Sunday, November 4, 2012

Blueberry Pie Reward!

My daughter's Varsity soccer team won the 2012 Sectional Title for CC in our region.  The only thing she asked for was my blueberry pie.  Now how could I refuse?  So, here's my Soccer Sectional Blueberry Pie recipe~

1 Pkg of Pillsbury Pie Crust (why make your own when theirs is so good)
3 pints  plus 1 cup of fresh blueberries
1/2 cup of shifted all purpose flour
1 cup of sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoon of butter (I use unsalted)

Egg Wash
1 egg yoke
1/2 cup of milk (if you have cream - go for it)
Pinch of sugar

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees (I put in a cookie sheet to heat up with the oven)
In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, add sugar, flour and 1 cup of blueberries.  Sometimes in the winter I use frozen blueberries for this step.  Mix until the sugar/flour coats the blueberries and the mixture melts and gets this beautiful purple color.  Some of the berries will get a little mushy at this point.  Set aside and cool for about 5 - 10 mintus.

In a pie pan, I use my favorite Martha Stewart Pie Pan that is ceramic, put one piece of crust as the bottom and take a fork and poke holes all over the crust.  Even the sides.  This will help get a crispy crust that is well cooked.  Add the rest of the blueberries that have been washed and picked through and dried.  Take the blueberry/sugar/flour mixture and pour over the berries.  Lightly fold the mixture into the berries.  Cut up the butter in small pieces and set on berries.

Cover with other pie crust, crimp edges, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with a few pinches of sugar.  The egg wash will make the crust look so nice and brown.

Bake for 50 minutes, place pie on cookie sheet. I cook for 30 minutes uncovered, then lay a piece of foil over the pie so it doesn't get brown.

Cool for 15 minutes before cutting and enjoy!

Monday, October 29, 2012


I subscribe to Bon Appetite and was so pleased they featured a Boston Brown Bread recipe.  My mother used to make BBB and we'd enjoy it hot with a side of baked beans.  What I loved about the bread (beside the delicious, rich flavor) was the fact you cook it in a coffee tin.

Since I use a Kurig and do not have coffee tins in the house, I had to ask around work to find a couple.

Right now, my house if filled with a slightly sweet (molasses and brown sugar) scent of bread baking.  A perfect day for baking bread as Hurricane Sandy (my mother's name by the way, so especially apropo to make this recipe) covers our region with buckets of rain, wind, and cold.

Here's the recipe from Bon Appetite November 2012 issue

Boston Brown Bread 

Recipe 10 servings Active: 20 minutes Total: 3 1/2 hours (includes baking and cooling time)

1 tablespoon butter plus more for serving, room temperature
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rye flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup raisins (optional-I do not add)

Special Equipment Two empty, clean 11-13-ounce coffee cans Ingredient Info Rye flour is available at natural foods stores and some supermarkets. Preparation Preheat oven to 350°. Cut two 6-inch squares of foil. Coat insides of cans and one side of foil squares with 1 tablespoon butter. Stir milk and next 3 ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves and mixture is just warmed (do not boil). Whisk whole wheat flour and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add milk mixture; whisk until smooth. Fold in raisins, if using. Divide batter between cans. Smooth tops. Cover cans with foil, butter side down. Secure foil with kitchen twine. Place cans foil side up in a deep roasting pan or a heavy shallow pot. Transfer pan to oven. Pour very hot water into pan to come about 3-inch up sides of cans. Bake until a skewer inserted through foil into the center of each loaf comes out clean, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer to a wire rack. Let cool for 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around edges of cans. Invert to release loaves onto rack. Let cool completely. DO AHEAD Bread can be made 3 days ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic; store at room temperature. Slice bread. Serve with soft butter.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fall Cooking

Today I made a pumpkin soup that we loving call Harvest Time Soup. This is a family favorite and really takes advantage of fall veggies. You can purchase a cooking pumpkin, bake and remove the flesh to add to the soup. I've done this before, but the cooking pumpkins are not always available. So, to create the texture of pumpkin, I mix in butternut squash with canned pure, pumpkin puree. The soup can be rich and if you want to reduce the calories, you can saute the shallots in olive or vegetable oil, use evaporated milk instead of cream, and use turkey bacon (not a fav of the family). So tonight we will sit down to a hearty soup (perfect for this time of year), with a crusty Italian bread and salad. Yummmmm!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Bouquet of Wooden Spoons

I did some baking this weekend-banana bread, squash casserole, and tomorrow an apple pie. As I was mashing really ripe bananas with a wooden fork, but couldn't help but look at my bouquet of wooden spoons.  I love wooden utensils.  There is something about the touch of the wood beneath my fingers and how they do not burn you when you are cooking over a hot stove.  I keep them in a Peruvian water picture that is a family piece and makes a great holder for all of the spoons. 

Every where I go that has a home section, I look for wooden spoons.  I have bamboo, olive tree, cherry, and oak.  They come from all over, the latest (the honey dipper) is from the country of Greece and is made from an olive tree.  Every once in a while I take the time to oil them so they don't split and become brittle, but I do admit to throwing them into the dishwasher when I'm pressed for time.

What's your favorite cooking tool? 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Easy Breakfast!

So, I knew we had a soccer game on Saturday night at 7pm -- in Hornell (about 1 1/2 hours from the homestead). I also know that we like a nice, sit down Sunday breakfast.  I started searching for something that I could make ahead of time, like a strata or something. I have both of Pioneer Woman's cookbooks and had just watched her Saturday morning show, and had seen something of hers on Pinterest that looked delish, so I went to her website.

I settled on baked French toast. I love recipes you can make a head of time and just forget until you need to pop it into the oven.  Plus another reason to use my homemade vanilla!  You can adapt this recipe as well if you like pecans, walnuts, or even craisins in your French toast. (Pictures are from me, not Pioneer Woman-just to explain why they are so poorly done!)

From The Pioneer Woman - slightly adapted
  • Butter, For Greasing
  • 1 loaf Crusty Sourdough (I used Pepperidge Farm)
  • 8 whole Eggs
  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • ½ cups Heavy Cream
  • 3/4 cups Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
  • Topping
  • ½ cups Flour
  • ½ cups Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • Freshly Grated Nutmeg, Optional (I usually have, but didn't have)
  • 1 stick Cold Butter, Cut Into Pieces
  • Warm Syrup, For Serving
  • Butter, For Serving
  • 1 cup Fresh Blueberries, For Serving

Preparation Instructions

For the French toast: Grease the baking pan with butter. Tear the bread into chunks, or cut into cubes, and evenly distribute in the pan. Crack the eggs in a big bowl. Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Pour evenly over the bread. Cover the pan tightly and store in the fridge until needed (overnight preferably). Or you can make it and bake it right away—delicious no matter what! For the topping: Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and some nutmeg in a separate bowl. Stir together using a fork. Add the butter and with a pastry cutter, and mix it all together until the mixture resembles fine pebbles. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.
When you’re ready to bake the casserole, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the casserole from the fridge and sprinkle the topping over the top. Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture or for 1 hour-plus or more for a firmer, crisper texture.
Scoop out individual portions. Top with butter and drizzle with warm pancake syrup and sprinkle with blueberries.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Family Recipes

This weekend I made a recipe that paid homage to my husband Hispanic background. And I called my mom for some of my grandmother's recipes I remember from when I was young. Nearly every Sunday we'd eat dinner at my grandparents and there would be a ton of

I can still taste the Wilted Leaf Lettuce and Sour Cream Cucumbers. There was also what we call Grandma's jello, her ham with pineapple and cherries, and something with those little hotdogs and Catalina salad dressing.

My mother found the recipes and they were from Better Homes & Garden's New Cookbook. The one I have used to be my mothers and is a three-ringed binder with the red and white checkerboard cover, copyright 1976. We all know what happens to paper in three-ringed binders - they tear. So there are a lot of floating pages that are stuffed in the wrong recipe category, but I still love this cookbook.

 Flan is a wonderful Spanish, Mexican, Hispanic custard that is refreshing, creamy, and delicious.  Some people refer to it as Flan de Leche. Just as France has creme brulee, the Spanish have Flan. Sometimes I make a cream cheese flan that is awesome.  I'll let you know how they turned out.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Dinner

I've mentioned before how we have a large Sunday dinner around 3pm. Well, today after watching a DVR'd episode of Pioneer Woman, my husband and I headed to Wegmans to grab the ingredients for dinner. We used her recipe for Bruschetta and Pasta with Pancetta and Leeks.

What was on the menu?

 Bruschetta - this is a great recipe and different than what Italians usually do since the bread was fried in butter. I usually grill the bread after brushing it with olive oil. Note, i didn't use grape tomatoes, but vine ripened plum tomatoes. Rich, but oh, so good.

Skirt Steak - on sale so be purchased several packages for my carnivore son and husband. My son doesn't consider it a meal unless there is meat. We grilled the meat in a very hot cast iron pan with a grill like bottom using Montana Steak Seasoning (Our grill happened to be out of gas)

Pasta with Pancetta and Leeks - Oh my goodness. This recipe is so, so good. I followed the recipe to a tee and it turned out great. I added a tossed salad made from greens picked fresh from our garden and we had a wonderful Sunday dinner.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fried Pickles

Okay, I'm a little scattered going from fresh mozzarella cheese to fried pickles a decidedly southern treat, but what the hell.

I've eaten fried pickles in restaurants, but have never tried to make them. Until this week. My daughter wanted to try them, so off I went to the grocery store to pick up pickles.  I followed a recipe I found online at Moore Babies Blog

They tasted great - there was a salty, sour and spicy mix that was great with the dipping sauce.  I also like how they were oven baked instead of fried.

A few things I would do differently - use larger dill pickles, mine were too small. Also, since the recipe calls for Panko bread crumbs, I would grind then a little finer. Some people use corn meal which works nicely, as well.

Overall, those who were adventurous enough to try them, liked them!

Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

The first time I tasted fresh mozzarella was in Ovindoli, Italy. My father-in-law's home town just north of Rome. Never had I tasted something so refreshing and delicious. A thick slice of cheese on a slice of freshly baked Italian bread-heaven.

I've seen a few post on Pinterest that discuss making cheese and I was curious. So this weekend, I'm going to venture into the world of cheese making. While I've made ricotta cheese (simple and wonderful), the idea of kneading and pulling cheese seems very foreign.

But we love fresh mozzarella and use it frequently.  I replace regular mozzarella for chicken parm. I use it on pizza, bread, in pasta salads and there is a great bean salad with fresh mozzarella.

I'll keep you posted (pun intended) with pictures and how the adventure went.

Here are some recipes to try:

Heart, Hands, Home Blog - I'm using this recipe

Friday, August 17, 2012


There is nothing better than veggies fresh from the garden.  Our garden is quite the accidental garden, necessary because of my daughter's AP Biology summer homework. She needed to grow something, anything, and document the process all summer.

Well, we haven't had a garden since the playset went up and I really missed it. I grew herbs, lettuces, tomatoes, and cucumbers.  I loved cutting fresh lettuce to make a salad each night, so good.  The only problem was the cucumbers and tomatoes all ripened at the same time and I would pass them out to neighbors.

Here's an image of my fresh lettuce that we had for a late lunch today. Tender and fresh, what a great salad.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Julia Child!

Julia Child would have been 100 years old today.  What an amazing cook, person, and contributor to the culinary movement.  Even with all of the current chefs whom are popular today, Julia Child has made a lasting impression on cooking as we know it.  Also, she was one of the first culinary stars on television.

I personally love the book Julie and Julia and how we got to know Julia Child and her husband.  Cute, cute movie.

Happy Birthday, Julia! And Bon Appetit!

Friday, August 10, 2012

National S'mores Day

Who knew there was a National S'mores Day! August 10th is the official day.  We love s'mores in our family.  Lately, I've seen various combinations that look fun.

Picture one is from A Wedding Story Blog picture two Classic Chaos and picture three from Homestead Survival

Quick Breads!

My father-in-law dropped off some veggies from his garden and there was a couple of zucchinis.  In my opinion the best recipe for zucchinis is zucchini bread.  So I whipped up the recipe I found here - Southern Cooking at after looking through all of my cookbooks.  Even my Betty Crocker didn't have a recipe, which I was surprised.

Anyway, I reduced the sugar just a bit, about 1/4 cup because 1 3/4 cups of sugar is a lot.  They turned out great and since I had to borrow 3 eggs from a neighbor for my last minute baking expedition and I'd made omelets for breakfast, I'll send one of the mini loaves over to them.

I love the rich cinnamony flavor and the moist texture.  I'm hoping the zucchini makes these loaves healthier. Maybe part of the vegetable group.

Pampered Chef Mini Loaf Pan
I used my Pampered Chef mini loaf stoneware. Stoneware is one of my favorite baking ware. Cleans easily, makes a nice crust and only gets better with age. 

My pizza baking stone is nearly black from use, but that just makes it better and nothing sticks.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Friday Dinner

Photo from Living Light Blog

I love cooking on the weekend. Starting Friday a good dinner and then a relaxed Saturday and a big Sunday morning breakfast or brunch. Usually on Sundays we a big breakfast of eggs & toast, pancakes (love Pioneer Woman's recipe), sour cream waffles, dutch babies, or something I cooked up from one recipe or another.

Then for dinner, which we usually eat around 3pm, and usually a big pasta dish, pot roast, chicken pot pie, the list is long.

This Friday, I'm going to try Rachael Ray's Southwestern Chili Con Queso Pasta Bake.  Looks like an interesting tweak on traditional pasta bakes that I'll pair with salad and fruit. The recipe was posted on Pinterest by a blogger. Here's the link and I'll let you know how it taste! Recipe Link

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Crockpot/Frozen Meals

I've been wanting to do this for a while, cook up a storm for a day and create enough frozen meals to feed my family. I've scoured several crock pot sites and a few of my own recipes and I'm ready to do it. I'll keep you posted to when I embark on this adventure and I'll provide a shopping list as well.

Here's what I plan to cook and freeze:
Vegetable Lasagna - my recipe
Spinach and Artichoke Pasta with Chicken - Happy Little Elephant's blog
Teriyaki Chicken - The Test Kitchen of Melissa Fallis blog
Pork Sirloin Roast with Spicy Peanut Sauce - Kalyn's Kitchen blog
Hamburger Soup - my recipe
Chicken Pot Pie - my recipe
Giada's Pot Roast - Everyday Italian
Chicken Tortilla Soup - Pioneer Woman
And - seasoned beef for tacos, nachos, and tortillas - shredded chicken, and steaks for my carnivore son.

There are freeze staples that are always in my freezer.  Frozen blueberries, Cubes of frozen herbs such as parsley and basil (basil is mixed with olive oil or made into pesto), raviolis, sausage, bread, butter (yes, you can freeze butter), steaks (both thin and thick), and hamburger patties that I make up myself.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Italian Bread

After eating bread in Italy, it is hard to find something comparable in the US.  Where I live there are numerous Italians and some great Italian bakeries, but it is hard to mimic the crusty shell with a soft chewy inside. So, I've tested so many different types and found a great loaf at my local grocery store - Wegmans in which fresh bread is made daily.

Today I grilled some Italian bread brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. So delicious! Then we slathered it with homemade ricotta cheese and chopped fresh basil.

A meal in itself and one that is so fresh for a hot summer day.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Summer Grillin'

I went out to start the grill last night and it was out of gas! That is the worst when you have a plate filled with marinated chicken and some fresh corn to grill. So, I used the George Foreman, but it wasn't the same.

I use a gas grill.  I know a lot of chefs like the traditional charcoal, but using it usually takes more time and it is messy.  When grilling, it is usually a mad dash home from work, throw some ingredients together, and plop them on.

So, today is another day. After some errands (I'm in desperate need of a manicure) and a soccer game, I'm going to stop by and switch out the old canister for a new FULL one to grill tonight's dinner.

What am I cooking? Well, I was watching Barefoot Contessa and saw a wonderful grill veggie and bread recipe that had my mouth watering--Grilled Panzanella.

Here's Ina Garten's Recipe

Grilled Panzenella


  • Good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 large ripe tomato, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 10 large basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 red onion, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3 large pieces
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3 large pieces
  • 1/2 small ficelle, cut into 1-inch thick slices


Prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals. I'm using a gas grill. Brush the grilling rack with olive oil.
In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, mustard, vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside. Place the cucumber, tomato, basil and capers in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss together. Set aside. When the grill is ready, brush 1 side of the onion slices and the peppers with olive oil. Place them, olive oil side down, on the grill and cook for 4 minutes. Brush the other side with olive oil, turn them over and continue cooking an additional 4 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the grill and place on a cutting board. Slice the peppers 1/2-inch thick, separate the onion rings and add them both to the cucumber mixture.
Brush the bread slices on both sides with olive oil and toast them on the grill until golden. Add them to the cucumber mixture. Pour the reserved vinaigrette over the vegetables and toss together. Serve warm.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I tend to go overboard when buying cookbooks. I have several, have been gifted many, and now with the Internet, I can search all over for recipes.  I have my mother's original Betty Crocker Cookbook. It's a classic that I reference it all of the time. My favorite Christmas cookie cookbook was a gift from a friend when I moved from Michigan (and away from our annual Christmas cookie baking spree). I love popular cookbooks as well.  Recent purchases are the latest Pioneer Woman and Theresa from Jersey Housewives (I know, but there are some great recipes!).

Many of the books are covered with food and pages are dog eared, but I love them.  I've recently started using my iPad, but I worry about spilling on it, so I'm very careful. I also subscribe to Martha Stewart Everyday and Bon Appetit Magazine. Truly, any where I can find recipes is great. In fact, my recipe book is bulging with paper, torn out recipes, and pieces of packaging that bears recipes. I have to rubber band it shut and I'm worried many will be lost. Hence, my cooking blog.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I love my immersion blender.  I mean love, love, love. In the past, I have burned through several traditional benders. Some the motor went up in smoke, others I've dropped the glass vessel and all I had left was the base. I've tried Cuisinart-style blender/mixers, I've tried plastic blenders. All to no avail.

Now, I have this handy immersion blender that works so easily, cleans like a dream, and is inexpensive. I use it for my morning smoothies since it fits perfectly in my cup/straw combo.  I use it for my pumpkin soup recipe (it can be used for any recipe that needs blending). It is so much safer than transferring hot liquid into a blender and then worrying over the heat popping the lid off.  I also love it when I make my Dutch Baby. Really, anything that needs to be blended works!

What is your kitchen go-to-tool?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Vanilla Update!

My vanilla has been brewing for a 2 weeks.  The color has become a rich, chestnut hue and I'm so excited.

I opened the bottle and as you expect the aroma was delicious. A rich vanilla scent with the slight tinge of alcohol. I wanted to dab it on my wrists like perfume (yeah, my husband thought that was odd, too).

I'll keep you posted and I'm searching for the perfect recipe to test out the fresh vanilla.  I'm thinking a vanilla pound cake.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I'm going to share a few recipes from my ancestors (Irish/Scottish/and a few more things-American Mutt).  I've been watching a few shows that have highlighted food and cooking in Ireland. Chefs like Bobby Flay's show Bobby's Ireland is a great example of what Ireland has to offer and how young and contemporary Irish chefs are reinventing Ireland's food.  A few of my St. Patrick's Day specials have been Guinness Stew, Apricot Scones, and Irish Soda Bread.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

This is nothing better than freshly made ricotta cheese.  It is quick and easy to make, taste delish and works with a ton of recipes.  YES, I use whole milk.  YES, I use heavy cream.  If you must reduce the fat in this recipe do 1 quart whole milk and 1 quart skim milk.  Once you make it, you will never eat store bought ricotta again.

  • 2 quarts whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Line a large sieve with a layer of coffee filters (or paper towels, or cheese cloth) and place it over a large bowl.

Slowly bring milk, cream, and salt to a rolling boil in a 6-quart heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Add lemon juice, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture curdles, about 2 minutes.  You will be able to see the curdling happen.  Make sure you cook for at least 2 minutes.

Pour the mixture into the lined sieve and let it drain 1 hour.  After discarding the liquid, chill the ricotta, covered; it will keep in the refrigerator 3 to 4 days.

Awesome on pizza or in a pasta dish.  My daughter eats it with a spoon!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Vanilla is a key component of many, many desserts and lushly flavored dishes.  I have always wanted to make my own vanilla and today I did.  When I arrived home and saw the package on my front porch from Beanilla a company that sells vanilla beans and other flavorings.  I also ordered a little bottle to store the vanilla along with lemon extract which I can't wait to use in my Lemon Meringue Pie.

Here's a little history about vanilla. Vanilla is a flavoring derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla, primarily from the Mexican species, Flat-leaved Vanilla (V. Planifolia). The word vanilla derives from the Spanish word "vanilla", little pod.  Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican peoples cultivated vanilla and Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes is credited with introducing both vanilla and chocolate to Europe in the 1520s.

Below is the recipe I used.

-Sterilized Jar or Bottle with a tight, secure lid
-Vanilla Beans in your favorite variety (rule of thumb is 1 bean per 1/3 cup of alcohol) I used Madagascar Variety
-Vodka, but you can also use Bourbon, Rum or Brandy)

1. Use a knife to split the bean in half, leave about ½ inch at each end intact.
2. Put your vanilla beans in your glass bottle or jar and cover with vodka.
3. Close jar or bottle and store in a cool, dry place for at least 6-8 weeks. Give the bottle a shake every week or so. As you use the vanilla, simply add in more liquor to replace what you have used.

I have marked 6 weeks on the calendar because I can't wait to use my vanilla.  I did have 1 1/2 extra of the vanilla beans so I cut them lengthwise, scrapped out the seeds and added the seeds and pods to 1 cup of granulated sugar to make vanilla sugar.

Next time I will summon the Martha in me so that I can have a prettier label.  This is definitely low budget on my end.   I have seen recipes for lemon extract but I haven't tried them yet.  From my research and from other recipes having home made extracts is a great way to enhance flavor and make sure you have fresh ingredients.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Beloved Kitchen Aid Mixer

I love my Kitchen Aid Mixer. I didn't have a lot of experience with baking, but my mom had a white Kitchen Aid and she used it quite a bit.

I received mine as a Christmas gift from my dear hubby. This was after the birth of our second daughter and I was fast on my way to absolutely loving baking.  I'd learned a ton by searching for recipes, using family recipes, and watching Martha.

Today I used my mixer when making a pudding cake. Nothing beats whipping egg whites into submission than the high speed of a Kitchen Aid. Thick, fluffy, egg whites to fold into a rich custard.

Perfect every time!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Go To Tools

When we moved into our house nearly 20 years ago, this measurement chart was taped to a cabinet in my kitchen. At first I was going to remove it, but then I remembered I really didn't know how to cook and it may come in handy.

Well 20 years later, here it is still stuck to my cupboard and I use it all the time.  I have also told my children to use it as well.  As you can see, they have used it to color on and write down phone numbers!

Do you have any tool like my measurement chart or my grandmother's whisk that you just can't part with?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cooking 101

One thing I must say about cooking is that you need to have the right tools.  I've collected many gadgets in during my marriage, some I've used, others need a good dusting.  Some of my favorite utensils are wooden spoons and whisk.  I have spoon made of cherry wood, olive tree, bamboo.  I have whisk that are modern, need to be tossed, and one that my grandmother used and my daughter swears is unsanitary to use.  I just can't throw it away.
Grandma Garner's Whisk

 So, I should tell you now, I'm not a photographer.  I know it's obvious, but I wanted to add a disclaimer as there are sure to be horrible images to come.

So, on to more essentials in the kitchen.  I love my mixer.  It's a Kitchen Aid, cobalt blue, and lovingly taken care of.  I monitor the kid's use of it, nothing goes in the dishwasher--no siree, hand washing is the only way to go.

I also like stoneware for baking.  I make killer Panettone and I use stoneware bread pans.  I also have bundt cake and pizza pan stoneware that oddly is never used for pizza but for cookies.

I use glass dishes for lasagne, although there are a few pieces of cast iron constructed dishes.

Speaking of cast iron. Nothing, and I mean nothing cooks a steak better then cast iron.  Nicely seasoned, my cast iron pan is one of my go to pieces.  It has ridges so that my steaks aren't sitting in a pile of grease.
Notice the Color!  Will match my Kitchen Aid
I recently purchases a dutch oven that is large and has a great, thick bottom so things don't burn.  But this is the one I want next, just waiting for it to go on sale.