Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fairy Cookies

I wish I had come across this recipe last week before my girlfriends and I had our tea, these would have been perfect! If you are looking for a slightly sweet, delicate cookie, a very girlie girl cookie, then you must try these fairy cookies.

I had never heard of them before, but after doing a search online, discovered there are many iterations, and this is but one of them. I am using the Lemon Fairy Cookie recipe from Kristin's Domestic Diva School, with my own variation on the buttercream frosting. I thought raspberry would be a nice flavor to pair up with these, but I didn't have any raspberry flavoring, so I used the next best thing, raspberry-rhubarb jam that I made that was in the fridge. I made sure I blended it very well so any junks of berry and rhubarb were indistinguishable and it was smooth enough to flow through a 22 tip. I also used a homemade extract of lavender and vanilla, with rosewater, so there is a very subtle floral undertone, but plain vanilla would be just fine, or none at all, let your taste and jam variation be your guide. Also, you don't have to pipe these or use a cookie gun, you can just roll them into a ball and dent the middle before baking, but I thought using a large star tip made them girlier.

Merry Fairy Cookies

1 c butter, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon extract
3/4 c cornstarch
1 c flour

Cream the butter and powdered sugar together until fluffy, blend in the zest and lemon extract. With mixer on low, add the the cornstarch and then the flour, mixing until well blended.

Put into piping bag, or cookie press, and pipe onto parchment covered baking sheet. Bake 9-11 minutes in preheated 375 oven. Cookies should barely be golden around edges. Let cool completely on sheet before removing, these cookies are delicate! When completely cooled, move to serving plate, and pipe with frosting.

Raspberry Buttercream

1/4 c softened butter
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp lavender-vanilla-rosewater extract (or vanilla)
1-2 tbsp jam

Cream butter and sugar, add extract, then jam. Blend on high until fluffy and well blended. Pipe onto cooled cookies with a #22 tip.

Come over and visit the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Swiss Chard Gouda Quiche

This post is linked to

I love making a dish with whatever I have on hand. If it calls for spinach but all I have is swiss chard, guess what I use? Same with cheese, gouda instead of cheddar or swiss? Why not? Go for it!!

Swiss Chard Gouda Quiche

Pastry for a single-crust 9-10 inch deep dish pie
1 bunch onion, chopped
1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and chopped
1 1/2 cup shredded Gouda cheese
8 bacon strips, diced
5 eggs
2 cups half-and-half cream, or 1 can condensed milk (I've even been successful using Land O'Lakes Fat Free half and half)
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Saute bacon in pan until crisp, remove and drain. Add onions, red pepper flakes and chard to skillet and saute until cooked.
Whisk together eggs, cream or milk and seasonings. Sprinkle cheese and bacon in pie plate and add egg/milk mixture.
Bake for 45 - 55 minutes, until center is set. If sides begin to brown to much, cover crusts with ring of foil. Let rest a few minutes before cutting.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Homemade Frozen Pizza

In the interest of helping my husband and myself eat healthier, but not get bored or bogged down in the chore of it, I decided to start making homemade frozen pizza. Not a new idea for anyone, but we certainly like my pizza alot better than any other frozen brand or even delivery, and I'm certain its more healthy.

The Dough:
1 1/2 c warm water (100-110 degrees)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp dough enhancer recipe (or omit, your choice)
4 1/2 tsp yeast
2 1/2 c white flour
2 c white wheat flour (King Arthur brand)
olive oil
garlic salt

Mix the water, oil, honey, salt, dough enhancer, and yeast together until yeast is thoroughly moistened and foamy.

Add to the flours and stir until shaggy and forms a ball. Using a dough hook, knead for 12 minutes.

Let rise in a greased bowl in a warm place one hour, or until doubled.

Punch down and divide dough into four portions. Spread dough into a 9" x 13" tin foil pan, spread evenly and up the sides. This recipe will make 4 pans, 9 x 13 size. Spread oil on the outside crusts only and sprinkle with garlic salt.

Bake for 5 minutes in a 450 degree oven. Remove, let cool before adding sauce and cheese.

After adding sauce and cheese, double wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.

To bake, thaw overnight in refrigerator and bake at 450 for 13 minutes, if frozen, bake time will be longer, but bake until cheese is melted and bubbling in the center of pizza.

Sauce Recipe
1 lb ground turkey
large pizza sauce, spagetti sauce or tomato sauce and sloppy joe seasoning
8 slices bacon, chopped and sauteed
1/2 lb shredded part skim lowfat mozzarella cheese

Saute turkey until cooked, add pizza sauce, or use tomato sauce and sloppy joe seasoning or a can of Manwich.

Let cool before spreading on par-baked pizza crust. After spreading on crust, scatter bacon over pizzas (4 pizzas).

Scatter cheese over 4 pizzas. Bake in 450 degree oven for 13 minutes, or double wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for later.

Linked to Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, come over!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rose and Lemon Creme Macarons - French Style!

This week I had the wonderful opportunity to make french style macarons for my dear friend Kimber. She really does love them, and I hoped my paltry attempt would be at the least, edible. Well it was! Not nearly as hard as I had thought they would be, so it goes to show, don't believe the hype, ignorance is bliss, just go for it!

Rose and Lemon Creme Macarons
For macarons:
3/4 c ground almonds
1 c powdered sugar
2 large egg whites
1/4 c superfine or bakers sugar
1/2 tsp rosewater
1/8 tsp rose paste*(found in asian food stores)
red food color if necessary

Place ground almonds and powdered sugar in food processor and process until very very fine. Sift into bowl. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Place the egg whites in large bowl and whip until holding soft peaks, gradually add in superfine sugar to make firm, glossy meringue, beat in rose paste and rose water, add food coloring if necessary to reach YOUR ideal shade of pink.

Using a mixing spatula, fold the almond mixture in a third at a time. When all dry ingredients are thoroughly combined, continue to cut and fold the mix until it forms a shiny batter with a thick ribbon like consistency. This is very important, under mix and it won't have that smooth top and frilly foot when baked. Over mix and it won't hold its shape at all.

Pour batter into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2" round plain tip. Pipe 32 small circles onto the prepared cookie sheets. TIP: trace with pencil a small circle 1 1/4 inch on the parchment paper, turn paper over and you have your guidelines for your circles.

Bang the sheets firmly on the counter to remove air bubbles. Let the macarons stand at room temperature 30-45 minutes, to let them dry out a bit, until the surface no longer sticks to your finger when touched. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Bake one sheet at a time in preheated oven for 10-13 minutes, cool 10 minutes. Carefully peel off parchment paper and let cool completely.

Rose Creme Filling
1/2 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
juice from one lemon
pinch salt

Cream butter and powdered sugar until fluffy, gradually at lemon juice and zest and salt. Put in piping bag and fill cooled macarons.

Unfilled macarons can be stored for a few days at room temperature or for a month in the freezer. Filled macarons should be stored in the fridge, allow to come to room temperature before serving.

As always, add flavorings and colors to your taste and desire, but always start out with a little, then taste and add more if necessary.

These were not hard, go for it, if it doesn't work, figure out where you went wrong and try again. Really, these were much much easier than people let on.

This is part of the Feed Me Tweet Me Follow Me Home Friday blog hop

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A perfect tea.....

Yesterday, my friends Kimber, Belinda and I, had our first annual Spring Tea. The theme seemed to be pink, which is one of our favorite colors. I love these friends, we can get together and be girly girl, and then go right to gardening, and then the nitty gritty side of their business.
Kimber had a beautiful table set for us, she has quite a collection of vintage and antique tableware, and she doesn't mind using it, my kind of lady! We chatted and visited, and ate lots and lots, in between all of that, we opened our gifts. We always bring each other little things, usually in keeping with the theme of whatever gathering we are having, or sometimes just because we want to!!
Kimber, the consumate hostess, she really is, made these lovely little party favors filled with vintage rick rack and laces and buttons, and gave each of us, a lovely vintage tea pot, in memory of our day together. Kimber also gave us one of the latest books she edited, one that Belinda had been drooling over for some time, Some Kind of Wonderful. This book is full of sewing and hand embroidery projects, lots of ideas for gifts. She really is most generous!!

Belinda made a wonderful button bag, using pretty button patterned fabric, and filled with buttons, all kinds! She just whipped it up, no pattern just her own amazing creativity.

Kimber provided the prettiest tea food, petit fours, pink sugar cookies, red velvet cake, pastel nonpareils, I was all over the cucumber watercress sandwiches - I was not lady like in my consumption of them! Of course, we had a wonderful selection of teas to choose from too!

I offered to make the main course, a gouda spinach quiche, fresh wheat bread loaf. Belinda made the best fruit salad I have ever eaten. She is the best at choosing the freshest fruits!!

Kimber loves macarons, french macarons. I had never made them before, so of course I considered this my next culinary challenge. I decided to make rose and lemon buttercream macarons, and happily they turned out very well!

The day was perfect, good friends and good food! I hope you all get a chance to experience your own wonderful tea with friends, so my challenge to you, get together with a few friends, make good food and spoil each other rotten with friendship!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Just wanted to say a quick hello and welcome to new followers! It always takes me by surprise whenever someone follows, so thank you!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Homemade Pickled Ginger

This post is also linked to the Feed Me Tweet Me Follow Me blog hop!!

I love sushi, traditional, fusion, american style, whatever. I will take my sushi and sushi rolls whenever I can get them. Many times, I just make my own at home. I don't make raw fish sushi, but I do like the spicy crab rolls. But, sushi rolls are another post, this post is about the pickled ginger. One problem I run up against, in store bought ginger, is the ingredient MSG, or even aspartame. Of course, pickling my own is the answer.

I found this recipe on, I did tweak it a little, but you can find the original recipe here.

You will need a large piece of ginger root, about 1/2 lb piece, peel it with a spoon, just scrape the papery skin off the root.
Using a mandoline type peeler, or whatever you have, slice the ginger into paper thin slices, as thin as you can.
Put the ginger and scant 2 teaspoons of sea salt in a non-reactive bowl, and let stand for 30 minutes or so.
In a medium pan, put 1 cup rice vinegar and a scant 1/2 cup sugar, and heat until boiling and the sugar is dissolved. Pour boiling liquid over ginger and salt. Let stand until cool enough to handle, then put all into a clean jar. Let cool completely, then refrigerate for at least a week before eating.
Mine didn't turn pink, I've read that is because I didnt use a high quality rice vinegar, maybe. I also know they sometimes add red food coloring, so there.
I did have some this week when I made my spicy crab rolls, and it was delicious! So flavorful! I noticed I only needed a small portion to cleanse and enliven my palate while enjoying my sushi.

Where I live, ginger root isn't very expensive, and rice vinegar is a nice vinegar to have on hand, its light and mild, really good for salads.