Monday, April 30, 2012


We got a good rain this's not a good day to be outside.

so, I decided to bake.

I've been drooling over all the beautiful photos of French pastries on
the blog,  Raids-Patisserie.

and,  since I have never made Financiers (small buttery cakes) comme Les Madeleines,

I gathered all the necessary ingredients, and got busy.

I ground the almonds,
I browned the butter,
I separated the eggs,
I combined the flour, salt, almond meal,
I whipped the egg whites,
I folded the whites, browned butter, vanilla
    with the dry mixture.
I generously buttered the small individual brownie/muffin tin,
I filled the tin with airy batter,
I baked it for 9 minutes in a 400º preheated oven.

They puffed up....
then came down.

They are cooling on a rack,
but look and smell
like perfection.

I want to eat one,
but I know they'll be better if I wait.

I found the recipe's another keeper.  I used this recipe.

Here's another recipe and tells more about the origin of the Financier.

I gave in and ate one,  oh. my. gosh.  pure delight!

Definitely, brown the butter!!!  The taste is superb,  it's somewhat caramel flavored, not too sweet, very moist and buttery, with crunchy, crispy tops, bottoms, and sides.

My daughter browns the butter for her chocolate chip cookie recipe, and it is marvelous, so I knew I had to brown the butter in this recipe.  I strained the butter in a very fine strainer.  The  butter was a definite brown color, but not burnt.

I only got 9 Financiers from this recipe when it calls for 12.

Yum, yum, yum !

Now, I've got to pace myself, so I don't finish them off today.....


Sunday, April 29, 2012



Spring sure does bring new things my way....whether I like them, or not!  In years past, I've had a  grey fox family and a skunk family living under my deck during the winter months, only to emerge in the early Spring, to frolic on my deck.  They all moved on to other parts with a little help from the wildlife trapper!

And, now, this year brings:


"Who's there?"  ........ (no joke)...... 

"It's that damn woodpecker again!"

 Almost every morning, between 5 am  and 8 am ,  the Northern Flicker,  bless its little heart,  comes-a-knocking on my roof.  It especially likes the metal of the exhaust fans.  It whacks away for about 10 minutes, then flies on to another roof, or so I assume.

One day, I ran outside to observe this happening, carefully noting the bird's plumage.  After finding a website for woodpeckers, I was able to identify the culprit...a Northern Flicker.  He, or she, or both, rap on rooftops or metal objects to warn other birds to stay out of their territory...might be a mating thing, too. 

I don't know how long this will go on, I'm hoping it will stop real soon.  << Hey,  I'm retired, I have no use for an alarm clock. >>

from :   cave of the                               Pretty bird, nasty habit.....

If you're interested in learning more or listening to the sounds of this bird,    click here

Never a dull moment,


Thursday, April 26, 2012


my backyard

Hello all,

Spring continues in my yard, with new blossoms each day. Just as the last of the tulips begin their retreat, the iris and the trees commence.....

Dans mon coin du monde, where I live, we've had just enough rain and plenty of sunshine to help all the flowers to bloom.  The grass is a beautiful green, as well as the new leaves on the trees and shrubbery.  Just as the trees were beginning to show their gorgeous blossoms, the wind intervened to reduce their usual abundant amount. 

Our nights have been cold, still some frost happening, so I've delayed sowing seeds in my Earth Boxes.  I do have a few very hardy lettuce seeds that sprouted on their own after surviving the winter weather...I love those few that are not willing to die, no matter what the conditions.

This is one of the five hardy and determined lettuce plants.

Here are the latest additions to my yard.

These are dwarf irises....max height is 6-7 inches.

more dwarf iris...I bought one small plant about 5 years ago,  now I keep dividing and planting elsewhere in my yard.

Normal height iris...this grouping is loaded with buds, can you see them?

Normal height iris
Crab Apple blossoms

Wild Cherry Tree,  very large,   25-30 feet tall

This Wild Cherry Tree produces lots of very small red cherries in the Fall....... the birds' favorite place to chow down!     Sad to say, none for moi.

I haven't been spending all my time in the yard,  I continue to  occupy the kitchen, too,  making food I love to eat.  That will be coming in a later post.

À bientôt,


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pastry dough

After reading Monday's post by Danielle @ Paris Pastry, I decided to try the recipe she wrote about....and it was great.

I'm always trying to find a good recipe for dough, especially for pastry, and this one was a hit with me. I'm just sorry I didn't take some photos along the way.  I didn't really like the almond filling so much, but the dough was wonderful....puffy, light, and crispy after coming from the oven.

I  followed the recipe for the dough exactly as written.  I used just half of the recipe for the pastries (6) and put the other half of the dough in the freezer. 
Here's the recipe for just the dough:  This is a keeper!!

Processor Danish Pastry: Nigella Lawson - How To Be A Domestic Goddess

- ¼ cup warm water
- ½ cup milk, at room temperature
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 ¼ cups white bread flour - 1 package, ¼ ounce rapid-rise yeast or 1 tablespoon fresh yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into thin slices

- Pour the water and milk into a measuring cup and add the egg, beating with a fork to mix. Put aside. Put flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a food processor and give a quick whizz, just to mix. Add the cold slices of butter and process briefly so that the butter is cut up a little, though you still want visible chunks of at least ½ inch. Empty the contents of the food processor into a large bowl and quickly add the contents of the jug. Fold the ingredients together, but don’t overdo it; expect to have a gooey mess with some butter lumps pebbled through it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, put in the fridge and leave overnight or up to 4 days.
- To turn it into pastry, take it out of the fridge, let it get to room temperature ***I didn't let my dough get to room temperature*** and roll it out to a 20-inch square. Fold the dough square into thirds, like a business letter, turning it afterwards so that the closed fold is on your left, like the spine of a book. Roll out again to a 20-inch square, repeating the steps above 3 times. Cut in half, wrap both pieces and store in the fridge for 30 minutes before using, or the freezer to store.


Also, put on the egg glaze before baking.

 Ingredients for egg glaze:
- 1 large egg, beaten with
- 2 tablespoons milk

When baking the pastry, it only takes 15-20 minutes @ 350 degrees.

Now, I'm trying to decide what to fill the next round of pastries with....I like lemon curd,  and prune filling....maybe apple or cherry filling....????

Hope you're all having great days, and the weather is perking everything up in your neck of the woods.


Thursday, April 12, 2012


Back again....


Hi, to all,

I had a nice surprise yesterday while at my local supermarket....sweet little peppers.  I know, je sais, they are not anything really new, but these were new to my store packaged in a big bag.

I love peppers, not green peppers so much, but red, yellow, and orange peppers,  hmmm,  yes, I do!  I usually buy the big sized ones to just cut into small pieces to eat as snack food.  As we know, they are tasty and good for us.  But NOW, I can get a big bag of little peppers and pop them in my mouth like candy. How much fun is this!  Okay, I know, it's probably no big deal to you, but it sure revved up my excitement meter.

Thank you Bailey Farms, you made my day.

These won't last very long.

All of the peppers are this size....just a few bites will do it.

Going to the grocery store can really be a drag with seeing the same old stuff, so a new package of these Sweeties--mini peppers--sure did brighten my shopping trip.

Gotta go and load up on another handful of these yummy morsels,


Friday, April 6, 2012


Well, I have not been cooking much lately....other things have drawn me away from the kitchen.  I just finished reading a trilogy which kept me busy for awhile.

Yesterday I was reading a blog post by Carol G. < Paris Breakfasts> and she was naming some ways to listen to French language.  One of the ways was to tune into On Va Déguster to listen to interviews on I did.  I randomly selected one interview which had a couple of chefs who are known for their crêpes.  It was interesting and it certainly will help me understand the language, at least I hope so.

As I am a lady of leisure's great!....I decided to make some crêpes.  I've made them many times in the past, but this would be the first time in quite a long time.  They are so easy to make and so versatile.  I made a small batch, just 6, and used the first one today for lunch.

I decided to have one filled with brown rice and asparagus spears, topped with an onion and baby portobello cream sauce.  I did all the prep work yesterday, so I just had to cook the crêpes and assemble it all today.  It was delish...and quite filling too.

the mushroom cream sauce.....the yellow is a piece of butter melting for extra richness and sheen

if you use melted butter in the batter, make it earlier and keep in the refrig, and use a non-stick pan, it won't stick......

it looks thick in this photo but it's not.....

some of my blue and white antiques bought in Geneva, Switzerland 30 years ago.......pretty

isn't it looking lovely?           even fresh picked chives from my garden......

Later on in the day, I ate another one of the 6 filled with raspberry jam....yum, yum.

Now, I am contemplating how to use the remaining four....hmmmmm.  So far, I've decided to fill one with scrambled eggs and salmon for brunch tomorrow;  then, fill one with chicken and lentils; next, for my sweet tooth, I'm going to fill one with my homemade vanilla ice cream and top it with my homemade caramel sauce with a touch of homemade chocolate sauce. That leaves just one to go....maybe another one filled with rice and asparagus laced with more mushroom sauce since I have those left over from the first one. 

Voilà,   c'est tout.

Happy Easter, 


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hi all,

Now that Spring is here...very early for it to be here, too....I've got yard and garden items on my list of things to get done.  Yesterday, I bought potting soil to refresh the flower pots and organic fertilizer to help the little ones get a good start. I also bought some grass seed to scatter over an area that didn't fare so well in our hot weather last summer.  The yard crew has even mowed my lawn already.

It's already like our summer months here, in the high 70's and low '80's....pretty nice, even if bizarre.  I need to buy seeds for my edible greens, also.  I like to have my Earth boxes full of spinach, chard, and a mix of salad greens, that way, I always have fresh produce to make a salad.  In the past, I've grown tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, peas, beans, potatoes, and beets in the boxes or in the small plot in my yard.  Now that I'm traveling more, it's hard to maintain so many different vegetables. 

The trees have leafed out, I'm just waiting for all the blooms to appear.  The daffodils are in bloom and the tulips also.

the chive is ready to eat.......

I've planted so many bulbs through the years since I purchased this house, but it seems the damn squirrels dig them up to eat.  The rabbits eat only a certain bulb's foliage and flowers, too. I watch it appear every Spring knowing full well that the next day it will be nibbled down almost to the soil! Oh, well......

The nights have been cold lately, so the new growth has slowed down.  I kind of like it that way, it spreads out the beauty over a longer period of time. 

Have you colored your eggs.....hope so!

Happy Easter!