Round Pistachio Baklava

Recipes in this PostRound Pistachio Baklava

A Little History of Round Pistachio Baklava

When I was a little girl, my mother brought me a special dessert.  It was baklava, and I loved it. It wasn’t until I was a lot older and moved to a community that had a large Armenian population that I learned that there were a lot of varieties of the venerable dessert. The history of this pastry is long and contested – some say it originated in Ancient Rome citing a recipe from Cato the Elder in 160 BC, some say the Romans stole the recipe from the Greeks, and Byzantine Turks say it was already theirs – Wikipedia Baklava.

I had no idea how the dessert was made, and when I found out it was made with Filo dough, I thought it being so gossamer that I would never be able to handle it. Of course, I was also convinced that I was unable to make decent rice, and frying completely perplexed me.

I have lately been watching YouTube and found the Heghineh Cooking Show. She demonstrates all kinds of good Armenian food, and one day, it was a round baklava with pistachios.  The way she did it, and explained it, I thought, you know what, I can do that!  I have already conquered rice and mastered frying, so why not Filo, too?  I decided to make it for a small dinner party because I was getting kind of tired of cakes or fruit.

Round Pistachio Baklava

Completed Baklava Taste Test

Working with Filo

If you have already worked with filo dough, then this recipe should be a breeze for you.  If not, and you need to see the method of making these luscious pastries, then head on over to the YouTube video by Heghineh. Please note that you will probably not use the entire roll of dough, some might stick together too much, or get too torn to work with.  I would say I lost about 6 sheets.

There are a couple of things I did differently.  I used Cortas Rose Syrup that I buy at Armenian stores or at Amazon (it makes a fine cocktail with vodka over ice), and I used True Orange that you can also get at Amazon.  I also messed up with the first baklava and forgot to squeeze them together, so I ate those.
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French Barrettes Back to School Teacher’s Gift

Crafts in this PostFrench Barrettes

They’re Going Baaack….It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Seriously, even though summer vacations seem be getting shorter, kids are eager to go back to school. They miss their friends and social interactions, they miss learning, and they miss school shenanigans. They want to have their schedule back, and even though they love their parents, they really are tired of them by this time.

A Tradition – Teacher’s Gift

For the past few years, I have been making gifts for Spane’s teachers. In the past it was something edible, but with schools outlawing homemade items for insurance reasons of possible allergic reactions, I now have to make non-edible things. I made Apple Napkin Rings for Spane’s 4th grade teacher, and a Decorated Trinket Box for Spane’s 5th grade teacher, and this year, when Spane told me he has a female teacher for 6th grade, I decided to make matching French Barrettes for her. I have included a coupon for an additional ribbon barrette, since I don’t know if she even wears ribbons at all.

Making the French Barrettes

You can pick up packs of French Barrettes at any good crafting store. The ones I get usually come with 4 large ones, and 6 small ones. Since I usually only use the large ones, I always have small ones left over. They are actually perfect for putting on strung beads.French Barettes on Black Velvet

Recipe: White Bead Strung French Barrettes

Summary: Make these for a simple gift, or for yourself

Ingredients

  • French Barrettes
  • Florist Wire
  • Medium Size Beads

Instructions

  1. Pull a length of florist wire about 4 times the length of the barrette. Don’t cut it yet.
  2. String enough beads to be the length of the barrette. Make sure there is about a 4th of the wire at one end of the barrette, and cut the wire. There should be a hole at the end of the barrette, so string the wire in that hole, loop it around, and tie it off.
  3. Lay the wire with the beads down, and put the other end of the wire through the hole at the other end.
  4. Bring the wire up through the bottom of the barrette, and wrap it around the middle, so the beads in the middle of the barrette will not be able to move around.
  5. Tie off that piece of wire, and cut off any remaining bits, being sure that they are not sitting up where someone could stick themselves.

Variations

You can use whatever beading you want, just make sure that the beads are about the same width as the barrette is long.

Preparation time: 30 minute(s)

Number of barrettes (yield): 2

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Copyright © The Good Plate.
Barrettes by Adrienne Boswell.
Microformatting by hRecipe.

Make a Pretty School Color Bowdabra Bow

I think it’s important to use the school colors, and I’m lucky because our school colors are navy blue and gold.French Barrett Gift Box

Recipe: School Colors Bowdabra Bow

Ingredients

  • 1 Bowdabra
  • Main School Color Ribbon – Wide
  • Secondary School Color Ribbon – Narrow

Instructions

  1. Cut the narrow ribbon about 6 inches and lay it at the bottom of the Bowdabra vertically.
  2. Cut about a foot of the wide ribbon, and lay one end of it on top of the narrow ribbon horizontally. Then make a loop, push it down, make another loop on the other side, push it down, until you have made enough loops to use up the ribbon, or have a nice bow, which ever comes first.
  3. Do not try to tie off the ribbon yet!
  4. Use the Bowdabra wand to push the ribbon down as much as it will go.
  5. Slowly bring the narrow ribbon up to face you, and as you as slowly pulling the bow out, tie the narrow ribbon off.
  6. Fluff the wide ribbon, attach the bow to your gift box, and arrange the narrow ribbon to suit.

Quick notes

Of course, you can do this by hand, and you can even have your child help you by placing his or her finger to hold the ribbon while you tie it off. I don’t know about you, but I hated gift wrapping as a child because invariably my mother would catch my finger in the ribbon, and either would sting me, or she wouldn’t be able to get it off. Trust me, go for the Bowdabra.

Variations

You can use any colors you want, add as many embellishments as you want, flowers, feathers, stones, the possibilities are endless.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Number of bows (yield): 1

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Copyright © The Good Plate.
Ribbon by Adrienne Boswell.
Microformatting by hRecipe.

Free Coupon!

Since I don’t know if Spane’s new teacher wears larger bows in her hair, I gave her a coupon for a free ribbon in the color or her choice. I hope she takes me up on it, and I’ll post here if she does.
French Barrets in Gift Box

Fantasy Island Bars

Fantasy Island Bars

Recipes in this Post

It’s time for me to go to a high school reunion, where we will sit around and talk about all the good things that we remember for that time. One of the things I remember is going to one of my classmates homes over Easter vacation, and her mother had left a pan of Magic Cookie Bars in the refrigerator. As I was perusing the pantry this morning, I realized I had everything I need to make them.

I took out the stuff that I needed, and then it occurred to me that perhaps instead of making something that everyone might remember, I could make something that everyone will remember from here on out. It occurred to me that I could make some kind of tropical bar, considering I have coconut. Tropical bars led me to thinking about Pacific Islands, and the most famous Pacific Island of them all, Fantasy Island!

Fantasy Island was a television series that originally aired on the American Broadcasting Company network from 1977 to 1984. It was on at 10:00 pm on Sunday nights right after Love Boat. It stared Ricardo Montalbán as Mr. Roarke, and Tattoo, played by Hervé Villechaize. Popular film and television personalities guest starred on the show. The premise of the show was that guests would come to the island to live out some kind of fantasy, aided by Mr. Roarke who would often warn them of the danger of some fantasies.

Well, there is no danger in these Fantasy Island Bars, unless you eat too many of them!

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Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Fudge for Valentines

Recipes in this Post

Finished Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Fudge

Sometimes you get lucky and someone gives you a whole bunch of boxes of Christmas Peppermint Candy Canes. I was lucky, my friend gave me six boxes of candy someone had given her. She was surprised when I said I wanted it, and she wanted to know what I was going to do with it. I said, “Make Peppermint Fudge, of course!”

Span was excited to help me because he got the job of breaking up the candy canes into more manageable pieces. First he did this with his hands, came and showed them to me and I said, “You know, breaking them goes quicker when you use a hammer.” So, he got a hammer, and he started banging away at them. I was washing dishes and didn’t realize he had started, or where he was going this. I now have little bits of candy cane on the floor in the living room. No big deal, I will vacuum them up. The point is he had a good time, and really felt he was helping.

We made the fudge last night and put it in the refrigerator to firm up. I was thinking of dipping the pieces in chocolate, but I only had unsweetened chocolate. If that happens to you, it’s not a show stopper.

How to Make Dipping Chocolate with Unsweetened Chocolate

Double BoilerI like to melt my chocolate in a double boiler. I also prefer to make my own double boiler by placing a metal bowl above pan half filled with water. The bowl’s circumference is much larger than the pan, so a) there is no chance of the chocolate falling into the water, and most importantly, b) because of the large circumference, there is little chance of steam getting to the chocolate and making it seize. Once chocolate has seized, about the only thing it’s good for is breaking up for chocolate chip cookies, or beating the heck out of it to make chocolate ganache.

Making Dipping Chocolate with Unsweetned ChocolateI found myself in a quandary as I did not have enough semi-sweet chocolate to dip all the fudge, and I didn’t want to waste time going to the store to buy more. It’s actually not a problem, you can add sugar to melted chocolate, and it will be just fine. As a matter of fact, just as in using salted butter gives you little control over saltiness in dishes, using semi-sweet chocolate also gives you limited control over the sweetness of the chocolate. The important thing to remember is that you must use the finest grain pure cane sugar you can get to avoid grittiness. Add the sugar to the melted chocolate, slowly, stirring all the while. Whatever you do, don’t let the sugar liquefy or you’ll just have a mess of seized chocolate. The ratio is about 1/4 cup of sugar to every ounce of unsweetened chocolate. You will have to test it for taste, though, depending on how sweet you want the final product.

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Strawberry Torpedoes – Balsamic Infused Mocha Stuffed Strawberries

Strawberry Torpedoes - Balsamic Infused Mocha Stuffed Strawberries
Recipes in This Post

I recently joined a great MeetUp, Entrepreneurs Professionals Glendale, and wanted to bring something nice for everyone to share. One of the members, Aron Ganz of Ganz Media gave the berries their name, Strawberry Torpedoes, a much shorter name, and I am grateful for that!

This is a group of entrepreneurs and professionals, who own small to medium businesses. We are not drones of the corporate world, and realize that even though being self-employed has its difficulties, it has huge rewards. Our group, led by Lynn Sarkany of MarketFinders, meets to exchange ideas to help our businesses, share stories, and network with each other. If you are a like-minded individual, you might consider joining us. Please visit Entrepreneurs and Professionals to find out more.

I had recently found a whole bunch of baking chocolate on sale, had some strawberries and a package of cream cheese. But, instead of making the Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Dipped Strawberries that I made last time, I thought I would add a little more adult flavor to the dish.

I added cocoa, coffee, vanilla, almond and cinnamon to the cream cheese filling, and I injected the berries with balsamic vinegar. When you bite into these berries, they explode flavor into your mouth.

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