10 December 2012

Pate de Campagne

09 December 2012

A Smartpen adventure....

01 December 2012

Beaujolais Wine Fondue

If you happened to stop into The Boulevard Market today you were in for a special sampling of Beaujolais Wine Fondue!!

A really easy and fun appetizer or dessert that's a little "fancy" and suits the holiday season beautifully!  (Sorry, still no pics, I need to buy more space and I haven't done it yet!)

We just Beaujolais Nouveau  since it is so trendy right now (and there was an extra cup hanging around :))  I also think the Beaujolais is nice since it's fruity and light.  You could easily use any wine you want, including white!  We paired our fondue up for dipping with a Cranberry/Raisin Focaccia bread and Cubes of Quicke's Farmhouse Cheddar from England.  BIG HIT!!  Hope you'll try it out!

2 cups dry wine
1 cup sugar
6 teaspoons dry pectin

Combine wine and sugar in a large saucepan over high heat.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and allow to reduce about 25 minutes or until approximately 1 cup of liquid remains.  Stir in pectin and boil 1 minute, then remove from heat.  Allow to cool to warm and serve!

BTW; this would be AMAZING over ice cream.....

27 November 2012

Cranberry Orange Quick Bread

With Thanksgiving just behind us, I had an extra bag of cranberries in the fridge begging to be used!

(BTW, I didn't freeze nearly enough cranberries last year and had to buy a bag in August....the only store that stocked them was Whole Foods and I paid $4.89 for 10 ounces, ouch.  Putting several bags in freezer as we speak, on sale for $1.88/12 ounces, very nice.)

I wanted a little something sweet, but not too sugary.  I did an internet search for fresh cranberry bread recipe and of course several options popped up.  None of them seemed to be exactly what I was looking for, so I altered Martha Stewarts to fit my taste buds.  Here's what I came up with:

4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces cranberries
1/4 cup candied peel, cut into 1/4 inch pieces

1 tablespoon turbinado or raw sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest

(I prepare the orange zest mixed with raw sugar in larger batches and keep in a ziploc baggie in the freezer for use on truffles, sugar cookies, gingerbread and garnishing an espresso or cappucino.  Zest of 1 orange mixed with 4 Tablespoons raw sugar, mix to combine and let dry overnight on parchment lined sheet pan)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 9X5 bread pan.  I like glass bread pans as they don't brown the crust as quickly as the metal pans do.

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, egg, milk, orange juice and vanilla.  In another large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.  Stir together until a stiff batter has formed and stir in cranberries and candied peel.  Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with raw sugar/orange zest combination.

Bake 1 hour-1 hour 10 minutes checking with a cake tester.  Remove and let cool in pan 15 minutes then turn out onto a baking rack or parchment paper.

It turned out amazing!  Moist and tart, with bits of candied peel and a crunchy sweet top layer instead of icing!

A note about candied peel.  I included the recipe in my cookbook "Seasons In My Kitchen" because I think grocery store peel is one of my top ten nastiest foods.  Candied peel are super easy to make and winter is the best time as all the citrus shipped here in Michigan is at it's peak!  I usually peel whatever citrus we are eating and keep them in the fridge for a few days until we have enough to make it worth the effort.  I mix grapefruit, orange and lemon, occasionally I separate them, especially the lime.  I then store it in the freezer up to a year to save cabinet space, but any airtight container will work and they will keep shelf stable for a couple months!  Dip the peel into melted dark chocolate for a fabulous holiday treat or add to any number of baked goods....you'll never go back to commercially prepared peel!

Another note...there are no photos because Google is being a shit and making me pay for more space.  Sorry.  I'm being stubborn on principle for a couple days :)

14 November 2012

Gifts From My Kitchen

Each year I look for some fun ideas for giving the gift of food.  The landscape is getting a bit harder to traverse however since folks are now gluten-free, nut-free, caffeine free, sugar free and on it goes.  I used to give lots of homemade booze gifts, had to scratch that too. 

So instead of being down and out about it...I'm starting with the younger generation :) 

This year, I am putting together Sugar Cookie Kits!  3 different colors of sanding sugars and 2 rolls of homemade refrigerator sugar cookie dough.  I am also including cute sheets of parchment paper in a polka dot pattern, all boxed up in a small crate!

I am giving the first set to our daughters.  They are busy girls that have very little in the way of baking supplies and time.  Viola...slice, sugar and bake!  I think that also makes this gift appealing to young children (mostly their parents :)) that there is no need for rolling pins, flour, cutters, etc.

I found the idea for the sanding sugar on ...wait for it....Pinterest!  Surprise!  The surprise was on me when it turned out so well!  I only had liquid food coloring on hand, so if you have paste food coloring, that would be really fun and expand your coloring options too!

You can poke around the internet for some cute printable cards to print the baking instructions on. Or if your printer is possessed like mine, hand print on a piece of card stock and run ribbon through 4 slits cut into the center of each edge with a box cutter.

I think the sky is the limit as to how cute you can make this gift!  I'm also sending one to our neighbors that have 2 small children and my niece and nephew that are teenagers but live with their dad and recently moved to a new home.....they really need cookies. 


¼ cup raw or turbinado sugar
10 drops of food coloring

Place sugar in small zip top bag, add food coloring drops directly to sugar and gently knead sugar until color is evenly distributed.  Pour out onto a sheet of parchment and allow to dry 2 hours.


1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy on medium speed.  Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Turn mixer speed to low and alternately add dry ingredients and milk until a smooth dough has formed.  

Shape dough into a log and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until firm.  Slice dough into 1/3 inch thick slices and bake on a parchment lined sheet for 8-10 minutes.

Dough lasts 7 days in fridge or can be frozen up to 3 months.




12 November 2012

Lenawee Magazine Recipes; Truffles & Pumpkin Fondue

I hope you have enjoyed the article in Lenawee Magazine!  It was great fun working with Amie, Lad, Vicki and Sue for such a lovely photo spread.  Many thanks also go out to Sandy Heckerthorn, Linda Prochaska and John (my husband) for being such good sports and expert peelers, choppers and overall helping hands!  I couldn't have done it without you!

If you DIDN'T receive the Lenawee Magazine, feel free to give The Daily Telegram a call at 517.265.5111 and they can point you in the right direction!

The Pumpkin Fondue is simple, elegant and delicious.  It's hearty enough to serve as a side dish to your meal or as an appetizer.  If you are cooking for a smaller crowd, you can adjust the recipe by half as well.  You can see my original recipe post here with additional notes and photos of the assembly.

Pumpkin Fondue

1 5lb-ish PIE pumpkin (do not use jack o lantern type pumpkin)
1 lb. Cheese- 1/2 lb. Gruyere and 1/2 lb. Emmentaler
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups stock, vegetable, chicken or veal
a generous pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
10 1/4 inch thick baguette slices, toasted until dry and crispy
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
a pinch of Salt
Remainder of Baguette sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices for eating

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut top off pumpkin and clean out seeds. Sprinkle salt onto inside flesh of pumpkin.

Chop or grate cheeses and set aside. Bake baguette slices until crunchy and golden brown. Mix heavy cream, stock and nutmeg together.

Place pumpkin into shallow roasting dish and layer baguette slices, then cheese, then cream mixture into 2 layers inside pumpkin. You may have baguette slices left over.

Put pumpkin top back on. Rub exterior of pumpkin with olive oil. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and pumpkin is golden brown. Using 2 spatulas, remove from baking dish carefully and place on platter. Serve with additional baguette slices or as a side dish. You'll want to scoop up the roasted pumpkin flesh with all the cheese as you are serving or eating!

 12 ounces Bittersweet Chocolate chopped into small pieces
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean seeds

In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring cream to just boiling.  Remove from heat, add chocolate and vanilla and stir until completely melted.

Allow to cool in refrigerator about an hour.  Using a teaspoon, melon baller or small scoop, create truffle balls, rolling gently in hands.  You'll want to work it quickly in your hands to avoid melting.

Finish by rolling in cocoa powder, raw sugar, colored sugar crystals, even coconut or crushed candy canes!  Use your imagination!    

For the magazine, I zested an orange and mixed the zest with about the same amount of raw sugar.  I let the mixture dry on parchment paper overnight then crushed it between my fingers and rolled just the top of the truffle in the orange/sugar.  

Place the truffles on a parchment lined baking and refrigerate an additional hour.  Then place in an airtight container, between layers or waxed/parchment paper in a cool place and they should last about 2 weeks.

NOTE: Bittersweet chocolate is between 65%-75% cacao.  The lower the number, the sweeter the chocolate.  Milk Chocolate will not firm up in this recipe, so I recommend using the bittersweet.  If you'd like the truffles sweeter, make sure to use the 65% bar and roll in a sugar.

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we have!  Happy Holidays!


10 November 2012

Pear Conserve

Photo Credits to Debra Pietrangelo-Thank you for sharing, you're so gifted!

 Downtown Tecumseh hosted my very favorite event last night; Holiday Open House.  Our downtown was decked out in white fairy lights, horse drawn carriages, burning barrels, carolers and more.  It's an extremely charming evening.

I apologize to my visitors for running out of recipe cards, so here you go!!  Pear Conserve; lovely on cheese, scones, ice cream or the Effie's Nutcakes we served it on.  It's a taste of Autumn and a great taste to kickoff your holiday season!


2 ½ cups fresh pears, peeled, cored and chopped
½ cup water
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice (bottled if canning)
1.75 ounce package of pectin
1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup raisins
1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large saucepan over high heat, combine water, pears and lemon juice to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir in pectin, increase heat and bring back to a full boil, stirring constantly.  Stir in sugar and raisins.  Return to a boil and allow to boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.   Remove from heat and stir in pecans and cinnamon.  Ladle into a sterilized jar, wipe rim and attach lid.  Process in hot water bath for 15 minutes.  Yields 2 2/3 cups- approximately 2 half pints plus a little leftover to eat right away!

04 November 2012

Aperitif anyone?

Autumn is a favorite food time for me.  I'm always in love with a slow cooked dish and sides of fresh vegetables from the garden.

Autumn is also a time when my life gets very hectic owning a retail store.  We are hosting events, preparing stock for the holidays, etc.

I need a bit of time to catch my breath after work and begin to wind down.

For several years, John and I have loved having an aperitif before beginning our evening.  Usually a little cordial glass with a cold splash of Pomme de Normandy, Lillet or Banyuls, depending on the season.

Aperitifs are meant to prepare/stimulate your appetite and that they do!  If you'd like to read more about the history of the aperitif, check out this link!

I am super excited that Dolin Vermouth and Cocchi Americano and Vermouth are now available in Michigan.  I love the fact they are full of real herbs and spices (healthy, yes?) and cannot wait to start exploring the world of vermouth!

I also love their very European and occasionally retro bottle art!  I always believe the entire experience should be beautiful and visuals do make a difference.

I recently splurged on glassware for our "experience" as well which adds to the overall feel of this slice of time being special.  I like the fluted sides, and it allows me to either drink my aperitif "neat", over ice, or add a slice of lemon zest.  Some of our cordial glasses are too small to allow that.

Years ago I read something or other about Europeans, their art and visual beauty and the basic gist was that

 {....You don't have to OWN art and beauty, you simply have to see it, appreciate it and take enjoyment of the moment that you are experiencing it....}.

I really love this concept and it explains clearly why Europe is so beautiful in it's buildings, museums, shopping, even the smallest things are meant to visually please and inspire.  I am trying to be a bit more like that everyday.  Create a small piece of beauty to enjoy.


26 October 2012

Resuming my previous life

The Cookbook "Seasons In My Kitchen" Winter Edition has finally went to the printers yesterday!!  Since this is small cookbook, a volume, if you will, I didn't have nearly the time invested as most writers, but WHEW!

Yesterday was a beautiful October day and I got to resume my previous life of snapping photos, cooking, playing with the pups.....it's the same life but I didn't have a project looming.  Very liberating for a few days!

I didn't take any photos of prepared foods......
I started a new novel.....
I visited with the neighbors.....
I hung up a really cute Halloween bat garland in my kitchen window.....
I enjoyed a beautiful bouquet from Whole Foods......
I planted tulip bulbs for next spring.....

Even though it's Friday, it's back to business!  I have Pup Trick or Treat arrangements to be made and biscuits to be baked!

13 October 2012

A moment in time

Last week, a friend sent me a historical photograph of Tecumseh, Michigan. 

She thought I would be interested in seeing the building that we own which currently houses The Boulevard Market and our other businesses.  It's the building with the railroad sign in front of it.

 I had to share it with you!  I am entranced by the life depicted, the lamps glowing, the horse/carriages and early automobiles, also by our building's facade that no longer exists.


04 October 2012

Chex Mix

Oh how I would love to meet the creator of Chex Mix.  I would swoon over their recipe of salty, crunchy, buttery amazing-ness of hot from the oven Chex mix.

I am a savory, buttery, salty person.  What are you?  I think it's why I love cheese so much, and shortbread and sea salt caramels.

Chex Mix falls into that category for me.  Cripes, I don't even add the wheat Chex or peanuts or pretzels (well sometimes) anymore.  I just mix the rice and corn Chex and am crunching away in 20 minutes!!

As I watched the first Presidential debates, I consumed 3/4 of the batch.  Yes, I have gotten 4 days worth of essential vitamins and minerals from the cereal in 2 hours.  Yes, it was worth every bite.  I should have brushed my teeth twice...the garlic is seeping out my pores. 

I'm finishing the rest this morning for breakfast.  Possibly with a Coca-cola. Before 9am.    

My recipe is simple;

8 cups Chex cereal of your choice (a mix of wheat, corn and rice is what normal folks do)
1 cup stick pretzels
6 Tablespoons Butter
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Melt butter in large pot on stove over medium heat.  When butter has melted, add garlic powder, Worcestershire Sauce and stir.  Pour in cereal and pretzels, gently stir to coat.  Place mixture on a baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes until crispy.  Eat immediately, or have more self control than me and allow to cool.  Store in an airtight container. 


03 October 2012

Dog Shaming

Recently my Mother-in-law sent me an email with all of these "dog shaming" photos.  Of the 20 or so included, honestly, I think this is just too hilarious NOT to share!!!

It's Wednesday and I know I needed a huge laughing, tears rolling down my face, start to my day.  I hope this brings you one too!  (and be appreciative that your dog doesn't exhibit this type of behavior, or does he?)

02 October 2012

Pesto making commences...

I think it was the 3 liters of Extra Virgin Olive Oil that tipped them off!

All of a sudden John brought home a baguette, Jamie was discussing homemade pasta.....

Pesto season has officially started for the week!

I had planted 5 basil plants in my garden this year.  The lack of rain did stunt their growth a bit, but I think it intensified the flavor!

I gathered all of the essentials; Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, pine nuts, EVOO, garlic and washed/dried basil leaves.

I never use a real recipe, I just chuck it all into the blender and let 'er rip.  Taste, adjust, taste, pour into some sterilized  jars or plastic containers and pop in the freezer!

Last year when pine nuts were in the ballpark of $40 per pound, I used walnuts instead and it was fantastic, so don't feel too obligated to use pine nuts if you don't have them.

One whole basil plant is simply for slicing the leaves thinly and covering with olive oil to protect it from the air and going into the freezer.  I love to use that all winter as well for garnishes and cooking.  As long as the leaves are fully covered with the oil, they will stay bright green and quite fresh, even right out of the freezer.  I also use the "basil" oil for salad dressings and drizzling!

"Harvest" is such a meaningful word today!   

28 September 2012

The Cookbook

I'm in the midst of writing a cookbook that I intend to self publish this fall.  Now that it's on "paper" or "public" I absolutely HAVE to finish it!!!

The cookbook idea has been a dream of mine for ages and technology has made it amazingly easy to make it happen.  In fact, the digital press that is printing my books is just in a small neighboring town and I can pick them up once they have been printed.  We are looking at a release date of November 1. (OMG)  "Seasons In My Kitchen" Winter edition.  It's all happening....

What has not been so easy is the sheer amount of TIME the little bugger is taking!  It's making me crazy.  I am cooking like mad, photographing as I go, re-photographing, re-designing, blah, blah, blah.

So this is a bit of an apology, I promise the blog will have recipes, food thoughts and more as soon as I get the perfect shot of vegetables.  Or have the puppy potty trained.

At the very least, I'm super excited to have blackmailed my eldest child into editing the cookbook.  And we are eating better than we have in 3 month., And the gnats are finally starting to die.  And I have a store full of wine for when the going gets really tough.  And Henry only had 1 accident yesterday.  And it's another beautiful day in Michigan....      

26 September 2012

Empty Bowls Part Deux

A while back I mentioned a local restaurant and college Art students hosting an event called "Empty Bowls" http://blvdmarket.blogspot.com/2012/01/empty-bowls.html which was fantastic.

Last weekend the same art students paired up with the local Humane Society for another "Empty Bowls" event for pets.  Can I get an "Awwwwwww..." It was held in conjunction with an art festival. 

Since I hadn't bought a new bowl for Henry yet, it was perfect timing and all the money raised went to care for shelter animals.  Here is the bowl I chose:

A small bowl with the most adorable studded collar surrounding it.  Many of the bowls were custom designed with a pet name stamped into the pottery as well.  So, so sweet.  I also like the way the lip of the bowl is slightly smaller than the base.  Henry likes to gobble his food as fast as possible and then start on Pierre's!  This bowl slows him down a bit and his little snout has to work hard to get each bit.  Yes, I said "snout" as we affectionately refer to him as "piglet".

I personally thought this was a superb fundraiser!  Young folks in the community helping homeless pets and my doggie is eating out of a local piece of art that looks great instead of a metal dish!

If you would like more info on how you can get an "empty bowl" for your pet that is custom or already finished, please call/email  the Lenawee County Humane Society at 517.263.3463