Thursday, July 21, 2011

Flowers for our Outdoor Table

Just a quick post today.  Last Saturday, we had just a few friends over for a late lunch.  I panicked for flowers and picked a few in the backyard.  The bark was from our ranch in Napa.  I slid in some oval glass vases inside the bark opening to hold and keep the flowers fresh. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Hockey Puck (Bread)

Something that I've always wanted to try.  Sourdough bread.  Made from my own sourdough starter.  It's something that's always been in the back of my mind.  My kids love sourdough bread, and since we live so close to San Francisco, it's easy to get in every grocery store around.  But, I wanted to make my own.  I followed the directions, here, for no-knead sourdough bread, on MaryJanesFarm

The sourdough starter consists of just organic flour and distilled water.    After a week of adding and stirring (which just took one minute a day), I made my first two loaves.  Without adding any additional yeast.  The bread tasted and smelled fabulous!  It just didn't rise. 

The yeast was still quite young and maybe was not strong enough to rise, much.  Or, the fact that I forgot a few times and put in water from the tap (which has added chemicals in it which might hurt the wild yeast) might have hurt the yeast.  But, I'm not defeated.  My family loved the bread and gave me encouragement.  So, I'm trying again, starting a new starter, today, and will let you know how it turns out. 

Have any of you attempted your own sourdough starter?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Baked Alaska Birthday

I wanted to surprise Colin.  When we took our Akaska cruise last summer, the one absolute standout dessert was the Baked Alaska.  So, I went for it for this special boy's birthday.  It was waaayyy easier than I thought it would be to make - you should all try it!  In the picture, above, the cake had been sitting out for a few minutes while I was getting pictures and was melting.  I recommend using a rimmed serving plate for containment.

I used a chocolate cake recipe - you could even use a mix.  I used chocolate chip cookie dough and vanilla ice creams.  His friends were amazed - everyone asked for 2nds.  One dad called me up a few days later, saying that he was asking his son what he wanted for dessert and listing impossible items for fun - such as Baked Alaska!  His son said he'd love some as he just had it at Colin's birthday.  So, get out your bowls, ladies.  You shouldn't miss this one.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Black Bean Soup

My oldest boy came home from camp one day this week saying he was sick.  His favorite soup when he's not feeling well is Campbell's chicken noodle.  Luckily I had a big can, so he had some for snack and then I planned on giving him some for dinner.  For myself, I just couldn't swallow (hee hee) the idea of CCN, so I thought I would make some black bean soup.  One of MOTH's most favorites.  I serve it with toppings in ramekins so that everyone can add in what they want (tomatoes, onions, cilantro, cheese, avocado, sour cream, etc.).  Since the temperature outside was pretty mild (mid 70's, today) the soup was pure comfort. 

I also made popovers.  They come out so huge and impressive (even bigger than the picture, below), and there was not a single one left. 

All in all, a lovely meal for a mild summer evening (and even more perfect for the winter.  I just couldn't wait that long.) 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Last First Tooth Fairy Visit

The five-year-old ("I'm 5 1/2, Mom!" he would say) lost his first tooth this evening.  So, like I did for the others, I tried to make it special.  Wow, how things have changed.  There were so many pictures and blogs to google at.  I found this beautiful box to print out, cut and glue. 

When I finally located the beautiful tooth fairy image at the top, I wrote a teeny, tiny letter, added the photo and printed it out.  I used the fancy edging scissors to give the letter a scallop-like edge.  Then I wrapped the letter and a dollar up in tulle with a sparkly ric rak ribbon and put it in the box.  Crossing my fingers he'll be pleased....