About

I remember the oddest moments of my childhood. I remember jumping into a pile of leaves, getting shot in the eye with a rubber band by my brother and leafing through Ethan Allen catalogs imagining how I would redecorate my room (sorry mom). Now I take pictures for a living of other peoples lives and how they would like to live it. It's not always obvious which memories will shape your life or what will resonate with your family. My hope is to show the inspiration in the everyday and maybe even some exceptional stuff that might inspire my daughter, myself and maybe even you. I'm searching for the stuff to remember.

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Elevensies and Happy St Paddy’s

First of all, let me just give a shout out to my people today.  Instead of celebrating in the traditional irish way (drinking too much beer, puking in the street) I thought I might offer a slightly more wholesome option.  Something you could share with your friends and be proud of rather than skulking around in the shadows at work in fear that someone saw those Facebook pictures of you at McSorleys (too which I have never been I might add) dancing on the bar.  No, what I’m thinking of is a traditional Irish Soda Bread for that 11:00 snack- not breakfast, maybe “second” breakfast or more like the “I can’t quite make it to lunch” meal.  Thus “Elevensies”.  And you probably will need it if you were at McSorleys’ today so perhaps you should whip it up now and carry it to work with you on Tuesday………..

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Makes one round loaf

The addition of anise seeds and substitution of golden raisins for the more traditional currants results in a new - delicious - take on an beloved Irish staple. 

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup wheat germ

1/4 cup anise seeds

1 cup golden raisins

6 tablespoons cold unsalted sweet butter, cut into small pieces

1 2/3 cups fresh buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350.  

Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and wheat germ in a mixing bowl.  Add anise seeds and raisins and mix together.  Cut in butter and work gently and quickly until mixture looks like crumbly dry sand.  Stir in buttermilk, knead just enough to combine and pat dough into a round loaf shape, about 7 inches diameter.  Transfer loaf to a parchment lined baking sheet.  Score top of loaf with a sharp knife, dust lightly with flour and bake until loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when bottom is tapped, about 1 hour.  Let cool.  Serve with good butter and milky sweet tea. 

 

A Simple Fish (demystified)……

It may seem lame on my part but I always shy away from cooking fish because I’m just never sure what to do with it.  And I’m not up for something complicated and I’m really not up for anything FISHY.  I’m just a simple girl with wimpy seafood tastes.  I like my fish sweet, white and clean tasting, none of that bluefish fishiness please. So the lovely Ms Boswell has done it again and steered me toward a recipe that covers all my bases, a simple whole roasted Branzino.  This also breaks me out from  my usual purchase of either Cod,  Flounder, or Chilean Sea Bass.  So off to the fish monger we go………..

Whole Roast Fish
1 cup kosher salt
2 whole fish, such as Branzino or Dorade, about 2 pounds each, cleaned and gutted 1 lemon, thinly sliced
2 leeks, slit lengthwise rinsed free of sand
several sprigs fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour salt onto paper, creating a nice bed for fish to lie on.
Rinse fish and pat dry . Stuff each stomach cavity with lemon, leeks and thyme and arrange fish on salt bed. Roast about 35 minutes. Fish should feel hot and firm to the touch. The skin should start to loosen. Remove from oven, fillet fish and serve - discarding bones and the skin. Consider serving with boiled potatoes and sharp bitter greens or broccoli. Season with a drizzle of oil olive, a crack of black pepper and flaky sea salt. 

Cocoa for the cold

Well, its a real sh*t show out there with this nor’easter.  My shoots are moving and I’m here trying to put a bow on this day.  So in honor of Valentines Day and this crap weather, here are a few easy spirit lifting recipes.  

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Nothing say’s “I love you” like a truffle……

Chocolate Truffles makes about 30 

1/3 cup heavy cream

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

8 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

Scald cream in a small saucepan over medium low heat.  Add butter and vanilla and stir until melted. Remove from heat, add chocolate and stir until completely smooth. Transfer mixture into a clean shallow bowl . Cool, cover and refrigerate until firm, at least two hours. Roll mixture into one inch balls. Roll each ball into cocoa. Truffles keep refrigerated up to one week. Bring to room temperature before serving. 

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Hot Cocoa serves 4 

8 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for sprinkling

6 tablespoons white or brown sugar, or to taste

4 cups whole milk

1/2 vanilla bean- split and scraped

1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peak

Whisk together cocoa powder and sugar and about 2 tablespoons milk in a medium saucepan to form a thick paste. Set over medium heat and whisk in remaining milk and vanilla beans. Whisk until hot and frothy. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle of cocoa powder. 

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Cocoa Brownies
makes 16 generous brownies

1 (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not dutch processed), plus more for sprinkling

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter an 8 x 8 baking pan and line with parchment paper.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. Remove from heat, let cool slightly and whisk in sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Set aside.
Sift together dry ingredients and then add to butter mixture, stirring well to combine. Stir in chopped chocolate.
Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until center of brownies is just set - about 35 minutes. The sides will be puffed and slightly cracked with a papery top crust. Let cool on wire rack before serving. 

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And then there’s this vegan truffle, thanks to the lovely Susie Theodorou with a slight variation by Frances Luard.  I’ve no desire to ever be vegan but if something is good, its good and useful for the repertoire.  Especially these days with kids and allergies……although I wouldn’t dip these in frosting for an after school snack, they’re quite good on their own!

Fruit and Nut Cocoa Truffles
makes about 30


2 cups (about 6 ounces) walnuts
1 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
16 plump medjool dates, pitted and chopped
8 soft dried figs, choppped
4 tablespoon agave
2 tablespoons cocoa nibs
1 recipe Cocoa Frosting

Combine walnuts and cocoa in food processor and process until nuts are roughly chopped.  Add cardamon, salt, dates and figs and pulse to combine.  Add agave and process just until mixture comes together.  Stir in cocoa nibs.  Form mixture into 1 inch balls and refrigerate about 1 hour.  



Cocoa Frosting
1 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted
1 1/4 cup agave
1/2 cup coconut oil

Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.  Carefully dip prepared fruit and nut bowls into frosting, allowing excess to drip away.  Transfer to a wire rack and chill at least one hour before serving.  

Juicy

I find myself flat out down with whatever the current “bug” of the day is or perhaps even a cocktail of several. Yay.  At any rate, this blast of vitamin C is what I’m craving as I lie here with a box of tissues and a load of editing to do.  For your own blast of “C”, I recommend the blended juicing of the blood orange mixed with the pink grapefruit.  Exceptionally yummy.  Happy healthy day to all!image

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Molds

Lord knows this house doesn’t need any more collections of ANYTHING but here it is, as defined by the master collector Mr Fritz Karch “a collection is anything over 5”.  So there you go, a mold collection in the making.  I believe these are both chocolate molds and ice cream molds.  Maybe we will even get inspired here and make something with them.

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

It’s insanely cold today.  The fire is a must, the chestnuts are a bonus.

My Mother’s Jam Tarts

My mother used to make these tarts every time she made a pie.  She would use the left over pie dough, or in our case, make extra because we loved them so much.  She thinks she may have picked it up from my grandmother (my guess is yes) but since she’s fuzzy on the details I’m going to give Joey the credit here.

All you need to make these is pie dough, a nice firm jam like the Bonne Maman Cherry Preserves and a sprinkling of sugar.  My mother makes her pie dough with shortening, a leftover from the depression era baking that went on during her childhood I imagine but I like mine with butter as well so I almost always use Julia Child’s Flaky Pie Dough (see "I Don’t Mean To Brag" post for recipe).  You just need a healthy sprinkling of sugar when they come out of the oven to sweeten the deal. 

Roll out pie dough and cut with biscuit cutter.

Place about a teaspoon of jam in the bottom, make an x in the middle of the top to release the heat (or they explode!) and crimp the edges with a fork.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 min.

One pie dough recipe yields about a dozen tarts………..