TWD…Irish Soda Bread

Simple….satisfying….Gone in a day….Much appreciated to my co-workers who enjoyed it with me!

And much appreciation to my sister-in-law who gifted me with this neat dish several years ago!

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Rugelach…tasty little bundles packed with the flavors of toasted nuts, a delicate cream cheese dough, dried fruits and sugar and cinnamon. Yum! These were a lot of work but they were delicious. And they kept well for several days – almost seemed to get even better. This would be a great holiday gift – yummy Rugelach nestled in to a cheery holiday box with a beautiful ribbon. This will top our 2012 list of holiday food gifts!



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Butternut Squash Soup

Nothing beats a big pot of savory soup bubbling away on the back of the stove on a cold, windy, snowy late February day. We are not winter squash lovers, but I came up with this recipe after looking over someone else’s  soup bowl and asking a bunch of questions. We are still not winter squash lovers, but we do love this soup.

Butternut squash soup recipe
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup onions, diced
1 T olive oil
5 cups total of a mix of vegetable broth and water
1 tsp curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
In a large soup pot, heat olive oil and saute onions until they begin to brown a bit. Add the rest of the vegetables – the squash, sweet potato, carrots – and barely cover with the vegetable broth/water. Bring to boil, then partially cover and simmer about 30 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender. Utilizing an immersion blender, puree vegetables cooking in the liquid until smooth. Add more water if too thick – you are trying to achieve a hearty soup consistency. Add the curry powder and salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
Optional: drizzle a tiny amount of Stony Brook Butternut Squash Oil over the top of the soup just before serving for a deep nutty flavor
Recipe inspired by talking with a school colleague, Jen, while we were standing over a microwave, warming our soup lunches in the kitchen at school. She said she just pulled a bunch of stuff out of her freezer and came up with something like this. She also said she added frozen peas to her version of butternut squash soup. Though we love peas, I just couldn’t see the peas in here, nor could I ruin the beautiful orange colors.

We served the soup with one of our favorite salads, slightly adapted from the suggestion of the owner of a really great store, Fountain of Youth Organics

Simple salad with blueberry vinaigrette
Field greens, washed and dried
Cucumbers, thinly sliced
Thinly sliced red onions
Walnuts, toasted and chopped (but not too tiny!)
Cracked Pepper
Olive oil
Blueberry Vinegar from Hill n’ Hollow Farmstead
Layer the salad – first the greens, then the cucumber, then the red onions. Then crumble over the feta and the walnuts. Finally, add cracked black pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and then a drizzle of the blueberry vinegar (we wind up using about a 3:1 proportion – for example, we only use about 1 Tablespoon of oil, so then we use about 3 Tablespoons of the vinegar  – it all depends on how big we make the salad).
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TWD…Chocolate Truffle Tart

Sinful! Outrageous! Awesome! There are not enough superlatives to describe this tart! Bittersweet chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate and chocolate crust – all perfectly combined to play together nicely in the tart. The recipe says the texture will change as it is stored and that is so true and it was a fun, highly participated debate as to the preferred texture. Didn’t have little tart pans as the original recipe called for, but the recipe as it is fit perfectly into a 9-inch tart pan (maybe a little chocolate crust leftover but that proved to be no problem at all!)

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Vanilla cupcake recipe of Glorious Treats. She also has awesome instructions for butter cream frosting and how to frost cupcakes – very helpful. Thank you! Though every time I work with frosting, I remember why I don’t do it very often. I make a total mess and there was pink frosting everywhere by the time I was done! But everything was so good.

We used our new Kitchenaid mixer. It worked just fine, though I was sentimental about setting our old one aside.

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TWD…White Loaves

I started 2012 challenging myself to make homemade breads often, and Peter Reinhart’s book, Artisan Breads Every Day, has allowed us to enjoy some fantastic breads. But I haven’t made any white bread, as we prefer instead french, sourdough and rye breads. So I was eager to try this recipe. I made a half batch (one loaf) because I have now sourdough both in the refrigerator just waiting to be baked, and several already baked in the freezer. The dough from the Baking with Julia White Loaves recipe was simple to work with, felt beautiful underhand, and baked as expected. It was tasty, but we’re all on a sourdough kick right now, so we will stick with that for a while!

An Ode to our 14 year old Kitchen Aid, which is on its last legs. It has been good to us and we shall miss her so!



How to proof bread in a chilly kitchen in a Northeast winter? A little creativity – draft free, a perfect 80 degrees – our dough keeps happy!




The final product


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TWD…Tuesdays With Dorie…Baking with Julia

Tuesdays with Dorie is an on-line baking community. Starting this month, members of the community are tackling two recipes a month from the book, Baking with Julia, written by the renowned cookbook author, Dorie Greenspan, who chronicled Julia Child’s work with premiere bakers in her Masters Chefs TV series.

I have a sweet relationship with the book. Published in 1996, I splurged and owned my first copy then. But its recipes can be complicated and indulgent, so in a fit of spring cleaning, decluttering, and clamor for more space (and raising little children!), I sold it for a song ($2 – no kidding) in a garage sale a few years after purchasing it.

I have lamented that garage sale transaction for some time, but focused instead on my enjoyment of cooking meals for my food-appreciating family.

Surprise! Christmas 2011, my husband gifted me with a second new copy of this beautiful book. It ranks high on my list of all time favorite Christmas presents. Not only was it so thoughtful, but now I have a bit more time to devote to it. But still… can be an intimidating book to tackle.

Enter Tuesdays with Dorie, in which members are encouraged to bake two pre-selected recipes from Baking with Julia each month (and post on Tuesdays!), with the goal, over the months and years, of baking each recipe in the book. Perfect motivation to really engage with the book. To participate, members have to blog their experience.

I think making and starting my own blog is the first big stumbling block……..

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