March 31, 2011

A Beatrix Potter Easter!

My thoughts spring forward, once again, to decorating The Maine House for Easter with the promise that this day always brings forth. I admit that I love to collect beautiful figurines, one of which is Beatrix Potter little creatures. My first collectibles were actually gifts I had received when Robbie was born. They were a beautiful musical Peter Rabbit and baby china of the Beatrix Potter drawings of Peter Rabbits family! More were certain to follow. One hundred years ago, Beatrix Potter created the beloved tales of Peter Rabbit that, to this day, continue to grace the bookshelves of children all over the world. These porcelain miniatures by Frederick Warne and Wedgwood allow us to pass on to new generations the traditions Potter created so many years ago. These tiny treasured animals will grace our table and seem to be perfect for evoking the sweetness of Easter Day and springtime!

A Maine House Mosaic

1 1/2 cups butter softened
2 cup granulated Sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups coconut milk
1 cup buttermilk
Garnish: coconut flakes, fresh raspberries, lime slices

 Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 3 (9-inch) cake pans with nonstick baking spray with flour. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium speed with a mixer until fluffy. Add egg yolks and extracts, beating until combined. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a small bowl, combine coconut milk and buttermilk. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with coconut milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition.
In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into batter. Spoon batter into prepared pans, and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
Spread Luscious Lime frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Press coconut flakes around edge of cake. Garnish with fresh raspberries and lime slices, if desired. Chill until ready to serve.

1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
5 cups confectioners' sugar
1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

In a large bowl, beat butter, lime zest, and lime juice at medium speed with a mixer until combined. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth.  Add whipped topping, beating until combined.

March 30, 2011

Cookie Crunches!

The Maine House loves to help a woman in distress! Miss Judy has requested some good crunchy cookie recipes to share with her coworkers. They have decided to participate in an afternoon cookie swap at their office which should add some zest and fun to the afternoon workload. It appears to be such a busy office that very few of them have the time to slow down and just take a coffee or iced tea break for a few minutes. So what better way to be able to swing by the snack table and "grab and go" a deliciously warm, crunchy cookie! Ya'll enjoy!!

 A Maine House Mosaic

Calypso Crunch Cookies
8 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup (4.5 oz) self rising flour
1/2 cup dried pineapple
7 oz. shredded sweetened coconut
2/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper or spray with cooking butter spray. Cream the butter and both sugars with an electric mixer. Beat in the egg, vanilla and almond extract and continue beating for another minute or until creamy. Beat in the oats. By hand, stir in the self-rising flour, followed by the dried pineapple, coconut and pecans. Dough will be thick. Shape into balls (a little smaller than a golf ball) and flatten slightly on sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes (I only baked them for 10 minutes to get a perfectly chewy cookie, if you’d like them crunchy, bake as the recipe indicates, then let them sit on the baking sheet about 5 minutes.

Estelle's Chocolate Chunk-Mocha Cookies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 (11.5-oz.) package semisweet chocolate chunks

 Combine flour and next 3 ingredients in a bowl.
 Beat butter and next 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Stir in chocolate chunks. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until puffy. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes; remove to wire racks, and let cool 30 minutes or until completely cool. Spread cookies with Mocha Frosting.

Mocha Frosting
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup hot strong brewed coffee
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

 Stir together first 4 ingredients until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, stirring until creamy.

Estelle's Oatmeal Crunch Cookies
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter, softened
6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup egg substitute
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups uncooked regular oats
3/4 cup dried cherries
Vegetable cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda.Beat butter, cream cheese, and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add egg substitute and vanilla, beating until blended. Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in oats and dried cherries.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray; gently flatten dough into circles. Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp. chopped pecans onto each dough circle, gently pressing into dough.
Bake, in batches, at 350° for 13 to 14 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean. Remove cookies from baking sheets to wire racks, and let cool 10 minutes.

March 29, 2011

Wedding Blessings....Purple Bliss......An Elegant Affair!

An Elegant Affair

A Maine House Mosaic

Cocktail Hour
One hour premium cocktails with butlered champagne service
Chef’s Selection of Butler Style Hors D’oeuvres
Served with Fresh Fruit and Dendrobian Orchid
Sliced Filet Mignon on Pepper Toast, Crispy Chicken Tenderloin, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Plum Tomato Bruschetta,Maryland Crab Cakes, Little Neck Clams Casino, Steamed Lobster Spring Rolls, Broccoli Rabe Won Tons, Zucchini Flower with Goat Cheese, Caramelized Rack of Lamb, Cold Melon with Prosciutto,
Fresh California Rolls with Wasabi Soy Sauce

Champagne Toast
Guest Choice of Tri Color Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Heirloom Tomato Onion Salad with Fresh Fennel, Al Ceppo Pasta with Fresh Garlic and
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Roasted Peppers

Fresh Passion Fruit Granita

Entree - Guest Choice
Grilled Filet Mignon served on a Bed of Black Bean Lentils, Whipped Potato, Fried Shoestring Holland Leeks Veal Chop Milanese served with Sliced Plum Tomatoes, Bermuda Onion, Stuffed Baked Potato
Free Range Chicken with Pignoli Crust served with Barley Risotto and
 Rainbow Swiss Chard
Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass with Baby Brussel Sprouts
Summer Vegetables, Fresh Baked Rolls, Fresh Baked Focaccia, Whipped Butter

Choice of Tiered Wedding Cake
Fresh Fruit and Seasonal Berries, Italian Zeppole Station and Italian Miniature Pastries

March 26, 2011

Our Irish Wedding Blessing

The Maine House Celebrates the Engagements

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
May you see your children's children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.
May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.

March 25, 2011

Wedding Chic Texas Winery!

A Winery Wedding, deep in the heart of Texas' wine country - what could be more romantic, unique, memorable, timeless and romantic! From the Hill Country to the Gulf Coast, from the Panhandle's high plains to the vineyards of North and West Texas, choose your Lone Star Winery Wedding country. Texas has some 170 wineries and these are a few of our favorites!

A Maine House Mosaic

Located between the heart of Hill Country and the High Plains of West Texas,
Brennan Vineyards invites a picturesque escape into
 Texas history on your wedding day.
The spacious Austin House Events Center with Patio and Outdoor Fireplace,
provides the setting for celebrating this all-important day.

  Cross Timbers Winery claims the renovated Brock Family farmhouse
that is recognized as one of the oldest structures in Grapevine.
A reconstructed, two-level Barn, air conditioned and
heated for comfort, is ready for celebrations.
 A picturesque Gazebo overlooking the grounds is ideal for ceremonies.

Delaney Vineyards is conveniently located between Dallas and Fort Worth.
 You can celebrate your wedding at a winery
reminiscent of an 18th century French chateau.
 The gracious Grand Barrel Room is adjacent to the Tank Room.
A covered patio, the Crush Pad with its vineyard views,
 adjoins the Grand Barrel Room.

Fruited Wine Spritzers
1/2 cup Fruit Wine (Red Raspberry, Blueberry, Peach, Cranberry or Apple)
1/2 cup Sparkling Water
3-4 Ice Cubes
Fresh Fruit for Garnish

Put all ingredients int a glass or shaker and mix vigorously. Pour into wine glasses and garnish with fresh fruit, if desired.

Cocktail Shrimp Shooters
12 large cocktail shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 T. horseradish
1/4 cup Heirloom Tomato or Jalapeño Pepper Wine
Salt and Pepper to taste
Thinly sliced lemon pieces for garnish

Mix all ingredients but the shrimp to form a cocktail sauce. Place a large dollop of the sauce in each of 12 shot glasses. Hang a large shrimp over the edge of each glass, and garnish with lemon slices if desired.

Texas Spicy Chili
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large red onions, chopped
3 tbsp chopped jalapeño peppers with seeds
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 ½ lbs ground beef (90/10)
1 tbsp flour
¼ cup chili powder
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 can diced tomatoes, in juice
1 cup Jalapeño Pepper Cooking Wine
2 15-oz cans kidney beans, drained
1 14-oz can beef broth

Garnishesl: Sour cream
Grated cheddar cheese
Chopped green onions
Chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté until brown. Add jalapeños and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add beef; sauté until brown, breaking up as it cooks, about 5 minutes. Add flour, chili powder, cumin, salt and paprika, then mix in tomatoes with juice, LaBelle Jalapeño Pepper Cooking Wine, beans, and broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until chili thickens, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. Garnish with toppings like sour cream, grated cheese, green onions, and cilantro.

"A happy marriage is a long conversation that always seems too short."
 ~Andre Maurois

March 24, 2011

Sweet and Savory Biscotti!

The Maine House is venturing out in the world of baking! Our Inspiration? These amazingly beautiful Biscotti Jars we recently discovered! It will be hard to choose just one, but oh, aren't they exquisite? My sweet son-in-law absolutely loves Biscotti! So, why not venture into their gorgeous Tuscany style kitchen and get out the stand mixer to begin our Italian baking day so we can fill our new Biscotti Jar with some wonderful Italian delights!! Another favorite thing!

 You can shop for these beautiful handpainted Italian Ceramics at:

The Italian cookie with a crunchy yet moist disposition seems downright impossible to the timid eye, but don't let its slender mystique intimidate you! Biscotti, which means "twice cooked" is one dessert food that has survived throughout the centuries due to its hearty shelf life and varied recipe options.

Biscotti was born long ago in Italy and was believed to have made the long voyage with Columbus, as it is a food that can endure long months at sea. Biscotti require a few simple steps that you can attempt at home or in a baking and pastry school near you. Start by selecting a recipe that suits your taste--and then heat up your oven and get ready to bake. . . twice! These steps will get you started!

•Prepare your dough using a mix of oil, sugar, vanilla, and almond extracts. Add eggs and mix them in--this ingredient allows the biscotti to stick together and remain fresh without using butter.

•Once your dough is prepared, break it apart into two rolls about twelve inches by two inches. Bake until brown.

•After first baking, remove logs and cut at an angle into smaller slices. Bake them again for about ten minutes and then allow biscotti to cool.

Biscotti is a wonderful alternative to regular cookies to serve with a cup of coffee or tea. You want your dear ones to take one bite and exclaim, “This is the best biscotti I’ve ever had!” If you love almonds, you will fall head over heels with this cookie. If you’re not crazy about almonds, you soon will be. And the savory recipes are the perfect ending to a delightful dinner!

Lemon Almond Biscotti with White Chocolate
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest (from about 3 to 4 lemons)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped whole almonds
18 ounces white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl, beat the sugar and eggs with an electric mixture until pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Mix in the lemon zest and then the flour, and beat until just blended. (The dough will be sticky). Stir in the almonds. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
Divide the dough evenly into 2 equal mounds and place on the prepared baking sheet. With moist hands, space the dough evenly apart and form into 2 (9 by-3-inch) logs. Bake for 35 minutes until lightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick diagonal slices. Arrange the biscotti cut side down on the same baking sheet. Bake until the cookies are pale golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.
Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the pan does not touch the water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Dip the end of each biscotti in the chocolate. Transfer the dipped biscotti to a wire rack, set over a baking sheet, until the chocolate has hardened. Store in an airtight container.

Savory Biscotti
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons herbes de Provence
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup (2 ounces) goat cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, beaten, at room temperature

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, herbes de Provence, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and goat cheese together until smooth. Beat in the sugar and eggs. In batches, add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. With damp hands, form the dough into a 13-inch-long, 3 1/2-inch-wide loaf. Bake until light golden, about 30 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 30 minutes.
Transfer the loaf to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut the log on the diagonal into 1/2-inch thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake until pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Pepper Parmigiano Biscotti
1½ Tablespoons whole black peppercorns
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
4½ ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (2¼ cups)
1½ sticks  cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk

 Put oven racks and upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Pulse peppercorns in grinder until coarsely ground.Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, 2 cups of the cheese, and 1 Tablespoon ground black pepper in a large bowl. Blend in butter with a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk 3 eggs with milk and add to flour mixture, stirring with a fork until a soft dough forms.Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and quarter dough. Using well-floured hands, form each piece into a slightly flattened 12-inch-long log (about 2 inches wide and ¾-inch high). Transfer logs to 2 ungreased large baking sheets, arranging logs about 3 inches apart.
Whisk remaining egg and brush some over logs, then sprinkle tops of logs evenly with remaining ¼ cup cheese and ½ Tablespoon ground pepper. Bake, rotating sheets 180 degrees and switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until logs are pale golden and firm, about 30 minutes total. Cool logs to warm on sheets on a rack, about 10 minutes.Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Carefully transfer one warm log to a cutting board and cut diagonally into ½-inch-thick slices with a serrated knife. Arrange slices, cut sides down, in 1 layer on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining logs, transferring slices to sheets. Bake, turning over once, until golden and crisp, 35 to 45 minutes total. Cool biscotti on baking sheets on racks, about 15 minutes.

That's me, "baking it up" in the Atlanta kitchen!

March 23, 2011

The Welcome Home Dinner!

The Maine House is preparing to serve a delicious "Welcome Home" dinner for weekend guests. Not only has Darling been traveling over to Scotland for the past few weeks, but we also will be hosting out of town company for a few days. He took a few pictures around Greenock,but found work took most of his time. I have posted snapshots for you to see the area...cold and rainy, but beautiful scenery! You know so well how exhausting traveling can be....the hassle of long lines through airport gates, pulling heavy luggage all around the concourse and just the sheer pace of boarding the changing of flights! Estelle's has the perfect recipes for these hungry and tired travelers! The delicious and heart-warming aroma of homemade rolls will permeate the dining room, along with hot homemade soup in the crockpot! No need for fuss and muss late in the evening when everyone is ready to fill their tummy's with something comforting, yet not heavy! And the perfect ending will be the little bites of homemade chocolate brownies (Darling's favorite), topped with a homemade caramel sauce! Good night, sleep tight you weary jet setters!

Greenock, Scotland

A perfect soup for your favorite crockpot!

Hungry Girl's Chicken Veggie Soup
1 1/2 pounds, boneless, skinless lean chicken breasts, halved
1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, finely diced
2 carrots, chopped
2 cups dry coleslaw mix
1 (15-ounce) can white beans (such as cannellini), drained and rinsed
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, not drained
1 cup frozen peas
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans fat-free chicken broth (about 3 1/2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, plus more, for serving, optional
1 bay leaf

Evenly season chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Place the onion, carrots, coleslaw mix, white beans, stewed tomatoes, peas, chicken broth, 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, and bay leaf in the crock pot and stir. Cover and cook until chicken is fully cooked, on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.
Remove and discard the bay leaf. Remove the chicken pieces and place them in a bowl. Shred each piece using 2 forks: one to hold the chicken in place and the other to scrape across the meat and shred it. Return the shredded chicken to the crock pot, and stir into the soup.
Season the soup with 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste. Garnish with additional thyme, if using. Serve up and enjoy!

Rapid Homemade Rolls
3 (.25-ounce) packets active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups warm water
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for brushing
2 teaspoons salt, plus more for sprinkling
2 large eggs, beaten
4 to 6 cups flour, plus more if needed

 Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the instant yeast, and warm water. Let it activate for 5 minutes until bubbly. Stir in the honey.
On low speed, add 1/2 cup melted butter, 2 teaspoons salt, and eggs. Slowly add the flour cup-by-cup until fully incorporated and the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl. Add more flour if it is too sticky. Portion the dough into 24 even servings. Form the rolls into desired shape and place in a cast iron skillet or on a baking sheet spaced evenly apart. Set aside and allow to rise approximately 20 minutes, or until doubled in size. Brush the rolls with melted butter. Bake for 25 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush with more melted butter, and sprinkle with a little salt.

Perfect Brownies with Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup or (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter softened, plus more for greasing
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans, plus more for garnishing
Caramel Sauce, for serving

Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cocoa powder, flour, and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until thick and lemon-colored, about 2 minutes. Blend in the vanilla and the melted, and cooled chocolate. Slowly add in the cocoa-flour mixture, mixing until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans, saving some pecans for garnishing the top.
Generously butter and flour a 13 by 9-inch pan. You can also use a 10-inch springform pan. Fill the pan with batter, and dot with pecans.
Bake until a wood pick or skewer inserted in the center comes out moist from the melted chocolate (not batter), about 25 minutes. The top will likely start to show some cracks - it is drier than the interior. Let the brownies cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into 12 squares, or if using a round springform pan, cut into a nice big triangle. Top each brownie with warm caramel sauce!

Caramel Sauce
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 cup whipping cream
Pinch coarse salt
Dash ground cayenne pepper

Caramel Sauce
Put the water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a bare boil to dissolve the sugar, and then jack up the heat to a full rolling boil, and let it boil away for 20 to 30 minutes, or until brownish. Do not touch it.
As soon as the sugar is medium brown in color, whisk in the cream (carefully, it can splatter). The sugar will clump, but gradually be mixed in to the 'syrup'. Continue to boil until thicker. It will thicken even more as it cools. Season with salt and cayenne pepper. Serve warm on top of the brownie! Yummy!!

March 22, 2011

Coastal Designs for the Pensacola House!

Pensacola will be playing host to a beautiful wedding next year. Miss Judy has graciously offered to have wedding guests stay at her 1950's cape style home across from the bayou. However, she must have been giving this some thought and decided that now would be the perfect time to update and redesign some areas of her lovely home in order to get it "wedding guest ready!" As we were talking about this idea the other day, she asked if I had any words of wisdom since she needed some style secrets of being budget-friendly, yet creative. "Well, we know that your favorite color is yellow, so let's use some inspiration pieces, such as pineapples, lemons and spring flowers of daffodils and tulips!"

A Maine House Mosaic

And so the ideas began to flow....from the living room, to the small guest bath, the open kitchen pantry and her front entry way. We are going to choose Mother's favorite color of blue as her accent color which will be the painted backs of her bookshelves and should make this contrasting color really pop! A coat of fresh paint can be instant gratification when decorating. While we are at it, we are including her master bedroom in our redesign and shopping for new soft yellow bed linens and blue toile pillows. "Don't you think this will look smashing with Grandmother's 1920's style dressing table?"  We can simply purchase some blue toile material and recover her sitting bench and voila....the Pensacola house is going to be our bargain beauty!  Miss Judy has a New Orleans style courtyard patio which is going to be the staged for our afternoon welcoming reception. We are serving Grandmother's famous Heavenly Hash along with her Pineapple Bavarian Cream! I would say Miss Judy will be quite thrilled with the happy colors makeover and it all should reflect her quirky, but cheerful, "traditional-meets-coastal cottage designs!"

Grandmother's Heavenly Hash
1 large can pineapple tidbits
16 marshmallows, cut into eighths
1/4 cup maraschino cherries
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
12 cup slivered, toasted almonds

Drain pineapple, reserving syrup. Combine pineapple, marshmallows, cherries and 1/4 cup pineapple syrup. Let stand for one hour. Fold in whipped cream and spoon into glass dessert dishes. Sprinkle with nuts and chill!

Pineapple Bavarian Cream
1 T. gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 small can chunk pineapple
Boiling Water
1/2 cup sugar
Dash Salt
2 T. Lemon Juice
1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped

Soak gelatin in cold water. Drain syrup from pineapple. Measure and add enough boiling water to make 1 1/2 cups. Heat this to boiling point and pour over gelatin. Add sugar, salt and lemon juice and stir until dissolved. Cool until mixture begins to stiffen. Then add whipped cream and pineapple chunks and mix thoroughly. Pour into molds and allow to congeal! Light, creamy and decadant!

March 21, 2011

Good Things from Maine!

The Maine House has discovered another "good thing" from Maine! Darling and I decided  to drive over to Cumberland for a visit to the indoor Winter Farmers Market. We also had wanted to include a shopping excursion to Mitchell Fernie Vintage Sign Decor! Mitchell's designs are original vintage signs that are hand-lettered and antiqued with a true vintage look. One of our favorite things! This Vintage Sign Decor is certainly reflective of a love of history, woodworking, typography and illustration. Each sign has been finished with marine-grade varnish, signed by the artist and ready to hang in your home. The signs are  interior and exterior heirloom-quality paintings of your favorite memory of Maine (and beyond). Mitchell Fernie had been a practicing Graphic Designer since the mid 80's and always had a great love of type, design and the creative process.

A Maine House Mosaic

"Although the advent of computers has opened up a whole new world of creativity to us all, I found myself missing the hands-on creative aspect. My Vintage Sign Decor employ these aspects. Each piece is handmade by myself at my Cumberland, Maine studio and reclaimed materials are used whenever possible. My work is currently in collections throughout the US, Canada and Europe."  Be certain to visit Cumberland while visiting Maine and don't miss these places of interest!

Estelle's had planned on a few good appetizers to welcome us home
 after our beautiful weekend excursion!

Estelle's Cheesy Pepperoni Dip with Pizza Crust Dippers
2 8-oz. packages of cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 cup pizza or spaghetti sauce
1 cup chopped pepperoni
1 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
1/2 cup shredded provolone cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
black pepper to taste

Pizza Crust Dippers:
2 13.8-oz cans of refrigerated pizza dough (Pillsbury or similar)
1/2 cup olive oil
4 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Blend cream cheese, sour cream, oregano, and garlic powder until smooth. Spread in a baking dish. Spoon pizza sauce on cream cheese and sprinkle with pepperoni and green pepper. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for an additional 5 minutes.
Roll out pizza dough and cut into triangles; lay each one on an oven crisper sheet. Brush each triangle with olive oil. Combine cheese, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder and sprinkle evenly over each triangle. Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Estelle's Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (14-oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a small baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, garlic, basil, garlic salt, salt, and pepper. Gently stir in artichoke hearts and spinach. Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake in the pre-heated oven 25 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned. Serve with garlic pita wedges, bagel chips, or crackers.