Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thanksgiving Recipe Round-Up

Today I've rounded up my recipes that are perfect for Thanksgiving.  I have appetizers, sides, salad, soup, and dessert lined up for you!  The only thing I don't have is a turkey. 

To start, I recommend this cranberry salsa.  It's tangy but sweet. It's also my #1 pin on pinterest.
Cranberry salsa Recipe

These homemade onion rolls were a hit last year. They are good!
Thanksgiving Onion Roll Recipe
This is a nice healthier alternative to plain ol' mashed potatoes.  It's mashed cauliflower with a potato or two thrown in.  I will be eating these this year instead of carb filled mashed potatoes.
Healthy Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
This is a nice vegetable side dish you can serve.  Plus, it adds some pretty color to your table!
Autumn Roasted Carrots
If you're one to serve salad at Thanksgiving, this is a nice Fall harvest salad. It has cranberries, apples, pecans, and a honey mustard dressing.  
Fall Harvest Salad
If you're a soup person, this is a nice soup to serve for Thanksgiving.  It could also be the "main dish" for your vegetarian friends.
German Pumpkin Soup (Kurbissuppe)
If you serve multiple pies at Thanksgiving or are not a pumpkin pie person, this is a GREAT apple pie.  It is so so good, I highly recommend it.
The Best Apple Pie Recipe
Hopefully you found a recipe you want to try this year!

Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cheese Gougère

Ever had a cheese gougère?? No? Well, you are missing out.  They are so delicious.

We made them for Thanksgiving appetizers last year... and they were gone in two seconds.

A Gougère is basically a French cheese puff.  How could it not be good?

Gougères! 
Gougères:
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese 

Directions
1. Boil the water and butter.  Combine the water, butter, and salt into a 2 to 4 quart saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Once the butter has melted, remove the pan from heat and add the flour all at once.  Stir vigoursly until the mixture comes together and resembles mashed potatoes.
3. Return the pan to medium-low heat and stir for 3-5 minutes to dry out the dough.  The dough is ready when it glistens and is thick enough to hold a spoon upright.
4.  Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Beat the dough on medium speed until it stops steaming.
5. Continue beating and add the egg in four additions.  Wait until each is absorbed before adding the next.  The dough should be a creamy batter in the end. Now beat in the cheese.
6. Heat the oven to 450F.  Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough onto lined sheet pans. (line with parchment paper or silicone baking mats).  Space them at least one inch apart.
7. Bake for 5 minutes then turn the heat down to 350F.  Bake for another 20-25 minutes. The gougeres are finished when they are puffed and deep golden brown and dry to the touch.  They will feel light and hollow when you pick them up.
8. Transfer to a cooling rack.  Serve warm.
piped out and ready to bake!
finished product!
 Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com

Monday, November 17, 2014

Black Bean Sweet Potato Bites

This is a great recipe for an appetizer this Fall!  What's great about it is that black beans and sweet potatoes are extremely healthy foods.  Perfect appetizer for those with high cholesterol, diabetes, dieters, and also vegetarians!

Black Bean Sweet Potato Bites
Ingredients

  • Sweet potatoes, unpeeled
  • 1 can black beans 
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt
  • optional: dash of chili powder or cayenne pepper
  • Cotija cheese, crumbled
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice the sweet potatoes approximately 1/2 inch thick, and place in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until the bottoms are browned.
  3. While the potatoes are baking, simmer the can of black beans over the stove.  Add the cumin to the black beans and a little salt. If you like your beans with a kick, add a dash of cayenne or chili powder.  Simmer for approx 10-15, until the liquid has boiled off.
  4. Now that the sweet potatoes are done in the oven, add a scoop of black beans on top of the round.  Add some crumbed cotija cheese and fresh cilantro.
Tips
  • If you want your appetizers more bite sized, choose a narrower potato as those are the base. 
  • Instead of cumin and chili powder, you could always add your favorite Mexican spice mix to the beans (like Mrs. Dash's chipotle mix).
healthy Thanksgiving appetizer


Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Antique Velvet Picture Frames

I recently found this cute velvet picture frame made of velvet and metal thread.  It reminded me a lot of the antique velvet picture frames.  The problem with the antique velvet frames is that most of them have faded or have damage.

The nice thing about this new one I found is that it is in perfect condition!

Let's take a closer look at the details... It is real velvet with silver covered copper threads. So yes, it will tarnish over time.
excuse the poor photoshopping; I am internet shy and don't want my face everywhere!
It's hard to find new picture frames that are made of such quality. When I saw it I knew that I had to take it home with me!

It reminded me a lot of the old velvet picture frames... let me share.  This beautiful French picture frame is made with velvet.  It contains a painted picture as photography hadn't quite caught on yet!
Antique French 1800’s Neoclassical Ormalu (bronze Dore) Velvet Shield Frame Picture Frames photo
1800s French velvet ormalu frame source
When photos became accessible to the "mainstream" thanks to Kodak in the 1880s, people wanted to display their pictures.  Remember though, that pictures were still really expensive to take.  An expensive picture needs an expensive frame!

1800s hand embroidered photo frame source
Then came along the fancy photo albums from the Victorian era.  Check out this one below... You fold it down to reveal a whole book!  It's interesting how much the velvet has faded over time.
look at how it faded! source
Here's the photo album opened:
how cool is that?

A pair of velvet French frames from the Napoleon era...
Napoleon era French embroidered frames source
I like the metal on this velvet frame...
french brocante velvet-frame
19th century French velvet frame source
I like the beading on this velvet frame.  What's unusual is how little damage there is to the velvet.
1800s French velvet frame source

Now, this is a clutch below.  But it reminded me a lot of the picture frame as it is a velvet clutch with silver thread!
1850s Napoleon era velvet French coin purse source
... Then I got side tracked.  The company for the picture source below takes old embroidery and turns it into pillows!  I love this metal embroidery!!
old metal embroidery tapestry turned into a pillow source
The thistles on my picture frame remind me a little bit of Queen Elizabeth's coronation gown.  On the right you can see some thistles, representing Scotland.
the thistles on my picture frame are reminiscent of the Queen's coronation gown source
The metal thread also reminds me of some of this handiwork:
Antique Ottoman Gold Thread Densely Embroidered Large Panel On Burgundy Velvet
Ottoman period silver and gold thread source
While trying to find pictures of velvet picture frames I ran into this wonderful hand embroidered metal thread sheep on velvet!  How cute!!
sheep
And then I found this wonderful embroidered Eagle!
Eagle

Well, I got a little side tracked at the end with the eagle and sheep.  But, I love my new picture frame!!
Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com

Linking up with these fabulous link parties: The Scoop! Inspire Me Tuesday,Do Tell Tuesday Wow us Wednesdays! What's it Wednesdays Creative Ways, Treasure Hunt ThursdayHome Sweet Home Feathered Nest Fridays,

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Nespresso Maragogype

So This past weekend we went to the Nespresso shop to get some more of our favorite Arpeggio purple pods. On display however was some fancy box below:

Not knowing anything about the box and seduced purely by its packaging, I added this to our order. (Way to go Nespresso marketing!)

Then I heard to sales people all ooh and aah about how wonderful it was.

Apparently it's made from some super rare bean that's like twice the size as a normal coffee bean and produces very little fruit. They kept mumbling the name super fast. I still can't say the name.

Oops. We already paid for it. I had no idea how much it was. But I did know it was going to be more expensive as everyone drooled about it. Shopping 101 mistake, buying without a price.. Which turned out not to be a mistake at all!

I tried it this morning. My goodness, it is super duper good! While I can't say the name of them, my husband and I have dubbed these as the "nespresso magic beans."

They are really tasty. I finally looked up how much... $2 a pod instead of $0.70! Oh. I guess I better squander my one box away. 

Here's nespressos info on the magic beans http://www.nespresso.com/us/en/product/maragogype-coffee

I recommend you go try these magic beans. They are very tasty. Sweet. Nice flavor. Still much cheaper than starbucks! Hope you enjoyed my review of the marogogype beans.

PS- it's pronounced mare-ah-go-jip-ay. And I did not get paid for this post... But I'll some accept Maragogype beans for my kind review, Nespresso! I


Monday, November 10, 2014

Healthy Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I've been looking for some healthier alternatives to Thanksgiving Dinner.  While I LOVE mashed potatoes, I know they are full of carbs and fat.  I have been playing around with some cauliflower mashed potato recipes and came up with one that I think is really good AND could fool your guests too!!

Healthy Cauliflower Mashed Potato Recipe
I think the secret to this mashed cauliflower recipe is that it actually includes potato with the mashed cauliflower.  So many of the recipes that contain only cauliflower don't quite taste right.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head cauliflower that is trimmed, cored, and cut into small florets.
  • 1-2 small red or golden potatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fat free sour cream
  • 2 tbsp skim milk
  • 1-2 tbsp light butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Bring a pot of water to boil.  Add the cauliflower and potato to the water.
2. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for approximately 20 minutes until vegetables are cooked through.
3. Drain well and move to your food processor. Process until smooth.
4. Return the cauliflower/potato puree to a hot pan on medium high heat.  Stirring frequently, you will need to cook off the excess liquid. This takes about 5 minutes or so.  Once excess water has evaporated, stir in the sour cream, milk, and butter.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Then garnish with green onions, rosemary, or thyme! Enjoy!

My husband wasn't too keen on this "faux" mashed potato recipe when we were making it.  Then he ended up liking it when we were done!  The great part it is that it tastes good and you won't feel guilty with seconds!

Linking up with these fabulous link parties: The Scoop!,   Inspire Me Tuesday,Wow us Wednesdays!Foodie Friday


written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com



Saturday, November 8, 2014

Dreaming of E Dehillerin in Paris

As I start to think about all of the holiday baking that lies ahead, I find myself daydreaming about my trip to Paris next Spring.

Yes! I'm headed to Paris! Yippeeeeeeeeeeeee!! I am so very excited to head to my favorite city in the whole world.  The last time I was there was in 2003. Practically pre-internet days, especially in Europe. This time though, I am armed with the knowledge of the internet and have added many little shops to my to do list that I previously didn't know about!

One store I'm particularly excited to go to is E. Dehillerin in Paris.  It's a store that famously sold Julia Child her copper pans.  The name is pronounced "Uh-duh-il'rin"

E. Dehillerin
*the* store pic source
The shop is the oldest cooking shop in Paris... over 200 years old!  They are famous for their large bounty of products from Mauviel copper to knives to pans to every type of mold ever needed!

picture source
They have things like... a butter curler! TSA doesn't approve but I do!
a butter curler source here
I think I will be picking up a madeleine pan here so that I may start my madeleine baking journey next year. I think I've mastered the macaron. On to something new...
2013-05-211
madeleine pan from France j'adore... source
Don't you just want to take all of this home?
love this copper Coq source

A copper tatin mold for the perfect tarte tatin 

from their website

I will also need to pick up a few of these little pans so that I can bake the remaining recipes in Laduree's Sweet book...

2
tart molds, loaf pans, financier molds! source

Maybe some silicone molds... At least I know these could go on the plane! 


Source

 E. Dehillerin is at 18 rue Coquillère, 75001 Paris ... which is only a 10 minute walk from where we'll be staying.  How convenient! 

I thought this blog post here had a nice tour of the store. 

Have you been to E. Dehillerin in Paris?  What did you buy?! Leave me a comment, I have some planning to do! 

Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com