The Feathered Nest

The softer side of MaisonBisson

Be Careful What You Wish For July 5, 2010

TowerGirl @ 3:38 pm
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My wonderful parents are off cruising to Alaska. I am both jealous and happy for them. Before they left they had my birthday present delivered a bit early. Uncharacteristically, I had asked for a kitchen gadget, a basic Cuisinart ice cream maker. We received a similar maker for our wedding nearly twelve years ago, but that has been lost to time, moves, or clumsiness.

I try to live as clutter-free as possible. Our home is smallish and its odd layout leaves little room for storage. When we prepared to move here I sorted through my extensive collection of kitchen gadgets and moved only the essentials. However, as the years have progressed I have discovered a desire for some of these nonessential items. The ice cream maker is one of these.

Dairy and I are not always good friends. As a result, I swore off ice cream for a few years. This year I have gone back to the frozen treat and discover that a little bit now and then does not hurt me. I also adore sorbet, but I get tired of the limited variety flavors available in my local grocery stores.I figured if I had my own machine I could have fun playing with new recipes and expanding my summer indulgence options.

As soon as the package arrived I opened it and froze the tub. Then we went away for a few days. Yesterday I made a little batch of raspberry gelato. It tasted so tart and fresh. So much better than anything I have ever purchase in the store. This morning I mixed the base for a carmel-chocolate sorbet featured in this month’s Vegetarian Times. It’s cooling now but should be ready for the ice cream maker in a few hours. I am sensing that homemade frozen treats could be a dangerous new addiction. When I blow out my birthday candles in a few days, I will have to wish for some willpower.


I’ll Stop The World and Melt With You February 14, 2010

TowerGirl @ 5:13 pm
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I’ll Stop The World and Melt With You

My husband setup an apparatus to record time lapse video and asked me for ideas about what to film. I thought the whole thing quite bizarre, but the idea of melting hearts on Valentine’s Day was quite appealing.


Dark Chocolate Martini January 6, 2008

Chocolate Martini

The holidays are past, but we still have a sweet tooth here.

  • chocolate shavings for rimming
  • 1 part crème de cacao
  • 2 parts vodka
  • dark chocolate garnish

Warm a martini glass over a small flame, then roll the rim in chocolate shavings. Put a square of dark chocolate in the glass, then prepare the liquor. Shake vodka and crème de cacao with ice and strain into glass. For additional flavor, sprinkle the top with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings.

Please tipple responsibly.


Cake Robed In Chocolate And Strawberries June 17, 2007

Cake robed in chocolate and strawberries

Like so many women, there are days when my desire for chocolate is nearly overwhelming. However, perhaps because I am a tad high maintenance, my cravings are not satisfied by a mere candy bar. When I crave chocolate I want something rich, decadent, and freshly baked, I want chocolate cake.

When one of these cravings coincided with finding the first of the year’s native strawberries I decided to combine the two, the result was the cake you see above. I made a chocolate cake from my personal culinary bible, The Joy of Cooking. I joined the two layers with a chocolate frosting and then spread a layer of frosting on the top of the cake. On top of that, I arranged blanket of fresh strawberry slices. Finally, I consulted the bible again for directions for my first attempt at a chocolate ganache. The ganache came out a bit more watery than I was hoping for, but the end result was actually pretty interesting, a rich chocolate glaze that revealed the strawberries. The result? Chocolate craving quenched.


L.A. Burdick’s Cafe and Chocolate May 13, 2007

Lunch at BurdicksMy favorite place to eat in all of New Hampshire is LA Burdick’s in Walpole. It’s a chocolate shop and cafe and I’ve never had anything there that isn’t sinfully delicious. We took my mother-in-law there for Mother’s Day this year. We started the meal with their delightful cheese plate. This featured four cheeses in a range of intensities, a delightful fruit chutney, olives, seasoned nuts, and crackers. The cheeses were all wonderful and could be purchased at the market next door, many are by local artisans. We took home a creamy sheep’s milk cheese and a tangy blue.

For entrees Judith, my mother-in-law and I both enjoyed the salad nicoise. This version featured perfectly prepared tuna, egg, roasted peppers, new potatoes, green beans, and some delightful pickled red onions. My husband had the steak frites, cooked to perfection. We enjoyed this with a couple of glasses of house wine. The meal was simply scrumptious.

At Burdick’s desert is not an option. Unless you are a robot, their sweet confections are quite simply too good to pass up. Judith and Casey, my husband, both had frappes made from Burdick’s homemade ice-cream. Judith had the chocolate-banana and Casey had the chocolate-strawberry. The frappes were thick and a rick dark-chocolate in color. I sampled both and I can honestly say that these were the most delicious frappes I’d ever had. I had the hazlenut-orange cake and it was perfect, nutty and sweet.

Of course, I can’t leave Burdick’s without a take-home treat. The brazilian chocolates are my favorite, I savor their rich taste long after I’ve returned home. When I run out, I know its time to go back.