Monday, May 28, 2012

Wedding Cookies

Pin It

A little sweetness in the guest bags.

Wedding cake cookies are a favorite with the brides.  My neighbor's daughter had a destination wedding and they wanted something sweet and personal in the bags they gave to the guests.  I was happy to help out.  I did these simple white on white cakes, and also did some bride and groom images.

The image comes from here, a rubber stamp from the Paper Source.  I think they are so cute!  She also stamped labels for the wine bottles she is putting in the gift bags.  I love the little DIY touches to todays weddings, and crafty me wishes she could do it all over again!  Same guy of course!

A little something for the parents of the bride.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sweet Potato Salad ala Ritz Carlton

Pin It

 I love weddings.  Such love and happiness abound, and everyone is all dressed up and the food, the dancing and the dresses...  We went to a wedding at the Ritz Carlton in Reynolds Plantation, GA, a fairytale wedding for sure.  A good size, like 250, outside on a gorgeous spring evening with the dresses fluttering in the breeze, the sun sparkling on Lake Oconee, it was right out of a magazine.  And it makes for great family photos!

After the ceremony we headed indoors for hors d'oeuvres, cocktails, dinner and dancing.  The food was amazing, but one thing stood out.   Sweet Potato Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette.  Yum.  I buy sweet potatoes every week, no matter the season.  I love them baked, mashed, roasted with salt, spicy even the sweet kind with the candied pecans, and especially the pretty purple ones!  But I have never had them with a vinaigrette, but they are now in the summer salad rotation!  I had to improvise the recipe, and I think it is pretty close.

Sweet Potato Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette

1 1/2# sweet potatoes
3 slices thick bacon
3 T olive oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 yellow onion, diced
4 scallions, trimmed and chopped
1/4 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

Boil the potatoes, skin on until a knife pierces them easily.  Rinse in cool water and peel and cube.  Toss into serving bowl.  I am thinking that peeling, cubing and then boiling would be easier, but I am certain this is how theirs was made judging by the rough pieces of potato.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in small fry pan until crispy, remove from pan and blot with paper towels and coarsely chop. Set aside.

Drain excess bacon drippings and add olive oil and heat up again and cook the yellow inions until they start to color.  Add the sherry vinegar to hot pan, and add bacon back in.  Pour warm dressing over the potatoes, top with scallions and parsley and mix well.

Unlike regular potato salad which is delicious warm, I think this is better cooled off a bit.  But believe me, we tasted it in every form, and I ate the leftovers for breakfast.  It is that good!
So, what are you waiting for?  Get in there and cook!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Graduation Galore!

Pin It

So a few more graduations.  First Katie and Nathan are cousins having a party together, so I wanted the trays to sort of mirror each other with the appropriate colors.  Nathan graduated from Arkansas and Katie is headed to college at Memphis.

And then Christie is heading to Vanderbilt.  This child we have known since perhaps kindergarten.  My, time does indeed fly!  Good luck graduates!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Angel Food Cupcakes

Pin It

I have mentioned before (about a hundred times) that I have a hankering for meringues, egg whites and angel food.  Angel Food would be the only birthday cake for me, and I talk about it often, like here, and here. Angel Food is unlike many other cakes out there, because there isn't much you can do to change the way it's done.  As you can see from my posts, I want it done just like my Mom made it, with Seven Minute Icing.

Cute paper liners...

So, on Mother's Day, I decided I was going to make it into cupcakes, and what a great idea that was!  Portion control!  You can make your angel food cake any way you like, scratch, box, whatever, I do not judge.  I used to sell Duncan Hines cake mixes, and although I would like to never use a box mix for a layer cake, I am not above a box for angel food.  I hate wasting anything, and what the heck would I do with 12+ egg yolks?  This time I used the Target brand angel food cake mix, and dang, it was delicious!  Yes, I am a food blogger, but hey, sometimes I like the easy way out, especially after a week of hours of cookie decorating!

They baked perfectly!

Nice craggy angel food tops!

I used some adorable cupcake liners I won from Sweetopia eons ago, but because of their delicate color, I was waiting for white cake to put in them.  They are head and shoulders above regular cupcake liners.  Heavy and firm, made of Swedish grease proof paper, I would like more!  You can find them at mine are called Elisabeth.  A box of angel food mix will make 24 cupcakes (exactly the number of liners in the Vestil box) with plenty of bowl licking goodness left.  Here is the icing recipe I usually use, straight out of the Joy of Cooking.  And yes, many would call it "meringue" icing, but I am old school, and seven minute it will always be!  The recipe says you can do it with a rotary beater...wouldn't that be fun?!

Joy of Cooking Seven Minute Icing

2 unbeaten egg whites (free of any trace of yolk)
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 Tablespoons cold water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place all ingredients except vanilla in a double boiler over rapidly boiling water.  Beat with rotary beater or whisk for 7 minutes.  I use a hand mixer, I hate to wear myself out in the kitchen!  Remove from heat and add vanilla and beat until it is the consistency for spreading.  You can color it here, or add nuts etc.
It's perfect every time.

BUT, I also have done this recipe from Epicurious.  It uses less sugar and another egg white and more vanilla, so I went with this one.

Epicurious Seven Minute Frosting

1 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar
3 egg whites
1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Beat all ingredients except vanilla in double boiler over barely simmering water.  Starting low, beat, increasing to high, until stiff peaks form, for about 5 minutes.  Whoa!  Hang on here, this is 7-minute frosting not 5!  Just get it to peaks, regardless of the time!  Remove from heat and continue beating until it is light and billowy (they suggest 2 minutes so the math works out), add vanilla.
Perfect, delicate cupcakes!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Salsa of the Tropics

Pin It
First jalepenos of the year from my garden!  In May!

How perfect, after making the tropical cookies, I make tropical salsa, lest you think all we eat is cookies!  This is a recipe I have been making for 20 years.  I got it from a friend in Georgia, written on a recipe card.  Those are a rare find these days, as we live in a cut and paste, email, print, kind of world.  I cherish my handwritten recipes.  Here's how it goes.

2 Mangoes, pitted, peeled, diced
4 Roma Tomatoes, seeded, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
5 small jalepenos, or to taste, diced
1 teaspoon cumin
generous shakes Crystal Hot Sauce
4 Tablespoons Sherry vinegar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
fresh chopped parsley (it calls for cilantro, but hey, I'm a Petitti!)
2 fresh limes, zested and juiced

This OXO mango slicer is a must!

My cheater-chopper.  But everything is perfectly diced!

This is precisely the recipe I love my chopper for.  Everything is perfectly diced and sits nicely on a chip.  It is best eaten on the first or second day, the tomatoes seem to get progressively mushy after that.  But it is wonderful this time of year, and delicious with a light fish!  So what are you waiting for?  Get in there and cook!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Nothing Says Happy Graduation Like A Shotgun!

Pin It

There's the shotgun, more about these below!

Here are the first of the graduation cookies.  These below, are for my nephews in Iowa, and I wanted to post them so they could see how great they look on a platter, since they will be carefully wrapped when they get there!  I am missing their parties this weekend for a wedding, but I know it will be a great celebration!  So Congrats to Frank and Tom!

Heading to Des Moines in the fall.

Another Hawkeye in the family.

Next up is a young girl whose favorite color is purple...but is going to Ole Miss.  And since I am not about to ice Col. Reb on a cookie, we went with the favorite color theme!  Congrats Blakely!

Ole Miss bound.

And finally, a young man graduated from my son's alma mater.  These were a little more fun because I have a lot of experience at this school.  It's all boys, and they wear a tie every day, so the tie was a natural part of the platter, as was his college choice UT.  I like to put in a ball or banner if there was something that really stood out in their high school career.  As it turns out, Chris was on the trap shooting team, so I made shotguns!  My sweet husband even offered to bring me a shotgun to sit as my model!  I think they turned out pretty good, and really added some personality to the old mortar boards!

UT Knoxville

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cookies For the Moms

Pin It

So this weekend is the most important holiday of the year.  Mother's Day.  I don't know about you, but I am darn lucky in the mom department.  So I sent my mom and mother-in-law cookies to let them know that I am thinking of them while I bake away the days!  

My mom really taught me everything I know in the kitchen.  In some way, her little lessons led to bigger and bigger things.  It started with her making the dough and rolling it out.  I would choose the cookie cutters and cut the dough, she would bake them.  She taught me how to get the most cookies each time she rolled the dough.  And then she made the frosting and left me to it.  I think it's safe to say I evolved over the years, but would I be doing this everyday if my mom hadn't given me the green light in the kitchen?

My inspiration this year was this card I found.  I love the pink and orange, and thought I could practice my brush embroidery that I learned from Ali Bee at Spring Fling. I also made more of SugarBelles marigolds because I am hoping to get better at it!  I took a picture of the cookies all plattered, and then gingerly wrapped them to mail.  I did a lot of little sizes because they are the perfect size for a nibble.

So to my moms, and all the mothers out there,  I hope you have a great Mother's Day!  Both my kids will be home, and that is all this mom needs.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lily Inspired Cookies for the Grands

Pin It

Grandparents.  It is amazing that so many of my friends are there.  I am just hoping to see the day I get both of mine out of college and off the payroll...(love you guys!)  So when I saw a FB post about yet another couple from high school becoming Grands, I decided I needed to send a little Sweetie Petitti to Iowa.  Since the 30th class reunion is yet again scheduled on my birthday, which I happen to share with my daughter, I am thinking it is unlikely I will see my buddies.  My baby always comes first.  She has college friends coming to celebrate, and I am thinking parental guidance is in order!

So I did a quickie plate of pink and orange.  Her name is Olivia, but I saw them refer to her as Liv, which I adore.  The humidity has hit hard in the South, so mailing cookies is a little perilous, but the Grandma/Mom (my mom and MIL) cookies had to go too.  Those I will post in a few days, and they look very similar!  Love pink and orange!  Congrats to Mary Beth and Mike, you are certain to be fantastic grandparents.  Sorry I won't see you in July!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Secret Recipe Club Rock Me Roasted Garbanzo Beans

Pin It

These are the spicy ones!
I am one of those people that gets the email for my next spy mission for Secret Recipe Club, and I immediately begin the stalking process.  I was pretty sure after my first visit to This Chick Cooks that I was making Peanut Butter Balls.  My husband loves Buckeyes, and I thought it would be great to make them "not at Christmas" and a little healthier.  His original recipe calls for wax to be melted in the chocolate.  Wax.  Ew.  So a week or so passes, and I hit up This Chick Cooks again, and there is her latest post proclaiming Roasted Chickpeas That Will Rock Your World.  Hmm, I tried to make these once.  I had to go to Whole Foods (not close) to buy dried Chickpeas, they were not cheap.  I tossed them in olive oil and spices and baked them.  I thought I was going to crack a molar.  It was like eating pebbles.  So when Katie proclaimed to the entire blogosphere that she could Rock My World, I was all in.  Boy, I was not disappointed.  But I must digress for a sec, because I made roasted fresh garbanzo beans.  They were crazy good!

Here's how it went. And I changed the name to entice you to try them!

Basque Red Pepper
Rock Me Roasted Garbanzo Beans: Spicy
1 can Garbanzo Beans, rinsed
1 1/2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Piment d'Espelette (I used this French red pepper, she used Paprika)
dash cayenne ( I used a lot of dashes, I was really wanting a beer with these)
1/4 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder

Mix it all in a bowl, spread on small cookie sheet and bake at 400F for 20 minutes.  Stir around and bake another 10-15 minutes.  I bake on convection, so 400F was a little too high.  After the first 20 minutes, I snuck a few off and they were still chewy.  After 10 more minutes, some were burned.  Darn.  But that did not stop me from eating a fair amount of them.  They were too spicy for my husband so I got them out of his way...munch munch munch and decided, I'll make more!

A little less done, ate them anyway!

Rock Me Roasted Garbanzo Beans: Ranch

1 can Garbanzo Beans, rinsed
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil (a little less of my favorite oil)
1 1/2 teaspoons Penzey's Buttermilk Ranch Base

That's it.  I tossed it all and baked 20 minutes at 385F Convection, gave them a stir and another 5 and...perfection.  Salty and flavorful, no spice.  A great snack and so darn quick.  However...they weren't as crunchy as the first time.  So I wondered was it the coconut oil?  Did I take them out too soon because I didn't want them super crunchy?

Getting ready to bake.

So then I started thinking, how about something a little less salty and maybe a sweet version.  What the heck.  They are prepared and cook so fast, I could do this all day.  So batch #3 was dessert, which lends itself nicely to coconut oil, so I went at it again!

Rock Me Roasted Garbanzo Beans: Sweet

1 can Garbanzo Beans, rinsed
1 T Coconut Oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Penzey's Apple Pie Spice (it has all the good stuff in it!)
1 T sugar
pinch of salt

Mix the beans, oil, spices and sugar, and this time bake at 385F convection, for 15 minutes, stir and turn heat down to 330F Convection.  I knew that sugar would burn if the temp was too high.  Stir about every 5 minutes, for about 20.  Sweet and cinnamon!
So check out the other posts from Secret Recipe Club below!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Tropical Shower...cookies

Pin It

A Tropical Shower...
 Doesn't a tropical shower sound wonderful?  I'm talking about the kind where you are in a fantastic suite looking out over ocean and mountains and the rain is coming TV, no phones, no kids.  Ok, so a girl can dream right?  

This tropical shower is a wedding shower for a friends niece.  They are honeymooning in Jamaica and they wanted tropical cookies.

Well, Tiki Man has been on my mind, and although he may be more Polynesian than Jamaican, he is front and center!  And pineapples and palms...

And flowers and fish.  A note on the flowers.  I learned this flower layering thing at Sugarbelle, she made marigolds.  I really like the layering of icing, totally a new thing for me, and although I hope no one thinks of them as marigolds, I like the dimension on the platter.

And a few disco dust hearts because I know there are young girls invited, and what teenage girl doesn't love a sparkly anything.  I mean Edward Cullen sparkles!  So sparkle I did!

Such fun colors, it was a pleasure to make these cookies.   And who doesn't love the anticipation of a wedding!?

Way more fun than Star Wars.

Just sayin'.  I was a part of the "May the 4th be with you" at work.  I made lots of Star Wars Cookies to give away, but Tiki Man was more fun!  So, what are ya waiting for?  Get in there!