PocketSquaresCo. by Alex Gayowsky

PSLogo

I am very proud to post my very first Behind The Scenes article on a local Windsor entrepreneur that embodies what a hard-working individual can be capable of creating. This twenty-five year old English Literature graduate has taken her love of typography and witty citations to a level of success and devotion only a select group have accomplished. In July of 2011, Alex Gayowsky of Tecumseh, Ontario created PocketSquaresCo, her literary-inspired company of handmade and eco-friendly planners, notebooks, calendars and mementos.

2013 Pocket Planners

2012 Pocket Planners

Unhappy with the local selection, Alex started off originally making planners for her and her friends, and expanded her talent to build a successful business that has generated more than 600 sales in only 21 months. Computer savy and a designer at heart, she took her growing products from a small home-based business to a more organized and profitable route of publication – the Internet. In August of 2011, PocketSquaresCo. opened on Etsy, a popular online marketplace to buy and sell handmade, vintage, and one-of-a-kind keepsakes. Within the first day of publication, PocketSquaresCo. was already receiving orders. In 2012, PocketSquaresCo. introduced new designs and products to keep up with a growing fanbase. Made with 100% recycled paper made in Montreal, Canada, her customizable books and stationary have been recognized all over the internet and in her hometown. In December of 2012, Made in Windsor, where local handmade goods are showcased, PocketSquaresCo. was given a main exhibit and attracted over 900 supporters.

100% Recycled Recipe Cards - $8.00/13

100% Recycled Recipe Cards – $8.00/13

Featuring popular literary quotes, PocketSquaresCo. has gone from producing cute, but practical, calendars and planners, to save-the-dates, bridal shower invitations, thank-you cards, specialty journals, recipe indexes, notebooks, PenPal notecards, and more. With future showcases already schedualed, Alex Gayowsky has taken her small, local business to a global scale where practicality and visually appealing keepsakes come hand-in-hand. Her favourite quote by Lewis Caroll, “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast” tells true to an individual who made such an impossible level of success at such a young age, possible by implementing ambition and dedication that brings her one step closer to her dream of opening her own stationary store.

For product information, visit PocketSquaresCo. on Facebook or Etsy.

Tea For Two! Or Three.. Or Four..

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(image courtesy of annabellestearoom.com)

This week, I visited the cutest little tea room in Kingsville, Ontario with my girlfriends and was amazed at just how quaint and authentic it really was! Located on beautiful Lake Erie, owner Susanne wanted to create a space fashioned with delicate antiques and Victorian charm; tea cups with intricate color and detail sit upon rustic shelves to create the most gracious atmosphere; and brass fixtures are fastened to old, refinished fireplaces situated at the back of each cozy room.

jkp

But Annabelle’s old charm is not the only attribute that makes this place one of my favorite Eats. With a menu of over 95 different aromatic teas to chose from and an elegant dining menu fixed with scrumptious tea sandwiches, authentic quiches and soups, and delicate pastries served with the most delicious cream and fruit preserves, it was hard to choose what to try first! Sitting at the intimate table with my girlfriends gave me an authentic feel for the Victorian Era.

If you have a chance to visit the area, I would highly recommend Annabelle’s Tea House for a charming outing, baby shower, wedding shower, children’s birthday party, or just a lunch-date!

Visit the site here for more information and reservations!

Scallops with Champagne Custard

Baked scallops
(image courtesy of saveur.com)

This recipe comes to us from Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard (See “A Little Love; A Little Lava..). With only 5 ingredients, this scallop recipe is sure to please any seafood lover – like myself. It’s a little bit of work, but trust me, the taste is WORTH IT.

Scallops with Champagne Custard

12 scallops, in their shells
3/4 cup of champagne (I prefer a sweeter one, but it’s entirely up to you)
3/4 cup of fish OR chicken stock
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 egg yolks

Serves: 3 – 4 as an appetizer

1. Shell and rinse the scallops to remove any dirt or sand; set aside in a bowl at room temperature.
2. Rinse the top half of each scallop and set aside for baking/serving.
3. Over medium heat in a small saucepan, reduce the champagne to about half; set aside to cool down.
4. In another saucepan, combine stock and any scallop juices and reduce to half.
5. Lower the heat and add the heavy cream; Quickly bring to just a boil, then take off the heat.
6. In a mixing bowl, mix the cooled champagne, add the egg yolks and whisk until foamy.
7. Slowly, add the cream mixture and whisk continuously – this is the beginning of your custard.
8. Transfer this mixture back to a saucepan, and over LOW heat, whisk custard until it coats the back of a wooden spoon (this may take 10 – 15 minutes).
9. Preheat the broiler.
10. Cut each scallop in half horizontally so you have two coins per scallop.
11. Arrange 6 shells per baking sheet, and top off the shells with a scallop coin and 1 – 2 tablespoons of the custard.
12. Cook each pan individually (6 halved scallops per pan = 4 pans) under the broiler for 1 – 2 minutes
13. Serve right away!

TIP: DO NOT rush the custard cooking time by turning up the heat – this may cause the custard to cook too fast and separate. Also, if you prefer your scallops to well done, precook the scallops in a saucepan before baking in the oven. Topping off the scallops with some chopped green onions or bacon bits can also add a nice kick to your flavor!

Enjoy!

A Little Love; A Little Lava..

Molten Lava Cakes
(image courtesy of onceuponachef.com)

While my camera is out of commission at the worst possible time, I thought I would make my very first post about a book that inspired me in a way that you can only read about in movies; a book that blends together visions of the perfect city, perfect love life, and perfect chocolate cake. Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard is a book I not only refer to for authentic French Cuisine, but for when I want to close my eyes and pretend for just a second I’m strolling through the Passage Vivienne. If you haven’t visited her blog, I highly suggest you drop whatever you are doing, grab a glass of wine, get into a hot bubbly bathtub, and READ IT. I don’t doubt many of my posts will focus on this culinary marvel.

Out of all the delectable recipes to follow each chapter of her book, there is one in particular that gets my chocolate-infused blood boiling. Her Molten Cake recipe will make any chocoholic bow down to it in all its glory. Perfect for date night or a quiet night in with the girls, this recipe is sure to wow you and your guests!

Individual Molten Chocolate Cakes

8 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 ounces dark chocolate (Bard prefers at least 70% cocoa)
A pinch of sea salt
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour

Serves: 6

1. Preheat oven to 450°F
2. Melt the dark chocolate and unsalted butter in the microwave or in the top of a double boiler (I use a pot with an inch of warm water, and melt my ingredients in another pot on top of the water), and add a pinch of the sea salt.
3. During this time, beat together the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until foamy and light.
4. Add the egg mixture to the melted chocolate, and whisk quickly to combine the ingredients.
5. Add the flour to the chocolate/egg mixture and stir to combine. The mixture will be thick.
6. Divide the batter evenly between the molds. (Bard suggests foil molds stacked to preferred thickness, or to use small buttered ramekins.
7. Bake 7 minutes for a liquid-chocolate center; 8 minutes for a gooey chocolate center.
8. GENTLY pop out of molds.

I like to top mine with powdered sugar and a couple raspberries to add some tartness to balance the sweetness of the chocolate. Also, a big, tall glass of cold milk is essential to the perfect bite.

TIP: If your making the batter ahead of time, you CAN refrigerate it, but make sure you bring the batter back up to room temperature before you bake.

Once again, a big thank you to Elizabeth Bard for her inspiring book and delicious recipes. You can check out her blog at elizabethbard.com.