Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Upcycled Treat or Cake Plate

 Treasure hunting is pure pleasure, especially when you can find something beautiful to upcycle. I found this plate at a second hand store here in Oregon, and immediately fell in love with it. The handles and colors reminded me of Autumn, and more especially Halloween.
 So I found a candle stick and adhered it to the bottom of the plate with epoxy, and whaalaa! A treat, or cake or cupcake plate! I know it looks crooked in the photo, but that's the doily and not the plate. :-) I took this before I dashed out of our apartment this morning. I drove up from Utah to Oregon to ready the house for winter so I was in a hurry. Anyhew......
Think of the possibilities! A little taller brass candlestick, paired with a vintage china plate, or a short milk glass vase, paired with a royal ruby or forest green plate, there's so much that you can do with this idea!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Colors of Autumn....Jewelry

 It's that time of year, when I put away summer clothes and bring out my Autumn wardrobe. For me, some items of clothing are like old and dear friends, colorful and vibrant, always there for you. This particular shirt I've had for around 20 years now, a sturdy but nice enough to wear anywhere top that has seen me through thick and thin, literally. Now that I've lost some weight and am getting down to my old sizes I can wear this again with joy!
I find that each season brings with it a palette of colors that often fit the mood I'm in. I find clothing, home decor, make-up and even jewelry that seems to be just perfect for that particular year. I went shopping yesterday and found some beads that caught my eye, not really for any reason but that they're pretty and I wanted them. When I sat down to play around with my new treasures, I realized that some of the beads would match my old and favorite shirt! This necklace and the matching earrings are simple, but perfect for a semi-casual top that is suitable for a walk in the woods, or going out for fish and chips with hubby. What I would love to do, and perhaps you may be interested, is to help create jewelry that goes with a new or old favorite outfit you have. We can go fancy, or simply, whatever you desire. I will be posting pieces at my etsy shop for fall, so if you see something you would like in colors that would match a particular ensemble, or you find a photo of a design you like, let's work together to create a one of a kind piece or set for you. Just drop me a line and we can talk.!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Foodie Friday - No Knead, Dutch Oven Bread

"Without bread, everyone's an orphan" is an Italian phrase any foodie should live by! Okay, that's if you aren't allergic to wheat...:-). I pooh pooh anyone who tries to say you should never eat bread though. What good is a bowl of hot steaming soup on a cold Autumn day without a nice hunk of crusty bread to sop up the juices with?! I wish I could take credit for this recipe, but I got it out of the Mother Earth News - Guide to Fresh Food All Year. An article by Roger Doiron shares his love of bread and a search for bread like he found in Europe. This loaf is easy to make although it does take time. It's well worth it though as it has that chewy crust and soft fine texture on the inside that you love in a good bread for soups and such. It makes a wonderful french toast as well, and the nice thing is that there's no fat or sugar and it uses very little yeast, as well as no requirement to knead the dough. I have to say that my bread came out just like the photo in the article and Kent loved this, so we will be having this again.
1/4 t. yeast
1 1/2 c. warm water
3 c. all purpose flour, wheat flour or a combination of. I used 2 cups white to one whole wheat
1 1/2 t. salt

In a large bowl dissolve yeast in the warm water. Add the salt and flour and blend well. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap if you have it and let the dough rest in a warm place for at least 8 but up to 12 to 18 hours. I started mine in the evening so I could finish it up the next day.
The dough is ready when the surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place the dough on it. Sprinkle it with a little flour and fold the dough over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or towel and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your work surface or to your fingers, gently shape it into a ball. Generously coat a clean dish towel with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal. I used both flour and cornmeal. Put the seam side of the dough down on the towel and dust with more flour. Cover with another towel and let rise for about 1 to 2 hours. When it's ready, the dough will have  doubled in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
At least 20 minutes before the dough is ready, heat you oven to 475 degrees. Put a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the over as it heats. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven and lift off the lid. Slide your had under the towle and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up. The dough will lose its shape a bit in the process, but that's okay. Give the pan a firm shake or two to help distribute the dough evenly, but don't worry if it's not perfect; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover ena bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake another 15 to 20 minutes until the loaf is beautifully browned. Remove the bread from the Dutch oven and let it cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Spicy Zucchini Relish

 Surprise, surprise, zucchini is cropping up everywhere! The two of us can't eat it all before it spoils and with a small apartment freezer we can't shred to freeze much either, so I did a google search and found several recipes that I tweaked to come up with a very delicious and spicy relish that will make your hotdog lover shout for more!
Here's my version of
Spicy Zucchini Relish
6 c. each finely chopped zucchini and cucumbers
4 c. each finely chopped onion and bell peppers, including half red peppers and a couple of hot jalepenos
Place all veggies in an enamelware or stainless steel pan or glass bowl. Sprinkle with 5 tablespoons of canning/pickling salt. Mix well. Cover and let sit over night, for about 8 hours and rinse. 
Sterilize 6 pint or 12 half pint jars and sets of lids for all. 
In a large pot combine:
4 cups white sugar
2 cups brown sugar
2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 T. curry powder
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 1/2 T. celery seed 
1 T. dry mustard powder
Add rinsed vegetables and bring to a boil. Turn down to a slow boil and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle into hot jars, straining a little of the syrup off if needed so relish is not soupy. Put lids on firmly and hot water bath for about 10 minutes. As an aside, many of the recipes called for 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch, but if the veggies are drained well before cooking, the sugar and vinegar mixture should be the perfect consistency when cool.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Apple Galette for Two

 There's almost nothing better than a rustic French apple tart or Galette to help usher in the Fall season. I cut the recipe in half because there are only two of us at home now, but if you double it this will serve 10 to 12 people. I started with 1 cup of flour into which I whisked in 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. I then added 5 tablespoons of cold butter cut up, and pinched it into the flour until all large lumps were gone. No photos I know, I had an OOPs! moment there. :-) Then I  took 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt and one of sour cream and stirred those in. I made a ball of dough and flattened it on a sheet of waxed paper and wrapped and put it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes while I made the filling. First though, I took two layers of tin foil and marked off a 10 inch circle using my springform pan. For a full size Galette you will need at least a 12 to 13 inch circle. Make sure the shiny side is facing down on the foil. Then I brushed on an eight inch circle of butter. The edges of the dough will be folded up over the fruit filling so you don't want it to stick to the foil.
 The filling consists of 2 generous cups of thin apple slices, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 3-4 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 heaping tablespoon flour. Gather for later, apple jelly or apricot preserves, ( I used this) and 3 tablespoons graham cracker or plain bread crumbs.
 Combine fruit, sugar, seasonings, nuts and flour and stir well. Now take out your disk of dough and roll it out into a 10 inch circle on your buttered foil with a floured rolling pin.
 Now you are ready to put this together. Whisk a tablespoon of water into an egg, and brush over dough. Now take 1/3 cup jelly or preserves and spread over that. Then sprinkle your crumbs over that and pour filling on top of that, mounding it to stay within an 8 inch area.
 Gently lift the crust edges to fold over the outside of the apple filling. Pinch cracks together and brush crust with egg wash. Sprinkle with a dusting of sugar over the whole thing. Slide the Galette, foil and all, onto a cookie sheet and bake on a lower rack in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, until the apples are done and the crust is golden brown.
 Brush a bit of fruit jelly or preserves over fruit to give it a nice shine.
Whalaa! Apple Galette for Two!  Serve with warm vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Soooo yummy Kent wants this for breakfast tomorrow. Enjoy!

Apple Galette for Two
1 cup flour
5 T. cold butter
2 T. sugar
1/2 t. salt
2 c. thinly sliced apples
1/4 c. chopped walnuts
3 T. brown sugar
1/4 t. each apple pie spice and nutmeg
1 T. lemon juice

1 egg whisked with 1 T. water
1/2 cup apple jelly or apricot preserves
 3 T. graham cracker or plain bread crumbs