Family and celebrations

My brother Ralph, sister, Cynthia and me

My brother Ralph, sister, Cynthia and me

Last week, my oldest brother, Ralph and his wife, Carole, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

A milestone in anyone’s life, their daughters had a party for them.  There were lots of guests to share in the celebration and their marriage has been a beautiful example of love and endurance.  I didn’t even take a picture- this one of the three of us was taken by my(our ) niece, Allyson- so I can’t show you the happy couple.

But this picture of me with my brother and sister really makes me think of the passing of years and of familial relationships.  I am a lot  younger than most of my siblings- my parents really had two groups of children – the older 4 and then some years later, the little girls (as we were called).  Three little girls on the tag end – each of us 2 years apart, with me in the middle.  They have both died now- and I am the last of this smaller group – but thankfully the older sibs are mostly still here- three of them still living .

In the crowd of party goers that night were a small contingent of my brothers family- his children and grandchildren of course, and then my sister,my niece and nephew , a cousin and I.  My sister-in-law, Carole has a VERY large family and as I looked around the  room I was made aware of the depth of family relationships.  I share a bond with these people that is so strong it almost hurts.  I look at my brother and see him still as my hero- the man who always had time for me when I was a little girl.  I see my sister and remember when I thought she was the epitome of grace and beauty.  They still hold these places in my heart and memory- the passing of time has just seasoned and strengthened the love that we share.  So I just wanted to take a moment and celebrate family and share a picture of two of the people who have helped to shape the woman I have become.

Hello?

I’m just hoping this works!

It’s been so long since I was able to post that I’m not sure I know what I’m doing anymore.  But here goes- I’m back after a long several month hiatus.023

Here is a picture of

the scones I made for

International Scone

Week which was my last post.

Meyer lemon and cardamom cookies/biscuits- recipe

This is one of those cookies that you taste and seek the recipe for – immediately!

I love cardamom and I love lemon- so when I saw this recipe I went for it.

Meyer lemon and Cardamom tea biscuits.

 

ingredients

  • 9 ounces  all purpose flour (about 1 3/4 cups), sifted
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Zest of 4 Meyer lemons
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • pure vanilla extract
  • Method
  • Preheat oven to 375F degrees.
  • Place flour, cardamom,baking powder,lemon zest and salt into bowl
  • and mix together with whip, then set aside.
  • Cream butter and granulated sugar together until creamy and very smooth.
  • This is a very important step- don’t stint on it- use a mixer if necessary but
  • the light texture of the cookies is dependent on this step!
  • Scrape down the bowl and add eggs, one at a time , beating well after each one, then add the vanilla and mix well.
  • Scoop the cookies out into small balls and roll in powdered sugar and place on cooking sheet lined with parchment paper – about 1 1/2 inches apart.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes, until golden but not quite brown.
Cool on rack and store in air fast container.

April 2014- In my kitchen

 

Normally, I would like to have at least 4 posts a month.  Last month my only post was an IMK post- so I’ve slipped up big time!  It has been a very cold and snowy month.

So I’m going to start over this month and hopefully it will be a more hopeful and postfull  type of month.

In my kitchen…Meyers Lemons

Meyer’s lemons.  They were the same price as regular lemons so I decided to buy them and make up some recipes I’d been thinking about!

So- in my kitchen…

Lemon and ricotta crepes.

Lemon and raspberry bars.

 

The first picture is of cardamom and lemon crinkle biscuits’cookies.

If you are interested in any of the recipes, let me know in the comments and I will write them up in the next post.

In my kitchen…

Italian yeasted bread and a sourdough loaf.

 

BREAD!  I made two loaves  and I think I prefer the sourdough.  It has way more flavor and a softer crumb.

In my kitchen…

A selection of my aluminum platters and bowls.

 

my aluminum serving pieces.

I didn’t pay more than $5 for any of these pieces- and I enjoy the hammered beauty of aluminum.

So- that is my kitchen this month- go to Celia’s blog, http://figjamandlimecordial.com/  and see a list of other IMK posts from around the world.

March 2014- In my Kitchen

 

 

March.  Coming in like a lion- dropping temperatures-

 

forecasts for up to 10+ inches of snow. BRR!

 

But in my kitchen- all is pretty warm and bright.

 

In my kitchen…

 

Lunch!  Ham sandwich with a couple of slices of cinnamon bread,

lettuce, prickly pear cactus jelly and black olive mustard and

 

 

 

minestrone soup.  Mmm- really delicious!  and comforting.

 

and WARM!

 

 

 

 

In my kitchen…

 

 

 

Bread with just cinnamon swirl- no sugar- it made the best flavor!

 

In my kitchen…

 

a cover for my Kindle Fire- specially made for me by my d-i-l Willow!

 

Notice the hand embroidered butterfly!

 

In my kitchen…

 

a hand blown glass ball!  A gift from Meredith- she got it for me

in Chincoteague but I hadn’t mounted it until now!  And LOOK-

 

 

at the glow!  It makes my kitchen shine with warm golden

light!

Spectacular!  Now I can watch the glow and ignore the snow!

Welcome March!

Go to http://figjamandlimecordial.com/ and see Celia’s other In my kitchen bloggers for March- it is a great way to welcome the month and see some fun posts!

Happy Valentine’s Day

Start with standard chocolate cupcakes.

Form hole in center with apple corer. Don’t go all the way through the cake.

Fill center with marshmallow creme/fluff.

Wait until creme settles and fill again-
Then ice with dark chocolate frosting and decorate with hearts.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

In my Kitchen- February 2014

In February , I seem to drop into a depression that lasts until Spring and even later sometimes.  So I spend a lot of time reading and hiding out in other people’s thoughts and lives.  I used to buy stacks of books in the Autumn so I would be prepared- but since the advent of the Kindle in my life- or should I say that in the plural?- because I need two to keep up with my reading schedule and you have to plug them in to recharge once in a while.

So – in my kitchen and wherever else I go-

is a Kindle.

In my kitchen-

Are many baskets.

I love baskets- I fill them

with all kinds of supplies

and goodies and books.

And candles and napkin holders

and cookies, and stamping pads and

stamps and napkins and presents.

 

This basket holds pies!  Two full

size pies !  It is so great to use to

carry them to my niece’s house for

Thanksgiving dinner!

The last basket I’m showing is called

a market basket- but I use it for my most

recently used cookbooks.  These baskets

are all handmade here in Ohio at the Longaberger

Basket company.  They are very pricey- but they are solid and make for real

working baskets rather than for lightweight loads.

In my kitchen…

(wait for it…)

Is this great glorious loaf of bread!

Even in the doldrums, in the midst of reading, I make bread.

It is almost as lifting to my spirits as reading!

 

And ,

In my kitchen…

are tea cozies and pots of tea.

Also very good for the lifting of low spirits.

So- there you have it- books, bread, baskets and tea with cozies to keep it warm.

Take a look at Celia’s blog, http://figjamandlimecordial.com/2014/02/01/in-my-kitchen-february-2014/  to see other in my kitchen posts.

Have a great February- or just find a good book to read and a great bread to eat!

Bread- texture and crumb- plus a recipe.

Poppyseed rolls using stamp

Poppyseed roll using a stamp- it looks fancier than it tastes!

I have been making lots of bread since the new year started.  And playing around with recipes and methods- because I want the bread to be to my liking.  I don’t really care too much about how it looks- I want it to taste and feel right in my mouth.  I’m looking for a slightly yeasty, stretchy dough similar to those I remember from my youth when we would get a loaf of Vienna bread from the bakery in Akron on the way home from church on Sunday.   That loaf never made it home.  We ripped off pieces and ate them in the car- oblivious to the crumbs on our Sunday dresses- passing the loaf from hand to hand and tearing off a chunk of crust and delectable crumb that stretched as we pulled it off.

I’ve been making bread since I was 18 years old and have only now come close to that

bread.

Sourdough lof raised in a banneton

This looks right- but the texture isn’t quite stretchy- although the flavor is wonderful!

I love the bread I make- especially the sourdough- but like I said- the texture isn’t quite right.  And I don’t think it is about the recipe, either-  flour,yeast, salt olive oil and water- in varying amounts is what I’m using- usually with a cup or less of sourdough starter mixed in.

Poppy seeds and slashes make this loaf appealing.
The crumb is acceptable and great for sandwiches and toast.

So if the recipe is good- then it is about the method.  And I’ve been playing about with using old dough ( which is adding a piece of yeasted dough that has been saved in the refrigerator from a previous bread session- this adds to the leavening process and brings a flavor akin to sourdough ) and adding to the raising times.  I’ve been doing two raises- punching the dough down and letting it raise twice before shaping and allowing the final raise before baking and those two have added up to being very close to what I’m looking for in texture.

Knotty Italian rolls- twice raised and twisted into shape.

Finally the stretchy crumb I’ve been looking for!

 

 

 

I’ve been making these for years, but the addition of the old dough has made a significant difference in the crumb!

When pulling them apart there is that stretchy quality and that extra give upon biting into the roll.

Here is the recipe for the Italian rolls-  http://www.heidiannie.com/baking-day/   – you have to scroll down a bit to get to the recipe- I was rather chatty the day I posted this!  :)

 

 

 

 

And I also found another recipe I had forgotten about-  I really like these bread sticks- but I had misplaced the recipe and hadn’t made them for a while.  I’m going to post it here so I can find it later even if I misplace the card again!!!

These also have a very nice stretchy quality to them-they are delicious by themselves- great with a dip or pate` and freeze beautifully!

Salted breadsticks!
Topped with sesame seeds, Parmesan cheese, and black salt and poppyseed.

Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups flour

2 1/2 sticks butter

2 egg yolks

1 cup sour cream

2-3 tsp salt ( I like salt- you might want to use the smaller measurement)

2 tsp. dry yeast proofed in 1/2 cup warm water.

Method:

Bring all ingredients to room temperature, then mix all together in large bowl.  Depending on the flour and the type of day, you may need to use a little extra water- you are looking for a fairly sticky dough- but still dry enough that you can shape into a ball.  When you have a ball with all the ingredients well mixed, place on floured counter and cover with the bowl and let sit for 30 minutes.

Lightly whip egg whites until they are just frothy and set aside.

Roll out dough 1/2 inch thick, brush on half of the egg whites, fold dough and let sit for an additional 30 minutes.

Roll dough out to 1/2 inch thick again and brush on egg white, add salt, cheese or seeds on top.  Cut into sticks , twist and place on baking sheet.Bake at 350 degrees F until golden- about 15 minutes.

 

Sesame seed breadsticks- so good!

 

 

 

 

 

Coconut sheet cake with cream cheese frosting- recipe

Coconut sheet cake with cream cheese frosting- a moist dense cake.

I love coconut cake.

I love chocolate and yellow cakes, as well.

I love cake, period.

But coconut cake has such a clean edge to it- the flavor is permeated within the cake itself and then you have a bonus of toasted coconut on top, mmm!

But it is hard to find a homemade cake that has the right flavor and mouth feel.

I like the Sara Lee frozen coconut cake- but I wanted to make my own so I went to the recipe index on the internet and combined and played with the ingredients and amounts and came up with this winner!!!

Notice that there is no leavening agent in the ingredients- the eggs are used to raise  the crumb – and this is a rather dense cake- more like a pound cake than a sponge cake.

Ingredients:

1 cup soft butter

6 ounces soft cream cheese

6 eggs, separated

1  tsp vanilla extract

2 cups plain or A/P flour

1/3 cup coconut flour (if you can’t find flour, put some in the food processor until it is quite fine

1/4 cup coconut milk

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9x 13 in. cake pan.

Cream sugar into cream cheese and butter.  Add yolks, one at a time, until batter is

smooth and light.  Whip egg whites until soft peaks form and set aside.

Add vanilla and mix well,  Add coconut milk, mix- then add plain and coconut flour and

mix well.  Fold egg whites into mixture – carefully- you want it well mixed but still with lots of air in the batter.  Gently scoop batter into greased pan and bake in pre-heated oven for 35 to 40 minutes.  The cake should raise slightly whilst baking and will be a little browned on the edges – check doneness by inserting a clean knife or toothpick in center- when it comes out clean, the cake is done.Allow to cool completely and then ice with cream cheese icing.

I used 1/2 cup butter

6 ounces cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups 10x or confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup coconut flour

and beat it with a hand mixer until it was creamy

.Then topped the frosted cake with 1/2 cup toasted coconut.

I think the icing was a little too thick, but Frank likes more icing than I do.  Half the recipe if your tastes run along with mine!