Friday, January 31, 2014

FFwD - Paris-Brest

When I think of French pastry I think pâté a choux, fruit tarts, small cakes, croissants. Pâté a choux covers cream puffs, profiteroles, eclairs, gougeres. All delicious and special treats for someone living in Oklahoma.
I made my first pâté a choux several years ago, 10 maybe. My friend, Marsha, and I were planning a trip to London and Paris.  Gary's dad died and we invited his sister and mother to come with us. We went to a small patisserie for coffee and pastry every morning while we were in Paris. My sister in law would have a fruit tart. My mother in law would have a scone. Marsha and I had croissants. Every day. Funny I came home determined to learn how to make pastries.  I don't know why I didn't decide to make croissants.

Paris Brest is a pastry made to commemorate a bicycle race that goes from Paris to Brest. The circular shape is reminiscent of a bicycle wheel. Its  pretty easy to make. The hardest part is piping out the pastry ring. If you google it you will see some people pipe inside a cake ring. One Dorista, Christy, used mini tart pans. A ring of some sort helps the pastry to rise up instead of spreading out.  Next time I will use a ring of some type.

The pastry cream is easy to mix up. And all components can be made in advance and put together at the last moment.  I made it while Gary's mother was here and the three of us almost finished off the entire Paris Brest! Two small pieces were still good the next day but the Creme had caused the pastry to loose some of its crispness. Still delicious though.

Winter is dragging on for all of us it seems! Snow is predicted for Oklahoma on Tuesday! Ugh....
Go to French Friday with Dorie website to see what everyone else thought about it.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

#CocktailDay - Apple Pie Moonshine

Apple Pie Moonshine 

Welcome to Cocktail Day, a multi-blogger event co-hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic, Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake, and Donna of Cookistry.

Change is hard folks! Leaning new things is hard! Sometimes a cocktail in the middle of life's chaos can make it seem better, even if it is temporary. Today is Cocktail Day so take advantage of the wonderful recipes you can find at the link at the bottom of the page!

I have several favorite cocktail's but a friend has been telling me about the Apple Pie Moonshine she had Christmas and how delicious it was, smooth, slightly sweet with a little kick at the end. If you love Raylan Givens…..and if you don't I don't understand you, and if you love Justified, you remember Mags' Apple Pie Moonshine. She made a truly deadly cocktail!

Mine is not deadly in the Mags sense but drink much of it and you WILL awaken with a headache the next day!
These jars were my mother's canning jars. The big one in the center was my Dad's Moonshine jar!
My parents lived in a small town in north central Arkansas for over 40 years. You might have an idea of this area as very rural, it is, and moonshine is no stranger to those parts. My dad 'obtained' a 3 pint Ball jar of 'Shine many years ago. He loved bringing it out whenever someone came over and offering them a taste. That jar lasted at least 20 years. When he died my siblings and I pulled out the Ball jar and had a sip for him…..I mean a tiny sip! Talk about deadly, I believe that stuff would melt plastic! Several years ago my mother died and when I was cleaning out her house I saved dad's moonshine jar. I used it for my Apple Pie Moonshine. I wish I could share it with him….

This recipe makes lots so be nice and share it with friends.

Apple Pie Moonshine Recipe

1gallon Apple Cider, raw, organic and unfiltered preferred
1 gallon Apple Juice, organic
1 - 2 cups of Turbinado or Raw Sugar*
6-8 Cinnamon Sticks
750 ml Everclear, 190 proof

Heat cider, juice, sugar and cinnamon sticks in a large pot until boiling, stirring occasionally to be certain sugar is dissolved. Taste for sweetness. At this point you want it to be somewhat sweet as the alcohol will cut the sweetness considerably! Remove the pot from the stove and allow to cool.  Add the Everclear when the juice mixture is cool.  Remember that Everclear is 190 proof and highly flammable! Use caution!

Fill sterilized jars with the 'Shine. Place a cinnamon stick in each jar. I also placed a vanilla bean in a few. Its good! Store in a cool, dark place. While you can drink it immediately the taste mellows with time. Once opened I put mine in the fridge.

*You can use any type of sugar and whatever amount works for you.  I like raw sugar for the flavor and less intensely sweet.

Go here to find all the fabulous Cocktail Day recipes.

  • Pomegranate Party Punch by Cravings of a Lunatic
  • White Cosmopolitans by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
  • Hot Buttered Chocolate Rum by Cookistry
  • Bacon Jalapeno Bloody Mary by Rants From My Crazy Kitchen
  • Blood Orange Old Fashioned by Kelly Bakes
  • Caipirinhas by Food Lust People Love
  • Chocolate and Peanut Butter Martini by Hungry Couple
  • Chocolate Cupcake Cocktail by JavaCupcake
  • Ciderhouse Whiskey by From the Bookshelf
  • Citrus Cranberry Punch by Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts
  • Coconut-Key Lime Pie Martini by Home Cooking Memories
  • Egyptian Martini by Cooking In Stilettos
  • Espresso Martini by Liv Life
  • Frosty Lemon Drop Martini by The Hopeless Housewife
  • Frozen Marshmallow Mudslide by 365 Days of Baking & More
  • Ginger Raspberry Fizzy by Try Anything Once
  • Iced Cake Martini by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
  • Le Jardinier by Confessions of a Culinary Diva
  • Mandarin Mulled Wine by Food Babbles
  • Meyer Lemon Rosemary Gin Fizz by Crumb
  • Muddled Rosemary and Pineapple Cocktail by My Catholic Kitchen
  • Nutella Martini by The Pink Flour
  • Peach Sparkler by Noshing With The Nolands
  • Pineapple Margarita by Miss in the Kitchen
  • Pomegranate Orange Spritzer by Dizzy Busy and Hungry
  • Safe Sex on the Beach by Mom’s Test Kitchen
  • Side Car with Dried Cherries by Karen’s Kitchen Stories
  • Winter Fruit White Wine Sangria by The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
  • Apple Pie Moonshine by Lola’s Kitchen
  • Saturday, January 18, 2014

    FFwD - Christine's Simple Party Soups

    Christine's Simple Party Soups

    This French Friday is one of the simplest we've done. Basically you boil peppers, asparagus and broccoli, individually,  in chicken broth with zucchini. Then you blend it up, in the food processor for me. What could be easier, right? Well it is easy but it still wasn't worth the effort. I added hot peppers and spices and it still wasn't very good. My family wouldn't move beyond a taste and I felt the same. It all ended up in the trash. That's a French Friday first! The red pepper soup showed the most promise but even though I halved the water it wasn't very good.
    Enriched White Bread

    At least we had good bread!  One of my 2014 goals is to bake more bread and I'm off to a good start. How can you go wrong with Peter Reinhart though? I've baked many of his breads from bread The Bread Baker's Apprentice and plan to bake them all. I started with a simple enriched white bread since it has been a while since I baked artisan bread. I'm eager to continue my quest!

    The French Friday website is where you'll find everyone's links.

    Friday, January 10, 2014

    FFwD - Baked Apples Filled with Fruit and Nuts

    Baked Apples Filled with Fruit and Nuts

    This recipe is as easy and good as it sounds. Dorie recommends using Rome Beauty or Cortland apples. I found Cortland in my local grocery which was exciting since so often its the usual Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Gala, Fuji and Honey Crisp in the winter, which I love. But there are thousands of varieties of apples yet so few readily available. When Gary and I went to NYC we were delighted at the Farmer's Market in Union Square. There were so many varieties of apples we'd never heard of and the farmers would give you a slice for tasting. We wanted to buy them all but had to content ourselves with what we could eat in a couple of days.

    Also, it was April but the apples were so fresh and crunchy. I asked how that happened and one of the sellers explained to me how the apples are kept in cold storage and low oxygen levels. This article in Modern Farmer gives a good description of apple storage.

    Back to Dorie. Her baked apples are very easy. Peel the apples half way down and score around the peel line to prevent bursting. Removing the core is a bit tricky since you don'tt want to cut through the bottom but a melon baller helps hollow out the apple. I used prunes, raisins and walnuts to fill the centers. my apples baked a little over an hour and I served them with vanilla ice cream. Delicious!

    The French Friday with Dorie website is where you will find everyone's results as we cook our way through Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table.

    And here is our new grandbaby! A tiny bundle of joy. Her brother is as infatuated as the rest of us. Life is good Doristas!

    Friday, January 3, 2014

    FFwD - Dressy Pasta "Risotto"

    Dressy Pasta Risotto
    Not a very good photo:)
    Dorie says this isn't really a risotto. I guess its called that because the macaroni is cooked in enough broth to mostly absorb into the macaroni instead of the traditional boiling water that is then drained. Fancy mac and cheese is a more accurate description but I like the method and don't object to calling it risotto.

    We really enjoyed this. I served it with a salad and bread and it was a delicious dinner. Everyone liked it and the left overs were good the next day too!
    Gary having leftovers!
    I hope your 2014 is off to a good start! Mine is. Our granddaughter made her appearance in the world today! She is beautiful and mama and baby are fine! To double my pleasure I'm staying with Mr. B while his parents are in the hospital. We went shopping for a present and B chose a bib with flowers.  He seems as in love as the rest of us.....except he'd really like his mama and dada to come home!
    AJ trying on my Santa hat as we drive Christmas Eve
    Visit all the French Fridays with Dorie blogs to see what everyone else thought. I bet they loved it too!