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Monthly Archives: January 2013

I love olive bread

Loaves of olive bread always find their way into my grocery basket, and I pounce on them at the farmer’s market, so when I found this recipe on Chef Mimi Blog, and I had to try it. I’m so glad that I did.
I followed the recipe exactly until the last flour mix in and knead, I had to add about 1/4 cup more flour because my dough was a bit sticky. After the bread was done baking, I brushed a little olive oil on it and sprinkled sea salt on top. I like my rustic breads a little salty, so next time I might add 1 tsp salt to the dough. Other than that, The recipe is a definite keeper!

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It tastes as good as it looks!

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Soft Peanut Brittle courtesy of the Davenport Hotel

Tonight I checked into the Davenport Hotel in Spokane, Washington (more on this fabulous place, a little later). I hadn’t eaten since before noon and my stomach was growling loudly. Now I’m too shy to go downstairs and eat by myself at a lonely table for one…so what do I do? I eat the complimentary peanut brittle, that’s what I do.

If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I have to be pretty hungry to eat peanut anything. I have never cared for nuts of any kind. I force myself to eat almonds because they are supposed to be good for you, but with all the salted, roasted crust on them, I think I’ve canceled the positive health effects out….anyway, back to the brittle….
It’s really good!
It’s a soft variety of peanut brittle and the hotel supplies 2 small bags on the side table. One bag is plain, and the other is chocolate coated. Of course I started with the chocolate, and wow, so smooth, next I tried the plain and it was salty and sweet, and perfect. My only complaint is that the bags are really hard to get into. i resorted to poking them with the hotel pen.
Much like the pusher says in those ’70’s movies “the first one’s free”, and now I’m hooked. They sell boxes of the stuff at the front desk, and you can bet some is going home with me. I’m not sure that it will make it home, though. I better put it in the trunk…even better, they are running a special through Valentine’s day, buy a pound, and get a half pound free!
According to the Davenport’s guide, there are 6 people who create this confection for the hotel, as well as shipping it world-wide. They make over 150,000 bags of it a year, or about 22,500 pounds.

Now about the hotel…
I have been fortunate to stay at the Davenport Hotel at least a dozen times in the past 5 years, and I have to say it is my favorite hotel of any place that I can remember staying. The beds are so comfy, the service and the food in the restaurants is excellent, and the cocktails are superb. The lobby is as grand as any great hotel, and their ballrooms have been restored to absolute splendor.
It has a wonderful story of being the jewel of Spokane before falling into neglect. After years on the market and facing demolition, Walter and Karen Worthy stepped up with their own money and remodeled the hotel down to the studs. They brought it back to it’s original glory, plus built a sister hotel across the street. The hotel has spurred a downtown rebirth of Spokane. It really is a great story of a dream and success. In spite of it’s glamour, it’s dog friendly, too.
If I were Eloise, I’d live here for sure!

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Note the pen…

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The hotel celebrated its 10th anniversary last year.

Ritter Sport with Strawberry Creme….mmmmmm….

Oh this is good. It tastes like a strawberry milkshake wrapped in milk chocolate. You must try this. It is pretty sweet which will keep me from consuming it all right this minute. I imagine that I’ll finish it off within the hour, though. Oh, yes, and there are supposedly 3 servings in this small bar, as if…

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My 2013 Baking List

Now that we are half-way through the first month of 2013, I figure that I should make some resolutions. All of mine are baking goals (oh sure, I have other goals, but they aren’t as much fun).
This could be called a bucket list, but I really don’t care for that term, especially since once you complete the list, then what?
Anyhow…here’s my list, and if you have a recipe suggestion for one of these, please let me know.

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1. Macarons: oh, how I love these. A little crisp shell, then a soft chew, then the buttercream filling, oh yeah! They are the darling of the baking world with good reason.

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2. Pavlova: a fluffy cloud of meringue with pastry cream and fruit, I have always admired these from afar.

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3. Madeleines: they are just lovely to look at, and even better to eat. A perfect pairing with tea.

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4. Focaccia: I mean a really good one with a chewy top and lots of air holes, simply seasoned with sea salt and rosemary, and basil.

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5. A yule log, or Buche de Noel for you Francophiles: complete with meringue mushrooms. A little retro and corny, but you know it’s good.

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6. Homemade caramels: I have tried and tried and every version is too soft and greasy. These apple cider caramels from Smitten Kitchen sound wonderful.

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7. Marshmallows: They look easy enough, I don’t know why I can’t commit….

Again, if you have a favorite recipe for one of these, or have one that I should try, please drop me a line in the comments below.

Photocredits: 1. davidlebovitz.com 2. Kraft 3. myrecipes.com  4. Browneyedbaker.com

5. Betty Crocker 6. smittenkitchen.com 7. bonappetit.com

The best way to keep the house warm is to keep baking

The temperature is going to be in the teens tonight, so I thought I’d fight the cold with a little baking.
Mmmm…it’s been months since I made my favorite chocolate chip/toffee cookies. The recipe is from Southern Living, and I’ve posted it before, but it’s worth re-visiting. The only revision I make is to use half a bag of Nestle’s mini chips, and half a bag of Heath Brickle Bits. I bake them for 12 min, or until the edges are a little brown, but the centers look a little underdone. The cookies continue to bake on the sheet after you take them out, so don’t let the entire cookie get brown in the oven.

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Two of my favorite things: cookies and owls.

Haribo Tropifrutti Gummi Candy loses something in translation

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Haribo makes some great chewy candies, but this is not one of them. The fruit shaped candies taste artifical, and bland. I tried every flavor and then threw the bag away.

Kirkland Soft Caramels; another Costco winner

The holidays may be over, but thankfully, the candy lives on here at the office.

These caramels taste like homemade, and are another reason why I won’t bother to make my own. They are soft, and buttery, and not too sweet. You could repackage them in some pretty box, and people will think that you are giving them some specialty, gourmet candy. When the truth is that you bought them off of a palette (and there’s no shame in that!)

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