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Showing posts from September, 2014

Baking Essentials Checklist

Baking season is upon us and if you like to get into the kitchen to bake tried-and-true recipes or approach those you've been meaning to get to all year long, then now is the time to start checking your pantry and making your lists.  It seems to me that it's always baking season at my house, but as soon as the weather gets cooler and Halloween is near, I bake even more than I normally do.  You know how it is, we start to bake this and that for a dear niece or nephew by special request, or we simply have to try that new recipe we came across on a website or magazine. If you haven't guessed it by now, I like things baked with good ingredients, because I feel that they produce far superior results to those created with boxed mixes.  Having said that, good ingredients don't need to be terribly expensive or hard to get.  Most supermarkets these days have everything one needs under one roof, so it's easy to get things in a single trip. Don't forget to ha

Perfect Royal Icing

The Perfect Royal Icing  is finally yours.  For those of you who bake and ice cookies throughout the year or bake and ice festive cakes with highly decorative work, having a good, reliable royal icing is absolutely essential. Everyone wants their royal icing to pipe well, flow beautifully and finish off with a smooth surface.  Moreover, the perfect royal icing has to taste as good as it looks and it has to be easy to remember so that one can whip a batch at a moment's notice. Over the years I have tried many recipes from various sources, but not until now have I actually approached coming up with one of my own.  What I did was what any responsible recipe developer normally does.  They study sources and then experiment in the kitchen until the recipe is to his or her specifications and perfect.  In my pursuit of  the  perfect  royal icing I turned to those trusted sources from my personal cookbook library, remembering which recipes I had tried and loved. Bo Friberg’s

Wedgwood Drabware

Wedgwood has been synonymous with fine dining and upscale living since the 18th century.  Many people fervently collect Wedgwood for its beauty and its classicism. The English pottery’s pattern, drabware, is rather elusive because it was produced for very specific periods by Wedgwood, and it is this particular design which many, including myself, ardently collect to this day.   What is it about drabware that captures a collector's or admirer's attention?  Perhaps it’s the indeterminate oatmeal hue of the pattern and its variations for the early 19th century renditions which bespeak good taste, or perhaps it’s the classic lines of the 20th century designs that many of us now want in our homes to set beautiful tables with.  It could also be that the rich color of all drabware stems from the fact that each piece is created using dark clay, rather than white clay which then gets glazed.  This clear glaze over dark clay produces drabware's naturally rich, saturated col

Anticipating Fall

Change is a part of life and, to my mind, it's a part of a good life.  Although I don't always welcome change, I find it is sometimes necessary when one wants to turn a new leaf.  Mother nature does it to us four times a year with the seasons.  I've always loved the transition from summer to fall, because the colors are absolutely stunning during that time of year here in Pennsylvania. If you live in the Northeast then you understand perfectly. My new routine of walking every single day is one of those changes in my life that I have welcomed wholeheartedly.  During these excursions of mine, I have become more observant of what's going on all around me.  Several of my neighbors, including ourselves, are starting to see a few trees, the dogwoods for instance, with yellow leaves, pale chartreuse leaves and even brown leaves.  The large 40 foot linden tree next to the kitchen is among the first of the trees near the house which changes.  I'm sure a lot of you a