Thursday, September 30, 2010
In a small and tranquil town nestled in the French countryside, Vianne stirs a pot of melting chocolate. Calmly and peacefully, she contemplates the smooth brown liquid. As she takes in the magical scent, she dreams that her chocolates will awaken the hopes, dreams and desires of all who taste it. Behind her back, the townspeople whisper. They've never met anyone so mysterious and bold. They question her morality, her character, and her motives. They try their best to dissuade her. Will they win?
In my loud and chaotic kitchen I'm whipping egg whites for spicy chocolate meringues. The noise of the mixer isn't loud enough to drown out the sound of the children bickering back and forth. I do my best to tune out the noise, watching as the egg whites go from frothy to cloud-like. With reluctance I look to the children and notice that the bickering has not stopped. I scold them nicely and continue on. As I wish for a calm and peaceful kitchen, the back door slams. It shatters against the kitchen counter, bits and pieces of broken glass raining down all over the kitchen. In shock and disbelief I stand with my fists clenched as I turn red in the face. I'm too angry to speak. The children know what they've done. They cry in unison and run to their rooms. Behind my back, they whisper. They wonder how they will be punished. They wonder if they can dissuade me, but you and I both know that they didn't win.
I should have known right then and there that my Mexican Chocolate Meringues weren't meant to be. For some reason I felt compelled to make them. I attempted them two more times and each time the meringues fell flat and stuck to the parchment. At the peak of anger and frustration, I scraped them off the sheet pan and watched them crumble to pieces. Hastily, I grabbed a chunk from the sheet tray and shoved it in my mouth. It was magical! Rich from the chocolate, warm from the cinnamon, and fragrant with the smell of almonds. I stood there eating the crumbs from the tray. The spicy chocolate eased my deflated ego. They were addictive. I had to save them somehow.
I formed the crumbles into little balls and dipped them in melted chocolate. Once the chocolate set I sprinkled them with chile powder. That's how Mexican Chocolate Meringue Truffles were born. Sometimes our failures can be our biggest rewards.
If you would like to attempt the Mexican Chocolate Meringues, the recipe can be found here on the Food Network. I'm sure that someone with more baking experience than myself would produce beautiful chocolate meringues. They are quite warm and spicy, seductive and magical, just like Vianne in Chocolat!
This is my submission for the fun new foodie event Food 'n Flix. Head on over to check out next month's chosen flick!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
This one uses some ofthe fabulous new KRAFT pattern papers and rub ons.
If you pop over to the hambly blog be sure to check out all the new galleries , there is also an amazing giveaway of some of the new lines...so pop your name down.
I really urge you to beg beg beg your LSS to get these new Hambly goodies in stock, they are just too delicious!
I am off on saturday to leannes roctreat with Taryn, Gilly, Renee, Chloe, Tracey, Geli and some other ladies, I hope to get some scrapping done although I think there will be more laughing then scrapping ...
Thankyou all so much for your lovely comments about the Creative Team, I am still coming to terms with but getting excited as well...
till next time....
For about a week now I've been going through my pile of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food Magazine. I grab a stack of them, sit on the couch and get lost. I've always loved this small, little, colorful magazine that is filled with quick, easy and fairly healthy recipes. Somehow this little magazine seems to get lost in my huge stack of large cookbooks and hardly ever finds it way into my kitchen. This week, I made it a point to add several Everyday Food recipes to my grocery list.
This lighter version of General Tso's Chicken comes from the October 2008 edition. Skinless, boneless chicken breast are coated in a light batter of cornstarch and egg whites.
The chicken is cooked in a hot skillet (two batches if necessary) with a minimum amount of oil for 6-8 minutes, or until golden.
Once the chicken is finished cooking, set it aside. The snow peas, aromatics, spices, and a mixture of cornstarch, water, and soy sauce are added to the hot skillet until the snow peas are tender and the sauce thickens. Once the snow peas are tender and the sauce thickens, toss the chicken back in to coat with the sauce and serve over cooked brown rice.
Lighter General Tso's Chicken
Adapted from Everyday Food Magazine, October 2008 Issue
Serves 4 (I say serves 8)
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
1-1/4 cups long-grain brown rice
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 pound snow peas, trimmed and halved crosswise
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
2 large egg whites
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound boneless,skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (**I got away with using 1 tablespoon)
Cook rice according to package instructions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water until smooth. Add snow peas, garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, and red-pepper flakes; toss to combine, and set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together egg whites, remaining 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken, and toss to coat.
in a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Lift half the chicken from egg-white mixture (shaking off excess), and add to skillet. Cook, turning occasionally, until golden, 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining oil and chicken, and set aside (reserve skillet).
Add snow-pea mixture to skillet. Cover; cook until snow peas are tender and sauce has thickened, 3-5 minutes. Return chicken to skillet (with any juices); toss to coat. Serve with rice.
Nutritional Info (based on 4 servings, reduce in half if serving 8): 532 calories; 10.4g fat; 36.5g protein; 72.2g carb; 5g fiber
Notes/Results: This was a great recipe and the entire family enjoyed it. The recipe indicates that it serves 4, but it really does make a huge amount of food. I think it easily serves 8, which makes this a great dish if you have a large family and/or if you enjoy leftovers. We enjoyed this meal with some fresh pineapple on the side and found it very filling and satisfying. This is one of those meals that you actually feel good about serving your family because it is full of lean protein, whole grains, and veggies. I would definitely make it again.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Hi Kim , I am writing to invite you to be apart of the SCRAPBOOKING MEMORIES CREATIVE TEAM 2011. the team and I always chose people who are innovative and who we know will have fresh ideas, and we think you would be perfect for the role.........
Kristy Evans editor Scrapbooking Memories
I am in total disbelief and had to ask my husband to read the email again for me...I am so honoured, humbled and excited to be given this fantastic opportunity. I am joining these amazingly talented ladies
soooooooo excited I couldn't sleep last night...I am still shaking and trying to take it all in.....
Till next time...
It's not often I get excited about a big mess. Okay never, but in this case I was so delighted to finally be getting shelves in the garage and organize the space. It has been driving me nuts forever. Lynn kept laughing at how excited I was when the work started.
We have a neighbor, Dave, who does beautiful work. And he's great to work with. I told him I wanted a platform on the bottom so our water barrels didn't touch the cement. Then I had purchased containers I wanted to fit on a couple of the shelves. And I also wanted different spaces between the shelves on the left and on the right. Didn't even phase him. Then he asked me a bunch of questions, like do I want it this way or that way? Loved that. I think he's built shelves for most of our neighbors. He said to date he's built about 1450 sets. And he's fast. I think the whole project took about 3 1/2 hours and that's because he was stopping to show our other neighbor, Eric Ostrom, how to do things. He's helping him get his merit badge--so cool.
Ella spent days building beautiful buildings and castles with the scrap wood.
Lynn bought some hot new wheels to park in the garage now that there's more room. :)
And I organized. The camping gear and emergency preparedness stuff is on the left. (We still need have a few things downstairs to add.) And the day-to-day household/gardening stuff is on the right. Love it. For three days I just kept walking out there to look. And the best part is, I don't have to call Lynn all the time asking where this or that is.
Everyone is happy.
Thanks Patrick, we love our gift! (Patrick paid for a major part of this project as a combined Mother's/Father's Day and birthday gifts for Lynn and me. Loved the idea!)
Sunday, September 26, 2010
We had a delightful party for Madilyn's second birthday this weekend. She's growing up way too fast!
The birthday girl.
We stopped at Cafe Rio for lunch, then headed home to finish up preparations for the party. Kate chose a farm theme to go along with the ponies.
Kate put together amazing party bags for the kids to take home. They had a farm animal set, bubbles, mini M&M's and play dough--all of Madi's favorites. I have to mention that Kate's friend, Shane, went to four different Walmarts to find enough farm animal sets. I couldn't believe it. Now that's going the extra mile!
The party was fun. Unfortunately Madi had to go to the Instacare that night. She's had a bit of a runny nose Kate thought was allergies, but Mads started having severe coughing fits and throwing up. They gave her steroids and that seemed to help for awhile.
Michael Symon, the tattooed Iron Chef from Cleveland, Ohio. Mark Bittman, the respected author and minimalist.
On the surface, they really don't look to have much in common. However, we know that both of them can cook AND when you put them both together....YOU GET THE MOST AMAZING BREAKFAST!
Introducing Mark Bittman's Frittata with Michael Symon's Homemade Pork Sausage, topped with Creamy Mascarpone cheese and Symon's Red Pepper Relish. On the side, Bittman's addictive Boiled and Buttered New Potatoes. This breakfast was the bee's knees, an A+, a home run....knocked clear out of the park. Best thing I've ate in sometime.
The frittata couldn't be simpler yet it was absolutely dreamy and amazing. Loaded with garlicky homemade pork sausage, red pepper relish, and the creamiest Mascarpone cheese. It was so indulgent, rich, and creamy. I savored it down to the last bite.
Bittman's Basic Frittata with Symon's Homemade Pork Sausage, Mascarpone & Red Pepper Relish
Adapted from How To Cook Everything
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
5 or 6 eggs
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Minced fresh parsley leaves for garnish
Add in's :
1/2 pound of Michael Symon's Loose Pork Sausage*
About 4 ozs. Mascarpone Cheese
5-6 tablespoons Michael Symon's Red Pepper Relish*
Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the butter or oil in a medium-to-large ovenproof skillet, preferably non-stick, and turn the heat to medium. While it's heating, beat together the eggs, salt and pepper. When the butter melts or the oil is hot, pour the eggs into the skillet and turn the heat to medium-low. Crumble in 1/2 pound of Symon's loose sausage (reserving a few tablespoons for decorating top). Sprinkle about 2-3 tablespoons of Symon's Red Pepper Relish all across the top of the frittata. Spoon on 4-5 tablespoons of the Mascarpone Cheese all across the top of the frittata so that each serving has a dollop on top. Cook, undisturbed on the stovetop for about 10 minutes, or until the bottom of the frittata is firm.
Transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake, checking every 5 minutes or so, just until the top of the frittata is no longer runny, 10-20 minutes more. Garnish with reserved sausage, dollop with extra Mascarpone, and sprinkle on some more of the Red Pepper Relish. Enjoy!!
Michael Symon's Pork Sausage can be made in three ways: stuffed into casings, crumbled or made into patties. I chose to crumble mine and was astounded at the wonderful garlicky flavor. It is absolutely delicious and really easy too!
Symon's Pork Sausage
Adapted from Live To Cook
Makes about 2 pounds, or about 8 6-inch links; serves 6-8
1-1/2 pounds pork shoulder, diced
1/2 pound pork fatback, diced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted
4 feet of hog casings (optional) soaked in water for at least 30 minutes and then flushed with water
Combine the meat, fatback, sugar, salt, garlic, and fennel seeds in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (NOTE: I used one pound fresh ground pork and reduced the recipe in half. I mixed all this together, chose to serve it crumbled and skipped the steps below because I don't have a meat grinder.)
About 30 minutes before grinding, place all the equipment in the freezer to get cold.
Grind the sausage mixture through a small die and return it to the refrigerator to cool for 30 minutes.
Using the paddle attachment on your mixer, mix the sausage on low speed for 30 seconds. Raise the speed to medium and add 6 tablespoons cold water. Mix for another minute or two and bring everything together.
At this point you have three options. You can stuff it into casings, form it into patties, or crumble it. The sausage will keep for up to 1 week covered in the refrigerator, or freeze for up to a month. Cook to an internal temperature of 150F before serving.
Symon's Red Pepper Relish is a wonderful condiment to have on hand for eggs, sandwiches, soup, fish and even chicken.
Symon's Red Pepper Relish
Adapted from Live To Cook
Makes 2 cups
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and finely diced
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (I used lemon juice)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Heat a medium nonreactive saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil to glaze the bottom of the pan. Add the onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt and sweat until the onion begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the bell peppers and jalapenos and sweat for 2 more minutes. Add the coriander seeds and cook for another 30 seconds.
Add the sugar and vinegar and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Add the orange juice (lemon juice) and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid completely reduces, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the relish to cool to room temperature. Season with salt to taste and fold in the cilantro. Refrigerate for up to 1 month (it will never last that long)!
I am submitting Bittman's Frittata and his Boiled New Potatoes to I Heart Cooking Clubs for this week's Potluck Theme.
I am submitting Symon's Pork Sausage and Red Pepper Relish for the Symon Sundays even hosted by Ashlee of Veggie by Season. Head on over there later today to see how everyone enjoyed their sausage and relish.
Each Sunday, my friend Brenda at Brenda's Canadian Kitchen, hosts an event celebrating all cookbooks. I am also submitting this to her Cookbook Sundays.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Do you spy that cute little apple button, doily and vintage label from little red rocket, so cute....I have also used this layout as part of this months Scrap the boys...we had to use metal on our layout..I have used an old old old ..ancient almost, making memories metal word and some metal brads...Lil red rocket is sponsoring Scrap the boys this month, so why don't you have a go too...
Till next time...
Friday, September 24, 2010
I've been wanting somewhere to set my jewelry when I take it off at night. Perfect. I actually bought the other one for Kate, but I'm not sure I can part with it. I may have to make her a different one. I gave Patrick my old set of dishes when I bought my new green ones. They'd be perfect for this project. I may have to take them back. Darn! My mind has been going crazy with other ideas too. I can put a small pumpkin on it for Halloween. It's just the right size for a cupcake or a few of these cookies, then wrapped in cellophane and tied with wider sheer ribbon for gifts. Any other ideas?
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I've found some great deals lately. Things I've been looking for for awhile. Wanna see?
I love this porch. The lanterns, the urns, the bright orange pumpkins and the fall leaves. I love the door too.
This is a page from last year's PB catalog. (I've kept it in my "holiday" file.) I love their style and products, but they can be quite expensive. I do splurge sometimes, but then I love to mix my great deals in with the pricier stuff.
GREAT DEAL NO. 1
Their small lantern: $29.99. Mine: $6.99 at TJ Maxx. Score. And it'll carry over to Halloween nicely. I've had the hook in my planter bed all summer looking for the right lantern to hang from it. And Lynn has mentioned about three times how much he likes it. (I think it needs a bigger candle.)
GREAT DEAL NO. 2
These little babies are pricey! This one is actually quite small. I think I'll use it on my fireplace mantle and put a pie pumpkin on top. Their price for large ones: $60-100. My price: $5.00 at The Finer Consigner in Pleasant Grove--more love.
GREAT DEAL NO. 3
These have been on my wish list for a very long time. I've seen them around in very lightweight glass, but these are nice and thick. Their price: $39, $49 and $59. My price: $3.99, $4.99, and $5.99 at TJ Maxx again. Major score! I want to use them for a centerpiece for the fall and Christmas and fill them with fillers and candles, like this:
Barba is the name Larsen calls my dad...I love to hear him call dad this