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Archive for the ‘Sweets’ Category

Paris Puffins

My dear, dear (sometimes neglected, I am ashamed to say) friend Kim sent me this recipe. I can tell you they are amazingly good. Read the email from her containing the recipe, got right up and made them! And yes, use the mini muffin tins, they are just bite size!

Paris Puffins

1/3 c. soft Shortening
½ c. Sugar
1 egg
1 ½ c. Flour
1 ½ t. baking powder
½ t. salt
¼ t. nutmeg
½ c. Milk
1/3 c. butter, melted
½ c. Sugar
1 t. cinnamon

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 muffins cups (these are best to me, baked in mini muffin tins.) Mix shortening, sugar, and egg. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl and add to sugar mixture alternately with milk. Bake 25 minutes. Combine cinnamon and sugar. When cool enough to handle, roll muffins in melted butter and cinnamon sugar mixture.
These little mini muffins are not too sweet and taste divine with a good hot tea sweetened, and a bit of cream!

2008, January 22

Giveaway Winner

The winner of this special giveaway…

2008, January 20

Tea and Sympathy

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If I could invite you all over for a cup of tea, I would.  You are all too, too kind and generous with your sympathies.  I think unless one has lost their mom, it is hard to imagine how you will feel. As I have honestly stated before my mom and I didnt always see eye to eye and get along perfectly.  But we always loved each other regardless.  And I knew I would miss her, I just didnt know how that would feel.  Or how I would handle it.  If I would just have sad moments where something made me cry or if I would have days where I stayed in bed and felt sorry for my orphaned self.  I have had both now.  That of course doesnt mean the end of it.  I doubt it will ever end.  If I could bring myself to get busy with things it would help.  But even with all my cleaning plans, and sewing projects, I didn’t do much yesterday.  Just vegetated.

Today is a new day and I AM going to do more.

2008, January 19

An Award!

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A You Make Me Smile Award from  Ruthann over at Warm Pie, Happy Home

She will probably want to take it back after today’s post!  Sorry to let you down Ruthann…caught me on a rough day!  BUT I will play along.  I am working on my post where I list 6 random habits/facts about myself and then tag 6 women with blogs who make me smile! Thank you Ruthann and I will cheer up, I promise!

2008, January 19

Baby, it’s cold outside! Plus a recipe.

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And apparently, there is snow just an our East of here.  How unfair does that seem?? My kiddos would love a little dusting of white just every now and again.  I really dont know how cold it was at the lowest this morning but it is just above freezing at this moment.  And according to weather.com it will be a chilly 25 tonight.  YIKES!  So happy tomorrow is Sunday and no one has to go to work early. 

Don’t forget the giveaway is Monday!! 

I think maybe finally I might be beginning to grieve a little from the loss of my mom.  I know I initially grieved as anyone does but I am “feeling” it a little more these days. When she died I told myself I a) was not sad because no one should have to live like she was living b)I had nearly 6 months to prepare myself for her passing and c) I really never saw anyone grieve before so I didn’t really know what to expect from myself. My family tended to ignore the grieving process and jump right back into things.  Good or bad, that’s just how it has always been.  And with Husband’s family as well.  Add up the lull after the holidays, the dreariness of winter time – dark and damp and dull, my husband being 6000 miles away, really feeling like I need a new focus business-wise and not knowing which way I want to turn.  I am afraid my worst days are ahead where the feeling of loss is concerned. Everything I do, make, cook, plan…I think of her. Oddly, I don’t think I thought of her this much when she was alive and just across the road. It makes me want to live my life to the fullest with no regrets yet, in the past few days I have felt it very hard to be motivated. Mom never allowed herself the pleasure of a vacation and she never considered herself good at things like sewing and crafting. She lived vicariously though me in those areas. Everything I have made since her passing, I have wished to be able to show her because she got so much pleasure from things I made. Our upcoming vacation to Europe is one she longed for but would never take the time or spend the money. I saw as she was dying that she wished for so many things. She told me over and over and over…do the things you long to do, life is too short. I think the feeling of loss and separation has taken a hold of me just a bit.  But three months in seems a little late to crawl in the bed and cry for days doesn’t it?  I have often believed that I have SAD (seasonal affective disorder) but you have no idea how I hate labels.  I think these next couple of weeks might firm up that diagnosis.  I suppose if you came here for a chippy, happy post today you stopped off a the wrong blog.  I will try to do better but at this moment I just can’t.  But what I can do to make this a little less depressed is leave you with a recipe.  Then I have to go accomplish something.  The cleaning is going very very slowly.  And I have GOT to get these aprons finished and out the door!  Shame on me for dragging my feet.  Dragging my feet only makes me feel worse.  Vicious little circle isnt it?  Talk to you all soon. 

This is a recipe I have had for a long time but haven’t made.  I am going to give it a try tonight.  Don’t know how I feel about the mashed potatoes and may end up slicing them instead and layering with the leeks (or onions if I cant get leeks). It just seems like a fitting, comfort food. 

Cottage Pie 

Filling
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef or stew meat cubed
2 onions, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced or cooked carrot, diced
1  ounce butter
1 cup cooked English peas (optional – Husband can’t abide and English pea, I think I will serve ours on the side)
1 teaspoon dried herbs of your choice but we like thyme, chives and basil
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
8 ounces beef stock  or a couple of beef bouillion cubes in a cup of boiling water

salt  and pepper to taste

Cottage Pie Topping
2 pounds  potatoes, peeled and cut into small even sized pieces
2  large leeks, cleaned sliced into rings or sweet onions if you cant get leeks
2 ounces butter
2-4 tablespoons milk
4 ounces mature farmhouse cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste

To make the pie filling:.
Fry the onions and carrots if using, in the butter until they are becoming soft.
Add the beef and cook for about 10 to 20 minutes or until the onion and carrot have browned and the beef has taken on some color and is firm.  Season well with salt and pepper, then add the mixed herbs. Stir in the flour, and mix well. Mix the tomato puree and Worcestershire sauce with the beef stock and add it to the meat mixture, bringing it all to simmering point. Simmer until the stock has reduced by about a third, add the peas if using and take off the heat. Set aside while  you make the topping.

To make the topping:
Boil the potatoes in slightly salted water then mash them well, adding half of the butter and all of the milk gradually. Season to taste. If using fresh leeks, fry the leeks gently in the remaining butter, until soft and slightly colored.  Stir the cooked leeks into the mashed potato mixture and mix well.

Assemble:.
Put the meat mixture into a large and deep well greased baking dish and spread the potato mixture on top; then sprinkle with the grated cheese. You can also use 4 – 6 smaller pie dishes if you wish.   Put into a pre-heated oven 400F for about 25 to 30 minutes until the topping is crusty, golden and bubbling.

2008, January 16

Typical Winter morning here.

Gloomy and wet.  A good excuse to stay in and get that first room finished.  And some sewing done.  I have an order to get out of here ASAP! And another little something I am working on. So this is just a short and sweet “Good Morning” to you all.  I will post as I make progress – on all my endeavors.  Don’t forget to take a peek over at TheFarmHouseGourmet and get the recipe for Macaroons.  I will be in touch!  Happy Wednesday.  Oh!  And don’t forget you still have time to enter the giveaway!

Now here is your picture for today:

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2008, January 15

Organization

What exactly does that mean to me? Does it mean I can find what I need or what someone asks me for? I think I have set a goal for myself. I will have my house organized by the time my husband returns on Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is VERY special to us. It is the anniversary of our first date 33 years ago. And it is our Benjamin’s birthday. And one very special gift for my very organized, together husband would be for him to walk thru the door and not recognize the house because it was so organized. And I know my life would be oh so easier if I had myself together. Today is haircut, eye appt day but tomorrow I am starting at the North East corner of my house and doing one section at the time. I am going to TAKE MY TIME AND DO IT RIGHT. There will be numerous trips to the dump as well as the storage building. I am going to stop each day before I get so tired I won’t want to finish. I want to do it in sections, stand back and admire my accomplishments and the next day move on to the next section. Now this does NOT include the children’s rooms. They are all old enough to do that themselves. So in this very small house surely I can do it in a month’s time. My shoppe will be first. OH lawd…what a mess. I kid you not, I would show you a picture but I am too embarrassed! It’s bad…ask Michelle! But I will show you as I am finished. Every nook and cranny, every closet, every cabinet, every shelf will be cleaned and dusted and straightened and rid of no longer needed/wanted items. And I will know where everything is – it will be in it’s place!

Wish me luck!

Oh…and I posted the recipe for macaroons over at TheFarmhouseGourmet.

2008, January 14

Giveaway Update: Please Read

I would like to let you know that the giveaway date has been pushed off to January 21st. There is a very important item I have been planning to add to the giveaway box and I cannot put my hands on it in time to draw tomorrow…sooo..pass along the information if you like. And I promise it will be worth the wait!!

You may enter to win here.

2008, January 13

Mad About Macaroons!!!

OH MY!!! They are much more than I expected! Now, I can bake a cookie and last I figured one year while I was catering I made about 14,000. So cookies, I know. These are just so much more than a cookie. They are a little puff of totally yumminess! They were NOT hard to make at all…just follow the recipe to the T. I will be posting a tutorial over on TheFarmhouseGourmet in the next few days. But until then…here is a glimpse at the little lovelies!

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Here are the macaroons all ready to devour!  And please notice the VERY VERY cute apron I am wearing – a Christmas present from my dear friend Michelle!!

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2008, January 12

New Post on April in Paris!

Just thought I would let you know!

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Not the “pour one can of sweetened condensed milk over 5 cups of coconut, stir and drop by tsp onto cookie sheet” macaroons. The REAL macaroons. The macaroons like people stand in line for in Paris. Now I won’t lead you to believe that I would know if my macaroons were as good or even close to the same as THOSE macaroons. But I will say this…if THOSE macaroons are better than MY macaroons well, no wonder people stand in line for them. These were delectable! Hey! Ladurée has been making macaroons since 1862 and I have been making them since…Sunday morning so why not compare????

Now a small confession: I almost croaked from eating them. Yep, severely allergic to almonds – only the KEY ingredient in macaroons. I think if I had just eaten a baked and filled one, slowly savoring every bite, I might not have had to pop two Benadryl and take a sleep in the middle of having dinner guests. But nooooo, I had to lick the bowl after we had them in the oven. Look, they were amazing, okay? Truly the best cookie or cake as Ladurée calls them. This is from their website:

The story of the Macaroon

These small, round cakes, crisp on the outside, smooth and soft in the middle, are the most famous creation of Ladurée.

The story of the Ladurée macaroon starts with Pierre Desfontaines, distant cousin of Louis Ernest Ladurée, who at the beginning of the 20th century first thought of taking two macaroon shells and joining them with a delicious ganache filling. The way of making them has never changed since that time.

These small, round cakes, crisp on the outside, smooth and soft in the middle, are made every morning in Ladurée’s “laboratory”. The pastry chefs measure out very precisely the required amounts of almonds, eggs and sugar, before adding one final ingredient, a pinch of unique “know-how”, essential to the making of such a delicacy.

Once cooked and filled, the macaroons are put to one side for 2 days before going on sale, the time it takes to achieve a perfect balance between texture and flavour.

Macaroons come in two sizes: the mini-macaroon or “gerbet” and full-size macaroons.

With each new season, Ladurée pays tribute to this its most famous creation by creating a new flavour.
The existing range of macaroons is always the starting point when a new one is created, as the variety of colours is as important as the range of flavours and a vital part of their appeal.

I don’t really know how they wait two days to eat them but whatever.  There aren’t any more here!  Below is the recipe I used with a few pictures of the process.  A tutorial if you like.  In the next week or so I am going to make some using pecans instead of almonds and just see if it works and what the differences are.  I want so much to enjoy these cookies periodically but don’t want the whole allergic reaction, pop benadryl, become comatose for 2-5 hours, feel like I have been hit by a truck for 12-18 hours, all the while making 15-20 trips to “the little girls’ room” .  So I must improvise.  Then again maybe moderation would help.  So do you think a town of 2889 is ready for a Macaroon Shoppe??? Me neither.   Until they are I will keep just making them for my friends and family.  Though at $2 each in the few US bakeries I could find that made them…it might be something to think about!

 Swiss Meringue Buttercream
• 4 large egg whites
• 3 sticks (1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
• 1-1/4 cups sugar
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract ( I used vanilla bean paste and it was yummy!)

Macaroons
• 1-3/4 cup confectioners sugar
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or other flavoring or combination (again I used vanilla bean paste – I love the pretty brown flecks)
• 1-1/2 cups (4 ounces) sliced almonds, finely ground, or almond flour
• the whites of 3 large eggs
• Pinch of salt
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 1/2 recipe Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Sift confectioners’ sugar into a bowl. Whisk in ground almonds; set aside. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy; add salt. Gradually add granulated sugar 1 teaspoon at a time, until the whites reach medium-soft peaks. Transfer to a large bowl.

Sprinkle half of the sugar-almond mixture over the egg-white mixture. Using a large rubber spatula fold until just incorporated. Add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and remaining sugar-almond mixture, folding until just incorporated. Firmly tap the bottom of the bowl on a counter or work surface to eliminate any air pockets.

Transfer mixture to a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip (I didnt have a tip this size so I just use the coupler without a tip…worked fine – or so Rachel said! ). Pipe mixture into 1 1/2  – 2 inch circles on parchment lined baking sheet.

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Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until macaroons feel slightly firm to the touch and can be gently lifted off the parchment (the bottoms will be dry), 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer parchment and macaroons to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Carefully remove macaroons from parchment. Spread Swiss Meringue buttercream on the flat sides of the half of macaroons; sandwich with the other halves, keeping flat sides down.

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Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes, before serving. Filled cookies can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days (This is comical isn’t it? The recipe made about  48 halves or 24 filled cookies so, I have no idea how long they will last in the frig!)

Isn’t this a beautiful cookie???? 

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And I was right…they weren’t nearly as hard to make as one would imagine.   Family consensus – they were lovely, delicious, oh so good but Cream Wafers are still the favorite. 

But now when I am in Paris, I can eat a REAL macaroon from Ladurée and see if I came close anyway.  Yeah, I am taking my Epi-pen to France.  And a big bottle of benadryl.

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Pilgrim Pie

Rebecca ask what was the fastest pie I ever made…this one’s pretty fast to put together…then after I answered with this one…I thought of another no-bake…will have to post it later!

Pilgrim Pie


Preheat oven to 450. Prepare your favorite pie crust.
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 4 cup butter
1 cup coconut
1 cup oats
1 tsp vanilla
Cream together eggs, sugar and butter. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 30-35 minutes.

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