Just dot Food

Sunday Brunch

Tablescapes | March 27, 2015 | By

Getting ready for guests for brunch on Sunday.  There is nothing I enjoy more than planning a tablescape and setting a beautiful table with some of my treasures.  As we are one week out from Easter, I thought I would throw in a few related touches, even though we regrettably still have snow on the ground . . . YUCK.

Sharing the Menu . . . .

Fortified Orange Juice aka Mimosas!!

Ambrosia Salad

Three Cheese Pie

Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce

Marinated Herb Tomatoes

Cranberry Scones

Butter Bundt Cake with Fresh Strawberries & Whipped Cream

Mocha Mousse topped with Fresh Raspberries & served with a Lemon Madeleine

Looking forward to lots of laughs, good visiting and hopefully good food.

More photos and some recipes later.

Madeleines

Lemon flavoured shell-shaped tea cakes of French origin that adds visual interest to a tray of goodies as well as contrast in colour and texture. You will need special Madeleine pans which are available in most gourmet or kitchen specialty shops.

Madeleines
Yields 2
Beautiful addition to a tray of dainties.
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Prep Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1¼ cups sifted cake flour
  2. ½ tsp. baking powder
  3. ¼ tsp. salt
  4. 3 eggs
  5. 1 tsp. vanilla
  6. ⅔ cup sugar
  7. 2 tsp. finely grated lemon rind
  8. ¾ cup butter, melted and cooled
  9. icing sugar to dust madeleines with
Instructions
  1. Sift together the first three ingredients and set aside.
  2. Beat eggs until light, add vanilla, gradually beat in sugar.
  3. Continue beating until volume has quadrupled.
  4. Fold in lemon rind and gently fold into flour mixture.
  5. Stir in the cooled butter.
  6. Brush pans with additional melted butter and spoon about 1 Tbsp. batter into each shell, filling about ¾ full.
  7. Bake at 350̊ for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  8. Remove to wire rack and dust tops with sifted icing sugar.
  9. Makes about 3 dozen tea cakes.
Notes
  1. If you don't have cake flour measure out the recipe amount shake through a wire strainer and then take about 2 tablespoons out.
  2. I have no idea where the original recipe came from . . . this dates back to my Adult Education teaching days 35 years ago.
  3. There are silicone shapes available now, also coated pans which makes removal easier. I still have the old fashioned tin pans which by now would fall in the antique category.
  4. I cannot attest to the cooking times or use of the silcone molds as I have tended to stay away from them as they are not terribly rigid and worry about flavour transfer.
  5. These pans are not cheap, but should be considered an investment in your baking tools. You will never go wrong buying good quality . . . . still using baking pans that I purchased over 40 years ago. Look after them and they will become heirlooms.
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Lemon Ricotta Cookies

More cakey than crispy, these ladylike little tea cakes puff up as they bake. The lemon glaze on top adds a tart, crunchy layer. It is a very interesting texture that is provided by the use of the ricotta cheese. 

Lemon Ricotta Cookies
Very different, and sooo tasty.
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FOR THE COOKIES
  1. 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (310 grams)
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder (4 grams)
  3. 1 teaspoon salt (4 grams)
  4. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature (113 grams)
  5. 2 cups granulated sugar (400 grams)
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1 (15-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta cheese (425 grams)
  8. Zest of one lemon
  9. 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (45 grams)
FOR THE GLAZE
  1. 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar (180 grams)
  2. Zest of one lemon
  3. 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (45 grams)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated.
  5. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon zest and lemon juice and beat to combine.
  6. Stir in the dry ingredients.
  7. Line the two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Spoon the dough onto the baking sheets using 2 tablespoons for each cookie.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes until slightly golden at the edges.
  10. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.
  11. While they cool, combine the confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small bowl and stir until smooth.
  12. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of the glaze onto each cooled cookie and use the back of the spoon to spread it to the edges.
  13. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours.
  14. Pack the cookies in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. For the cookies . . . I added vanilla . . . everything tastes better with vanilla.
  2. I also used an ice cream scoop to measure out the batter.
  3. Make sure you allow lots of room for them to spread.
  4. I used Pampered Chef baking stones to bake these on . .. watch the timing closely as things usually take a little longer to bake on a stone, however you will have absolutely beautiful colour on the bottoms of the cookies and they don't go as dark as fast.
  5. After the cookies have baked, I let them cool completely and used 1 teaspoon of glaze and smoothed it over the cookies. Liked the extra bit of flavour this added and there is certainly enough glaze in one recipe to allow for this.
  6. When doing the glazing, make sure you have wax paper under the cooling rack . .. makes cleanup much easier. Some glaze will definitely drip off the edges onto the wax paper.
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
Just dot Food http://www.justdotfood.com/

Jelly Roll

Anytime I see a recipe where I don’t have to separate the eggs and dirty more dishes immediately has my interest piqued. I am not a big fan of big time cleanup!

This recipe come from one of the old country church cookbooks of my Mother’s . . . I know this dates me, but I remember the days of afternoon tea with assorted tea cups (and yes I have many) with fancy sandwiches, dainties and desserts being served with much love and pride.

This is an exceptionally easy recipe and I can whip up a jelly roll from breaking eggs into the bowl to finish cleanup in half an hour, including the baking time.  It will take you back to your youth . . . when we took more time to smell the roses and partake of afternoon tea.

Jelly Roll
Serves 8
Simple and easy, this is a dessert that will take you back in time
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 eggs
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 1 cup flour
  4. 1 tsp. baking powder
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 2 T. water
  7. 1 tsp. vanilla
Instructions
  1. Butter and line a 10 x 15 inch jelly roll pan with waxed paper, buttering waxed paper as well.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Have in readiness your filling . . . lemon curd or jam or whatever you prefer to use.
  4. Have dry ingredients mixed together and and sift through a mesh strainer.
  5. Break eggs into mixing bowl and beat until lemony coloured
  6. Slowly add sugar, making sure there are no lumps.
  7. Beat until it starts to thicken very nicely and the beaters leave a bit of a trail like whipped cream and is light and fluffy The time will vary depending on whether you are using a hand mixer or a stand mixer.
  8. Add vanilla and water and give it a whirl again.
  9. Remove beater or beaters.
  10. Add the dry ingredients in thirds, folding in as lightly as you can until there is no trace of the flour in the batter, making sure there isn't any on the bottom of the bowl either.
  11. Spread lightly in prepared pan.
  12. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes in the centre of the oven. I always use convection bake.
  13. Remove when golden on top, and immediately turn onto dampened tea towel that has been sprinkled with sugar.
  14. Carefully remove wax paper.
  15. Immediately trim off about 1/4 inch all around the edges as it will roll much better without the crisp edges.
  16. Roll up in towel and let sit until cooled a bit.
  17. Unroll carefully, and spread filling on making sure you cover all the surface . . it is okay if a little seeps out on the edges.
  18. Roll up and place on serving plate and dust with more sugar.
  19. Trim off edge pieces so ends are clean cut . . . and then eat them!! Gotta taste test you know!!!
Notes
  1. Your baking time will vary depending on the pan you use. When I use a metal pan it is 12 minutes exactly. When I use the Pampered Chef stoneware baking pan, it takes a little longer.
  2. My favourite filling is lemon, rarely use jam.
Just dot Food http://www.justdotfood.com/

Bon Appetit

I just knew that these little side plates belonged in my collection of goodies and would be used over and over again, both for photography props and for actual serving of food. It just so happens that I have a dinner set of black dishes and very lovely black goblets by Mikasa, so my mind was running around in circles with ideas as I was making my way to the cash register . . . . oh the combinations I could put together for a very contemporary tablescape . . . . 

Fast forward to a food photography class that I participated in last weekend. Oh so wonderful, and our fearless leader, Sandy Weatherall of Jinsei Photographics infused and infected all of us with her knowledge of 25 years in this field. Each participant had to design their own photo including props, food and backgrounds. They were all so different and we learned from each other as the creative process unfolded. For this scenario I chose to use my new-found treasures, the Bon Appetit plates, and made ginger cookies as the food item.

As part of Studio Online, I chose this diptych to portray this week’s prompt Stacked. You are given a word each week as a prompt to create a still life photo according to your vision . . . . . the creativity in this group is beyond amazing and so inspiring . . . . the creative juices just start to flow as everyone displays their interpretation of the prompt and your mind just goes into overdrive!!! If you are looking for inspiration and exploring your inner soul in the field of photography, I highly recommend being part of this community.

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