Thursday, January 28, 2010

My daughter, the Cookie Monster

My last post introduced you to my youngest daughter, her love of cooking and fun kitchen gadgets. I thought it would be fun to bring her older sister into this post and allow you to meet my daughter, Lorilie. She is not so much interested in the cooking aspect of food but VERY into the consumption of it! She is heading into her "teens" this year and quite the eater! She has always been a picky eater but when it comes to cookies... well, I'd put my money on her any day! She can eat the little round, buttery, chocolaty, chewy, candy coated, no-bake, nutty, rolled balls and discs of frosted baked sugar like nobodys business :) I bake a lot and I know that if she comes home from school and there is an empty countertop (a cookieless and bare countertop)... I am going to hear about it! I know my place... to be prepared!!! After all, what sweeter, homier childhood memory is there than knowing your mommy baked cookies for you, while you were at school and had them waiting for you when you came home? Big tall glass of milk and a warm cookie? Ahhh... childhood :)

Recently, she has been sharing her cookies (and other homemade treats) with her friends at school and I am now becoming quite popular (a-hem!). I am providing her little crowd with cookies daily. They all wait and hope I have packed them t
reats and I can admit... I LOVE it! She is such a generous girl, how can I turn that down? Again... I am a lucky lady! She made me the mom I am and I am forever grateful for/to her. Now I will share with you one of our favorites:

Chocolate Chunk Butter Cookies:

1 Cup butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 trspoon baking powder
2 1/2 Cup flour
1 Cup dark cocoa nibs
1/2 Cup semi-sweet chocolate

In a stand mixer combine: butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients and add to mixer. Mix well. Add cocoa nibs. Chop semi-sweet chocolate into small chunks and add. Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 8-10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Like Mother, Like Daughter

My youngest daughter is starting young. She is a mini-foodie and really loves mimicking me in the kitchen. Like me, she has been building her stash of kitchen gadgets and appliances for years (she reached the ripe age of 5 last week). This past Christmas, she and I both got a lot of fun kitchen trinkets; display items, pedestals, dishes, pans, appliances, etc. We both decided that a mother-daughter blog post was in order and are ready now to showcase some of her adorable culinary collection to all of you! I hope you enjoy this as much as we have!

My budding little chef has her own kitchen space in a loft upstairs in our home. She whips up everything from candies to sushi and mac-n-cheese to croissants. She is learning to measure, weigh, accurately time and bake. From time to time she brings her appliances down to my kitchen space and cooks alongside me.

After we had put away all of her new Christmas gifts, I said "Wow. It looks like you have everything you need." to which she replied "Nope. Mom... I don't have a food processor!" That made me laugh! This child pays attention. Make no mistake... she is always watching. If any of you have seen a toy food processor out there, please let me know!

Her birthday falls 2 weeks after Christmas and my darlin
g parents decided she needed a pantry to finish this kitchen we have begun. My dad is an amazing craftsman and made her a pantry as a surprise birthday gift! The kitchen was a gift, from Santa, 3 years ago and as you can see... my father matched the pantry perfectly! She absolutely loves it and is thrilled to have a pantry like mommy now. I mean really... who stores cereal and pasta in the fridge? She needed this pantry! I am touched my dad went to all of that work and delighted to know we can pass this gift down to her children one day.

I wish I could snap photos of everything. The cute little things she has that are miniatures of my gadgets make me happy. They are so cute! We will see where this fun little collection takes us... maybe she will have a career in the food industry, maybe not but this is fun and I am loving every minute!!!

I am a fairly scheduled person and I grocery shop every Friday, at the same Harmon's, at about the same time each week. My little one decided she needed to do that as well so if you look closely, you can see her shopping cart (which we take with us, along with her list, every Friday). What makes this so fun is that she has her own set of reusable bags that have little "Bob and Randy" stickers on them and are the same colors as mine! I love it! This little shot has little to do with the kitchen but I wanted to show you her ironing board by mine (note our matching pink irons... she got me mine for Mother's Day) and her washer and dryer. Her washer and dryer were her Christmas present this year and all she asked Santa for. They are a stacked set but mine are also Kenmore and front loading... just like hers. Hers have to be out in her little loft apartment here but she'd prefer they were in my laundry room, with mine. I am so honored to be her mommy!

As we were snapping photos and discussing what she'd like to see in the post, she mentioned wanting to do her own, along with me. She stood by my side and took photos with me, she has typed up her own post and is very excited for you all to read this! Expect to see some of her work, alongside mine over the next few posts. It's only right that it be me who starts her out properly and let's her know her work is valued... let her know too, wont you? Thanks for taking the time to blog with my sweet daughter and I!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Creamy Lemon Chicken

Make this for dinner tonight, you will be so pleased.

Creamy Lemon Chicken
Serves 4

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 lemons, juiced
1 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups rice (your choice)

Heat oven to 350. Clean chicken, arrange in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and the juice of 1/2 lemon then season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes. While the chicken is baking, heat a medium skillet and melt butter until it starts to brown then add the garlic and saute for a moment. Add the juice of 1/2 lemon and simmer 1 minute. Add half of the cream and season with salt and pepper. Simmer another few minutes and add the remaining lemon juice. Combine well and add remaining cream. Season once more, with more salt and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook your choice of rice. Remove chicken from oven and allow to rest 5 minutes while you prepare plates.

Divide rice among four warmed plates, place chicken on top of rice and generously pour sauce over each serving.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Rose Tinted Macarons Filled With Black Currant Buttercream

For the January edition of "Mactweets" I tried a new recipe from the adorable little cookbook 'I Love Macarons' (Hisako Ogita) and I am thrilled with the results!!! I am not 100% thrilled but I am thrilled nonetheless! I now know that I need MUCH finer almonds (I still lean on the chunky side) and I also know that I pipe in a very strange way, resulting in cute little macarons with tips as if I were icing a cake... just not quite right... I'll get there... I will! I filled the shells with a basic buttercream and added a delicious acai black currant syrup from Sonoma Syrup which gave these little dolls a fruity kick. Overall I am very happy with the results and without further delay, I give you:

Rose Tinted Macarons With Black Currant Buttercream

for the shells (adapted from 'I Love Macarons'):

2/3C ground almonds
1 1/2C powdered sugar
3 large egg whites (aged 2 days)
5T granulated sugar
1t vanilla
1t rose colored gel

Combine the ground almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor until very fine and sift twice. Trace 1" circles on a sheet of parchment paper (or whatever size you chose but the template will give you more even results) and place on a baking sheet. In a stainless mixing bowl beat the egg whites until they are foamy and add granulated sugar. Continue to beat and add vanilla. Once the egg whites are firm and glossy, they are done. Slowly stir in the rose gel and add half of the almond mixture. Stir by scooping up from the bottom of the bowl and around then add the remaining almond mixture and repeat. Stir in a circular motion and then press the mixture against the side of the bowl, scoop from the bottom and turn upside down, repeat 15 times. Pour the batter into a pastry bag fitted with the #4 tip and pipe onto your prepared sheet. Tap baking sheet on your counter 2-3 times to release air and allow macarons to rest for 15 minutes (or until the shells do not stick to your finger when you tap them). Bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool on baking sheet and move to a wire rack.

for the filling:

8T unsalted butter, softened
4C powdered sugar
1t vanilla
4T Acai Black Currant Syrup

Whip butter for 5 minutes then add half of the powdered sugar. Add vanilla and remaining sugar and beat an additional 3-5 minutes then add the syrup and combine well. Spread or pipe filling onto macaron shells and sandwich together.

makes 12-15 macarons