now a shoe. I was actually in a funeral procession when I first saw this one. Couldn't exactly pull over and take a picture. But after the cemetery and a dinner with long-lost cousins, the shoe was still there waiting. Life is short. Eat well. That's my unsolicited advice for today.

Friday, January 9, 2015

TWD/BWJ: Inside-Out Upside-Down Tirami Su

This is going to be quick.
I'm definitely beginning to appreciate phyllo.
So easy. So good.
Someone remind me about this recipe in July!
Perfect for a hot summer day in Atlanta.

Unfortunately this is the coldest day of the year.
Oh well.
Off-schedule never hurt anybody.

Three components to this little delicacy:
The Sabayon: aka "luscious cream filling"
The Granita: aka "frozen sweetened coffee"
The Phyllo "pillows": half a sheet baked in a little pan,
buttered and sprinkled with ginger sugar

Put them all together and you have something a little light, a little crunchy, a little like tiramisu.
As I said, perfect for a summer day!

The other Tuesdays With Dorie bakers can be found here

And now a summer shoe, so I'll remember it when the time comes:

Thursday, December 25, 2014

TWD/BCM: Buche de Noel

"Just say it's the best thing you ever ate," I begged.

But they HAD to be honest...
"The cake is dry."
"It's too sweet."
"I expected CHOCOLATE!"

At least we had the famous
Starlight Mint Surprise cookies.
Rolled up cake awaits filling and frosting.

Ah well, there are worse things. It was a fun Christmas activity. I even envisioned making it an annual event. I was so proud of myself. The cake baked and rolled up beautifully. The pecans were to die for (everyone agreed on that). The fluffy marshmallow icing was magical. If only the cake had been chocolate. Well, there's always next year.

The other Tuesdays With Dorie bakers can be found here. Most of their families were less demanding, LOL! 

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Fantastic Festivus - whatever your cup of tea - hope it's a good one. Here are a few pictures from our holiday. 

And a shoe. From the family Christmas party. The youngest of the young accidentally lost it while she was eating. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

TWD/BWJ: Chocolate-Mint Nightcaps

Let's get something straight.
These are NOT cookies.
To be fair, the Cookie section of Baking With Julia
describes cookies as "the smallest cakes".
Which is what these are - little filled cakes.
Whoopie Pies, if you will.

Threw raw-egg caution to the wind.
We did enjoy the batter.
We probably won't make them again. Our go-to chocolate mint cookie is a favorite from childhood, Starlight Mint Surprise Cookies. A wondrous combination of crispy brown sugar dough, filled with a mint-flavored chocolate disc and topped with a nut. Not "little cakes". Sorry Nightcaps, when you're up against family tradition it's not a fair fight. Especially when you're not a cookie to begin with.

Maybe if your layers were crispy and sandwiched together with Nutella...  

but that would be a different thing altogether, wouldn't it? Ah well, every recipe can't be a winner.

And then there was the issue of the "nightcap". A mound of chocolate on top that looked very unappetizing. Let's be honest. I'm a dog owner.

But a piping bag full of ganache can be fun. Why in the world would anyone put a dull pile of chocolate poopie on top when there are so many other possibilities?

Unfortunately, these can't be stored easily once they're topped. Which is why the recipe also specified that they must be eaten right away. Who lives in a world where an entire batch of cookies can be consumed immediately? Not me. We now have a little decorate-it-yourself kit in the refrigerator. 

The other Tuesdays With Dorie bakers who made this recipe can be found here.

And a shoe. From Statesboro. We went down there this week to retrieve our girl, and her dog, and her car, which was inoperable and had to be towed - what an experience!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

TWD/BCM: The Rugelach That Won Over France

Can you imagine whipping up a batch of rugelach
just to use up a few ingredients before a trip?
According to Baking Chez Moi, that is exactly what Dorie did.
When her husband shared them with the French flight crew,
she was treated like royalty.
I can understand why.
Hail Queen Dorie!

The last time we made rugelach, it was a HUGE ordeal. Took a kitchen-full of ingredients and at least 3 days if I remember correctly. 

Didn't get near the freezer. Half an hour
or so in the fridge worked great.

Wasn't sure I wanted to take that on again, but kept thinking of Dorie throwing this together on her way out of town. If she could do it, I could. 

And I did. It was SO much simpler than the last time!

The quick processor dough rolled out beautifully and turned into something magical in the oven. 

Tastes like it came from a bakery. You'd never guess it was easy. The hardest part was keeping myself from eating the entire batch. 

Thank goodness I had a church meeting. Great group of women who get together every year and make chrismons to give to the children on Christmas Eve. 

This year we've made something totally adorable. A surprise that can't be revealed just yet. I will say that we made 174 of them. Those ladies deserved a snack.

The links for the other Tuesdays With Dorie bakers are here.

And now, a shoe. Seen once upon a time in the church courtyard: