Chicks and Bread

I did it again.

I bought more chicks.

Why I ever go into the feed store is beyond me.

I really love Buff Orpingtons, and I wish I had started my flock with the Buffs.  Sunday we drove to the  feed store just to “look” at the chicks.  We left with these little gals.  They are just adorable.

Last night I had to move them from the garage into the den.   I realized Mark had used the wrong lamp socket with the heat lamp bulb for the chicks.  After a midnight hunt in the shop, we had no luck locating the porcelain socket–which is really important to prevent fire.  I knew the chicks couldn’t stay in the garage and have enough heat from a 100 watt light bulb, so I brought them in and hung the lamp with a simple 100 watt light bulb–so far, it has worked very well.  The brooder is about 90 degrees.   I was awakened by chick peeps on and off throughout the night.  Today I feel like the mother of  newborns.  Thank God breast feeding isn’t required.  I’m exhausted!

chick1

I’m not naming any of these gals until I’m quite certain there are no cockerels in the bunch.

For those who followed my first time experience with the original flock, you will remember my son, Sean, naming one of my girls “Sean Jr”, and “she” turned out to be a little rooster!  Needless to say, Sean is not allowed to name any of these chicks.  I think it was a curse!

chicks3More chicky butts than faces in this photo, but they were trying to stay warm until we set up the lamp!

chick2

In food news:

I tried a no-knead recipe for a Ciabatta bread.  I found the recipe here at “Food Wishes” an excellent food blog!  He even made a video showing how to make it– step by step.

I had only one problem–my bread stuck to my pan–big time!  I mean it was like I had super glued the stuff down–ripped off half the crust trying to get it off the pan.  I’ve made a lot of bread in my lifetime and never had that happen before.  I’m baking it again, and this time I’m going to oil the pan and then add the cornmeal–maybe I’ll slip some parchment down too!

That said, let me tell you, this bread tastes GREAT!  Look at the texture…amazing stuff, without the kneading.  Granted kneading can be a wonderful meditative experience, but when you don’t have time to, try this one.

bread4Ciabatta Bread looks like a fluffy slipper–it is flatter than a regular loaf of bread.

breadslice

It is thicker than this photo seems to show.  I really enjoyed it.  The crust was crispy and the interior was just right.

Oh, I do have a bread stone in the oven and I used my convection bake setting for half the time–which may be how I created a super glue base?  If you have a clue, please clue me!

I have to admit–the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes, that I normally make, is more impressive, BUT this really was fun and it tastes great toasted.  It is a nice change, and it is fun to try new things.

Advertisements

Lemon Cornmeal Cake w/ Lemon Glaze and Texas Sheet Cake (kinda sorta)

April’s Bon Appetit has a great recipe for a rustic cake that is now one of my favorites!

After a long day, I decided to roast a lemon chicken from a recipe in “Cook’s Country” magazine–which was wonderful!–I roasted asparagus and cooked some basmati rice, but I needed a dessert.   Just about the time I had decided to ditch making dessert, Olivia arrived, walked into the kitchen and asked what she could do to help?  I mentioned the lemon cake, and discovered she had been wanting to bake the very same cake –yes, I gave the kids a subscription to Bon Appetit— I love that magazine!  –With Olivia’s help, we tore through that cake recipe and boy, let me tell ya, I am sure happy we did!

dsc_9987

A Slice of our Lemon Cornmeal Cake w/ Lemon Glaze

Angelnina’s Notes to first time bakers:  In this recipe is very important to gently fold liquid into flour mixture-don’t be tempted to start stirring.

RECIPE Can be found here on BON APPETIT’S site

Prior to the lemon cake, I showed Olivia how to bake a chocolate cake from Art Smith’s cookbook.  I have baked many Texas Sheet Cakes, and this is pretty much a TSC to me.  They are simple to make and yummy to eat!  As a matter of fact, I only have photos of Olivia frosting the cake because we all kind of jumped into this one without wasting any time.  I mean, come on people, it’s chocolate!

Auntie’s Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Pecan Frosting

From Art Smith’s “Back to the Table:  The Reunion of Food and Family”

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter , cut up
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) margarine , cut up
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter , cut up
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 1 pound (about 4 1/3 cups) confectioners’ sugar , sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) coarsely chopped pecans , toasted
To make the cake:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour a 13 x 9-inch baking pan, tapping out the excess flour. Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine. In a medium saucepan, bring the butter, margarine, water and cocoa to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the butter and margarine. Pour into the flour mixture and whisk well. Add the sour cream, then the eggs and vanilla, and beat well. Spread evenly in the pan. Bake until the cake springs back when pressed in the center, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack.

To make the frosting:
Bring the butter, milk and cocoa to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the butter. Gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar, then the vanilla. Stir in the chopped pecans. Pour over the warm cake. Cool the cake in the pan on the rack. Cut into pieces and serve directly from the pan.

ABOVE: Olivia Spreading the Chocolate-Pecan Frosting

Surviving a Recession w/ Bourbon Pecan Chicken and Banana Pudding

Yes, I said the “R” word.

I think there has been enough media fear mongering to scare most of us half to death.  Times are tough–I know, I know– but who isn’t ready to hear a little good news?  Heck, half the time I wake up with one eye open and one eye closed for fear that my childhood nightmare has come true, and the sky has finally fallen.

A few weeks ago,  I decided enough is enough.   I can keep listening to talk of the sky falling, or I can get on with  my life.  No use sitting around whining and complaining about how bad things are and how much much worse they might get.  If I want to put living in the moment into practice, then the time is NOW.

Cooking, baking, decorating, sales, and nurturing are just a few of the skills I’ve honed over the years.   The first thing I decided to do was to invite the kids over and cook up a southern supper–complete with banana pudding for dessert.

The Menu:

Bourbon & Pecan Chicken

Mashed Potatoes

Collard Greens

White Cornbread

Homemade Banana Pudding

dsc_98921

Above: Homemade Banana Pudding (best when served cold!)

pecan

ABOVE: Bourbon Pecan Fried Chicken

Next, I opened up Angelnina’s Cottage Etsy Shop–my first sale was made within a few hours, and I’m happy to report, the woman who bought my first item is one of the sweetest women you can ever hope to do business with.  We have so much in common, I feel like I’ve made a new friend!

I truly enjoy hunting for vintage wares–especially kitchen ware.  Sometimes when I walk into an estate sale, I feel as if I’ve walked into a museum.  One thing I’ve discovered is that some things were just made better when my grandma was growing up, and I would rather use a well made item than a flimsy item that might look fancy, but simply doesn’t do what I want it to do.  I also prefer the retro tablecloths–the designs seem more cheerful and happy.  I have many more things to load into my shop, and soon I’ll have it stocked well.

I’m still finding my way around Etsy, and I’ve found they really do have a lot of great artists!

mebakingsix3

One more thing–I found this photo of my sister and I, when I was six years old.  I can’t remember if we were living in Boise, Idaho, Los Angeles, California, or Colorado Springs, Colorado.  I just remember living in several different states at that age.  It might even be New York.  In any case, I am cooking, and my sister, Karla is watching me with a very confident look on her face.  My sister has always been supportive of my cooking and baking ventures.  I remember her telling me I made good oatmeal when were little kids.

I’d love to have the vintage canisters in that photo.  It is no wonder I love all the retro and vintage kitchenware.  It looks like those are the tools I learned with.

The dress I’m wearing is one my Italian grandmother made for me.  It had simple snaps that held the dress together.  I wore it to school one day and played chase with the boys.  I’ll never forget tripping over the dress– the snaps came completely undone, and one boy stared at me in shock and said, “Ican  see your underwear!”.  I was completely and utterly horrified.  Well, as completely and utterly horrified as a six year old girl, with her panties hanging out for all the world to see, could be.

RECIPES?  CLICK BELOW…

Continue reading

Seattle, Mexican Pottery, and Angel Hair Pasta

Photobucket

I took this photo at Alki Beach in West Seattle.

Alki is one of my favorite places to go and hang out.   The views are amazing.

When my son was a teenager, we used to drive here, do homework at the Alki Bakery and talk for hours.  He was 16 and we were both in college.  He remained in college, and I left after a year.   I miss those days.

Photobucket

ABOVE:  Western Avenue in Seattle, sits just beneath Pike Place Market

Photobucket

I just love the artwork on this building.  Driving by it I am reminded of the wildlife we have so close to the city. I’m also reminded of all the wonderful artists who live among us.

Mark and I were lucky enough to see a pod of beautiful Orca Whales on a visit to the San Juan Islands.  It’s about an hours drive, plus a ferry ride, from home.    On this winter day, I was satisfied with the Orca painting.

I was in the city to visit the market, World Spice Merchant, and The Spanish Table.

If you love to cook, the Seattle area is a great place to live.

Photobucket

I am grateful to live in Western Washington, for many reasons, and near the top of my list, is the fact that we have so many wonderful second hand shops, estate sales, and antique stores.  I can usually find whatever I need, and it’s always good to know I’m recycling at the same time.

The Mexican pottery serving bowl, above, screamed out to me when I spotted it a few weeks ago.  I have been searching for Mexican pottery, unleaded of course, to serve my Mexican or Spanish dishes in.    I was inspired by the cookbook “Frida’s Fiestas: Recipes and Reminiscences of Life with Frida Kahlo” (which I scored at a second hand store!)

fridasfiestascookbook2

I’ve been enjoying reading through this cookbook.  The recipes all sound unique, and the photographs are amazing.  I have made the Mexican Red Rice, and it is a favorite now.  Simple too.


Photobucket

ABOVE: Angelnina’s Version of Karen’s Angel Hair Pasta

After a day of shopping, I wanted to make a flavorful, but quick, dinner.  We didn’t stick to the Spanish theme, but I love this Angel Hair Pasta dish.   It is adapted from a recipe emailed to me by a woman in San Francisco, and I think it was called: Karen’s Pasta. I’ve since changed the recipe quite a bit, so for now, it remains nameless.

For the recipe and a a few of my gardening notes, please click to keep reading…

Continue reading

Italian EASTER EGG BREAD RING and More Easter Dinner Ideas

NOTE: The following post is from an Easter 2007 blogI posted on my Live Journal.  I want to share it here with new readers, and to remind some of my regular readers of some Easter Dinner ideas.

I have included the Easter Egg Bread and the Almond Pear Tart  recipes.  I will get the other recipes up, as time permits.   In the meantime, you can find the Flourless Chocolate Cake and the Mandarin Sorbet in Giuliano Hazan’s cookbook.

Easter 2007

This Easter I ended up making too many desserts.  I look through cookbooks all of the time, and when I see things I want to make, I tell myself I should wait until a holiday.  I don’t think I’ll wait anymore.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

ABOVE: Italian Easter Bread

I have wanted to make this bread for years, but never made enough time to squeeze it into an Easter menu.  It is time consuming, but it was worth it.  I served it the next day, and I would recommend only serving this the same day you bake it.
EASTER EGG BREAD RING (Italian/ Greek)

5 eggs
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon KOSHER salt (use Kosher-otherwise it may be too salty)
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup mixed candied fruit
1/3 cup chopped blanched almonds
1/2 teaspoon anise seed
2 tablespoons melted shortening
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons multicolored sprinkles (jimmies

  1. Color the 5 eggs with egg dye. In a large mixing bowl, blend the white sugar, salt, and yeast well with 1 cup of the flour.
  2. In a saucepan, combine 2/3 cup milk and butter, heating slowly until liquid is warm and butter is melted. Pour the milk into the dry ingredients and beat 125 strokes with a wooden spoon. Add eggs and 1/2 cup flour or enough to make a thick batter. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes. Stir in enough flour to make a ball of dough that draws away from the sides of the bowl.
  3. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for about 10 minutes, working in additional flour to overcome stickiness. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and put in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the fruit, nuts, and anise seed.
  5. Punch down the dough and return it to a lightly floured board. Knead in the fruit mixture, keeping the syrupy pieces dusted with flour until they are worked into the dough. Divide the dough in half.
  6. Carefully roll each piece into a 24-inch rope–the fruit and nuts will make this slightly difficult. Loosely twist the two ropes together and form a ring on a greased baking sheet. Pinch the ends together well. Brush the dough with melted shortening. Push aside the twist to make a place for each egg. Push eggs down carefully as far as possible. Cover the bread with wax paper and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  7. Bake the bread in a preheated 350 degree F (175 degrees C) oven for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a twist comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool.
  8. Once the bread is cool, drizzle the icing on top between the eggs, and decorate with colored sprinkles. To make icing: mix together confectioners’ sugar, 1 tablespoon whole milk, and vanilla.

OR Click here for the recipe.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
I decided to do two baking sheets of roasted veggies.  It was a way to have an assortment of vegetables and cook them all at once.  The tray not shown had baby reds, zucchini, carrots, sweet onions, garlic, and herbs.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
The Pear Upside Down Cake is truly one of my favorite cakes.  The recipe calls for almond paste and fresh Bosc pears.  This is the second time I’ve made it and one I’ll make again and again.
pearcaketop.jpg
I also made my first flourless chocolate cake.  The recipe is from Hazan’s book and this is a cake only a true chocolate lover/ worshipper can eat.  I used semi sweet chocolates from Germany.
flourlesschoccakeingred.jpg
choccakebake.jpg

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
“Rich” is an understatement.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

ABOVE: Mandarin Orange Sorbet (made with Prosecco)
If you like sorbet, you have to try this recipe –again Hazan’s–for Mandarin Orange Sorbet.  It calls for a cup of Prosecco and fresh squeezed mandarin oranges.  This is a new favorite of mine!
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend–holiday or no.

My Son Can Cook

Last week, my son, Sean, and his fiancee, Olivia, invited us for a Sunday supper with fried chicken as the star of the evening.  Needless, to say, I had my doubts.  I mean, who makes southern fried chicken, for the first time, and doesn’t end up with a hard learned lesson?  Well, Sean does.

Sean borrowed my Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners, and decided to use their recipe.  This made me a bit anxious, because the Lee brothers use a recipe I wasn’t brought up on.  Still, I figured, cut the kid a break, he’s trying.  I said nothing.

Sunday rolled around, and I chose a few dishes to contribute to our evening:  skillet cornbread with honey butter, collards, and southern tea cakes.

I’m going to apologize in advance for the terrible photographs, but this was the best I could do in kitchen lighting.
Photobucket

ABOVE: I’d like to lie and tell you these Southern Tea Cakes are shaped like bears, but truth be told, they are supposed to be pigs.  They spread like crazy when baked.

If you’ve never eaten a southern tea cake you’re in for a wonderful surprise.  They are soft on the inside and have a slight crisp on the outside.  These cookies are very old fashioned, and they can be sprinkled with a hint of nutmeg, sugar, or a cinnamon and sugar mixture.  I prefer mine with a pinch of nutmeg.  Be warned, they’re addictive.

Photobucket

ABOVE: Skillet honey cornbread

Certainly, not a cake like cornbread, but a perfect cornbread to lap up the pot liquor from the collards.  The pot liquor is the liquid you cook your greens in, and it’s full of iron and vitamins.

Photobucket

ABOVE: Collard Greens with a little chard and bacon

I am addicted to these greens.  I took a southern cooking class up here in Seattle, and I was shocked that everybody who tried the chef’s collards, refused to finish them.   You’ve never heard so many whiny northerners!  I guess it is an acquired taste. Although, Olivia had never tried them before, and the girl put the greens down!  Good for her!

Sean and Olivia served up some boarding house biscuits, sweet tea, mashed taters, homemade buttermilk salad dressing, and some of the best damn fried chicken I’ve eaten in years!

Photobucket

ABOVE: Sean frying chicken in his kitchen

Photobucket

ABOVE: Sean’s sous chef/ fiancee, Olivia

Photobucket

Come on, you know I’m incredibly proud of these two right now!

Sean played Hank Williams on his computer, and we all had a great time just visiting and laughing.  It reminded me of the days of my youth–minus the family fights of course—when the relatives would gather around and sing and play guitar.  My grandma would fry up the best batch of fried chicken known to mankind, and we’d all eat like we were half starved.

I’m quite impressed with Sean’s cooking.  Every since he returned from Paris, he is obsessed with cooking.   Oh, and when he comes for a visit, the first thing he does is turn on the Food Network.  He watches the programs like some people watch sports–yes, there is hootin’ and hollerin’. Okay, I admit it, I do it too!

Photobucket

Now, let’s et!

Some recipes just might be hiding behind the cut below…

Continue reading