29 December 2012

Sandkeks for Santa

Classic German Sandkeks, a hazelnut shortbread cookie with a sandy vanilla sugar coating were set out in the afternoon on Christmas Eve ... Santa had a chance to grab a few before dropping off the loot! The rest, we have been nibbling with cups of coffee and tea. These cookies are a perfect crumbling shortbread - not overly sweet except for the sandy outer sugar layer.

24 December 2012

The Way Back Machine ..... Christmas 1958

Christmas Eve is always a good time for a story ... don't you think?  I do and I always have.

22 December 2012

Bittersweet Chocolate Cream Pie

Last month, our little church had a Silent Auction and my contribution to the auction fare was 'A Year of Pies' ... I was a bit concerned that no one would bid on my offering, but I was wrong. Folks like their pies, apparently. There were several bids offered and in the end I was tasked with providing a year's worth of pies to a lovely couple that live one town over. So, every month I will be loading a home made pie in my pie basket and heading out to make a special delivery.

Of course, I started with a classic apple pie for the month of November, which was received well (Thank you, God!). This month, though, Mr. Lamella requested a chocolate cream pie for a Christmas present. So ....

21 December 2012

A Sad Day of Mourning ...

A Dramatic Change Must Happen

The President said it best: "Ultimately if this effort is to succeed it's going to require the help of the American people -- it's going to require all of you. If we're going to change things, it's going to take a wave of Americans -- mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, pastors, law enforcement, mental health professionals -- and, yes, gun owners -- standing up and saying 'enough' on behalf of our kids."

19 December 2012

Deni's Cranberry Coffee Cake

An easy and delicious use of leftover cranberry relish .... that's where this recipe started its run at the grey cottage (and before that, at the Hopkinton Homestead). My dear friend, Deni always made this for staff brunches and also as holiday coffee break treats for our little classroom staff kaffeeklatsches. She graciously shared her recipe all those years ago and I have been making it at least two times a year ever since!

18 December 2012

Maple Baked Beans

I love kitschy kitchen goods, so you can just imagine my glee when I ran across this little bean pot on Ebay ... nothing screams 1960's retro like this little baby. Needless to say, I got it for a song and now, it needs some spicy beans to give it a proper welcome to the grey cottage.

I found a new take on baked beans in Ina Garten's barefoot contessa at home cookbook. She got the recipe from the boys of Stonewall Kitchen and it does smack of their forward thinking. I mean, really ... ginger, Chinese hot chili and garlic sauce, maple sugar, and ketchup ? These will be some kind of spicy beans that turn the traditional Yankee baked bean supper on its proverbial ear.

12 December 2012

King's Crown Coffee Bread

One of my little Christmas traditions is to rise early the morning after we have put up the Christmas tree, put the tree lights on, but no others, make an early pot of coffee and sit with a cup and just ... be ... still...

I love to sit and look at the beauty of the tree and the colors. Every year the tree is just a bit different from all the others of years gone by. Maybe it's a different tree variety or a different shape from the previous trees. Maybe I've chosen different sets of ornaments to place on its branches, or used more or less tinsel. Maybe the lights are all colored or all white or a combination of the two. Whatever the changes, I always feel my heart swell up a bit and any Grinchy feelings about the hustle-bustle of the season disappear in that quiet time.

09 December 2012

My Gift to You ...

Candle light and home made cinnamon and applesauce ornaments ...
 a sure recipe for Christmas Spirit !

08 December 2012

Venison and Winter Squash Tagine


If this were a scratch and sniff photograph, you would be in seventh heaven right now. Imagine a meaty cinnamon and paprika scent that has a hint of sweetness and the pungence of the fresh cilantro.
This dish is just what a cold raw winter day demands ...

07 December 2012

Cornmeal, Scallion, and Smoked Gouda Drop Biscuits

It's soup and stew season and that means there are never enough inventive ways to make a biscuit, roll, loaf of bread, or dumpling that will put the topper on whatever soup or stew is making it to your dinner table!

The other evening, I made Susan's Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup ... and oh my, it was good! See the link above and explore her site at Beyond My Kitchen Window for a treat. Read on to see the incredible biscuits that went with that gorgeous soup!

06 December 2012

Helen Allen's Figgy Pudding Butter Cookies

When the kids were little, we had a kid-sized record player and a stack of children's 45's that they slapped on and off the turntable, dancing and singing around the living room at top volume. I would bring out the special stack of Christmas music when we brought out the Advent calendars and the Christmas coloring books and crafts and they would crank up the tunes and their excitement level.

05 December 2012

A Holiday Dinner Staple - Green Bean Casserole

Family Traditions ... December's Virtual Supper Club Theme
I wonder. Is there's a household in America that has not prepared this holiday staple at least once for one the big holiday meals? It has been a tradition in our family for over thirty years! Imagine my surprise to find a leaner and cleaner version of the original recipe!


04 December 2012

Spicy Fruit Compote

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas!