Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Few of my Favorite Things

Aah, it might be gray and gloomy outside
but this is precisely the kind of day that reminds me again why I love being a homemaker.  Warm and snug in my little house,  I'm enjoying the beginning of the Christmas season.
There are the decorations, including this jewelry tree my beloved grandma Nana churned out one year -- I believe she made about ten of them.  Nana's been gone a few years now, but that just makes the things she made all the sweeter.
There's the Christmas music blaring,
the fire blazing (it IS blazing in there, trust me),
the most wonderful scented candle in the world -- mint chocolate, does it get any better?
the World Vision gift catalog to ponder (let's see, do you think Grandpa would prefer ducks this year, or maybe a goat for the needy?)
And this:  sweet brioche with dried cherries.  Recipe from this book.  Courtesy of my very accommodating bread machine.


3 eggs
1/2 c. water
1 stick butter
3 1/4 c. flour
1/3 c. plus 2 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1 T. yeast
1/2 c. dried cherries
In bread machine, dump eggs, water, butter, flour, sugar, salt, and yeast.  Start the machine.  Once it beeps (mine does this at about 30 minutes in), it's time to add the dried cherries.
This is lovely fresh from the machine, or made into toast later.



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Anchovy Sauce

I'd like to think that my love for this anchovy sauce is in no way related to my penchant for eating butter.

But I can't say that with 100 percent certainty.

I love butter.  What can I say?

If you've ever made hollandaise sauce in a blender, you have all the skills needed to make this.  This does, in fact, remind me of hollandaise sauce -- lemony, velvety, buttery.  Added to that is the exquisite salty anchovi-ness that will leave true anchovy lovers lurching around their kitchens, looking for more food items to put this on.

Steamed fish fillet is a fine choice.
As is a hard-boiled egg.
Or sliced rounds of zucchini, microwaved until slightly soft.
Or another hard-boiled egg.

Feel free to add your own suggestions.

The recipe, by the way, which I'm pretty sure came from an old issue of Bon Appetit magazine, suggests that this would also be appropriate melted over a nice hot steak.


Note: The recipe instructs you to use a food processor.  I divided the amount in two (yielding half a cup rather than a cup) and it fit fine in my mini food-processor attachment.  I'll bet it would work well in a blender, too.

Makes 1 cup

8 anchovy fillets
2 egg yolks (recommended at room temp. but mine were chilled)
1 small garlic clove
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted and hot
1/2 c. vegetable oil (I used canola), heated (can microwave until warm)
(optional:  6 parsley sprigs, stemmed; 1/4 t. pepper.  I omitted both)

Combine anchovies, egg yolks, and peeled garlic clove in food processor.  Pulse about 30 seconds, until everything's pretty smushed together.  Add lemon juice and mix again.  Mix butter and oil together in small dish; in the little hole in the top of the processor's lid, drizzle in oil/butter mixture very slowly (drop by drop, if you can manage it) until you'ved added the first 1/4 c. or so.  Then you can drizzle it a bit faster, but still, go slow.  "Do not stop machine at any point," warn the instructions.  Be a good little soldier and do as it says.  When all the oil/butter has been added, you're done!  You can add parsley and pepper at this point and pulse until it's mixed in, if desired.  Serve at room temp., or chill for later.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Cranberry Butter

Tasty Kitchen's Cranberry Butter is a good recipe to know about this time of year.  Enjoy some on a toasted English muffin today.

. . . and you might wanna use some kind of food chopper thingie to whack up the cranberries.  Those suckers can really roll.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween Candy Shortbread

Well you can't really go wrong with shortbread, in my book.  And when you combine shortbread with a topping of chocolate chips and leftover chopped-up Halloween candy?  A winner.
This recipe comes from a back issue of Everyday Food magazine. I think that Martha Stewart is really gonna make something of herself.
The only change I made to the Candy Bar Shortbread recipe is on the salt.  Since I used salted butter rather than the recommended unsalted, I cut the coarse salt from 1 1/4 t. down to 1/2 t.  Oh, I also didn't use an electric mixer, just smushed the shortbread up with my handy dandy pastry blender, then, when it got down to it, used my fingers.  This would be a fun project for the kids among us.  You know who you are.
Reese's mini peanut butter cups, by the way, make a very fine topping.

Anyone else enjoying some post-Halloween treats?