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Monday, September 24, 2012

Pistachio Macaroons

Pistachio Macaroons

My Dad loves pistachios, so I made these cookies just for him.
1/2 cup ground almonds/almond meal/almond flour
1/4 cup ground pistachios
1 cup powdered sugar/confectioner's sugar
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup superfine sugar
J cracked open all the nuts for me.  Put about 1 to 1/2 a cup into the food processor to get started.
After a few seconds they are coarse, but not fine.  Set some aside for decorating and for the filling.
Add powdered sugar, almond meal, and 1/4 cup of the pre-processed pistachios in the food processor.
Process for a few more seconds until it looks like a unified powder.
Prepare 2 egg whites in a mixing bowl.
Beat on high until soft peaks form.
Continue beating adding 1/4 cup superfine sugar 1 Tbs at a time.
Beat until stiff peaks form.
Optional:  Add a few drops of green food coloring to the beaten egg whites.
The green pistachios do not exude enough green color, so artificial food coloring gives these cookies a distinctive "I'm pistachio flavored because I am green" trade-mark.
Whip the green food coloring in for a few seconds until the egg whites a are uniformly green.
Add 1/3 of the powdered sugar/almond/pistachio sifted dry ingredients and fold into the egg whites.
Repeat with the next 1/3 of powder.  Repeat with the final 1/3 of powder until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
To pipe the cookie dough I use a disposable Wilton plastic piping bag.
To fill the bag I stick it in a large glass, tip at the bottom, and fold the top of the bag around the cup to give me more space for filling.
Then I fill the bag with my cookie dough and flip the top back up.
I cut the tip of the bag off and now I am ready to pipe out some cookies.
I pipe the cookies about 1 - 2 inches wide circles onto parchment paper on top of two sheet pans.  Yes, two sheet pans.  It is supposed to distribute the heat better with macaroons.  Macaroons are finicky like that.
Whatever am I going to do with the tips?!  If I bake them like this the cookies have baked tips and that is not pretty.
I wet my fingers with cold water and push down those little tips until the cookies are smooth.
Then decorate with the coarsely ground pistachios.  Like all finicky macaroons let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes while the over is pre-heating.
Bake at 325 degrees for 10-15 min.  It varies with ovens and elevations.

While the cookies are cooling prepare the pistachio filling.
6 Tbs softened room temperature butter
1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
The rest of the coarsely ground pistachios
Add pistachios, butter, and powdered sugar together.
Whip it and fill another piping bag.

Pipe pistachio frosting onto one cookie and place another one on top making a cookie sandwich.
Now for my favorite part, the eating.  I hear they are supposed to be better the next day, but they never last that long in my house.

This is The Place Civil War

This is the Place Heritage Park August 10 - 11th, 2012 Civil War re-enactment.
We bought a tent.
Look at our nice new canvas period-correct tent.  The first day breaking in our new tent it rained and the wind blew really hard and our lovely white tent got all dirty, but it stayed up.  I have very little outdoors/camping experience so it was very exciting for me to sleep in tent outdoors.  I actually slept pretty well even with the rooster next door crowing his little heart out in the morning.  I grew up with chickens outside my window so I guess it just felt like home.
The fun life of being a soldier.  Lining up and doing drills.
J gets to shoot at stuff.
I was so excited that I got a picture of the muzzle fire while they were shooting blanks.  We also shoot blanks.  We do not want anyone to get hurt so we shoot away from the spectators just in case someone accidentally gets a face full or black powder.  
Lovely ladies fashion.  This is the reason why I do Civil War re-enacting.  I get to play dress up all day.
These are just a few members of our Civil War group, including the littlest re-enactor wearing her first period correct baby clothes.
Camp Life.
J and I being cute.  Thank you to Rachel for taking this photo of us.  J is wearing his new Gambling hat.
I love his new hat.  I also got a new hat for this event.  A Mary Ann Barnard special as I like to call them.  She is our professional hat lady.

We work hard on being cute.
This is my Mom and I wearing hats.  I really appreciate how supportive my parents are of us.  They come to our events and take pictures for me.


Last Sunday I made meatloaf.
I used one pound of hamburger and one pound of ground turkey and seasoned them with garlic salt, pepper, Italian Seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and a little bit of lemon juice.  I put Italian Seasoning in everything.  It is my favorite spice.
Then I mash it up into chunks to more evenly spread out the seasoning.
Then I added 2 eggs, 1 can (14 oz) of evaporated milk for moisture.
Followed by a whole package of saltine crackers and half an onion, diced.
Mix that all together.
Form it into a lump and put it on a pan.  Here is where you learn from your mistakes.  Put the meatloaf on tinfoil sprayed with Pam over the pan, not on the pan directly.  Then you will not have to spend the next two days scrubbing baked on BBQ sauce off the sheet tray until you give up and call it good.
Cover the meatloaf with about 1/4 cup BBQ sauce.  It gives it a more tangy flavor than ketchup, I think.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 - 55 min.  Note the baked on BBQ sauce that I gave up on trying to scrub off.
Here is my adorable husband enjoying his meaty goodness.
Meatloaf and cheesy potatoes.  Comfort food that my Momma used to make.
And the best part is that we still had leftovers to eat for the next three days.  There is only two of us so a big meal can last a few days.  I can eat cold meatloaf for breakfast anytime.  Love the stuff.