Swirl, drip, squiggle, smudge, fling, splatter… What is better then finger paint? Edible baby-safe finger paint you can make at home with this simple recipe! Six month old baby Austin created his first abstract expressionistic masterpiece! Here’s how we did it.
To make the paint mix equal parts baby rice cereal and water. Then add one drop food coloring. Add more drops of the same color to richen it or mix other colors to get your desired color. Add white to make it lighter and more opaque. We chose the colors of Austin’s nursery; red, white and shades of teal. The white really didn’t work that well in the painting. The teals were vibrant! We decided not to use the red in case it mixed together with the teals to create brown. The red would have been nice to use after the first layer dried but I was so impressed with Austin’s first go at it I left it alone sprayed it with a fixative and hung it up. An additional option that I thought would be fun is adding a flavor of some sort. I was a little concerned about encouraging him to eat paint so I left it out this time.
We choose a 10×10 inch pre-stretched canvas with a neutral color for Austin to paint on. Watercolor paper would be a great option as well! Avoid any thin paper that will bubble or rip when wet.
If you have older children they will know what to do but if you have a baby at three months you can set them up in a tummy-time manner and set the painting in front of them. Austin at six months sat up and I helped him dip his hands in each color. I also held him, dipped his feet in and let him kick around on the canvas. It sure was entertaining helping my Blooming Jackson Pollock create his first finger painting. However, when it was all said and done Austin may have preferred the brewer game that was on over finger painting… Daddy’s boy
*Amounts very per project, desired color, and consistency.
To make the paint mix equal parts baby rice cereal and water. Then add one drop food coloring. Add more drops of the same color to richen it or mix other colors to get your desired color. Add white to make it lighter and more opaque.
Rhubarb is one of those weird plants that shows up every year in the spring, and lasts a few months, then it’s gone. It’s often paired with strawberries to make pie, but is ignored for anything else. When you think about it though, it makes sense. Strawberries are sweet, beautiful and their flavor is endlessly used as inspiration for all kinds of products at the grocery store. Rhubarb however, goes largely unnoticed in the food world. When was the last time you drank an ice cold rhubarb margarita or fizzy rhubarb and rosemary gin fizz? Well, Jena and I thought we would shed a little light on this tangy vegetable and show some wonderful ways to infuse your booze with the flavor of natures first sour vegetable, rhubarb. Yes, it is a vegetable, but strangely became a fruit by a New York court in the 40’s because a judge decided that since it was used in this country as a fruit, it should be labeled as one. I’m guessing science had nothing to do with that decision. Anyway, with summer officially here, Jena and I thought it was time to get a new summer drink in the mix. Last year I was into the Moscow mule in all it’s various forms. This year however, needs to be a little more interesting. What better way to pump some fun into the summer season than with an easy rhubarb syrup to flavor our various libations while soaking up the sun?
Rhubarb, for those of you who have not tried it, is a long, firm, red stalk with huge leaves, which happen to be poisonous, so don’t eat them! I have fond memories as a kid of dipping stalks of rhubarb in a custard cup of granulated sugar while deciding what adventure me and my buds were going to go on that day. We’d simply lick the end of the stalk to give the sugar something to cling to, then dip the stalk in the sugar and take a bite. Our mouths would first taste the sweet sugar, but then feel the tartness of the rhubarb, making our faces contort into what we called the sour puss face. Jena also has memories of eating the sour stalks as well, but hers didn’t involve sugar. I guess that’s what hardcore country girls did on the farm.
There are many different uses for rhubarb. It can be used in pies, salads, sauces, jams and jellies. But in drinks? Hell yes. After spending some time recently in the windy city enjoying trendy drinks in trendy restaurants, I realized that rhubarb is starting to make it’s way into the millennium crowd. One particular craft cocktail I had, contained a rhubarb shrub. A shrubbery? you say. No, not the kind found in a Monty Python movie, but the 1800’s version that is a combination of fruit syrup mixed with vinegar. Shrubs were used as a way of preserving beverages before refrigeration and carbonation took center stage. They had gone almost extinct until recently with the resurrection of the craft cocktail. It may sound weird, but is pretty tasty. The added vinegar has a thirst quenching element that is great during those hot summer months. Add booze and it will not only quench your thirst, but knock you on your ass.
The basis for all our rhubarb cocktails is simple, combine fresh(or frozen) rhubarb with sugar in a bowl and refrigerate it for 5 days. Strain it and you’ll have a syrup that goes great with many kinds of alcohol including bourbon, vodka and gin. Oh sure, you can simply add it to fresh lemonade or soda or tonic water, but doesn’t adding a little vodka and calling it a rhubarb vodka cooler sound better?
The three drinks we chose, were a classic bourbon old fashioned made with rhubarb, a rhubarb lemon martini and a rhubarb rosemary gin fizz using a homemade rhubarb shrub. They are all distinctly different and very refreshing. Try them this summer when you want something new. As an added treat, use that tasty rhubarb syrup as a glaze on macadamia nuts, or in a vinaigrette for salads. The options are endless. Then next time you see rhubarb at the farmers market, take it home, and dip it in some sugar. You just might uncover your inner child and understand why kids love sour candy so much. If not, stick to the cocktails or there’s always the strawberry rhubarb pie. Whatever your fancy, remember to always cook with love and live to cook.
In a large bowl, combine rhubarb and sugar. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate up to 5 days, stirring once a day. Strain juice into a container. Reserve strained rhubarb for another use such as rhubarb bourbon old fashioned. Refrigerate syrup up to 2 weeks. or freeze until needed. Use as a mixer for cocktails like rhubarb bourbon old fashioned, rhubarb martini, rhubarb rosemary gin fizz and rhubarb shrub.
The pot pie has had many transformations over the 10,000 plus years since it made its first appearance. In 9500BC it was made with only oat, wheat, rye and barley, and flavored with honey. Savory meat pies made their way into the mix during medieval times, and were called “coffins”. I’m not sure whose idea that was, but if Swanson tried using that one, they would have gone out of business a long time ago. Since the crust was actually used as the actual baking dish (apparently Pyrex and Le Creuset had not been invented yet.), it wasn’t actually edible. The name has changed over the centuries from coffins to pyes to magpies, etc. Many cultures gave it a go, learning from the previous version and putting their own spin on it. Then as usual, the French and Italians made them better by refining the pastry into a flaky pastry made with butter, which confirms once again that just about anything is better when made with butter.
These flaky pastries filled with meat and vegetables made their way to other countries, where they were tweeked to fit their own cultures. They were given names like steak pie, tourtiere, Jamaican patty, fatayer, samosa, empanada, and of course, the pasty, which made its way into my childhood memories thanks to my mom’s Upper Peninsula Michigan ancestry der don’t cha know. Sorry, even writing about those Cornish beef and potato filled treasures makes me write like a “yooper”. A dialect used in northern Michigan and Wisconsin.
Since Jena and I wanted to do an article on pot pies, we thought we would create some fun variations to the popular chicken pot pie. Our goal was to do four or five different kinds of pies like we usually do and post one every week. However, life sometimes throws curveballs like babies, sickness, work and moving that sometimes alters your intentions. So, “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need.” Thanks Mick, we agree with that philosophy. Instead of doing four, we did one good one, and added another video. Rather than creating a pot pie big enough to feed a family, we made a delicious hand held version perfect for those who like to eat on the run. Also, since you don’t see too many pastries filled with meat in the far east besides egg rolls or pot stickers, we decided to do a pot pie version of a Korean beef taco.
For these Korean Beef Hand Pies, we started with boneless beef short ribs cooked in a pressure cooker with chicken broth, soy, chili paste, garlic, ginger, scallions and mushrooms until tender and juicy. The meat is shredded and then rice noodles and pea pods were added for texture and color. This mixture was cooled, then spooned onto store bought dough rounds cut into four inch fluted circles using a small tart pan. A large tin can like we used for the pound cake can also be used, or simply make cutouts with round paper templates. The addition of chili paste and cilantro on top give it a little acid and fresh flavor. Brush the edges with egg wash and top with another four inch pastry round on top that has been rolled a little larger to accommodate the filling. Sprinkle the top with wasabi flavored and black sesame seeds, and bake until golden brown. We loved their cute appearance and the portable nature. The tender short rib meat combined with the savory and spicy juices was a perfect contrast to the flaky, buttery crust. These would be wonderful appetizers for a party if made a little smaller, or excellent as lunch item that can be reheated in the toaster oven or as dinner with a light salad.
So the next time you’re thinking about whipping up a chicken pot pie, think a little outside the box, or should I say pie? For a spring time treat, add some asparagus, fresh morel mushrooms, tomatoes and cheese. See the article we did two years ago on morel mushrooms as an option for the filling. Some pulled pork and jerk seasoning, seafood or perhaps some fresh organic vegetables and tofu if meat isn’t your thing. Regardless of your choice, the time tested pot pie is and will always be a comfort food classic because of it’s very nature. It’s an edible gift filled with wonders that make our tastebuds happy. Until next time, remember to cook with love and live to cook.
Jim & Jena
Every once in awhile as a creative, you get the opportunity to actually be creative. I know, that sounds weird. As a photographer and set stylist or food stylist and writer, we are often “nudged” in directions that we wouldn’t normally travel. In other words, we take one for the team for the good of the project. Good or bad, every creative makes sacrifices to satisfy the client or customer’s needs or wants.
Jena and I recently were involved in an exciting new project for King Arthur Flour in which we were given the opportunity to be exactly that, creative. King Arthur has just come out with a new magazine called SIFT. You can buy it now in grocery stores, book stores, Costco stores and across the country. It is incredibly well done from cover to cover. Content, layout, pictures, articles and even the paper are all top notch. We were given the job of creating a spread for their premiere issue. The assignment was to create an article about a classic midwestern sandwich. An article with recipes and photos would be needed. We chose the famous Italian Beef Combo because let’s be honest, It’s a kick ass sandwich. Tender Italian beef, piled high on a hearty roll with giardiniera, provalone cheese, and of course an Italian sausage to tie in our Wisconsin roots. We needed city and sandwich photos, which was going to be tricky, because we had a small window of time to get everything done.
Jena, being the photo rock star that she is, took to the road with her hubby and spent a night in Chicago in search of the quintisential Chicago shot that would highlight and help tell the story of the famed sandwich. She took some great shots of the windy city. For the food shots, we really wanted the sandwich to stand out. What better way to do this than by showing the scenes of Chicago in classic black and white, and let the food be in color. Show the food on dark backgrounds to match the feel of the cityscape shots. Add the article and viola! The end result was an spread that was difficult to create, but one that was a joy to work on. We have decided to show some pictures of the food as well as shots of the magazine to get your appetite stimulated. We highly recommend you pick up a copy of SIFT if you see it in a store near you. You can find out more information about King Arthur Flour and their exciting new bookazine at King Arthur Flour’s website. Well, time to get busy working on the recipes for this month. The theme is pot pies. Different sizes, shapes and flavors. It should be fun. Remember to cook with love and live to cook.
Pound cake, sounds fattening doesn’t it? Well, guess what? it is indeed fattening. When you consider the fact that the cake was named after the weight of the four main ingredients it is made with, it makes perfect sense. Butter, sugar, flour and eggs are the four main ingredients. What’s worse, is that the original recipe calls for using a “pound” of each ingredient. Our Wildberry Poundcake with Mascarpone Yogurt Creme recipe exceeds the caloric intake of many nations. O.K., I’m exagerating. A serving of our pound cake with the creme, ganache topping and berries on top, which are the only healthy ingredients in the recipe, exceed 1,500 hundred calories per serving. Impressive right? Maybe not, but oh well. Cinnabon doesn’t seem to be having any problem selling their 813 calorie cinnamon rolls. McDonalds sells more than a few sausage egg and cheese McGriddles meal at over 700 calories. Add a white chocolate mocha to your order and you have over 1,020 calories. For generations we ate whatever cake or dessert our parents or grandparents fed us because, well, it was dessert and never question sweets. Then came the age of low fat, sugar, sodium, etc., etc., until now we live in a world where pseudo healthy food has dominated our lives, and common sense has gone on vacation. We buy foods that contain dozens of ingredients that we can’t pronounce. Ingredients like azodicarbonamide, which is used in bagels and buns, which can cause asthma, or propylene glycol, otherwise known as antifreeze that is found in dairy products and dressings. Believe it or not, the FDA actually considers it “generally” safe. Some fat calories from homemade cake made with four ingredients doesn’t seem so bad now does it?
When I was young, we had two choices: Go outside and play, or do chores. O.k., I never did “chores”, but threatening me with having to clean the basement or weed the garden was enough for me to think that “outdoors” was as close to nirvana as you could get. Fast forward thirty five years and you have a population that is so afraid of trans fat, that they would never even contemplate eating a piece of sinfully rich, buttery poundcake. Forget about the addition of a decadent mascarpone yogurt creme or white chocolate ganache to go with it. If it’s not gluten free, dairy free, nut free, fat free, vegan, and preservative free, it’s just not entering the house for many. Too bad, because sometimes sugar, flavor and fat rules!.
Have you ever had imitation cheese, cream, eggs or butter? Did you like it? Well, if you did, you have never experienced pound cake. My great aunt Lucille lived to be in her 90’s, as have many of my ancestors, and it wasn’t because they ate vegan, gluten or sugar free desserts that tasted like wood scraps. We as a culture seem to have forgotten that “good” food doesn’t necessarily mean it is good for you. Maybe, just maybe good food can be made with good ingredients and simply taste good. There is a word that comes to mind and that word is “moderation”. Maybe if we got off our butts, stopped reading food blogs, except LRL of course, went for a walk, ate more vegetables, drank more water, and stopped eating crappy processed foods, we could enjoy a little pound cake once in awhile. Obesity in the U.S. is growing at an enormous rate, and I guarantee it’s not because everyone is eating pound cake.
Jena and I love food. Healthy food, fattening food, salty food, and yes, sweet food. So what does all this have to do with Valentines Day or Fat Tuesday? Both celebrations have to do with excess. Showing your loved one you care by giving them sweets like chocolate or eating decadent food before the beginning of lent. By the way, don’t ever get those mixed up and tell your sweetheart “Happy Fat Tuesday Honey!” You may get a pound cake upside your head. Our high calorie fat fest known as pound cake is the perfect dessert for both, because you get not one, not two, but three individual cakes to enjoy. You can feed each other warm pound cake on Valentines Day, then have another cake for Fat Tuesday. You can make a baby one day, and put one in a cake three days later. A mini plastic one for your kings cake, for those of you with the confused look on your faces. It’s a Mardi Gras thing. Google it. So, don’t think about all those fat calories when your eating pound cake for Valentines Day. think about how much fun it will be working it off in the bedroom. Enjoy and remember to cook with love and live to cook.
Jim & Jena
Wild Berry Pound Cake with Mascarpone Yogurt Creme
This insanely high calorie cake is insanely good. We added food coloring to it to make it beautiful, but it is just as tasty without it if you don't want to deal with adding food coloring to the batter or ganache.
Author: Little Rusted Ladle
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6 servings
¾ lb. butter, softened
2.5 cups granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons baking powder
10.75 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour
6 large eggs at room temperature
purple and blue food coloring, to desired color
Mascarpone Yogurt Creme
4 ozs mascarpone cheese, softened
¼ cup greek yogurt
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
purple food coloring, to desired color
White Chocolate Ganache
¾ cup white chocolate chips
3 tablespoons heavy cream, heated
purple food coloring, to desired color
1 cup blackberries
1 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and dry 3/28 ounce tin cans and remove the labels. Line each with parchment paper cut to fit on the sides and bottom. Spray with non-stick spray and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and baking powder. Beat together until light and fluffy.
Add flour and beat until it resembles a thick paste.
Add eggs one at a time, scraping down bowl until very light and fluffy.
Transfer cake batter evenly into three different bowls, then add food coloring to each batter to desired color.
alternate spooning colored batter into each can until each can has the same amount of batter.
Swirl batter in each can with a knife, making concentric circles as you pull the knife upward.
Place cans on a baking pan and transfer to pre-heated oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer cans to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
Meanwhile, for filling, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend with a hand mixer until smooth. Add food coloring to desired shade of purple and set aside.
For ganache, add white chocolate to a small glass bowl and pour hot cream over chips. Stir quickly with a spoon until chips are completely melted. If chips are not completely melted, you can microwave them for 5 or 10 seconds, then stir again. Add food coloring to desired shade of purple. Set aside.
Remove cakes from cans and remove parchment. Cut each cake crosswise into three sections.
To assemble: Place bottom section of each cake on a flat surface. Spoon about ¼ cup of mascarpone creme onto each bottom section. Top with berries, then repeat with the next layer of cake, creme and berries. Add top layer of cake, then spoon warm ganache over the top. Place more berries on top and dust with powdered sugar. Serve.
You can save time by eliminating the food coloring and using a bundt pan instead of the cans.