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A young and slightly ignorant woman who has always loved baking and cooking, I want to make people happy with food as often as I can. I'm here to whisk away and explore!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Tea Parties and Mint Citrus Shortbread

About a week ago I was texting my sister about her return home for the Memorial Day weekend...it went like this:

Me: I'm feeling in the mood for a tea party this weekend...you down for some radical pinky up shenanigans? I need to christen my trendy tea pot and I'll make cucumber sammies!

Laura: YES

Me: And scones? We also need a third sister if it's truly to be Downtown Abbey enough, but we will make due. 

Laura: Eh, we'll stick a bonnet on Ginger and call it good. 

Me: Yes. She can be the spinster one who can't get married, obviously.

And Ginger? That's our dog. She doesn't like bonnets so we just let her eat the cookies sans head gear. Anyway, sometimes we do weird things and and plan really British tea parties for Memorial Day weekend. It's a thing, this weirdness. But it's a good thing. It brings tea! Four different kinds of tea, cucumber sandwiches, cracker and cheese...it's a good good thing.

Tea parties can be awfully inspiring. I had a bajillion and one ideas running through my head as soon as I started planning for a tea party. Petit fours, mini pound cakes, cream puffs, homemade english muffins...the options were endless. But I wanted two things for this particular tea escapade:
1. Light and tasty, matches perfectly with a warm cup of tea...
2. Had a "spring time" flavor...
3. Preferably made with herbs from our garden...
4. I wanted it to be pretty. I mean, it was a tea party, it's not too much to ask that it be cute, right?

So I took a shortbread recipe, tinkered with it, (I never can leave any recipe alone. Even when I swear I'm going to leave it completely alone and execute it as is...I end up altering something. I think it's a disease or syndrome, it's that bad.) and then decorated them nearly to death.

Also, can we take a moment and appreciate the fact that I own not one, but two types of tea pot cookie cutters? I mean, that's only two less cutters than actual tea pots. (I kinda have a need to have as many tea pots/cups/items as physically possible.) Yes. Mhm.
Okay, moment is over, cookies are now taking over this blog.



And more cookies?

This dough is uh-may-zing. It rolls like a dream, doesn't need to be chilled, and mixes up in one fell swoop. If you ever feel like a tea party that is low on the drama (No one dying or financial situations going awry like at the Downton Abbey's resident's tea parties) these are a must.

Mint Citrus Shortbread Cookies
3/4 pound (pounds, not cups!) butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1 egg
2 Tablespoons of fresh chopped lemon verbena
2 Tablespoons of fresh chopped mint
zest and juice of one lime
Stick all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and stir until it combines into a beautiful dough. Turn it out onto a cold counter dusted lightly with (if your kitchen is warm, you may need to chill for 20 minutes. But this step is unnecessary most of the time.) Roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with shaped cutters. Bake at 350 for 9 to 
13 minutes or until lightly golden on the edges. Watch them carefully so they do not over bake. Frost and decorate with royal icing or leave them plain. (They are delicious either way, but without the icing you can really taste the fresh herbs and citrus...)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"Eh" days: Mushrooms with Sausage

Sometimes it rains and you run out to class wearing canvas shoes and your toes end up squelching through the rest of the day.
Sometimes, even though you left the house ten minutes early, traffic is a headache and you end up walking into biology trying to be a sneaky as possible.
Sometimes it clearly doesn't work and everyone stares at you.
Sometimes a mediocre and limp turkey wrap the size of a cigar costs $6.50 and you have to dole out change in pennies at the cafeteria cash register.
Sometimes the fridge overhead light overheats and you have to unplug the the entire unit and look forward to not having cold milk for breakfast tomorrow.
I didn't have a bad day. Nope. But I had a "eh" day and that means it certainly wasn't a good day.

But when a pat of butter hits a hot skillet and you hear that well known sizzle, things start to look up.
I don't know if I'm a weirdo, (Ha, take that back. I totally know. I'm the weirdest.) but the sound of sizzling butter makes me feel so much better about life. It can mean so many things...

Pancakes (life always looks better when there are pancakes in the near future, don't you think?)
The beginnings of a gravy or a roux,
Latkes ,
French Toast,
Fried Potatoes, (I'm starting to crave a second breakfast now...)
Grilled Cheese,
Crab Cakes,
Fried Apples...

Today it meant Mushrooms and Sausage. I'm not sure if I'm the only person who breaks out pots and pans to make a hot lunch at 3:30 in the afternoon, but it feels like it. It's like a secret meeting with your best friends. (Yes. I'm friends with butter and pasta, aren't you? No? Let me introduce you...) I don't usually post dinner or lunch recipes, because I honestly don't usually have them. I'm the type of person that when I bake, I measure impeccably. Obsessively, even. But when I cook, all restraint goes out the window and I throw things together at random like a mad scientist. I have the kitchen equivalent of a gardeners green thumb, and by that I mean I'm super lucky that most of the time my crazy bubbling concoctions end up tasting pretty good. I guess I just never think of them as recipes since they aren't premeditated. But I'm doing what every mad scientist should do: I'm documenting my success in written form. (aka: recipes)

Sausage and Mushrooms with Pasta
Three to five large button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 lb (about two links) of Andouille Chicken Sausage, sliced
Two tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 tablespoons butter
2 Servings of cooked Angel Hair Pasta
Grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese for topping
In a hot skillet, melt two tablespoons of the butter and add garlic. Add the mushrooms and cook on medium heat until soft. Add the chives and sausages, cooking until browned. Add to your hot cooked pasta the remaining butter, the cooked sausage and mushrooms, and top with grated cheese.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Crazy Side of the Fence: Iced Tea Lemonade Cupcakes

Memorial Day is coming.
And for me that means one thing. HOT DOGS! Wow, I love hot dogs.
Okay, so it means two things then. Hot dogs and cold drinks. (Actually, it doesn't really mean much. I have absolutely zero plans for Memorial Day because I'm a loner and like to stay on my own front porch and blog, but beside the point...)

Cold drinks. Memorial Day means Lemonade!
Or....Iced Tea.
Or BOTH. Because here at Purple Door Kitchen (and by Purple Door Kitchen I actually mean my very comfy bed) we embrace the wild and crazy ones who pour their glasses half full of lemonade AND iced tea. It's a partay with these kind of shenanigans of mixed drinks goin' on. Or it should be, at least.

I love lemon. I love tea. Seriously. If I had to pick one thing to drink for the rest of eternity I would pick lemon tea. I wouldn't even start complaining about it for at least 7 and a half years. Or at least 7 and a half months...but it would be a lovely 7 and a half months. Of course, if I love something I usually put it in cupcake form. It's a bad wonderful habit I think. Lo and behold: Lemonade Iced Tea Cupcakes.

And you're going: "Whuuutttt? Candice, you've honestly lost it fer shure." Perhaps I have. It's okay, it's nice here on the crazy side of the fence. you should join me. Jooooiiiiiiinnnn meeeeeee...Well. You don't have to. I admit, these are weird. Not everyone can enjoy those off the wall flavors, so I understand if you stay on the normal side of cupcake world. However, if you are one of those people who really enjoy iced tea and lemonade and you think it would taste AWEsome in cupcake form then yes. Hop on over.

Iced Tea Lemonade Cupcakes
1 cup milk
5 black teabags
juice and zest of one lemon
1 1/4 cup flour
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 packet of powdered Arnold Palmer iced tea mix (you know, the ones you pour into a water bottle? Yup.)
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Heat the milk in a saucepan til almost boiling. Remove from heat and steep the tea bags in it for ten minutes. Whisk in the lemon juice and set aside to curdle. Sift together flour, baking powder, corn starch, salt, lemon zest, powder drink mix and sugar in a large bowl. Mix in the tea-milk mixture, oil and vanilla. Stir until no lumps remain. Pour into cupcake wrappers and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until they spring back when lightly touched. 
Frost with
Lemon Buttercream
1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup shortening
4 cups powdered sugar
zest and juice of one lemon
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tablespoons milk if needed
Blend butter and shortening together until combined. Mix in vanilla, juice, and zest. Beat til combined. Add four cups of powdered sugar. If too sift, add tablespoons of milk to thin.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Shame and Sore Feet: 2013's Plant Sale

My dear people,

It is with great regret and shame that I am coming to you here today. For I have unintentionally neglected Purple Door Kitchen's blog these past few weeks. And I honestly have no excuse for why I have done so. I mean, there is the fact that I had tests and papers and projects (oh look, more tests and papers and projects. It isn't over! Heh.) Or that I'm leaving for Brazil in less than a month and there have been crazy missions meetings and fundraisers and general busy-ness for that. (Oh yay oh yay oh yay oh yay, I'm SO excited for that trip!) But despite the lack of posts here, I have still been kitchen oriented, you know...I made raspberry lemon cake the other day. And before that I made some bread, and there was a last weekend where I made 100 cupcakes, 20 sugar cookies, 80 filled croissants, and 36 cake pops.

Oh you didn't hear about that? Yeahhhh...
Every year, the Saturday before Mother's day our cute little town of Duvall holds a Plant Sale. It's the first big outdoorsy event of the year. The precursor to the Big Rock Classic Car Show, Fireman's Pancake Breakfast, Dirty Paws festival in the park, Duvall Days, Summerstage, Sandblast, Quilt Walk, Heritage Day...
Okay. You get the idea. We like lots of fun activities because we are fun people who try and take advantage of the three months of sun we are so benevolently blessed with here in the Pacific Northwest.

"Sunshine" cupcake: Lemon cake, lemon curd, lemon buttercream and candied lemon peel. Doesn't get any better than this, peeps.
So yes. Plant Sale.
For the past three years, I've been the food vendor at the Duvall Plant Sale. It's fun! Also completely-over-the-top-I'm-going-to-die-stressful and exhausting. Everything has to be fresh and not stale and 100% delicious, but there is only one baker: me! and I do it all in my parents' spacious kitchen so they are forced to eat takeout or pizza for two or three days while I inconvenience them. (Sorry guys! I love you and I promise this is THE last year. I know I said that last year and I went back on my word but I promise it's for real this time.)

Tie Dye Sugar cookies! They are as big as your face and possibly the most fun thing you'll eat this week.
 But it is really really fun. Once I get past the fact that I can't feel the lower half of my legs because I haven't sat down in 26 hours. But I play my tunes full blast in the kitchen and line up counter tops and tables and shelves with boxes of baked goods. By the end of both Thursday and Friday I am covered head to toe in some form of either sugar or flour. And the actual booth is fun to run, too. People will come up and tell me how pretty everything looks, and then they pay me to eat it! Sometimes I get called "The cupcake girl" and that makes me happy.

Boxes of yummy.
 The only sad thing about the day is that I'm usually so busy/tired that I take zero pictures. It's a tragedy really because I think my booth is about the classiest thing since champagne, but you know. (GUYS! I even have an old door that I found and painted purple. My booth actually has a purple door, it's fantastic.)
But alas, this really is the last year for me. I'm moving out this fall and next year I won't have the resources or the time to throw myself into baking for three entire days since I'll be enrolled full time in the School of Education at my university. :( Sad news. But good news! Because I'm sure something equally as fun and exciting and challenging will come my way in the next year! Right? It always does. Til then...I can thankfully enjoy having feeling back in my feet.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

April's Favorites

I have been on the brink of death.
Seriously. I thought I was going to die. At one point I wanted to very very bad.
I had the flu. And then I had a sinus infection, and then I went to the walk in clinic, scratch that, the next day I went to the Emergency Room. IV in, meds taken, I slept for 48 hours.
I am finally (THANK JESUS) back on my feet. I'm ready to start baking and blogging once more!
Man, I've missed it. Really really missed it.
Same way I missed being able to breathe through my nose or stand up without my head turning to a raging pain. Ohhh...it's good to be back. It's like the world is an oyster and everything is pearls. (That could very well be a side effect of the nice cocktail of meds I've been downing for the past two weeks, but it's okay. :D)
Sadly, I have no new recipes to blog. :( This is the only really bad thing about the world right now. Otherwise I am a new woman. ;)

So that whole paragraph was to make you feel sorry for me and forgive me for being a bit behind with "April's Favorites". Jumping right in...
We will skip the list of fun activities and such since we have already established that most of April was indeed me lying wrapped blankets and scarves, eating soup, swallowing pills and sleeping at odd hours. Annnnndddd so!
April's Pinterest Finds:
Oh my goodness! May is the first month of farmers market here in little Duvall.And it's tiny and lacks the big city farmer's market hoo-ha, but it's charming and I can not wait till Thursday when I will make my huge grinning appearance to buy flowers and honey and bread and veggies. I'm so excited. This print from etsy is charming too, yes?

 Since my mom has been trying to eat healthier lately, I think I might buy some flowers and surprise her with this garden cake instead of my traditional route of the sugar laden kind.

This blew my cupcake obsessed mind. Frosting in every bite? I should have discovered the true way to eat a cupcake so long ago...

Your March Favorites
Facebook's Favorite

Pinterest's Favorite
Return of the Turtle Cake...I've got to make another one of these cute cakes...they seem to be popular. 

So here's to May!! It's here already, I know. And it's been absolutely 100% beautiful. I'm hoping the gorgeous weather and good health are both here to stay. ;)