Friday, September 9, 2011

Blueberry "Fold Over"

Blueberries are a tough little nugget for me. I really don't ever know what to do with them when I buy them. Sometimes, I toss them into some oatmeal or I might even make muffins. That's about all I could come up with. When it comes time to change things up I am at a complete and total loss.

I love that puff pastry is a blank canvas (a fattening one, but delicious). I asked myself if blueberries and puff pastry were a good combination... Why wouldn't they be, right? At first, I wanted to just throw the berries on the pastry and see what would happen. I was too afraid of a plain and boring outcome that I decided to go another route. I cooked the blueberries with sugar, lemon juice, and zest. The blueberry sauce was so tart and delicious. I just wanted to eat it straight out of the pan, or maybe on some vanilla icecream. I had to restrain myself from repeated "test tasting" in order to leave some for the pastry.

As soon as it was out of the oven I wanted to dig in, but didn't want to risk damaging my tastebuds and not be able to enjoy it once it had thoroughly cooled. Sometimes I think it takes a lot of discipline to be a baker or else you learn the hard way. I won't lie that I have taken a bite out of things directly out of the oven just because I couldnt restrain myself- big mistake. Now, I know that I have to wait.. so that's what I did. Once it was cooled there really was no holding me back. I did share though and those who got a piece of it really enjoyed it.

Blueberry "Fold Over"
- 1 pint Blueberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp water

In a small sauce pan add the blueberries, sugar, zest and juice. Stir to combine the ingredients and place over a medium heat. The berries will begin to burst and release beautiful blue/purple juices. Once the sauce comes to a low boil stir occasionally. Let the sauce simmer for 7-10 minutes, until it is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Once it has reached this consistency allow it to cool at room temperature, roughly 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the puff pastry sheet. Pour the cooled blueberry sauce down the middle of the rolled out sheet leaving 3-4 inch margins on two sides that will be used as flaps. Spread the sauce out to make a thin even layer. Fold over the flaps, they shouldn't meet this way you will be able to see the blueberry sauce on top. With a fork, lightly poke the pastry flaps. Move the pastry to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Lightly whisk the egg and water to create an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, lightly spread egg wash over the pastry. Bake in the oven for 18-22 minutes, until the puff pastry is golden brown. Allow to reach room temperature before serving.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Busy Girl and Danishes

Last time I was here I posted about the boring emptiness that is was my house. Since then I have decided to really step up to the plate and start fixing up the place. I have a huge list of things to do, but I've been taking it one day at a time and so far I haven't been burned out. One piece of bad news is that I badly hurt my back yesterday. I can't recall lifting anything really heavy or when it might have happened, but it did. Now, I am in so much pain. Today, I had planned out to prime my dining room chairs and a small coffee table that I am going to use as shelves(possibly a bench). I really don't see how I can get anything done today.. I just want to lay down all day with a nice cup of tea. Musn't give up. I don't want to fall behind because I really won't have anytime for the next two weeks! I am catering a party on Saturday, so I gotta start cooking on Friday. THEN, next week I have a huge dessert table and that is gonna be all week prep thing. To top it all off my mother in law gets here next Thursday.

With all this going on I still haven't forgotten about the puff pastry. Today, I am going to share with you a super simple recipe for danishes. It is a cheater's recipe, sort of like the crostatas, and that is exactly what I love about it. So go on over to Pink Stitches and check out the method I taught my sister.

Here are just a few of the projects I am working on at home...

I made these shelves out of pallets like 3 months back and NEVER finished painting them. Now, I don't like the yellow- they need to be repainted.

My unfinished dining room set. I just sealed the table yesterday and was hoping to finally prime the chairs today..

My enemy- these chairs were so annoying to strip of the varnish. I literally just did the last chair yesterday, 2 or 3 months after the others because I was in no mood for it. I am re-upholstering the seats because well.. look at them! The fabric I ordered should be arriving today or tomorrow.

This project was originally my husbands, but of course he didn't get around to finishing it, so I just gotta throw some texture on it and paint it.

My love-Morgane.. she has been the best little trooper this week. She has helped me out and kept busy playing in her kitchen when I was really occuppied.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Extreme Home Makeover

I woke up really late today, close to 11. Luckily, my baby girl was just as tired as I was and slept in with me. Then I had the great privelege of being read The Princess and the Pea (by Janet Stevens) in bed. I love mornings like this. I don't have much planned for today, except for a little home clean up- which was a perfect excuse to lay in bed for about an hour cuddling with Morgane and catching up on global news via the internet (on my phone).

Then stomach started asking for food and Morgane wanted to go play in her kitchen downstairs, so I forced myself out of bed. Still feeling great, I went down the stairs only to be totally taken back! I realized just how boring my house looks. I have tried to spice it up in the past, but I really don't have the passion for it to go all out. Frankly, I'd rather spend the money on a new kitchen gadget. With that horrible realization my relaxed mood flew out the window! I hate when that happens. Something suddenly comes over me and I can't get it out of my head... it's called anxiety. (I've been diagnosed...)

I've spent the last thirty minutes online browsing amazing blogs. I really wanna get my butt into action and do something, but I have no clue where to start. Perhaps decluttering... but I honestly do this like once a month and the clutter keeps coming! Anyone have any suggestions?

OMY and I've just remembered that my mother in law is coming from Martinique in two weeks! My house needs to be in better shape.. more added stress anxiety. I am gonna spend the next few hours browsing the net for some inexpensive ideas. Don't hesitate to post up links or ideas for me to check out.

Have a great day!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Cheese Straws

So my hunnie bunnie is back to work and I guess this means I'm back to blogging. For this week I chose a really tempting and decadent ingredient... PUFF PASTRY. I just love all things puff pastry and I definitely love that I don't always have to make it from scratch!

The other day my hubby was fixing a leak in our A/C unit and my little Morgane was playing with her dolls. I had nothing to do- I headed for the kitchen. This is usually always what I turn to when I have nothing to do. I opened up the freezer and found a lonely box of puff pastry that needed to be used up. I didn't feel like having anything sweet, so I had to think for a minute what I could do. Then I remembered seeing an episode or special where Ina Garten goes to London and buys cheese straws at a farmer's market. It was so simple to make and they looked really tasty. I didn't even need a recipe- you don't either, just some basic instructions.

They turned out to be a great little snack and only lasted a few minutes fresh out of the oven. I am lucky I got to snap a few pictures!

Cheese Straws
- Thawed puff pastry (one sheet)
- 1 cup of shredded cheese (anything you'd like, I used cheddar)
- flour (for dusting)
- 1 egg
- 1 tbs water

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

When the puff pastry sheet is thawed, unfold and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out so the the seams of the folds are no longer visible and is roughly a 10" x 10" square.

Whisk together the egg and water to create an egg wash. Brush the puff pastry pretty liberally with the egg wash so that the cheese will stick. Then sprinkle the cheese over the pastry and slightly press down with your fingers just to make sure the cheese will stick.

Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter cut strips from top to bottom of the pastry, about an inch apart. Then move the strips onto your parchment lined baking sheet and pop in the oven for 18-20 minutes, just until golden brown.