Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Pumpkin Floral Centerpiece

320.  This is a beautiful and easy centerpiece for fall.  It's fresh flowers, live pumpkin and a few additives that will be a stunning conversation piece. 
Start with a pumpkin, any size you would like, fresh flowers from your garden or the florist and a few floral pics or floral filler and an oasis block.
Cut a square in the top of the pumpkin then scoop out the seeds and discard.  Cut oasis block to fit the opening and soak the block in warm water till completely saturated.  Place wet block in the opening of the pumpkin.
I picked marigolds from my garden to use as filler and completely cover the oasis block.  Then begin to add flowers in three levels:  tall, medium and short.  Accent with floral picks such as berries, corn stalks or fall leaves.
 There is no need to add a bow or ribbon.  The arrangement will stun and delight as the focal point of your table, centerpiece or coffee table.

"Creativity is intelligence having fun."
-Albert Einstein

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Fish Tacos

319.  Today was a "craving day" for Fish Tacos.  I just had to have them!!!
Bobby Flay had a great recipe he shared on his Boy Meets Grill episode of Fish taco.  You can see the episode here:

Here is my process and I must say, this recipe was flavorful, memorable and one to come back to time after time.

I also made sides of refried beans and Spanish rice to accompany the tacos.
 Condiments were chopped cabbage and radishes,  my homemade salsa, scallion, red onion and limes and sour cream.  Delicious!!

"Take risks and you'll get the payoffs.  Learn from your mistakes until you succeed."

-Bobby Flay

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Pumpkin Pie Biscotti

318.  Thanksgiving is near and I'm trying a new recipe for Pumpkin Pie Biscotti.
I experimented with a few recipes and found that if you add to a plain recipe; 1/2 cup purée pumpkin, canned or fresh along with pumpkin pie spices: 1/2 tsp clove, tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ginger and 1/4 cup flour with the dry ingredients,  1/2 cup chopped Ghirardelli white chocolate and 1/2 cup chopped will have a great variation to your biscotti recipe.
 The texture of your batter should be moist but not dry or sticky and should be able to hold the shape of a log once formed.  Bake as your recipe states but make sure you do not over bake.  It should be browned and firm.
 I use Ghirardelli white chocolate baking bars because they melt smoother and will not become hard inside your biscotti. The white chocolate chips always seem to burn or become very hard when baked.
Once the biscotti are finished I make a drizzle of white chocolate and a teaspoon or more of crisco to bring the chocolate to a runny consistency for drizzling.
Experiment with your recipe and see how easy it is to change and adapt a recipe to new flavors.
Here is a great link to a variety of biscotti recipes:

"Like most things in life, rushing the process only leads to disappointment."
- Mary Berry, Britains Great Bake Off

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Brown Sugar Sandwich Cookies w Browned Butter Nutella Cream Filling

317.  Brown Sugar Sandwich Cookies with Browned Butter Nutella filling!!!  Now this cookie is a keeper.

Brown Sugar Sandwich Cookies w Browned Butter/Nutella Cream Filling

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup butter
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup milk

1/4 cup butter, browned
1/2 cup nutella spread
1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Beat the sugars and butter till creamy light.  Add baking powder, salt and extract, beat till incorporated.  Add eggs one at a time and blend well.  Add flour and milk alternately beginning with flour.  Batter will be thick but fluffy.
Scoop the batter onto parchment with Tablespoon cookie scoop for consistency.  Bake for 6 to 8 minutes looking for spring in the top and light brown around edge.  Set aside to cool completely.  

To make the filling place 1/4 cup butter in a small stainless pot on medium high heat.  Melt the butter and continue to simmer.  The butter will sizzle and foam and once the foam has completely subsided and the butter is clear, remove from the heat. Cool.  There will be brown bits at the bottom of the pan.
Pour the melted butter and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan into a mixing bowl.  Add the Nutella, sugar and vanilla.  Blend together till creamy and spreadable, adding milk if needed or more confectioner's sugar.

Spread the filling onto bottom of a cookie and then top with another cookie.  They will be slightly sticky to the touch and should not be stacked on top of each other.  Great to eat immediately.
Freeze well.
These cookies will disappear before your eyes!

"Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy Nutella, and that is the same thing."
- Urban Quote

Friday, November 4, 2016

Garden Canning

316.  Canning tomatoes is a must each autumn.  My tomato plants were great producers with constant tomatoes on the vine from May through November.  I purchased the plants in March at a plant distributor in Brooklyn, NY.  It was very early but I brought them home and kept them warm and watered till May.  These plants were significantly hardy and healthy as opposed to plants that I would buy locally in town.   Along with tomato plants I purchased flowers and herbs, which were also good quality and productive.

Each week would produce a basket full of tomatoes and cucumbers.  There are only so many tomatoes you can eat fresh.  The rest were destined to be sauce, salsa and marinara.  Towards the end of the growing season, when the temperature stayed below 70degrees, the tomatoes that were green were very useful for green salsa.  And can I say, the green salsa turned out "magnificent"!
 I still use some of the old canning jars my mom gave to me and others purchased at flee markets and yard sales.  My funnel was purchased in my first year of marriage when we lived in Seattle, Washington.  We loved to go to Remlinger Farms, pick apples and enjoy the beautiful scenery in Carnation, Washington.  Here is the link:
I was able to put up 3 batches of tomato sauce and marinara as well as 2 batches of salsa in pint jars.  This was the best tomato growth I can remember in many, many years.  Not to mention the great fresh basil, parsley and oregano growth as well.  Ahhhh, homemade sauce, nothing like it!

"There ain't nothin' better in life than true love and a home grown tomato."
-Old Saying 


Blog Widget by LinkWithin