For my friend, Scarlett. I hope this sachet will keep her clothes fresh and slightly fragrant! In June I took a soy wax resist, cloth dying class from Melanie Testa. We started with primary colors....One group of warm primaries, another of cool color primaries. She encouraged us to make a color wheel of a set of primaries to guide us with our mixing. I really loved the color wheel "sample" so I brought it home with the rest of my dyed cloth. Here it is with a little embroidery and lace embellishments filled with harvested lavender from my garden sent to my friend in Boston. I think it will arrive in her mail today. Shh, she doesn't know it's coming.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
A week's worth (maybe even more) of vegetables, all grown locally and organic from Whole Foods Markets. The tomatoes I nibble on like candy, The yams and beets I roasted....the beets into a salad. The beet greens sauteed. The mushrooms will be grilled. The cabbage will be a lovely slaw. The fresh red onions will be used up quickly as will the cucumbers. All full of anitoxidants!!!! Who doesn't LOVE vegetables?
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Today is my friend, Gloria's 82nd birthday. She is also my former mother-in-law but we really don't talk about that anymore. Now she is my friend. Much better, don't you think? Gloria is always encouraging me to do more watercolor work so I jumped out of my box of sketching first and just went to watercolor. Well actually I did both of these birthday cards simultaneously so that my stokes from the sketched image was fresh in my brain for the watercolor only cupcake. I might just try it again!
I hope you enjoy your birthday, the strawberry shortcake that your daughter is making you, Gloria and this not so yummy calorie free cupcake!
Saturday, August 22, 2009
OK another peach recipe. I used Julia's basic pate sucre pastry recipe for the crusts. Blind baked them. Then added the creme patissiere and finally topped the little tarts with fresh raspberries and sliced poached peaches. These tarts are so pretty and make a lovely presentation to guests. They just have to choose which one. Several years ago I used this recipe with a little tweeking and topped with strawberries. I entered them in the Orange County Fair and one 2nd place. I also won a first place for my key lime pie (a whipped cream version) and another 2nd place for my poached pears.
Pate brisee sucree (sweet pastry dough)
for 1 cup pastry flour
3/4 cup flour
1 Tbs sugar
1/8 tsp salt
5 1/2 Tbs fat, 4 Tbs. chilled butter + 1 1/2 Tbs chilled vegetable shortening
2 1/2 to 3 Tbs cold water
Place the flour in a food processing bowl, mix in the sugar and salt, add butter and shortening cut into small pieces until the mixture looks like cornmeal but with a little chunkiness to the butter. Through the feed tube add the cold water a little at a time until dough comes together. Punch down to a disk, wrap in parchment paper and chill in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes. Roll out. Mold in baking pans; add parchment paper cut to size and pie weights to keep bottom of pastry from bubbling up. Place in 400 deg oven for 8-9 minutes. Remove from oven; remove parchment paper and pie weights and return to oven until golden brown about 7-10 minutes. Cool.
Creme Patissiere (custard filling):
for 2 1/2 cups
1 cup granulated sugar
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup flour
2 cups boiling milk
1 Tbs butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 Tbs. St. Germaine liquor
With a wire wisk gradually beat the sugar into the egg yolks and continue beating for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is a pale lemon yellow. Beat in the flour. Beating the egg yolk mixture, gradually pour on the boiling milk in a thin stream. Pour back into the saucepan and cook over moderate heat wisking constantly, reaching all over bottom of pan. As the sauce comes to the boil it will get lumpy, but will smooth out as you beat it. When boil is reached, beat over moderately low heat for 2-3 minutes to cook the flour. Be careful custard does not scorch in the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and beat in the 1 Tb butter and then the flavorings. If the custard is not used immediately, clean it off the sides of the pan, and dot toop of custard with softened butter to prevent a skin from forming over the surface. Creme patissiere will keep for a week in the fridge or may be frozen.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
There is nothing quite as fine as a morning shower to wake you up and get you going. I do wash my hair every morning. I do use soap everywhere but gone are the days of shaving my legs every day. What makes the hair on your legs grow slower as you get older? It is a strange thing, don't you think? I am not complaining. One less thing to do in the morning. P.S. I do like the color blue but as I discover painting the ordinary things around the house.....I do not have much of it around me. My granite in the kitchen, my children's and 2 of my grandaughters' eyes and the sky. That's enough! Have a great day!
I made these yummy and nutritious granola bars for a quick and mess-less breakfast. Along with my hardboiled egg in the morning. I can finish breakfast with no dishes to wash. These days while the house is for sale the last thing I want to do is mess up the kitchen before I go to work. I started with Ina Garten's Homemade granola bar recipe and went from there. It was kind of a recipe to use up what's in the pantry. Try any dried fruit and nuts that you have.
2 cups old fashion oatmeal
1 cup raw slivered or whole almonds
1/4 cup raw sesame seeds
Mix and place on baking sheet. Place in 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.
In a saucepan melt and bring to a boil:
3 Tbs butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
With the toasted nuts, seeds and oats:
1/2 cup chopped dried figs
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup toasted flax seeds
Mix all together
In a parchment lined 8 X 12 baking sheet pour the wet granola mix and pat down with the back of a spatula to condense and work into the corners
Reduce temperature of the oven to 300deg
Bake for 25 - 30 minutes
Let cool completely (about 2 hours) and then cut into 12 pieces. Turn over pan or use spatula to lift out.
I wrapped each bar in an envelope of parchment paper and then stored them in a plastic bag.
You can use them for your breakfast or a snack. And the best part..no dishes to clean up.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
After my walk I head for the stove to start my water for my morning tea. My favorite is Stash's pomegranate raspberry green. I love green tea but some of it tastes a little too grassy to me. This one is perfect. What I don't drink hot ( I usually brew 2 bags) I add ice to later and then I'm really happy...iced tea. The other essential item: Le Creuset tea kettle in Dijon (now available in citron) available at Williams-Sonoma.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Oh this is a pretty dessert! It is a way to use the poached peaches posted about 10 minutes ago.
1 quart fresh raspberries
1/2 cup sugar (Julia suggests 1 1/4 cup---too sweet for me)
Force the raspberries through a sieve and place the puree in a blender with the sugar. I used a food mill straining out the big stuff but not all the seeds)
Chill the puree and the peaches and serve peaches on the bottom, puree over the top
Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I page 630
Poached peaches is a great way to use fruit you have now to enjoy later. I like to poach in a bath of champagne sweetened and spiced with vanilla, lemon, cinnamon and ginger but this time I used Julia's recipe:
6 cups water
2 1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbs vanilla extract or a vanilla bean
10 firm, ripe, unblemished fresh peaches
Simmer the water, sugar, and vanilla extract or bean in a saucepan and stir until sugar has dissolved
Add the unpeeled peaches to the simmering syrup. Bring again to a simmer, then maintain at just below the simmer for 8 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let peaches cool in syrup for 20 minutes. (Syrup may be used again for poaching other fruits.) Drain peaches on a rack; peel while still warm, and allow to cool.
Getting ready for the day series. Each morning I get up Sophie and I head outside for our morning exercise. My equipment: my walking shoes and my heartrate monitor. Sophie's equipment: her pretty pink leash. She is always more eager to go than I am. After all I can pee in the house. She has to wait until I take her outside. Bladders empty we take the route to the steepest incline to get my heart rate up to a "cardiac workout level" We are out about an hour and by the time we get home we are both awake and READY FOR THE DAY. Now get your shoes on and get out there! You will enjoy your day much more.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I thought I would start a series of everyday living. I was preparing my mind for sketching this morning while getting ready for the day in the bathroom. This is what I came up with. I have more make-up brushes than I can use. Almost all of them are Chanel or Bobbi Brown. I love them all. It is quite interesting to mix paint colors that are actually the colors you put on your face. I hope everyone has a great day. It always feels like you are ready once your girly girl things are on. Unless of course you are not a girly girl or even a girl at all. Too bad. It always makes me feel ready for the day.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Try this with your fresh peaches. I still have plenty of them. I started with this recipe but made a change in the peach preparation. I had already prepared my peaches last night adding fresh lime juice and just a bit of brown sugar to keep them from turning brown. Then I added some fresh ground ginger. I love lime and ginger together and they are a nice complement to peaches. I used my vanilla bean to "soak" in cream and then whipped it when the cobbler came out of the oven. Here's my starter recipe (Thank you Marjorie for your entry to inspire me) Peach cobbler recipe (Victoria magazine) Bon Appetit!!!
6 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into thin wedges
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped, seeds reserved
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons melted and 3 tablespoons softened, divided
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 425 0. Lightly spray a 9x9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the peaches, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla bean seeds, and 2 Tablespoons flour, and toss until evenly coated.
3. Pour the peach mixture into the prepared pan, and bake for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a separate large bowl, stir together remaining 3/4 cup flour, sugar, baking powder,baking soda, and salt. Whisk in buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla extract.
5. Remove peaches from oven, dot with the softened butter, and spoon the prepared batter over peaches. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Happy Birthday, Julia! In honor of you and the opening of the movie, Julie and Julia Bon Appetit Magazine invited readers to create an item or a meal right out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This was my dish: La tarte des demiselles tatin (Upside-down Apple Tart). page 638, volume one.
I started with apples from my tree! When I was a student at the Cordon School of Cooking in Paris we learned that the ideal way to plan a menu was to go to the local open market and choose what was fresh or in season as a starting point. So I just stepped out of the kitchen about 15 feet and picked my apples. From there it was pretty easy. I wish that the apples had caramelized a little more but I had to take the tart out of the oven a little early. A realtor was going to show my house tonight with 30 minutes notice.......and after I had left the house she called to cancel...5 minutes until 7:00pm.
The tart was absolutely delicious.....mostly apples, a perfect crust. I think I will have it for breakfast too...maybe with a little yogurt.
After 8 years in this neighborhood and sixty one years in California I have decided to move to Denver to be near my daughter and her family. It is with great sadness as well as excitement that I have put my home up for sale and I have my seatbelt fastened for the no doubt adventurous ride ahead. The photographer was here a couple of days ago to take pictures of my property. Click on this link for a virtual visit
Years ago while visiting a friend in the Marin Valley north of San Francisco I had an apple picked fresh from his tree. It was the best tasting apple I had ever had and I placed the idea of having an apple tree in the next yard I landscaped in the back of my mind. Eight years ago in my backyard Zen garden I planted against the fence and espaliered my first apple tree (Anna) . My first apples were about 5 years ago....a total of 2-3. Each year the bounty has increased and this year I have enjoyed a green or green blushed with red apple each day for a couple of months. I am at the end of the harvest. I will pick the last few on the tree and make them into an apple tart a la Julia Child.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Today is my firstborn's birthday. Brad, I hope you have a great day! Enjoy your cake. I wish I could be there with you. You changed my life and filled it with joy and love. I will be forever grateful for that. You are a terrific son and I love you. Mom
Saturday, August 1, 2009
This is my back yard. I decided to turn it into a Zen garden after visiting the Japanese Gardens in the Huntington Library and Gardens and because my yard is very narrow. (8 ft. by 40 ft.) It is also where Sophie hangs out all day when I am gone. I want it to be peaceful for both me and her and anyone else who enters. There are certain elements to a Zen garden: Vertical elements like rocks, trees and fountains point upwards toward the sky and thus represent air. Horizontal elements such as moss and flat rocks represent the earth. Fountains and rivers or creeks obviously represent water and there we have the basic elements of life. You will always find a Japanese maple in a Zen garden and often camellias. The blossom of a camellia drops to the ground while the bloom is full reminding us that life can end any time and that sometimes it can be cut short. I also have fruit trees: a peach and 2 apples. You can see one of the apple trees espaliered against the fence. Both have fed me well this summer. The garden is small but so peaceful to be in at the end of the day or just to lunch in. Sophie is a lucky dog to spend time alone here. I hope you, too, enjoy your visit.