Image 01

Lady Violette

The Romantic Lifestyle

Posts Tagged ‘Recipes’

Touring Lamarelle’s Gallery of Delicious & Delectable Purses Curated by Lady Violette

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

This is a visual feast! These beautiful vintage purses have been artistically embellished  and reinvented by my dear friend and soul mate La Marelle. La Marelle is a designer who “coutures” vintage purses and other vintage items that she finds to create new works of wonder each as delectable and enticing as the incredible pastries in a deluxe French bakery. Every one of her designs looks good enough to eat!

This is the Purse I Carried to Tea in This Story

Last night I dreamed that I was having tea with Marelle in an elegant turn of the century tearoom in Paris named Pastisserie La Marelle; and these purses were actually little cakes that were brought out to guests to select from a pastry tray and served to actually eat on exquisite antique French flowered china plates. Elegant teas served in magnificent ornate tea pots and delicate vintage bone china tea cups and saucers, each one a unique design, accompanied the delicious purse cakes made of butter cream and chocolate and vanilla cakes and icings and filled with rich custards layered with tart berry souffles and layers of candied oranges and lemons. Some were embellished with cherries or peaches and nuts and other fruits, and some with sugared flowers and leaves. These miniature purse shaped cakes were wheeled out on an ornate antique pastry cart by child waiters dressed in tiny tuxedos with coat tails who asked guests with impeccable manners, ” Would you like to choose a cake Madame?” And of course we did! They came ’round again when you had finished one to offer you another.

This is the Purse Marelle Carried to Tea in This Story

Our little waiter was named Aubrey, after the artist Aubrey Beardsley. He was about six years old and he explained, “You can eat as many as you like because these cakes have no calories! They just look good and taste wonderful! ” Of course we chose another, and another, and another as soon as we had eaten the one that came before! Marelle and I feasted on purse cakes and talked for hours and at the end of the afternoon agreed that we must come here regularly, once a week, and do this again. We made a reservation to return for another tea and cake date next weekend.

Now let’s have a look at some of the delicious purse cake selections on the pastry menu and while you are visually feasting on these delectable designs keep in mind that these cakes are available as a real purses in La Marelle’s couture store. The details and location will be given at the end of this story.

The Lady Violette, a Divine Chocolate Cream Creation

There is my favorite, the Lady Violette, named after me, and our miniature waiter Aubrey expertly explains that is concocted of rich but light chocolate and mocha cakes layered with chocolate and raspberry butter cream inside and elaborately decorated with glace frosting in two shades of chocolate stripes, light milk chocolate and dark bittersweet chocolate, on the outside. It is then trimmed with a pure dark chocolate coin purse, a butter cream ruffle along the closure flap and an edible marzipan perfume bottle. The handle and strap are made of edible caramel and chocolate flavored strips! The gold and silver accents are made of edible metallic gold and silver dragoons. The label of the perfume bottle and the woman’s portrait face on the coin purse are made of almond flavored marzipan! He assures us these are not at all fattening saying, “We make these cakes without calories because this is a couture bakery and we know that our customer’s love to partake of elegant deserts and designs but must keep their figures in order to wear their couture ensembles.”

Red Cherry

Aubrey shows us cake purse after cake purse, each one as different and as interesting and intriguing as the one before. Each one looks incredibly delicious!

Chocolate Filagree

We ask how they have managed to remove the calories while retaining the integrity of these elegant deserts. He explains that this is a top secret scientific process! He also assures us that it is done without removing any of the taste you would expect from an elegant European pastry!

Petits Fours

He does tell us that he and his artist father developed it in their California cooking laboratories using all organic ingredients and the latest scientific baking methods, then brought these to France at La Marelle’s request.

French Vanilla

He further explains that they decided to unveil the results of their research in Paris because this was the home of the world’s best pastries and couture, and, if it was a success there it would ultimately become an international success. He had quite the business acuman for such a young man! We were very impressed!

Creme de Menthe

He also tells us that he has always loved international cuisines and teas and is able to pursue his other interests in the arts while working at this restaurant in Paris. He is studying sculpture when he is not working. We ask him if he is not a bit young to be living away from his parents and siblings and his home in CA and working in Paris?  As ladies, we have begun to feel motherly concern toward him as he is such a sweet and intelligent little boy.

Pistachio

He assures us that he is fine living in Paris and loves it here,! Plus, he says, his little sister, Madamoiselle Coco who really is named after Coco Chanel, will soon be joining him to study fashion design. He is a year older and wanted to come ahead to establish an apartment on the Left Bank and get everything set up for her before she arrives. We ask him how old she is. He tells us she is five years old! And he goes on to say that she is already well known for her fashion designs and styling capabilities in Southern California! She even owns a La Marelle Couture Purse which was personally made for her by the designer herself because she felt an instant report with Coco and wanted her to have it.

Coco's Purse ~ Cream Chantilly ~ Custom Design by LaMarell

Coco is the youngest fashionista owner of a LaMarelle Couture Purse that we know of. He told us that many people stop Coco on the street to ask her about her La Mareele handbag and find out who designed it. It has been quite the conversation piece! I am sure that happens to anyone who carries or wears one of La Marelle’s couture creations!

Bittersweet Chocolate

Again we express our concern that they are both a bit young to be leaving home, aren’t they? He assures us that their parents visit often because their mother loves Paris and their father is an artist who shows in modern art galleries around the world. Young Aubrey tells us he has helped his father set up his art in his shows all his life. He explains that that is one of his areas of expertise so he is always available when a show needs to be hung. He also loves to attend the gallery openings and explains that he would never miss one. He also explains that he himself loves to dress up in special attire to attend these events. We are charmed by him of course!

Lemon Cream

Young Aubrey assures us he is mature enough to handle this adventure, “Look at me he says, I have a job, I support myself, I am a specialist of sorts already.” We are quite impressed!

Maple Sugar

And he tells us he is ageless from eating many of these cakes! Aha we think! Women ( and men) will like that aspect of these delicacies as well! Will they not?

Black Licorice

He keeps showing us more and more cake purses and describing the ingredients and flavors with amazing baking expertise. Honestly, we are quite impressed by his knowledge! He also tells us we can eat as many as we like and that it will make us all the more creative, fashionable and colorful if we eat more of them. Wow!

I ask him, ” Is it okay then to be a glutton for both designer handbags and pastries?” “Yes, definitely!” he assures me,”It will make you very healthy and very beautiful!”

Sugar Icing & Florentine

As he serves us, pouring more tea whenever we need it without being asked, and assures us that he feels quite capable of taking care of his little sister after she arrives! He says, “We have always been best friends as well as brother and sister and I am eager to see her develop her design talents. She has always expressed herself artistically with her clothes. She does such amazing things that people stop us on the streets to give us compliments. She is a natural!”

Whipped Cream

“Where?” we ask, “is she going to study?” As we continue to daintily devour beautifully decorated and deliciously flavored ornate and tasty purse shaped cakes!

Molton Fudge

“Right here” he answers, “where I can watch over her with The Great Couturier La Marelle!”

I was quite surprised! I looked quizzically at Marelle, herself, sitting right across from me and asked, “Is this a dream or is this really happening?”

Time Will Tell Purse

And she smiled like the Mona Lisa and said in her charming voice,  ” You shall see! You shall see! Time Will Tell!”

~~~~~~~~

Then I woke up! And I wrote down the details of my dream immediately so that I would not forget this fantastic story. And who knows? It very well might come true! Parts of it already are happening for these delicious looking purses are already available to purchase and carry as real calorieless fashion design indulgences from La Marelle’s Shop Hopscotch Couture. And all the people cast in this dream story are real people with the real names and the real talents described and attributed to them in this story.

Here is where you can view more of Marelle’s work and purchase many of the purses featured in this post as well as others. Marelle is cooking up new ones on a regular basis. She is always whipping up some fantastic dreamy new frothy creation! Feast your eyes and visit her shop. And remember that these delicacies have zero calories! Just as the fantastic little waiter in his tux and tails described them!

Marelle’s work is so diverse and extensive – she currently has over 400 pieces listed for sale in her Etsy shop alone.

By the way, La Marelle means hopscotch in French, so Marelle named her shop on Etsy Hopscotch Couture. To visit her Etsy store and view the entire gallery go to: http://www.etsy.com/shop/HopscotchCouture.

Marelle sells her work in her online Etsy shop above and also accepts private commissions. She can be contacted  by email at lamarellegallery@aol.com or by telephone at (443) 825.6353.

Her work can also be seen on her website at LaMarelleGallery.com. There is a link on there that will take you directly to her Etsy store as well.

Read More about Marelle and her paintings and designs in this article from The Weekender at http://www.theweekender.com/stories/Marelles-Hopscotch-Couture-One-of-a-kind-finds,61685

The photos  in this post were taken by Marelle herself.

Be sure to search my blog to see recent past posts and return to view upcoming future posts featuring more pictures and descriptions of Marelle’s interesting and imaginative work. I know you will find it all very tasteful!

 

Violet Ice Cream Recipe! A Lady Violette Dream Desert

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

Violet Ice Cream ~ A Lady Violette Dream Desert

I am dedicated to all things Violet and sharing them and found this Recipe for Violet Ice Cream  on Meera Freeman’s blog yesterday. I’m trying to get organized to make it this weekend. I literally have thousands of violets blooming in my yard. They are scattered throughout the grass as well as the flower beds which is alright with me!

Here is what she says:

After quite a bit of thought and fiddling around, I finally came up with a violet ice-cream recipe.  Not too much colour… very subtle flavour, most of it coming as an after-taste, like most perfumes  (think truffle, jasmine… an ethereal waft that floats between the nostrils and the tip of your tongue).

Violet Ice-cream

4 egg yolks
135g sugar
400 ml full cream milk
100 ml heavy cream, chilled
1 tbsp Monin violet syrup
1 tbsp violet liqueur (Creme de Violettes)
2 drops pink food colouring
2 drops blue food colouring

Heat the milk with half the sugar taking care not to let it boil.
Beat the yolks with the remaining sugar until the mixture is thick and white.
Slowly pour the heated milk over the yolk mixture, beating well.
Return the mixture to the saucepan and simmer, whisking continuously, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon.
Make sure it doesn’t boil.  If you have a candy thermometer, the temperature of the mixture should reach 85°C.  Remove from the heat immediately. Stir well and add the chilled cream. Flavour with the violet syrup and liqueur and tint with the food colouring.
Cool completely and churn in an ice-cream churn.
Garnish with fresh or crystallised violets.

This is almost a frozen Violette Cocktail as it is flavored with violet liquor! It sounds so delicious!

I am grateful to Meera Freeman who is a cooking teacher and cookbook writer and photographer for coming up with this elegant recipe as it  sounds pretty grand to me! Thanks Meera!

Beautiful Violet Cocktail ~ A Toast to the First Day of Spring!

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

A Beautiful Lady Violette Cocktail Garnished with an Edible Pansy

I love garnishing things with flowers – in fact I eat flowers every day, really! You can decorate anything you want to eat or drink with an edible flower.

I propose a toast to spring with a flower cocktail. Today is the first day!

Why not give a welcoming spring cocktail party ~ for a chance to wear your vintage clothes and gloves and enjoy some flowery drinks!

You can garnish any cocktail with a flower or make up one of the popular ones using floral liquors such as Creme de Violet or Parfait Amour.

 

Violet Pies

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Tara & Percy of the Jersey Creamery on Etsy wrote:

“I loved your story. And just wish somehow we could travel to that mysterious place in between worlds and get one of those pies.”

Ever since I have been dreaming of Violet Pies and I have come up with a way to make one!

But we must wait until wild blackberries and Labrador Violets are in season! By the way, this will be a real violet pie – not stuffed animals – or other types of pies trying to cash in on the romance of the violet by using violet in their names!

Lady Violette is an authority on edible flower cookery, among other things ……

And I guarantee this will be well worth waiting for!

 

 

Lavender in Cocktails – Herbs and Spices in the Cocktail Mixology

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

If you enjoy using herbs and flowers, as I do, in cocktails, I highly recommend this book, Herbs and Spices in Cocktail Mixology by bartender Humberto Marques, whose Paulita Cocktail Recipe I shared yesterday.

Lavender Herb Photograph

Recipe for the Divine Paulista Cocktail Using Lavender Syrup & Blueberries ~ Lady Violette Approved!

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

I’m always on the lookout for cocktail recipes using lavender or violets. This one, the Paulista , created by Humberto Marques, who tends bar at Oloruso in Edinburgh, Scotland is great!Paulista Cocktail - Humberto Marques - Oloroso, Edinburgh Scotland

Violet Macarons With Violet And Vanilla Buttercream ~ A Divine Recipe From French Pastry Chef Helene Dujardin of Tartelette

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

I have recently found the most amazing and delicious recipe for Violet Macarons With Violet And Vanilla Buttercream on the Tartelette blog! I have written requesting permission to post a mouth watering photograph of the sweet darling little deserts as the author, Chef Helene Dujardin, requests.  She is fine with reposting the recipe, along with a link which, I wanted to do immediately since we are right smack dab in the middle of fresh blooming violet season.

Here ‘t is and it is amazing! Go there to see the violet macaron photos. Helene is a pastry chef, photographer and food stylist and her pictures are beautiful! They inspire you to drop everything and spend the rest of your day making her deserts. Her entire award winning blog is a feast for the eyes as well as a great source for pastry recipes and tutorials.

She has many other great looking and sounding recipes. I am so glad to have found out about her. You will be too! She is coming out with a book soon. She also travels and does cooking workshops and lectures so she is a very busy lady! (I will post the photo as soon as I hear back from her.) I could not wait to post the recipe! I wanted to share it with you all as soon as possible! Enjoy!

Violet Macarons With Violet And Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Violet Macarons With Violet And Vanilla Bean Buttercream Recipe: 

Makes between 30 to 40 macarons

For the macarons shells:
90 gr egg whites (about 3)
30 gr granulated sugar
200 gr powdered sugar
110 gr almonds
2 tablespoons crushed violet sugar or candied violet petals

For the whites: the day before (24hrs), separate your eggs and store the whites at room temperature in a covered container. If you want to use 48hrs (or more) egg whites, you can store them in the fridge.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry. Combine the almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add them to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that flows like lava or a thick ribbon. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Sprinkle with the crushed sugar or violet petals. Preheat the oven to 280F. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don’t let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer. To fill: pipe or spoon about 1 big tablespoon of butterceam in the center of one shell and top with another one.

Violet and Vanilla Buttercream:
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon violet sugar +1 tablespoon water (or 2 tablespoons violet liqueur)
1 vanilla bean, split open and seeded

Put the sugar and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like marshmallow cream. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat the meringue on medium speed until it cools and forms a thick shiny meringue, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes. Divided the buttercream in two portions.
For the violet buttercream: microwave the violet sugar and water for 30 to 45 seconds. Let cool completely before folding it into the buttercream. If using liqueur, just fold it in the buttercream.
For the vanilla buttercream: add the seeds from the vanilla bean to the buttercream and fold with a spatula until fully incorporated. If not using right away, refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to 1 month.

 

The Blue Moon – a Recipe for a Delightful Antique Violet Petal Cocktail Made with Creme Yvette or Creme De Violette

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

The Beautiful & Romantic Blue Moon Cocktail

 

We can now make the long lost, beautiful, and enjoyable, vintage Blue Moon cocktail again. It is made from liqueur compounded of violet petals and other secret flavorings and it is divine!

Lady Violette and friend, Lavande Lamour say,”Treat yourself. It’s absolutely fluerific.”  We had read about it for years but the necessary flower liqueurs needed to create it were nowhere to be had during our lifetimes! Now they have been revived which, to us, is akin to reviving a lady who has fainted! What a relief! She is still alive! We thought, for a moment, that she might be dead!

The violet liqueurs Creme Yvette or Creme de Violette required to make The Blue Moon had been discontinued for decades, but are fortunately available again. The recipe and the story behind it, and other vintage spirits and forgotten cocktails are now available in a a new book by Ted Haigh reviewed in the Cookbook Profile of the Global Gourmet. The earliest version was created in 1917. Here ’tis:

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces (1/2 gill, 6 cl) gin
  • 1/2 ounce (1/8 gill, 1.5 cl) Creme Yvette or creme de violette
  • 1/2 ounce (1/8 gill, 1.5 cl) fresh lemon juice

Shake in an iced cocktail shaker, and strain into a cocktail glass.

Garnish with a lemon twist. Enjoy and,

Read more: Cocktail Recipe: The Blue Moon (Gin and Creme Yvette) http://www.globalgourmet.com/food/cookbook/2009/vintage-spirits-cocktails/blue-moon.html#ixzz1KFHaQK4n

 

 

A Good Looking & Thorough Candied Violet Tutorial & a Recipe for a Feminine Rose Shaped Lemon Poppyseed Cake Garnished with Real Violets

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Sweet Candied Violets & Lemon Poppyseed Cake Done in a Rose Shaped Cake Mold! A True Example of The Feminine Arts!

I have found this tutorial for crystallized violets which looks very complete! Complete with a pretty cake recipe decorated with the lovely little real flowers. The writer, Diane Levinson, on her blog 2 Stews suggests it for Mother’s Day which is a very good idea! I must read everything she has written on food as it looks fascinating! Another good discovery dug up when resourcing how to sugar violets. Plant hunting pays off! I include looking for ways to eat edible flowers and collecting recipes for cooking with them as a sub category of plant hunting!

Personally I don’t always like cakes covered with thick sugary frosting and this manner of decorating looks like a pretty tasty alternative. Lower in calories too! This is an old fashioned homemade looking cake which is also appealing in it’s way! It seems to go with the old fashioned flower itself. I’m going to try it! It looks like a sweet blend of the feminine arts of baking and flower preserving and decorating. It is baked in a rose shaped cake mold as well. That actually makes it a rose violet cake! Just adorable! Merci Diane for sharing your recipe, methods for preparing sugared violets and great photos! Sweet Candied Violets and Lemon Poppyseed Cake .

Step One: Diane preparing to sugar the violet flowers!

Diane has beautiful step by step instructions with photos illustrating the making of sugared violets. These were the best instructions I found on the web for making them! I recommend them. I have made them before and she does a very nice job showing the steps and the patience involved!

Her explanations are complete, detailed and beautifully photographed. Lady Violette de Courcy approves! I love good photographs! This little bouquet has me smelling the scent of violets in my office. It is very cold outside where I am, in Seattle, WA and this has cheered me up today! When I see violets blooming even though it is nearly freezing out I know that spring is in the air! There is hope! It will eventually get warmer!

 

Incredible Violet Cakes – Inspiring Floral Baked Goods From the Heavenly Violet Bakery in London!

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Candied Violet Cupcake from Violet Bakery in London

Searching online for a sugared violet topped cupcake recipe this morning I came across this review of a bakery from Eat Family Styles which has me positively intrigued! Starting with:”a brief interlude of cupcake glorification: violet cupcakes at Broadway Market are lovely bites of heaven.” Look at the photo from their review of the Violet Bakery stall below! OMG!

Of course I read this and I wanted to go to heaven immediately! They make elderflower cupcakes, and rhubarb rose water cupcakes as well as violet. I honestly almost want to die and go to edible flower cupcake heaven! I am half way across the world from this place right now but it has me totally intrigued!

Delights From the Violet Bakery

I would love to visit this bakery in London called, simply, Violet. These are all organic. No recipe, but loads of inspiration for doing it right! The names of their flavors alone are fulfilling! Such names as French Apricot, English Raspberry, English Strawberry, Elderflower, Rhubarb and Rose Water.

My yard is full, literally of blooming violets. They are growing in the grass as well as the flower beds which I love about them! I would rather have violets that release their delicate perfume underfoot when walked upon than grass any day! But I am Lady Violette de Courcy, lover of violets, and violets are my personal flower.

Inspiring Array of Heavenly Cakes From Violet

Having reminded you of that, I decided to look up making candied violets out of some of the flowers I have blooming in my yard. I am thinking about making some violet topped cupcakes for an upcoming birthday.

I know other people do not always find flowers growing in their grass as charming as I do! I love Queen Anne Daisies growing in grass as well. So I tried to buy grass seed that had them mixed in or the tiny pink and white daisy seeds that I could mix with grass seed and discovered that it s illegal to plant them in WA state where I live! They still pop up now and then in the grass in parks but people hate them so that they have banned them by law! This is crazy! Don’t you think? Outlawing beauty anywhere should be against the law!

I am thoroughly and fully inspired and I will continue my search for a recipe tomorrow! I’ll keep you posted.

~ Lady Violette’s Class Chicken and Perfect Baked Potatoes Recipes ~

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

I am asked for my baked chicken recipe so often that I have decided to post it on my blog. I call it Class Chicken because I taught dance classes in my home studio for many years. The classes lasted an hour. I usually had one at 4:45 – 5:45PM. My dance studio was just a couple of rooms away from the kitchen. I could prepare the chicken for baking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and pop the chicken and several baking potatoes into the oven a couple of minutes before I began teaching class. It would be perfectly cooked and I could serve dinner at 6:00! I was able to prepare this no fuss delicious chicken dinner and have dinner on the table a few minutes after my class was finished. The ultimate in multitasking, right?

My kids love this recipe! So do I. And every adult who has eaten it at my house want’s my secret. There is no secret. It is very simple to make. I have tagged this recipe for children as they love it. It is really an adult recipe fit for everyone!

You will need:

Chicken, olive oil, Herbes de Provence, rosemary spring, thyme sprig, bay leaf or several, salt and coarsely ground pepper, a fresh lemon

Baking Potatoes, butter, salt, pepper, sour cream, chives or green onions, lemon ~  if you want them for toppings.

You can use any kind of chicken cut into parts. You could use all breasts, and or thighs, or drumsticks, or a combination of those pieces or a whole chicken cut into parts. The amount is also optional. Cook as much as you will serve and eat for one meal or extra so you can save it to eat cold the next day. Baked chicken breasts are delicious sliced into small pieces and added to a green salad or put into a sandwich.

I use chicken with the skin on because I like the flavor and I like the crispy skin. I have used the skinless boneless variety and it works. It just isn’t as attractive or as tasty without the lovely crusty skin. I have no problem with fat, not does anyone in my family so we are able to eat whatever we like – such as skin on our roasted chicken!

Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees. Use a heavy cast iron skillet that can be put into the oven or a casserole dish. Choose one large enough to spread out all the chicken you choose to cook in one layer. Grease the pan with olive oil. Using a pastry brush paint each piece of chicken lightly with olive oil in order to make the herbs stick to it.

Put a very generous amount of Herbes de Provence in a mortor and pestle and add salt and coarsely ground black pepper in the proportionate amount you instinctively judge to be right. You can always add more salt and pepper, even after the chicken is cooked and tasted at the table. (Leave out the salt for people who are required not to use it.) Grind these ingredients together. Then coat each piece of chicken quite thoroughly with the herb mixture. I simply put the herbs in a pie pan and roll each piece of chicken through them until it is coated.

Arrange the chicken pieces in one layer in the cooking pan. Now add fresh bay leaves. Either place a whole leaf under a slit in the skin of a big piece of chicken like a breast, or tear the leaf in smaller pieces to put on each piece. I make a slit in the chicken skin with a sharp knife and insert the bay leaf or part of one under the skin. This imparts a lovely flavor to the meat.

It is important not to eat the bay leaves. Ever! The body cannot digest them and they end up in peoples appendixes! So remember to remove the bay leaves before eating. And tell everyone you are serving this.

If fresh rosemary and thyme is available, add a sprig of one or each. I simply lay a small “branch” across the top of the chicken. If you have several pieces cooking use a few small sprigs. You will also remove these at the end of the baking also along with the bay leaves.

The oven is now preheated to 400 Degrees. The chicken is now coated with the herbs, and in the cooking pan, with the bay leaf, rosemary, and thyme if you have it.

Put the chicken in its pan on the center rack of the oven and cook for one hour. You can check it at 45 minutes if you like, but it usually takes a full hour to bake through and develop a nice golden brown crispy crust. The chicken is done when the crust is browned. It smells divine while cooking. The herbs smell fabulous.

Remove the chicken from the oven, remove the bay leaves and any rosemary or thyme twigs before serving. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the meat for a nice fresh twinge of citrus.

If I am serving a group I put the chicken on a platter preheated in my dishwasher or under hot running to help keep the meat hot. If serving individuals or small groups I serve it directly on dinner plates.

I generally bake perfect potatoes at the same time as the chicken in the same oven! At the same 4oo degree preheated oven for an hour. Isn’t that easy? To bake a potato perfectly use a medium sized baker. Wash the skin with a brush. Puncture the potatoes with a sharp knife. I stab a knife into the skin and about an inch into the flesh of the potato about 5x per potato. (It is very important to do this or your potato will turn into a bomb and explode in your oven making a very loud noise and a terrible mess. It has happened at our house when somebody forgot to puncture a potato. And it was a disaster!)

I spent my summers on my grandparent’s ranch in southern Idaho as child and they raised potatoes. Idaho is know as the Potato State! The natives call themselves and each other Spuds! This is how Spuds bake perfect potatoes. My potatoes are perfectly cooked and fluffy inside at the same time the chicken is done. To test them for doneness pierce the potato with a sharp knife. If it goes in easily and the inside is soft it is cooked. If the potato is still firm and it is hard to insert the knife it needs to cook a little longer. (Do not over cook.)

I serve the potatoes with the chicken with butter, salt and pepper, or sour cream and chopped chives or green onions if they are available. I present the potatoes whole, unopened so they stay piping hot and let each diner put on his own choice and amount of garnishes. Salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice squeezed onto the flesh of a potato are also very good if one is trying to avoid butter. B sure to eat the skin as it is really tasty and full of nutrients.

I serve the Class Chicken and Perfect Baked Potatoes with a tossed green salad and my Sauce Vinaigrette salad dressing which is already published on this blog.

I make the salad in advance and stick it in the refrigerator while teaching class or whatever. I also make the dressing in advance and have it sitting out at room temperature. The salad is ready to serve after tossing with the dressing.

You can preset the dinner table, then put the chicken, the baked potatoes and the salad on the table and sit down to a great dinner in 10 minutes. A loaf of crusty French Bread is another nice addition.

I am really hungry after writing this! I want to go to the store to get the ingredients and make it tonight!

I will add a photo in a day or two. I am posting this today at a friend’s request.

Asides from me: Microwaved potatoes taste terrible. Oiling the skin of a potato on the outside before cooking it ruins it. Putting it in foil ruins it. Baking Potatoes are a perfect ready to easily cook gift from God. They come in their own baking dish (their own skin) and the entire thing is edible. They are, in my opinion, a perfect food. I have many other ways to cook potatoes as well which I will write up at some point.

Lady Violette cocktail from The Mansion on Peachtree

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Lady Violette cocktail from The Mansion

I found this cocktail on the web. It looks delicious! I love the idea of floating an orchid blossom in the drink! Lovely!

2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce lemon
1/2 ounce creme de violette
1 ounce simple syrup
1 egg white
edible flower for garnish (optional)

Shake all ingredients vigorously for 30 seconds in a cocktail shaker and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with edible flowers of any variety if you like (an orchid is used here).

Lady Violette cocktail from The Mansion on Peachtree

Lady Violette’s Special Sauce Vinaigrette – a Wonderful French Salad Dressing Often Served Chez Violette

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Lady Violette’s Sauce Vinaigrette

a Very Special French Salad Dressing often served Chez Violette


This makes about 1/2 cup.

Step #1) Combine in a lidded jar:

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. dry mustard

1 tbs. balsamic vinegar

1 tbs. olive oil

Attach lid and shake vigorously until well blended,

Step #2) Then, add:

2 tbs. olive oil

Attach lid and shake well again,

Step # 3) Then, add:

1 tbs. vinegar

3 tbs. olive oil

1 clove pealed and cut in half garlic

Attach lid and shake well again.

Step # 4) Place the covered jar in a cool place until ready to use. Shake well before using. Remove the garlic cloves then drizzle over salad greens, then toss greens to coat thoroughly. Add other vegetables, etc. (nuts, croutons) to the tops of the coated salad greens after dressing.

You can use other types of oils, instead of olive oil, such as walnut or hazelnut for a variation in flavoring. You can use fresh squeezed lemon juice instead of vinegar if you like. You can add 1 tbs. V-8 juice to the dressing during the final step for a  tomato flavoring. You can add 1/4 tsp. herbs de provence, ground fine in a mortar and pestle to the final step of mixing.

This dressing can be made and used immediately as part of your salad making routine or made a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator marinating with the the garlic clove until the next day. Allow it to warm up and “melt” before mixing it with the greens or you will have a gummy blob. I have microwaved it for a few seconds to rush this when in a hurry. Be careful not to do it more than a few seconds or you will ruin the dressing by cooking it which it will not like. It is safer, unless you are experienced, to let it warm up on its own at room temperature while you prepare the rest of your meal.

The most important thing is that you have to mix the dressing in the three steps as directed. It does not turn out properly if you try to mix it faster by adding all the ingredients to each other in the beginning. Don’t rush it!

Also note: I toss the greens in the dressing in a large bowl with a wooden salad spoon and fork before adding the remaining salad ingredients. This assures that the greens are all well coated with the dressing but the other additions retain their freshness and beauty by being gently arranged on the top of the coated greens.

You can serve the salad in a large bowl or on a platter or on individual plates. For buffets I like to spread it out on a beautiful antique or vintage platter decorated with flowers and garnish it with pretty colored vegetable and flowers carefully arranged around the sides. This is always very impressive.

Even children and adults who often say they hate vegetables get hooked on my salads! The dressing makes everything taste good and they actually discover that their taste buds have grown up to like salads and vegetables since the last ones they tried!

Aha! It is a trick I learned from my mother. She would tell us, “You should taste that dish tonight. I am quite sure you really will find that you like it. Artichoke’s are a very adult culinary delight. I bet your taste buds have grown up since the last time you tried them and you probably are big enough to like them now! Try dipping them in this amazing sauce I have made for them (and you!) . It is really quite a lot of fun to peel off a leaf and dip it into my yummy Hollandaise.”  And we would try it and lo and behold she was right! We had grown up enough to acquire a taste for the exotic vegetable at hand.

Of course she used all manner of cute fancy little dishes and quirky specialized utensils to tantalize us into trying to eat with them. It was terrific fun. We would eat things with tiny silver pinchers, or two-tined specialty forks, even down-sized children’s chop sticks. She went to great lengths to introduce us to amazing exotic foods and teach us to cook along side her. These were wonderful old fashioned skills to pass down to me. My father rightly referred to them as “The Feminine Arts.” It is a great asset for anyone to know them. I pride myself on my knowledge of The Feminine Arts. And I am happy to be able to pass on some of that legacy to others should they wish to learn to practice them. They make my life more romantic and lovely to live, in practice, as well as in theory every day.

And here are some of my Lady Violette Basic Salad Recipes. So you have some ideas to get you going using the Lady Violette Sauce Vinaigrette

These are ideas. You can experiment. I like to use greens of all kinds with this dressing. Some of my salads are as follows:

Salad #1)

Lettuces

Water Cress

Sliced Tomato

Sliced English Cucumber

Sliced Avocado if desired

Salad #2)

Boston Bib Lettuce

Red Leaf Lettuce

Granny Smith Apples cut into small pieces

Walnuts

Salad #3)

Spinach

Thinly Sliced Red Onion

Sliced Kumquats

Dried Zante Currants

Sunflower Seeds

Salad #4)

Spinach

Sliced Red Onions

Greek Olives

Feta Cheese Crumbled

Cherry Tomatoes – Red and Yellow if available

Salad #5)

Spinach

Sliced Red Onions

Sliced Hard Boiled Eggs

Sliced English Cucumbers

Goat Cheese

Salad #6)

Lettuces

Sliced Herb Baked Chicken Breast (My Recipe)

Grated Cheddar Cheese

Green Onions

Tomato Wedges

Carrots,

Celery

Herb Croutons (Made from Rosemary Diamante Bread)

Pomegranate Seeds (if available)

Salad #7) This is my favorite!

Greens – Any Combination of Fresh Herbs and Lettuces you can get in season.

I often call this roadside salad in the summer as many or the greens can be gathered wild or from your garden

Berries – Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Huckleberries, Blackberries, etc.

Nuts – Select from your favorite varieties.

Sliced Oranges if desired

Edible Flowers – Especially Violets and Rose Petals, Pansies, Calendula, etc.

Fresh Mint Leaves

Bon appetite! From the kitchen of Lady Violette, Chez Violette

Lady Violette’s Lavender Orange Cosmo

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Lady Violette's Lavender Orange Cosmo

An elegant fruit and flower cocktail created by Lady Violette with the lavender liquor Parfait Amour and delicately scented with orange blossoms via a whisper of Absolute Mandarin…

Combine:

Absolute Mandarin – 1.5 oz

Parfait Amour  – .5 oz

Fresh Lime Sour  – 1 oz

Cranberry Juice – 1 oz

Shake and Pour.

Serve in a martini glass with a Lavender Sugar rim. Garnish with two slices of fresh orange with the peel. Decorate with a sprig of fresh lavender in summer and an edible orange blossom or orange pansy or viola flower float when in season.  A cocktail as visually delicious as it tastes! Enjoy!

This was inspired by the Lavender Cosmo I tasted at the Northgate Stanford’s Restaurant in Seattle, WA, where you can try their version if you don’t want to make your own. I took their listed ingredients and tweaked it to come up with Lady Violette’s Lavender Orange Cosmo. Upon inquiring I found that all the restaurants in their chain serve their Stanford’s Lavender Cosmo. They were unable to tell me who originally invented their recipe but I will be happy to list that credit if I do find out. It was also delicious! So delicious I was inspired to come home and create my own version!

Lady Violette’s Lavender Sugar

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Making Lavender Sugar

In a larger than 1 Cup capacity glass jar with a tight fitting lid:

Combine:

1 Cup granulated sugar with

2 Tablespoons organic lavender flowers.

Screw on the lid and shake vigorously. Set this aside in a dark cupboard.

Allow to process for 2 weeks or longer, shaking the jar occasionally to disperse. The lavender flowers can look like bugs in the sugar if people aren’t  forewarned ! Explain that what they see are flowers.

Shake well before use.

Variation #1) To use in baking you can use directly as is, leaving the whole lavender flower buds in the sugar. Or, if preferred, you can strain them out. The sugar will taste very intensely lavender flavored either way.

Variation #2) To use for sugared rims in cocktails place the sugar in a small food processor and process on high speed long enough to pulverize the flowers in the sugar. There will then be very small pieces of the purple colored flower throughout the sugar. And it will taste really good! Prepare the sugared rims as you would with any other type of sugar…

Lavender Sugar can be used to flavor baked goods such as cookies and cakes, to flavor frostings, or lemonade, to stir into iced or hot tea, and to sugar the rims of floral cocktails. It is delicious over fresh berries or used to sweeten blackberry pies. It also goes well with all manner of chocolate and can be used in candies and chocolate sauces. I have used it in custards and cheesecakes and pound cake and ice cream. Experiment! And enjoy! You will undoubtedly find new uses!

To make bigger batches simply mix larger amounts using the same proportions.

It is lovely served from an antique sugar bowl with a silver spoon for afternoon tea.

Who is Lady Violette?

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

This is Lady Violette

Lady Violette is a romantic interested in all things violet. As a plant huntress and adventuress she searches the world for rare breeds and studies and writes on both the History of Flowers and the Effects of Flowers on History. She is an authority on The Language of Flowers and Their Meanings and is dedicated to resurrecting interest in this field. She cooks with edible flowers and collects and invents Edible Flower Recipes.