2013 “Cookie of the Month” Year-end Round-up

Those who regularly follow my blog will recall that I made the commitment back in January 2013 to post one cookie recipe a month for the entire year.  So, for ease of retrieval, I thought I would do a year-end round-up of all 12 cookies.

In January, just in time for Robbie Burns Day, I shared my recipe for Shortbread.

Shortbread

In February, with sweet Valentine’s Day, old-fashioned Sugar Cookies topped the list.

Sugar Cookies
Sugar Cookies

In March, Double Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies, made with a hint of stout, were ready for St. Patrick’s Day.

Chocolate Drop Cookies Made with Stout
Double Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies

In April, thoughts turned to lighter, more spring-like, fare like these Lemon Spritz Shortbread Cookies.

Lemon Spritz Shortbread Cookies
Lemon Spritz Shortbread Cookies

In May, old-fashioned Cherry Winks proved they are still a perennial favorite.

Cherry Wink Cookie
Cherry Wink Cookie

In June, the no-bake Spider Cookies proved they are just as much a favorite today as they were when I was growing up!

Spider Cookies
Spider Cookies

In July, as we celebrated “Christmas in July”, the Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies brought back memories of the kinds of cookies often found in grandma’s cookie jar.

Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies
Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies

In August, Chocolate Drop Cookies, were a hit with the chocolate lovers!

Chocolate Drop Cookies
Chocolate Drop Cookies

In September, crisp and light-textured Peanut Butter Cookies made it on to the cookie of the month roster.

Peanut Butter Cookies
Peanut Butter Cookies

In October, the substantial and tasty raisin-filled Plum Puff Cookies heralded the fall season.

Plum Puff Cookies
Plum Puff Cookies

In November, when the days turned cooler and thoughts turned to the sweet smell of cooking with spices, the old-fashioned icebox Gingersnaps made their debut.

Gingersnaps
Gingersnaps

In December, these Coconut Cherry Macaroons made a fine addition to trays of sweets and to gift boxes.

Coconut Cherry Macaroons
Coconut Cherry Macaroons

I hope you have enjoyed some of my favorite cookie recipes.  Do you have a favorite cookie?

Barbara

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

Be sure to visit my Facebook page at My Island Bistro Kitchen.  You may also wish to follow me on twitter @PEIBistro, on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”, and on Instagram at “PEIBistro”.

Holiday Breakfast in Bed

Oh, the sweet lull after the hustle and bustle of the Christmas holiday!  Sometimes the best treat for someone who has been super busy during the holiday season is a quiet and peaceful Sunday morning made even better with breakfast in bed!

Begin by dressing up a bed tray with a quality placemat and napkin.  Add a small vase with a fresh flower and seasonal greenery.  Bring out the Christmas dishes!  The season is not quite over yet!

I like my little two-cup Sadler teapot and matching teacup and saucer.  The teapot is perfectly sized for use on a bed tray.  Red cranberry juice keeps the red theme going!

For this easy-to-prepare breakfast, I lined muffin tins with thin prosciutto and cooked the meat in the oven at 425F for about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let the meat stand for about 5 minutes in the muffin cups.  Carefully remove the prosciutto cups from the pans using the tines of a fork (the meat will be very crisp and will easily crumble).  Cook the scrambled eggs with some finely minced red pepper and spoon into the prosciutto cups.

I chose marbled rye bread for the toast and served my own homemade strawberry jam as an accompaniment to the toast.

I hope that sometime over the holiday period, you have found some time for rest and relaxation (even if it didn’t involve being served breakfast in bed!

Happy holidays!

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

Be sure to visit my Facebook page at My Island Bistro Kitchen.  You may also wish to follow me on twitter @PEIBistro, on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”, and on Instagram at “PEIBistro”.

The Pink and Green Holiday Table

One of the things I like to do over the holiday season is to prepare some “greenery bases” for floral arrangements and have them ready for different holiday dinners and events.  This way, it is not necessary to start from scratch to create a new floral centerpiece for every dinner party.  Once the greenery is in place, floral centerpieces are quick and easy to prepare.  Simply by changing the color of the flowers in a centerpiece can give a whole new look to a table.

About 10 days ago, I posted photos from a purple tablescape.  I recently removed the purple-tinted mini carnations from that centerpiece since they had passed their prime and I replaced them with bright pink and white ones.  Leaving the candles and greenery in tact, this centerpiece probably took me between 5 and 10 minutes to create.

While I like the white linen tablecloth look (I call it my blank canvas), sometimes I like to see the maple wood in my table.  Seeing the wood on the table also lends a less formal look to the tablesetting.  So, for more casual dining, this is often a look I go for.

A number of years ago, my Mom hand-quilted these placemats to match my Royal Albert Lavender Rose china.  Aren’t they beautiful!  The quilt pattern is the lovers’ knot.

Having a collection of charger plates that match my china means they can be used to change the look of the table as well.  Having invested in my fine china, I like to use it as much as possible; however, using the same dinnerware repeatedly can start to make every table setting look the same unless you inject other elements, like different colored charger plates, candles, table linen, flowers, etc.

The napkin fold I have selected for this tablesetting is the Christmas tree fold.  This is not a difficult napkin fold and, of course, it is most suitable for the Christmas season.  Choose good quality cloth napkins for this fold so that the fold will stay in place.

Christmas Tree Napkin Fold
Christmas Tree Napkin Fold

So, here is my third tablesetting of the season, all set for this evening’s dinner.

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

To view other Christmas and New Year’s Tablesettings, click on the links below:

Glitz ‘n Glamour New Year’s Eve Tablesetting
Twas the Night Before Christmas
The Warmth of the Christmas Light Tablesetting
A Tartan Holiday Tablesetting
Pretty Poinsettia Tablesetting
Poinsettia Trio Tablesetting
The Holiday Table
Christmas Eve Tablesetting and Dinner
Christmas at My Island Bistro Kitchen
Purple Tablesetting for the Holidays
Evergreens and Reindeer Christmas Tablesetting

Cupcake Tablescape

Be sure to visit my Facebook page at My Island Bistro Kitchen.  You may also wish to follow me on twitter @PEIBistro, on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”, and on Instagram at “PEIBistro”.

 

Christmas at My Island Bistro Kitchen

Well, Christmas has come and gone again for another year.  I hope you had a joyous and peaceful holiday.  I thought I would share with you the traditional components of my Christmas dinner.  Guests were greeted with a glass of Sparkling Cranberry Apple Juice from Verger Belliveau Orchard in Memramcook, New Brunswick.

1-DSC01172

I like to set a pretty table.  This year, I used a gold-colored tablecloth, a couple of gold-colored glass Christmas trees and some gold and ivory Christmas balls and used them to start building the tablescape.  The gold theme seemed to blend in nicely with the tree and mantle in my dining room.

I kept the tablescape fairly simplistic and uncluttered since my dining room table is not large.  It can seat six but four, more comfortably.

I like to add a bit of bling to the tablesetting.  These blingy napkin rings were a find a couple of years ago.  Napkin rings are very useful when you want to keep the napkin fold simplistic or when you are in a hurry and don’t have time to fold napkins into designs.

My choice of centerpiece was seasonally-inspired.  The gold container and piks were in keeping with the gold theme and gold charger plates.

The Star of Bethlehem flower was the focal point of the centerpiece.

The holly berries came from one of my holly trees just outside my front door.

Since I couldn’t bring the snow indoors, bursts of Baby’s Breath gave the illusion of snow drops throughout the centerpiece.

Christmas Dinner was a four-course meal.  The appetizer was a red pear drizzled with a pomegranate molasses dressing.

I love the burst of flavor in each of the pomegranate arils.

Not only do the arils add flavor but they also add texture and color to the plate.

Some Islanders have roasted parsnips as a traditional vegetable on their Christmas dinner plate.  Parsnips were not a traditional vegetable for Christmas dinner in our home.  However, I have included parsnips in the Parsnip and Apple Soup.

Parsnip and Apple Soup
Parsnip and Apple Soup

A dollop of sour cream surrounded by a drizzle of good quality olive oil dresses up this flavourful soup.

The soup’s golden color continues the gold-colored theme.

I love this little soup tureen I came across a couple of years ago.

Of course, the star of the show is the roasted turkey!

There is nothing like an old-fashioned roast turkey dinner!  I dressed the turkey platter with a citrus theme of orange, lemon, and lime wedges along with green grapes and cranberries.

My choice of wine for this year’s Christmas dinner was Chardonnay that came from Matos Winery, St. Catherine’s, PEI.

We are very traditional in the components of the Christmas dinner – turkey, stuffing (dressing), mashed potatoes with homemade gravy (no gravy mix for me!), carrots, turnip casserole, and peas.  Condiments included my homemade cranberry sauce along with mustard pickles and pickled beets that I made earlier in the fall.

Plum pudding is the traditional Christmas dinner dessert in our household.

Traditional Plum Pudding
Traditional Plum Pudding

There are various toppings that are served with the steamed plum pudding; however, in our home, the brown sugar sauce (served hot) reigns supreme!

When presenting the plum pudding on a glass pedestal plate at the table, I kept the citrus theme going and added some fresh raspberries for color.

Plum pudding with a good cup of coffee – a fitting finale to a wonderful Christmas dinner!

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into our 2013 Christmas dinner.  Best wishes to you and yours for a wonderful holiday season.

To view other Christmas and New Year’s Tablesettings, click on the links below:

Glitz ‘n Glamour New Year’s Eve Tablesetting
Twas the Night Before Christmas
The Warmth of the Christmas Light Tablesetting
A Tartan Holiday Tablesetting
Pretty Poinsettia Tablesetting
Poinsettia Trio Tablesetting
The Holiday Table
The Pink and Green Holiday Table
Christmas Eve Tablesetting and Dinner
Purple Tablesetting for the Holidays
Evergreens and Reindeer Christmas Tablesetting

Cupcake Tablescape

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

Be sure to visit my Facebook page at My Island Bistro Kitchen.  You may also wish to follow me on twitter @PEIBistro, on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”, and on Instagram at “PEIBistro”.

Red Plaid Christmas Afternoon Tea

We have been inundated with snow in December on Prince Edward Island, three major snow storms in the past week alone.  I think, barring some strange weather phenomenon, we are all but guaranteed a white Christmas on the Island.  It also means lots of snow to shovel – that’s the bah humbug part!

This weather inspires me to have afternoon tea beside the fireplace and Christmas tree.  The warmth and glow from the fireplace and tree lights sets a beautiful soft mood for a quiet and peaceful late afternoon tea on a cold winter’s day as the snow falls gently outside the window.  Want to take a peek?

I like this red plaid tablecloth – it looks so Christmasy and matches my Christmas tea china perfectly.

I was fortunate enough to find this Sadler teapot and matching cups and saucers last year.  I like to find occasions to use them over the holidays.

I found the delightful little teabox (seen behind the teacup in the photo above) recently and it is perfectly sized for small tea tables.  I have a larger teabox but there is no room for it on my round tea table.

So, what was on this afternoon’s tea menu presented on a traditional 3-tier server?

Let’s start with the sandwich plate – I served one of my all-time favorite sandwiches – egg salad on white, oatbran, and multigrain breads.

Fruit-filled scones with homemade strawberry jam and crabapple jelly rounded out the next course.

And, of course, what afternoon tea would be complete without the sweet tray!  Mincemeat tarts, checkerboard sugar cookies, peanut butter balls, Scotch cookies, and the quintessential fruit cake all found their way on to the sweet tray.  All seasonal favorites in our house.

And, for the sweet finish-off, these candy cane meringues that dissolve on the tongue.

Beverages included Sparkling Cranberry Apple Juice from Verger Belliveau Orchard in Memramcook, New Brunswick.  I love how it sparkles in the cut glass.

Today’s tea selection was Bentley’s Pomegranate.

My choice of centerpiece was very simple – a rose bowl with a sprig of holly and a floating tea light.  My tea table is not large so space is at a premium so any access centerpiece has to be small.

Time for tea!

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into my Red Plaid Christmas Afternoon Tea.  May the peace and joy that Christmas brings find its way into your homes this Christmas season.

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

Be sure to visit my Facebook page at My Island Bistro KitchenYou may also wish to follow me on twitter @PEIBistro, on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”, and on Instagram at “PEIBistro”.

Purple Tablesetting for the Holidays

Today, I am sharing my first tablesetting of the 2013 holiday season.  I came across these wonderful purple-tinted small carnations at the local Superstore so purple became the theme of this tablesetting for a pre-Christmas holiday dinner party.

I have a number of different colored charger plates that match my china and I use them to change the look of the table.  The purple chargers were an identical match for the carnations.

I really like working with white linen tablecloths as they give me a blank, undistracted canvas upon which to build the tablescape.

The napkin fold I chose was the simple “wave” fold.  It is quick and easy to do.  It’s very classic and unpretentious.  I used gold-themed balls on each napkin to tie in with the gold rim of the plates and also with the container for the floral arrangement and the votives.

This was a very simple floral arrangement and easy to design.  I buy huge bundles of different greens and keep them in a big bucket in my garage for use in preparing floral arrangements over the holidays.  In this one, I used cedar and pine for the base then added the carnations and baby’s breath.  In fact, the greenery will outlast the carnations so I will probably add new flowers and change the votives to another color over the holiday period to change up the look of my table.

I like these votive holders – they have a three-pronged base that, when inserted into the floral oasis, become a very sturdy alternative to the precarious tapers.  While I like the look of tapers, and do sometimes use them, they are not as carefree as votives as there is always a chance that someone will jerk the table and the candles might tip.

This is a very simplistic, uncluttered tablesetting, perfect for those dinner parties over the holidays.

Happy Holidays!

To view other Christmas and New Year’s Tablesettings, click on the links below:

Glitz ‘n Glamour New Year’s Eve Tablesetting
Twas the Night Before Christmas
The Warmth of the Christmas Light Tablesetting
A Tartan Holiday Tablesetting
Pretty Poinsettia Tablesetting
Poinsettia Trio Tablesetting
The Holiday Table
The Pink and Green Holiday Table
Christmas at My Island Bistro Kitchen
Christmas Eve Tablesetting and Dinner
Evergreens and Reindeer Christmas Tablesetting

Cupcake Tablescape

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

Be sure to visit my Facebook page at My Island Bistro Kitchen.  You may also wish to follow me on twitter @PEIBistro, on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”, and on Instagram at “PEIBistro”.

December 2013 Cookie of the Month: Coconut Cherry Macaroons

This is the final cookie of the month for 2013.  I have selected to share Coconut Cherry Macaroons, a favorite recipe that has been in our family for decades.

There are so many recipes for coconut macaroons with ingredients and methods for making them that vary.  This is a variation of the traditional coconut macaroon cookie.  Macaroons are not difficult to make and don’t take a lot of ingredients.  The addition of the candied cherries makes these macaroons tasty.  They are also showy on a plate of sweets.  I hope you enjoy them.

Coconut Cherry Macaroons

4 extra-large eggs (at room temperature), separated (reserve the yolks)

¼ tsp salt

1 cup white sugar

1 tsp almond extract

½ tsp vanilla

3 cups coconut*

1½ cups flour

¾ cup red candied cherries, chopped

¾ cup green candied cherries, chopped

 

Assemble ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350F.

In large bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and salt on high speed just until frothy.  Gradually, and very slowly, add the sugar while continuing to beat on high speed.  Whisk the egg whites and sugar until mixture forms stiff peaks.

Meanwhile, in separate large bowl, with a hand mixer or a whisk, beat the four egg yolks along with the almond and vanilla flavorings.

Stir in coconut.  Add flour and candied cherries.  Mix well.

Fold the stiff egg white mixture into the coconut mixture.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheets.

1-1-DSC01261

Bake 12-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown and cookies are set.   Let cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.

1-1-DSC01263

* Any kind of coconut — flaked, shredded, or macaroon — and either sweetened or unsweetened (or a mixture of both), can be used.  In the photographs that accompany this recipe, I used macaroon coconut, a shorter variety of coconut.

Happy Holidays!

Attractively package these macaroons and they make a great hostess gift or a remembrance for a teacher, colleague, neighbor, or anyone who has a sweet tooth!

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.  

Be sure to visit my Facebook page at My Island Bistro Kitchen.  You may also wish to follow me on twitter @PEIBistro, on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”, and on Instagram at “PEIBistro”.