Athena Magazine

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Dazzling Cookies December 18, 2009

by Julia Pantoga, resident Domestic Goddess

This year I made cookies to give away for the holidays.  I picked three recipes that travel well and are unbelievably delicious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Butter Jewels (Yield:  5 dozen)

2 cups butter (4 sticks!)
½ cup sugar
2 tsp almond extract
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
12 oz. assorted brightly colored preserves (my choices are apricot and cherry)
  1.  Cream butter and sugar.
  2. Mix in almond extract.
  3. Add flour and mix.
  4. Roll into 1” balls.
  5. Indent in center (1/4 tsp measuring spoon works well for even indents, make sure the bottoms are not too thin, or the cookies will fall apart when moved)
  6. Fill center holes with jam. (if transporting, do not over-fill above top of cookie).
  7. Bake at 350° for 8 min.
  8. Cool thoroughly before moving.  (Refrigeration or a cold porch really helps them “set.”)
Notes: 
  • As with all cookies with no eggs, that are comprised largely of butter and flour, these cookies are extremely fragile, especially when hot.  Once they have cooled, they are fairly sturdy.
  • These cookies will not rise or change shape when baking.  That’s good because you don’t have to worry about cookies spreading and sticking together.  However, that means you need to be careful about the appearance before you bake them:  wipe off any errant jam and shape the cookies carefully.

 

Mexican Chocolate Butter Wafers (Yield:  5 dozen)

Note:  Once cool, these sturdy cookies are ideal for sending.  These are so delicious, they are TOTALLY worth all the steps and dirty dishes.

½ cup sliced almonds
1tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ stick (4 tbsp.) butter
½ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp espresso powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
½ cup course grind sugar crystals
Confectioner’s sugar
  1. Over medium heat, toast almonds, cinnamon, and cayenne until fragrant (about 3 minutes).
  2. Grind almond mixture in food processor until very fine.  Set aside.
  3. Melt 4 tbsp butter over medium heat.  Add cocoa powder and espresso powder and stir until mixture forms smooth paste.  Set aside to cool
  4. In separate bowl, cream butter and sugar.
  5. Add cooled cocoa mixture and salt (if using).
  6. Add egg yolks and vanilla.  Mix until thoroughly combined.  Scrape bowl.
  7. Whisk nut/spice mixture into flour.
  8. Add and mix in flour/nuts/spices in three additions.  Mix thoroughly, but no more than necessary, scraping bowl after each addition.
  9. Shape dough into two logs 2 “ in diameter and 12” long .  Wrap in parchment or plastic wrap.
  10. Chill until very firm and cold, at least one hour.
  11. Roll chilled logs in decorative course grind sugar.
  12. Slice cookies ¼” thick and place on cookie sheets. 
  13. Bake 10 minutes at 375°.  Do not overbake.  Rotate baking sheet halfway through cooking time.  If cookies begin to darken on edges, they have overbaked.
  14. Cool 5 minutes.
  15. Dust with confectioners sugar.
  16. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

 

Molasses Cookies (Yield:  20 dozen)

1 ½ cup butter
2 cups sugar
½ cup molasses
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
Additional sugar to coat formed cookies
  1. Cream butter and sugar.
  2. Add eggs one at a time, mix well.
  3. Add molasses, mix well.
  4. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt, Add to butter/sugar mixture
  5. Chill overnight.
  6. Taking @ 1 cup of dough out of the refrigerator at a time, shape in ½ inch balls.
  7. Roll cookie dough balls in sugar (at this point balls can be refrigerated for future baking).
  8. Bake for 6 minutes (8 minutes if cookie dough balls are frozen) at 375°.
  9. Cool on rack.

 Note:  When I freeze, rather than refrigerate ,cookie dough balls, the resulting cookies taste as good, but don’t look as nice.

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The Best of Indie Sewing Patterns December 13, 2009

anna maria horner study hall skirt pattern

The delicious Study Hall Skirt pattern from Anna Maria Horner

Read the latest DIY Design column for the top picks in indie sewing patterns. Click here.

 

Domestic Goddess – Old School October 12, 2009

Filed under: Domestic Goddess,Food is Good,The Real Stuff,Worldly women — rebmas03 @ 9:58 pm
Tags: , ,

Julia Child portrait 

By Julia Pantoga

You may harbor the fantasy that your domestic goddess spends her days cooking and reading cookbooks (I sometimes entertain that fantasy, too), but that is far from the case. Actually, I am in graduate school and I spend most of my time reading and writing. Truthfully, those of you with children or spouses at home probably spend more time cooking and planning meals than I do.

 

 

Anyhow, once every two weeks or so, about six of us students take a break from our studying and watch two episodes of “The French Chef” starring Julia Child, from the DVD set I was given for my birthday. This is high entertainment, especially for those of us who scrutinize cooking shows regularly and spend a fair amount of time in our own kitchens.

 french chef DVD cover

The first thing I noticed when we started watching is that the age spots on Julia Child’s hands are plainly visible. Does the Food Network use hand models or do all their actor-cooks have perfect hands? The next thing I noticed is how Julia Child dresses in the kitchen:  she wears her glasses and an apron and tucks a towel into her apron ties.  Hey, that’s how I look in the kitchen!  I thought I was the only one who doesn’t wear fashionable clothes that flatter my figure and reveal cleavage when I bend down to taste the broth.

 

Speaking of tasting, we just about died laughing when Julia Child tasted her potato dish, then returned her tasting spoon to the drawer!

Julia Child in the kitchen 

Not only does Julia Child wear a sensible apron in the kitchen, she wipes onion juice off the counter, splashes milk on the stovetop when she pours it and has to put a casserole on the dryer to cool because she has run out of counter space. Remember, this was the first cooking TV show, before the invention of such familiar TV tricks as turning the camera off for clean-ups, multiple takes and advance space planning.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best cooking show on TV today (in my opinion) is America’s Test Kitchen (ATK). Although the chefs wear appropriate attire in the kitchen, even they edit out their mistakes. I once saw one of the ATK chefs live at a bookstore, where she was promoting a cookbook and she summed it up this way: “Of course we always cook 10 of the same things at once. Turkeys are cheap. Television crews are not.”

 ATK-Group-Photo

You wouldn’t watch “The French Chef” today to learn how to cook; it’s really dated. For example, no one, but the most skilled professional, would cut ten cups of onions by hand today. Most of us would drag our food processors out. The amount of butter and cream used is laughable to our cholesterol conscious eyes and Child talks at length about how to take care of a carbide steel knife, which I have never even seen. But these old shows are amusing and I can pick up tips from watching anyone in the kitchen. (Did you know you can poach eggs ahead of time and store them in water in the refrigerator for future use?) Most of all, it was terribly re-assuring for me to see that other people look a bit dorky in the kitchen and spill, drop and splatter things too.

 

A short story about Nova Scotia September 21, 2009

typewriterIn my ongoing love affair with Nova Scotia, which I am convinced is my true home, here’s short story from anderbo.com:

http://www.anderbo.com/anderbo1/afiction-006.html

 

Fashionista Must: The September Issue September 6, 2009

septissue_largeConde Nast once called me to interview for a fact-checker position at Vogue. I turned it down, declaring indignantly that I was an editor, not a lowly miserable factchecker for Vogue, a punching bag for staff editors. This, of course, was in the 1990s, long before The Devil Wears Prada and now The September Issue. Really, if I had played my cards right, I could have written Devil before that writer had finished fifth grade, and better, I like to think, hah!

I wouldn’t turn that job down now, if only to be inside the citadel doors; I imagined at the time that I had much bigger fish to fry than to get sidetracked into Vogue factcheckerdom. But since I was too foolish to leap at an opportunity to work at Vogue when Conde Nast called, I can just go see The September Issue, an almost frightening insider documentary based on the production of the September 2007 Vogue, the biggest ever.

Now playing in New York theaters and opening in Los Angeles and other select theaters around the country on September 11th. Learn more about The September Issue here …

 

Kindred spirit: UK’s glitterBALL magazine August 26, 2009

glitterballLook, Athena has a new amazing friend and kindred spirit in glitterBall magazine:

I like your blog, I think it’s cool.

I’m a third year Journalism student at Sunderland University, UK and
glitterBALL magazine is my online magazine for art, fashion, music, photography, travel, make up and much more.

If you would like to read it, it is online at:

http://tiny.cc/4eMkQ

In the issue:

ISLE OF WIGHT REVIEW
OASIS REVIEW
THE CHARLATANS REVIEW
SUMMER FASHION
*NEW COLUMN* FASHION ADDICT
PHOTOGRAPHY FROM LISBON
*NEW COLUMN* THE BACKPACKER
GEM BOWLES PHOTOGRAPHY
ISOLATED ATOMS INTERVIEW
REMODEL INTERVIEW
LAURENT CHARBONNIER AMTM INTERVIEW
KICKING CAFFEINE
CAMILLA BELLE STYLE INSPIRATION
BEAUTY TIPS
HOT FASHION ITEMS
and much more

 

Sweatshop Documentary: Made in L.A. August 25, 2009

banner1Check out this new documentary about three Latina immigrants working in an L.A. sweatshop. It aired on August 11 on Encore, but the DVD is available and there are other showings around the country. Read more …