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Recipe~ Raspberry Mousse

~Raspberry Mousse~

Fresh raspberries make this a wonderfully light, richly flavored, and luscious dessert. 

~Raspberry Mousse~
6 servings

2 pints raspberries, washed
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons lemon juice
6 egg whites, (I use pasteurized eggs)
1/3 cup of sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups whipping cream
(Optional: 2 tablespoons Chambord for additional flavor)

~Instructions~
Reserve 6 raspberries for garnish. Place the rest of the raspberries in a blender or food processor; puree on medium.
Strain puree through a fine sieve to remove seeds.

In a medium saucepan:
Add 1/3 raspberry puree
Mix in: gelatin and sugar
Stir mixture together and cook over low heat until gelatin is dissolved (takes a 2-3 minutes).
Remove from heat and add the rest of the raspberry puree, (Chambord), and lemon juice.
Pour puree into a medium bowl and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
You want to chill the mixture, until you can remove mounded spoonfuls, do not allow the mixture fully gel.
If this happens, place in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften the mixture. Stirring halfway so there’s no hot spots.
Once the puree has chilled sufficiently, remove from the freezer and keep at room temperature, while you prepare the whipped cream and egg whites.

In a large bowl, with  your mixer on high speed: beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
Gradually add 1/3 cup of sugar (2 tablespoons at a time) until stiff, glossy peaks form.
Next, using the same beaters, on medium speed, beat chilled raspberry mixture until light about two minutes.
In another large bowl, whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks.

Gently fold the raspberry mixture, and whipped cream into the whipped egg whites, until it’s well mixed.
Spoon raspberry mousse into 6-8 ounce ramekins and refrigerate until fully set, a minimum of 2 hours.
Garnish with a fresh raspberry and mint sprig.
For an additional garnish, make chocolate curls using a vegetable peeler, shave the sides of a chocolate bar.
Enjoy!

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Poem~ Morning Unveiled

Morning Unveiled

As I looked at you,
Through half closed eyes.
In the dappled light of morn.

Awakened so gently,
From dark mists of night.
By murmurs of mourning doves.

As if I have long walked,
Paths of deep shadows.
From far off distant lands.

Beckoned to your side,
By unspoken words.
Through the passages of time.

Unveiling our hearts,
The goodness of love,
Imprints on each others soul.

For one’s heart must yield,
When desire transcends.
As nightfall captures the day.

Your words now whispers,
Cascade from above.
Mingled with bliss and delight.

There is a fondness,
Surpassed by mere words.
With each tender caress.

Searching and longing,
With each ardent kiss.
Amid a torrent of joy.

As we acquiesce,
Allured through splendor,
Of corporeal pleasures.

For this nights sojourn,
In each others arms,
Brings such serene contentment.

The morning unfurls,
In a chorus of birds.
When nights hold evaporates.

Day breaks gleaming flame,
Burnishes the dawn.
In cascades of amber light.

Beams of light glimmer,
Dance across your face.
With every delicate breeze.

For the path I walk,
Always at your side.
Awaits the dawn of morning.

Mariann Hayes

© Mariann Hayes 2011. All Rights Reserved

Poem~ Love

Love

Love means to learn to look at yourself
The way one looks at distant things
For you are the only thing among many.
And whoever sees that way heals his heart,
Without knowing it, from various ills-
A bird and a tree say to him: Friend.

Then he wants to use himself and things.
So that they stand in the glow of  ripeness.
It doesn’t matter whether he knows what he serves:
Who serves best doesn’t always understand.

~Czeslaw Milosz~

Annie’s Best Danish Puff

~Annie’s Best Danish Puff~

A wonderfully, rich dessert made from wholesome ingredients. Perfect to serve with tea, particularly, Earl Grey! Enjoy!

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Crust:

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons water

Topping

½ cup butter
1 cup water
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs

Powdered Glaze (recipe below)

How to toast almonds: Place sliced or chopped almonds onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Toast in oven for 4 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden brown and fragrant. Keep an eye on the almonds, they can burn easily.

To Make the Crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut ½ cup butter into 1 cup flour until particles are the size of peas.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons water over flour mixture; mix with fork.

Gather pastry into a ball; divide into 2 halves. Pat each half circle, about 8 to 10 inches in diameter. Place circles, 2 – 3 inches apart, onto an ungreased cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper.

To Make Topping:

Heat ½ cup butter and 1 cup water to a boil; remove from heat.

(Note: be extremely careful when water reaches a boil, so water/butter mixture does not come into contact with flame or heat source. This can cause a fire.)

Quickly stir in almond extract and 1 cup flour. Stir vigorously over low heat until mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute, remove from heat. Add eggs; beat vigorously until smooth and glossy.

Spread half of the topping over each circle. Bake until topping is crisp and brown, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool. Topping will shrink and fall, forming the custard-like top.

Spread or drizzle with powdered Sugar Glaze and sprinkle with toasted almonds.

Powdered Sugar Glaze

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1½ cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1½ teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons of milk

Mix all ingredients into a medium bowl and stir in milk, adding on tablespoon at a time until smooth and drizzling consistency.

Willow Cottage

I’ve been playing with rose petals in my kitchen, along with scented herbs & plants. This is a wonderful rose scented, simple syrup to use in baking, iced teas andother beverages.

Photographs by Mariann Hayes

~Rose Petal Simple Syrup~

In a small, glass, heat-proof bowl  or saucepan:
1 cup of very warm simple syrup
1/2 cup packed rose petals, unsprayed


Gently stir syrup and petals so petals are coated or submerged in the syrup. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and steep overnight or at least 10 hours.

Strain the syrup into a glass jar and store in the refrigerator.

Will keep for 10 days in the refrigerator. Use in iced teas, lemonades, alcoholic beverages and baking. Enjoy!

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A Tea Story~ Blue Calico, A Very Special Anniversary China

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A Tea Story~ Blue Calico Transferware

When I was first married, I discovered my favorite color… cobalt blue,  and incorporated into my decorating throughout the house. After we moved back to Minnesota, I was going to school and taking care of my parents. Life was very hectic, and then our daughter came along. For us, going for rides in the Minnesota or Wisconsin countryside was our way of escaping the confines of the city and busy schedules. We would pack a lunch, get in the car and go for a drive. One day, on a day trip to Red Wing, Minnesota we discovered a wonderful china shop, and that’s when I spied it…cobalt blue and white dinnerware. The English pattern was ‘Blue Calico’ and I fell in love with it. There was one drawback, it was more than what we could afford on our budget, and I dreamed of having a lovely set to serve company during dinners and special occasions.

Years passed by, and we were approaching our 30th anniversary.  I can say that after 30 years of buying gifts, we were both at a loss what to get each other. Our custom was to go out for a lovely dinner, or I made a special meal for us to enjoy at home. After dinner, we exchanged cards and gifts.

The weekend before our anniversary, we were shopping at Marshall’s where we each went our separate ways. John headed over to the shoe department and I went to look for sheets and towels. A few minutes later, I spied John in the housewares section of the store and rather curious, began making my way over in his direction. Just as I turned into the aisle, he spun around with a large dinner plate in his hand, along with a huge grin on his face. In his hands was a plate, not just any ordinary plate, but a plate I had always wished for….Blue Calico! My face must have registered surprise, delight, and awe…he began laughing. “Where did you find it?”, I signed in huge sweeping gestures. John stepped aside and I could see he had filled the cart with all manner of dishes and the sale price was incredible, compared to the retail price. That’s when he asked me, “How many sets do you want…8, 10, 12? We’ll have to see if we can find more pieces at other stores.”

For rest of that Saturday, we drove around the Twin Cities buying every piece of Blue Calico we could find. I recall being concerned we might get into an accident and all of the lovely dishes packed into our car would be smashed. When we reached the Roseville store,  we were close to completing a service for eight. Imagine our relief when we discovered the store had a huge inventory of Blue Calico. We filled up our cart to complete a service for eight, along with additional serving pieces. I made my way to the checkout, and John lagged behind. The girl at the register remarked how pretty the dishes were, and I told her how many years I had been waiting to buy the set. She  double wrapped each dish in paper, and carefully stacked them in my cart. Heading out to the car I noted…not only did I have my dream china, we could easily afford a service for eight!!

The backseat was overflowing with bags of Blue Calico, and as I stood next to the car contemplating where to put more dishes, John appeared from around the front of the car…pushing another cart!
“Surprise! I got you another set for eight! Happy Anniversary!”

The next weekend was our 30th anniversary and I made a very special dinner for us. The table was resplendent with blue and white calico dishes, lovely roses, antique linens, glassware and candles. In fact, candles were burning throughout the entire house that evening, bathing the rooms in a soft, romantic glow. The highlight of the evening was dessert. Every year I make my favorite wedding cake recipe~ a white cake covered with white, butter-cream frosting. In candlelight, it looked more beautiful than ever before, served on plates with deep cobalt blue and white…my anniversary china.

Refreshing Rhubarb & Ginger Spritzer

~Rhubarb & Ginger Spritzer~

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Rhubarb & Ginger Syrup

~Ingredients~

8 cups, washed, trimmed and unpeeled, diced rhubarb
1 1/2 cups peeled, finely sliced fresh ginger
8 cups water
6 cups sugar

In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, add water and sugar. Stir until sugar completely dissolves and add rhubarb and ginger. When the mixture reaches a simmer, stir mixture and continue simmering for 30 to 40 minutes, or until rhubarb is completely softened and fallen apart into strands. Remove from heat, and cool for 1/2 hour. Strain mixture through a fine sieve and push down the pulp with a ladle to press out all of the syrup. Pour into a large canning jar, or covered glass container  and store in the refrigerator. Allow the rhubarb ginger syrup to settle, for a day or two. You’ll notice the syrup will separate with a clear, pink syrup on top, and  a denser pink syrup on the bottom. You can decant the clearer syrup into another canning jar, or stir the mixture before using. Rhubarb & Ginger Syrup will keep for up to 7-10 days in the refrigerator.

~Rhubarb Ginger Spritzer

In a tall glass, or canning jar~ add 3 to 5 tablespoons of Rhubarb & Ginger Syrup (depending on your taste and size of glass).
Add cold, sparkling water

Add ice, stir and serve with a sprig of mint. Enjoy!

A Tea Story~ My Mother’s Depression Glassware

~My Mother’s Depression Glassware~

My mother and father were married over 50 years, most of it lived at their home in Oak Park Heights. The house is no longer there, torn down for a federal bridge project that is waiting to be constructed over the St. Croix River. In their last years living on Peabody Avenue, they experienced more health ailments and physical problems arose. The final straw was when my father broke a hip, and they needed to move to a one floor townhouse to accommodate his needs. Their house had been put up for sale, and I began the process of sorting through decades of accumulated items throughout the house.

My mom’s kitchen was very basic, it didn’t even have a dishwasher. However, it had cabinets that reached to the ceiling and one day, I had to clean out the very top cupboard shelves behind square doors. I had never seen either of my parents open the doors and take something out, or put anything in the cupboards. My mother sat at the kitchen table and watched me as I climbed a tall stepladder to reach the doors. I asked her, “What do you think is in here?” She answered matter-of-factly. “I haven’t opened those doors in decades, I couldn’t begin to tell you what might be in there.”

The doors held fast, and from the looks of it, had been sealed over the years by a myriad of paint layers. Undeterred, I found a thin knife and began the arduous process of cutting through the layers, and it took over a half hour to work my way around the perimeter of the door. I took hold of the door knob, and looked over my shoulder and smiled at her. She stood at the bottom of the ladder, curious as to what I would find. With a tug, the door opened and I peered inside. “Well…what do you see?”, she asked.

The cupboard was filled to the brim with glassware, in the form of several sizes of brown amber plates neatly stacked, along with matching cups and saucers. I took hold of a plate and showed it to her. She could barely speak, and covered her mouth with her hand in astonishment. “Oh…my.”, was all she could say, as she took the plate and sat back down at the table. I quickly climbed down the ladder. I was just as surprised as she was. “Mom, do you know where these came from?”

Her memory for the last year or so, had been faltering, and she thought they had come from a relative. “It’s depression glass and was popular years ago. They’re now yours. I never used them all these years, and won’t need them in the new house.”

That afternoon, I opened more cupboards, removed plates of several different sizes, cups and saucers, bowls, and a creamer and sugar. My mother and I spent the afternoon together, reminiscing about dinners and family get-togethers while wrapping each piece in newspaper, and packing glassware into boxes. That evening, I brought them to our apartment and placed them in a closet. Little did I know, a few months later, my mother would suddenly pass away without warning. She never got to see the new house my husband and I bought, and moved into with our daughter. Months after we settled into the house, I unpacked all of the dishes and placed them on the back, bottom shelf of a large china cupboard in our dining room. A few weeks ago, I discovered them. I’m planning a special tea this spring in the garden, and inviting my cousins, where I’ll tell them the story about mother’s depression glassware.

There’s a saying, “You can’t go home again.”  In the case of my parents home, that is true. However, I have the memory of that lovely day I spent with my mother in her kitchen, every time I see  her set of depression glassware.

Luscious Lemon Bars

~ Luscious Lemon Bars ~

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~Ingredients~

Crust
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 stick, softened butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Bars
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons finely, zested lemon peel
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, beaten
Powdered sugar

~Directions~
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium sized bowl~ mix flour, butter and powdered sugar. Press mixture into the bottom of an un-greased 8″x8″ pan, building up 1/2-inch edges. Bake crust 20 minutes. Remove from the oven to a wire rack.

While crust is baking…In a bowl using an electric mixer, beat together: granulated sugar, grated lemon peel, lemon juice, baking powder, salt and eggs until light and fluffy. Pour over hot crust.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until center is fully set. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar, and cut into squares. Enjoy with a lovely cup of tea!

Wicker and Tea Cups

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Wicker and Tea Cups

It’s always fun inviting guests to choose their own tea cup from my collection, and guessing which one they will eventually settle on. There are tea cups given to me by friends, and those that I have found in shops or thrift sales. Each one has a story to tell.  Unique cups and saucers, I’ve discovered in the most unlikely of places. Cherished  tea cups, with special moments and memories that are held in my heart. I’m looking forward to telling you their stories…