We live in zone 6a and I have been gardening and cooking for years. This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my success and those failures that come about on occasion. Plus, I want to hear from all the gardeners and bakers and cooks out there and learn from you. Feel free to share your ideas.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

TWD:Baking With Julia-Croissants and More

The recipes for March for the Tuesdays With Dorie: Baking With Julia crowd are Croissants and Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies. I have never made both recipes for the month, either because of time or I just liked only one out of the two recipes for the month: but not this month. 

I started on the croissants yesterday. Trying to find compressed yeast was a challenge. My husband and I clearly remember cubes of compressed yeast that would be in the refrigerator section of the stores. Not any more. After a few calls, Jungle Jims came to the rescue. They have an artisan bakery section and they will sell compressed yeast in one pound blocks. Now that is a lot of yeast, but it was $3.99( not that expensive really) and I can freeze it. I know I certainly will never use all of this yeast. However, everything that I read about these French treats was to not substitute compressed yeast for dry yeast.

Last night I mixed the dough and created the butter disc. That was easy. This morning I started to incorporate the dough and butter. So far it has been a breeze. I have two more turns for  the roll out phase to create the layers of butter within the dough. I will then freeze the dough and make the croissants next weekend. There will be more turns and roll outs next weekend,  before I can bake these delicacies. The one thing I did was cut the recipe in half. I could not imagine having enough dough for 24 croissants. That is way too much for our family. So I have had to really think about how long and wide I should make the dough in the roll out faze. That was a bit tricky. Stay tuned for next week.

If you want to watch a video for this recipe from Baking with Julia just click here.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Meyer Lemons and Lemon Ricotta Cookies

All of you know that I have been looking for ideas on what to do with my meyer lemons from my tree. Well, I had 2  lemons left and this is what I came up with. I substituted 1/ 2 cup of the white flour with whole wheat flour. I also used vanilla instead of lemon extract. Plus, I think that you could swap out the lemon juice, zest and extract for orange. The ricotta adds a wonderful texture to these cookies.

Lemon Ricotta Cookies
from Giada DiLaurentis and Food Network

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons lemon juice 1 lemon, zested
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lemon, zested

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In your electric mixer bowl combine the butter and the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

For the Glaze: Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Seed Order

Just placed my first order for seeds with Johhny's. I have so many seeds left over from last year that I don't think I will need to place much of an order for this year.

I would love to have a successful crop of cucumbers, but the cucumber beetle is such  a challenge. With that said, I still will be planting Diva and we shall see how it goes.