Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Etsy things I ♥ right now...

The past few weekends have found me getting in the "spring spirit" around the house. We have cleaned out the closets, rearranged the studio, and added a fresh coat of paint to almost anything that will stand still... children and animals excluded.

And with the new look I have of course fallen head over heals for a few new things, such as...

These must be mine!

MyMiMi's etsy shop is a feast for my eyes!
I reeeally think my living room needs a few of these pillows!

This wall decal is currently the inspiration for my bathroom wall... I cant wait for it to be finished!

There are so many cute decals in beepart's store! I think I could cover ALOT of very random things in fun pop art!

And who wouldnt love these!

Stacking nun dolls from MooShoo Pork? YES PLEASE!!

I cant wait to show you the new look Im giving the casa!
Have you caught spring fever yet?
I hope so!

Be good to each other!
♥ Tawny

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Dinner... Itsa Pizza Pie!

Its spring!
{I know you knew this already... I just wanted to shout it out loud!}


And that means trips to the farmers market, watching the little bursts of color appearing all around the yard, and outdoor cooking!

So its time to fire up the grill and enjoy!



6 ounces Pizza Dough... {recipe following}
1/4 cup virgin olive oil, for brushing and drizzling
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/2 cup loosely packed shredded fontina
2 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano
6 tablespoons chopped canned tomatoes, in heavy puree
8 basil leaves
Prepare a hot charcoal fire, setting the grill rack 3 to 4 inches above the coals.

Pizza Dough:

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
6 cups high-gluten flour
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sprinkle the yeast over 1/2 cup warm (105 to 110 degrees F) water and allow it to dissolve and activate, about 5 minutes.

Combine the flour and salt and mound it onto a cool work surface creating a high walled well in the center. Combine the yeast mixture with 1 1/2 cups of cool water and pour into the well. Slowly begin to mix the water and flour, a little at a time, moving your fingers in short, counter clockwise circles around the border of the water. When the dough is firm enough to hold it's shape, scrape the remaining flour over it and knead until the mass is smooth and shiny, approximately 7 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a bowl that has been brushed with olive oil. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil to prevent a skin from forming, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place away from drafts until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. Punch down the dough and knead once more. Let the dough rise again for about 40 minutes, punch down again and form dough into 4 balls.

On a large, oiled, inverted baking sheet, spread and flatten the pizza dough with your hands into a 10 to 12-inch free-form circle, 1/8-inch thick. Do not make a lip. You may end up with a rectangle rather than a circle; the shape is unimportant, but do take care to maintain an even thickness.

When the fire is hot {when you can hold your hand over the coals for 3 to 4 seconds at a distance of 5 inches}, use your fingertips to lift the dough gently by the 2 corners closest to you, and drape in onto the grill. Catch the loose edge on the grill first and slide the remaining dough into place over the fire. Within a minute the dough will puff slightly, the underside will stiffen, and grill marks will appear.

Using tongs, immediately flip the crust over, onto the coolest part of the grill. Quickly brush the grilled surface with olive oil. Scatter the garlic and cheeses over the dough, and spoon dollops of tomato over the cheese. Do not cover the entire surface of the pizza with tomatoes. Finally, drizzle the pizza with 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Slide the pizza back toward the hot coals, but not right over them. Using tongs, rotate the pizza so that different sections receive heat; check the underside often to see that it is not burning. The pizza is done when the top is bubbly and the cheese melted, {about 6 to 8 minutes.} Serve at once, topped with the basil leaves and additional olive oil, if desired.

And just a few tips from momma...

#1. Keep an eye on the crust... cuz it WILL burn easy!
#2. Keep the dough well oiled {that will help it to crisp and NOT burn}
#3. Have your toppings ready and near by... so there is no leaving your crust unattended on the grill!

Be good to each other...
and Buon appetito!

♥ Tawny

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Are we losing the magic or is it just me?

When I was a little girl I remember the ladies in my grandmothers neighborhood always stopping by in the middle of the day... sometimes just to gossip, or to peddle their Avon and Tupperware... and sometimes with some sort of wonderfully homebaked treat.

used slyly to lure you into the aforementioned gossip!

I can recall countless hours of them chatting over sweet tea and lemonade, hair up in scarves, perfume wafting across the room... just the normal day to day happenings of a housewife of that era.

And always there was that sharing of, "whats for dinner, did you try the such and such Marjorie brought to the ladies luncheon", and "I must HAVE that recipe!"
And to this very day you can go into my Grannys house and on every book shelf you will find a cookbook/recipe folder of some sort. Hundreds of carefully penned family dinners, desserts perfect for your next garden club luncheon and even kid friendly snacks!

But it seems that today all of that is changing...

Where as cookbooks USED to be passed down from generation to generation, and recipes shared between friends, I find myself sending a text or email for that amazing hot cheese dip I brought to your party last week, or linking a recipe online to my facebook page... are we now going totally digital?

I went to have coffee with a friend of mine the other day, and found that instead of all those treasured, stained, and lets face it, musty smelling books,
that clutter grace my kitchen shelves, she proudly displayed her new "digital right arm" {AKA: Ipad2} on the front of her frigidaire...

its funny cuz all I have on my fridge are school papers, notes, grocery lists and coloring pages! Oh and inapproperiate magnets... but thats another post.

Im going to admit... I was slightly jealous!
With a flick of the finger she could pull up not only foodie websites, and blogs... {this one included, thank~ya~very~much}
But magicly, poof! there was Julia! Right. In. Her kitchen.
Okay, not really JULIA, but Mastering the Art of French Cooking... right there on the screen!

As we sat and chatted about her new kitchen love I asked her... "but what about all your cookbooks?" She simply smiled and said, "those are things of the past lady!"
And as she was explaining how she boxed some of them up and took them to goodwill I was watching her daughters painting made in class the week before, and other fun photos of family and friends drift lazily across the screen.

I really dont know how I feel about this, on one hand the shiny digital screen that holds the world on her fridge calls to me... "look at me..." its says "How clean and convenient" it purrs... and I fell for it, sort of.
I love that technology makes it possible for me to take my favorite recipes and culinary tips with me into every kitchen I enter... But there is nothing more magical than opening up a cookbook stained with drops of tomato and smelling like garlic and onions, to find that magical recipe that traveled through so many loving hands to remind you of where you come from.

So the next time you see me and we share our favorite oatmeal cookie recipes, if you post it to my twitter feed... thats cool. And if you choose to bless me with a magical handwritten something, rest assured that it will find a place nestled in my grandmas recipe box, waiting to be handed down to my daughter someday... but not before I scan it to my zip drive and upload it to my digital reader!

Be good to each other!
♥ Tawny

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Are you Amish? Are you my friend??

Then you MAY be lucky enough to recieve a delicious bag of fermenting, something and such, called Amish Friendship Bread!!

No Really. I'm not joking.

Its kind of like a baking chain letter, {but trust me you will be glad you kept this chain going} in the fact that it all starts with a simple ziplock bag of "starter" that is handed to you to work for 10 days and then pass a bit on.

Now Im sure your little minds are asking...
"dearest tawny, what do the Amish put in a bread starter?"
And the answer to that question is... yeast, flour, milk and sugar... at least thats what I'm told. Not knowing any Amish folks to ask... I will have to take the word of the giver of my batch of starter and google.

The starter and instructions

Now, once handed the starter bag its kind of boring... the first 5 days you just "squish, squash, and mush" the bag. So I hung mine on the side of our fridge with super magnets and every so often gave it a little squeeze and tickle! ;)
{dont be nasty! thats what the instructions said to do!}

Then on the 6th day you add a little more flour, sugar, and milk... into the bag and continue to... you guessed it, "squish, squash, and mush the bag" for the next 4 days.

Let me add here that this being my first ever batch of friendship bread I had no clue what was going to happen in that bag!
First there is a yeasty beer smell to the bag, and the starter got bubbley and bigger due to the fermenting. And the chef was a tad freaked when I told him I would be baking him yummy bread make from milk that had been hanging on the side of our fridge for 10 days.
{And lets be honest, I was a bit skeptical myself!}

Day 10 is when the magic happens!

I could give you the step by step process and all of the ingredients you add to the starter... but what fun would that be! :: insert evil chuckle here ::

okay, okay... dont cry! I will tell you in a sec! promise.

What I will tell you is this a simple quick bread style recipe... and wow, its GOOD!

This recipe makes 2 loaves of bread and 4 extra bags of starter {for you to give to friends}

The 1st loaf I left as is and didnt stray from the original recipe at all...

soooo good!

The second loaf I added a few berries I had in the fridge and some orange zest...

seriously, you can add ANYTHING to this stuff! Walnuts, cranberries and white chocolate chips would be divine! Someone make that for me okay?!

And let me just tell you, When the kids arrived home after school both loaves where diminished to crumbs within minutes!

SO... make a list of 4 of your favorite friends... make your own starter batch & start a friendship chain!

Or have a bread party and see who can add the yummiest ingredients to their bread!

No matter what you do... have fun and party like the Amish!

And if Im NOT invited to your fermenting party... at least drop me a line and let me know all about it!

Be good to each other!
♥ tawny