Sunday, March 31, 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

Easter Butter Lamb

A Butter Lamb for Easter

Today I made a butter lamb for
the Easter Dinner Table.
I've only ever made this twice before
and that was for our 
daughter's wedding table.
My mother made it a family tradition
to have a butter lamb made
for each of our weddings!

As I researched on line and questioned
my cousin who's mother-in-law
made them way back then, I found
that these lambs were created
for Easter too and not just for weddings.

The on-line Youtube video is the design I used:
  • Start by cutting 1/3 off of a cold stick of butter (1/2 Cup stick) 
  • Scrape some butter from another stick and use it to "glue" the 1/3 piece on top of the 2/3 piece - making an "L" shape
  • Now carefully carve off the square corners of the "L" on all sides
  • Scrape some more butter to create the nose and attached it to the upper part of the "L" as shown in the above collage. Mold it with your fingers to create a head and smoothing with your fingers
  • To make the ears - scrape some butter onto the tip of a knife, smooth, slide off the knife and attach on back side of head on either side
  • Take a room temperature stick of butter and put it into a potato ricer, squeeze till about 1/4 inch of butter comes out.  Use a turkey baster or skewer to scrape bits of the squeezed butter and place onto the lamb shape.  Keep squeezing and building the "wool" onto all sides, back of head, neck and a nice crown on top of the head till your lamb has a nice rounded and wooly shape
  • Choose two matching cloves for the eyes. Make two small holes with the skewer and carefully place in the eyes
  • For the nose and mouth, dip the skewer into cinnamon, poke two little holes for the nose and make a little mouth.
  • That's it!  Place your lamb onto a bed of parsley or kale and serve.

They all turn out just a little different. 
Use cold butter for shaping the body and scraping
Use room temperature but firm butter for the "wool"
Freeze till ready to use

I hope you get a chance to try this sometime
It's such fun and only takes a few minutes.

May each and everyone of you be blessed
during this most Holy week of Easter!

Till next time ...... have a great week!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Happy St. Patty's Day!

The Stew is made and 
ready to be reheated in the crock pot
for Sunday Dinner....

Key lime pie #2 is cooling 
on the back deck - because 
it's cold out there!!!

I'm trying to think "GREEN" even though
it's white and getting whiter outside - sigh!

A batch of No-Knead bread
is rising on the cupboard
in hopes of a crusty
loaf to go with the stew!

All 'tis well .........

Key Lime Pie

Graham cracker crust:
25 crackers – crushed - 1 1/2 Cups
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
½ Cup butter – melted
Mix crumbs, sugar and butter and press into a 9” pie plate.  Bake at 350F for 12 minutes until golden.
4 lrg. Egg yolks – reserve whites for meringue if desired
14 oz. can sweetened condensed Milk (1 ½ Cups)
12 Key limes, juiced - ½ Cup juice
2 tsp. lime zest
1 Cup Whipping Cream – whipped and sweetened for topping or use egg whites for meringue topping.
Beat egg yolks until they lighten in colour and thicken. Add the condensed milk and ½ of the lime juice, and whisk until combined. Add remaining juice and lime zest. Mix to combine thoroughly. Pour into pie shell and bake for 15 minutes at 350F.  Top with meringue and bake for 5-7 minutes till meringue is lightly browned or chill and top with whipped cream.

Have a happy Irish day ..............

Thursday, March 14, 2013

3.14 Pi(e) Day!

It's Einstein's Birthday today and 
it's Pi(e) Day too!

How could there be a better excuse
for having a Pie Coffee Break?
(not that we ever need a legitimate
excuse at work for celebrating
at break time!).

Our librarian, archivist came up
with the idea and we jumped
at the chance!
Besides, I heard on CBC that on
Pi(e) Day you can eat pie without guilt...
it must be true.

We had five delicious "pot-luck" pies
to choose from:

Key Lime
Smores Pie
and Apple

There was lots for everyone
to enjoy and that we did!

Thanks to Laureen for organizing
this terrific break!

Till next time .... have a guilt free happy pie day.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Graham Wafer Pie

Monday's seem to be my 
baking days,
unlike my mom's Saturday Baking Days.
I guess it's because I have the whole day
off work, no one but me and Poppy are at home
 and there's time to
putter in the kitchen.

Today I made a Graham Wafer Pie
to take out to a dinner invitation tonight.
I haven't made this for a very long time
but it's always a treat (and it's my
eldest brother's absolute favourite).

My biggest fear making this pie 
is that it will not set up nice and firm.
I don't think I've quite mastered that part as yet.
Maybe next time I'll add an extra Tbsp. of 
Cornstarch and butter to the filling??

Graham Wafer Pie (a.k.a. Flapper Pie)

This makes a large pie.  If you double the recipe you will easily get 3 reg. 9” pies!
1 ½  Cups Graham cracker crumbs – or 20 crushed graham wafers
¼ Cup Brown Sugar – packed
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ Cup butter – softened
Reserve 2 Tbsp. crumbs for garnish
Combine and press into a greased deep dish pie plate – Chill till ready to use
1 Cup White sugar                                               
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp. cornstarch                                              
Pinch of salt                                                             
4 Cups milk                                                                                 
4 egg yolks –  slightly beaten (reserve egg whites for the meringue)                                            
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. butter                                                                                                                                 
Mix sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt in a heavy saucepan.  Gradually add milk – cook stirring well – boil for 2 minutes.  Add some hot cusard to egg yolks and then whisk into pot, cooking until mixture is smooth over medium heat – stirring constantly until thickened (approx. 1 min.).  Sieve if necessary. Stir in the vanilla and butter.  Cool for 10 min.  Pour cooled filling into crust and chill before serving. 
Option – top with meringue or whipped cream if desired.

Meringue :
Beat 4 egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add ½ Cup sugar, beating until stiff and glossy. Stir in almond extract if desired. Spread meringue over filling, and against the edge of crust to seal. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs.
Bake at 425F just until meringue is golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

Till next time..... hope you are having a splendid Monday.  Spring seems to be Springing here today - except for the mud, what could be better?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

English Chicken Curry

Another cold and snowy weekend called for making some comfort food.  We were craving this fragrant and delicious curry dish I had made a few weeks ago.  A super easy and very mild dish!

It's a Quick English Chicken Curry that would be worthy to be served at Downton Abbey!?  The original recipe calls for the addition of bananas but we prefer adding pineapple instead.

Quick English Chicken Curry

Serves 4 - really?  The farmer and I seemed to have no trouble eating this up at one sitting.  Maybe were just very hungry!  Too bad really because curry leftovers always taste even better!

1 lb. boneless chicken, cut into 1 inch pieces - dredged in 1 1/2 Tbsp. flour
2 Cups chicken stock
Vegetable Oil
1 onion - chopped
2 Tbsp. Mild Curry Powder (I used medium curry powder)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Granny Smith Apple - cored and chopped
1/4 Cup raisins (I used dried currants)
2 ripe bananas, sliced or 1 Cup of fresh pineapple - coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 Cup chopped fresh parsley

Sweat the onions on low heat in a small amount of oil.  Add the curry powder and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, bay leaf and chicken stock.  Stir and bring to a boil for 3 minutes.  Add the apple, raisins/currants and salt - reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes.
While the sauce simmers, toss the chicken in flour. In a large frying pan - heat some vegetable oil and brown the chicken.  Add the sauce to the chicken and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the bananas/pineapple and parsley.  Heat for a few more minutes.
Serve over rice - basmati or brown rice works nicely with this dish.

What are your favourite curry recipes?

Till next time ................ have a great start to a new week.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Ultimate Oreo Cupcakes

Is there anyone who
doesn't love Oreo cookies???
"Milk's Favourite Cookie"

What about making them into cupcakes.....

This is a fun and delicious recipe
I found some time ago and actually
entered the recipe into a contest to
win a KitchenAid mixer.

Well, I didn't get the prize but gained a yummy
recipe instead and went out and bought my
Red mixer on my own - on sale!!

I think you'll like this cupcake too.....

Twist and open 24 Oreo cookies - setting aside the half without cream for garnishing
2 1/4 Cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
½ Cup Butter (unsalted is preferred)
1 2/3 Cups sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Cup milk
Remaining 6-10 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two standard muffin pans with 24 paper liners.  Place Oreo halves in the bottom of each liner, cream side up.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Blend in egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend in vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Add the milk and beat just until combined, then beat in remaining dry ingredients.

Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with rubber
spatula. Divide batter evenly amont the prepared
cups.  Bake 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes our clean. Allow to cool in pans 5-10 minutes - transer to cooling wire wrack to cool completely.

Frost with desired icing, sprinkle with cookie crumbs and garnish with reserved cookie halves.

Now pour yourself a cold glass of milk and enjoy!!!

Have a great weekend everyone!!!

Monday's Mood

  Today my mood matches the weather! Might it be because it is Monday, dreary, rainy and cold? Is it because the "naked lady'' ...