Strawberry Pina Colada Cupcakes

February 13th, 2009
Strawberry Pina Colada Cupcakes

Strawberry Pina Colada Cupcakes

Dear Fellow Cupcake Lovers,

Sometimes it can be a good thing when a recipe fails. Last night I made the worst strawberry cupcakes from scratch. They were soggy, flat, rubbery, and the bottom of the cupcake liners had burned. The sight of them sitting on my counter was frustrating.  I immediately discarded them like they were a bad omen and they spent the rest of the night cooling in the trash.

Short on time and not really in the mood to research recipes and begin again, I decided to cheat. For the sake of convenience, Duncan Hines became my partner in crime.  After a full hour spent carefully measuring and weighing ingredients, recklessly ripping the top off that bright red box of Pineapple Supreme Cake Mix was a bit of a rush. I followed the directions on the box explicitly with the exception of adding 1 teaspoon of vanilla and replacing the 1 1/3 cups of water with 1/3 a cup of Coconut Rum and 1 cup of pineapple juice. It was easy, the process was painless and I mourned my fallen strawberry cupcakes by toasting them with a good shot of rum. Read more…

Ceres' Recipe Box , , , , , , , ,

Crostini with Mascarpone, Fresh Raspberries, and Drizzled Honey

February 11th, 2009

Somehow in the excitement of picking rasberries, I forgot to take a picture of the ones that I collected.

Crostini with Mascorpone, Fresh Berries, and Drizzled Honey

Crostini with Mascarpone, Fresh Raspberries, and Drizzled Honey

But, I did remember to take a picture of my favorite snack to indulge in after a day spent picking fresh berries.

 

Crostini with Mascarpone, Fresh Raspberries, and Drizzled Honey

Simply spread a thinly sliced homemade or store bought baguette with marscarpone cheese. Top with your favorite berries, or sliced fruit, and drizzle with a good local honey. 

Recipe inspired by Seriously Simple, Easy Recipes for Creative Cooks, by Diane Rossen Worthington

Ceres' Recipe Box, Uncategorized , , , , ,

Bird’s Haven Farms & Canning Raspberry Jam

February 11th, 2009

Yesterday after sharing my recipe for homemade Raspberry Jam Bars, I realized that I have yet to share my recipe for canning Raspberry Jam. 

dscf58142

One of the best things about canning Raspberry Jam, is that it gives you a great excuse to head out to a local pick your own farm to hand select bright red sun-ripened raspberries. Read more…

Ceres' Recipe Box , , , , , , , , ,

Homemade Raspberry Jam Bars

February 11th, 2009
Homemade Raspberry Jam Bars

Homemade Raspberry Jam Bars

In the month of February the days begin to get a little bit longer and it is a thrill to wake up to a sunny bedroom in the morning. It may still be blustery cold outside, but I can not help but dream of warmer days that will be spent in my garden, at the local farm markets, and at an assortment of pick your own farms.

I long for the days when I can leave the house early in the day with great big empty baskets and not return until they are full of the season’s treasures. As the sun sets, I will sit on my patio with a glass of wine and a good book while our dinner cooks on the grill. Late into the evening when the weather has cooled and a slight breeze billows through my windows, I will begin the process of canning the brilliant flavors of spring and summer.

On wintry grey days like today in Ohio, I will go down to the basement and pull out a jar of food that was preserved during my favorite time of year. I smile every time I hear that Ball Jar lid pop open and I am reminded to hold on just a little bit longer, that nothing lasts forever, and this season too will pass.

Today as I popped open a gorgeous, jar of my homemade Raspberry Jam the deep red color reminded me of sunnier times. It was an absolute pleasure to use it to make Homemade Raspberry Jam Bars. After mimimal effort, my home was filled with the exquisite fragrance of raspberries, butter, and sugar. Because they are blissfully decadent, but easy to make, these cookies and this recipe will always hold a special place in my heart. So, for Valentine’s Day I am choosing  to share a taste of my home and a cookie that we love with you. Try them with your favorite jam, preserves, or marmalade and I bet you will love them too.

Read more…

Ceres' Recipe Box , , , , , , , , ,

Vanilla Souffle

February 9th, 2009
Vanilla Souffle     Vanilla Souffle

Whenever I set a souffle on the dining room table, the room gets quiet, guests hold their breath, and for a brief moment there is complete silence. Secretly, this always amuses me, because there have been many things that I have completely annilated in the kitchen, but knock on wood, a souffle is not one of them. At least not yet…

Now yes, I will admit that once upon a time, anytime I saw a souffle recipe in a magazine or cookbook, I would quickly flip the page. I had absolutely no intention of making one in this lifetime and suffering through the humiliation of serving something that resembled a flat soggy pancake in a souffle dish. However, a few years ago, I discovered that souffles were very simple to make, using ingredients that I almost always have on hand. A basic souffle does not cost a fortune to make, require you to slave in the kitchen for hours, or disastrously explode without warning. Instead it can be the most inexpensive, yet most impressive desserts you have ever made.

Read more…

Ceres' Recipe Box , , , , , , ,

A Simple Asparagus Salad

February 8th, 2009

 

Asparagus Salad

Asparagus Salad

Once I had tasted asparagus that had been roasted or grilled, I was hooked on its delicious caramelized texture and never looked back. Other then enjoying them pureed in a soup or canning Pickled Asparagus for Bloody Marys, I really did not crave it any other way. However, recently while searching through some old Polish recipes, I found a simple and inexpensive way to prepare it that completely captured my curiosity.

I picked up a fresh bundle of asparagus at the market this weekend for $1.99 and for less than $3.00, I made this gorgeous dish to enjoy as a light snack. The colors were bright, he flavors were crisp, and although, I am not a huge fan of hard boiled eggs, I found myself dragging them through the remnants of the dressing on my plate till there was nothing left. The pairing of flavors was so divine, that I can not wait to make this again. It is a perfect make-ahead dish that would be a welcome relief to vegetables and dip at a party. The hard-boiled eggs could easily be replaced with cocktail shrimp or do not use either and serve this as a side dish next time you make dinner.  Either way, you really should try it and remember how good asparagus is when it is lightly cooked and simply prepared.

Read more…

Ceres' Recipe Box , , , , , , , ,

Blueberry Bran Muffins

February 4th, 2009

 

Blue Berry Bran Muffins

Blueberry Bran Muffin

A few more minutes under the covers or a healthy breakfast? 

Enjoy both!

 

Today was a bitter cold winter morning in Ohio and I did not want to get out of bed. For the 3rd day in a row, I traded breakfast for the luxury of pulling the covers high up over my head and hitting the snooze button on the alarm clock. For 10 minutes that seemed more like 10 seconds, I was able to stay tucked into the warmth of my bed. However, reality hit quickly as as soon as my feet hit the cold floor and like many morning before, I was in a full blown rush just to get out the door.

While shivering in my freezing cold car, I immediately regretted not having a hot cup of coffee with cream and something healthy to fuel my day. Knowing that a commitment to get up earlier was not the solution, I decided that as soon as I got home, I would make some Blueberry Bran Muffins for breakfast and set the timer on my coffee pot. Tomorrow morning, I will probably hit the snooze button again, but this time I will have breakfast too. Read more…

Ceres' Recipe Box , , , , , , ,

Snowflake Cookies

January 29th, 2009

 

Snowflake Cookies

Snowflake Cookies

I believe that cold snowy days are perfect for baking something decadent. The winter storm that hit Ohio encased us in ice and blanketed us with snow. The roads were a mess, so we were glad when most things were closed and we were granted a snow day. Indulging in the occasion, I pulled out my favorite sugar cookie recipes and made a batch of Snowflake Cookies. The entire morning went by in a blur of snowflakes both outside my window and inside my kitchen. The fragrance of butter, sugar, and vanilla that filled our home was decadent. We ate these pretty little cookies throughout the day and I am convinced that there is no better way to warm up your home during a blustery winter storm.

Read more…

Ceres' Recipe Box , , ,

Forgotten Household Crafts

January 27th, 2009
Old Fashioned Kitchen

Old Fashioned Kitchen

It has been said that through the careful observation of history, will we find the answers needed for tomorrow’s future. As I take small steps to reduce our carbon footprints on this Earth, I am often drawn to the legends of my Great Grandparents who farmed the land and knew how to successfully live a sustainable life.

Two generations ago, my Great Grandmother Julia immigrated to the United States  from Poland. When she arrived on Ellis Island, she did not have a designer purse hanging from her slender wrists; instead, she carried a small pillowcase full of her belongings. When I consider that she came to this country completely alone, I deeply admire her courage and fierce determination to succeed. Great Grandmother Julia chose to start her new life in Riverhead, New York. It was a small Polish community and she was not here very long before she fell in love with my Great Grandfather Julius.  Together they started a family, and etched out a life farming a potato farm that is now the home to some of the best vineyards on Long Island.

Read more…

Book Reviews , , , , , , , ,

Emergency Grocery Lists & Menus

January 27th, 2009
Winter Storm Warning

Winter Storm Warning

We are under a Winter Storm Warning here in Ohio and are expecting to receive a nasty mixture of snow, sleet, and ice.  There is plenty of food in the pantry, fridge, and freezer, but I wanted to make sure that we had the more critical items in case the power went out. After living in Florida for years, I could easily plan for a hurricane in my sleep. We would always buy plenty of water, fill big coolers full of ice to store fruit, vegetables, our favorite condiments, milk for cereal, and even some Starbucks Frappachinos just so we could indulge in our morning coffee ritual. I would cook some pasta or tortellini ahead of time and place it in the cooler, to later make a pasta salad. We did not live on the coast, so it was always a great opportunity to plan a Hurricane Party. This was a fun way to make the best of it with family and friends, while clearing out the refrigerator. I f power was lost; we would grill all the meats in the freezer after the storm had passed. Preparing meals without electricity was never too much of a challenge in our home.  With the power out and the windows rattling, there were times that we worried that the roof would blow off, but we never did worry about what we would eat.

Read more…

Notes from my kitchen