Thursday, November 26, 2015

So much Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving! When we remember to approach everything from a place of love and gratitude we create change. I am thankful for each moment, especially the difficult ones (even if that's hard to remember in the moment) because it is in those moments that there is the most to learn and to gain.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Spring Peep Cocktails

Trying to think of more things to do with Peeps, I tried out some cocktails. I used the sugar from the packages to sugar the rims of the glasses.

For this spring chick I used
a large ice cube
1 shot of tequila
splash of rose water
and filled the rest of the glass with Izze grapefruit soda

These pink bunnies got a concoction of
St Germain
fresh squeezed lemon juice
shaken with ice and then poured into the glasses

Friday, April 3, 2015

Peeps s'mores 3 ways

People seem to have strong feelings about Peeps - love them or hate them. I'm kind of on the fence about them. They aren't something I remember being part of my childhood easters, so I don't have a nostalgic connection to them. I have however found myself drawn to the fun colors and cute shapes in the last few years. I'm not interested in these new flavored ones,  I want my peeps to taste like marshmallow.

After the long cold winter we've had in the Boston area this year I feel particularly drawn to their bright colors and to anything that helps it feel like spring and summer are on the way so trying to make these cute festive Peeps into a favorite summer treat seemed like a good idea to me.

First I tried the basic indoor s'more, just heat the Peeps over the flame on the gas stove

I had seen some twists on the classic s'more for easier portability and cuteness
melt chocolate chips, spread onto graham crackers and stick on the Peeps

Lastly I had seem a few different versions of peeps in mini chocolate pies and decided to try a version from Something Swanky.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Whoopie Pies

I enjoy a good whoopie pie, so I decided to try making my own. I find the ones you buy at a bakery are often too big so I wanted to scale them down and I feel like the secret to a good whoopie pie is in the filling so I looked for a filling recipe that sounded tasty. I started with Martha Stewart's Mini Chocolate Whoopie Pie recipe for the cake part of the pies. And I used a food network recipe for the filling. I made slight adjustments to both recipes.

For the pies:
Preheat the oven to 375
Mix together dry ingredients and set aside
           1 3/4 cups flour
           3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
           1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
           1/2 teaspoon salt

Using mixer cream together
           1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon butter
           1/2 cup granulated sugar
           1/2 cup brown sugar
When that is smooth add
           1 egg
beat until well mixed, and looks pale and fluffy

Combine and set aside
           1 cup milk
           1 teaspoon vanilla

Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture
Once combined add the milk & vanilla
Add the rest of the flour mixture

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and drop mounds of dough, trying to keep the sizes uniform, onto the prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for about 12 minutes.

For the filling:
Using a mixer combine
           1 1/2 cups butter
           3 cups of powdered sugar
           1 1/3 cups marshmallow Fluff
           dash of salt
           1 teaspoon vanilla
Once well combined slowly, a little at a time add milk (you may need up to 1/2 cup) to get a nice spreadable consistency.

The final step is to combine the pies with the filling. Spread filling one on cooled pie and top with another pie of equal size.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Juniper Berries, a taste of the forest.

I enjoy the flavor of these gingerbread cookies with juniper berry glaze and their festive winter look. I use a recipe from Epicurious for the cookies and glaze but if you have a favorite gingerbread recipe you could use that and just add this glaze. 

For the glaze:
3/4 cup half and half
1/3 cup juniper berries
1 pound powdered sugar

* If you want to color the glaze, you'll need food coloring and if you want to decorate your cookies then you'll also need whatever colored sugar or candies etc. you want to use to decorate, since the juniper flavor lends itself well to gingerbread trees I chose to add green food coloring and use green decorating sugar. 

Lightly crush the berries and add to half and half in a pot on the stove, bring to a simmer, remove from heat and chill for 5 hours. Strain. Add the flavored half and half to the powdered sugar a bit at a time and whisk until the glaze is smooth and spreadable. Frost and decorate cookies then allow to sit out until glaze sets before storing. 

If you're looking for a festive mocktail try making virgin gin. I found a recipe for it from the Seattle Times that I tried.  

4 cups of water
1 Tablespoon juniper berries
zest from 1 orange
zest from 1 lemon (you'll also use the juice)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
12 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Put the water in a pan, cover and bring to a boil. Add all the ingredients except the sugar and lemon juice. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain. 
Whisk in sugar and lemon juice. When sugar is dissolved, you can put the "gin" in a jar and keep refrigerated. 

If you prefer some alcohol with your juniper you can try out a tincture or the recipe I tried can also be used to make a simple syrup.

3/4 ounce crushed juniper berries
1 teaspoon lavender flowers
1/2 cup neutral grain spirit, I had schoharie shine on hand which I wasn't a huge fan of on it's own so I used it for this tincture

Put all 3 ingredients in a mason jar, screw the lid on tightly and shake. Store in a dark place in your kitchen and shake daily for a week. Then strain. Add tincture by the drop to your drinks for added flavor.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Kale and Squash Risotto

Tonight's dinner came via a food network recipe with a few of my own adjustments and additions

butternut squash cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
6 cups chicken stock
6 tablespoons butter
2 shallots
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon saffron
1 cup grated parmesan 
I added:
pomegranate seeds 

Preheat the oven to 400
Toss the squash with the olive oil, salt and pepper and roast about 30 minutes until tender. 

Heat the chicken stock in a covered pan and then leave on low. 

To start cooking the risotto, melt the butter and sauté shallots and fennel until tender.
Add the rice and stir for about two minutes. Add the wine, stir, once absorbed begin to add chick stock a bit at a time as it is absorbed add more. After about 20 minutes add chopped kale and continue to cook another 10 minutes or so until rice is cooked through and liquid is mostly absorbed. Add the roasted squash, cheese and pomegranate seeds. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

brussels sprouts

Today I tried out a new brussels sprouts recipe from Martha Stewart.

1 pound of sprouts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 cup walnuts
salt & pepper
pomegranate seeds (not part of the original recipe)
grated pecorino cheese

Preheat the oven to 375.
Toss the sprouts with all the ingredients except pomegranate seeds and cheese, place on rimmed baking sheet and cook for 10-15 minutes.
Sprinkle with cheese then add pomegranate seeds.