Inspired by Martha

“BROKEN GLASS” CUPCAKES FOR HALLOWEEN – OCTOBER 2013

IMG_6640

I have been wanting to make these “Broken Glass” Cupcakes since they first appeared in the October 2012 issue of Martha Stewart Living. This year, I enlisted some friends, and hosted a cupcake-making party at my place. We spent the afternoon making the cupcakes, caramelizing the sugar (to form the “glass”), and making the frosting. We had such fun! At the end, as we were assembling the cupcakes (one is shown above), there were many “ewwws!” and “ahhhs!”–it was so much fun.

One thing to note: Within 24 hours of making the cupcakes, the caramelized sugar “glass” became cloudy. I’m not sure if it was due to the cool weather or the low humidity, or some other factor.  So, I would recommend making the glass and finishing the cupcakes only a few hours before you want to display your work. That way, it will look its best. Have fun–and Happy Halloween to all!

CANDIED CITRUS – DECEMBER 2012

IMG_3790

I recently came across this unusually citron at the farmers market: a Buddha’s hand citron! I remembered seeing a segment on The Martha Stewart Show featuring renowned local jam maker, June Taylor. I was inspired by Martha and June to candy this citrus myself!

IMG_3793

IMG_3794

I spoke to the farmer and found out that the process of candying the Buddha’s hand was different from most fruits because the citron was entirely pith inside! Also, the pith and peel of the citron was not very bitter, unlike other citrus. This means that almost the entire fruit can be candied, resulting in a large yield per piece of fruit. I searched online and found a recipe specifically created for candying this unusual fruit. The fruit is cubed, then cooked in a solution of equal parts sugar and water until the proper temperature is achieved. (Perfect opportunity to use my new candy thermometer from the Martha Stewart Collection at Macys! It worked perfectly, and I learned from the face of the thermometer that the stage to which I was cooking the solution is called the “thread stage”. Thanks, Martha!) Removed from the heat, the pieces then steep in the solution for another hour.

IMG_3803

IMG_3804

IMG_3805

Once the pieces are removed, you can see they have become translucent and gel-like in consistency and appearance. They are then left to air dry for a short time before being rolled in sugar. Voila! There you have candied Buddha’s hand citron!

IMG_3809

IMG_3815

IMG_3818

I love the pieces that still retain some of the fruits unusual shape. I jarred the citrus and added tags so that these could be given as gifts, along with other preserves I made earlier this year. I was sure to include in each jar plenty of  the sugar in which I had rolled and then stored the candied fruit, as it had become infused with the citrus fragrance. Wouldn’t a teaspoon of the citrus-infused sugar be perfect added to a cup of hot tea?

IMG_3824

Happy Holidays to all from the Friends of Martha blog!

MARTHA MONDAY DINNER – MAY 2012

Over the weekend, I purchased two boneless ribeye steaks and planned to have them for dinner on Monday. While sorting through some old magazines, I came across a recipe for Spice Rubbed Ribeyes (by a certain “barefoot” chef) that I wanted to try out. However, I had no idea about what to prepare for sides. Help me, Martha! I went to marthastewart.com and found an simple recipe for Halved Baked Potatoes and an instructional video for Roasted Garlic. I had tried neither before, but was confident I could accomplish both. I was off and cooking!

First, I should mention that I should title this dinner my “Cast Iron Dinner” because almost everything was made in a set of cast iron skillets that I purchased from Kmart when Martha had her Martha Stewart Everyday line there. Martha is a big believer in cast iron cookware, and I’m near certain these products will be offered at J.C. Penney next year, when the Martha Stewart stores are opened there.

I preheated the oven to 425 degrees, the temperature called for in all the recipes. In the smallest pan, I placed a head of garlic from which I had sliced the top 1/2 inch, drizzled it with olive oil, then covered everything with a piece of parchment and then foil. You can watch Martha prepare this recipe, along with other garlic recipes, in this instructional video. In the medium pan, I placed a whole Russet potato that had been sliced in half lengthwise. Both went into the oven for 50-60 minutes. Easy, right? Here’s what they looked like when they came out of the oven (and after I tucked a sprig of fresh thyme into the sliced potato halves, per the recipe):

About 10 minutes before the garlic and the potatoes were to be removed from the oven, I used the largest of the three skillets to sear the spice-rubbed ribeyes. After a few minutes on the stovetop, to create a good sear, they went into the oven just as the garlic and potatoes were coming out. So far, so good, timing-wise! After only 10 minutes in the 425-degree oven, the steaks were done and were removed to a plate to rest.

I remembered Sarah Carey mentioning how she likes to nibble on the tasty crunchy bits that are left in the pan after anything is roasted, so I tasted the spices that had been left behind in the large cast iron skillet. They were delicious! So, I used a splash of the red wine I was planning to enjoy with my steak dinner to deglaze the pan, and then added 1 Tb of butter to create a smooth sauce. As I was doing this, I was thinking to myself, “Oh boy, FOM Rachelle–who is an actual chef herself–will LOVE this!”

So, now everything is done! While deglazing the pan, I sauteed some turnip greens (in olive oil with a few red pepper flakes) to which I planned to add the roasted garlic. Here’s how my finished Martha Monday Dinner looked. Not bad for one hour of prep time, right? And the clean-up of the cast iron skillets was quite easy. Thanks, Martha!

How about you, FOMs? Do any of you have something–a recipe, a craft, a d-i-y project–that you want featured in the “Inspired By Martha” section? If so, write to me and tell me about it. I’d love to post your Martha-inspired creation here so that you can inspire others!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: