Vanilla Butterflies

Spring, for many, is a symbol of new beginnings. When the first green emerges from the ground and the first bud opens, people the world over celebrate. The earth comes to life once more. The symbolic meaning of the butterfly is similar across most cultures, regardless of time, and is most commonly associated with the soul. Cultural myth and lore honor the butterfly as a symbol of transformation because of its impressive metamorphosis–from caterpillar to chrysalis and ultimately, the butterfly. Butterflies also symbolize spring, a celebratory time of year, and embody the beauty of symmetry, pattern, color and shape.

These colorful and vibrant, yet delicate creatures can imply freedom, endurance, inspiration, openness, change, joy, rebirth, patience, transformation and happiness. As Spring approaches, we can see trees and flowers starting to bud, birds beginning to sing, and bumblebees and butterflies returning to the landscape.

I have always loved butterflies… their beautiful colors, their presence in the outdoor landscape. The magnificent yet short life of butterflies serves to remind us that life is short and to make the most of each day we have.

When it comes to spring baking, butterfly cookies always seem to work their way into my kitchen each year. This is my creation for this season!

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Vanilla Butterflies
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Rating: 5
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Servings
COOKIES
Ingredients
Servings
COOKIES
Ingredients
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter & icing sugar. Add egg & vanilla extract & mix well.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together flour & baking powder. Add to the wet mixture a little at a time until well incorporated. Wait approximately 30 minutes before working with the dough as it will firm up slightly.
  3. Roll the dough between baking paper & put it into the fridge for a few hours to help it from spreading. When dough is a bit firmer, take it out of the fridge & cut into butterfly shapes.
  4. Place the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet & return to fridge again for another 1-2 hours, this will also help prevent spreading.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  6. Bake cookies for approximately 10 - 12 minutes or until lightly browned on bottoms.
  7. When cookies are completely cooled, personalize them with your favorite icing, colors & design.
Recipe Notes
  • Allow cookies to cool overnight or at least four hours if you have to decorate right away.
  • If you can, it is a good idea to wait until the cookies are a day old before decorating them to reduce the chance of oil from the cookie leaching into the icing & causing icing spots or butter bleeds.

Wild Red Salmon & Mushroom Quiche

Eggs are one refrigerator staple that most households are rarely out of. While they have many uses, one of my personal favorites is always quiche. Another staple in my pantry is canned wild red salmon.

The idea for this quiche today came from an old appetizer recipe. It was for salmon tartlets with a cream cheese pastry. This type of pastry is one that seems to go either way —tender or tough. What I’ve come to find through trial and error, is that a 1:1 ratio by weight, of butter to cream cheese, ensures a flaky, tender crust. Cream cheese pastry is nice because it is so versatile. It can be used for both sweet and savory applications.

Since I am in ‘gourmet mode’ today, I decided to kick it up a notch and use a little exotic medley of fresh mushrooms. My choice is enoki, crimini, oyster, portabellini and button. For cheese, I’m going with Gorgonzola dolce. If I were to describe the end result, it would be, a tender, cream cheese pastry filled with an earthy mushrooms, red salmon and tangy Gorgonzola cheese. Hard to beat that flavor combination, but of course, only if you like those ingredients.


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Wild Red Salmon & Mushroom Quiche

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Ingredients
Cream Cheese Pastry

Servings


Ingredients
Cream Cheese Pastry

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Pastry
  1. In a bowl, beat butter & cream cheese; blend in flour to form pastry consistency. Press into a deep dish 8-inch quiche pan. Set aside in refrigerator until filling is prepared.

Quiche Filling
  1. In a skillet, saute sliced green onions, mushrooms & garlic in margarine until moisture has evaporated. Remove from heat. Preheat oven to 400 F.

  2. Grate cheese. In a container, whisk together eggs, milk & seasonings. Sprinkle about 1/2 of the Gorgonzola cheese in the bottom of the quiche shell. Top with mushroom mixture & salmon chunks then with remaining cheese.

  3. Bake at 400 F. for 10 minutes, adjust heat to 350 F. & continue baking for another 30 minutes. When filling is set, remove from oven & cool at least 10 minutes before cutting. It tastes great just out of the oven, but even better the next day.

Shrimp Tetrazzini

Food historians have all agreed on the fact that this retro classic dish is not Italian. Truth is it was named after the Italian opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini. Chef’s often named dishes after prestigious clients at their restaurants. 

Tetrazzini is a rich dish combining cooked spaghetti tossed with either cooked poultry or seafood (never red meat) and a tangy sherry -cream parmesan cheese sauce. Sauteed mushrooms (a must), along with steamed peas, asparagus tips or broccoli florets are common additions.

Whether it is made individually or as a casserole, it is sprinkled with sliced almonds and additional parmesan, then broiled or baked until crunchy and bubbly with a golden top.

Time and home cooking have stripped away many of the dish’s continental flourishes, with modern versions of tetrazzini being more sturdier and less grand. The recipe means different things to different people with shortcut recipes sometimes using canned cream soups. Although tasty, they never quite measure up to the original iconic dish.

Brion and I absolutely love this meal. It might be a bit more expensive but using the Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano as opposed to generic parmesan cheese is well worth it in this recipe.

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Shrimp Tetrazzini
Votes: 6
Rating: 4.33
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Course Main Dish
Servings
Votes: 6
Rating: 4.33
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Instructions
Pasta
  1. In a large stockpot, bring 2 1/2 liters of water to a boil & add 1 1/2 tsp salt. Break pasta in half & add to boiling water. Cook pasta until slightly less than al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain well & return to stockpot. Add the butter, Parmesan & pepper. Toss until butter is melted & pasta is evenly coated. Transfer to a large bowl & set aside.
Shrimp
  1. In the same stockpot, bring water, wine, lemon juice, lemon rinds & bay leaves to a boil. Add the shrimp. Start timing immediately & cook for 3 minutes. By the time 3 minutes are up, the water should be boiling. Drain immediately & rinse in cold water to stop the cooking. Squeeze any remaining juice from the lemon over all. Toss into spaghetti & set aside.
Vegetables
  1. Slice the mushroom caps. In a saucepan, melt butter over low heat; add mushrooms, garlic powder & salt. Increase heat & cook until mushrooms are losing moisture & mixture is juicy, about 6 minutes. Add unthawed peas; cook until almost no moisture remains, 5-6 minutes. Stir into pasta mixture & set aside.
Sherry-Cream Parmesan Sauce
  1. In the saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Increase heat to medium & add flour, salt & cayenne pepper. Using a whisk, stir constantly, cooking until mixture is thick, smooth & bubbly, about 30 seconds. Add cream, in a slow stream, stirring constantly, cooking until smooth, thickened & drizzly, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat. Sprinkle in the Parmesan, stirring until mixture is smooth, adding milk/broth if necessary. Add the sherry, to taste. Add & toss into pasta mixture.
Topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Transfer mixture to individual dishes or one casserole dish that have been sprayed or lightly buttered. Without pressing down on top of the mixture, use a fork to evenly distribute tetrazzini. Sprinkle the almonds evenly over the top, followed by the Parmesan cheese.
  2. Bake, uncovered, on center rack for 25-30 minutes. Top should be golden brown & casserole will be bubbling around the sides. Do NOT overbake. Remove from oven & allow to sit 10-15 minutes before serving.