The daffodils are starting to bloom announcing spring to all of us who have endured winter in a cold climate. They are so cheerful. I drew them on a plaid background. I love plaids and it is a puzzle to figure out the blend of colors from the woof and warp of fabric. A different background for sure
Monday, March 28, 2011
Oh to be four. So much pretend. Saturday we went to the Denver Botanic Gardens for an adventure at the new children's Mordecai gardens. There is a lot of room for imagination so we stopped in the rock stage for a little play. First Kate was a bumblebee looking for sugar. Then she was a ladybug in search of a leaf to rest on.
Quite often Kate is Spider-man who needs to save the world from bad people and sometimes she is just her sweet camera-shy self. Oh to be four.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Last night the forecast was for rain. I woke up to this....and the very first bloom in my Denver garden...a beautiful white crocus in the snow
and five hours later.....
snow gone and crocus in full bloom.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
I'm a bit embarrassed to post such a fuzzy picture but you only get one chance with Kate. She does not like her picture taken and if she permits you have about a 1 second chance.
Kate came over Sunday for dinner. Her outfit along with her smile were so precious I just had to try a pic. Her she is in her bunny warm winter hat, with a newly discovered shirt of her big sister's with a black jeans skirt, grey striped leggings and snow boots (pink and puffy) Her baby, Special, also has an adorable outfit on but she was too shy to pose at all. Quickly Kate got her stool and pulled it to the butcher block table. First she cut the "sugar" snap peas for the pasta carbonara. Then she helped roll out the puff pastry dough and cut the heart shapes with the pastry cutter. Then came the really fun part: sprinkling the cinnamon sugar. I showed her how to sprinkle with her fingers but she preferred dipping in the sugar container with the 1/4 cup scoop. In no time the baking sheet had a good cup or maybe even 2 on the sheet. The puff pastry scraps we twisted and sprinkled and made them into "churros"
Kate is a great helper in the kitchen. She even cleans up well. She took the scoop, a spoon and a spatula and put all of the extra sugar back into the sugar container......with just a bit cinnamon along with it. The truth is when children help prepare their dinner they usually eat a lot more of it.
Good job, Kate!
She cut out the heart with a double pastry cutter into the puff pastry. Then she sprinkled LOTS of sugar and cinnamon and we popped them in the oven. After they baked we cut out the top heart, filled the hole with lime curd or ice cream and topped with fresh strawberries. Then the cut-out top went back on and Voila!
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Good way to start the day: Egg salad is good for lunch but how about breakfast? The salad is on a bed of crispy sprouts that I grew on the windowsill and a potato roll made with a sweet potato rather than a russet. Reference here for white potato rolls and here for the fan club.
Here is the recipe for the rolls:
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2" pieces
1 pkg yeast (2 1/2 tsp)
2Tbs sugar + a pinch
1 cup buttermilk,
6 Tbs butter, melted and cooled, more for bowl
4 tsp salt
5 1/2 cups bread flour (about)
Place potato in a medium saucepan. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer. Cook until tender. Drain reserving 1/2 cup liquid. Mash potato ( I put mine through a ricer). Set aside
Cool reserved liquid to 110 degrees. In the bowl of a Kitchenaid whick liquid, yeast & pinch of sugar. Set aside until mixture is foamy, about 6 minutes
Attach bowl to mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. On low, add remaining sugar, reserved potatoes, buttermilk, 4 Tbs butter and salt. Gradually add enough flour to make a slightly sticky dough. Kneed dough in mixer until smooth, at least 2 minutes. Brush a mixing bowl with butter. Place dough in bowl; cover bowl with buttered plastic wrap. Set aside to rise until doubled, about 1-1 1/2 hours.
Heat oven to 375 deg. Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Turn dough out onto floured work surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough out 3/4" thick. Cut dough into 2" wide strips. Cut strips into triangles or squares. Place at least 1 1/4" apart on baking sheets. Brush tops with remaining butter, cover with buttered plastic wrap. Let rise until dough does not spring back with a finger, about 15 minutes. Bake until golden about 18-20 minutes.
This is a 4 hour job from the start of preparing the potato to your first bite but worth every bit of time you spend.
Now for the sprouts:
Sprouts, mainly alfalfa, used to be very popular and readily available in the markets. Now they are often recalled for "dirty" water contamination so they are hard to find but sprouts are such a great substitute for lettuces in the dead of winter and add a little greenery to the kitchen counter too.
All you need is the seeds, a screen top for a regular jar and clean water....a little sunshine through a window helps, too. The seeds are from Territorial Seed Company in Cottage Grove, Oregon. I order most of my gardening seeds from this company. These are the Crispy Sprout mix and are a combo of Adzuki, green lentils and mung beans.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Don't you just love stargazer lilies? Their bright pink brighten up the room on a dark and cold day and the heady fragrance is intoxicating at night I woke up this morning and almost all of the buds had opened. I had to take advantage of the moment. Take time to do a little art today.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
There is nothing like the taste of lime to calm down a spicy Mexican dish or add freshness to the end of your meal. I got the inspiration from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, in a recipe she published in 1999. I very rarely ever follow a recipe exactly so I thought I would get my little tart pans out and make individual servings.
Lime curd has its own unique flavor but I have made the classic lemon curd, tangerine curd and even grapefruit curd. The method is the same just choose your citrus. This is a shortbread crust but any crust will do. Check out Ina's original recipe for both the crust and the curd.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Oh my I have not been in my sketchbook journal recently. I missed the February entry in the Sketchbook Challenge. So now I won't miss March. This theme is "spilling over". So I chose my kitchen grinders as subject matter. Let's see I have at least 7 of these kitchen must-haves and each is filled with an essential seasoning. These are my favorites: The red one is for black pepper.....it is really tall and dramatic to use. The wooden one is from France and holds white pepper which is the best pepper for white food like a great Bechamel sauce and the small lucite one is for course salt. They are all used every day and each spills over to good food.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
The Williams-Sonoma catalogue arrived in the mail the other day with a yummy juicy steak on the cover. Inside the catalogue you can find every cookware item to make you a fabulous cook. ( Occasionally there is something I don't have) But along with fabulous cookware must-haves there are good dependable recipes such as this one: spinach gratin along with other steakhouse classics. I tried just this one so far but it was well worth trying. The bechamel sauce tossed in with the sauteed spinach was a complex flavoring of herbs, spices and onions stained before adding to the spinach but loaded with flavor. I hope you try it. Every body could benefit from a little more spinach.
This winter along with being unemployed has given me the opportunity to do a little sewing. A good quilter has a "stash" of fabric and supplies that we purchase when the getting is good with the excuse that we will make something of it later. Well, I have been using my stash this winter. I recently finished my "A day at the beach" quilt and am now ready to sandwich the finished top with the warm and cuddly batting with the back on the bottom. In order to do this I place the back down on the hardwood floor, then place the batting and then secure it to the floor with masking tape so that it won't scootch around when I place the top on top and start the first step of "quilting". Watch out when you turn your head the pets get right in the middle of your project. When I asked Sophie to move she gave me this look.