Monthly Archives: December 2015

A Non-Update Update on Scott and Bigby

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I wish I could say that I was writing about baking again because everything with Scott’s situation at work was resolved.  I wish I could tell you that Phoenix city management listened to the many voices that are supporting us.   I wish that all of the people who promised they would be there for Scott and I when they came to the hospital had made good on those promises. I wish I could tell you  that everything was going to be ok and that Scott and I could focus on healing. I wish I wasn’t filled with trepidation and uneasiness every day. I can’t tell you any of those things.

I can tell you that I’m determined to try not to lose myself, my marriage and my sanity.

I’ve been horribly sick for weeks and slow to get better.  It’s very frustrating to feel like you have to keep fighting and be physically falling apart.  If my sister hadn’t made it out here for Thanksgiving I don’t know that I’d be doing this well.  It was good to have family here and it gave me something positive to focus on.  She also made one of my November recipes on Thanksgiving with Scott that turned out absolutely fabulous although I was too sick to write something coherent.

The holidays have been hard on me this year.  They feel empty and hollow, a stark reminder that my life was interrupted and due to powers beyond my control I’m currently on a forced pause. I have this gnawing fear that I will never “feel” a Christmas again, like all the magic is gone.  I’m hoping that time will be my ally despite feeling like my foe.

If I had a Christmas wish it would be that Scott would be able to tell his own story. No one tells his story better than him.  He deserves the right to tell his own story to the public. I deserve to have my own story.

-Christie

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Baking Chez Moi: Stained Glass Cookies and Chocolate-Chestnut Tart

Finally getting back on the baking track and I somehow managed to pull off both my December recipes at once.

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Stained Glass Cookies

The idea of crushing candies to create a stained glass window effect was interesting.  Excepting the candy I had everything on hand.  A dear friend had made me some rose sugar and I thought this would be perfect for sprinkling on top.

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The dough for this was a breeze.  A basic sugar dough that came together nicely and was fairly easy to work with.  Up until the cutting portion.  I found this a little finicky although I started figuring out the feel of this dough by the end.DSC_0359.jpgDSC_0362.jpgDSC_0361.jpgDSC_0373.jpg

Crushing the candies and filling up the cookie was pretty fun although a little nerve wracking on the first batch.  My whole kitchen smelled like fruity candy which was a little strange.  My favorite candy was a mango organic sucker I picked up in the checkout lane at the grocery store.

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I loved the look of the herbs and rose sugar topping.  If I make these again I will definitely experiment with more types of herbs. I also used my cut out pieces to make little sugar cookie nibbles.DSC_0429.jpgDSC_0398.jpg

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The stained glass cookies were beautiful looking and way less hassle than I was expecting.  I would really like to re-try these for Valentine’s Day with more herbs and seeds and with violet candies.  These would be a perfect fit with the rose sugar. The fruit candy flavors I had available didn’t fit with my idea of the holiday and while the cookies were interesting they weren’t my ideal flavor palette.

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Chocolate-Chestnut Tart with Chestnut Vanilla Syrup

I had never tried a chestnut prior to this recipe.  My first bite of one was quite the surprise of texture and I ended up spitting it out. I forged ahead with this and I’m glad that I did because the sum of its parts was certainly better than the piece of chestnut that I tried.

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The tart was fairly simple: tart shell, candied chestnuts and chocolate ganache all baked up.  I had made the tart shell a few other times for recipes in this book and at this point I’ve got it down.

The candied chestnuts were pretty straight forward and simple.  My stovetop did most of the work once the vanilla bean syrup was going.  I found I liked the chestnut taste in this quite a bit.  For those of you who haven’t tried them a roasted chestnut has the texture of a baked potato. I was expecting somewhat crunchy nut and got something completely different.

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I was nearly ready to scrap the recipe at this point but I decided to forge ahead and figured the chestnuts could be eaten around if needed.  An easy ganache is made and poured over everything and baked till firm.

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Luckily the finished product is actually quite good.  I haven’t met a lot of chocolate I didn’t like and the chestnuts flavor was great and the texture was less noticeable next to the silky chocolate. I didn’t have the time or meal planning to serve this with ice cream and chestnut syrup as intended.  I do have the syrup saved for some ice cream later this week.

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Happy Holidays

-Christie