For the Ladies Christmas Tea at our church, I made cupcakes with a pointsettia theme. I'd seen this decorating technique some time ago and been waiting for an opportunity to try it out. They were fun to make and a huge hit. It was one of those satisfying cooking occasions when I didn't have to say, "I saw it going differently in my head."
Want to try it yourself? Check it out here: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-Marshmallow-Flower-Cupcakes/ I'll be revisiting this technique come spring!
And Mindie decided to bring the excitement to me. Several months after a great day spent filling the sauerkraut crock at her house, she showed up at my door with the crock in question and we canned it up into pints. (Not an easy feat, I might add). Another good day with tasty results.
Sometimes the food fun is just discovering a new recipe for dinner that makes it onto a favorites list. This one for Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut and Quinoa. It was delicious and especially rewarding using our own chicken and squash.
And there was Christmas baking with Stephanie - we had a lot of fun. Kent reported that there was an excessive amount of giggling, laughing and general silliness. He also said that it's a lot of fun to watch her and I together. I'm so glad my daughter is also my friend. She brings a lot of joy to my life.
And with cooking joy comes lots of dirty dishes. Stephanie was impressed with my mad dish stacking skills. Anyone want to dry for me?
There were spritz cookies which she decorated with melted chocolates and sprinkles. And I made homemade peppermint patties and "Reese" style balls. They were well received, if you know what I mean.
And what Christmas is complete without Pizelle cookies? Yeah, that's what I'm saying. For proof, you can look here.
Can you tell there are two kinds of cookies here? On the right is my version... Orange and coconut since Kent doesn't appreciate the sophicated nuances of anise. On the left... Stephanie's amazing take using almond extract and actual toasted, sliced almonds. I think her cookies may be the best pizelles I have ever tasted. And that's saying something since, through the years, I've had a lot of pizelles to taste. She would also, were she helping me with the post, like me to point out the pizelle iron on the left, a genuine Vitantonio iron, which she scored at the thrift store. These puppies go for hundreds online and she had despaired of ever finding one like mine, which was my mother's, and which is just like her aunts'.
There were many other food pics that didn't cooperate but one I don't want to forget to mention, because it was going to be my big "tip of the month". When I made the cupcakes for the ladies tea I ran into something that could have caused my baking timetable to get off-track. However, I found a good solution. When your recipe calls for you to cook or heat part of the recipe or an ingredient and then let it cool before proceeding - pull one of your blue ice blocks or sticks out of the freezer and stir away. It's a good thing. I was stirring what was basically a dark chocolate ganache and it worked like a charm and the cleanup was easy. Do you cook a lot? Don't have a blue ice thingy in your freezer? Get thee to the nearest something-mart and spend a buck. You might find you'll thank yourself later.
Ok, not promising I won't have more food to blog about here but I think we're over the hump. All the old pictures that are going to work on here are up and we'll move on to more recent acquisitions.
Hey, this is fun. I'm glad to be back!