3.31.2015

Martha Bakes Nominated for Two Daytime Emmy Awards!

Congratulations are in order! Martha Bakes was nominated for two Daytime Emmy Awards: Outstanding Culinary Program and Outstanding Host for Martha Stewart! The program, which is now in its fourth season, is the most watched cooking program on PBS with an average of 1.2 million viewers a week from around the United States. Martha Bakes is the most visited show on PBS's digital cooking portal, PBS Food, and recipes from the show consistently rank among the top viewed recipes on PBS Food. The series has been viewed in 95% of U.S. television households, according to TRAC Media Services. Last year, the show won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Series, In Studio or On Location. I believe this is the first time the show has been nominated for an Emmy Award! Congratulations to Martha, PBS and the entire Martha Bakes team!
This is a photograph I took of Martha Stewart's Emmy Awards when I was on her program in 2010. They were all arranged in the green room on a console table from the Martha Stewart Signature furniture line. Only seven of the 18 Emmys she has won over years are shown here.

Martha's Next Book: Appetizers

On September 8th, Martha Stewart's 88th book will be released, and it's all about appetizers. The hardcover book will be 256 pages featuring more than 200 recipes for tasty dips, pre-dinner bites, substantial small plates, special occasion finger foods and quick snacks to enjoy with drinks. The book also promises to offer 30 cocktail recipes! Below is an image of the cover, as shown on Amazon and several other online book retailers. Stay tuned for more news about the book as it becomes available and pre-order it here!

Golden Egg Mini Vases

I wanted to share a bit of Easter inspiration on the blog and remembered this wonderful craft that I saw at the Seventy Nine Ideas blog a couple years ago. It's such an easy project and the effect is really beautiful. If you didn't want to use the eggs as mini vases, as shown in these photographs by Radostina Bosseva, you could use these golden eggs as a centerpiece by grouping many of them in a bowl, varying the luster on the eggs by using bronze and gold spray paint, or keeping them entirely one metallic shade. To make them, begin first by blowing out the eggs. (You can watch the how-to process by clicking here.) Once the eggs have been blown from the shells, gently wash them under lukewarm water and let them completely dry. Lay the shells down on newsprint in a well-ventilated area. Spray the egg shells and allow them to dry completely: at least two hours. If desired, crack the tops off some of the egg shells, fill the shells with a small amount of water and place sprigs of lily-of-the-valley (or any small, delicate flower) inside. Arrange the eggs in an egg carton so that they stand upright when displayed. These egg shells can be carefully stored in an empty egg carton placed in a container lined with bubble wrap or Styrofoam peanuts.


A very nice way of presenting eggs of any sort is this ceramic egg crate, which holds six eggs. It is available at Anthropologie and comes in three colours: blue, white and chartreuse.

3.29.2015

Remembering: Martha Stewart Everyday 'Magazines'

Many of us longtime Martha fans remember those wonderful days when the Martha Stewart Everyday line of merchandise was still filling the shelves at Kmart stores. Even today, more than ten years after the line phased out and Martha's contract with Kmart expired, fans of the brand still pine for those beautifully-designed products for the home; the kitchen, bedroom, bath and garden products were excellent quality and very affordable. While the Martha Stewart Collection at Macy's is an excellent substitute, there was something about the timelessness of the Everyday line that still endures today.

To help promote the line in the early 2000s, Martha Stewart produced two in-house magazines that were distributed exclusively at Kmart stores. They were ostensibly promotional catalogs featuring many of the MSE products sold in store, but were designed to have the look and feel of magazines. They were free and were stacked on news racks at the checkout lines at select Kmart stores. They are quite rare today and very collectible. They can occasionally be found on eBay. Below are images from these 'magazines.' Special thanks to my friend Kenn for scanning these pages.
The first one to be issued was the "Martha Stewart Everyday Garden Magazine," published in the spring of 2001. The magazine was 100 pages and featured Martha Stewart Everyday products for the garden, mixed and matched with editorial how-to content about planting and gardening. As well as being available in store, this magazine was also mailed out to homes. The table of contents included these subjects: Gardening 101, No Fuss Roses, Pots and Planters for Nonstop Color, The Best Backyard Barbecue, Easy Perennials for Sun and Shade, The Perfect Tomato.




The second promotional magazine released in Kmart stores to promote the Everyday line came in 2003. It was devoted to summer, with subjects ranging from summer crafts for kids, blueberry treats, growing hydrangeas and decorating outdoors for a festive summer evening party. The contents included: Questions and Answers, Fun Ideas, Hydrangeas, Ready, Set, Summer!, Blue-sky Parties, Easy Annuals for Nonstop Color, Very Berry Treats, Rooms in Bloom, Bright Nights, How to Make it, How to Do it, Where to Find it. 





3.25.2015

Coffee Filter Flower Bowls

I'm always a sucker for the re-imagined and the re-purposed. Few do it better than Martha and her team. I came across these coffee filter flower bowls at a child's birthday party I attended several years ago hosted by a friend of mine for her daughter. She had made them using all shades of blue and green and the effect was so striking. She had arranged them as a centerpiece on the table and filled them with candies. While she did not use this exact project as a template, the how-to is nicely articulated here. The reason I chose to blog about it, aside from its obvious springtime reference, is that it's a very easy project for kids to take part in. I always think it's nice to have ideas like this in mind if you have kids in your life. This craft project makes a very cost-effective and entertaining activity for young children, whether it's after school, at a children's event or at a birthday party. If you'd like to do the project yourself for an Easter table, there are no limits to how embellished and fancy you can make these little containers. See below for instructions:
MATERIALS:

Green and yellow food colouring (You could use any colour combination)
Wide shallow bowl or pie plate
Coffee filters
Paintbrush
Paper cups and paper bowls
Scissors
Hot-glue gun
(The paper cups and bowls for this project were ordered here.)

HOW-TO

1. Pour water with a few drops of food colouring into wide, shallow bowls. Dye a few filters completely green. Dip the open end of a larger stack of filters in yellow. Remove, and let dry while stacked upside down. (Note: Coffee filters hold their shape best when dyed in a stack.)

2. Using the paintbrush, paint cups with food colouring mixture. (Do some interiors, some exteriors, some both.)

3.  Separate dyed filters when dry. Fold 1 in half, and snip into fluted part every few inches. Trim snips into rounded petals. Continue to trim all filters this way, varying the type of petal shape: some rounded, some angular. Unfold. Cut green filters into leaf shapes, making sure they are large enough to be seen once fastened to the bottoms of the flowers.

4. If desired, layer several flower-petal filters on top of each other to create a more lush and full flower. Use the glue-gun to attach them.

5. Glue cups to centers of filter flowers. Glue green leaves to underside of filters.

In the photos above, several examples show layers of the flower petal filters have been glued to the insides of the paper bowls to create a varied effect once a group of them are assembled on a table. Fan out the layered petals and paint the centers a deeper shade of yellow. Click here for a variation on the same project: coffee-filter water lilies!

3.19.2015

Homemade Cadbury Creme Eggs! (Yes, it's a thing!)

Don't fret. I have no intentions of making this a food blog. I did make Martha Stewart's chocolate pudding a few weekends ago, however, and since then I have been on a bit of a chocolate confection kick. After buying my first trio of Cadbury Creme Eggs at the grocery store the other day, I randomly decided to see if I could find a recipe that I could use to make these mysterious little Easter treats at home. I was surprised (and delighted) to find many links to food blogs that had exactly what I was looking for! 
The recipe for the cream eggs on each of the blogs I found was basically the same. They all seem to be variations on this one found on instructables.com posted in 2011. I was a bit more fond of this recipe I found on an excellent food blog called Food52. I like the simplicity and quality of the ingredients and the clarity of the method. You can see the recipe below.

Whether or not I attempt to make these remains to be seen, but I did want to share the recipe here in case there are any other Cadbury Creme Egg enthusiasts out there who would like to have it in their repertoire. Thanks to Ashley Rodriguez for this recipe and photos. Visit her wonderful blog, Not Without Salt, for more food inspiration.

Homemade Cadbury Creme Eggs

Makes around 15 eggs, depending on size.

Adapted from instructables.com

½ cup Lyle’s golden syrup
6 tablespoons butter, softened
½ teaspoon salt
3 drops orange blossom water (optional)
1 vanilla bean, seeds removed (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cup powdered sugar
¼ to ½ teaspoon yellow food coloring
12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (or 1 bag bittersweet chocolate chips)
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer that has been fitted with the paddle attachment (this can also be done by hand or with a hand mixer). Add the golden syrup, salt, orange blossom water (if using), vanilla seeds, and vanilla extract. Mix on medium-low to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure everything is mixed well. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the powdered sugar. Mix until completely smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Place a third of the mixture into a small bowl and add enough yellow food coloring to obtain your desired color. Cover both bowls with plastic wrap and put into the freezer for at least 15 minutes; your mixture must be very cold while you work with it. 
When the sugar mixture is thoroughly chilled, remove from the freezer. Working quickly, take about ½ teaspoon of the yellow “yolk” mixture and roll it into a ball. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.
Once the yolks are complete, place them on a plate or a sheet tray covered with parchment and then put that back into the freezer.

Now, scoop out a tablespoon of your “whites” and roll it into a ball. Repeat with the rest of the white portion of the sugar mixture. If the whites are too soft to work with, place back into the freezer for a few minutes.
Remove the yolks from the freezer. Place a white in the palm of your hand and gently flatten it a bit. Create an indent in the center to rest the yolk in. Place the yolk in the center of the white, then cover it up and roll the white into an egg shape. If at any point the sugar mixture gets too soft, quickly put it back into the freezer.

Continue this process until all your eggs are complete. Return them to the freezer.
While your eggs are chilling, temper your chocolate or microwave it in 30 second intervals, stirring very well in between. If you use the microwave method, add a tablespoon of canola oil to the melted chocolate and stir well; this will give you a little more flexibility with your chocolate. You will not, however, get as nice of a crack as you bite into the egg.
 Working with one egg at a time, remove the egg from the freezer and stick a toothpick in it. Dip the egg into the chocolate and carefully let the excess chocolate drip off. Place the other end of the toothpick into something – like a yam, perhaps – while the chocolate sets.
 Place the chocolate-covered egg into the fridge for 10 minutes while the chocolate sets. Carefully remove the toothpick from the egg and cover up the small hole with a little bit of tempered chocolate.

3.16.2015

How To Roast Justin Bieber

By all accounts, Martha Stewart stole the show at the all-star Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber on Saturday night. She not only endured many unprintable put-downs from fellow roasters, including Kevin Hart, Snoop Dogg and Jeffrey Ross, but she completely nailed the most memorable roast of the night. From offering tips on how Justin could survive his "inevitable" stint in prison to suggesting she might be the perfect sugar mama for the Canadian superstar, Martha was on point! Click here for a preview of some of Martha's wild remarks and be sure to tune in to Comedy Central on March 30th when the roast will air.
 On her way into the studio, Martha coyly retreated behind a curtain only to reappear in "Heeeere's Johnny" fashion. (Wire Image)
Martha, wearing a dress by Andrew Gn, poses with Justin outside his trailer before the roast. Martha is a big fan of Beiber's and was very excited when he gave her an autographed 8x10 glossy after the show! (Getty Image)