Eye Candy

This has been a tough week, boys and girls, for reasons too many to name.  Today’s column, therefore, will be appearing tomorrow, and I appreciate your patience.  It’s a good one – I promise, fantastically interesting – so I hope you’ll hang on with me until then.

To hold you over, here are a few fun photos, or,  as I like to call my photos, eye candy.  There’s no rhyme or reason to my selection, but all are pictures that make me happy for one reason or another.  And it’s a day for keeping spirits up.

First up, the eye candy.  Literal candy.  How pretty.

I used those large pink nonpareils and these teenier multi colored ones

on my Valentine’s Day heart cookies.  One came from a fancy, pricey set of sugar decorations, the other came from the grocery store.  In the end, it doesn’t matter which is which as long as the colors please the eye.  As my father might have said, they end up in the same place, after all.

Here are a couple more shots of the finished cookies.  I cannot begin to describe to you the moments of pleasure I get from stacking cookies to photograph them.  There’s a quiet deliberateness about the whole process that appeals to something in my control freak nature.  A stack of heart shortbreads,

and a stack of cherry-white chocolate chippers.

Now more from the baking files.  I love bran muffins.  In the same way that I love other retro foods like grapenut pudding and shrimp cocktail.  But I’m still searching for the perfect bran muffin recipe for making these treats at home.  Last week I tried two: a honey oat bran with golden raisins

and a wheat bran with sour cream and molasses, also with golden raisins.

The flavor of the molasses-based muffin is more of what I’m going for, and out of the two, the wheat bran sample won the day.  But I’m not sure I’ve yet found my ideal.  More research.

Here is a slice of cake from Boston’s Four Season Bristol Lounge.  Mid-January, my daughter and I had the pleasure of taking my mother-in-law there for tea to belatedly celebrate her birthday.  In true Four Seasons fashion, they did up her birthday cake plate in style.

Earlier that week, I had a meet up with my great friends at Local In Season.  The guys made pizza, and I ate the pizza that they made.  How great is that?  Here’s Patrick’s offering, cheese with his homemade sausage.

And Jon’s creation, clam and golden beet.  Clams make for a true New Haven pie.  Jon added bacon to half of this pie, after I suggested bacon might be a fantastic add on, and it was – a smashing success.

I leave you with this mushroom.  Have you ever seen anything more thoroughly, individually, innately gorgeous?

©2011  Jane A. Ward