Wednesday, October 27, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons......

You make Ina's Lemon Bars of course,

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup all purpose flour

Confectioners sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

For the crust, cream the butter and the sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixed fitted with the paddle attachment.  Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed.  Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball.  Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2 inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2 inch edge on all sides. Chill.

 Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned.  Let cool on a wire rack.  Leave the oven on.

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour.  Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set.  Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners sugar.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fruitlands Musuem

Fruitlands Museum in Harvard Massachusetts is set on 210 acres of woodlands,  pine barrens , swampland and meadows. Situated on the property are several small building which house some very unique exhibits.  There is an Art gallery as well as an Indian Gallery, Shaker Gallery, and The Fruitlands Farmhouse.

Included on the  property is a small thoughtful gift shop and restaurant which is a treat to visit after you finish your tour.  The grounds are also used for weddings which are celebrated in a large
 snow white tent overlooking stunning farmland vistas. 
 Artfully placed throughout the trails are Massachusetts sculptor Joseph Wheelwright's  Tree Sculptures.
The sculpture pictured above is called Pine Man and is twenty five feet tall.
 The below photo is of a figure called  oddly enough, Cherry Figure.   It stands in at thirty feet tall.

If only you could experience these nature inspired masterpieces in person.

Smoke Jumper is one of my favorites because of it's soulful eyes.

Another view of this breathtaking tree sculpture .

Here is one of the smaller trees in the exhibit,  it is called Shiva.

Again another view of Shiva.   If you look close enough you can see it's face.

This ominous looking figure has the misfortune of being named Predator Tree.

 There is the oddest granite sculpture located just outside the Art Gallery.  This different piece is called Fox Face.   I really can't decide if I like it or not.  Do you have an opinion on this unique piece?

Hopefully you  have enjoyed my photo gallery of this talented sculptor's work.  Sadly, the exhibit ends at the end of October.  I have been lucky enough to see these wonders quite often. One of my sons works part time at the restaurant and I visit The Fruitlands Museum whenever I get the chance.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ina's Maple Oatmeal Scones

After my visit to Parker's over the weekend I knew I just had to make something with maple syrup.There are a few cookbooks that I always seem to go to when I need a recipe and Ina Garten's cookbooks most often fit that bill. Here are her delicious and easy maple -oatmeal scones.

  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 tbsp. baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 pound cold unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup cold buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 4 extra large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp milk or water, for egg wash
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flours, oats, baking powder, sugar,and salt.  Blend the cold butter in at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea sized pieces.  Combine the buttermilk, maple syrup, and eggs and add quickly to the flour and butter mixture.  Mix until just blended.  The dough may be sticky.

    Dump the dough out onto a well floured surface and be sure it is combined.  Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4 to 1 inch thick.  You should see lumps of butter in the dough.  Cut into 3 inch rounds with a plain or fluted cutter and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

    Brush the tops with egg wash.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are crisp and the insides are done.

    To make the glaze, combine the confectioners sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla.  When the scones are done, cool for 5 minutes and drizzle each scone with 1 tablespoon of glaze.  then sprinkle some uncooked oats on the top, for garnish.  The warmer the scones are when you glaze them, the thinner the glaze will be.

    As you can tell by my photo above they really are  good size scones. The recipe states it makes 14 large scones, I made 16 scones out of this batch.

    Monday, October 11, 2010

    Parker's Maple Barn

    This past weekend we took a short trip up to New Hampshire to one of my favorite places to have breakfast. Located in Mason New Hampshire, you can read all about Parker's Maple Barn Restaurant here. They have a great gift shop with loads of their very own maple syrup and maple products.

    The restaurant was packed so I felt awkward about taking out my camera and snapping pictures while everyone was eating their breakfast. Unfortunately, there are no photos of the inside to this quaint  little restaurant.  I did however manage to snap a few of the outside area .

    We assumed that the license plate must belong to the owner of Parker's.  After all it is a genuine working maple sugar farm. 

    Parker's is usually packed and the wait can be up to one and a half hours. We were lucky this weekend though and got in and seated in about twenty minutes.  But for times when we are not so lucky and the wait is longer we can go to The Outpost  and purchase a  maple donut and a cup of hot coffee while we wait.   The small Outpost building happens to be right next to the sugar house pictured below .

    After you get your donut and coffee there is this sweet little covered bridge with benches inside to sit and wait for your name to be called over the loud speaker.

    We however did not have a seat in the bridge this time but  instead  went directly to the gift shop to stock up on maple syrup and other maple products that struck our fancy

    The gift shop was fun,  our breakfast  was delicious and as usual the ride up was well worth it.

    Saturday, October 2, 2010

    The Boston Public Library

    If you are ever in Boston and get the chance to visit the Boston Public Library please do so, you won't be disappointed.   While we were in town attending the New England Dessert Showcase,  we took the opportunity to take the short walk to the corner of Boylston and Dartmouth in Copley Square where the historic Boston Public Library sits.

    This grand historic library is very much a library of firsts.  The Boston Public Library was the first publicly supported municipal library, the first library open to the public, and the first to let the public borrow books.

    The photo taken above shows a closer look  at the lights of the outside entrance. Aren't they unusual looking?   Bottom photo is of the main  inside entrance viewed from the front stairs looking down.

    This regal lion seems as though he is guarding the marble stairs to the reading rooms above or  perhaps he is keeping watch over the 1.7 million rare books and manuscripts housed here. 
    Gazing down the middle aisle of the reading room gave me the shivers. So beautiful, I wish my amateur  photography had captured the reading rooms true beauty.  Look at all the green lamps  glowing.

    Here is a  closer view of the photo on my sidebar of the
    statue in the courtyard.  She has such a look of pure joy on her face. 

    What a treat it would be to spend a leisurely afternoon in the warm fall sun sitting in the courtyard with a cup of steamy coffee and a good book.  Simple pleasures. 

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    Pumpkin Fudge

    This pumpkin fudge is delicious.  The only change that I made to the recipe is with the sugar.  Instead of using the recommended two cups of sugar,  I use only one and a half cups. Two cups seems a little too sweet for me.

    • 1/3 cup butter
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
    • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
    • 1/2 tsp.pumpkin pie spice
    • 1/2 cup marshmallow cream
    • 1 cup white chocolate
    • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract                                                                                                           
      1. In medium saucepan, mix together first five ingredients.  Cook over medium heat until mixture has risen and fallen in the pan.  About 8 to 10 minutes.
      2. Drop a little of the mixture into a small saucer of cold water. If mixture forms a ball it is ready for next step.
      3. Add marshmallow cream and white chocolate chips,  stirring until melted and smooth.
      4. Stir in nuts and vanilla.
      5. Pour into greased 8-by-8 inch pan.  Cool for 30 minutes.  Cut into bite size pieces and enjoy.
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