Purple Kitchen Treats

Over the past few years, I have been working on a cookbook. During this time, I took time off to finish my Master's Degree. Now that I have accomplished that, I am working again on my cookbook, slowly but surely.

However, over the past few months, something interesting has happened...I have received multiple requests for baked goods, particularly my cookies. I am also receiving multiple requests for granola. So, with all these requests in mind, I have started to make my cookies for sale, along with my granola.

My official web site is available, but will be undergoing a significant redesign. Be sure to visit my "official" web site at: http://www.susanshonk.com and watch for some exciting changes.

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,

Saturday, November 8, 2014

One grill & 2 girls

Hi Everyone,

Today, a friend is coming over with her 2 kids and we are spending the afternoon grilling out.  Here is what we will be making:

  • Pork tenderloin, which will be used in a lovely pot of Posole`
  • Tuscan chicken
  • Southwestern turkey burgers
  • Pork chops, that will be brined in my spicy adobo mix
  • Asparagus
  • Portobello mushrooms (be sure to remove the gills)
  • Red, yellow and orange peppers
  • Poblano peppers
  • Corn on the cob
  • Purple onions, sliced thickly
And - garlic mashed potatoes made with roasted garlic and maybe a little grated Asiago cheese thrown in, just for good measure!

Then, the baking will commence......home-made blueberry muffins, pumpkin bread and gingerbread cookies with icing, ricotta pie with citron, a lovely smoked salmon tarte......and baking eggs and cooking up some bacon.  

Yes, I am preparing food for 2 weeks, for 2 people for lunches and dinner.  Once all of this is cooked, it will be packaged and some of it frozen for the following week.

I find this way of prepping food much easier with my full-time job.  I tend to work between 50 and 60 hours per week, so this saves me so much time and gives me more time with my husband on week nights.  

I hope y'all enjoy your weekend.

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Holiday Cookie and Cake orders

Cookies, and cakes and breads, OH MY!!!!

I received an order for Thanksgiving from someone local for 10 dozen cookies and 2 pumpkin chiffon cakes a few days ago.  The cookies that were ordered include:
  • Chocolate, cherry and chipotle
  • Apricot, macadamia and white chocolate
  • Orange cream
  • Chocolate, caramel and cashew
  • Spicy peanut butter
The pumpkin chiffon cakes are being baked in 2 different and very fancy cake molds. 

I also received another order for 3 pumpkin breads using a bread mold that I purchased from William Sonoma that is in the shape of a pumpkin patch, which is very cool!  

I will also be doing some specialty cookies for a wedding after the first of the year.  These are dove shaped cookies, flavored with almond extract and decorated with royal icing with sliced almonds as feathers on the wings and tail.  The bride is coming over for a tasting the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  

I'll post pictures of every thing as I prepare them.

I'm so excited!!!!

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,


A new twist on white bread

Hi Everyone,

It has been some time since my last post.  Lots has happened between March and now.  It will suffice to say that it has been a long road that is now well travelled and that journey has come to an end.  I am now able to refocus on my passion for cooking.

I have several new recipes to post and will begin with a simple white bread with a new flavor profile. This one includes the flavors of maple and vanilla bean.  I brought some to work for my staff and they gobbled up the entire loaf.

This bread is moist and delicious, buttery and slightly sweet.  It is great as French toast, toasted or for sandwiches.  Speaking of sandwiches, I see thinly sliced pork tenderloin wrapped in maple bacon and glazed with maple and chipotle.  Add a little swiss cheese and some cranberry chipotle spread, lightly butter the bread and grill until the cheese gets nice and melty and the bread is golden brown.....complete YUMNESS!!!!!

This makes two 5 x 7 inch loaves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

For the bread:

1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup maple syrup - the real stuff
1 stick of butter (not margarine), plus 4 tablespoons at room temperature for prepping the bowl that the dough will rise in and the two (5 x 7 inch) loaf pans
2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon of pure maple extract

1 slightly heaping tablespoon dry yeast
6 - 9 cups of unbleached, all purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Heat the water, cream, syrup and the stick of butter on low, until the butter melts and the temperature of the liquid is no more than 110 degrees F.  Add the yeast and stir, cover, set aside to proof for at least 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix 6 cups of the flour with the salt.

Add 2 cups of the flour to the liquid, along with the extracts.  Mix to combine.  Then, add the liquid into the remaining 4 cups of flour and combine.  The dough will most likely be sticky.  Add flour in 1/2 cup increments and mix well after each addition until the dough doesn't stick to the spoon.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, adding a sprinkling of flour as needed to keep the dough from being sticky.  Once the dough is smooth, elastic and dry to the touch, let it rest.  Prepare the bowl by buttering it, and place the dough in the bowl.  Brush the bread dough with 1 tablespoon of the butter, cover with a clean dish towel and set aside in a warm, draft free location.

Butter the loaf pans liberally.  Once the dough has doubled in size, turn the dough out onto a dry surface and punch it down.  Cut the dough into 2 equal pieces and form it to fit into the loaf pans and place it into the pans.  Cover with the dish towel and set aside to rise.  Once the dough has doubled in size, place on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  It will also be a beautiful golden brown.  Check the bread for doneness by tapping the bread firmly with your finger.  If it sounds hollow, it is done.

Remove the loaves from the pans and place on a towel to absorb any moisture.  Brush the top of the loaves with butter.  Let them cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing off a piece to enjoy.  Be sure to use a serrated knife to slice the bread.  Wrap the cooled loaves snugly in tin foil or clear wrap and refrigerate to keep them fresh.  These should last about a week in the fridge.  This bread also freezes well.

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,