Malto Mario


The Lady & Sons

1,000 Italian Recipes

Monday, October 29, 2007

I've Heard of a Martini.. But a Bostini?


As of the time that I am writing this - October 28th at 9:15 p.m. (eastern standard time) The Daring Bakers have grown to 299 talented members. This number includes 99.9% of our new November members. Deadline for membership is day of posting, which is Monday the 29th. So this number could (and most likely will) grow.

*blink* *blink*

Holy fakk.

I think I can safely speak for my beautiful partner in crime, Ivonne, here too.. WE'RE STUNNED! WE'RE GIDDY! WE'RE SO DAMN GRATEFUL! =)


Soooo.. get ready! You've got about 219 Bostini Cream Pies comin' atcha in the next 24 hours! heee!

Bostini Cream Pie

This month's Daring Baker challenge was hosted by one of my most favoritest gals of ALL TIME, Mary of Alpineberry. Mary is our top blog administrator and Gate Keeper. Not only does she make sure things are in tip top shape on the Daring Baker's private blog, but she is also responsible for guiding all new members through the gates. She does a wonderful job and the Daring Bakers wouldn't be this fantastic group that it is without her! Thank you so much for all that you do, Mary! =)

So yes, this month Mary took on another responsibility.. hosting the October challenge. She had to pick a recipe that she thought we'd all find challenging in some way. She had to figure out what was allowed and what wasn't allowed by means of creativity and allowing our members to make the recipe their own. She had to pay close attention to the DB blog to answer any questions that might arise AND she had to do all of this with a great big smile on her face. teeee!

Bostini Cream Pie
Check out my spider! He rocks!

So the recipe? Bostini Cream Pie. It's a twist on the traditional Boston Cream Pie.

Vanilla custard topped with an orange chiffon cake and then drizzled with chocolate glaze. What's not to love?? Mary allowed us to change up the flavor of the cake as long as we kept the color light. I didn't feel the need to do so - I love orange and chocolate. Hell, I love just about any citrus with chocolate. Hell, who am I kidding? I love ANYTHING with chocolate. Sheesh.

My opinion on my Bostini? It didn't take long - major bonus, as I procrastinated yet again this month. I was not thrilled with the custard though. I found it to be quite bland. It was very thin and kind of runny the night I made it, but the next day it thickened up nicely. It was "just okay". I cut the custard recipe in half - which meant I had to cut the vanilla bean in half. Perhaps if I had left it whole, the custard would have had more pop. This is what I did with the chiffon cake. I cut the recipe in half, but I left the full amount of orange zest in it - holy cow! FANTASTIC cake! I will definitely make this cake again, it was just wonderful.

Bostini Cream Pie

The final component was the chocolate sauce.. 'kay well I don't need to say anything about that, right? It was chocolate.. how could it be bad? :D

Although I wasn't "taken" by this dessert, I am very grateful to Mary for choosing another dessert with chiffon cake. Helene was here during the Strawberry Mirror Cake so she really did most of the work, while I watched and paid attention. So this opportunity to make a chiffon cake again, by myself, was awesome. I was tickled pink when I saw that they turned out perfectly and did not have the rubbery layer of egg like some gals had to deal with. I guess I can chalk that up to having the best baking guru ever, eh? *smoochies*

Okay, going to keep this month's post rather short - well, short for me. :P I've got 218 Bostini Cream Pie's to go drool over - I better get on that!

Bostini Cream Pie

If you'd like to make this dessert yourself, check out Mary's post for the recipe. And don't forget to click on the Official Daring Baker Blogroll link on my sidebar to check out everyone else's KICK ASS posts! :)


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Sunday, October 28, 2007


Holy cow kids.. I've been interviewed TWICE! And now you can go read and truly see what kind of dork I really am. :D

The first interview was by Andrea of Andrea's Recipes. She wrote an article about The Daring Bakers being a virtual learning community and she asked my gorgeous partner Ivonne and I some questions for the article. After a tough month, Andrea still managed to get the article published, and I feel she really captured the essence of what I believe The Daring Bakers are all about - Support, Learning, Comradery and Fun! You can check it out here - Profile of a Learning Community: The Daring Bakers

The second interview was a lot of fun, although after re-reading it on his blog, I'm blushing. har! My dear friend, Ed of Is it Edible has started a fantastic weekly event called FOBLOKI - "inside the FOod BLogger's KItchen." Loosely based on Inside the Actor's Studio. I love that show! And I was VERY flattered that he asked me to be a part of it. Thanks Ed! After you recover from being embarassed for me :P, go back and read the interviews before mine.. they are all very, very interesting and fun! Check my interview out here

Do you think I'll make it to work on time tomorrow with all of the paparazzi hanging out in my driveway? BAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!


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Saturday, October 27, 2007

It's All About The Starter

As promised.. the rest of the story about my weekend with a Tartelette and a Breadchick!

Many months ago, I was talking to Mary in e-mails.. well, okay, I wasn't talking - I was bitching. Anyhoo, I was whining about not having any Panera Asiago Cheese bread in the house and how it's the only thing I crave when I'm sick - well, other than sweet potatoes. Yeah, I know I'm weird. :P But there just doesn't seem to be anything more comforting when I've got the sniffles than a couple thin slices of Panera's Asiago bread toasted and slathered with butter. Even when I have a sore throat - go figure!

So Mary said, "Wouldn't it be nice to be able to recreate it at home so you'd never have to be without?" Of course I readily agreed and promptly did some research hoping to find the recipe out on the internets somewhere. Well I never did find it.. although I did find a recipe for their olive bread and their 4 cheese bread. I also found out that most of their breads start with a sour dough starter - one made from grapes.

I sent this info to Mary and asked her (as she IS the Queen of Sourdough) if I could make this starter and if she'd mind walking me through it. Well not only did she agree to that, but she ran out, bought herself a loaf of Panera's Asiago bread and then replicated it in her own kitchen - in half the time that Panera's recipes called for!!

She sent me the recipe and as per usual, I was excited to have it but never baked it as the sponge (too close to a starter for my tastes!) scared the bejesus outta me and I didn't want to chance having something with yeast explode in my kitchen. And believe you me, if ANYONE can find success in exploding yeast - that'd be me.

So fast forward to about a month before the gals were due to arrive.. Mary wrote to inform me that we were going to not only make a sourdough starter, but we were also going to make the Asiago bread!! WOOOOOO FAKKIN HOOOOO!!! I was all over that, especially if there was going to be someone who knows what the fakk they are doing close by me. *grin*

Sourdough Starter Day 1 Sourdough Starter Day 1

We started the sourdough starter on Friday night and she taught me how to feed it every 12 hours. My starter went off like gangbusters.. apparently I've got a good house for keeping yeasties happy. Who woulda thunk it? By the time Mary left on Monday, I was confident that I could keep my starter thriving. My only fear was pre-heating my oven and forgetting my lil starter was in there. Yep, that's where he lived, inside my oven with the light on. Helene suggested I stick a post-it on the oven to remind me to take him out before I bake anything, which was a fantastic idea.

Asiago Bread

Next thing up was the bread. I'm still not sure how she managed to figure out another way to make this bread that wouldn't take 24 hours, like Panera's recipes stated, but she did. We started early Sunday morning (at least I think we did - there was vodka involved one of those nights) boiling potatoes and smashing them then squeezing out all their starchy water.

Asiago Bread Asiago Bread

There was a lot of waiting involved, which kinda killed me as my house was smellin' so damn good. But I was patient (shoosh Mary!) and waited until the goldeny heavenly scented deliciousness came outta the oven approximately 7 hours later.

Asiago Bread

Fanfarkintabulous, my friends! The crumb wasn't exactly like Panera's - but the taste was spot on. Cheese-y with a bit of a tang. Fabulous - just fabulous! =)

Asiago Bread

I WILL make this bread again - as well as many others, now that I've got a bit more confidence in working with the yeasties. Next time though, I think that I'll try to free form this bread instead of using the loaf pans. I can't wait!

Saturday it was all about submersing ourselves into the Slavic and Polish community of Cleveland. What a treat.. I've been through these neighborhoods often, but never stopped to explore them. This was also Mary's idea. Growing up, her parents had some friends (still do!) that were originally from the Slavic village of Cleveland and when they came to visit, they always brought Mary a bag of smokies as well as sausages and pastries, so she really wanted to go to these places.

We started off going to Hubbs' favorite Sausage Shoppe for smokies, Raddell's Sausage Shoppe in East Cleveland. After everyone bought their smokies and sausages, we headed to Gertrude's Bakery for some authentic Slovenian and Polish pastries. Next on the list was R & L's Sausage to pick up the smokies that Mary grew up on. And finally - my favorite new restaurant - The Seven Roses Polish Deli. Oh. My. God. As soon as you walk into this place you know the food is going to be good. And you know it's going to be made from recipes from someone's grandmother who still lives in Poland. Polish is the main language spoke (and written on some items) here, but the lovely gals running the place were very helpful in translating for us.

First we browsed the huge library-like shelves, complete with rolling ladder, which were housing 100's of different Polish foods. From candy to pickled cabbage, you could find anything your heart desired. As soon as the smells from the kitchen became too much, we sat down for lunch. A very sweet girl, with a thick accent, came to us with menus and a lovely smile. The menu featured a few different "sample" platters, so we went with a different one each so we could try everything. I ordered the cabbage roll platter that also had potato pancakes (the best potato pancakes I've ever had), and a cucumber salad in a vinegar dressing (again, the best I'd ever had). Hubbs ordered a Polish Keilbasa platter that also had meatloaf (made with sauerkraut - FABULOUS), potato pancakes and sauerkraut. Mary ordered the meatloaf platter, I believe, and I think it also had potato pancakes and cucumber salad. Helene ordered.. *gulp* an authentic polish soup that featured tripe. Me no likey the innards of a cow, but I dunked my bread (some Polish potato roll that was fab) in it and the taste was amazing. Helene said it was the best soup she'd ever had.

Polish dinner
Starting at the top: potato pancake, homemade pierogies, a small piece of Slovenian sausage, a link of Polish Keilbasa, cucumber salad, sauerkraut, and in the middle part of a lil meatloaf.

After we were done, we pretty much needed to be rolled out the door, but that didn't stop us from buying Keilbasa, sauerkraut, potato pancakes, meatloaf, and some sweet rolls to go with the Irish butter I had purchased at the West Side Market the previous day.

Polish Dinner
Check out the Kerrygold butter.. so far in my butter tasting experience, this tops everything I've tried. But I still have Presidente and Plugra to go! :D

And yeah, we ate it all again for dinner Saturday night. heeee!

Just writing this up makes me want to head to the Slavic village again this afternoon.. ohhh if I didn't have so many chores to get done before heading back to the dungeon on Monday. My vacation is officially over. :(

There is just one more thing!!

I feel the need to share with ya'll what happened to me Thursday night. Remember that post-it that Helene suggested I put up on my stove?


Yeah.. I kind of didn't get that up there soon enough. I wanted asparagus "fries" for dinner, which meant I had to pre-heat the oven to 425º F. And uhmm.. well.. let's just say that I can now add to my resume of kitchen disasters, "Starter Murderer" *sob* And I was doing so well!!! Just two more days and I could have named him! UGH.

Holy crap! I can't forget the sweets!! As if. Highly unlikely that we didn't OD on sugar, butter and flour now is it? :D

German Chocolate Cake

Helene made this gorgeous German Chocolate Cake - just as tasty as it is pretty!

Bene Wafers

Bene Wafers

AND Helene found a recipe for Benne Wafers - lil sesame seed cookies are all that I ever want her to bring me from the Olde Colony Bakery in Charleston. I am addicted to them, thanks to her sending them to me in my YUMMY Christmas treats box last year. Now I can make them whenever I want - and these were 100 times better than the bakery's! I was shocked and very, very, very happily surprised! heeee!



Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I Totally Just Got Yelled At!

Well, Tanna my sweet, Cleveland is still standing - barely.

What a fantabulous weekend we had! For those of you who don't know, Helene and Mary visited Hubbs and I for a long weekend and wooooo baybay did we have a blast!

Thursday was pretty low key - we picked Helene up from the airport and went straight home as the Indians were on. *sigh* We ordered Chinese food and I had my first Crispy Duck! It was fabulous AND the first first of many firsts thoughout the weekend! =)

Friday we got up early and after many cups of coffee we headed out to the airport to get Mary. Once we had her safely in the car, off we went for a marathon 8 hour shopping spree. squeeeeeeeeeeeee! First we hit the West Side Market. We bought spices and breads and gourmet cheeses (all of which I'd never heard of)- we bought chocolates, foie gras, pastas, sausages and mackerel salad! Oh yeah, Friday night's feast was going to be a good one, especially since out of everything we bought, I think I'd had the sausage before - and that was it!

We decided to stop in to the West Side Cafe for a quick bite to eat before we headed out and this place was hysterical. No.. that's not entirely true - the restaurant wasn't hysterical, it was your basic cafe with nothing much to speak of, but the waitress - SHE was hysterical. She obviously did not want to be at work that day. First off, she got mad at me because I ordered a mocha cappuccino - she said it takes forever to make it so she'd be a while before she got back to us. So with fake smiles, we all said that it was okay - we weren't in a hurry. Five points lost there! teee! Then she came back with my cappuccino and said that she sucks at making them, but she thought she'd done pretty good with this one. And she did, it was pretty tasty. (assuming she didn't spit in it) Six points gained there! We put our orders in and continued to chit chat until she brought us our food. The food wasn't spectacular, although my stuffed portobello mushroom (stuffed with caramelized red onions, roasted red peppers and provolone cheese) was delicious and Mary's pulled pork quesadillas were pretty darned tasty too. Helene ordered beef vegetable soup and well.. she got a bowl of salty beef broth with a couple veggies thrown in as an after thought. Not so good.

As we were munching away, we discussed how we were going to leave the foie gras and cheeses in the car all day without them going bad since it was so warm out. Mary devised a way to pack them all up in newspaper, then a plastic bag, then ice and finally another plastic bag. So we asked our lovely waitress for two large glasses of just ice. She seemed rather confused and then asked us what we wanted the ice for. So we explained about the foie gras and cheese and she said, "Well just give me the bag and I'll fill it with ice." Terrific! 10 points gained there!

While she was doing that, Helene excused herself to the ladies' room and Mary and I chatted about everything and nothing when our lovely waitress came back, shoved the bag in Mary's hands and said, "I totally just got yelled at!" and hurried off to another table. We were both kinda stunned at first as we didn't mean for her to get yelled at. Then I don't know what happened.. but we just burst into laughter and neither one of us could stop. Helene said she could hear us in the ladies's room. heee! Well needless to say, we all pitched in to leave a big tip for her troubles and we got the flock outta there before the manager came after us for illegal usage of his frozen tap water.

After the market we hit Sur La Table, which I still can't pronounce correctly so from here on out, I am going to call it "On The Table"! Anyhoo, at On The Table we oooed and ahhhed for well over an hour. I managed to pick up another set of drinking glasses hand crafted in Mexico - so smashing! As well as a few more cake decorating tips because we all know how well I can decorate a cake. :P After I made my purchases, I noticed the other gals were still looking around, so to prevent myself from seeing something else I "needed" to have, I went outside to enjoy the fakkin kick ass weather we were having (77º F in mid OCTOBER).

It was a good 45 minutes later before we packed up our goodies in the car to head over to Trader Joe's as Helene and Mary were met with a cashier that didn't quite know what she was doing.. long story but well, it involved a discount and reversing a gift card purchase. hahahaaa!

Trader Joe's was a hoot as it always is.. we bought lots of stuff, most of it not on our lists. Go figger. =) After leaving, we realized we didn't even have the ingredients for the Asiago bread that Mary was going to teach me how to bake (squeeeeeeeeeee!) so we stopped at the Wild Oats and picked up the rest of what we needed.

With ingredients in hand we finally got our tired asses home.

Our feast included a huge cheese and meat plate as an appetizer - hell it really was a meal in itself. I got to nosh on Blueberry Stilton, Humboldt, Mimolette and an aged cheddar that had caramelized onions in it - all of them totally delish. We had Prosciutto, a dry sausage made with Chianti wine, lots of different green and black olives, hunks of artisan roasted garlic crusty bread and crackers. *swoon* To say that Hubbs and I were in heaven is an understatement.

Dinner was next - and by next I mean about 2 hours later.. when most people were already in bed. hahaaa! I made them Pasta with Tuna, Spinach, Hearts of Palm and tomatoes. Helene made us her Ratatouille (to die for!!) and again, we proceeded to eat! Fanfarkintabulous, my friends.. oy vey!

After my lovely guests totally cleaned my kitchen (!!) we rolled ourselves back to the office before I had to take my leave and get my considerably bigger ass to bed. har!

I could go on and on about the rest of the weekend, but I think by now ya'll are probably tired of reading my babble.. so I'll write more later. =)

But stay tuned! You've yet to hear about Starter Making 101 and Asiago bread baking successes! As well as one hell of a day at the Slavic village in Cleveland where I enjoyed (and fell in love) with my first taste of authentic Polish food. *swoon*



Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Has it been a year already?? =)

Happy birthday my sweet friend!!

Today is Ivonne's birthday.. and I wish her nothing but good luck, happiness, lots of love and friendship, good health and time spent with family for her upcoming year!

You mean the world to me. =)



Wednesday, October 17, 2007

3 Daring Bakers in Cleveland and Gracie Comes Through Again!

Well right off the bat, I gotta tell yas.. I'm SO EXCITED! In less than 30 hours, Helene of Tartelette and Mary of The Sour Dough will be coming to The Armpit of the Midwest!! Hooray! I get another fun-filled long weekend with Helene and this time Mary is joining us as well! How flippin' lucky am I??

This actually started out with a plan for a bunch of Mid-west/East Coast Daring Bakers to meet up for a weekend in Rochester, New York. We picked Rochester, because it seemed to be the central area from which most of the gals were coming from. Unfortunately, as much as I think everyone wanted to attend, it seemed that the October date we picked wasn't good for many. We hope to try this again in the spring - so if you are interested, lemme know! =)

But as that trip fizzled out, Mary suggested she and Helene make a trip to Cleveland! Party on! And so after much scrambling to find affordable plane tickets, many discussions on what we all wanted to do, an introduction to a website that allows you to make lists *swoon* and figuring out how much of our budgets will go to wine - we are finally at the weekend of FUN! WINE! BAKING! SHOPPING! WINE! GIGGLES! FUN! WINE! LAUGHTER! PEEING IN PANTS! WINE! and possibly VODKA! ;)

So La Mia Cucina is closed to the general public for a few days while the cook gets plastered. ;)

But I had to leave ya'll with something yummy, yes?!

I'll keep this brief.. *cough*yeah right*cough*

My Auntie's birthday was last week.. so I wanted to make her a birthday cake - something special that she probably had never had before.. something that might just stick in her memory for more than 5 minutes. :( So after a 3 hour search through every recipe site I could think of, I finally went to Gracie's blog where I always find something that screams out to me "BAKE ME DAMMIT!" As per usual, I did find something - her Pumpkin Butterscotch Cake.

Peabody's Pumpkin Butterscotch Cake

The cake came out beautifully - super moist and very pumpkin-y. I decided to go with a square 9" pan as I don't think I've ever made a square layer cake before. As you can see in my photos, my mad skillz at slicing a cake in half leave a lot to be desired. I believe my first layer was about an 1/8th inch thick where the top layer was about 3/4 inch think. :P Oh well.. you'll have that. :D

I ran into a couple problems.. I used a lemon that looked as if he had a shady background - yanno, gettin' a lil smooshy in his old age? Well I found out - lemons really do go bad after they've been in your fridge for a month!! The tiny bit of lemon juice used in the butterscotch filling completely ruined it.. it was nasty. So I panicked because I was running out of time before we had to leave to go see her. I originally thought I'd just sub a cream cheese filling because I could whip that up quickly (there's a 45 min. cooling period with the butterscotch filling).

Peabody's Pumpkin Butterscotch Cake

First though, I decided to get the brown sugar frosting done as that had a 1 hour cooling period. Unfortunately, as much as I beat and then whipped this stuff it would not thicken.. I don't know if 1 c. of cream was too much? My kitchen was too warm? The frosting God's were getting me back from the past monstrosities I've made? I dunno.. but right before I panicked (AGAIN) and called My Guru - I shoved the whole mixing bowl full of it into the deep freeze.

My Guru gave me some very good tips on how to thicken it up and she calmed me down in the process. Bless her. After we got off the phone, I checked the freezer and to my shock and happy surprise, the 20 minute chill thickened it right up! Even after frosting it and leaving it out for a few hours, it stayed thick and delicious! My new favorite frosting, by the way. ;)

Peabody's Pumpkin Butterscotch Cake

Now, back to that filling.. as it turned out, we ended up not going. *sigh* My mom didn't feel well (she's fine now) and wasn't up to the hour long drive. I was bummed. But, that left me with the rest of the afternoon, so I decided to try that butterscotch filling again - this time leaving the lemon juice out - and it turned out perfectly. That kind of perfect that allows you to keep dipping your spoon in, while blocking out your brain telling you to leave some for the cake & your ass telling you to have some mercy. Yeah, that kinda perfect. ;)

I didn't get to do a nice fancy job in frosting this (as if I could) because my time had run out. And by my time running out, I mean - I had spent 6 hours on this cake already and my sofa & DVD player were SCREAMING at me. But looks don't count on a cake that is this good. Although a lil sweet with the brown sugar frosting and butterscotch filling, the moistness, the pumpkin-y flavor and the caramel hits from the filling was insanely good - especially the next day.

Peabody's Pumpkin Butterscotch Cake

Okay.. I'm done blabbering. Check out Gracie's blog for the recipe! I will make this cake again.. but I will double the batter recipe and make it in two layer cake pans as slicing one layer in half is not my forte :P and I will try the cream cheese filling with the brown sugar frosting - my guess is, I won't want to share it with my Auntie or anyone else. Am I bad? :P

One last thing - I'm curious. What's your favorite cake flavors? You don't have to leave a recipe, if I drool over your fave, I'll hunt you down and pester the shite outta you until you give me the recipe. ;) But if there's a link you wanna share.. by all means... DO SO! heeee!


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Sunday, October 14, 2007

I'm Showing You My Sarnie!

Does that sound dirty?

Anyway.. a new friend of mine who is also a new Daring Baker member is hosting her very first foodie event! Marie of A Year at Oak Cottage is in need of laying her eyes on some sammiches!

Well, being a sammie lover from way back - and because I recently drooled all over Kelly's Panini - Sorry Kel, here's a roll of paper towels. ;) I decided that I needed to make a chicken panini and I needed to blog about it for Marie's event!

Although she might not be the prettiest Panini to look at (I'm highly disappointed in my The Griddler - it does not evenly smoosh the sandwich!), she was quite delish! I didn't have heirloom tomatoes or pesto in the house, so I had to make due with what I had - Grilled Chicken and Salami with Sun-dried Tomato & Roasted Garlic Mayo.


As you can see, I also added sweet onion and Fontina cheese - it's the melty-est!

Both Hubbs and I enjoyed this very much with a side salad.. although freshly made onion rings would have been delightful as well. ;)

There really is no recipe - other than the Mayo (always Hellmanns - never that squicky sweet Miracle Whip crap), which I just added chopped Sun-dried tomatoes, minced roasted garlic and a lil fresh chopped basil to. Easy, eh?

Panini Being Made Panini Being Made
Panini being made Panini being made
Panini bein' smooshed

Ohh I forgot to add one very important step - I marinated the chicken breasts for 4 hours in Wishbone Robusto Italian Dressing - it really makes a difference!


Okay so are you going to show us your sarnie? I think you should! Thanks for hosting a great event, Marie!!


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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Peachy Surprise!

This is the 2nd of the two posts in which I want to express my gratitude and sheer happiness to have the friends I have.

A little over a month ago, I was painfully reading post after post of peach recipes. Why painful? Because here, in the Armpit Of The Midwest, a juicy, sweet and flavorful peach is almost unheard of. I know they've got to be out there, but they certainly aren't featured in any store I shop in. I always see the rock hard, dry and cardboard tasting variety. Ugh. So imagine how hard it was to get two peach pie submissions for La Festa al Fresco, you know that "virtual" party that Ivonne and I throw each year? Virtual meaning.. uhhh.. no real tasty tastes! Sure I've got a good imagination, but c'mon! I was being tortured!

Well Chris of Mele Cotte, was one of my torturers, I mean that in the nicest way possible :P, when she submitted a recipe for Piled High Peach Pie. I'm pretty sure I broke down in her comments, all whiney and complaining about the peaches up here in Ohio. I probably *sob*'d a bit too, knowing me and my penchance for adding *actions* to get my point across. Can we all say, "Dork"? =)

Wouldn't you know it a few days later Chris e-mailed me asking for my home address. She said she saw something that made her think of me and she wanted to send it along. I was curious and more than a lil excited when I wrote her back and asked, "Is he tall, dark and handsome???" ;) Well "life" butted in again soon after that exchange with Chris and by life, I mean my job, dealing with my Auntie and Alzheimer's and my Mom & a lil health scare (all is fine! Yay!) so any thoughts of Tall, Dark and Handsome, were pretty much crowded out.

Until about a week or so after I received the quince from my sweet friend, Elle. Hubbs called me after he got home from work, AGAIN, to tell me that I had received a box from someone named Chris Asomething (he couldn't pronounce her last name teeee!). I squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee'd in excitement and couldn't wait to get home to see what I got! And Ohhh my dear sweet Jebus, I was so not disappointed - laying on my kitchen table was a big box of.. yes, you guessed it - PEACHES!

Ya'll are jealous

I don't think I've opened a box sealed with miles of tape so quickly - I couldn't wait to see them. And then there they were.. each one nestled in it's own cradle of foam, wrapped in pretty green tissue paper.. and the scent? Let's just say, if I could come up with an air freshener that was a cross between Quince and these peaches? I'd so blow Bill Gates outta the water in the next edition of Forbes. har!

Peaches Peach Pie
Peach Pie Peach Pie

I ate one immediately and I couldn't believe how good it was. I believe these peaches came from Oregon (I'm thinking the prime peach season in Georgia was long gone) and all I could think of is if a true Georgia peach tasted even better than this Oregon peach, then I'd probably explode after tasting one. So juicy, so sweet and it tasted like A PEACH. I'll be damned. A peach that tastes like a peach. Who woulda thunk it?

Peach Pie

So without further ado, this is what I baked with my gorgeous peaches - the Piled High Peach pie - just like Chris! I wanted to take something special to my Auntie the next day when Mom and I visited her in the nursing home and I believe, although she's losing her memory at a rapid pace now - that it will be a long time before she forgets this pie.. it was phenomenal. The best peach pie I've ever had - and I believe it was because of the peaches and not so much the recipe.

Peach Pie

Thank you SO MUCH, Chris!! Not only did you make me one of the happiest peach-deprived people in alla world - but you made my Auntie very happy too. And each and every day she is happy means more to me than I could ever say.

Peach Pie


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Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Mighty Quince

This is one of two posts that are long over due as the wonderful desserts I made were enjoyed by myself, Hubbs, my sister and even my mail lady - a few weeks ago.

This is the first of two GIANT THANK YOU's!! from all of us =)

Part I - The Quince

Starting with some gorgeous quince that have an amazing aroma - oh dear lordie did my house smell WONDERFUL that week. =) My dear friend, Elle, of Feeding My Enthusiasms has a shrub on her property that produces this heavenly smelling fruit and she wrote a post about the quince jelly she made. I had an obvious question after reading the post - how does a yellowish fruit produce such a gorgeous dark pink jelly? Well - not only did she try to answer my question, but she offered to send me some so I could experience this fruit myself!

Pineapple Quince Apple Pie
A normal pie for me.. mishapen, rips in the crust, smooshied edges - just picture perfect doncha think? Gah.

You may think I'm making this next part up - but I swear it's the truth.. I almost gave my mail lady a black eye when she delivered the sweet smelling box to my door. This woman wouldn't let go of the box! She said her truck smelled so good and she didn't want the source to be taken away. HAR! I thought she was kidding but when I reached for it - she took a step back! I thought there was going to be a rumble.. she was NOT going to keep that box - no fakkin' way. Finally, after I promised to make sure to leave her some of whatever I decided to make with it. I had to actually bribe the woman to LET GO! Sheesh.

Well I immediately unpacked them and set them on my kitchen table and then I had to rush back to work. Hubbs got home about an hour before me and a phone call was immediately made to tell me that the house smelled like a fruit orchard and what the hell were those odd shaped yellow things on the table? hehehe So for the next 5 or 6 days they stayed in a bowl on the table fragrancing my wee lil house until I finally found a couple recipes that I wanted to try.

9-22-07 (17)

The first was an apple and quince pie - I figured it was fitting since it's Autumn here in the Armpit of the Midwest. Course it's still 80º outside, but my calendar tells me it's Fall. Okay well, 4 quince and 4 apples were peeled, cored and sliced up for the pie - which, really is your basic apple pie, just sub some quince for some apples. Of course my house smelled even better as it was baking and I could barely wait until after dinner to try it. You can definitely taste the difference between the apples and the quince and there is also a very different texture. The apples bake down a little more than the quince but both fruits end up very tender. With a scoop of Dulce de Leche icecream, this pie was fantastic. We both enjoyed it very much - so much so that no one at work got any. My mail lady got a huge slab and my sister got a tiny sliver that was left by the time she came for a visit 2 days later. heee!

Quince Apple Pie

I had about 5 quince left over and the next recipe I decided to try was called Quince Dumplings with Syrup. While the apple/quince pie was baking, I peeled, cored and sliced the rest of the quince and added them to a pot of simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar) and let them poach for 3 hours on medium-high heat. Where the quince in the apple pie didn't change color by much, they sure did in this syrup.

Pineapple Quince Syrup - First Hour
Quince the first hour.

Quince Syrup - 2.5 Hrs In
Quince after the 2nd hour.

Quince Syrup - Final 3rd Hr.
Quince after the final third hour - gorgeous!

After 3 hours I had a gorgeous dark ruby red syrup that was sweet with a floral hit in the background. I could have poured it over ice with a smidge of vodka at that point. *hic* But I behaved myself and allowed it to cool. Unfortunately, I had run out of steam that night so I packed up the fruit and syrup separately and put them in the fridge for another night that week. Well.. as time seems to get sucked away from me lately, I never did get the dumplings made - Hubbs and I picked at the fruit unti it was gone and I froze the syrup. I have about 2 cups of it so I think that I will follow Elle's lead and boil it down until I've got jelly. Won't be much, but at least I'll have my first taste of quince jelly. =)

Elle, I can't thank you enough for being so kind to send me the fruit - it was such a great experience cooking with them and an even better experience eating them!! It was a wonderful gift from a wonderful friend.. thank you. =)

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