Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Baking in MacKenzie-Childs enamelware....

A recent conversation on FB prompted this post.  I am surprised that many Mackenzie-Childs collectors of enamel are unaware that you can bake in most of the pieces, so here is a little info and inspiration for you:

Most enamelware is oven-safe up to at least 500 degrees Fahrenheit (MacKenzie-Childs suggests up to 400° - See below for MacKenzie-Childs specific care for their enamel), but check the manufacturer's care instructions to be sure you do not damage the cookware in the oven. However, if the enamel on your pots and pans has begun to chip, you should replace them.

I bake mini cakes in the MacKenzie-Childs storage containers, pies in their shallow bowls and desserts and eggs in their ice cream bowls:


These are perfect for one serving meals, side dishes or desserts:


The ice cream bowls work well for Brownies (think ice cream melting on top), mini meat loaves or baked French Onion Soup, too!


Here's an easy breakfast recipe:


So, utilize those enamel pieces - they are very versatile!

FYI:

Mackenzie-Childs Enamelware Care and Use (source)

Please take care with your enamelware—while the surface is strong and durable, it’s not indestructible. Rough handling, banging or dropping a piece may cause the glazed glass surface to chip. As with any enamel product, some scratching and dulling of the surface is likely to occur over time.
Our enamelware exceeds both federal food safety regulations and California’s Proposition 65, the strictest environmental safety standards in the U.S. Handle enamelware with care, and discontinue use for food service if it becomes chipped, cracked, or broken.
  • While most enamelware pieces are dishwasher safe (except those with rattan, wood or knobs), hand-washing and drying will extend the life and lustre of the finish.
  • When washing, use a nonabrasive soap and sponge or nylon pad only. Dry immediately for best results.
  • If marking from silverware should occur, apply a paste of baking soda and water to the area, and rub gently to remove marks. Avoid using sharp knives on enamelware, as they may damage the finish.
  • To remove burnt-on food, use a nylon-covered pad or wooden scraper, or loosen with a solution of baking soda and water.
  • Do not boil tea kettles dry, as this will result in damage to the finish. Boiling the kettle dry may also damage your cooktop.
  • If water is allowed to remain in tea kettles, rusting may occur. To remove rust stains and mineral deposits, fill the kettle with water and add two tablespoons of baking soda and the juice of one half a lemon. Boil for four to five minutes. Rinse and dry.
  • Pieces that do not have rattan, wood, knobs, or other embellishments may be used in an oven, up to a maximum temperature of 400 degrees. Be sure the piece is at room temperature before it is placed in a warm oven.
  • Do not use enamelware in a microwave oven.
  • Wash thoroughly before use.
  • If food surfaces become chipped, discontinue use.
  • Acidic food may dull the surface of the enamel but will not otherwise damage it.


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Cornbread Croutons...

We had some leftover cornbread and it just doesn't taste as well the next day, so I decided to make croutons!


I tossed the cubes in EVOO and a few seasonings, and spread them out on parchment paper:


I baked them in the oven at 400° for 10 minutes, flipped them over and put them back in for another 5 minutes.  I turned off the oven and let them sit in there for another 5-10 to get them real crispy.


They added a nice flavor and crunch to our side salads!


Home made croutons are always tastier than store bought!



These were a perfect topping for our salads!


Friday, April 24, 2020

Strawberry Bread....

Look at these juicy, ripe strawberries:


John came home with 2 containers of berries and they are delish!  
Strawberries always remind me to use my berry dishes from MacKenzie-Childs:


I baked two strawberry breads (recipe below)....


...and I couldn't wait for them to cool - my mouth was watering with the sweet aroma wafting throughout the house!


This was a perfect afternoon snack....


...a warm bread with a crispy top!


This is perfect for breakfast with a cup of tea or with a little ice cream for dessert!




Strawberry Bread from ALLRECIPES




  •  


Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter and flour two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.
  • Slice strawberries and place in medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle lightly with sugar, and set aside while preparing batter.
  • Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda in large bowl; mix well. Blend oil and eggs into strawberries. Add strawberry mixture to flour mixture, blending until dry ingredients are just moistened. Stir in pecans. Divide batter into pans.
  •        Step 4.  Bake in preheated oven until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes (test each loaf separately). Let cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn loaves out of pans, and allow to cool before slicing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Pandemic Party for Two....

The 2020 self-isolation Covid-19 Pandemic is in its 6th week for us.  

We are running out of things to do, so today we decided to have a 
"Party for Two"


While organizing my bookshelf the other day, I came across these books by Jill Connor Browne.  I remember hearing about the Sweet Potato Queens back in the late 90's.  Browne wrote the books in the late 90's and early 2000's.  These books were filled with humor and daring adventures from a group of fun woman in Mississippi.  


The Sweet Potato Queens Big Ass Cookbook has a recipe for Bacon Wraps and I decided to make it for Happy Hour today.


They are very simple - and the aroma in the kitchen was mouth watering!

Here is the recipe:


These were a tasty delight and I will definitely make them again:


While they were cooking I decided to make a pitcher of frozen Strawberry Daiquiris and set up a tray for the drinks and hors d'oeuvres:


I painted these highball glasses a while ago with a little black, white and gold enamel paint:


I placed my black Flower Market luncheon plate on top of my mini checked pedestal platter:


 I used my mini Courtly Check appetizer plates.  Sadly, these are no longer on the MacKenzie-Childs website.  I would love another set of 4 because I use them quite often - and hopefully we can start entertaining again soon:


I was lucky enough to find this in the freezer, so I pulled out some rum, the blender and ice and made our frozen cocktails:


 Frozen drinks make me dream of summer days ahead!


Today's Happy Hour helped raise our spirits of being isolated from family and friends for so long!


CHEERS!


What are you doing to raise your spirits?



Friday, April 17, 2020

Homemade Cheese Bread

Today I made bread - I haven't made it in a long time but I had a craving!



After the dough was made, I added 4 different cheeses and kneaded the dough again.
I used some sharp cheddar, Velveeta, Parmesan and Romano....


...and set it aside to rise...


...I brushed the top with some butter and sprinkled a little of the leftover cheese mixture on top!


My home smelled heavenly and this will be perfect for sandwiches - and it makes the best toast!!!


This was as good as Wegman's cheese bread!


If I keep baking, I will never fit into my bikini this summer......lol!


What have you been cookin'?

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

A walk down memory lane...

As a child I would always try to collect mementoes while on vacation, sometimes they were as simple as a shell from a beach or a paper napkin from a restaurant.  I saved my birthday cards, friends' school photos and letters from relatives.  They were little things to help keep the memory of my wonderful childhood alive.

In my teen years I saved movie ticket stubs, concert tickets, and love notes passed in class.  In my college years I save menus, cards from boyfriends, I pressed flowers they sent, saved matchbooks from special restaurant dates and collected more movie ticket stubs.  Many of these treasures went into scrap books that were piled high in my closet.  

When my father passed away, and I sold the home in 2007, I spent an afternoon going through these scrap books, teary-eyed at some memories, laughing hysterically at others and enjoying every minute of walking down memory lane.  And then I placed the scrap books in the recycle bin and said goodbye to many years of little treasures. 

As many of you, I am spending my self-isolation time cleaning, organizing and trying to be productive.

While cleaning out the large drawer in my hope chest, I came across a bag filled with matches.  So many restaurants and clubs used to have these by the door.....


 .....looking thru the little collection offered me another trip down memory lane!


And then I pulled out the bag full of swizzle sticks - and oh boy, did that take me back to my college days!


The Night Clubs in Framingham and Boston, many vacations and road trips with friends, beach trips to Cape Cod, date nights and lots of restaurants....


and I even saved some from our wedding:


One thing I have learned for sure, during this time of self-isolation, is that I need to weed out a lot of these little mementoes.  I think if we had cell phones back in the 70's I wouldn't have saved all of these, but would have photos of them instead!

But....I am not ready to part with these yet, so they all went back into the drawers to be saved for another walk down memory lane in the future!

Saturday, April 11, 2020

My Easter Table Settings....

My Easter dinner table is set up in the dining room for two, as we continue to shelter in place in Central New York:


I am using 2 of my MacKenzie-Childs dinner dishes (King Ferry and Stoke Gabriel)  and bowls (Rose Cottage and Aurora)....



...and hand painted candlesticks and a cute little chick are decorating the center of the table!


The floppy-eared bunny napkins hold a hand painted wooden egg:


The dinner plates.... 


are placed on chargers that were purchased many years ago from the Christmas Tree shops"


The flatware is from Pottery Barn


The side plates are little pates purchased from Marshalls a few years ago:


I painted the wine glasses last year and are used often!!


We will have a traditional ham dinner, but it will certainly be a quiet day without family with us!


************

I also set the table for breakfast:


I placed my cute bunny dishes..


...on top of majolica dishes.  These dishes coordinate well with my MacKenzie-Childs dishes, however I have never been able to figure out the artist who painted this set of dishes:


Breakfast will be simply eggs and muffins!


I hope you have a safe and healthy Easter holiday, a beautiful spring and hope for a better world when this is all over!





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