31 March 2011

Back to Basics ... Chicken Stock

I talked with my Mom today. We commiserated about the weather, the amount of dust that accumulates in a wintertime house, the state of the world, and the rising cost of food. I bragged on this roasted chicken meal that was going to give me the makings for four meals  ... not bad for a six pound bird that cost me a little less than six dollars.

When, I got off the phone, I stripped the chicken from the carcass of the roastie we had for dinner last evening so that I could start a nice chicken broth. Making stock is pretty basic ... and I have a blogging friend, Max, who contacted me, asking about how it's done. I imagine that every cook has their routine, but here's mine.

Lovely roasties ready to knosh ... these from last summer, but I used the same rub on last night's roast.

First, I use a lot of rubs and spices on my roasters, so the stock I make is usually tailored to a specific soup. Yesterday's roast had a cayenne and smoked paprika rub because I have it in mind to make an Armenian meatball soup tomorrow that requires a bit of chicken stock to fortify the soup's broth. I would tell a beginner to think about what they have on their chicken for spices and incorporate the skin and pan drippings into their stock. Then, use the stock to create a soup that is enhanced by those spices. Got it, Max?

28 March 2011

Daring Bakers II - The Sweet Take on Meringue Filled Coffee Rings

Yesterday was all about getting the yeast rings made and posted for the Daring Bakers deadline, plus I had my son come to dinner, so a meal was made ... phew! I was beat by the end of the day. This morning, though, I got up to the sweet side of the DB challenge.

... cherries soaked in kirschwasser and sugar, meringue flavored with Amaretto, buttery slivered almonds rolled up to form a pretty cake and topped with white chocolate drizzle ... my daily caloric intake on a plate with a side of good coffee ... my kind of Monday !

27 March 2011

Daring Bakers - Meringue Filled Coffee Cake

banana - cashews - curried goat cheese - sweet  bread casing

Mets la main à la pâte! It’s time to roll up your sleeves and put your hands wrist deep in some smooth, silky dough and create something oh-so sweet! Jamie of Life’s a Feast and Ria of Ria’s Collection are thrilled to invite you to bake along with them this month!

This is the first Daring Baker challenge that I have been eligible to try ... whhoooooo! Should I be cringing in my shoes?  I'll admit it. I am!  I am not the queen of yeast doughs and this particular challenge involves a soft and pillow-like sweet yeast dough that is rolled and filled jellyroll fashion with  ... sky's the limit.

25 March 2011

Fudge for the Faint of Heart ... How I Conquered My Fudge Fear

I know this maple themed month may be too much for some folks, but I've found myself getting carried away a bit. Maples are a huge influence in New England. They have been the source of sweetness, great autumn beauty, warmth and strength - they are rooted in the soul of New England - truly.

So, when I signed on to provide a sweet something for the online bake sale for Japan, I felt that maple walnut fudge would be just the thing to offer. I imagine the Japanese people feel as deeply about their cherry trees as we feel about our maples  ... how fitting that something so deeply rooted in the culture of New England help to provide a bit of solace for the folks of Japan - I'm just sayin'.

24 March 2011

A Jaunt to Parker's Maple Barn

Today was a pretty day for a jaunt ...

Snowy footprints from sap pail to sap pail ...

Mid week is the perfect time to go to the sugar shack for the year's supply of maple syrup and the treat of a huge pancake breakfast. Last weekend was Maple Weekend in New Hampshire and every shack in the state was overrun with local families and tourists wanting to see how syrup is made, eat sugar on snow, chow down at pancake breakfasts, and buy up the sweet stuff. SB and I decided to wait and get our 'fix' when the lines were down and some of the excitement waned, fogies that we are. This year, we headed down the road to Mason.

22 March 2011

Another Day, Another Muffin ... Maple Walnut Seasonal Mix

I was cruisin' the supermarket the other morning and happened upon the beer/wine aisle ... can't think how that happened, but it did. Good old Sam Adams and about a kazillion other micros were touting their seasonal brews. Boy, it was a tough decision! I picked up the latest mid-sized box of Noble Pils from Sam Adams' brewhouse and moved on to get the makings for my 'muffin de jour', or should I say my 'seasonal muffin' ?

21 March 2011

Curried Carrot Soup - Potage Crécy With a Twist

What are you doing with your leftovers?

After the down home corned beef and cabbage dinners that we had here in the grey cottage AND at the local church hall this weekend, I wasn't sure if I would want potatoes, carrots or cabbage for a while. Today, however, our church friends put out the call about the leftovers from last night's dinner. I bit the bullet, grabbed a container of leftover carrots, and brought them home for this week's soup.  Once home, I went looking for my friend Dom's carrot soup recipe on his blog, Belleau Kitchen and dang! I can't find it! My other friend, Nancy told me about a carrot soup that she has made, so I fell back on that one ... she said she spiced it with a bit of curry.

18 March 2011

A Memoir and a Cake ... Pineapple Chocolate Chip Cake

Do you have time for a piece of cake, a cup of tea, and a good read ?

Miriam's Kitchen - A Memoir by Elizabeth Ehrlich

It seemed to me that it was time again to share a really good book.

If you have been following along with me of late, you know that I've had a fascination with Jewish cooking and cuisine. Well, recently a friend passed me a memoir by Elizabeth Ehrlich and I have waited for just the right time to settle in for the read. Now, I won't go into Lent and all it means to me. Suffice it to say, this is my time of year to go on a spiritual journey. It's a slow, tentative thing for me ... but reading of another's coming to terms with their cultural and religious heritage is a perfect way for me to contemplate my own .

16 March 2011

Coquilles St. Jacques ... It's All About the Story...

I bought sea scallops this week ... the price was 'up there', but it will continue to rise. As the summer approaches, the availability of North Atlantic sea scallops will fall off as seaside restaurants buy up the catch and fishermen go for other fish. So ... I took one last opportunity to make us a beautiful scallop dish... a dish with memories for me.

I discovered Coquilles St Jacques years ago ... long before I was married with children. During the summer of my junior year in college, I took a flying trip to Cape Cod  with a group of rowdy friends. We camped and drank too much and partied on the beach until all hours and caroused with other like-minded college kids. I met a guy ... a local guy. One thing lead to another and before I knew it he was inviting me out to dinner ... what was a girl to do? I accepted, made sure I got a good shower to wash off the salt water the afternoon before our date , and donned my only sundress packed in the back pack. We went (in his pick-up truck) to one of the prettiest restaurants I'd ever been to  ... Chillingsworth in Brewster.

15 March 2011

Country Cheese Soup ... and Pumpernickel Croutons

I'm no saint, that's for sure ... so when I tell you that I have been making soup for some church neighbors as my Lenten offering, please know that SB and I have also profited from this small show of largesse. We have soup and bread for supper - the same soup that I pack up and deliver to my friends. Okay? That said, it IS very satisfying to have a huge pot of good soup on the stove and to know that you have made plenty to share.

13 March 2011

Molasses Cookies - Three Ways!

So ... it was Saturday and my traditional baking day. SB and my brother, Rich went off into the woods for a day hike and I was planning a gorgeous cookie platter for the evening's dessert. They were going to be 'wowed'. Rich brought a big old pan of short ribs so my dinner preparations were way easy last night ... the least I could do is make a killer dessert...right?

10 March 2011

Spelt á la Risotto ...

One can't call it a risotto because there is no rice involved, however, it sure had the creamy sauce and al dente feel. It was a 'try me' recipe developed after I had a farro 'risotto' in a small bistro near my daughter's place in Brooklyn. I couldn't find farro in the rural backwater, so I bought a cup of spelt berries from the 'bulk island' at the supermarket and brought them home to sit on my counter while I read up a bit on spelt and farro.

09 March 2011

Random Recipe II ...

Because I loved participating in Dom's February Random Recipe Challenge, I jumped on this month's dare the moment he posted the parameters ... read on here to see if you'd like to join the hardy folk willing to allow randomness into their culinary lives!

The recipe comes from that same little book I've been accessing of late - A Taste of New Hampshire. Actually, when the randomness brought it off my cookbook shelf, it never went back ... I've been having fun looking through it and making a few 'little things'.  One of the 'few little things' that this recipe yields ...

08 March 2011

French Roast and Beignets ...

Is there anything more delicious than coffee and donuts? Apparently not, because there have been multiple coffee shops and donut franchises that have capitalized on just that combination. Today, though, it's Mardi Gras and the French beignet gets center stage at coffee break.

07 March 2011

Another Pretty Cake ...

Isn't it pretty? Happy Birthday, Vicki!

06 March 2011

Greek Moussaka - Easy and Tasty

Yesterday was such a challenge for me! I don't know why, but I was all thumbs while I was in the kitchen. I had intended to bake a friend a beautiful birthday cake and put together a GF banana cream pie ... plus a few hors d'ouerve-like offerings for today's church fellowship hour. I had a full docket of projects. Everything took me much longer than I planned, though, because of my clumsiness. I dropped the cake batter-laden beaters on the floor, making a sticky mess to clean up. I broke a glass measuring cup when it slipped out of my buttery fingers and into the bottom of the sink, spilled the compost container on the kitchen floor as I was taking it to dump ... another mess to clean up.  I slammed pans around and cluttered up the counter so that moving about and finding work space was awkward. Aaargh! The more I messed up, the crankier I got! I ended up ditching all save the cake and a simple cheese platter. When I finished with those two projects, I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning the cook-top, counters and kitchen island.

05 March 2011

Cook Book Sunday ... Amaretto Brownie Chip Pie ... !!!

It's Cook Book Sunday over at Brenda's Canadian Kitchen and I have been wanting to get a post ready to share with Brenda and her readers ... check out all the terrific offerings at her site! My post today is an homage to all those small fundraising cookbooks out there. They may be sponsored by local churches, cultural groups, women's clubs, or in this case, research foundations. I managed to find a treasure for Silent Bob and I ... a sweet dessert that we remember from a favorite New Hampshire restaurant that we have visited now and then in our rambles. Read on ...

03 March 2011

Bloggers' Quandry and Colorful Jerked Beans and Chicken

                                                                                     Image - Doring Kindersley @ Getty Images

Choosing what to post is always such an issue with me. Right from the get-go, this blog has been about sharing the foods that we eat, that I'm interested in learning about, and that I want to pass on to my kids. I love cooking and the more I travel, read, and experience, the more I am amazed at all the food variety there is in the world. Given the finite number of food items on this planet, people find the most amazing ways to combine them for fantastic dishes. Brilliant! I want to play around and sample as many as possible!

Lately though, I have been feeling the pressure from all sides to cut the fat, eat more vegetables, eliminate sugars, eat less red meat, only eat seasonal, brown rice vs white rice, watch out for sustainability issues at the markets, nuts, nuts, nuts, substitute yogurt for dairy that is high in fat, eliminate dairy ... the list seems endless. Being a mindful consumer is a lot of work!

02 March 2011

Baked Maple, Pecan and Croissant Pudding

Another in the continuing saga of maple syrup-based recipes that come out at the grey cottage during 'Sugar Season'... I can get away with making this rich dessert, as we are jumping into the car to make a quick junket to Brooklyn to deliver 'apartment warming' presents to daughter Kate and give ourselves a bit of a respite from 'cabin fever'. Just look at the back yard view! It's March 1st, for crying out loud! Wouldn't you have 'cabin fever' too ?!?