It's beginning to look (and feel) a lot like Christmas around here. From decking the halls to shopping for the perfect gift to baking the traditional cookies that everyone looks forward to at this time of year. The sights and smells are undeniable. I hope I was able to capture a little of that feeling in this tile. Please enjoy and watch the holiday magic start to happen :)
Now all there is to do is cut, bake, decorate and eat all those wonderful holiday cookies!
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Hi guys, it's Ivy and Nellie here. It's been a while since we've blogged, but now we just have to write about some weird and exciting news that's happening here at our house.
Even though our mom has always said we'd never have 3 dogs because she only has two hands (for petting), she's has been swept away by the idea of a puppy and we are now expecting another furbaby in just two short weeks. Feet work good for petting too, right?
We're all super excited about the idea of hearing the pitter patter of puppy paws in the house again but our mom is like "off the deep end". Doesn't she remember what it is like to stand outside in the middle of the night in the cold and snow and wait and wait and wait for a puppy to go potty? Doesn't she remember what it is like to run after a little puppy when it has "open floor time" to make sure there is no chewing on things that shouldn't be chewd on (whoops, chew happens)? Doesn't she remember what it is like to clean up puppy messes on the floor when there are accidents (we've both been there, done that)? Doesn't she? Well, she does and she's still super excited!!!
Here, we'll show you the pictures we have up until now of our new puppy. Every week her breeder posts new pictures on their website. It's so much fun to see her grow and change from week to week and it totally adds to the excitement level we all feel!!! Mom shares the pictures with everyone, so now it's time for us to share them with you. Her name will be Nutmeg and she is a little brown and white Boston terrier.
This is the first picture mom saw of Nutmeg, taken just a few days after she was born. Up until that time, mom says she didn't have any intentions of adding to our family but from the moment she saw this little face, there was no turning back. Nutmeg was born on October 21, 2010
We'll share the weekly photos with you so you can see how our baby sister has grown up until now:
She's just a tiny bit bigger in week two, but not a whole bunch.
Look, in week three here eyes are open and her body looks like she's putting on some puppy pudge.
Week four she's lifting that giant head of hers and her eyes look way to big for her face, but people always say that about Bsoton's. "The better to see you with my dear!" LOL
At week five she looks inquisitive. You can tell she's a thinker. She's sitting so pretty for the camera. We think she's a real cutie pie!
And here is our most recent picture we have of Nutmeg taken at 6 weeks old. From the looks of her she can run and jump with the best of them (just not too fast or not too high...yet). I'm sure she'll keep us both on our toes this Winter and boredom won't be an option during the cold days spent inside!!
Many people have asked us if we think we'll feel jealousy or resentment when Nutmeg is home and taking away some of mom's time, but we know we won't. Mom's heart is big enough for all of us and we know there will be no need to worry or feel slighted. Our place is secure and we'll do our very best to help with the new baby and make her feel right at home.
Mom and dad are going to pick up baby sister on December 11, 2010. We promise to be good big sisters to this new little baby and teach her everything we know. We know she'll be a little sad and confused the first few days of being here but after that, she'll find out that this is just the best place ever for a happy, healthy, fun filled life.
We'll write again soon! You've got to know that we'll have much to tell you as we add Nutmeg into our family and mom will be taking pictures like a crazy woman!! Come back to check in on us again soon, won't you?
This was my second challenge since joining The Daring Bakers in October 2010. I had never made a crostata before but was anxious to give it a try and see how mine would turn out. I decided to fill it with pastry cream (we were given many options to try) but since I had never made pastry cream before either, I opted for that. Here are the recipes I used and my final outcome:
Pasta Frolla: The dough
1/2 c. minus 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 and 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
grated zest of an orange
1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten in a small bowl.
Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a bowl.
Rub or cut the butter into the flour until the mixture has the consistency of coarse crumbs. You can do this in the bowl or on your work surface, using your fingertips. (I used the bowl method).
Make a well in the center of the flour and pour the beaten eggs into it.
Add in the orange zest.
Knead lightly until the dough comes together into a ball.
Shape into a flat dish and warp in plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (I used 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch, measured, then sifted
In a medium, heavy saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, vanilla, orange zest and juice. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and cornstarch until pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Slowly add 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks, whisking constantly until smooth. Add the egg yolk mixture to the pan of hot milk and whisk to combine. Return to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Remove from the heat and strain into a clean container, scraping the bottom of the strainer with a spoon. Discard the vanilla bean (if using). Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 3 hours.
While the dough and filling were chilling, here's what I did to prepare my sugared blueberries for the top:
Whisk 1 egg white with a drop of water until foamy. I then added approximately 3/4 cups of fresh blueberries and stirred gently to cover each in egg white. Remove the blueberries to a separate bowl and toss with granulated sugar to completely cover each in sugar. Place blueberries in a single layer on a parchment coated sheet pan and allow to completely dry (several hours) at room temperature.
When everything has been sufficiently chilled: Here's what you need to do to assemble and bake your crostata con la crema:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 inch fluted tart pan (with removable bottom).
Take the pasta frolla out of the fridge, unwrap it.
To help roll the crostata dough, keep the cough on top of the plastic wrap that you had it wrapped in. This can help rolling the cough and can also help when transferring the dough to the pan.
Lightly dust the top of the dough and your work surface with flour. Keep some flour handy to dust the dough as you go along.
Roll the dough into a circle about 1/8th inch thick.
If you used the plastic wrap as a rolling surface, flip the dough over the pan, centering it, and delicately press it all around so the corners are well covered. Peel away the plastic wrap. Trim away the excess dough and make sure your dough is even all around the pan. Prick the bottom with a fork to avoid puffing of the bottom crust.
Fill the crostata with the chilled pastry cream and smooth it as evenly as possible before baking.
Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until the tart is a nice golden hue and cool completely.
When the crostata has cooled only slightly, top with your sugared blueberries so the heat from the crostata slightly melts the sugar on the berries and they stick and won't roll around on the top.
Refrigerate until ready to serve and then cut your friends one lovely slice! They'll be ever so happy you did!
I hope you enjoyed this recipe and will try it for yourself sometime. I'd love to hear back from you if you do.
Thanks for visiting my Kudos Kitchen. My door is always open for you :)
Potatoes soaked in cream, topped with tons of cheese and baked until golden and crusty on top? Heck yeah! You had me a potatoes!
This recipe can be found on page 360 of "Around My French Table" by Dorie Greenspan and I urge you all to try it as soon as you can! It calls for just a few simple ingredients like sliced Idaho potatoes (my handy dandy food processor did all the work), heavy cream, garlic and Gruyére cheese (I used smoked Gruyére). Rosemary and thyme sprigs are optional but I used thyme in order to combine some of the same flavors I used that day to make the roast chicken for les paresseux and I also added some of the minced shallots I had left over as well. Bake for 45 - 50 minutes in a 350 degree oven until this baby is brown and bubbly.
I wish I could say that we all had been schussing the French Alps when we came together as a family to eat that evening (in my dreams) but this delicious dish and meal I was able to bring to our family dinner table brought me there in my mind. How lovely to visit France right in the comfort of my own kitchen. Someday I hope to visit France in person, but until I do this is the next best thing!!!
Can't wait for next month's round of recipes from this wonderful cookbook. Stay tuned and visit France with me again, won't you? I'll save you a seat at our family table!
We'll be traveling to my sister-in-laws house (3 and 1/2 hours away) this year for Thanksgiving. It's her turn in the rotation to host the festivities. Her original request to me was "would mind bringing some pumpkin pies for dessert?" Sure I would, but on second thought I think I'd like to try something a bit different this year and asked if she minded if I bring a pumpkin cheesecake instead. I hope she wasn't just being polite when she said that would be fine. Somehow I think she'll be glad I did.
Keep reading and I'll show you how I plan on transporting this cheesecake, 3 and 1/2 hours away with no worries AND having it arrive looking fresh and festive. Now, if I could only say the same for myself, I'd be in business :)
For the crust you'll need:
1 and 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Place the graham cracker crumbs in a large bowl along with the sugar and pecans. Stir to mix and add the melted butter. Press crumb mixture firmly into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.
Pre-bake the crust for 10 minutes and cool.
For the filling you'll need:
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually mix in the sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Switch to the whisk attachment, add additional filling ingredients and whisk on high speed until whipped, light and airy. Pour pumpkin mixture over pre-baked crust into your prepared 9 inch spring form pan.
Bake until the center of your cheesecake appears nearly set, but jiggles a little when shaken, approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool for one hour. Run a knife around the rim of the pan to loosen the cake but DO NOT remove from the pan. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours.
To prepare your pecan glaze:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 cups chopped pecans
In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the whipping cream and maple syrup. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Continue boiling and stirring until slightly thickened, 15-20 minutes. Stir in the copped pecans. Cool slightly and spoon the mixture over your chilled maple pumpkin cheesecake.
Now, unfortunately I won't have a final shot of this lovely cheesecake all sliced and sitting pretty on a plate waiting to be eaten because I really don't want to bring a cheesecake with a missing slice to the Thanksgiving table. However, I will show you my brilliant idea (if I do say so myself) for transporting this pretty baby in the car tomorrow.
I made a collar out of parchment paper and wrapped it around the outside of my already glazed cheesecake. Then, taking the outside walls of the WASHED and OPEN springform pan I slipped it over my parchment sheet collar and gave a quick trim to the excess paper "wall".
I wrapped my beauty with plastic wrap and she is spending the night in the freezer to become nice and frozen. By the time we get to our destination, it should be well thawed and ready to be stuck in the fridge or left on the counter for all to see and drool over. LOL.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Enjoy your family, friends and lot's of good food. Live, laugh.... let's eat!!!
I made this recipe a few weeks ago and posting this picture today has me drooling all over my keyboard right now. This was one seriously good chicken!!!
This recipe for Roast Chicken For Les Paresseux (lazy people) can be found on page 200 of "Around My French Table". On page 201, Dorie talks of the day she was cooking dinner for Jacques Pépin and he loudly exclaimed "What are you doing?" at the sight of Dorie washing the chicken inside and out during preparation. Made me think long and hard about doing it myself in my own kitchen. I always have but have always hated doing it. Now I feel I have permission to forgo that step. After all, if Jacques Pépin says is OK, who am I to argue?
I was lucky enough to have a loaf of homemade county fair bread in the freezer so I used that as my bread bed for my chicken. The rest of the ingredients are simple and things you have on hand in your cabinets and pantry at a moments notice. I did not however add the baby potatoes that this recipe calls for because as a side dish to this wonderful chicken, I also made the potato gratin (pommes dauphinois) found on page 360 (post to come next Friday). Needless to say, I had one happy family at the dinner table that evening :) I wish I had additional pictures to share with you but to be honest, I was more excited to eat that evening than I was to take pictures. Is that so wrong?
Thanks for visiting. I'll look forward to having you over for dinner again soon! You were a lot of fun!