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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pig Dinner EXTRA Starch

Middle-Class Martha is here to tell you Karma is alive and well! 

My husband is a FIJI and every year his fraternity has a Pig Dinner.  It is a formal dinner for Alumni to socialize with each other.   My husband’s traveling schedule was preventing him from attending this year so I scheduled a profractional laser facial on the previous Friday.  This procedure left my face looking like raw hamburger meat.    In a good way…I mean, I paid to look this way, so when it heals my skin looks fantastic.     

His flight Friday to Denver was cancelled, leaving him free to attend Pig Dinner Saturday.  On the way out the door Saturday morning, to my son’s District Boy Scout Pinewood Derby, he mentioned he would be going to Pig Dinner that night.   He also mentioned he was wearing his cream colored shirt with a suit and tie.   He asked me to wash it and have it ready, since he was on a tight schedule.  

Of all my domestic goddess gifts, ironing is not one of them.  I panicked!  The shirt came out of the dryer resembling crepe paper.   I would have taken it to the drycleaners, IF I had known he needed it.   WORSE, I had no spray starch and with my face looking so terrible, was not likely to be dropping in anywhere to buy some. 

This is where Karma and Grace come into play.  I remember “slightly “ making fun of one of our mutual friends, Tracey about a year ago.  Her husband is a patent lawyer with a firm, whom needs to be impeccably dressed everyday at work as part of his career plan to make partner.  She was spending entire days boiling starch and ironing his clothes.   I finally harassed/convinced her that was total non-sense.

Hi Karma!   Here I am a year later trying to remember how she did it.   My saving grace, Tracey……. thank you, thank you, thank you!   

Tracey’s Starch Recipe:
½ cup starch
1-cup cold water
Additional water
            2 quarts for heavy starch
            4 quarts for medium starch
            6 quarts for light starch

1.  Stir cold water and starch in a bowl
2.  In a large pot boil additional water (pick the amount of water to make the type of 
     solution, you need (i.e. Heavy, Medium or Light starch)
3.  Add the bowl starch mixture to the pot with the boiling water
4.  Dip clothes in the starch solution
5. Let clothes dry
6. Spray lightly with warm water then iron as usual.

Homemade Spray Starch:

2 cups cold water
1-tablespoon cornstarch

1. Add water and cornstarch into a spray bottle.  Shake well.

Tip:  Cornstarch is the cake maker’s BEST FRIEND when working with fondant.  Lightly dusting a paintbrush with cornstarch, allows you to move or touch up your fondant without damaging it.

Homemade SUNBURN relief:
1 cup of cornstarch

Add to bathtub full of warm water and soak for 30 minutes.

Homemade SUNBURN relief wrap:
1-tablespoon cornstarch
1-tablespoon baking soda
½ cup water

Mix water, cornstarch and baking soda in bowl.  Dip gauze in bowl and wrap on sunburn.  Leave for 20 minutes.

Middle-Class Martha

A Day in the Life of a Chocolatier

Today Middle-Class Martha made Sea-Salted Carmel and Chocolate covered Oreo’s for baby shower favors.  A very sophisticated shower, so no cute bears, ducks, cute little feet or trucks.  I had a great time but would someone living near me PLEASE HAVE A GIRL???  


Choose Your Wedding Chocolatier Wisely!

Middle-Class Martha doesn't do anything middle of the road and apparently that applies to advertising.   I am taking an enterpeurneurial advertising and marketing class currently.   The teacher is the CEO and President of Itancan LLC, Lesa Crowe.  Last month, we were assigned the task of designing a post card for mailings.   The above magazine advertisement is a result of Mrs. Crowe's idea and our meeting.   It  was later entered into a national advertising competition called the Communicator Awards.  It won a Silver Communicator Award of Distinction!   Last month, I had no idea this award even existed.   I simply smile every time I see the advertisement.

Middle-Class Martha has been a busy bee this year!  My small chocolatierie opened in October 2012 within a small business incubator system.   It has been an interesting road trip trying to find a middle line between social media, guerilla marketing, advertisting, customer service, product placement, community service and keeping true north on your vision for the company's future.

Here are 2 pictures from some of my chocolate projects this year.

A proto-type of a dark chocolate shoe filled with truffles and matching milk chocolate sea salted toffee clutch, I made for a JWL Gala auction basket.   My first attempt with using colored cocoa butter.

Literally a busy bee!   I have been exclusively taking custom orders.  I made the above dark chocolate dipped short bread cookie with fresh grated nutmeg, included in a custom bee basket for someone's grandmother Bea.

I hope to post a few new recipes soon.   I am entering a small business plan competition tomorrow.
Oh Honey, I need a sweet relaxing weekend.   

ENJOY your weekend!
Middle-Class Martha 


Thursday, March 24, 2011

White Chocolate Key Lime Bread Pudding with Key Lime Whipped Cream and TART Key Lime Sauce

Middle-Class Martha went to Fairhope, AL for Spring Break.  Two days before we left I opened my Southern Living Magazine to find an article about touring Fairhope.   One of the "must see" restaurants was called "The Wash House".  It was said to be famous for Keylime Bread Pudding.   I have had Keylime pie before but had never heard of bread pudding with Keylime.
I really wanted eat at The Wash House but it did not fit into our itinerary :(   I returned home at the end of the week, still thinking about Keylime.
Beautiful Sunset at the Bay!

The following White Chocolate Key Lime Bread Pudding Recipe is my version of the Southern Treat.   I would LOVE to hear from anyone, who has eaten at The Wash House, to see how my recipe compares.  

I created the recipe and after a few variations, did a test run on my MOPS group (Mother's of Preschoolers) with RAVE REVIEWS!

White Chocolate Keylime Bread Pudding
Tres Sucre Chocolatiere Original Recipe

1 Loaf French Bread
1 Baguette
2 Cups Heavy Cream
2 Cups Milk
1/2 Cup Lime Sugar (*Recipe Below)
1/2 Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
5 Eggs
1/2 Cup Fresh Squeezed Key Lime Juice

6 Tbs Butter cubed
1/2 cup Pecans
8 oz White Chocolate

1. Cube Bread and set it out Overnight to dry.
2. Mix Cream, Milk, Lime Sugar, Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Eggs
    and Key Lime Juice
3. Layer cubed dry Bread,  Butter, Pecans and White Chocolate in a well buttered
4. Pour cream and egg mixture over bread.  Carefully press down on bread to make
    sure all of the bread is covered.
5. Cook on low for 3 hours in crockpot or in a well buttered pan in the oven at 350 for
    35 to 45 mins.

Save yourself the trouble of scrubbing your crockpot with Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners!
Thank You Marjorie for the AMAZING TIP!

Left to Right: Lemon Sugar, Orange Sugar and Key Lime Sugar

Zest from 8 Key Limes
2 Cups of Sugar

Place in Food processor until blended.  Set out on baking pan for 1 hour and then place in an airtight container.

Top Left: Lemon Sugar
Middle: Orange Sugar
Bottom Right: Key Lime Sugar
Lemon Sugar: Use Zest from 2 Lemons and 2 Cups of Sugar.
Orange Sugar: I used Zest from 2 Oranges and 2 segments of orange with as much white pith removed as possible and 3 Cups of Sugar.

Serve the Key Lime Bread Pudding with TART Key Lime Sauce, SWEET Key Lime Sauce and Key Lime Whipped Cream and Ritz-y Graham Cracker Topping

Top Sauce: TART Key Lime Sauce
Middle: Key Lime Whipped Cream
Bottom Sauce: SWEET Key Lime Sauce

TART Key Lime Sauce
1 cup Key Lime Sugar
1/4 Cup Lemon Sugar
1/2 Cup Water 
1 cup Fresh Key Lime Juice
1 drop Green Food coloring

2 TBS Cornstarch
5 TBS Water

1. In a sauce pan Dissolve Cornstarch in 5 TBS Water stir well to prevent clumping.
2. Add all the above ingredients and bring to a boil

*This Sauce was far to TART for me.  My husband, Son and some of our friends LOVED IT!
So What is a Chocolatier to do but add White Chocolate and Try AGAIN!

SWEET Key Lime Sauce
1 Cup TART Key Lime Sauce
2 Cups Heavy Cream
6 oz White Chocolate
1/4 Cup Sour Cream

1. Heat TART sauce, Heavy Cream and White Chocolate in sauce pan over medium to low heat.  Stir continuously until chocolate in melted and blended completely.
2. Remove from Heat and Stir in Sour Cream

Key Lime Whipped Cream
1 cup Heavy Cream (Very Cold)
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
2 Tbs Lime Sugar
1 Tbs Fresh Key Lime Juice

1. Combine all ingredients in Stand Mixer and Beat until soft peaks form

RITZ-Y Graham Cracker Topping
2 oz Ritz Brown Sugar Cinnamon Crackers
2 oz Graham Crackers

Place the Ritz Crackers and Graham Crackers in food processor and mix until no lumps remain.

Tres Sucre Chocolatiere Original Key Lime Bread Pudding

Middle-Class Martha

Friday, March 11, 2011

Habitat for Humanity Dinner

Bite-sized Milk Chocolate and Toffee Houses with a Heart!

Middle-Class Martha's MOPS group (Mother's of Preschoolers) had the opportunity to host a dinner for a group of 23 College Students, who volunteered their Spring Break to travel across the country to help our community.  The Students are spending their week, building a house with Habitat for Humanity, aiding a local Parenting Ministry by working in their warehouse and consignment store and also spending time serving at a local soup kitchen.  I wish I had been so thoughtful in college.  

My Deepest Appreciation and Thank You goes to these Very Special Students.   One in particular, Bridget to whom I would like to thank for organizing this trip.   Bridget had a friend at another University, whom visited our quaint little town last year and worked on a Habitat for Humanity House.  We have been hosting Marquette University for just over 25 years.  Bridget was inspired to organize a trip for her University.   She was able to gather 23 students, all willing to give up going to the beach inexchange for a week of hard work.

Todays youth, give them a chance... they will surprise you!

The Dinner was Fabulous thanks to our Fantastic Moms and their generosity.   The students were so happy with the home cooked meal, they even asked for a few of the recipes.

Stephanie's Corn Souffle

1 can Cream of Corn
1 can Whole Corn
1 Jiffy Corn Bread Mix
1 Stick of Butter
8 oz Sour Cream

Mix all the ingredients together and place in a greased dish.   Bake at 350 degrees for 45 mins until golden.

DelRae's Spicy Fritos and Corn Recipe

3 cans corn, drained
1 can green chilis, drained
1 cup real mayo
1 bag chili cheese fritos

Mix the first three ingredients together and refrigerate a few hours before serving. Immediately before serving, mix in the bag of fritos and enjoy!

Thank You Card From the Students describing their deep LOVE of the food!
Thank You to both the MOPS and the Students!

Middle-Class Martha

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Milk Chocolate Ganache Bannana Bread Pudding in the CROCKPOT

Middle-Class Martha is back with a new crockpot recipe.  I did happened to notice a recipe for brownies in the crockpot in a popular food magazine.  This left me scratching my head slightly.  I can barely wait the 30 minutes for the brownies to be done in the oven.  I am fairly certain at some point during the 4 hour SLOW cook period I would be eating half baked brownies with a spoon :) That thought makes me smile!  It also makes me think I need to post a homemade vanilla bean icecream recipe.

I do enjoy my SLOW cooker / Crockpot bread pudding recipes.  Mostly, because I am fast asleep during the cooking process and get to wake up to a wonderful breakfast.    I suppose someone could place the brownie mix in the crockpot and set the timer.  You could return home at the end of a hard day to a house that smells like brownies.  This also makes me smile and wish my ice cream maker had a timer.

Chocolate Ganache Bannana Bread Pudding in the Crockpot
Tres Sucre Chocolatiere Orginal Recipe:

1 pound loaf Wheat french bread left out to dry and cubed.
10 ounces Milk Chocolate chopped (or Dark Chocolate)
2 - 4 ounces of Milk Chocolate Chips
2 cups Heavy Cream
5 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Cinnamon
1 ripe bannana mashed.
1 cup chopped pecans

1.  Butter inside of crockpot well.  Place Bread, Pecans and    
    Chocolate Chips in layers in the crockpot
2.  Place Chocolate in a bowl.   Bring Cream to just below a 
    boil on the stove over low heat.  Pour cream over the 
    chocolate and stir until completely smooth - Ganache :)
3.  In a large bowl beat the eggs, sugar, cinnamon and 
    mashed bannana together until blended.
4.  Incorporate the chocolate ganache and mix well.
5.  Pour chocolate and egg mixture over bread in crockpot.   
    Stir slightly making sure to press the bread
    down into the liquid.
6.  Cook in the crockpot on low for 3 - 4  hours.

Serve with Sauteed Bannanas (or fresh sliced), Spiced Rum sauce, Carmelized Pecans and fresh whipped cream.

Sauteed Bannanas

2 Tablespoon Butter
2 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
2 Bananas sliced

1.  In a skillet over medium heat melt butter and brown 
    sugar.  Slice bananas and lay slices on caramelized 
    sugar mixture for about 3 mins flip and repeat on other 
    side about a minute.  Remove from heat and set aside to 

Spiced Rum Sauce

1/2 cup Butter
1 cup Sugar
1/2 Cup half and half
2 - 3 Tablespoons Spiced Rum

1.  Combine Butter, Sugar and half and half in heavy sauce pan
2.  Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
3.  Bring to a Boil
4.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5 mins.
5.  Remove from heat... cool and then add Rum

EASY Caramelized Pecans
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 Dash of Cinnamon (Optional)
1/2 Cup Pecans

1. Melt Butter in a skillet
2. Add Brown Sugar and Cinnamon.
3. Coat pecans with mixture and brown them.  Takes 2-3 mins

Spicy Carmelized Pecans
1 Egg White
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Dash Vanilla
2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2 Cups Pecans

1. Pre-Heat oven at 275
2. Beat Egg white until stiff
3. Add Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Cinnamon and Cayenne Pepper.  
   Stir Until Smooth.
4. Coat the Pecans with the Mixture
5. Bake until Browned 10 -15 mins.

Middle-Class Martha

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Blogger Block

Middle-Class Martha has been suffering from Blog Fright or Bloggers Block or Blog-xiety.  I had some success with my blog and began taking a blog class, only to find out I should be posting once a week not everyday and my layout should be light background with dark text.  I am basically breaking all of the rules of blog-gagement.  I even visited a few of my followers blogs.   I came face to face with very professional blog sites that had dazzling pictures, fabulous writing and I felt frozen.  

I have been busy in the kitchen however, making Chocolate Bannana Bread Pudding in the crockpot, creating Strawberry Lemonade, Blueberry and Sloe Gin Fizz Truffles, Macaroons and Petits Fours.

This is my attempt at scaring my blog fright away...It works for hiccups, right?

I think I see the light at the end of the blogging tunnel or is it the beginning?

Middle-Class Martha