Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Quilt of Dreams

If you have been reading this blog for sometime you know that a little over a year ago I started a quilt. The quilt was meant for TBHITW and my new home. The home that we had been dreaming about. 

On over 12 acres of pristine land.

A log home located on land with a federally protected trout stream; clean water, fresh air, room to roam.

And a garden and animals.

But some dreams are not meant to be.

But a quilt was started nontheless.  On February 8th, 2010 to be exact. And completed today, March 22th. 2011.

Quilt update.

I remember in March of 2010, as I was beginning the actual quilting of the fabric, after all the cutting and piecing and sewing, asking TBHITW to add just a few stitches to the quilt in his own hand, him balking.. after some coaching, he finally did. I am so pleased that those two random stitches exist in this completed homespun creation. It will warm me for years to come. Just two random stitches, guided by my hand and my needle and my thread.. who could predict that a single thread could mean so much.

Old time quilters will tell you that you have to name your quilt. I named mine:
Photo Edited by Linda (TBHITW'S Wife)

Tonight, I sleep under a thousand stitches in time. The most beautiful stitches made by TBHITW.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sweet and Salty - Fudgie Brownies with Salted Caramel Frosting

Spring has finally arrived here in the Northeast.

The change of the season from winter to spring, although much anticipated, has brought back a flood of memories of springs gone by. Leisurely walks, holding hands, spring clean up. All the things we did together are now done alone, no hand in mine. The sweetness of memories, the saltiness of tears.

Fudgie Brownie Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting: makes 8

For the brownie cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Line a cupcake pan with 8 papers.

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder

In a heavy saucepan, over very low heat melt the butter and chocolate until smooth and combined. Remove from heat and add the sugar, egg, salt, flour, vanilla and baking powder. Stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed.

Scoop batter into the cupcake liners.
Bake for 18-20 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool on a wire rack.

In the meantime, make the caramel:

1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat to boiling point over medium high heat. Do not stir. Watch the pot carefully, when the mixture begins to turn amber, give it a swirl and continue to cook until golden brown. Remove from heat. Add the vanilla, cream and salt very, very slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon until smooth and completely blended. Set aside to cool.

For the frosting:

1 stick (8 ounces) salted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons milk or cream
kosher salt

Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla  and milk or cream until just combined. Beat in the caramel and salt and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Taste. You should get sweet and salty in the same bite. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt if necessary and beat to incorporate. Spoon the frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tube.

Pipe onto cooled brownie cupcakes. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts (optional)

Savor every sweet and salty moment in your life.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Shrove Tuesday, Fast NOT

I originally posted this recipe last year - just in time for Fastnacht Day (Fast Not).

Tomorrow is the day before the official start of Lent. A traditional time of fasting in many communities. Whether you follow this tradition or not I promise this is a sweet treat to savor on any Tuesday.


Fasnacht Day

May the lean days of Lent lead you to a spring surplus.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pan Seared Pork Tenderloin and Roasted Golden Beet Salad Dressing

I was staring into my refrigerator on Sunday morning trying to decide what to do with a fresh pork tenderloin. Still undecided I retired to my office and began reading emails. A comment from The Mother @ The Mother's Handbook caught my eye and we began a quick chat via email. She mentioned that she had made my recipe for sage crusted pork chops and I mentioned my indecision on how to prepare today's pork tenderloin and she mentioned that she marinated her pork tenderloin in orange juice and soy sauce and well... the wheels started turning in my head and the gastric juices started to churn and voila:

Pan Seared Orange/Soy Pork Tenderloin was born.

As an extra bonus I discovered the last two golden beets from my summer CSA hiding out in the vegetable bin underneath the carrots. I decided to roast them and make a salad dressing from one of them; saving the other to slice onto fresh Boston lettuce, carrots and feta cheese. Hungry yet?

Okay. Let's get started.

For the tenderloin:

1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, smashed
salt and pepper

Salt and pepper the tenderloin and rub with the smashed garlic cloves. Place the orange juice and soy sauce in a zip lock bag or shallow bowl and add the tenderloin. Marinate for 20 minutes or up to an hour. Did you know that most of the flavor profile is transferred in the first 20 minutes of marinating? Ten minutes if we're talking fish. Anyhoo....

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

When finished marinating, remove from bag and dredge in Panko bread crumbs. Heat a small amount of olive oil in an oven proof saute pan until oil is shimmering. Add the tenderloin and brown on three sides. Turn onto the unbrowned side and immediately place the saute pan and tenderloin into the oven. Roast for about 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees F. Remove from oven, tent and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

dredged in Panko

A quick sear browning

Finished and ready to enjoy
Roasted Golden Beet Dressing:

Wrap 2 golden beets in foil and roast in the a 400 degree oven for 45 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center of the beet slides in easily.

Let cool and slip skins off. Slice beets into half moons. Set half of the sliced beets aside. Take the other half of the beets and place in blender or food processor. Add three tablespoons of sherry vinegar and process until almost smooth. With blender running, drizzle in by the tablespoon 7 to 9 tablespoons of high quality extra virgin olive oil. Blend to emulsify. Correct seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. The dressing will be very thick and fluffy.

Arrange torn fresh Boston lettuce leaves on a large platter, sprinkle with matchstick carrots and feta cheese. Arrange the rest of the golden beets on top of the greens. Add dressing and enjoy!

A Cook's Notes: If you don't have golden beets, red beets will work just fine and are absolutely just as beautiful and nutritious.

I want to thank all of you who comment on my blog, send me emails of encouragement and keep me and my family in your thoughts and prayers. The season is changing and so am I.. slowly, slowly, I am coming out of the fog. I still have my days and nights where grief brings me to my knees but thankfully they are not as frequent and seem to pass a bit faster. I pray that spring will be a new awakening for us all.
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