Saturday, January 4, 2014

Like the Phoenix to Start Anew

I don't know about you but I always get this sense of renewal at the beginning of a new year. I'm full of hope and new ideas, and feel chuff that I can tackle anything, beliving that all things are possible. At the buffet of promised accomplishments and short-term goals, I fill my plate. And if not by the second day, then definitely the third, I am stuffed and now looking down at that helping with a keen and judicious eye. Goals, dreams and aspirations are one thing; sensible reality and honesty make it possible to see what it is that I am actually capable of accomplishing. 

So what it is that I am looking forward to achieving this year? Many things, all of which will be shared with you over the coming year. Keep checking back to see what I'm going to be up to in 2014...

For Christmas 2012 I made my mother a suite of linens for the dining table for the holidays. I used the designs from my GINGERBREADTOWN collection. This year when I arrived at my parents' house the table had been set with the table cloth, table runner and place mats. I did a bit of rearranging for the photo shoot to stylize it as it would be set for dinner.

For Christmas this year I made breakfast. Simple, decadent and completely satisfying.

Mom and I have been talking about savory waffles for some time now so I decided to follow through with this idea... that morning we had a BLT on Dubliner Irish cheddar cheese waffles with a fried egg on top, and for a sweet tooth, a trifle of plain greek yogurt drizzled with honey and layered with fresh blueberries, mango and pears.

Cheddar waffle batter in the waffle iron and crispy, cheese waffles

The early morning sun shining on the sunny side up egg, BLT and waffle, and with a dollop of what else? Hellman's mayonnaise.
Plain greek yogurt, honey, blueberries, mango and pears; crushed graham cracker

I travelled home with a bottle of PAU Maui Hawaiian pineapple vodka for dad. 

Poinsettias I fashioned from pastillage or gum paste for my birthday cake (I had a disaster with the sponge cake I made and rolled in a powder sugar-coated towel for the Yule log). Mom and dad came to the rescue and ran out and bought a Napoleon cake. I really like how the "black-and-white" geometric icing design juxtaposes the organic and realistic shapes and form of the flowers. BTW, the flowers are completely edible, save the wire and centers made of wire and yellow sewing thread.

One day of my stay I had hands-on training making perogies.
The dough was so springy and had such stretch and memory it was difficult to roll it out in a rectangular shape and it was even more challenging trying to cut rounds to shape and work around the fillings, which included (shown below) potato, farmer cheese and onion and my whacky concept of  kielbasi and shrimp egg roll filling. Mom also did sweet cabbage and I, sour cherries.
Potato and cheese, above, and egg roll, below.

Onions bubbling happily in butter to coat the cooked perogies.

Mom making perogies and as I have learned, taking photos with the iPhone camera isn't the same as shooting motion with the 35mm digital.
Assorted perogies laid out on floured towels drying a bit before being poached.

Sour cherry perogies cooking and after, drained.

Egg Roll perogies after cooking.

We calls these "worms" and are made of just the dough and are similar to cavatelli or spaetzle - these are my sister's favorite.

Cooked potato and cheese smothered in onions, and then pan fried to a crispy, delicious golden brown. YUM!!!

I cooked New Year's Eve dinner:

Chicken Costoletta, Wasabi-Roasted Garlic Mashed Pototoes, Haricot Vert Almondine, Mark's Waldorf Salad (celery root, granny smith and macintosh apples, golden raisins)

The return home: riding around my first day back with the top down I got a bit of sunburn (got pasty in NJ, LOL) and the next morning woke up with Frodo hair!



  1. OMG Mark - everything looks soooo amazing (well...maybe not your hair..ahem *-) I've scrolled back several times to drool over that waffle BLT, challenging my taste buds to imagine every flavour...right down to that dollop of Hellman's! Are there any cookbooks in your future?
    Wishing you a wonderful and productive 2014. Enjoy your sunshine, it's a balmy -35 with the wind chill in Nova Scotia today!

  2. I know what you mean about the energy potential the first few days of the new year. Heres wishing both of us follow through.

    And again I am jealous about the Polish food you are eating.