Monday, February 28, 2011

My Attempt as a Pastry Chef . . .

I took a leap today and tried my first ever hand at croissants creating. Tricky business I must say. My oven heats way too hot at the bottom compared to the upper half, so that always sabotages my baking. But not only did I try croissants, I made a batch of gluten free ones as well. I'll let you guess which are which in the pictures below. 
Alas neither batch was of the dream sort I had hoped, especially that frickin' gluten free concoction of disappointment. Not the worst tasting stuff, but hell far away from a true croissant.
The regular croissants came out close to actual croissant texture and the bear-claw like bar below really looked great. So . . . maybe next time? I don't know, anybody have any great croissant making success stories to tell? 
Well, it's always good to try : )
                ~Marica

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Closest Thing to Snow . . .

When you don't have snow you count the closest thing to . . .
It hailed marble size pellets that managed to collect into an ice "snow"!!!
The kids were ecstatic!!! They danced around and built a snow man  . . .
They collected more for the freezer and marveled at our winter experience.
                       ~Marica

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday Sewing . . .

Sometimes I feel so ready to sew, my hands are in tune with my mind
and so the project alines in some degree to my original plan. Other times I urge myself to sew, the energy isn't flowing
 and I end up with broken needles and knotted thread. This bag started out well several months ago, but then on trying to finish it, my skills and
 level of smooth plummeted and my sewing machine revolted. Today I found its 
beginnings among my various bags of fabric and decided to take charge once 
and for all and finish the f-ing thing. And it worked!!! I am finally done.
I love the fabric and it seems about the right size, so now I just have to try it out and see if its functionality is up to par. Yeay!!!
                          ~Marica

Friday, February 25, 2011

Rainy Friday Afternoon . . .

Rainy days can just make my day. The vibrant life that begins to flow as the rain falls
 washes away more than just dust and debris . . .Wash me anew dear rain and let me move forward with the flowing gutters and silt-en rivers . . . Quench the plants their thirst and empty the sky of the collected smog. 
A perfect day to indulged myself in a magazine . . .
Ever since I first found Belle Armoire existed I have been waiting to buy a copy. I have to say, as pleasing as it is to the eye ~ and it does inspire, that's a fact ~ It's still a tad shy of truly interesting. Who is going to finally put together an all inspiring masterpiece of bimonthly print?
     And tea and a waffle . . . simply put, tea and a waffle need I say more?
        
                                                                                  ~Marica

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday gone well . . .

Sourdough french toast with raspberry jam . . .
Afternoon flowers in an old one-gallon honey jar . . .
Pepper flake chutney made to doll up left over sweet potato soup . . .
Ahi, dates, garlic, ginger and lime in endives . . . 
Strawberry almond tart with strawberry kissed whipped cream . . .
Fin
         
                                                                 ~Marica

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sweet Potato Soup and Midnight Dreaming . . .

Well everyone ends up down and out with the flu on occasion. It doesn't matter how determined you are to keep it at bay, the wearisome battle is eventually lost and we're left, plain out sick. I could not rise off my sofa for several days, but eventually as my complete incapacitation began to wear off, my instant netflix becoming my very close friend, and my mind wandering obsessively around creating various delectable foods in my half awake state, I did grow a bit better. I could barely putt around the third day, but a deep persistence would not let me rest until I had an apple almond tart. For the most part I can't eat wheat anymore, it leaves me feel far from well, so my only solution was to make one. Brilliantly enough, it came out just right and quenched my dire need. (Recipe Soon)
Another one of my grazing thoughts was of a sweet potato soup. I actually pulled it into person this evening and was pleasantly satisfied by the results, although it practically drove me to distraction (as Jane  Austin would have written, I was watching Pride and Prejudice while in the doldrums) because my blending wand's motor plum over heated. 
Sweet Potato Soup
Wash, pierce with a fork, cut off the ends and bake at 400 degrees
 until well cooked about 40 minutes.

 In a large pot saute until carrots are soft:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion diced
3 large carrots diced
Add and saute several more minutes:
1 cup corn
Add:
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup So Coconut milk or cream 
1/4 cup agave or more to taste
1+1/2 teaspoons salt or more to taste
black pepper to taste
zest of 1 orange
the cooked sweet potatoes peeled
A drip of balsamic vinegar 

Blend the soup until smooth.
Garnish with paprika or cayenne 
green onions diced or pepper flakes.


                                              Good Health to Everyone ~Marica

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chocolate . . . Sweet Goodness . . .

Could Valentine's Day be any more cheesy? What is the definition of cheesy anyway? Is cheesy a simplified stereotype of something wonderful? I always tend to use the word when I am describing something good, but overly obvious, overdone, or sapped out.
Well, I decided to put my sticky chocolate fingers all the way into the pie this year and make chocolate heart shaped pops . . .
and mini chocolate hearts . . .
The process was fabulously fun . . . I loved melting and combing chocolates to make fancy treats. The large heart pops were very easy ~

Chocolate Valentine Pops

 I melted:
1 pound chocolate
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Then I added and mixed gently but thoroughly:
1 cup puffed rice cereal 

 I poured it into a heart shaped pan that had a ready made slot for the sticks so the sticks could come out at the exact bottom. I laid the sticks in almost all to the way across to the top of the heart, then covered them with melted unsweetened chocolate. I think that was the key to how yummy they came out. The unsweetened chocolate gave them a depth of flavor. On one part of your tongue you are experiencing sweet, while other parts are involved in bitter. Mmm, and don't forget the crunchy rice. Unfortunately these tasty treats stuck in the mold, so I had to warm the bottom of the pan with hot water to get them out. It was suggested to me that next time I butter the pan, 
so in future times I will try that. 

Happy Love Day, and Cheers to Chocolate and Sweets ~ Marica


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Baked Heaven . . . also known as brie . . .

At a Christmas Eve party this year I experienced something unimaginable ~ baked brie. Like the ocean, many have experienced this before, but a first look at the roaring sea, or the first taste of baked brie, can quake even the most experienced of travelers. I have eaten brie more times than I have fingers or toes or ears or whatever else I can count. I have tasted many cheeses and swooned over their delectability. Cheese, I'm afraid, carries its own affairs not to be out done by too many foods. Anyway, back to the Christmas Eve party. On this particular occasion a guest brought brie with sun-dried tomato paste and pesto. The dish was thrown in the oven and commenced to heat into a luxurious melt-en dish of heaven. I'm not babbling when I say I was blown away. The memory lasted through the weeks after Christmas, and idea of olives and green chili peppers kept making their way in. Why not try a version with black olives chopped, and roasted Anaheim chilies? My first attempt was unexpectedly bland. I was sure I was going to rock my world with a flavor from the gods. Well I tried again; this time I doused the peppers in a little white vinegar, this addition of flavor helped immensely.  I also need to mention that the tastier the olives the tastier this treat will be. I baked it at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Serving with corn chips produces a very satisfying experience. 
              
                                                                                                                             ~ Marica

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hell or High Water . . . They're Growing . . .

Nostalgia can hit you like a brick over the head; unexpected like a snow storm in summer . . .
Where did these babies go? 

No more naked in the corn field . . .
No more baldy cousins at twilight, at least for another sixty to eighty years . . .
These monkeys grew and morphed . . .
Transformed and became the current beings they are now. . .
Sweet as peaches, but babies no longer. 
                            
                                            ~Marica

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A sneak of a weekend away . . .

Well sometimes you gotta get away. I mean away from your self, and your life and your stress. 
Rephrased, “I gotta get outta here before my head pops off and my blood drains into the earth and I join the eternal being of who knows what”. A little dramatic I know, but said such so the feeling comes across . . . I really did need a weekend away
My Mama and I took the car and drove north to San Luis Obispo, a little college town perhaps eight miles inland from the coast. It was Perfect . . .
We stayed at the Apple Farm, the funniest rustic inn . . .
It reminded me of Agatha Christy with curling hallways and fragrant apple sent. Luckily no one was murdered, at least that I know about.
We managed to find amazing meals. We especially liked a place called Luna Red. 
The food was so fresh and cared for that I am wholly inspired to get in the kitchen trench and dig me some gold. Maybe you’ll come over and join me . . . 
Anyway, to life and the chance to do things we want to do. Especially making good food ~ Marica

P.S. The food picture is from Luna Red's website, I'm assuming they don't mind since I am raining them with praise, but if they do, I apologize and will remove it. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chocolate . . . Chocolate . . . Cupcakes . . . Cake . . .

I was hired to make gluten and dairy free chocolate cupcakes . . . 
This is my first ever official cupcake order. . . !!!
I have toyed with the idea of having a cake business for a longtime, but I have to be honest, I toy with lots of ideas . . . 
Making cake is something that I absolutely love to do. I'm not sure of the reason, but it is superbly satisfying to my restless soul. I've made three wedding cakes since my existence, one of which actually tipped and had to be repaired. I can't possibly count how many birthday cakes, and random cakes just cause. Anyway, selling cake is exciting, sometimes things happen without trying, and other times it takes such a push. So we'll see if I continue to furnish local residence with sweet decadence. 
To all the lovely cakes out there~ Marica

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

1920's love . . . what happened?

I stayed up late the other night thoroughly enchanted by a silent melodrama made in 1921, or some year like that. I have a whole stack of them lined up including that epicly renown Dracula Nosferatu
There was such a strong element of theatricality (I thought I made up that word after spell check 
didn't like epicly, but when I typed it in it was real. . . hee . . . hee, so much for spell check) 
that it was almost like a ballet.
 
The ladies were so f-in' gorgeous, and with their gypsy like garb . . . Oh my gosh, what happened to movies? The funny part was how the girls were like these hens and the guys were the cockiest roosters. The story was ridiculously simple and the characters were so two demential in every way, but then their would be the perfect pauses for text, which kept you inline with what was going on. Whoever wrote those though, seemed like they had an iota of of it all. It reeked tongue in cheek. Hmm. Well, all I have to say is I want to make clothes in respect of all those awesome women struttin' in their bra-less wonder, weird head bands and all. I have a knit head band that I wear a lot, but I need to pull it down over my forehead more. Don't laugh if you see me in town all 20's rocked out. I'm serious, I love this. What happened to fashion. What happened to fun? ? ?