pink French Macarons

My grandmother’s Noritaki China Japan #5516 tea cup provides the backdrop to display this dainty pink macaron.  This is the first time I have added color to the batter.  The gel color was maroon.  I didn’t know how much to add; I should have added more to achieve the color on the bottle.

Nevertheless, the shells are pretty. The shells were transferred to the freezer and will be filled at a later date.

The batter is colored and ready to pipe

piped and drying

just out of the oven; I never tire of watching through the oven door for the feet!
Continuing to use this recipe, and adjust to my oven.
macaron #8

bourbon balls

Let the holiday feasting begin! 

 I enjoyed the bourbon balls (actually, more than I enjoyed the bourbon) during my fall visit along the KY Bourbon trail.  My adaptation of the sweet treat is not as pretty as those in KY; however, they are quite tasty.

I coated the centers with semi -sweet chocolate; in the future I’ll use milk chocolate.  These received a ‘perfect’ from Nephew A.  That’s good enough for me!
Made with Buffalo Trace Eagle Rare 10 year single barrel Ky Straight bourbon whisky 90 proof

MarketSpice Tea flavored French Macarons

macaron #7, #11 – I adjusted this basic recipe slightly, and my macarons were not as pretty as I had hoped.  I should have given the batter one or two more turns. However, the oils from the tea gave these macarons a great flavor.  And, experience is the best teacher!

I added two bags of Seattle’s Pike Place Market – MarketSpice’s signature tea, Cinnamon-Orange to the macaron batter.

 piping bag ready

 batter in early stages of mixing

 ready to pipe

 close up of cinnamon orange tea macaron batter

close up view

 piped and drying

 butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar filling

displaying their feet

 MarketSpice Tea Cinnamon Orange French Macarons

popcorn with a BITE

Apple Pie Spice popcorn with a ‘bite’ from black pepper.
popcorn, pecans, & dried cranberries:

add a little butter and brown sugar, salt, spice, and pepper

This is a great ‘munchie’ when you are not in the ‘something sweet’ mood. 
You can find the recipe here.

French Macaron success story

Macaron baking batch #5 – finally!!! – something that looks like a French Macaron.

The taste of the shell is good, but the interior texture needs more research.  I think it’s too chewy, and that could be because I think I have under-baked the shells. Since I don’t have ‘the real thing’ to sample, I’ll continue reading and researching.  There are many, many opinions on the internet regarding macarons.

The shells are made from a basic macaron recipe of egg whites, granulated and powdered sugar, and almond meal.  I added the seeds of a vanilla bean to the batter to create speckles on the surface of the shells.

The recipe I followed can be found here.

double sift the powdered sugar and almond meal

 batter into piping bag

 batter looks a little over worked

 piped

 decorative tops

 vanilla bean seeds

 easy filling – melted kisses and powdered sugar

 an early taste of the season

 through the oven door

 macarons cooling on their feet

 bottoms up

 picture perfect

tasty . . . vanilla bean studded French Macaron shell filled with melted Hershey’s Mint Truffle Kisses mixed with powdered sugar

my workhorse wooden spoons

My new wooden spoons–

 Can you pick out my favorite wooden spoon?

I’ve used wooden spoons made by the owners of this small business for years.  They are hand made by Sis & D in Clarksdale, MS.  Their web site link is http://www.handmadespoons.com/index.html.

Sis & D’s Handmade Spoons
1913 Woodlawn Circle
Clarksdale, Mississippi 38614

662-624-4719

They would make a great gift for that ‘foodie’ person on your list.

not popcorn, but POPCORN

I’m warning you, as I was warned by blog posts from ‘Love Your Mother Earth‘ and ‘Our Best Bites.’
(You can find the recipe on either link above.)
I didn’t believe them, and you may not believe me-

This is ADDICTIVE.  One bite leads to – ten bites – leads to twelve cups.
Yes, over a period of days, ‘I ate the whole thing!’  And-it-was-delicious.

The popcorn was at it’s absolute peak of flavor just out of the oven and slightly cooled; however, it’s flavor and texture were great days later.  The outside of the popcorn was sweet and crunchy, and the inside of the popcorn kernel was soft.

Quiche w/roasted cauliflower and oven roasted tomatoes

Parmigiano-Reggiano, roasted tomatoes, herbed heavy whipping cream

quiche curst, ready to cool – I shaped this using a 6″ cake pan; this helped me roll the crust into…

…a pretty round shape

lining the pottery baking dish with the herbed quiche crust

cool and cut

Quiche Crust (adapted from Rachel Allen Bake here)
Mix 
200 gr flour
1/4 t salt
Rub into flour, 100 gr cold butter until mealy in texture
Add one egg, whisked to break yolk
Toss lightly the egg and flour/butter mixture
(you may need a few drops of water if the egg is small)
Shape crust into circle and refrigerate 45 minutes
Remove pastry from refrigerator
Roll to 1/8″ circle
Place in baking dish
Blind bake @ 350 degrees for 35 minutes; remove beans; bake an additional 10 minutes; cool completely
Quiche Filling

Whisk together:
250 ml heavy whipping cream
4 eggs
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 t grated lemon rind (fresh would be better, but I use dried powder from Penzey’s)
pinch of salt
pinch of Herbes de Provence
(adjust spices to your taste)
Layer into quiche shell:
1 head oven roasted, seasoned cauliflower, cut into small pieces
1/2 c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
6 oven roasted roma tomatoes
(or choose vegetables of your choice)
Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-60 minutes, until center of quiche is properly baked (insert knife in center- it should come out clean)

cooler weather – baked Ziti

adapted from Real Simple November 2005 page 338
Delicious on a cool fall day.
Lasagna-Style Baked Ziti
Cook according to package directions:
1 pound ziti
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In large pan:
heat 1 T oil
Add:
1 large onion diced
3/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
cook for 5-7 minutes
Add:
1 lb lean ground beef to onion mixture and cook 5-8 minutes, until no trace of pink remains
Drain any liquid.
Add to meat mixture & cook for 2 minutes:
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c chopped fresh oregano
Add to meat mixture and heat for 3 minutes:
1 26 oz jar pasta sauce
Remove from heat and Add:
drained ziti
1/2 c grated Parmesan
1 15-oz container ricotta
1 10-oz box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
Mix well
Spread mixture in 9×13 dish (I used individual serving dishes).
Sprinkle tops with
1 c. grated mozzarella
Bake until mozzarella melts, about 15 minutes.
(recipe states this makes 4 servings; I think it makes at least 8)