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Posts tagged ‘Weymuller Photography’

PHOTO FRIDAY

 

During the hot summer months here in the Methow Valley we make it a priority to carve out time at the end of the day, for a cooling dip in the river and seek out friends, who are never too far away,  to enjoy a relaxing evening where we share a meal and catch up.

Golden Hour

 

 

We were doing just that very thing when the light turned golden, a photographer’s dream time of day, and my husband E.A caught the glowing fence line a few feet away. A true sign of a dedicated photographer is that, they are willing to leave a cold beer and fresh appetizers for one and two that they have their camera at the ready, always. For that, I am grateful and I continue to learn.

We wish you a wonderful weekend full of fun and laughter especially to all those wonderful Dads out there!

 

Rachelle K. Weymuller head shot

Rachelle @caramelizelife.com

Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community

Lemon Madeleines | BCM | Tuesdays with Dorie

My youngest walked into the kitchen while I was prepping my work station for the latests Tuesdays with Dorie scheduled treat from her book Baking Chez Moi. Curious, she wanted to know what I was  going to make. “Madeleines!” I said with excitement.  I’ve never made these tasty little treats and I was looking forward to trying something new. I could see she was searching for the image to fit the name in her mind. Then she said, “You know Mom, the name Madeleine is so similar to the name of the character Madeline, the lute Mandolin and the slicer Mandoline I didn’t know at first what it was you were making.”  Now, each time I think of these little shell shaped cakes, my mind scrolls through each of those images and I giggle.

 

A petite Madeline mold buttered and ready for batter

A buttered petite Madeleine mold awaiting the batter…

Later, when she sat down to taste one of the Madeleines, she said she remembered eating these after school for goûter when we lived in France. I am amazed at how our senses bring back memories so vividly. “The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it.” ~ Remembrance of Things Past (À la recherche du temps perdu), Marcel Proust

My youngest was on to something. Indeed those little Madeleines did have a lineage. Historically these little cakes were believed to be named after a young maid, Madeleine, who worked for the Duke of Lorraine, Stanislas Leczinski in the late 1700s from the French town of Commercy. Once these petite cakes were introduced to the court at Versailles they found their place in the heart of the French.

Mother and daughter strolling the Green Carpet- Versailles

The Green Carpet- Versailles

With my first batch of Madeleines, I didn’t notice the “bump” that Dorie described in her recipe but I specifically looked for it on my second batch. The “bump” is the gold seal symbol or as she equates it to the holy grail, that one has decidedly mastered the Madeleine and there it was, a large bump on my petite Madeleines. I wouldn’t say I’ve mastered them but I do thank Dorie for spilling her learned secret with me and the rest of the BCM bakers.  Her long history of making these and then learning the holy grail secrets from Phillippe Conticini of Patisserie des Reves and Fabrice Le Bourdat of Bel Sucre in Paris makes all of us feel great from the start!

Madeleine's with a "bosse/ bump"

Madeleine’s with a “bosse/ bump”

If you would like to try your hand at making Madeleines at home so you may enjoy a little afternoon goûter, here is the recipe. Alternately, she has shared her Lemon Madeleine recipe here.

Tuesdays with Dorie and Baking Chez Moi is an open group of bloggers having fun baking their way through Dorie Greenspan’s books. Go check out what the other Doristas are doing!

 

Crocus the First Flowers of Spring

Spring is here!

Head Shot of Rachelle K Weymuller

 

Rachelle @ Caramelize Life

Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community

 

 

Marquise au Chocolat | TWD |Baking Chez Moi

Last week I left the grocery store with a stack of thin chocolate bars, for the Marquise recipe, and they felt like what I image little gold bars to be. While prepping for the desert each time I peel open the shiny foil wrapper of the chocolate bar, I fell back into the excitement I felt as kid, reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

“But there was one other thing that the grown-ups also knew, and it was this: that however small the chance might be of striking lucky, the chance is there. The chance had to be there.”
Ronald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factor 

 This time the excitement for me was trying a new recipe and hoping for the chance that it turns out because I’ve gone and decided to make a new recipe for a special birthday dinner, and I don’t have a back up in the freezer! So, I do believe in luck when executed correctly ;0)  And thank goodness Dorie Greenspan writes beautiful recipes that will make me look like a rock star on the first try.

A frozen chocolate birthday mousse

“Cakes are special. Every birthday, every celebration ends with something sweet, a cake, and people remember. It’s all about the memories”. ~Buddy Valastro

Making this cake was a snap. It has six ingredients; butter, bittersweet chocolate, fresh room temp eggs, sugar, fleur de sel and cold heavy cream. For a chocolate lover one can’t go wrong with this combination and for those of us who enjoy baking or in this case freezing, because you don’t bake this cake, folding the whipped egg and cream mixture into the chocolate creates a decadent marbled effect that makes me smile.

Chicken had shot

Happy Chicken

There was some chatter of concern on the Tuesdays with Dorie site by fellow Dorista’s about the use of room temperature eggs and making a cake that has raw eggs in it. Dorie makes a highlighted note in her recipe to use” very fresh eggs, preferably organic and/or from a trusted local source.”  We were lucky here, since our local source lives in the hen house out back and is named Clucky. Along with her friends they provided the four eggs I needed for my Marquise au Chocolat, bright and early the morning of my cake making. That’s as fresh as you get. Coop to Cake!

Backyard chicken eggs fresh today

From clucky with love

However, if you are pregnant, a young child, have a compromised immune system or if you are concerned about eating anything with raw eggs, you can still make this recipe by using pasteurized eggs or bringing the eggs to 160º. Do this while mixing the eggs to keep from scrambling, in a heat proof bowl over simmering water. Another idea I saw that Peggy from Pantry Revisited substituted greek yogurt for the eggs and was happy with the results.

Chicken tucked into bed

not all hens have a clean coop like clucky

Once you’ve made your decision on which way to proceed with the egg choice it’s as simple as mixing and pouring everything into a loaf pan to freeze. While the cake was freezing I searched for a fun topping option. Dorie made me laugh with her side column “Bonne Idée” where one line reads “Crack Chocolate Sauce” as a good idea to drizzle over the marquise. It’s the way the type was set and those three words stand out as one line but of course the real name of the sauce is Hard-Crack Chocolate Sauce. Think ice cream sundae chocolate sauce that goes from liquid to solid once poured atop a bowl of ice cream. This is exactly the sauce I had to make, mainly because the name, it must be that good!

 

coconut oil in a glass dish for Hard Crack Chocolate Sauce

coconut oil + chocolate = happiness

Again her recipe for the sauce was straight forward and easy. With two ingredients; bittersweet chocolate and coconut oil mixed and melted together in a heat proof bowl then poured over the marquise. The cake, just went from two stars of decadence to four. Add a bit of Whipped Cream to top it off  and I confirm it was that good!

No bake Chocolate Cake

It’s all about the cake…

 

This rich no bake chocolate cake can be made ahead of time, kept in the freezer and pulled out ready for serving. Or it can be made in individual ramekins and dressed up with fresh berries. There are so many creative ideas to tweak this chocolate cake that I’ll need to make it again and again to test them out. I’m sure my family won’t complain.

 

 

 

From our kitchen to yours!

Head Shot Rachelle Rachelle @ Caramelize Life
Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community

Brown Butter and Vanilla Bean~ Weekend Cake| TWD

 

I would like to share a slice of Brown Butter and Vanilla Bean Weekend Cake with you but there’s none to be had, it was that good. I am not sure how this can be called a weekend cake, I might aptly rename it the 12 hour, if we are lucky, cake. Because that’s how long it lasted in our home before it disappeared.

Buttered black nonstick loaf pan ready for cake mix
Buttered loaf pan awaiting a dusting of flour

The texture of this Brown Butter and Vanilla Bean Weekend Cake reminded me of my grandmother’s pound cakes I devoured as a child. The stand out difference  between the two is Dorie’s addition of vanilla beans, pure vanilla extract and dark rum. These ingredients are an intoxicating combination that had my family sneaking in for just one more paper-thin slice.

Loaf Weekend Cake on Cutting Board

One hour into the life of the Brown Butter & Vanilla Bean Weekend Cake

We found this cake to be the perfect après ski Sunday afternoon goûter/ snack and fitting, because it reminded me of family to be served on my Grandmother Ruth’s china with tea if you are me and bourbon if you are my husband.

Brown Butter and Vanilla Bean Cake Served Up on Maple Leaf China

Sweet Memories Through The Senses

Just today, Tuesday, my daughter asked if I would make this lovely cake again, she suggested, tomorrow. I tried to tell her about how Dorie named it a weekend cake after the French gâteaux de voyage (travel cake) and that it was far from the weekend so she would have to wait the four (well, three now) long days until the weekend and I would mix up another. I won’t mind when I do because the aroma of vanilla fills the house making it feel even more like home.
The butter (beurre noisette) is caramelized to bring out it’s nutty flavors, and I used my homemade pure vanilla extract letting it work its magic as a flavor potentiator. Complete the experience with coffee, tea or rum as recommended by Dorie as an accompaniment. I might make two next time so we can share it with friends on the ski hill and have a picnic.

 

Tuesdays with Dorie Greenspan and Baking Chez Moi is an open group dedicated to baking through Dorie’s latest books. If you would like to learn more about how this recipe turned out for the group you can find them here at Tuesdays with Dorie.

Happy Baking!

Head Shot of Rachelle K Weymuller

 

 

Rachelle @ Caramelize Life

Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community

 

 

6 Quick Steps To Make Your Own Homemade Pure Vanilla Extract

 

Did you know you can make your own pure vanilla extract at home with just a few ingredients? It’s not a mystery any longer and it’s a lovely gift to give to your favorite baker. As with any homemade product, there are several benefits to making your own. For one, you get to choose the quality of ingredients and know exactly what is in your vanilla extract. This means, you will have the highest quality vanilla extract available without anything artificial.

A few years back we decided as a family to give handcrafted gifts for the holidays instead of purchasing them. I was in search of what I could make that would be both fun and practical. That’s when I learned that I could make my own pure vanilla extract. Why had I not thought of this before?  Considering that nearly everything that is mass produced now were once made at home, it’s not that crazy of a thought that I could produce a gift that my family and friends would enjoy.

 

Vanilla bean pods

So what is pure vanilla extract? It is simply the extract (flavor and aroma) from the vanilla beans that have been immersed in alcohol (usually vodka because of it’s neutral flavor, but sometimes brandy or rum) over a period of time. The FDA requires;

“In vanilla extract the content of ethyl alcohol is not less than 35 percent by volume and the content of vanilla constituent, as defined in 169.3(c), is not less than one unit per gallon.”

So that means the vanilla extract you’ll find in the store, is 70 proof (35% alcohol) and it contains 13.35 oz of bean per gallon of alcohol which would produce a single strength vanilla extract. After more research I found that some bakers prefer a double strength vanilla extract and others do not. I am guessing it is a matter of preference.  I lean toward loving the scent of vanilla and enjoy baking with it so my recipe may have a wee bit more vanilla than others but since I’m making my own and not planning to sell it I can follow whatever guideline works for our baking needs and that is a nice pure vanilla extract that flavors our baked goods without overpowering them.

The vanilla bean grows from a kind of tropical orchid. The fruit starts out as a hard green pod and the greenish white flowers (missing in this photo) and in a natural setting are dependent on bees to pollinate them, but now in modern times they can be artificially pollinated.  These vanilla beans are picked unripe and then submerged in hot water to remove their protective cover and allow for the natural liquids to seep out. They are then allowed to dry in the sunlight and ferment. When they have turned brown and covered with a layer of vanillin crystals the vanilla beans are ready.

 

Kauai'i - Green vanilla pods on the vine -Steel Grass Chocolate tour

Unripe vanilla bean pods on the vine in Kauai

 

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Chicken Breasts Diable

Celebrating life, community and new experiences.

Double Digits! WP 2013

We celebrated my youngest’s birthday when she rolled into proud double digits. It is our family tradition to honor a new year with a special dinner.  The previous year she choose Lamb with her family-famous quote “Lamb is my cake” when asked what she desired for dinner. This time she chose her favorite steamed beets with melted chèvre and being a member to the French Friday’s with Dorie I decided to try a new recipe from her most loved cookbook Around My French Table – Chicken Breasts Diable.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Thank you to all the wonderful Mothers in the world who make life sweeter for everyone.

Lilac Sugar

To keep the sweet aroma of lilacs after their bloom is done, and around our house that happens quickly, gather some lilac flowers now and layer them in a jar with sugar alternating sugar and flowers. Set the Lilac Sugar in a cool dark place for 2-3 weeks and then you will have a lovely scented sugar to use in tea, baking or sauces! I think using the sugar to make cupcakes with candied lilac flowers would be superb!

Whistler me 2010  Rachelle Weymuller @ Caramelize Life
Making Life Sweeter Through Food, Travel and Community

Can You Cook With Dry Ice?

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Dry Ice with a Green Laser

The 4 pints of ice cream that we received yesterday is almost gone. No, really. You may be thinking, “How can this be?” Sad though we are… there are only a few spoonfuls left, but our bellies are smiling. The dry ice the pint containers were shipped to us in has completely evaporated into thin air...poof!

Green Laser Light, Water & Dry Ice

The good news is, the magic of this May Day gift hasn’t dissipated into the either just yet. Thoughts about how much fun the dry ice was are still kicking around in our heads. Yes, we know it’s not a toy and every precaution needs to be adhered to, to be safe. But we are not the only ones who find the stuff FUN!

Dry ice-foggy, my memory begins to clear.  One of my favorite gifted recipe books (which I have yet to produce anything from, but adore drooling over the ideas within) is The Fat Duck Cookbook written by the British self taught kitchen wizard Heston Blumenthal. A mad scientist in his culinary circles, he’s pulling at the ears of the scientific world through his unrelenting curiosity (I think this is the wish that nearly every parent has; to keep curiosity alive through adulthood) he creates works of art such as his Radish Ravioli of Oyster (pg.340-341)…for those of you who don’t have this beautiful book you’ll need to close your eyes… no…tighter, so your thoughts are pitch black.

Now construct an image of a space aged glowing globe, with walls made of vellum thin sliced radishes. This glowing radish globe is suspended weightlessly against the black background. Envision a single ring of sliced radishes mimicking a Saturn-esque planet.  I have read that if this work of art radish dish were ordered in his restaurant The Fat Duck, it would be accompanied by a single iPod to further set the mood and complete the experience of the senses. I imagine this to be an encounter that memory never forgets.

Further research shows that Mr. Blumenthal also enjoys the use of liquid nitrogen when cooking. In an article from the Independent he offers a few recipes  to those of us less mad, home-cooks where he can extend his restaurant goal; to invoke the feeling of excitement in his patrons [The Fat Duck History pg 113]. I am sure one could create the mood of excitement in the kitchen if one were inclined to whip up fresh ice cream in 90 seconds!  I know I could (and possibly earn a few cool mom awards as well. 😉

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Dry Ice and Food Coloring!

Still curious? The list is long for dry ice uses, some I would never have thought of but one I might try is the method of flash freezing fresh fruit. I could see this speeding up my current process of freezing fruit overnight on a cookie sheet and allowing for more garden time!  I found this handy site if you would like to learn more.

Happy Weekend to you!

<img src="https://caramelizelife.com/rachellekweymuller.jpg" Width="604" height= "401" alt= "rachellekweymuller weymullerphotography" title= "rachellekweymuller weymullerphotography"/>   Rachelle @ Caramelize Life
Making Life Sweeter Through Food, Travel and Community!

Staycation-Mango Spring Rolls

RKW Spring roll wrap Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are happily in the process of switching our mindset and culinary menus from the thick layers of Winter warm to Spring layers and lighter, fresher fare. It’s at this time when I eagerly await the first bulbs to emerge from their sleep and buds to pop from the trees.

Afternoon walks linger when the warmth of the sun’s rays replace my winter down coat. Our living room view becomes its own Planet Earth series time-lapse moving from once black and white to muted grays and browns and now the Technicolor slowly pours on with vibrant shades of green and yellows.

The song birds are back and I half expect Julie Andrews to burst out from the greening fields with the “Hills Are Alive”. But I don’t think this crosses everyone’s mind like it does mine; all those car rides with my 5-year-old requesting to hear the sound track over and over again, could be the reason for my Spring memory replay.

But Spring is a time to hit the refresh button. Spring cleaning, depending on who you are, can invoke a number of ideas. First the house comes to mind but next my cravings begin to change from rich hearty foods to those that are lighter and fresher. Not much is growing for us yet, and I am aware that mangoes are not “in season” (are they ever here in the Pacific Northwest?) But I know many who traveled south…way south, for Spring break. So, for those of us who didn’t hit the Southern Hemisphere, but rather, enjoyed our staycation; here are mangoes for you!

Staycation- Mango Spring Rolls- makes 6 -10
This recipe was inspired from The Solitary Cook‘s recipe found at Food 52 made with a good friend one afternoon.

RachelleKWeymuller/Caramelizelife.com Mango Spring Rolls

Ingredients For Shrimp Steam Bath:
(this might be the spa part of your staycation, lean over to indulge in a steamy facial 😉

3 cups/24 ounces of water (enough to cover mango skins, limes and shrimp)
2 mango peels – washed (use the fruit for sauce and spring rolls 1 each)
1/2 sweet onion- quartered
1 lime- sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 teaspoon sea salt
black pepper to taste
2 dried japonés chiles – chopped (add more if you like more spice, my kids don’t)
8 ounces shrimp uncooked, washed and deveined ( go for wild caught spot prawns, rock shrimp or US farmed shrimp if possible)

*Have ready a bowl of ice water  to immerse the shrimp and keep them from overcooking
For The Shrimp Steam Bath:
In a stainless steel pot add all ingredients but the shrimp and bring to a boil.
Once water is boiling add the shrimp and reduce heat to medium.
Cook until shrimp are pink about 3-7 minutes.
Drain cooked shrimp and immediately place in bowl of ice water to keep them from overcooking.

Shrimp Steam Bath

Shrimp Steam Bath

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ingredients For The Mango Sauce:

2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (we were out so we used Bragg’s Amino Acids and it worked well)
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
2 Tablespoons Sesame oil
2 limes (zest from 1 lime and juice from 2 limes)
1 mango fruit – (from the steam bath) pit removed

For The Mango Sauce:

Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth
Place in serving a dish and set aside until ready to eat

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

RKW Spring Rolls

Ingredients For The Spring Rolls:

8 oz Vermicelli Noodles (Beans Thread)
**************************************
1 mango-(from the steam bath) pit removed, small cubes
1 bunch cilantro (20 stems and leaves) – chopped
1/2 a cucumber – peeled, seeds removed, chopped
1/2 cup  green onions – diced
All the cooked, now cooled shrimp – tail removed and chopped
Juice of 2 limes
*************************************

8-10 rice paper wraps (spring rolls skin)
9 inch cake pan (for softening rice paper wraps)
1/4 inch hot water (for cake pan and rice paper wraps)

RKW_0097 noodles for spring roll

Cooked Vermicelli Noodles

 

For The Spring Rolls:

Soak Vermicelli 3 to 5 minutes in hot water then drain and set aside.
Combine; mango,cilantro,cucumber, green onions, shrimp and lime juice to a bowl and toss.

Prepare rice paper wraps:
Add hot water to 9 inch cake pan
place 1 rice paper wrap at a time, submerged in hot water, for 10 seconds to soften.
*Keep hot water handy to add when water in cake pan cools.

CL-mango-spring-roll RKW_0082
Build your Spring Roll!
Place softened rice paper wrap on your work surface
Put a small amount 20 or so Vermicelli noodles down the middle of the roll/wrap
Place 2-3 Tablespoons of filling(mango, cucumber, green onion etc) down the middle leaving room on the sides to fold
Begin to wrap the spring roll (similar as you might a burrito) starting with the side closed to you, then fold each end and finish by rolling the last over the opposite side ( the only one left) and seal.
Set on a serving platter with the seam side down, I like to use a chilled metal one (Yay, a wedding gift I am happy to use).
Repeat.
I have found that if there are left over Vermicelli noodles the kids love it plain or topped with a little extra mango sauce is a great left over snack.

Mango Spring Rolls

Mango Spring Rolls

Enjoy!

Head Shot Rachelle
Rachelle Weymuller @ Caramelize Life
“Making Life A Little Sweeter Through Food, Travel And Community”

Bunny Eggs Because It Is Not The Easter Chicken

I don’t usually post on Sundays but I couldn’t resist. This morning my 10 and 13-year-old were discussing the reason behind the Easter Bunny and his connection to hiding eggs. Our conversation wandered up and down hills and back again with my youngest declaring that it should have been the Easter Chicken!

Easter Bunny

But she might be partial to chickens 🙂

Halloween 2011

Happy Easter to you!

Head Shot Rachelle

Rachelle @ Caramelize Life

“Making Life A Little Sweeter Through Food, Travel and Community”

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