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Merry Christmas, Southern Style

December 25, 2013
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Pineapple upsidedown cake!

Remembrance of days longer

December 21, 2013
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On the shortest day of the year, I thought a cheer up was in order

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Chocolate, coconut, pumpkin, and biscuit from Gelupo, followed by a nice walk over the bridge

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Puff the magic mushroom + Grace Slick video break

December 13, 2013

This isn’t that kind of post!  (For that kind of post, try THIS.  At least you don’t work there…)

I recently merged 2 favorite things in my own kitchen for the first time: Puff pastry and mushrooms.  I was initially reticent to share the recipe (not nice!  what is that about?!) and therefore decided that I must share the recipe (personal growth, you know).

11121530963_2b1f64632d_cI melded 3 or 4 different ones, but the main recipe credit goes to STK.  I typically don’t search for vegetarian recipes on steak sites but one has to be open-minded.  I am not including a puff pastry recipe here because I went down to the corner bakery of Lassen & Hennigs and they brought me a homemade sheet out of their kitchen freezer.  That is what I would advise if you have a local bakery, they will probably sell you a sheet for $5 or less.  I read that the best store bought kind is Dufour’s which is all-butter and available at fancy food stores.  I hope you will make yourself this warm, wintry treat and let me know what you changed.  And also how much better the Jefferson airplane video (below) helped you to cook.

 
Mushroom tart
(serves 3-4)
Ingredients:
For the filling:
1 cup hen of the woods mushrooms
1 cup crimini mushrooms (I splurged on black trumpet here)
1 cup shiitake mushrooms
1 cup oyster mushrooms
1 qt. heavy cream (I only used 1 cup, personal preference)
(I added 1/2 cup of 11 month aged Gruyere for good measure, because CHEESE)
¼ cup shallots, minced
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
(I also added a squeeze of lemon into each ramekin and lemon zest on top)
½ cup white wine
1 tbsp. thyme, chopped
1 tbsp. parsley, chopped
1 egg, beaten (for wash)
olive oil or truffle oil
salt and pepper to taste

Method:

11121325995_f709e57e49_cTo make the filling, brown all mushrooms in a pan and add shallots and garlic. Deglaze pan with wine and reduce. Add cream and reduce further, adding 1 tbsp. roux (flour and water) to thicken if necessary. Strain mushroom mixture of additional liquid.

In a 4 inch ramekin, place a layer of Gruyere in the bottom.  Add mushrooms and more Gruyere, herbs and salt on top of mushrooms. Fill the ramekin only 3/4 way up, if the filling touches the puff pastry lid it won’t puff!  Brush the top lip of the ramekin with egg so it gets a good seal with the pastry.  Cut a square of puff pastry dough and press on top of ramekin.  Cut a slit for the steam to escape and decorate with cut shapes of pastry dough.  Wash with egg for a nice glaze.  Add whole pieces of herbs on top for looks.  Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 12 minutes or until golden brown.

While we’re on the subject of mushrooms, put on your headphones and drift away with Grace Slick:

Birthday months

November 30, 2013
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Now that I’m older, I believe more in celebrating your birthday for a month rather than just one day, so here’s a shout out to Shermayne whose birthday month is coming to a close… Thank you for introducing me to the most delicious cake ever!

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(strawberry lemon cake from momofuku milk bar!)

Heaven

November 22, 2013
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I wouldn’t be at all surprised if, as I pass through the pearly gates, I entered the fourth floor of Fortnum & Mason

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Escorted by the sweetest woman into the room decorated in ‘my’ color

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Being seated to the soft sounds of the piano wafting throughout

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And being treated to an endless supply of delicacies

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F&M, I don’t know when, but I will return. Luckily I have my Countess Grey tea to tide me over until then…

Leftovers

November 19, 2013
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They are good repurposed for breakfast as well, especially in bed!

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Teatime treats

November 18, 2013
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Yesterday I enjoyed a lovely afternoon tea in the bay window with my neighbors

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with egg salad sandwiches

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smoked salmon tartines

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special tea and goodies from Fortnum & Mason

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and Eccles cakes

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inspired by my new favorite tea towel!

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Post script – I chose the Eccles cakes randomly from the towel and found a recipe online. They were quite easy to make, and deliciously reminded me of Christmas with their nutmeg laced interior of currants and candied peels. Thank you Naomi for letting me borrow ‘a cup of sugar’!

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