Time spent in the garden and kitchen is not time wasted; the essence of quality is attained through toil, not technology.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Financiers, Finley & spring.....

We have Brangus cows on our little ranch in Mckinney, Texas, and spring is always exciting with the new calves.   Finley was quite unusual, because he was born red with black markings and the Brangus are usually born black.   I had decided to bake my financiers early this week and actually get ahead of my game (which would be a departure for me).  But my mind had been uneasy for several days with the observation that Finley simply was not thriving, despite his Mom's best efforts.  Now, one of the admired characteristics of the Brangus breed is that the heifers (females of breeding age) are fierce and formidable "baby mamas".
So I commence with this relatively simple recipe, between running out to the pasture to check on the baby.  By late afternoon, as the financiers are chilling themselves in the fridge, I confirm that this little red calf is in serious trouble.   Of course, my husband had gone into town for his weekly card game with the guys, and, Gary (our cow expert & caretaker) was nowhere to be found!
I am very tenderhearted about our livestock, despite my best efforts to be a tough cowgirl!
And, damn it all, the weather was turning cold and nasty- one of our Texas spring squalls for sure.

Let me insert here that, yes, I did get the financiers baked- as a matter of fact, they were a great diversion for me that evening and satisfied my hunger when dinner was put on the back burner.

My husband and I ended up bringing Finley into the laundry room & blanketing him to try to warm him back up and get some milk in his little belly.   And, in a most heartwarming fashion- Bentley, one of my male Dachshunds,  took over guardianship of this sick baby and stayed by him all night & the next day!
I wish I had a happy ending, but we lost Finley yesterday- he just simply could not gain his strength.....

Of course,  this is the hard part of raising livestock, and we are reminded, that even on beautiful spring days when new life buds out & births itself,  shadows and cold will sometimes steal into the pasture and bring sadness.
 Oh, yes, butter!
 My brown butter is speckled??

 A bitty apple chunk & a dab of cinnamon on top
Little and tasty treats.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

FFWD- Long Slow Apples

"Lord, please remind me not to start a Dorie recipe on a morning when I am pressed for time and have an appointment, thank you."
And to relate this story, I have to tell you about the bread, also.   Today was my sourdough bread baking day, and I prepared the starter last night.   I will just get that kneaded first and then do the apples.  Hop out of bed, get the coffee started, feed the dogs and run around doing little chores.
Big oops, I neglected to put the coffee filter in, and, of course, it oozes all over the floor.   My cat loves it when I do that, she just primly sits there and watches it drip everywhere- it totally fascinates her while it drives me bananas!   My sweet husband helps me clean that disaster up- now I am in a bit of a tizzy.

On with the bread- with the slight humidity of today- the dough is sticky and clings to me, the mixer and everything else.  Put in a little extra cleaning time there, ditto.   But it's done and in to rise.

Peel, core, cut- get out food processor to cut them thin- butter little cups; yikes, I better cut out that parchment paper (damn it that stuff never stays flat!).    Don't forget the sugar mixture & let's chop up some sugared orange peel to go on there.   Oh, gee, I am running late!
New Breville food processor- why the heck won't it fit properly; what am I doing wrong??  Crack, out flies a chip from under the bowl!   Ok, just took the new off that one, huh?    Luckily, it still works and we forge ahead and manage to get some lovely thin apple slices.
 This recipe took a long time...
 Prepped for the baking
 Love it when that coffee goes everywhere!!
 Was it worth it?
Take your time and place them in nice layers in the bowls- now butter, sprinkle & do it all again.  Oh, dear- look at the time.....throw them in the ramekins, toss on the sugar, cover them up in a flash and into that preheated oven.   Minutes to spare; I am out the door.
Later in the afternoon,  I have the finished beautifully scented apples, and you know what, they are, as Dorie promised, quite simply divine.
Please head over to http://www.frenchfridayswithdorie.com/?p=1415 and view all of the bakers' posts.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Herb speckled spaetzle

Howdy, Doristas- I have missed you girls & guys, but I am ready to jump back into some Dorie cooking action!  Hope everyone survived & enjoyed their holidays and has a grand start on 2013.

Just a few short notes on this first recipe for January (why oh why did it have to be my re-entry choice?)   Let me say I am a huge believer in multi-tasking implements in the kitchen;  BUT buy the damn spaetzle maker....holy moley, what a mess trying to urge this dough through an ordinary grater!  Am I just a klutz or did anyone else have difficulty?  I really thought I was going to have to throw that grater away, when I attempted to clean it....when I have to resort to toothpick cleaning of the dishes after dinner; well, let's just say No.  I am not even mentioning the cleaning of the stove or various other pieces of equipment.
Mom; what is that stuff?

1st ever attempt at spaetzle-scary, huh?
How I adore my fresh farm eggs!

So, anyway, it was just OK in flavor- I did it, it was not pretty and will probably not be repeated.
To see the other adventures (or misadventures) of my Dorista friends, please link to: