Wednesday, December 26, 2012

a day on the ranch {guest post}

this is a guest post
sort of
if you would do me the favor
considering me a guest
of my own blog

i have another blog
my husband and i share it
it is our 
out and abouts
of our very new ranch
on the blog and facebook page
i shared a story 
and a recipe
much like i do here
but a bit more
long winded
and with a touch of sarcasm
when the air is clean
i become
if you have a bit of time
i'd love it
if you would share a bit of it with me
and the ranch
to  little story
that has a 
consolation prize
 braised kale with white beans and pork tenderloin

Friday, December 21, 2012

mayan truffle cake

in celebration
that today
rather than
i am sharing
special treat
to honor the mayans
loved chocolate
just as i 
mayan truffle cake for two
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon (plus more for dusting)
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
4 oz bittersweet (70%) chocolate--melted
cocoa powder for dusting
spray 2-8oz ramekins with pan spray,then line with plastic wrap.  set aside
pour cream in a bowl large enough for whipping.  add in the salt, nutmeg, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and smoked paprika. whip to soft peaks. allow to warm a little (you do not want the whipped cream to be super cold for the next step). 
add about 1/4 of the whipped cream to the chocolate mixture and stir until it has been fully incorporated.  this will lighten the mixture a bit, which will make it easier to fold in the cream in the next step.  gently fold the remaining cream into the chocolate mixture.  if your cream is too cold at this point, your chocolate will clump up and not incorporate well into the mixture, so be careful.
pour into prepared ramekins, smooth down the top and place in refrigerator for about 2 hours or longer, if you have the time.
when ready to serve, invert onto serving place and dust with cocoa powder and cinnamon
serve with rich dark coffee

Monday, December 10, 2012

honey spiced latte

i mostly drink tea
but this time of year
i love a festive coffee drink
that isn't filled
syrups and sugar

because we have honey bees
i have a nice fresh stock of honey on hand
at all times

paired with warming spices
it is a delicious addition
to a hot cup of joe

Honey Spiced Latte
perfect for a cool day, or apris ski
1 Tbs honey
dusting of cardamom
dusting of cinnamon
dusting of ginger
4 oz of hot espresso
6 oz steamed milk and foam
Put the honey in the bottom of the mug or glass.  Dust the spices over the honey. Pour the hot espresso over and stir until the honey melts.  Add milk to your liking.  Top with foam and dust with a bit more cinnamon and ginger.  Drizzle honey on top.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

gingerbread construction {tips and tricks}

what is so wonderful about 
gingerbread houses
is that they are always
even when they are a 
big. fat. mess
some years
i do an elaborate construction
(with assistance from hubster-of course)
like this
and sometimes
like this
and occasionally
like these
but no matter how
elaborate or simple
there are a few things that
are a constant
i am sharing with you
some of my tricks
for stress free gingerbread house construction

Making Plans
-let the gingerbread dough rest in the refrigerator overnight before baking
-do not construct the house on the same day you have baked the gingerbread, give it a day to cool and settle
-if you buy pre-made gingerbread pieces, make sure they are dry before decorating or constructing
-to dry pieces out (especially in humid environment), place them on a cookie sheet and place in a slow (225-250F) oven until they firm up

Construction Management
-if using a purchased kit, do not, i repeat, do not use the frosting that comes with the kit to assemble the house. it will frustrate the dickens out of you.  make a nice big batch of Royal Icing (alton brown's recipe)
-if you are decorating with mainly candies and sprinkles, construct the house at least 12 hours before decorating---24 hours is best
-if you want the candies to stick, use royal icing.  if you want them to taste yummy, use frosting.
-assemble the walls of the house first, allow to dry for about an hour, then attach the roof pieces.
-prop the pieces up while they are drying, even if it looks like they are staying without a problem.
-allow the house to fully dry, before adhering it to a base

Custom Built
-if perfect corners and straight edges are your thing, use a micro-plane to shave the ends of the gingerbread pieces.
-if looking for a darker hue on your gingerbread, or to paint gum pieces to look like hardwood floors, simply mix a bit of coffee granules into vodka to desired color and consistency and paint it on.  the vodka will evaporate quickly.
-when piping intricate details, use a piping bag with a tip.  you will get consistent results and small detailed lines.
-when using the piping bag, do not over-fill, particularly if you have small hands.  put no more than a cup of royal icing in at a time.
-if you make a mistake and it really bothers you, wait until it dries to easily pick it off
-when doing intricate detail work, it is best to decorate the house before constructing. it allows for more freedom of motion

but most of all
have fun!

i would love to hear any tips you may have for stress free gingerbread construction
if you have a question about this topic that i didn't answer
please feel free to ask in the comments


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