Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Remembering October & November

I realized over the weekend that I hadn't done a reflection on the previous months, so it was about time I did.  This is when I start to bake a lot more and crave everything that's associated with fall.  I love the changes in the weather and all that the season has to offer.  The months of October & November are always full of planning, making lists and trying new recipes for me & my family.  Here are some of the highlights from the past months.  



These are such marvelous cookies to bake all year round.  I think they're especially good around the holidays because they contain just the right amount of spice & sweetness, so I do hope you try them soon.  The picture above, shows you exactly how I roll out my cookie dough.  I always lightly flour my dough counter and place a sheet of plastic wrap over the dough (usually double width).  This allows me to roll out the dough without it sticking to the rolling pin & without using any extra flour (this can toughen your cookies).


You'll notice I don't use too much raspberry jam on the cookies.  I spread just enough to sandwich them and not have a mess.  What I love about this picture, even though I didn't use it for my blog post, is that it shows you the underside of the wafer cookies.  The bottoms are not browned or burnt!  They're just right.



This was a photo from last year.  Since these cookies taste so good with just about any jam, I used blackberry for this batch.  Delicious!



Who can forget these morsels?  I make them several times a year because they are positively tasty and everyone loves them.  I've told you how they're my brother Erik's favorite cookie and it's no wonder why.  This closeup picture shows you just how puffy & delectable they really are. 



Can you see the chock-full of Good Things they contain?  Make a batch of them this weekend.  They're bound to become a family favorite!


This was a photo I didn't use for my post.  I found it a bit sterile and not very well thought out.  If you blog or photograph on a regular basis, you'll understand that it takes many shots from a camera before you find "the one".  The soup, however, is out of this world.  It's a soup I make quite often and to be honest with you, I've even used canned butternut squash puree in a pinch.  If you want to make it from scratch (my favorite way), then by all means make your Roasted Butternut Squash and treat your family to it.



Here's another shot I loved, but didn't use. On this counter I have my favorite Pillivuyt bowls (they're actually meant for cafe au lait) ready to be filled with a serving of soup.  The spoons are American silverplate.




I have to be honest with you, this shot was purely by accident.  My counter was overrun with dishes and other items that I couldn't put away at the time and I was sauteing onions, peppers, bacon, peeling garlic and bringing my beans up to a boil.  When it was time to remove the ingredients from the pan, I panicked!  I quickly reached for one of my old ironstone platters and voila, the photo took shape.  I'm rather pleased with the results.


By the time the stew was done, everything was much calmer.  I sat down to a bowl of the stew, pulled out a generously-sized silver spoon and a dark green cotton napkin, then I sat down to eat & reflect.  This photo was taken at about the time of day I usually call my mother for one of our daily chats.  The stew is so my mom.  I love her!


At the end of October I decided to dedicate a page to the Martha by Mail catalog.  It was a catalog I had always admired and one that I will always cherish, along with the many products that I managed to buy from them.  The picture above, shows a sticker that was placed on a sheet of tissue paper for one of their many shipments.  I hope you find my Martha by Mail posts useful & informative.  There are many more to come in the future! 



I love the sticker so much that I have my own "private labels".  These get placed on the many baked goods I love to give away to friends & family.  Ask any one of them and they will tell you that this particular sticker is a familiar sight throughout the year.  My Good Thing for those I love most.



The pictures for this post speak for themselves.  Here are a few more shots that I didn't include.  The picture above is taken from the front porch of our home.  I'm looking out onto the winding driveway with the barn on the right hand side.  The maple right in front is just changing.



This uprooted tree was the result of the torrential rains we experienced during the summer.  It's an amazing thing to witness firsthand and the sound of trees snapping & falling around the property is indescribable.



Majestic trees with various shades of greens, yellows & reds set against a verdant field. 



This maple tree at the edge of the road had a wonderful two-tone color.  Simply amazing!



I introduced to you Chef Cyndi at the beginning of November.  What I didn't tell you is that she and I, along with her brother & sisters, grew up together in Texas.  Our friendship goes back a few decades, so this posting was close to my heart and I'm glad I was finally able to do it.  The coral wedding cake, pictured above is simply breathtaking; I can never get enough of robin's egg blue!



This adorable Stadium Cake wasn't included in my blog post, but I had to include it in my Remembering.  How adorable is this?  Can't you just picture one of these cakes for the little baseball fan in your life?




Here's another beautiful, whimsical and delicious cake in blues & browns.  So artfully presented.



A closeup of her croquembouche.  Don't you just want to pull a few of these puffs from looking at this confection?


 

This is one of my favorite blog posts in recent months.  I've held on to several of these little booklets because, not only are they very collectible, they're also quite informative.  Go to my blog post and sift through the useful information found there.  You're bound to learn many great things for creating one-of-a-kind cookies.  I hope you enjoy reading it if you haven't already!  The picture, above, shows an oversized bunny & egg cookie (these cutters will be a future post!), along with a poodle & that penguin from the Noah's Ark Cutters ~ Set II.




Thank you Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia for this little jewel.


Why had I not come across a recipe for pomegranate cookies before?  These cookies came about one day when I was going through my pantry & discovered a jar of half-used pomegranate molasses.  I realized that one could easily use it to make cookies and so I went to work.  The dough itself produces a shortbread cookie (no eggs) with a delicate richness.  I also wanted to make use of my little molds (above) from Fante's in Philadelphia that I hadn't used.  Look for them the next time you find yourself at that store.


The end result is a delicate cookie that hints at pomegranate.  Try these little not-too-sweet morsels for the holidays. 


I hope you love foggy mornings as much as I do.  Whenever I wake up to fog around the house it always seems to make everything a lot calmer and a lot more serene.  When I walked out of my house to snap these pictures I was greeted by a flock of crows nearby.  It added to the ambiance.  The photograph above shows the beginning of the meadow. 



This is one of the paths that winds through the 4 acre field.  I can't get enough of these trees!



That old oak stump that I love.  I wonder what it must have looked like when it was still alive.



I'm standing behind the barn here looking at those beautiful dogwood trees that have turned a dark red.  Such a beautiful autumnal shade.


This picture shows the cutters sitting on a blue-green floor in one of our spare bedrooms.  I had to inspect them before my story to make sure they were "fit" for pictures.  The box which has two notches to hold the cutter handles was cleverly made for Martha by Mail.  If you own these types of cutters, keep the boxes and all of the literature.  This will make your set more valuable to a collector.




I love making this pudding every single year.  There's something comforting about the aroma that emanates from my kitchen whenever I steam one or two on my cooktop.  I have yet to find someone who will turn away a slice of my Holiday Persimmon Pudding.  Make one this month for your family & friends, you won't regret it!


There's still time to bake these delicious Pumpkin Custards.  Don't hesitate to make a batch or two of them the next time you want to have an easy, yet elegant dessert at the end of a special meal.  I think the next time I make these custards I may in fact use my white bone china cups (they seem durable enough).  By the way, if you want to experiment with the recipe, you can certainly try using honey instead of maple syrup or heavy cream for the evaporated milk.  Look at me, I'm making myself want one of these right this very minute just describing & looking at my own picture.  I have to go, but stay tuned this December for many more Good Things to come!


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