26 January 2015

Making Cookies ...

It's been an age, it seems , since I made a good batch of oatmeal cookies for Silent Bob. He's not a complainer, but I'm pretty sure I heard a sigh when he came in from loading the woodboxes yesterday and rattled the top of the cookie jar. He must have been expecting the elves to have stocked it overnight, but alas. Hence, the sigh.

So, this evening, while he is off at a planning meeting for a series of bike tours he'll work on come Spring, I am baking him oatmeal cookies with pecans and butterscotch chips. The fire is humming along in both stoves, the cats are chasing each other through the house and stirring up the smart Corgis, and I am blissfully baking cookies, taking photos, and ...

25 January 2015

An Aside ...

I started another scrappy quilt yesterday ... my beloved Ohio Star pattern. Sooner or later, I will have to buy enough fabric to make the offset squares, though. I want to use the strip piecing method to make 16-block squares of calicos, using that golden color and some of the colors in the patterned scraps to carry through the quilt. Each of these squares are 12 inches finished. That makes for a quilt that will grow quickly in size when I begin putting things together.

While I piece these blocks, I'm also putting together that Pinwheel quilt face. I have more than 200 squares of 7 inch pinwheels to lay out this week and begin putting into strips. I'm thinking that the Pinwheel quilt will be a queen sized affair ... wish me  luck on that!

As usual, Little Bee had to be right in the middle of everything, as I trimmed up the squares and took pictures. What a little busybody!

20 January 2015

Maple Apple Cake - Gluten Free and Great

I very rarely return to a recipe within a few weeks, even if I love the recipe. Those food bloggers who make a recipe to the letter the first time, and then return right a way to adapt it and perfect it before posting it are a different breed of cooks. I am a food diarist. What you see is what you get and if I adapt a recipe, I usually adapt it right out of the gate because I've read the recipe through and thought about it's ingredients or the cooking instructions, or the constraints of my pantry or the likes and dislikes of our house full of hungry folk, or, or, or ...

That being said, I want you to meet this Maple Apple Cake. This cake (above) started out as Rum Apple Cake, a recipe straight from The FOOD 52 Cookbook.

08 January 2015

Happy New Year From the Virtual Supper Club !!!

A new year begins here at The Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club and what better way to celebrate than with small plates - tapas - mezze - hors d'oeuvres ! What ever you call them, they are the perfect way to eat lightly into the new year! A series of these small plate recipes would serve the host or hostess of a New Years celebration really well. The very nature of small plates culture is such that offerings are brought out for friends one or two at a time. There are drinks, usually beers or glasses of wine, and a few bites served up with plenty of conversation - the perfect way to party! This month we have created a spread of small servings and celebratory wines or cocktails to help bring in 2015 with true pizzazz.

06 January 2015

Pain Ordinaire - French Bread

Winter returned to the grey cottage over the weekend. We had snow, sleet, freezing rain and then a gusty freezing polar vortex swept in to freeze everything rock solid. One hears the cold crunch of the ice on the road as the neighbors head out to work. The wind makes the icy coating of the branches clatter, when it gusts around the house corners. It's colder than a witch's left hind roopy-too, as my Dad liked to say!

05 January 2015

Buttermilk Waffles with Sautéed Apples

When I was a kid, Dad would sometimes haul an aged and decrepit waffle iron out of the closet on Saturday mornings and mix up batter to make brown crispy waffles for us kids. We'd get a stack of two or three waffles, a side of bacon or sausage links and a big glass of juice for breakfast. I always felt like the luckiest kid in the world for some reason. I can remember swinging my legs under the breakfast table in anticipation of watching gobs of butter melting in the little nooks and crannies of the waffles and chanting for more maple syrup when Dad divvied out the liquid gold.

Food memories are such powerful things!

30 December 2014

Food Trends for 2015 ... Personal Prognostications

That business over cocktails the other evening got me thinking about the food trends that will be coming our way in 2015. It seems that every year restaurant chefs, food writers, and bloggers catch on to a few select spices, vegetables, meats, fruits, or techniques that become a fad. So I got to wondering what some trends for 2015 might be ...

1. Fritters - Both sweet and savory make wonderful little desserts, tea time bites, and platforms for all sorts of savory sauces or delicate meat and/or vegetable accompaniments. I was recently looking at one of  Diana Henry's cook books and when I saw her recipe for ricotta fritters, I thought them perfect for a food trend jumping off point.

2. Ramen Noodle Bowls - The possibilities are endless for additions to a bowl of noodles. Making a cheap bowl of pasta healthy and tasty is surely a challenge that the foodie world should embrace ... right? Besides, getting interest in more ramen stands and food trucks would be a public service, so a food trend is def called for here.

2. Escarole - This leafy green has much to offer in main dish presentations and salad and vegetable side dish recipes. Let's go, chefs! Serve up the escarole!

4. Honey - Using honey as a small sweetener and as a main ingredient is just the right thing to do. If we're ever to turn around the plight of the honey bee, it will be directly tied to the market force of 'supply and demand' so we need to use more honey. Period. Time to trend!

5. Rabbit Meat - It's lean and healthy. It's a meat source that small producers can humanely raise without shoving corn and junk into the little creatures. Certain species of rabbit and hare are smaller and more realistic in portion per piece. In a time when, meat consumption is becoming less a daily thing and more considered, rabbit's time has come.

6. Sandwich Cookies - Now that cup cakes are off the trendy list of sweet treats for the urban hipster coffee crawl, I'm thinking that a good sandwich cookie could be the next big thing. I recently saw a recipe for oatmeal cookies with a creamy filling that made me think that the world could use at least a hundred more creative ways to knosh two cookies at a time! Sandwich cookies! Yes!

7. Tempura - There must be a zillion ways to prepare and spice a tempura batter. I'm thinking tempura veggies, tempura fruits as embellishments for main dishes, tempura meats and seafood bites.
The tempura technique is ripe for experimentation. It's a food trend just waiting to happen!

8. Grains - Getting good grains that are not full of chemical residue is a pretty important thing, so I'm hoping that smaller organic grain producers get their due in 2015. A trend is called for ...

9. Airline Food 'Alternative Caterers' - Small packs prepared right in the terminal for folks to grab on the go before they hit security and pack away for consumption on the planes (that refuse to step up to the foodie challenge) could make for happier travelers. Just saying ... there's a foodie opp here, if only someone would develop the idea! Or ... has it already been developed. It's been so long since I've been able to AFFORD to travel !!!!! I may just be out of the airline terminal loop.

10. ..... hmmm.

I could probably go on for a bit, but I'm wondering what followers and creepy blog stalkers might think ... feel free to let me know in comment section. What will be the next big foodie thing in 2015?

29 December 2014

Let Them Eat Kale - The Cook Book's Minestrone with Quinoa Soup

Nom, nom ... with added chicken meatballs. 

Okay, so this New Hampshire hick is settling in for the winter months with her stash of Christmas cook books and her every present bouquet of  ... kale. Yup. Kale. It's what's for dinner during the winter up here in the wilds of New England - green, cheap, plentiful, healthy, and ever present, mounded up in the produce section at the local markets.