summer food…a feast for the eyes

Lately, I haven’t had much time to invest in blogging. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been eating, obviously. Here are a few of my food memories from summer. And because pictures say more than my words can, here goes. … Continue reading

another skating Christmas

Last Christmas, we ventured up to NH to celebrate Christmas with my side of the family. The most memorable part was the incredible ice skating with the family. Not to be outdone, Christmas 2010 with my husband’s family also included three days of beautiful skating in a different part of NH. And in true New England style, we had more than a foot of snow the day after Christmas.

Geared up for skating

 

Ready for the cold

 

The big girls help their southern cousin around the ice.

And some food, of course. We ate. And ate. You name it, we ate it. Prime rib with Yorkshire pudding, leg of lamb with broccoli and Hollandaise sauce, a whole ham with egg casserole for brunch. Shall I go on? Sticky buns, a gingerbread house, lemon tart, freshly baked pizelles

dad’s turn

Because we celebrate all things with food, Father’s Day was another feast. As with Mother’s Day, we started off with a yummy brunch. But being a much more industrious person than I am, G doesn’t like to wait for breakfast in bed, so we ate like civilized folk at the dining room table.

The girls made Egg Nests, which are delicious and perfect for little hands of all ages to make. From shredding the cheddar and chopping the ham to cracking the eggs and buttering the bread, there is a job for everyone. Basically, butter some white bread, stuff it down into a greased cupcake tin, pour in some scrambled eggs and sprinkle with diced ham and cheese. Then cover with foil and cook for 25 to 30 minutes at 350°F until firm.

For dinner, there’s no way faster to my man’s heart than lobster. But since it was hotter than the hinges of hell, as my dad says, I opted to go out to pick up our succulent friend. One of our occasional stops when we need some quick eats is Stew Leonard’s. This dairy store has so much more than just milk and ice cream. And on this day, we stopped in for a freshly steamed lobster, a couple of lobster rolls (my dinner –  two for $9.99!) and various foods of choice for the kids.

Anyone who knows my husband will understand from the photos that not one shell was left uncracked. G is relentless in his pursuit of the delicate lobster meat. Even the small legs and the body are plundered for their bounty, however small that may be. While the rest of us should be finishing dessert, G is usually just laying down the last hollow shell. And however annoying that may be to someone (or four someones) who only eats dinner to get to dessert, it’s a perfect example of what makes my man a great father. He is patient and perseveres. When there are obstacles in the way, he doesn’t take the easy way around, but rather works at removing the obstacle so that others coming behind him will have an easier time.

So while cracking open a lobster doesn’t always conjure up images of wise fathers to most, I’ll always admire the care and precision G takes with his meal. Knowing that if he takes that much effort to extract the best out of a lobster, he takes that much more care to bring out the best in those he loves.

was mother’s day really a month ago?

Well, I have quite a pile, so to speak, of photos waiting to be set free onto this blog. I’m not sure how superhero mothers work and regularly blog, but I’ve realized I am not one of them. However, because of an unexpected lull in editing, here I am.

Mother’s Day was particularly sweet this year. I’m not sure why it stood out. Maybe it was the extra effort by my kids. It could have been the tasty Hollandaise sauce. Perhaps it’s that as I get older, I realize that those quiet afternoons enjoying my three gals and little guy are fleeting.

Take a look at my homemade treasures.

On Mother’s Day Eve, hubby made me one of my favorites, grilled lamb chops marinated in soy sauce, Dijon mustard and rosemary.

The actual morning brought the annual breakfast in bed with Eggs Benedict flanked by leftover spring asparagus. Does it get any better than that?

Yes it does. The breakfast came with an art show and jewelry.

Little man made me a pin, which I wore to church. (Nothing like prison-orange to spruce up an outfit.)

O made me this very sweet heart design, which actually shows that she planned far enough ahead for the glue to dry.

K constructed a box from Popsicle sticks, further proving my hunch that she’s heading for some kind of architectural or engineering vocation.

She had also been working on an edible something since the day before. It was a surprise. And to add to the suspense, she picked the hardest recipe out of her favorite baking book. And hubby had to be her pastry assistant. There were some tense moments. But we finally ended up with these, and all was well…and delicious. (If you dare to try this recipe for Bee Stings from Sweet Melissa’s Baking Book, click here. And good luck!)

And M picked a few flowers and petals from our yard to create a beautifully delicate heart.  Which exactly exemplified my feelings about the day because my heart was bursting with pride in our little clan.

To conclude the day, we dragged ourselves and our swollen stomachs to Homegoods (LOVE this store) and picked up a couple more passengers for our car. Seriously, we had to strap these suckers in to their seats, hoping they would make it safely home. And the best part was that these huge planters were a total of less than $80!

Blender Hollandaise Sauce

by foodieplus4’s mom-in-law

[click here to print]

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 5 egg yolks
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • dash of white pepper
  • dash of Tabasco
  1. Boil butter in a heavy saucepan.
  2. Put egg yolks, lemon and spices into blender.
  3. Pour hot butter into the active blender in a slow and steady stream.

an ode to seasonal pastries, finnish style

[Note from foodie:  I’ve been a bit swamped trying to balance family and a part-time job.  And although I am still feeding my tribe, photos and blogging are luxuries at this point. Thanks to my best friend Cyndi for torturing us with these amazing looking pastries and filling in with a delectable guest post!]

You know that Christmas song that says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”? Well for me, it’s not Christmas that I eagerly look forward to each year. Yes, Christmas is nice and there is plenty of good food, but ever since moving to Finland I have come to the realization that I actually look forward to the period of time around the end of January/beginning of February. Why, you ask? Feast your eyes on these:

What you’re looking at are two of the reasons why I always eagerly anticipate what would otherwise be a dull, dreary time of year: Runebergstårtor (Runeberg’s Cakes) and Fastlagsbullar (literally translated as “Fat Tuesday Buns”). These two pastries only appear for a short time—blink, and they’re gone. These are good enough to make me thank my lucky stars that I have had the opportunity to live in Finland and discover them. Yes. They’re that good.  [Note the frozen outdoor landscape below.]

There is a lot of information online about who Runeberg was and why this somewhat unusual looking cake is named after him, etc.  Below is one recipe, but there are plenty of others online and Finns young and old all have their favorite. I’ll admit that because there are numerous bakeries near my house, I almost never bake them myself; half of the fun is trying out the five different local “secret” recipes. It’s a serious job, and someone must shoulder the responsibility. If I can still fit in front of my computer by next week, I just might type up and share the recipe for fastlagsbullar…

Runebergstårtor

from foodie friend Cyndi

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup bread or cake crumbs (some should be gingerbread cookie crumbs)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • raspberry jam

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon water

For “wet” cakes:

  • almond extract
  • water
  • sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream butter with sugar.  Add eggs one at a time and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients.  Add dry mix and cream to the butter mixture. Mix quickly until you have a smooth batter.
  4. Pour batter into prepared muffin tin, filling the cups only to 2/3  (in Finland, special tall cylinder-shaped forms are used). Create indentions in the middle of each cake: dip your thumb into flour and create a small divot in each cake. Fill the indention with jam. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 15 minutes.
  5. When the cakes have cooled, decorate. Mix the confectioner’s sugar with water until it becomes a thick paste. Pour or pipe a ring around the jam indention in each cake. “Top up” the raspberry jam as desired.
  6. If you prefer a drier cake, then you are done. If not, dip the cakes quickly into a small amount of almond extract mixed with water and sugar.