A new way with recipes

June 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

How many times have you seen something and thought:  Why didn’t I think of that? This is one of them.

I found this video here: http://honestfare.com/a-beet-cake-a-beautiful-take/


Wouldn’t we all love to go to Paris

June 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Some lucky person will when then win this:



April 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Like many others who follow along in this world of food blogging, I purchased Heidi Swanson’s new book ‘super natural every day’ as soon as it came out.  Yesterday I sat down to make a list of the recipes I would make this week (Spinach Chop, Quinoa Patties, Farro Soup), when I came to the recipe for oatcakes.  I’m not a fan of oatcakes for the same reasons mentioned by Ms. Swanson – they are usually dry and tasteless, and since they are most often sold alongside muffins in a pastry case, there is little reason to choose one.  I was intrigued by her suggestion that there could exist one that was tasty and moist and so I made a batch.

The oatcakes were astoundingly quick to make: from preheating the oven to pulling them out took about 50 minutes.  And while my batch were not dense and puck-like they were still a bit dry and a bit too sweet.  They were edible and actually very well liked by a visiting 7-year-old.  This batch will get eaten and I will try again, but next time I’m going to make some modifications.  For those,  see the recipe below and if you want to follow Ms. Swanson’s recipe from start to finish you can find it on page 204 of her book.


From Heidi Swanson’s super natural every day

  • 3 cups rolled oats – be sure to use proper rolled oats, not instant breakfast oats.
  • 2 cups whole-wheat baking/pastry flour – the original recipe calls for spelt flour, which I happened to have on hand, and used. Next time I’m going to use a mix of all baking and/or pastry/all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
  • 1/4 flax seeds – I may try a mix of chia and flax next time.
  • 3/4 cup of nuts or dried fruit – the original recipe calls for walnuts but I have an aversion to walnuts in baked goods so I just left them out without any substitutes.  I’m going to try little pieces of dried apricots or prunes in my next batch.
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil – I’ll add a tablespoon more to see if that helps with the dryness
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup of maple syrup – as I said mine were too sweet so I think I’ll cut this to a 1/2 cup and maybe try using a mix of maple and agave
  • 1/2 cane sugar – I think brown sugar would be fine here if you don’t have cane, and maybe cut the quantity a bit
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten

These bake in a 12 cup buttered muffin tin in a 325-degree oven.  Mix the dry ingredients and then in a small heavy pan melt over very low heat melt the coconut oil (mine is always in a solid – yours may not be), with the butter, add the syrup and the sugar, stir to melt the sugar.  Don’t let this get too hot or else when you add the eggs they may cook on contact. Mix this up to incorporate the dry ingredients and then add the eggs.  As with any baking, don’t over mix.

You should have enough to just fill each one of the 12 muffin cups.  Bake for 20 minutes and then begin testing to see if they are done.  I didn’t do this and just went on time and color (27 minutes, deep golden) and probably over-baked them, another reason why they were a bit dry.

I’m excited to try another batch to see if I can perfect these.  Let me know how yours turn out.

I have a strange desire to own one of these.

March 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

I spent the winter fighting with ants. I would venture to guess that several thousand ants passed through my house this winter. I waged war but never really seemed to win. Two weeks ago they disappeared and I haven’t seen one since. Then yesterday I saw this plate and for some reason I cannot explain I want one. I hope it’s not a sign that I miss them.

As long it doesn’t cut beer production…!

February 19, 2011 § 1 Comment

My husband pretty much refuses to drink anything but Belgian beer so news of ‘de friet revolutie’ or the ‘chips revolution’ in Belgium was of cause for great concern. On Feb 17th Belgium surpassed Iraq as the holder of the world record for the most days without a government – 250. And, as the revolutions in the Middle East are resulting in increasing gas prices and talks disruptions in supply, my husband can only hope that the French Fry revolution doesn’t disrupt the supply of his beloved beer.


Caramel-Topped Semolina Cake

November 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

I think Dorie and I are destined to have a love/it’s OK relationship. It really does seem that one week I love the dish we make, the other, the dish is fine but nothing I would make again.  (Maybe our relationship will change since I am picking the order this month – see my post on my thoughts about that).  The Caramel topped Semolina cake was fine – edible, not bad, not good but nothing memorable that I would choose to make again.  I think it was largely a texture thing.  Too mushy and I have never been a fan of raisin that show up in baked goods all soggy and soft (dead spider bodies a friend once referred to them as reminding her of).

Beside the cake itself there were some really good things that came out of this baking experience.

  • Cream of Wheat was a breakfast item that I ate many a morning as a child and somehow it had vanished from my memory.  I was so thrilled to see it again that on Sunday morning I made myself a bowl to eat for breakfast – in my memories it came in a red box.
  • I made caramel for the first time.  It took a long time for mine to turn amber colored.  And the tip to warm the pan in the over the caramel will spread smoothly is a great tip and one I know I will use again.
  • We had an excuse to open and drink one of our favorite bottles of dessert wine.  Domaine de la Pigeade Beaumes de Venise.  My dear friend and I came across this vineyard while on a bike ride and we have consumed many of their bottles since that day in 2000.  It’s a sweet wine with ‘hints of pear, rose water and exotic fruits’.  It was a great pairing with the cake, and while there was leftover cake, there was no left over Beaumes de Venise.

I won’t make the cake again but I will finish the box of Cream of Wheat.

Please tell me what to cook.

November 9, 2010 § 1 Comment

I think it’s interesting that no one else has come forward and said that they don’t love that there is no schedule this month – only the 4 recipes to cook but no order to cook them in.  For whatever reason, this lack of structure has thrown me for a loop.  There was something really gratifying knowing that I was amongst a group all of whom were looking at the same recipe, going shopping for the same ingredients and then baking/making the same dish.  I know that over the course of the month we will all get to complete the same recipes but somehow it’s just not the same.

I have too many cookbooks and I’ve always said that I would ‘work my way through’ one or the other but never did.  With French Friday’s I found myself excited each Monday to think about what I would make on Wed or Thurs for this week’s posting.  I’d never had that excitement before.  Now, I find myself hesitant and less enthusiastic, I’m flipping the pages trying to decide if this week it will be the gratin or the flans or maybe I should get the chicken done before next week when we are roasting a turkey.  With the choice comes hesitation and that’s what throwing me off.  I hope we go back to being told what to cook, then I all I have to think about is getting to the market and coming home to make that one simple dish.