Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Delicious Little Espresso Cookies~

I stumbled across these on the net on SK's beautiful blog..apparently everyone's faves for a while!
I can see why..

They are perfect if you love shortbreads..I do.. coffee.. I do..and cute..I do:)

You cut them all 1.5 inches by 1.5 inches.. well for my tablespoon of espresso and tablespoon of boiling water container..I had to cut 3 much the cup is 1.5 inches:)

Here is the recipe..

Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
Baking: From My Home to Yours

I have to admit that one of the coolest things about this is the rolling-in-a-bag technique. Why have I never thought of this before? This is a common refrain whenever I make Dorie recipes.

Makes 32 cookies

1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon boiling water
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (plain, or a toffee variety), finely chopped, or 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

1. Dissolve the espresso in the boiling water, and set aside to cool to tepid.

2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth. Beat in the vanilla and espresso, then reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until it disappears into the dough. Don’t work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. Fold in the chopped chocolate with a sturdy rubber spatula.

3. Using the spatula, transfer the soft, sticky dough to a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9 x 10 1/2 inch rectangle that’s 1/4 inch thick. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn’t cause creases. When you get the right size and thickness, seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.

4. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

5. Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board (discard the bag) and, using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares. Transfer the squares to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the sheet.

6. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The shortbreads will be very pale–they shouldn’t take on much color. Transfer the cookies to a rack.

7. If you’d like, dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while they are still hot. Cool the cookies to room temperature before serving.

It surprises me they were always at my fingertips in my beautiful book..:)

Baking From My Home To Yours..

The chef/author? Dorie idol:)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Company~ My favorite kind~And leftover batter~

I am sure you can guess who these were made for~

Little boys like mini cupcakes too:)

I made Martha's Beehive Cake for Mother's Day and froze it..but had some batter left over for these:)

I love having little ones to play for:)

The recipe for the cake..


Serves 10

* 3 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour, plus more for mold
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* Ground cloves
* 6 ounces (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for mold
* 1 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
* 2/3 cup honey
* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* 1 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature
* 6 large egg whites, room temperature
* 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
* 2/3 cup honey
* 1/4 cup light-brown sugar
* 2 2/3 ounces (1/3 cup) unsalted butter
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1/4 cup water
* 1 3/4 to 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
* Marzipan Bees


1. Make the cake: Place rack in center of oven, and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a pastry brush, coat both sides of a beehive mold with butter, making sure to cover all areas. Dust mold with flour, tap out excess, and freeze until ready to use.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and a pinch of cloves. Cream butter and brown sugar with a mixer until pale and fluffy. Reduce the speed; drizzle in honey. Beat on high until very pale and fluffy. Add vanilla. Add flour mixture, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Transfer batter to a large bowl.
3. Whisk egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the egg white mixture into cake batter, then fold in the remaining whites.
4. Divide batter between molds, and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes. Cover with foil, and bake 15 to 20 minutes more (a tester inserted in the middle of the cake should come out clean). Transfer molds to a wire rack, and let cakes cool in pans for 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Turn out cakes, supporting them with your hand, and place flat sides on rack. Let cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 1 day).
6. Carefully trim the flat sides of the cake halves with a serrated knife so each is level. Align the halves to make sure they are flush, then separate.
7. Make the honey glaze: Bring honey, brown sugar, and butter to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add vanilla, and remove from heat. Let cool for 1 minute.
8. Brush a coat of honey glaze on the flat side of each cake half. Gently press halves together, and let set upright for 5 minutes. (If they don't stay together, place a small bowl over top to hold the 2 sides together while glaze sets.) Carefully transfer beehive to a rack set over parchment. Spoon remaining warm honey glaze over cake until the cake is completely covered. Let stand until set.
9. Make the sugar glaze: Bring water to a boil. Add 1 3/4 cups sugar, and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat; let cool for 3 minutes. Spoon some glaze over cake. (If too runny, add more sugar until glaze is the consistency of thick honey.) Pour 1/2 of the glaze over cake, letting it drizzle down the sides. Let set for 5 minutes, then spoon remaining glaze on top. Arrange marzipan bees on cake, pressing gently to adhere to glaze. Serve immediately.

I'll post the cake after Mother's Day..once it's finished..I sure like the little mold.
I have not made the glazes yet and simply iced the cupcakes with vanilla icing and added the Jumbo Sprinkles.. Cause our boys love sprinkles.

See those little hands? Another pair of equally edible little boys hands will be holing my cupcakes soon..

September.. a baby brother for Lucas(Lulu) and Maxime..(Max):)
A new cousin for Noah..:)

Têtes De Violon~Fiddlehead Ferns~

When our Secret Garden awakes..The Scillas pop up first..and soon after..almost simultaneously..

The Fiddleheads pop up and start to unfurl~

I have a 3 day grace period to gather them and bring them in to use in the kitchen~

I pick many..and leave more than most..

I bring them in a clean them.. then steam them for 15 minutes..
Ice bath shock them..and use them the same day..
I made quiche this time..

The recipe is simple..
You favorite crust..blind baked..

I used 3 eggs..

Ap. 3/4 cup of milk
1 cup of grated cheese

I sautéed 3/4 of the prepped fiddleheads in bacon ,garlic , shallots and red peppers..
Mixed into the eggs and cheese and milk and poured into the blind baked crust w/ favored herbs..
Topped with the remaining fiddleheads.. and some more cheese..baked at 400 for almost 1 hr..

I love their name..I love their taste..and I love that I pick them~

A brief pleasure..that I look forward to every year~
I used a 6 inch springform pan that is perfect for 2 meals for Jacques and I.
We had a side of home made coleslaw and some small tomatoes..
A nice light meal.
I find they are beautiful!

You must pick them as soon as they pop up.. do not wait for their unfurling..that's when you enjoy taking their photos..They are green divas who love being the center of attraction in the Secret Garden.:)

Maple Syrup Cookies~

We love real maple syrup..when I read this recipe at Dinner With Julie's I knew I had to make them..

I added Callebaut white chocolate chunks..instead of the chips because I didn't have the chips..

And I had made AnnT's fudge a while ago which I had kept in the cold room(Keeps beautifully) I added some small pieces of that too:)

Perfect addition to an already delicious cookie.

Here is the recipe I found on Julie's I'll be making her bubbles:)

Maple Walnut White Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (not flavoured pancake syrup)
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla or maple extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup each white chocolate chips/chunks and chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar and maple syrup until well combined — the mixture will have the consistency of wet sand. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Add the flour, baking soda and salt (stir them together first only if you want to) to the butter-sugar mixture and stir by hand until almost combined; add white chocolate and walnuts and stir just until blended. It may seem dry at this point - I always find it easiest to get in there with my hands toward the end.

Drop spoonfuls of dough (or roll rough walnut-sized balls) about 2” apart on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Flatten each a little with your hand, just to give them a head start. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until pale golden and set around the edges but still soft in the middle. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 20 cookies.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Soul Food~Numéro 1.

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." -
-- Marcel Proust

The French number was a download that Sweet Fifi shared with us a couple of years ago on her site.Merçi Fifi...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The March Of The Penguins~

Last night we celebrated both our Son-In-Laws birthdays at one of our daughters homes..She made an exceptional lasagna(2) ,Caesar salad, smoked salmon entrée ..and garlic bread..our other daughter made a strawberry cheesecake..Everything was divine:)

I offered hors d'oeuvres..
Ever since I saw these at Mary's..

I knew I had to make them..especially since all the children were there yesterday..Even Lulu said Oh those are really cute nana! (the 3 year year old)..
They are!
Max licked a tummy and gave it back..I think Adamo ate all of his and Giuliana did too..I think even Lulu ..the adults didn't just lick.

They are so much fun to make..

And fun to photo..:)
You simply buy reg black pitted olives and colossal ones for the body.. split the chest cavity and insert cream cheese..cut a little piece off a slice of carrot that will become the feet and the the nose..:) I festooned their heads with Mardi Gras feathers..but plain toothpicks hold them beautifully together.

The next appetizer I brought is delicious..Romanesco dip..I had made similar red pepper dips but never with bread incorporated..
Keeper Recipe from Dinner With Julie~

I used my own roasted red peppers.. 2..that I have in the freezer..we make them every fall..they are lightly kept with some olive oil and fresh basil and garlic..
You add pine nuts that you have toasted with garlic on the stove.. whirl it all up with bread salt to taste.. olive oil to make a mayo consistency.. and paprika..I used smoked paprika,
It is delicious!

And last but not least..We had Kevin's Reuben Dip..Unfortunately I only have a pre-baked photo as I baked it at my daughters..

Half on the BBQ(no power!) then finished in the oven..Yay! Power came back on!
It was bubbling hot and disappeared quickly..I recommend all 3 of the above..

3 thumbs up..
And I think it's so great we can share so many recipes through the web..and more often than not be very pleased with the results.
Thanks to all.

Friday, April 24, 2009

At Last~Enfin~

Slowly but surely the earth is awakening~
The daffodils are resplendent!

The Scillas are bluetiful!

It's all coming together nicely this year..slowly..but surely...

Another little busy day..But outside small miracles are happening..and inside ..miracles brighten the days..

We ate a very light dinner.. we are going out for dinner tomorrow and we both wanted to KISS tonight..

In La Presse..a Montréal French newspaper we get.. last week... the food section featured..Escargots:) They are back IN with a vengeance here..
One of the recipes featured "Escargots Nests"..
Well I just had to:) They became "Le Must" of the week..

Delicious little marinated morsels baked in Kataifi nests..

Not only are they pretty. enough to eat:) But they are very good also..
IF you love escargots like we do..

La Recette~

You can always simmer your rinsed escargots in a bouillon..

But I have found lately that marinating them long enough in the marinade of choice is sufficient.
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp finely grated ginger
1 tbsps Soya Sauce
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Melted Butter

Take some Kataifi and cut in pieces..

Add melted butter to form small nests and place in mini muffin cups.

Add your marinated escargots and bake for ap 12 mins at 350 F.

Until the nests become slightly golden.
Place on serving dish and drizzle some marinade.

They would have been perfect for Easter also.
Nests..I love them..I have finches in our birdhouses and they are bringing me great joy .They are so so cute!

Pasta Al Tonno~

A quick.. easy and delicious meal~

For this Tuna in olive oil is best..
Simply empty the contents..add crushed red chili peppers,garlic,parsley and a bit more evoo if you wish..

Mash a bit..then add the pasta..cooked of your choice.. with pine nuts.. fresh parsley..and for those of you who can eat cheese with fish(we can) grate some fresh Reggiano on top.

Takes the time it takes to cook the pasta.

For sandwiches I buy tuna in water..but for this I prefer with the oil.
If you are super busy may take a liking to this.
With a side's pretty well rounded.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Do You Know Halloumi?

What Is Halloumi?

Halloumi is a traditional cheese from Cyprus, the island in the Mediterranean Sea.

Halloumi has a higher melting point than other cheese what makes it suitable for frying and grilling. You almost won't find any BBQ in Cyprus without the use of halloumi.

It is also very common in warm months, to eat halloumi together with watermelon. The juicy slices of the watermelon are quite refreshing while the slices of halloumi give the delicious taste.

Halloumi is also one of the dishes that are usually served within a Cyprus Meze and very often you also will see a few slices of halloumi accompanying a cold beer ordered in a taverna.

One of our son-in-laws introduced us to Halloumi..and then the other did too:)
I've jumped on the bandwagon.What I love about this cheese is that you can bake or grill it and it keeps it's shape..

It's lovely threaded on brochettes..and grilled..or grilled and served on a salad of your choice..
I used spinach..mixed greens,english cucumbers,red peppers,tomatoes, and toasted pine nuts..add your favorite vinaigrette and you're all set~

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Taste of Morocco~

Roasted bell peppers with goat cheese,preserved lemons, onion and parsley~

We ate at a friend's home Saturday night and the feast was inspired by food found in this cookbook..

I loved this salad..the fact that you drizzle the oil you baked the peppers in on the salad afterwards is the perfect finishing touch.
Nancy used the preserved lemons I gave her..which pleased me..It was a nice thing to do...

We had Lamb and Date stew.. everything was just delicious.
It's fun to learn new types of cooking..

Here is the simple delicious recipe for you if you care to try it. Feta would be perfect also.

3 fleshy orange yellow or red bell peppers
or combine the 3 colors

3 tbsps argan or olive oil
6.5 ounces of crumbly goat cheese or feta

1 red onion finely chopped
1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley

1 rind of preserved lemon finely chopped or sliced

Preheat oven to 350
Put the peppers in a baking pan pour the oil over and bake ap 30 mins
Until the flesh is soft and wrinkly and slightly buckled
Remove from oven and when cold enough remove the skins
Cut each pepper in half lengthwise and remove the seeds.
Put the peppers on a serving dish
Crumble the goat cheese over the peppers
Mix the chopped onion with the parsley and scatter over the peppers
Drizzle the roasting oil and sprinkle with preserved lemon
Serve while peppers are still warm or at room temperature.
With dessert,their traditional mint tea would be delicious.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Almond~ Toffee Biscotti~And The Piano Man~

When we had our Sunday with prosciutto morning at Jojo's.. she served us a Nonni's Almond Toffee Biscotti with her wonderful coffee and said she was sorry that Costco didn't carry them after the holidays..

I wanted to try and make some..The above is my first try..not for Biscottis but for this recipe she loves..
I think they will do just fine...until she can buy more:)

They are really good! How could they not? Toffee..almonds..chocolate:)

Dipped in an afternoon or breakfast treat..Bon!!

I found the recipe here..

There are more..but so far..I like this one enough to stick to it..
Almond Toffee Biscotti~
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons Amaretto, or 1 1/2 teaspoons of almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup slivered almonds
3/4 cup toffee bits

Step 1: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Step 2: Line cookie sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
Step 3: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, almonds, and toffee bits; set aside.
Step 4: In a large bowl, beat together eggs, Amaretto, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer.
Step 5: Mix in dry ingredients with eggs, mix until combined. Dough will be sticky, but do not add more flour.
Step 6: Flour surface of parchment paper lined cookie sheet, roll dough out on surface into a log about 3 inches in diameter.
Step 7: Bake about 50 minutes, or until firm and dry.
Step 8: Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
Step 9: Use a serrated knife and cut into 1/2-inch slices.
Step 10: Lay slices cut side down on cookie sheet and return to even for 20 minutes.
Step 11: Remove from oven and turn slices over and bake another 20 minutes.
Step 12: After removing from oven, cookies will dry as they cool.

My notes..I substituted 1/4 cup of the 1 cup of granulated sugar w/ brown..

Next time..I would roll into 2 logs..and make them a bit smaller.
But..the recipe is near perfect:)

This is a brief little blog this weekend..I have been busy..

But I have to share something so cute..

Noah is our youngest grandson..9 months old.. he started standing up on his own this week..

Since his mommy was carrying him.. she played piano for him .. every day.. then when he was born.. she played for him also:)

Yesterday he got up by the piano..and stretched and stretched on his 2 inch feet..on tippy toes.. and look..:)He played with both hands:) To me this is just too cute for 9 months old:)

The Little Piano Man~

Have I mentioned I just love my grandsons to bits?
All 3 like to hear the sound of their fingers on the piano..but Noah.. is the first to go to it..stand at it..and play :)Well... play..I use the term lightly:)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Radish-Chive Tea Sandwiches w/ Sesame and Ginger

A recipe we had at our daughter's a little while back and I asked her for the recipe they were so good..And she added her own twist..

She put the mixture on Croûtons..and served them as hors-d'oeuvres.
They are truly delicious..

The recipe is from Epicurious and you can find the recipe further below..
The Fleur De Sel is optional..But I always use it..when optional:)

We had those as a light lunch today..on the small deck with the sun shining..
I served Virgin Caesar's garnished Chuck Hughes Fashion..

Freshly grated horseradish..And a Crab Claw.

MY DD is going to his very popular resto Sunday for her husband 's birthday.

It all tasted like Spring..
Thanks..I needed that.

And the recipe..

4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons minced chives, divided
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
3/4 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
16 1/4-inch-thick baguette slices
10 radishes, thinly sliced


Mix butter, 2 tablespoons chives, sesame seeds, ginger, and oil in small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Spread butter mixture over each bread slice. Top with radishes, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with remaining chives and fleur de sel, if desired.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Little French Delights~

Sablés Nantais~

I love all the French butter cookies..I love all the English butter cookies..:)

But these caught my eye at a very rich in content fabulous food blog here....a Gourmand site

All her recipes seem delicious and this little cookie is no exception I am certain..
I love the fact that it looks so French..tastes so French ..and the Egg wash incorporates Caramel.I had never done that.
The recipe is simple with some regular flour and self rising..half and half..

It has butter..sugar and eggs..
And they are perfect for my Provençal Nantes Trivet.

A little bit of sunshine~

And the link..