Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Food Network magazine recently published a recipe for chocolate shortcakes with what looked like a delicious strawberry cream filling, and I was on that like white on rice. My mom wasn't thrilled about the idea of chocolate shortcakes, so instead of scratching the idea completely, I decided to make a batch of basic shortcakes and then the chocolate ones too, with enough of the strawberry cream filling for both types. Holy moly, folks, this stuff is incredible.
For the traditional shortcakes, I followed the Barefoot Contessa recipe (shocker, I know), and much like her scones, these shortcakes were delicious. Just the right amount of sweet, with a flaky inside that melted like butter in your mouth, and a crunchy, sugary outside that rivals your best biscuit recipe. The chocolate shortcakes, though, took a bit more work and it was worth every second. I'll include that recipe at the end of this post and hope for your sake that you try it out. Amazing. I could eat the strawberry cream filling on its own, but add the macerated berries on top of the entire thing and you have nothing less than pure magic.
I'm so happy we kept things low-key this year. A relaxing day with my mom, and the newest mom in our family, my sister Carly. As for me, I had plenty of quality time with my fur baby, and that's always the best treat in the world.
Oh, and hey, sorry about the lack of pictures of the finished shortcake assembly. We ate them all before the camera even made it into my hands.
For the shortcakes:
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 ounces milk chocolate, roughly chopped
2 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Raw or turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
For the toppings:
1 quart strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered if large (about 3 cups) if large
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make the shortcakes: Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour mixture until sandy. Add the chocolate. Whisk 1 egg, the cream and vanilla in a glass measuring cup; stir into the flour mixture with a fork to make a shaggy dough (there will be some dry bits). Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; pat flat until 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut into 6 rounds with a knife or cookie cutter, using the scraps for the last cake.
Place the rounds on the baking sheet; freeze for 20 minutes. Beat the remaining egg; brush onto the cakes and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake until firm, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Meanwhile, make the toppings:
Toss half of the strawberries with half of the sugar in a bowl; set aside. Place the other half of each in a saucepan; cook over medium-low heat, mashing with a fork to make a thick puree, about 10 minutes. Cool completely. Whip the cream with a mixer until medium peaks form; swirl in the strawberry puree.
Split the shortcakes in half. Layer some of the strawberry cream and reserved fruit on the bottoms; cover with the shortcake tops. Finish with more strawberry cream and the remaining berries.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I love Keith Olbermann (but you probably already knew that), and I'm sick to death of this woman:
New York State? Holy hell, it's about time!
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
Our house is just a tiny little bungalow, so size was also something we had to take into consideration. I love sectionals, and I'd absolutely go for something of that size for our home, especially considering the amount of entertaining we do. But it just doesn't work in our living room, and I've come to the conclusion that it never will.
Luck must have been on our side last night because we fell in love with, and then purchased, a three piece living room set...sofa, loveseat (or "chair and a half", as the maker refers to it) and oversized ottoman from the clearance section of the store for a whopping $899.00 for the entire set. How lucky is that??? This was the last model they had in the store so we had to act fast. We got it home and set it up last night and it's perfect for us. I took the back cushions off while lounging in front of the television, and it seats both me and a sprawling spacehog of a dog comfortably. No more crammed space and too much body heat on a summer's night. No more oversized furniture jammed into a too small living space. No more stinky, outdated furniture to scowl about. This stuff = love. And the best part? The body can be cleaned with a damp, soapy towel, and the seat cushions and back pillows can be recovered by yours truly when they've seen their share of wear and tear.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
My personal favorite is this book:
Another beauty is this little find:
There are tons of great craft ideas in this book and I highly recommend it. The author encourages you to include as many natural touches in your day to day living and suggests that you simply go outside and have a look around when you need a gift for someone. Think outside the box kind of stuff, you know?
This little lady was simply an impulse buy:
I love reading about the historical importance of herbs, their medicinal properties, how to plant them, how to cook with them...the list goes on and on. Sweet little illustrations and inspiring photography make this book one of my new fave kitchen handbooks.
If you love Viva Terra like I do, you'll love this book:
And last but not least, I grabbed this book with the hope that it will help to inspire me with my sewing and jewelry making:
So, I spent less than $50 throughout that entire day and had a total blast. I can't guarantee that Ben had as much fun as I did, but it was so nice to have him along there with me.
How was your Sunday?