Friday, February 25, 2011

Bella's Birthday Biscuits....

My goal in life is to be as good of a person as my dog already thinks I am.  Author unknown.

A special home made birthday treat baked for my most trusted and faithful friend. The biscuits are called Bonnie's Banana Cookies from the Baking For Your Dog Cookbook. Here is the recipe.

  • 2 carrots
  • 1 banana
  • 7 oz.(200g) all purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 oz.(100g) fine rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 fl. oz.(50ml) sunflower oil
  • water as required
Grate the carrots finely and mash the banana with a fork.  Mix to make a dough with the flour, rolled oats, and oil.  If necessary, add a little water.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees(180c).  Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thick and cut squares. ( I used a dog bone cookie cutter).  Place on the sheet pan and bake for 25 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let cool overnight in the oven.  Store in a paper or linen bag.  The cookies will keep for about 3 weeks.  Recipe makes around 30 cookies.

A dog doesn't care if you are rich or poor, big or small, young or old.  He doesn't care if you're not smart, not popular, not a good joke teller, not the best athlete, nor the best looking person.  To your dog, you are the greatest, the smartest, the nicest human being who was ever born.  You are his friend  and protector.    Louis Sabin 

Baked and ready to eat.  Come Bella Come!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Something To Wine About......

When I find something that is of good value I love to share it with others. I stumbled across Cupcake Vineyards Wine quite by accident one weekend while at our neighborhood liquor store. I had popped in and was looking for a wine I had read a review about in a magazine.   I soon realized I didn't have my debit card and could not buy the wine that I had originally intended to.  Though I  searched through my wallet and pocketbook, I could come up with only ten dollars and some change.  Hmmm what to do?

Up and down the store aisles I went looking for a wine for ten dollars or less. Perhaps it was the attractive label that called to me to pick up the bottle.( Yellow, blue and white are all my favorite colors ).  The price was certainly right.   Whatever the reason was I'm thrilled I purchased it. The first bottle I bought was a Sauvignon Blanc.  It had that tangy and tart characteristic so popular with a Sauvignon Blanc.   Malbec same thing, full bodied and plumy.  Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot all excellent wine for the money.  We haven't had a bottle yet that wasn't.  Remember this is not a forty dollar bottle of wine,  but I believe you won't be disappointed.

Do you have a favorite wine that is a good value for your dollar?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Giada's Espresso Chocolate Mousse with Orange Mascarpone Whipped Cream

It does seems like I might be on a little espresso roll.  First the coffee cake now the mousse, but this mousse is easy, creamy and filled with deep chocolate flavor.  Here is the recipe.

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 3 large egg whites
Orange Mascarpone Whipped Cream
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tbsp. confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp. grated orange zest

To make the mousse, in a small saucepan stir the milk together with the sugar and and the espresso powder over medium heat until the milk is hot, but not boiling, and the sugar is dissolved.

Place the chocolate chips in a blender.  Pour the hot milk over the chips.  Run the blender on high until combined, just a few seconds, then add the egg whites and run the blender on high until light, about 1 minute.  Transfer the mousse to for 4 small serving cups.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.

To make the mascarpone whipped cream, in the bowl of an electric mixer stir together the mascarpone and the orange juice until smooth.  Add the cream, confectioners' sugar and orange zest.  Whip until the cream forms soft peaks, about 1 minute.  Spoon a dollop onto each mousse. 
Note:  I changed the whipped cream recipe a little.  I used Grand Marnier instead of orange juice and agave nectar instead of confectioners' sugar.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sweet.....Espresso Cake From Sarabeth

Kary from My Farmhouse Kitchen and Mary from Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes as well as myself  received Sarabeth's Bakery Cookbook for Christmas.  ( My  book was a gift from Mary.) We thought it would be fun if we all chose something we wanted to bake and then post on it for Valentine's Day.  I of course, went for the easiest thing I could find in the book.  This is what I chose.

This cake is everything a good home made cake should be.  Moist,  delicious and easy to make. Here is the recipe.

  • 1 cup hot brewed coffee
  • 3 tbsp. instant espresso
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 cups superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
Coffee Glaze
  • 2 tbsp. hot brewed coffee
  • 1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder
  • 1 tbsp. whole milk
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour the inside of a 10-to-12-cup fluted tube pan and tap out the excess flour.
  2. Combine the brewed coffee and espresso powder in a glass measuring cup; let cool.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl.  Beat the butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.  Gradually beat in the sugar, then add the vanilla, and beat until very light in color and texture, scraping occasionally, about 4 minutes.  One at a time, beat in the yolks.  Reduce the mixer speed to low.  In thirds, starting with the flour mixture, alternating with two equals additions of the cooled coffee, beat in the flour mixture, beating until smooth after each addition.
  4. Whip the egg whites in a grease-free medium bowl with a hand held electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form.  Using a silicone spatula, stir about one-fourth of the whites into the batter, then gently fold in the remaining whites.  Scrape the batter into a prepared pan.  Smooth the top with the spatula.
  5. Bake until the top of the cake springs back when gently pressed with your fingers, and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes.
  6. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Invert and unmold the cake onto the rack set over a half-sheet pan.  Cool completely.
  7. To make the glaze, mix the brewed coffee and espresso powder in a small saucepan to dissolve the espresso.  Stir in the milk.  Add the confectioners sugar and whisk until smooth.  Place over low heat and whisk constantly until the glaze thins slightly and is warm to the touch.
  8. Transfer the glaze to a glass measuring cup.  Slowly pour the warm glaze over the cake, letting it flow into the indentations in the cake, and also down the hole in the center in the cake.  Cool completely.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

For The Storm Forlorn

To all of you who have had enough. This bouquet of spring tulips are for you.

And this bowl of juicy strawberries.

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.
   -Proverb from Guinea-
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