Thursday, April 30, 2009

China Cabinet

72.  Being the collector that I am...dishes happen to be in that category.  It is enjoyable to see and read blogs of dish collectors and those who enjoy "Table scape" with their dishes.  

Several months ago, when I was pining of the lack of cabinet space and how it would be so nice to have a china cabinet, my brother-in-law mentioned someone who has a cabinet they want to give away.  "What"!  How exciting!  We exchanged phone numbers and my sweet honey went and picked it up for me.  Just about all my furniture is well loved pieces handed down to a very appreciative recipient or selected graciously from the road side.  Alright...dumpster diving or garbage spotting.  New is great...but vintage *smile* is very good. 

The cabinet is not vintage but has a good deal of space to store all my pieces that have been in boxes in my garage.  And it fits perfectly in our dining room.
"Frugality may be termed the daughter of Prudence, 
the sister of Temperance, 
and the parent of Liberty." 
  ~Samuel Johnson

Monday, April 27, 2009


71.  Brioche is a beautiful, delicious, rich French bread.  This bread is made in as many different shapes, as bakers who make it.  But the classic brioche is baked in a fluted pan and finished off with a "knot" on top of the loaf.  

I first became acquainted with brioche when my daughter had a project in French bring in a French "food item" for a grade.  Into my cookbooks I dove head first and found "Brioche".  It was a great challenge for us and of course something we love to do...bake.  But to find an authentic brioche baking pan was the next problem.  I searched many cooking supply stores and finally found one at "The Kitchen Shoppe, Inc." in Carlisle, PA.  What a wonderful store!!!  Since then, I have purchased various sizes of brioche baking pans...they are so beautiful! 
A blog that I read, "Tongue in Cheek" was having a give-away of authentic bakery brioche pans from France...with a French Tin Giveaway...but I wasn't one of the winners...oh well!  Maybe next time.

The French Teacher enjoyed the bread so much she decided to have "French Food Day" two months later.  I experimented with several different recipes.  The most memorable one was when the recipe suggested you make the dough the night before, shape it and place it in the refrigerator overnight, then take it out and let the dough rise.  In the morning, the dough was bursting!  I turned on the oven, and baked the bread.  It looked beautiful.  I sent it with my daughter to school.  When she got home I asked how the brioche was...her expression was priceless.  She told me when they went to cut into the bread it was raw dough in the center!  I learned that day not to "try out" a recipe when you are sharing it. 

I made some brioche for Easter and it was delicious!
My dough turned out rose so high it pushed the lid of the bread machine open.
The bread machine does such a beautiful job.
Transfer the dough to a bowl and then divided it between 6 pans
The key to the knot attaching to the roll is to form a well in the dough.
Then roll the small piece of dough into a lightbulb shape.
Brush the dough with egg wash after it is done baking and then return
the bread back into the oven for 5 more minutes.
It was delicious!!!   You can Google "Brioche" and find many recipes.  

"Bread is the warmest, kindest of all words.
 Write it always with a capital letter, like your own name."
 ~ from a café sign

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cornmeal-Crusted Fish Sticks

70.  The infamous Fish Stick...purchased from the frozen section of the super market.  Packaged in a cardboard box.  Advertised as ocean fresh, classic, premium and succulent.  Sounds convincing, right?  We've all tasted those fish sticks or as some call them fish fingers.  but I don't recall the succulent part...only the processed, compressed fish parts.

I was delighted to find a recipe for "real" ocean fresh, classic, premium and succulent fish sticks.  The recipe was in the "Everyday FOODS" magazine for "Cornmeal-Crusted Fish Sticks"
We made the recipe for dinner and it was easy and a keeper!
The suggested fish is tilapia and the coating is corn meal.  
The tilapia is easy to work with and to cut into long finger size pieces.
We fried the sticks in two batches and kept the first batch in the oven.
The fish sticks were perfect and easy to pick up and eat with your fingers.
And they looked beautiful and tasted delicious!

“Enchant, stay beautiful and graceful, but do this,
 eat well.
 Bring the same consideration to the preparation of your food
 as you devote to your appearance.
 Let your dinner be a poem, like your dress.”
 ~ Charles Pierre Monselet 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls

69. When I think of cinnamon's a happy thought. You know, when you walk into a bakery and the aroma of warm cinnamon rolls draws you and makes your mouth water. It is such a yummy smell. I found this site that has a "Clone of a Cinnabon" recipe.

Today our house had that wonderful smell of cinnamon rolls baking. My recipe came from a fantastic friend of mine named Barb. She gave me her recipe about 20 years ago and it remains to be the very best cinnamon roll recipe I have ever tried. Barb taught me also, how to make Baklava and her Hawaiian Bread is fantastic. She's beautiful as well! I miss you Barb!

The Best Cinnamon Rolls

1 ½ cups milk
1 ½ cups water
1 cup shortening or oil
⅔ cup sugar
2 teaspoon salt
(1 Tablespoon lemon zest)
4 teaspoon dry yeast
9 cups flour
4 eggs
sugar white or brown
pecans or walnuts

❂ ❂ ❂ ❂ ❂ ❂ ❂ ❂

Heat milk, water, shortening or oil, sugar, salt to 120º -130º. Mix undissolved yeast with 3 cups flour. Add liquids to flour yeast mix. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Add eggs 1 cup flour. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. (I included 2 teaspoons of lemon zest to my dough as well and it added an extra "yum factor".) Stir in remaining flour. Turn onto floured board. Let rest 10 minutes. Knead only 12-15 times until smooth. Put in oiled bowl, turn and cover with saran wrap. Place in warm environment and let raise about 1 hour till doubled in size. Punch down and form into two balls.

If you use a bread machine, place all liquids in first: warm milk, water, oil, lemon zest, egg and salt. Add all the flour, sugar, yeast and set machine on "dough" setting. In an hour or so, you will have dough ready to shape into rolls. (I cut the recipe in half to assure it fits in the machine.)

On a floured surface roll out each ball into a rectangle approximately 22"x 14". Spread with melted butter,
sprinkle sugar or brown sugar and a generous amount of cinnamon.
Sprinkle raisins and nuts over
as an option. (I leave some of the rolls without nuts or raisins
for anyone who likes them plain.)
Roll up dough along long edge. Brush edge with water and seal.
Slice rolls as desired,
thin or thick slices and place on a greased baking sheet with edges or
place in a greased baking pan.
Cover and let rise for 15 minutes.
Bake in a 350º oven
for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

For caramel rolls, mix heavy cream and brown sugar and pour into bottom of baking dish. Place sliced rolls onto the cream sugar base, cover and let rise for 15 minute.
For Icing
Mix 2 Tablespoons soft butter with 2 cups powdered sugar and small amount of vanilla. Add milk till desired consistency for icing.
Pour over warm rolls.
Can you smell the warm cinnamon and yeast dough?

"The smell of good bread baking,
like the sound of lightly flowing water,
is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight."
~ M.F.K. Fisher

Friday, April 17, 2009

Thyme Honey Glazed Ham

68. Easter Dinner is always one of my favorite meals. This year we stayed close to home and prepared an easy delicious meal with trimmings. I went online and found several yummy recipes and they were all very pleasing. My centerpiece was a flower scape with grass and mini daffodils.

We made a scrumptious baked ham and used
the "Thyme Honey Glazed Ham" recipe and it turned out beautifully.
Instead of mashed potatoes and gravy, I made "Scalloped Sour Cream Potato Bake",
Ham gravy is so very salty and I never seem to enjoy it.

My mother told me that the Polish always have beets and horseradish with their Easter meal so for color I served Buttered Asparagus and Beets. I found several recipes for beets but didn't like all the extras that were added...a cooked, buttered, beet is one of the most delightful flavors of childhood for me.
Horseradish and pickles on the side, to be Polish.
And Brioche with that is French...oh well.
Dinner was so delicious...I wanted it to last for hours and hours.
For dessert we had coffee, savored
and Polish Easter Bread. And, played several rounds of "Dutch Blitz"
(..are you practicing K?)
We enjoyed a restful day, besides my tumble onto the kitchen floor with hot asparagus tossed up in the air! Yes, I slipped and fell on a patch of water...from the ice cube our dog was eating...slipped with a pot of hot asparagus I was taking to the sink to drain and landed on the floor. My family thought I passed out...I was just mad the asparagus was on the floor!!! But, I'm ok...a little sore...and shook up...but ok. No more ice cubes for the dog!

"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference."
~Winston Churchill

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Treat

67. A trip to Panera is always a treat for me...especially the coffee!  
I like to order the "Pick Two" combination, sandwich with a salad or soup and a black coffee! 
This is the Chipotle Chicken Sandwich on Artisan French Bread and
the Low Fat Vegetarian Black Bean Soup.  
And a cup of joe to go...Hazelnut.  I usually don't like 
flavored coffee unless it is with a dessert, but there is
something so good about Panara's Hazelnut blend...I get
it every time!  I've even sampled a sip from each of the 
coffee choices...and always go back to Hazelnut. 
And, of course, before you leave the just have
 to go and LOOK at the pastries, bagels and breads.  
Just a look is enough for makes me want to go home a bake =-)
But if you are wondering...the cheese danish and Asiago Bagel are my favorites!

I love that you can go on-line to check out the menu items and their nutritional value and calorie count.  Take a look here at Panera Bread.

"Hunger:  One of the few cravings
that cannot be appeased with another solution." 
 ~Irwin Van Grove

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Chicken with Artichokes and Angel Hair

66. "Everyday FOOD" Magazine is a wonderful little book you can pick up
at any grocery check out.  Each magazine is filled with easy, interesting and classic recipes.
  This recipe from the March 2009 issue, 
for "Chicken with Artichokes and Angel Hair" was delicious.  

While I was preparing the chicken I realized, I need to get a new gadget for my kitchen...a meat mallet to flatten my meat, instead of using my rolling pin...and scaring the dog silly.
There were several steps to follow but the process was very easy 
and the outcome tasted great!  
I made a note to add the artichokes a little earlier to the sauce, less capers  
and use parmesan cheese as well to balance out the tangy flavor of the capers.
Even my 10 year old enjoyed it.


"As a child my family's menu consisted of two choices:  
take it or leave it." 
~Buddy Hackett


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