Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Brioche de Saint-Genix

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 And here they are!


Lovely little brioche rolls with 'pink' praline. I think it's closer to red, but hey, still pretty.


The Biscuit de Savoie were also good, but I made the mistake of filling them before plating, and those suckers were sticky to begin with. 


Less 'biscuit' and more angel food cake-like, very light and crisp on the outside. Perfect with a cup of tea.

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Slowly but Surely

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 Fun baking day!


If I ever get things rolling...


We're doing 'tea' for dinner tonight, so I'm making Brioche de Saint-Genix and Biscuit de Savoie. So far, I've only gotten the pralines ready for the oven! 

Photos to come (hopefully).

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Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Grin

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As much I enjoy cooking, what I really love is baking. 

 

And as much as I love baking, what I haaaaaaate is decorating cakes and cookies.
Like, hate hate hate. 


I mean, I don't hate looking at it. Admiring like 'whoa' anyone with the talent, skills, and patience to do it.


But me? Not so much.


Every year at this time, I promise myself 'No sugar cookies next year'. 


And every year, I bake the darn things. 


But this year, when I saw Laurie A. Conley's (@Busydrawing on Twitter) week 1 #spookyholidaychallenge drawing of the most adorable and creepy trees, I knew I had to give them a try.

 

Please keep in mind that I did all my decorating using sandwich bags and a skewer, because I did not have the energy to fill and clean a bunch of pastry bags and tips, and could not locate my scribe tool.

 

So there you have it: One adorable and creepy holiday tree!

 

 




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Monday, December 05, 2022

It was a good (baking) day

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I got a much later start on Merry Cookie Season this year, but managed to make up some time Sunday. 


I already had two kinds of biscotti made, as well as sugar cookies (still waiting to be decorated), but now the kolachy, giant spice, chocolate dulce de leche, mini chocolate chips and the (now with final touches) pistachio fingers have been finished as well.


There's dough in the fridge for the chocolate rugelach and the thin mint clones, so they'll be baked off tomorrow, as well as the sugar cookies getting fancied up. 


The smoked peanuts will get ground for peanut butter and turned into peanut butter blossoms, with tempered chocolate buttons or discs (depending on how they turn out), and finally, the Cookie of My People will follow.  Should be finished by Wednesday - yay, me!















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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

She Really Does Play Well With Food

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My new thing: making chocolates. 

 

Matt got me a sous vide last Christmas, with the intent of using it for tempering chocolate. We finally started using it a few weeks ago, and oh. My.

 

What a game changer. 

 

Does it take time? Yes. Is it stupid easy to use? Also yes. 

 

I'm also finding there's less mess, clean up, and waste using this method. 

 

So I've been playing with food again. 

 


 

Breaking out the molds, creating neat fillings.  And with each one, I'm perfecting my technique (the hardest/scariest part was sealing them, but I think I've got that figured out now). 


More to come!

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Thursday, November 24, 2022

Chilaquiles Rojos with Fried Eggs and Cotija

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Matt can't handle a large breakfast early in the morning, so before work, it's usually a couple of pieces of toast and some tea.


But weekends and vacation days, I get to have fun.


Recently, I made these chilaquiles (which took a bit more work as our broiler no longer works...sob).  


He didn't quite lick the bowl clean, but it was a near thing.

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Friday, November 18, 2022

Poof

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 If you don't get flour on your clothes, are you even baking?






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Thursday, November 17, 2022

Smells Like Heaven

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 If heaven is deeply-roasted garlic. 



From this recipe, a Roasted Garlic Pizza.  But with a three day rise dough, because we're all about flavor over here. 

 

Of course it was amazing.  Everything smelled like garlic for a day or so after, but I'm not really seeing a downside. 



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Wednesday, November 16, 2022

100% That Witch

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I just really like this photo (if you ignore the clutter). 



And no, my hands aren't dirty - I was taking a break from baking!


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Saturday, November 12, 2022

Oops!

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 ..I think I may have added too much heat to the jollof base. 



I mean, I can taste it in the air. 


I guess I'll find out!




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Monday, November 07, 2022

Miss Me?

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Earlier tonight, I made a recipe for chicken meatballs (yes, with a faux chicken version, too...nothing's changed on that front), and in addition to breadcrumbs, it wanted both beaten egg and milk in the mix. 

 

And I couldn't help but wonder why? Ground chicken is already gloppily wet. Hang on, shuddering at the memory.

 

They were so wet and sticky, I had to put them in the fridge for a few hours just to firm up enough to cook.)

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Friday, September 03, 2021

Still Here. Honest.

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Happy September!


The suffocating heat and humidity appear to be on the way out, Halloween decorations are going up, and it's almost my birthday.


I baked these Smoked Pistachio Shortbreads for Matt last night, which he loves. 


Hope you're all doing as well as you can manage.  Can't really ask for more, can we?

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Monday, February 22, 2021

Love Hurts

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The teen suffered a break-up recently, his first. But it wasn't just the end of a relationship - he was ghosted (I'd like to have a talk with her parents about teaching children to accept responsibility for the actions). He was crushed, unsurprisingly; they'd been involved (albeit long-distance) for two and a half years.



Ciabatta, colored black to match the ache in his heart.
 

With this happening right before Valentine's, I wanted to make the day as tolerable for him as possible. I mean, Matt & I don't need a manufactured holiday to show our love. We do that daily. So I decided to make an all-black dinner.

Garlic Soup with Fideos - for un-kiss-able breath.

I got a black tablecloth, and an inexpensive set of dishes and cups, for the occasion.  You can't take a theme too far.



Homemade, black, farfalle in white pesto sauce.

There was chocolate cake, made with black cocoa, for dessert. Decadent chocolate milk to drink.  



But if all that wasn't enough to show him he was loved, we also got him this (Derrynane was very interested).


Being a teenager is hard. Dating is hard. Dating while a teenager? The worst. 

I know he'll recover.  And hope he'll find someone who deserves him. But for now, all I can do is love him and do my best to make him feel better.

 

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Thursday, February 11, 2021

Photos Don't Do Justice

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When I first heard my friend Peabody was writing a cookbook, I was delighted. She's always been a source for creative and outrageous treats, and very much my kind of person.


So naturally, I pre-ordered, and waited for the big day.




  And she did not disappoint.

 Glorious, ridiculous, and mouth-watering recipes fill the entire book.

After I read through (and I did, every single page!), I passed it first to Matt, then Alex.  They went through it with colored sticky tabs, marking everything they wanted to try. 

...It's brimming with sticky tabs, btw.

The book arrived at a busy time for me (NaNo, Christmas cookies, etc), so it took a while to finally get around to it, but when I did, I asked the guys to pick the first thing I should make. They both chose the
Cinnamon Roll Apple Pot Pies.

It's a brilliant concept: a sweet, glazed cinnamon roll plus an apple pie? I mean, why not?! 

As Peabody states in the introduction, the recipe is a bit of work, though none if it is too taxing.

You make a dough for the rolls - more biscuit-y than a traditional roll, but that works in its favor. 

There's the crust, made from ready-made dough, but ooomphed! up a bit; you treat the crust like a cinnamon roll, giving it the spiced-sugar filling treatment, and rolling it up and slicing it into smaller pieces.
Which then get rolled out flat, creating a gorgeous dough of burnished concentric circles that you use to line your (very small) baking dishes*. 

There's an apple filling, cooked quickly and simply, and smells heavenly.

That you top with one of your biscuit-like cinnamon rolls, and bake.  

Finish with a cream cheese frosting, and you have yourself one fantastic, decadent dessert. Or breakfast. Your choice. I don't judge.

And proof that Peabody knows what's she doing, that she's put in the research and testing: everything works together. The flavors and textures compliment one another. There's a balance of sweetness and spice.

More proof: From the other room, where he was gaming, Alex hollered through a mouthful, "You should definitely make this again!"

My camera died (I got a new one, but didn't have a memory card at the time), so this photo was taken with my Kindle.
In my traditionally poorly-lit house. 

But trust me when I say this recipe, this book, is a winner.

Congrats, Peabody. I'm so proud of, and happy for you.


*I discovered, too late in the game, that my dishes were an inch smaller than Peabody used. I made it work, but that's why you see less of the lovely apple filling.


 

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Friday, January 22, 2021

And NOW we can say, "Happy New Year!"

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 Christmas Day Pasta: beet & paprika- & parsley-colored doughs, tossed with a bit of butter, and served with mascarpone, mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinegar.

What a start to the year, eh? 


I've been meaning to swing by, do a bit of updating, but (waves arms around).  


Now that sanity and decency have returned, I feel like I can talk about things like 'what I ate!'. 


Nothing too detailed, but here's a few highlights from 2020, The Garbage Year.


 Lime Petit Fours for tea.


Halloween Murder Cake.

Lovely baguettes.  I've baked So. Much. Bread.


What's that? More pasta?  Yes.  Yes, more pasta.


I mentioned the bread, right? Naan, parathas, pita...

 Something for Matt: Carnitas Eggs Benedict with Chipotle Hollandaise


YES. MORE PASTA.  AND IT SPARKLES!



Pasta roses. Because...why not.


I still don't know how to make this configuration of blogger look decent.  Or maybe I no longer have the patience to mess with it?


It's a new year, hopefully with less AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!.  Here's to lots of tasty foods!


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Monday, September 14, 2020

All Day, Every Day

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Scone Dome


It has long been my belief that restaurants should serve breakfast foods all day.   If you cut off the eggs and pancakes at ten in the morning, points are docked.



Milk Chocolate Chip Scones - Not too sweet

 

We've gotten into the habit of doing a big breakfast for Sunday dinner. The menu changes from week to week. Pancakes, French toast, waffles, biscuits, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, omelets, hash brown, bacon (and faux bacon!); if it's breakfast, I make it. 



Agatha Christie Scones - Quaint Village Murder Optional


It's filling, it's comforting, it's carbolicious.  It's an all-day operation, but always worth it. 



Blueberry-Lemon Scones for the Ent-Child


Timing is critical. We always have tea with breakfast-dinner, but Matt (and Alex, for that matter) can't have caffeine after a certain point, or sleep going AWOL. 



Rings of Carby Goodness, AKA Bagels


So we perversely sit down at the table between five and five-thirty, digging into our mini breakfast buffet. 


Cheese Drawer Tart


This week, I went with three kinds of scone - Bakery-Style Cream Scones with Chocolate, Agatha Christie's English Scones, and Lemon-Blueberry Scones (which also happen to be vegan), bagels, and a 'Cheese Drawer Tart'; a way to clean out the cheese drawer, use up the last of the cream and those few eggs taking up space.
Sometimes, I even have pie crust dough in the freezer, begging to be used. 

Too much food, but no one ever complains. Bonus: Breakfast is set for next few days.


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Sunday, June 21, 2020

Never Been My Favorite Day

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These holidays are weird for me.

I've long since cut ties with my abusive parents, and my beloved Grandpa (the closest thing I had to a father figure) has been gone nineteen years. 

But Matt's a dad, and a pretty good one, at that.










So, today he got Carnitas Eggs Benedict with Chipotle Hollandaise for breakfast.

And tonight, he's grilling some lamb chops, and I've made tabouli and salted dulce de leche brownies



                                                                     (some prep)

I may not have a dad of my own to celebrate (and there are so many out there like me, who find these holidays triggering), but I'm happy Alex does.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Tea for Three

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I recently purchased this (old) new tea set.

It's not fancy; no bone china here. But there was something about it; I was absolutely charmed by it.

The fact that there were three cups and saucers probably helped.

Which meant it was time for another tea-for-dinner night.





A savory scone, thyme and Gruyere, to go with espresso cups of tomato bisque.

Sandwiches, of course: egg salad, turkey (or faux turkey) and white cheddar, open-faced cucumber on dill- or mint-mascarpone, and pb&j for Alex.

Cream scones and our standard tea - almond from Adagio.

And little lemon cakes, topped with crystalized violets.

Which were not happy with the humidity, as shown above.  Buttercream and steamy weather do not mix.


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