Friday, March 30, 2012

quatre-quarts {again} - French Fridays with Dorie

This week I went back & made an oldie, but goodie rather than doing the assigned recipe.  I needed a treat to take to a little social & I needed to use up from strawberries, so I decided to make Dorie's quatre-quarts again.  

This time around I doubled the recipe, baked it in a 13x9-inch pan, and then cut the cake up into 2-inch squares.  I made a little fresh whipped cream and stuck a strawberry slice on top of each little piece of cake and it was a hit.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cocoa Sables - French Fridays with Dorie

Yum! I just finished snarfing down my homemade ice cream sandwich!

I made my dough around 11pm last night.  Quick & easy. FYI: I used mini chocolate chips as an add-in cause I was too tired to start chopping chocolate last night.

This morning I got the dough out of the fridge & gathered up my collection of Easter and spring time cookie cutters hoping the kids could have fun cutting & decorating some chocolate cookies, but the dough for this recipe was way too dry and crumbly.  I did my best to roll the dough into logs like I should've done in the first place if I had followed directions.  We did roll the logs in Easter sprinkles to make up for the lack of cute shapes.

After the cookies baked and cooled, I sneaked a bite.  I love a dry, buttery cookie and I knew I had to try Dorie's idea of turning some of the cookies into ice cream sandwiches ... it was our after-lunch dessert and I'll make more tonight when Hubby gets home from work cause cookies & ice cream are two of his favorite treats.

For next time: I might like to try some sliced, toasted almonds as an additional add-in.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

delicious - marchphotoaday

mexican rice ... homemade tonight.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Irish Soda Bread - Tuesdays with Dorie

In all the cooking and baking experimenting that I do, I hardly share my food with anyone outside of my immediate household.  I'm not sure why, but that's just how things have happened.  This week I had the perfect opportunity to share one of my Dorie recipes.  

It seems like every year we celebrate my father-in-law's birthday with a traditional St. Patrick's Day dinner ... corned beef, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, etc.  I asked if I could test this week's Dorie recipe on the family because our assigned Irish soda bread sounded like the perfect compliment to our dinner.  And since it was the first time I'd be making soda bread, I could easily blame bad results on Dorie, or Julia, or ???

About 90 minutes before we were supposed to sit down for dinner, I stirred up my flour, baking soda, and salt with a fork.  Then I added buttermilk and stirred a little more with my handy-dandy fork.  When the dough was somewhat mixed together, I poured it out onto my counter and combined everything a bit better with my hands.  I doubled the recipe since I'd have to have enough for a crowd, so I divided my dough in half, shaped the dough into large rounds, put the dough into pie dishes, cut an "X" across the top of both loaves, and threw it in the oven for about 50 minutes.

I was a bit worried about this recipe (probably cause I knew I'd be sharing it with family).  I wasn't really sure when to take it out of the oven so I just had to trust my gut and take it out when it looked done.  It also didn't look very pretty when it was done ... lumpy & bumpy with huge, open X's on top.  As soon as it came out of the oven, we jumped in the car and made it to dinner about 5 minutes late.  I had to quickly take photos in my mom-in-law's kitchen and then set it out to serve without sampling it ... hoping that I wasn't going to kill everyone with this not-so-pretty bread ... although the insides were much prettier ... I love dense bread.

Almost immediately, everyone started talking about how good it was.  I made my plate of food, sat down & took a bite of the bread.  I ate it plain and it tasted too floury to me, but everyone else was still saying they liked it.  Towards the end of dinner, one of my sis-in-law's suggested honey with the bread, so I grabbed some and I LOVED it on this bread.  I noticed as the night went on & the bread cooled more, I couldn't taste that strong flour taste anymore and I became a bigger fan.

This bread was SO quick & easy for me and I usually have buttermilk on hand, so I'll definitely be making this again to go with soups and other dinners.  This time around I followed the recipe exactly because of the family gathering & the type of dinner that was being served.  I don't think I'll be jumping in on the dried fruit variations any time soon, but someone suggested cheese and I think that would be fun.  Or just "plain" again served with a favorite jam or honey.

Happy 60th Birthday!!

If you'd like to get the recipe for this very traditional Irish Soda Bread, go HERE or HERE.

And finally here is the video of Julia making this bread on her PBS TV show ... the Irish Soda bread is the first 3 minutes of the video:

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Friday, March 16, 2012

sunglasses - marchphotoaday

We're so sad our spring break is coming to an end.  I actually took this photo Monday while we were out on our adventure for the day ... we tried to go on at least one fun outing every day.  More photos later because we're off to play some more.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

5:00 - marchphotoaday

the 5:00 sun on the St. Patrick's Day crafts that the kids made at the park today.

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Rugelach - Tuesdays with Dorie

Tuesdays are a good day for me to do some baking & extra cooking, but that means I usually won't get around to posting my Tuesday with Dorie results until late Tuesday evenings.

This morning I made my dough and put it in the fridge to chill because I had a few things I needed to pick up for dinner.  The kids & I ended up having a bit of a detour because we ended up at park near the Gilbert, AZ LDS Temple and having a picnic lunch before we even started our errands.  We ate our lunch, walked around, and enjoyed the sunshine, ducks, and turtles.  It also just so happened that Penguin's school had planned a St. Patrick's Day craft at this same park today and they were just starting the craft around the time we were finishing our walk, so we stopped to make our St. Patty's rainbows.

When we got home, my kids were ready to help finish up our rugelach (roo-ga-la).  They helped me roll out the dough and then we decorated our first batch with raspberry preserves, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, toasted pecans, and mini chocolate chips.  Our 2nd batch of dough was decorated with Nutella, raspberry preserves, toasted pecans, cinnamon, sugar, brown sugar, and mini chocolate chips.

My helpers then rolled lots of pretty little crescent-shaped cookies.

We let our cookies chill again in the fridge for about an hour and before baking them, we brushed them with an egg wash & dusted them with more cinnamon, sugar, & brown sugar. 

Our finished rugelach with Nutella:

Consensus ... I definitely liked the rugelach with the Nutella better then the ones without.  Dorie recommended filling the rugelach with apricot preserves, nuts, and dried fruit like raisins.  Raisins & I are not always the greatest of friends in desserts.  I'm SO glad I went with berry flavors and chocolate.  I also baked the Nutella rugelach a little longer than my first batch and I liked the more flaky/crispy outcome of it being baked a little longer.

Note to self: DO NOT bake these on wax paper again!  Just chill and bake them on parchment paper if I'm looking to save a few pennies by not using both kinds of paper.  I'd also like to try a little vanilla in the dough next time.

If you'd like to try this recipe, go HERE to get it!

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Monday, March 5, 2012

a smile - marchphotoaday

i'm going to continue on with my "photo a day" for the month of march ... not everyday for me cause that's too much, but as often as it strikes my fancy.  if you want to join the fun, go here for the daily topic.

today we had to go to costco.  my kids always see the new gilbert, az LDS temple being built behind costco and beg to go see the temple so pretty much every time we go to costco, we go see the temple (up close), too.  today the kids were able to bring home a sparkly piece of the temple which made all the kids happy & excited!

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