Monday, August 25, 2008

Are You Taking Advantage of Summers Bounty?

It all started with 5 cups of plump, delicious blueberries.

Some magic spices courtesy of my PIF-Trade and friend, Project Ni Hao! These fresher than fresh, aromatic, gorgeous seasonings came all the way from Geneva, IL. Definitely jazzed things up quite a bit. Thanks, Mommy Ni Hao! xo

Lemon zest embraced the exotic spices and imparted a fresh, summery element.

Tossed together, dotted with butter and all ready for lattice crust + the glow of the AGA. Can you believe this is half the sugar that the recipe called for? Whoa.


Yes it was delish & the house smelled like lemony, nutmeg infused heaven. Next up? Probably my annual fresh tomato corn chowder. It is that time of year....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sometimes You've Just Got to Give In....

...and do something that really, really makes you smile.

That is precisely why I had stars painted on my fingertips.

What have you done recently? I could use some more ideas.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Candy Cap Curiosity

How's about trying some of these in your next Birthday Cake?

What you see pictured above are glorious Candy Cap Mushrooms. Aren't they beautiful? I've yet to see a fresh one myself, but recently scored a small container of these caramel-scented, maple-syrup flavored shrooms in dehydrated form. And, yes, I did use them in my father's birthday dessert. Pictures to follow.

First time I made the Candy Cap Mushroom's acquaintence was in Mendocino, CA at my favorite restaurant Cafe Beaujolais when I ordered this dish:

Pan Roasted California Sturgeon Fillet
House Made Tagliatelle, Truffle Emulsion Sauce,
Wild Mushrooms, Beets and Snap Peas

The waitress explained that the hard to pinpoint, surprising secret ingredient was Candy Cap Mushroom. I embarassed my husband when I asked the waitress to kindly tell the chef how "F'ing Delicious" I thought the dish was. She did & the laughs from the kitchen made the meal that much more enjoyable.

I have since obtained the recipe for the Cafe Beaujolais sturgeon and as fearless as I think I am in the kitchen...enjoying this dish (my official "Final Meal") will be reserved for my all too infrequent visits to Mendocino.*

Ok, so back to the weekend festivities...

Dad got to choose between cake and bread pudding for his daughter-made birthday treat. I was 98% certain that he'd choose the pudding - but I wasn't going to jinx my odds by telling him that I planned to experiment with mushrooms as part of it. Dad didn't let me down & chose his favorite...old school bread pudding. He gave me permission to play with the recipe a bit and put in a request for a brandy/rum sauce if possible. Woot!

Here is the Bread Pudding Recipe in case you were interested. And, HERE are the shrooms:

It was a very simple recipe that had me scalding heavy whipping cream and then steeping dried Candy Caps in it for an hour. The house smelled very sweet - and maybe a little like curry.

I was supposed to use "half a loaf of pullman-sized brioche". So, yeah, I used nearly a full loaf of Challah. Pretty similar, I thought.

Here is after an hour steeping. Didn't look all that dramatically different, but it sure tasted lovely.

Here is the pudding after straining shrooms from cream, adding eggs, soaking bread with custard, sprinkling golden raisins and currants and cooking for a while. Golden yummy-ness!

One piece left after all was said and done. My clever brother in law figured out the secret ingredient after some hints. And, nobody freaked out that I used mushrooms in this dessert. I think that they may expect as much from me.

To celebrate this Kitchen Adventure Post and to share a recent download that I am currently in love with I leave you with this - a cover of an old Bread tune by the band called Cake. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

*Note to self: discuss Autumn vacation planning with DH tonight or sooner.

Friday, August 08, 2008


This day carries many a mixed feeling. And, deserves its own treat. So I bought these:

They were made by a very cool, energetic, edgy, interesting glass artist that I've gotten to know on etsy. Her shop is called Combustion Glassworks - and her nickname is "TNT". She and I are in the same California Crafting Club Street Team and I've collected a few pair of her earrings and this beautiful pendant:

Yeah, I've always been a girl that brakes for rainbows. Ask my Mom.

When I saw the red-hot, super shiny, celebratory dangle earrings in TNT's shop - named "Shanghai" - of course I needed to have them for today. They make me feel a little extra happy & that's a good thing. Maybe some dumplings could help too? And, a little Turnip Cake.

So how many days 'til the next batch of referrals come out?

For your Retail Therapy Pleasure - Here is a link to Combustion Glassworks Shop. Hope this post finds you enjoying the beginning to a really great weekend. xo

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Plucky Penguin Preview

Plucky Penguin Preview
Originally uploaded by wzgrrl

Wordless Wednesday!!!

Stay tuned for more details about my newest creation.....

Monday, August 04, 2008

Isn't This What Everyone Hopes For?

...that when you bring a Newbie into The Fold - that everyone ends up loving each other?

Seeing Peyton giving Iris a bath (after she taught him how to do so) just warms my frostbitten heart. I'm hoping that it only gets better as the days cool down and the evenings inspire fireside cuddling.

Balm for this girls soul.