Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving is Here!

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

I wil begin by letting you know that the USB ports on my computer are shot and I cannot download/upload/whatever the photos on my computer. So I will have to be creative about my post so that you are not bored to death with out my gorgeous (cough, giggle) photos that I usually fill the page with.

Maybe Santa will bring me a new computer? A girl can dream can't she? Well, if he reads my blog I want him to know that I want one of those adorable(and unexpensive) tiny web books that I can carry in my purse. They are perfect for me. Not too complicated. I will own that computers are not my thing...the kitchen, that is my thing.

As you might have guessed Thanksgiving is my second favorite holiday. Halloween being number one, of course! Thanksgiving is all about food and I am all about food...a perfect match!

I tried my hand a cooking a spatchcocked turkey yesterday. For those of you who dont know: spatchcocked means that I removed the backbone and laid the fowl flat out on a baking sheet to cook. [I borrowed this photo from Retorte.] I LOVE this method. I will never again cook a big rounded bird in my oven.12 lbs took slightly over an hour and it was perfect. So juicy and not at all sawdust like in texture. I am ready for Thursday! 20 lbs of turkey bliss!

I am also making a potato gratin. YUM! Purple potatoes, russets and a smoky oak flavored cheddar cheese...I am salivating and it is only Monday. As to not elude the goal of this holiday and engage in full force gluttony I am also preparing sweet potatoes slow cooked in whisky, molasses and butter. To appease the Thanksgiving gods I made vanilla bean marshmallows to top these beauties. It is the tradition that just won't die. It is not so bad really, but there are so many other ways to prepare sweet potatoes that are more palatable. OH, well. Tradition it is.

Green bean casserole..check. An embarrassment to great cooks everywhere...but I will own the fact that is just wouldn't be thanksgiving without it.

Pull apart clover rolls....check. Making these beauties myself. I love to make bread. (and eat bread)

Cornbread dressing...check. Less is more here, simple is best. No fancy additives for me.

As for the sweets...I can't decide. My father in law requires a pecan pie, so that makes one part of the decision. My stomach gets so excited and filled with butterflies about all the possibilities and I cannot make a decision. More pie? A cake? Some bread pudding perhaps? Delicate cookies? Hearty cookies? Cup cakes? Mousse? Cheesecake? What the hell..gluttony here we come...

Pecan pie
Pumpkin cheese cake
Bread pudding with whisky sauce, of course!
Cranberry Snickerdoodles
Tiny chocolate silk pies
Lace cookies filled with cranberry mousse

Problem solved!

I had better get to cleaning the house. Thanksgiving would be no fun with out stay over guests and they like to have a place to sleep. So, Happy cooking! I know I will be.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

To dream..., I have been worse than usual about posting.

This post is one that will update from time to time. I am going make a running list of the kitchen tools and items that I would like to add to my life. I am doing this because I never remember the things that I want until I need them and then it is too late. This way I can keep track of things and eventually have everything I need to whip up anything I want. Ah, to dream the impossible dream...

1. A popover pan
2. Cast Iron Mortar & Pestle
3. A high quality pasta maker
4. Ravioli Stamp With Ejector
5. Restaurant Style Waffle Maker
6. Heating Core for Baking Cakes
7. Cream Horn Molds
8. Bakers' Blades
9. Professional French Bread Pan
10. Bron Professional Stainless Mandolin
11. Small Cannele or Bordelaise Silicone Mold
12. Mini Florentins & Pomponettes Silicone Mold
13. Non-Stick Oven Liner
14. Candy & All-Purpose Digital Thermometer
15. 15.5 Qt. Pressure Cooker/Canner
16. Porcelain Egg Coddler
17. Traditional Single Egg Poacher
18. Ceramic Butter Keeper
19. Fluted Pastry Cutter
20. Pizza Peal
21. Large Thick Square Baking Stone
22. Lets Gel Chef's Mat
23. Smart Stick Hand Immersion Blender in Green
24. Roasting Pan with a nice thick bottom and crimped edges
25. Macajete Stone (Grinding Bowl)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mallorcas: A Puerto Rican Treat

I will begin by filling you in on what I have been up to.

Last week I had a special order for a birthday. Kevin, the son of a woman who works with my husband, was turning two and I was commissioned for the edible portion of the celebration. I love to make sweets for kids.

They can be colorful and exciting while maintaining the simple flavors that I enjoy working with most. As I have mentioned before I feel that food should be simple and who better to appreciate a simply delicious snack than the most truthful of patrons, a child? I made one dozen each of crème filled chocolate and confetti vanilla cupcakes. I iced both with a vanilla butter cream and topped them with their respectively appropriate jimmies.

The birthday boy’s cupcake was special: a vanilla cake baked with black berries inside; this cake, when cut open, was a beautiful purple color and carried in it the light flavor of the berries which balanced nicely with the vanilla. I iced his with the butter cream also, but I topped it with fresh fruit: a cherry, a black berry, a section of navel orange and a strawberry. All of this was carefully guarded by a small robot, just for fun.

Here is a picture of my most handsome client, Kevin Hui, enjoying his 2nd birthday celebration:

I think we can safely say he liked it. In case you wondered, there were no cup cakes left over.

The real point of today’s entry is to share with you a most magnificent discovery: Mallorcas.

I was perusing Tastespotting looking for a dose of inspiration and, as usual, I found some. The picture posted on the site made my mouth water, always a nice beginning. I clicked on over to the site,, and was delighted to find a wonderful, nix that, really really wonderful post explaining the entire process beginning to end. I am not so great at this approach. I always forget to take pictures and then I can only show you what is should look like if you do it right. Not always helpful, as has been pointed out to me by friends who do not cook as much as I do. They want more. Well, I am here to tell you my friends, Meseidy, at the Noshery can give you what I do not seem to be able to. She not only does it, she does it REALLY well.

In her words: Mallorca bread is a sweet, fluffy and buttery egg bread. It is perfect to have sliced and buttered with a cup of coffee or you can also have a savory sandwich version with a slice of ham and Swiss. Pan de Mallorca (mallorca bread) originates from the Ensaimades bread from the Spanish island of Majorca, which is why we call it Mallorca.

And as well I learned a nice little bit trivia from ... if you go to the island of Mallorca in the Balearic Islands in Spain, this bread is called ENZAIMADA, because all the bread in Mallorca is in reality "pan de mallorca". So when you travel there do not ask for a "mallorca" ask for an "enzaimada".

I am not going to try and improve on what I thought was a wonderful post. I will share with you the pictures of my Mallorca. You guessed it, the finished product only, not the process. I did not even think of it until I was done. So much for that. I will try to change, I promise.

Go to her site, you will enjoy her pictures of the process as much as I did.
Here is her recipe, that I followed nearly exactly:


  • 1 pkg dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 4 to 5 cups all purpose flour, divided use [I used unbleached AP & needed 1 cup more]
  • 1 cup milk, lukewarm [I used almond milk because I was out of cow milk]
  • 1 cup water, lukewarm
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 lb. butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm

In a mixing bowl, pour lukewarm milk and water, sprinkle yeast in add sugar and 1 cup of the flour. Set aside until the mixture starts to rise about 45 minutes.

Beat the egg yolks into the mixture, blending very well. Add the remaining flour little by little. Add 1/2 the melted butter and set aside until it has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Dust the board where the dough will be rolled out with a little flour to prevent dough from sticking, keep some flour handy for dusting. Divide dough into 12 equal portions [mine were about 4½ oz. each]. Roll out each portion, brush with butter and roll into a long strip. Form into a coil, insert the inner end making sure it’s tucked in, same with the other end of the roll. Butter the tops. Place on greased baking sheets. Use 2 baking sheets placing 6-8 rolls on each sheet. Cover and let rolls rise until they have doubled in size.

Bake at 375 degrees F about 12-15 minutes. Cool on cooling rack and dust with powdered sugar.

I should have placed mine a bit closer together, they would have been taller instead of so spread out. Next time I will do that and next time I will make ½ with meat and cheese and ½ in their simple glory. There will definitely be a next time and a time after that and a time after that. These tender breads have a light texture and a subtle sweetness. The flavor is close to that of short bread, buttery and nutty upfront and a sweet buttery finish. Heaven! They are time consuming, but oh so worth it.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Strawberry Balsamic Sorbet

1 lb Frozen or Fresh Strawberries
1/2 Cup Turbinado Sugar
1 - 2 teaspoons Balsamic Vinegar
1 oz vodka

To begin I have to tell you that this stuff is awesome. I dont always feel that way about my creations but this one is worth bragging about.

The first step is to puree the strawberries. I used a food processor and completed this stage while my berries were frozen; you could just as easily use a blender frozen or not.
At this point you will have to decide whether your sorbet will have seeds or not. I am lazy and so I left them in. If you wish to remove them simply strain your puree through a bit of cheese cloth or a fine mesh colander.

Now you will prepare your puree for maceration. This is the process where you will leave the berries to sit and release their own juices; this process makes the sorbet more rich in flavor. Place your puree into a large bowl and add the sugar, vinegar and vodka stirring to combine thoroughly. You will need to let your mixture rest, covered, for at least a hour on the counter top or it may rest as long as over night in the fridge.

From here you are only a few short moments away from enjoying the fruits of your labor (a bad pun, but simply irresistible). Ha!

I used an ice cream freezer for the freezing process but there is no reason you need one. If electing not to use one simply place your mixture into the container you will be storing it in while in the freezer and place it into the freezer; you will need to stir or shake it about every 20 minutes for the first hour. If your are using an ice cream freezer do so and then place it into the freezer to harden.


Alright...I have been in a blogging coma...

To make a long story short: I hated where we were living. We moved. I am happy again and thusly baking again.

I will begin again by introducing to you my new home...
First I will sum up where we were living with a picture, you know they say it is worth 1,000 words:I know what you are thinking...that is a lot of would be correct in that...

Now shall we begin the tour of my happy home (i.e. definately NOT beige):
The living room.

The dining room.

1/2 of the kitchen.

1/2 of the breakfast nook & 1/4 of the kitchen.

1/4 of the kitchen & 1/8 of the Dining room.

The facilities.

And herb garden.

As you can see there is no beige in my new home and I am happy homemaker once again. I will be back soon to share with you the goodies I make. I have lovely new neighbors to share the bounty with and have been baking up a storm as we have been getting settled in.

Thank you for being patient with me...I'm back!