Monday, February 26, 2018

French Macaron's....they look to good to eat...

A love affair with a French Macaron...


   Just the sight of these brightly colored, beautiful light treats is enough to make your mouth water. Salted caramel, blueberry, pistachio, vanilla, chocolate, raspberry, oh the varieties are endless. Have you ever wondered about their history? Let me share what I have learned.
   First, let’s discuss some confusion about their pronunciation and spelling. Macaron or macaroon .. While some experts say that they are interchangeable, most seem to agree that an extra “o” makes all the difference! Both macarons and macaroons are confections, and both names are derived from ammaccare, which is Italian for "to crush" — but that's where the similarities end.
   The macaroon (rhymes with “soon”) is a dense shredded coconut biscuit while the macaron (rhymes with “ron – or drop the “n” for the French pronunciation) is the wonderful light French confection created by sandwiching two meringue based biscuits together with jam, buttercream or ganache filling.
   While the macaron is accepted as an iconic French treat, there has been some debate about its origins. Larousse Gastronomique cites the macaron as being created in 1791 in a convent near Cormery in the centre of France. Some have traced its French debut to the arrival of Catherine de Medici. Upon marrying Henry II of France in 1533, she brought her Italian pastry chefs and the early form of macarons with her.
   In 1792, macarons began to gain fame when two Carmelite nuns, seeking asylum in Nancy during the French Revolution, baked and sold the macaron cookies in order to pay for their housing. These nuns became known as the "Macaron Sisters". In these early stages, macarons were served without special flavors or fillings.
   It was not until the 1830s that macarons began to be served two-by-two with the addition of jams, liqueurs, and spices. The macaron as it is known today, composed of two almond meringue discs filled with a layer of buttercream, jam, or ganache filling, was originally called the "Gerbet" or the "Paris macaron." Pierre Desfontaines of the French pâtisserie Ladurée has sometimes been credited with its creation in the early part of the 20th century, but another baker, Claude Gerbet, also claims to have invented it.
   Either way, they are very very good!!! It was my cute Granddaughters who turned me on to this sweet love affair with the French Macaron. For that matter any kind of Macaron. I love them so much I am going to make a hamburger one for my Husband, Yes, I found a video and recipe....I'm excited to try them. But back to this French Macaron.



The colors remind me of Spring, Easter, and that's what I am going to do this Easter Holiday is make some....

The French Macaron

Prep Time: 2 hour
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 3 hour

Ingredients

1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup almond flour
2 egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar
drop of food coloring paste of your choice
1/2 cup filling of your choice

Instructions

1. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Put a master template under the parchment paper or draw about 12 1 1/2-inch circles in rows on the paper, about 1 inch apart.

2. Process powdered sugar and almond flour in a food processor until finely ground. Sift the mixture through a sieve. If there are more than 2 tablespoons of large chunks left in the sieve, grind them and sift again. Set the mixture aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium speed until frothy. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Increase the speed to high and beat until very stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.

4. Sift the almond flour mixture over the egg whites. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the almond flour mixture into the egg whites until the ingredients are just combined. Add a drop or two of food coloring to tint the batter. Continue to fold the mixture until it has loosened and falls in a ribbon from the spatula.

5. Fit a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch round tip and fill the bag with the batter. Using the template as a guide, pipe circles onto the parchment papers.

6. Tap the bottom of each sheet on the work surface to release trapped air bubbles. Let the cookies stand at room temperature for at least 30 - 45 minutes. This allows the cookies to develop their crusts.

7. Preheat oven to 325F. Bake the macarons for 10 to 12 minutes, until set but not browned.

8. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the macarons to cool completely on the pans. Once cooled, gently lift half of the cookies from the parchment paper and turn them upside down.

9. Spoon or pipe a teaspoon of filling onto each of the upside-down cookies. Top with the remaining cookies.

So you want to see the Hamburger Macaron...

and here's the video...


Tuesday, January 30, 2018


SLOW COOKER HONEY BUFFALO MEATBALLS
Game Day Eats

INGREDIENTS
Meatballs
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 eggs
22 saltine crackers, crushed (approx. 1 cup)
1/3 cup dry minced onion
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tsp EACH garlic pwdr, onion pwdr, salt
1/2 tsp EACH chili pwdr, smoked paprika, ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Honey Buffalo Sauce
1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Original Sauce, plus more to taste
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 450F degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add eggs and gently whisk. Add all remaining Meatball Ingredients and mix until well combined. Roll meat mixture into desired meatball size**. Place meatballs onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Meanwhile, add all of the Honey Buffalo Sauce Ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk to combine (only use 1/4 cup hot sauce at this point. You can add more hot sauce to taste at the end of cooking).
Line the bottom of your slow cooker with meatballs, drizzle with some Honey Buffalo Sauce, then remaining meatballs followed by the remaining Sauce.
Cover and cook on low heat for 2 hours, gently stirring an hour after cooking. When done, taste and stir in additional hot wings sauce (I add 1 1/2 more tablespoons which is pretty spicy.) Keep warm until serving.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017



I Love cooking on Special Days, Thanksgiving is one of those DAYS...I have cooked many a Turkeys and tried a few different methods. I think I have found that I like brining. I have use a wet brine and though I like it the Turkey does not get that golden brown color I like to see. So I am sharing a recipe I found and use....It's perfect!!!

This turkey dry brine recipe has just a touch of orange and maple mixed with the traditional Thanksgiving flavors.  I love it so much! So this year if you facebook me, you live near....tell me you want a jar and I will deliver it to you!!! I am making it in the next few days, grew all the herbs, garlic and onions. If you want to Gobble and Wobble in great taste, try it!!!

Dry brining simply means pre-salting with salt and/or other herbs and seasonings. There’s no water or liquid involved and no mess.

The salt helps draw out the moisture. Then that moisture dissolves the salt crystals. And this is where the magic happens: the now dissolved salt, moisture and seasonings get reabsorbed back into the meat all the way down to the bone. The salt helps break down the tightly woven proteins resulting in the most tender, moist meat. And the seasonings get infused throughout the whole bird. You won’t want to make a turkey (or chicken) any other way once you try it!

Dry Brining benefits include:
  • far more flavorful than any other method 
  • crispy golden brown skin and moist, tender meat 
  • less mess compared to a wet brine 
  • no fancy equipment 
  • super easy 
  • turkey is prepped and ready to go for the big day 

Recipe: Dry Brine Turkey Mix. A touch of orange and maple added to the traditional Thanksgiving flavors is a delight to the tastebuds!

Ingredients

¼ cup coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon maple sugar ( because it adds a touch of wonderful maple flavor, but if you can’t find it, you can use brown sugar or coconut sugar.
2 tablespoons orange zest
2 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder


Instructions
Mix all the ingredients together.

How to Use Dry Brine:
*Use 1 tablespoon of dry brine for every 5 pounds of meat* Pat dry the outside and inside of the turkey. Then season the entire outside and inside cavity using the dry brine. Don't forget to loosen some of the skin and season directly on the meat, too, especially on the breasts.
Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 12 hours up to 72 hours (the more time it sits in the fridge, the more flavorful it will be, but you'll still get a really great tasting bird even if you do the minimum time)
When you're ready to cook, pat dry the outside of the turkey and cook using any method you prefer. I like the long and slow oven roasting method: 325 degrees F for approximately 15 minutes per pound.


Notes

If you are not stuffing your turkey, add the orange you used for your orange zest to the cavity! I also like to add in an onion, a few cloves of garlic and a handful of fresh rosemary, thyme and sage. SO YUM!

Monday, October 30, 2017



When your Gardner Guy fills up the Refrigerator with carrots it's time to make a  Carrot cake!!!


Makes 1 (9-inch) double layer cake (16 to 22 slices) or 22 to 24 cupcakes

YOU WILL NEED


2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups (295 ml) canola or other vegetable oil
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
1 cup (200 grams) lightly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
3 cups (300 grams) grated peeled carrots (5 to 6 medium carrots)
1 cup (100 grams) coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup (65 grams) raisins
FROSTING
8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups (140 grams) powdered sugar
1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup (50 grams) coarsely chopped pecans, for topping cake or carrot peels and spearmint leaves for a fun look.

DIRECTIONS

  • MAKE BATTER
  • Heat the oven to 350º F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper then grease the top of the paper. Or, grease and flour the bottom and sides of both pans.
    In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and the cinnamon until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, sugars and vanilla. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until blended.
    Switch to a large rubber spatula. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, stirring gently until they disappear and the batter is smooth. Stir in the carrots, nuts and raisins. Nuts and raisins are optional...
    • BAKE CAKE
    • Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans. Bake until the tops of the cake layers are springy when touched and when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean; 35 to 45 minutes.
      Cool cakes in pans for 15 minutes then turn out onto cooling racks, peel off parchment paper and cool completely. 
    • Tips
For the Carrot Flowers:
Fill bowl or saucepan with cold water and add lemon juice. Cut carrots lengthwise into paper-thin ribbons using vegetable peeler or large mandolin on its thinnest setting. Place carrot ribbons in water and let stand for 15 minutes. Some ribbons will begin to curl, this is normal. Remove ribbons from water and pat dry with paper towels. Roll carrot ribbons into spirals and arrange on top of cake. Arrange mint leaves around carrot spirals.

For cupcakes,  bake for 14 to 18 minutes (or until a tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean). Then let them cool for a few minutes in the cupcake pan before transferring them to a cooling rack. The recipe should make about 24 cupcakes.



Happy Halloween

Frankenstein Pudding Cups



These are so cute and fun to make....All you need is a Black Sharpie Marker, clear cups, Oreo cookies and pudding...

Draw all the faces on the cups with a black Sharpie, mix up some vanilla pudding, use food coloring to tint it green. Then crush some Oreo's to sprinkle on top of the pudding.

You can also use pistachio pudding and skip the green food coloring
Super, super  cute, fast and easy!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting.....Happy Fall!!!


4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 - 15oz can pumpkin puree

Or use fresh pumpkin, see how to by following the link
https://mygardnerguy.blogspot.com/2012/12/pumpkin-jam-makes-for-very-nice-gift.html

1 1/2 sticks melted butter
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a jelly roll pan (15 1/8"x 10 1/2") with cooking spray. Mix eggs, sugar, pumpkin and butter in a large bowl or stand mixer bowl. Sift dry ingredients together and combine with pumpkin mixture. Pour and smooth evenly in pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

6 oz. cream cheese, softened
9 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp milk

Mix cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add vanilla, add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and milk 1 tbsp at a time until desired consistency. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

For Banana Bars: substitute 1 can of pumpkin puree for 2 cups mashed ripe bananas. Omit cinnamon and ginger, but use a pinch of nutmeg.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Those new potatoes will pair up nice with the garden peas!!!

Creamed Garden Potatoes and Peas Recipe

We all have comfort foods...this one is mine, My Gardner Guy approves!!!




Ingredients
2  pounds small red potatoes, quartered
3 cups of fresh or frozen peas
1 chopped onion
2  - 4 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons plus 1 tsp. of all purpose flour
1 - 1/2 tsp. of salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cups of 2% milk
1 cup of half and half cream

Directions
Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a
boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 8-12 minutes or until
tender. Drain.

Meanwhile, place peas and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until tender.
Drain.

In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter until tender. Stir in the
flour, salt and pepper until blended; gradually add milk and cream.
Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Stir in potatoes and peas; heat through. Yield: 12 servings.

Special notes....I'm doing the weight watcher thing...

Nutritional Facts

2/3 cup equals 156 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 18 mg cholesterol, 345 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 6 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 starch, 1 fat.



 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dill Pickles....love them

Once again I am buried  in cucumbers... I love these pickles and this year I grew my own dill heads so I'm excited to use them.
The “head” of dill is the entire seed head of a dill plant it looks like  flower kind of...the sprig is the fern looking part of the plant that grows on the stem. This plant is fun to grow and I love using a sprig of dill to garnish a dish...like deviled eggs, appetizers, and soups. For ideas type in your google search bar garnishing with dill sprigs and have fun!!! 
 
 
 
 


Ingredients:

8 pounds of pickling cucumbers
4 cups white vinegar
11 cups water
2/3 cup of pickling salt
16 cloves of garlic peeled
8 sprigs of fresh dill weed
8 tsp of dill weed and seed
8 dill heads (optional)
peppercorns
mustard seed
1/2 cup sugar (optional)
pickling spices

Directions:

1. Wash cucumbers and place in the sink with cold water and lots of ice cubes. Soak in ice for at least 2 hours but not more than 8 hours. Refresh ice as required. Sterilize 8 (1 quart ) canning jars and lids in boiling water for about 10 minutes.

2. In a large pot over medium high heat, combine the vinegar, water, and pickling salt. Bring the brine to a rapid boil.

3. Tie Pickling spices in a net and add to the large pot.

4. In each jar, place 2 half-cloves of garlic, one head of dill, one sprig of dill, 1 tsp of dill seed and weed, sprinkles of peppercorns and mustard seeds, then enough cucumbers to fill the jar (about a pound). Then add 2 more garlic halves, fill jars with hot brine. Seal jars, making sure you cleaned the jars rims of any residue.

5. Process sealed jars in a boiling water bath. Process jars for 15 minutes.

6. Store pickles for a minimum of 8 weeks before eating. Refrigerate after opening. Pickles will keep up to 2 years if stored in a cool place.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tomato Jam.....great for appetizers and fantastic on a BLT!!!

My Gardner Guy's Tomato Jam.... 

Crostini with Ricotta and tomato jam or use goat cheese....it is great!!!
 

Use this as a great appetizer to top cheese and crackers, on a bagel. If your like My Gardnerguy right off the spoon is the best!!!

This Tomato Jam has become my secret ingredient in My Gardner Guy"s BLT sandwich I just mix it up with my mayonnaise and It gives the wonderful BLT a gourmet taste....also try the next link for a great dressing...
Wonderful dressing for a BLT Salad....link coming....http://mygardnerguy.blogspot.com/2011/10/simple-twist-on-blt.html

Tomato Jam

6-8 cups small tomatoes (1-2" in diameter skins on seeds in)
2 cups sugar
1 T grated ginger
zest and juice of 2 limes
zest and juice of 1 lemon
6-8 TBS of a strong vinegar
1-2 tsp. red chili flakes....use what looks good to you, optional

Combine all ingredients in a large, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until it looks jammy; expect this to take an hour/ hour and a half and maybe even longer. When jam is ready, remove from heat and fill jars, leaving 1/3 inch of head space. Wipe rims, apply lids and twist on rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes. Remove jars from water bath and allow them to cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, test seals. Store jars in a cool, smile....add it to your pantry collection of good food!!!
On a bagel over cream cheese....breakfast

This makes a wonderful gift...they will come back for more!!!
A dipping sauce...My Gardner Guy's way...

Plenty to put in my pantry....pretty, pretty, pretty..



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Time for the Banana peppers!!!

Today I decided to tackle the banana peppers...I like them on sandwiches especially sub sandwiches! This is a fast and easy canning recipe to make your own Banana Pepper
sandwich rings.
Just finished in time to get ready for a date!!!

Banana Pepper Rings
Here is a link that educates you; or anyone interest in methods in preserving peppers http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/8004.pdf

Ingredients

20 - 25 banana peppers
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 clove of garlic (per pint jar)
1 tsp canning/pickling salt (per pint jar)
1 tsp vegetable oil (per pint jar)
6-7  1/2 pint jars and lids, sterilized and prepared for canning

Instructions:


Wash the peppers. Slice, remove seeds, discard stem ends.
I have found that keeping the peppers in ice water helps them to stay crisp


 In each jar of packed peppers, add 1 tsp canning/pickling salt and 1 tsp vegetable oil.
add one clove of garlic and I like to add a small hot pepper to each pint jar...the pepper is optional
In a sauce pan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and ground turmeric. Bring to a boil.
Ladle hot pickling liquid into jars, leaving 1/2 inch head-space. Remove any air bubbles and add more liquid as needed.

Apply lids and bands, screw down to fingertip tight. Process in hot water bath for 10 minutes. Cool and store. Check back after 24 hours to make sure the lids have sealed.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A twist on a family favorite Lemon Zucchini Bread!!!!


With plenty of Zucchini in the garden you can't go wrong with these two recipes. Both are yummy and once you cut into them be prepared they will be gobbled away quickly. This year I changed up my regular recipe by adding some lemon. I loved the results!!! This one is all pretty and wrapped....heading to Grandpa's he likes this bread just as much as My Gardner Guy!!!

Lemon Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
2 1/4 cups of sugar
1 cup of oil
4 cups of flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. lemon extract
2 tsp. lemon juice
zest from one lemon
2 cups of zucchini
1 cup of nuts (optional)

1, Mix together eggs, sugar, oil
2. Add flour, salt, soda, baking powder, lemon extract, lemon juice and lemon zest
3. Add shredded zucchini and nuts, mix well
4. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 10 minutes (if you cook in large loaf pans)
mini loafs take about 40 minutes

Sometimes depending on my time and mood I add a lemon glaze glaze to my bread and it's yummy!!!
LEMON GLAZED ICING
 

1/2 c. powdered sugar
3 tsp. lemon juice, or a lemon extract I have used a little of both ;)
2 tbsp. butter
Add powdered sugar, stir in butter and add lemon juice

 
 



Tips for drying your own lemon or orange zest...
My Gardner Guy...Grow, Create, Cook and Eat...: Drying grated lemon or orange peel

Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
2 1/4 cups of sugar
1 cup of oil
3 cups of flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
3 tsp of vanilla (sometimes I use 2 tsp. of vanilla and 1 tsp. of lemon extract)
2 cups of zucchini
1 cup of nuts (optional)

1, Mix together eggs, sugar, oil
2. Add flour, salt, soda, baking powder, cinnamon and vanilla
3. Add shredded zucchini and nuts, mix well
4. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 10 minutes

French Macaron's....they look to good to eat...

A love affair with a French Macaron...    Just the sight of these brightly colored, beautiful light treats is enough to make your mo...