2011 Culinary Highlights

Is it really, really the middle of January? Wow! 2011 was a great year for me – new adventures, new places, new people and lots of lessons in the journey of life.
And, of course, we can’t forget new recipes!
It was a year ago this month that I started the Penarious Challenge. I’d have to say that the most interesting challenge was the attempt to recreate Heinz ketchup in the kitchen. I learned more about ketchup than I ever wanted to know and came pretty close, but not close enough. Heinz Tomato Ketchup recipe remains a secret.
One of the most exciting moments in my culinary blog world was getting interviewed by Ian Lamont of Slickepott, the fudge sauce company. You can read about all that in this post if you haven’t already.
And, if you haven’t already, click on over to his website and buy some fudge!
Most Complicated Recipe Award goes to the Orange Almond Cream Cake. 
My, was it good though!
Here are the recipes that made the “You Gotta Try” list. No, it’s not every recipe I posted last year either. :D
Sweetness –

Raspberry Cheesecake

Swedish Mazarinmuffins

Cherry Almond Oatmeal

Savory –

Gnocchi with Spinach Cream Sauce


Fresh Tomato Mozzarella Salad

It’s another adventure to take on 2012! I annually wonder what the next year will hold and before we know it, it will all be memories! 
So don’t forget to savor the moments – stop to smell the roses, give a hug, breath in fresh air, try a new recipe, or count your blessings! 
Happy TwoThousandTwelve! 

Swedish Mazarinmuffins

My mormor (mother’s mother) has a Swedish friend named Ruth who has been giving me amazing stamps from her communications throughout the world. Many of them are from Sweden. I may be partial, but I think Swedish stamps are some of the most beautiful. 
The detail on these is amazing!

 Looking through them brings back memories from my childhood. Even though I have never been to Sweden, my life is full of Swedish accents, thanks to my Mom and Mormor. 
Wasa bread and cheese is a staple at our house.
And Pippi Longstockings, the Swedish fictional character that could pick up her horse, piqued my imagination as a child.
I love this series of stamps – stinky fish…Sweds are known for it. :D
They are also know for their sweets served at tea time.
This recipe is one such sweet. It was given to me by Ruth – in Swedish. Sadly enough, my Swedish doesn’t go beyond the basics of thank you and good day, but I got out the dictionary and translated it well enough to make it. 

 It was a great success, judging from the fact that they were gone in no time flat once everyone got home. Here I share my translation with you. Because you need this recipe. It’s perfect for tea and unusual enough to make it very special for us Americans.
Marzipan muffins

5 oz. (or 10 T. Or 150g) almond paste
½ c. Sugar
8 T. butter
2 eggs
1/3 c. flour
¼ c. sliced almonds

Line 9 muffin cups with paper muffin liners. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together almond paste, butter and sugar. 
 Add eggs and beat until combined. Stir in flour. Spoon into muffin cups, filling to ¾ inch full. 
 Sprinkle with sliced almond and bake for 18-22 minutes. Let cool ten minutes before serving with coffee or tea.

If you like coffee, here’s a coffee drink for you to try…

1 c. hot Hazelnut coffee
one drop almond extract
a sprinkle of your favorite sweetener
almond milk
Njut av dina muffin och kaffe!
Enjoy your muffin and coffee!