January, 2009 | Bettina Network's Blog

Archive for January, 2009

The Tea Leaf

Sunday, January 25th, 2009
copyright The Bettina Network, inc. 2009

487 Moody Street                                                                hours: Wed thru Sun

Waltham, MA. 02453                                                                      11:30am – 5:30pm
781-891-1900                                                                      web site: thetealeaf.us
We spent a wonderful afternoon enjoying a ‘low tea’.  We could have chosen ‘Cream Tea’, ‘Light Tea’, ‘Children’s Afternoon Tea’ or we could have ordered from the a la carte menu.  The only draw back was the fact that none of this was organic.
When one walks into The Tea Leaf, you have to pause a moment to take in where you are.  You feel as though you have been transported to another place and time, apart from the one you were in moments before on a busy street with cars and other contributors to 21st century life outside.
There are only five or six tables (don’t remember exactly) with flowing brocade cloths which also covers all of chairs.  Shelves on one entire side line the place with teas of every description all for sale. Another wall has beautiful ‘things’ all tea related – prints in interesting frames, pictures created from layers of paper depicting tea parties, dolls in 19th century dress.  Look up over the tea shelves and one finds tea pots by the dozen.  One can shop before or after having tea for beaded purses, scarves,  tea pots of every description, cups and even clothes.  But we were there for tea.
We had two menus – one for tea and one for everything else.  What a nice switch from being presented with the wine list.
It took a few minutes for our order to arrive, but we enjoyed just sitting and soaking up the atmosphere. It wasn’t high French elegance, it was lovely, middle class Victorian England with an American entrepreneurial twist.
Our ‘low tea’ was wonderful.  You will probably find some of the ideas of this service showing up in Bettina breakfasts and/or afternoon tea in houses which serve such.
Food was served on a three tier tray – scones, with clotted cream and strawberry preserves on the bottom tier, finger sandwiches elegantly made on the second level and small assorted dessert pieces on top.  We each had a pot of tea and we ate everything except the scones.
We started with the finger sandwiches which were made for tea service.  They were perfection – with the expected cucumber, cream cheese, parsley combination to the unexpected very Italian-like eggplant sandwich.  The cut sides of the sandwiches were dipped in finely chopped herbs and they were half white and half wholewheat bread, very thinly sliced.
After a few moments to recover from the swoon, we looked at the scones – tasted one – and decided they would be left.  Our organic food bias threw up barriers to scones which looked and tasted as though they were made with bisquick or its equivalent.  They were not what we wanted to intrude on our lovely ‘low tea’, in spite of the clotted cream and strawberry preserves.
So on to the ‘assorted sweets’.  These began to restore our excitement about The Tea Leaf. They were all wonderful, except, maybe, the Madeleines. – After one bite we decided not to ruin the rest of the sweets by continuing to eat this one.
The proprietor fits the tea house.  She was very knowledgeable about her teas and very gracious in her service – which was impeccable.
Our thanks to Thom Roach of Gore Place for telling us about The Tea Leaf and with the above caveats included we elegantly recommend it to you for an afternoon well spent.
One bonus – we eavesdropped on the next table talking about their impressions of the inauguration and they were fun to hear, but after a few minutes we couldn’t hear them anymore because the atmosphere and food of The Tea Leaf changed the focus of our attention.
One does need reservations before arriving because you are greeted when you step in the door by the proprietress who very pointedly asks “do YOU have reservations!”
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Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

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Reader Feedback

Friday, January 16th, 2009
Thank you so much for your review of Cuisinart VS KitchenAid mixers.
I have been debating which mixer I should buy for several months.  Your comments confirmed my research that Cuisinart is a better made mixer than KitchenAid.  My daughter and daughter-in-law both own larger Kitchen Aid machines, but after using them I just couldn’t bring myself to buy one.
I just like the design of the Cuisinart.
I have a 20% off coupon from Bed, Bath and Beyond so I will buy the Cuisinart 7 quart 1000 watt mixer this weekend.
Thanks again!
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Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

TO LEARN MORE try www.bettina-network.com

 

Kitchen Aid vs Cuisinart

Thursday, January 15th, 2009
Copyright Bettina Network 2009

No comparison.  CUISINART WINS.  

We use a stand mixer often because we cook a lot and love to try new recipe’s, but we don’t like to beat things by hand or wire wisk, if we can find an easier way.  This mixer thing has been quite an experience. 

We bought a Kitchen Aid – middle of the line – and it lasted about two years before something cracked in the motor while we were whipping butter.  After that it would not whip anything heavier then egg whites, but the noise was so great we didn’t even want to use it for that. Trying to use it for anything heavier than egg whites, the machine wouldn’t work.
We called Kitchen Aid and they said – sorry – nothing we can do.  You can pay $25 and we will send you a box to mail the mixer back to us and we’ll check it out.  Once we’ve had a chance to examine the machine, we’ll call and tell you the cost of repair.  Can’t tell you before hand because we don’t know.  Can’t even give you an order of magnitude or a rough guess as to cost.
We thought, maybe we did something wrong.  Maybe it was too small a machine.  Kitchen Aid is the mixer used on all of the elegant cooking shows and in the beautiful magazines so the problem must be with us.
So instead of sending it back and risking a large repair bill, we decided to buy the largest, heaviest Kitchen Aid made – which we did.  A couple years later, with much less use, something in the motor cracked (again) and we had the exact same problem we experienced with the first Kitchen Aid we purchased.  Again we called the company and found – sorry – send us $32 and we will send you a box to mail the machine back to us, etc. etc. etc.
It was not a great telephone conversation and we were not pleased with the way we were treated so we got rid of the mixer.
This time, we were a lot more careful.  Instead of buying a machine whose company spent a lot on marketing and advertising to suck us in, we did tons of research and discovered – the Kitchen Aid probably has a design flaw, which they weren’t willing to admit.  In addition it has only a 275 or 375 watt motor and a warranty for ONE YEAR!  I hadn’t thought about warranty’s before, didn’t seem necessary, everything we bought before the Kitchen Aid we still have in good working order years later.
Our research pointed us towards the CUISINART, which we absolutely love.  It has a 1,000 watt motor, a warranty for three years with a five year warranty on the motor.  It is much more elegant – works better – the top comes up when you are mixing so you can scrape your bowl with ease and it is cheaper than the top of the line Kitchen Aid – with its one year warranty and much smaller, lighter motor.
I wondered why we bought the Kitchen Aid in the first place – and in retrospect – it was because it was extensively marketed, had a great image and we had it in our minds as the machine one bought if you were a really great cook and had a well equipped kitchen.
Well, we are poorer and wiser, but with a GREAT Cuisinart mixer and making better, easier, pastries and other foods with our new mixer.
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Bettina’s Macaroon Cookies

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

Copyright the Bettina Network, inc. 2009

An elegant cookie which takes just five to ten minutes of your time.
Great for using those egg whites you keep and don’t know how to use.
A good duo to make – chocolate pudding and these cookies.  The pudding uses three egg yolks, this recipe uses three egg whites.  You pass out from sugar shock when you finish tasting during the cooking process, but it is worth the short coma!
+ three egg whites
+ 1/2 cup organic turbinado raw sugar
+ pinch of salt
+ french vanilla syrup (we use flavorganics)
Put the egg whites into a mixer.  You can also use a wire whisk, but we are never that energetic. In todays fitness world, using the wire whisk to beat the egg whites will probably substitute for a day at the gym.  However, eating the cookies you bake takes that back so go and spend your time at your gym.
Beat the egg whites until they hold a peak.  Then add the sugar, french vanilla syrup, salt and continue beating until the egg whites look wonderul, white and are nice and well beaten.  Don’t ask what ‘well beaten’ means.  Common sense and taste govern cooking – it is a cookie, not a scientific experiment which you will be asked to repeat exactly!  And it is hard to mess up turning egg whites into meringue!
+ 2 cups organic dark chocolate pieces
more or less!  We like chocolate and so do our guests.  You might be more circumspect and want to actually taste the cookie!
Hand stir in the chocolate pieces, coconut, ground almonds, and/or anything else you want to add to the cookie mixture. (As time goes on you will find what you like best added to these cookies.)
Butter a cookie sheet by making rounds wherever you are going to drop a cookie.  Drop the cookies onto the cookie sheet using a large spoon or, if you are really good you can put them in a pastry bag and squeeze them out into beautiful shapes.  – bake at 225 degrees for about 40 minutes.  They should be a beautiful ivory color when done – not white nor brown, but ivory!
Turn off the heat and let the cookies stay in the oven for an hour or more until they have dried out and can be easily removed from the cookie tray.  If you have a hard time trying to remove a cookie – quit trying and put them back into the oven to dry a bit more.  You know they are ready when you can easily lift them from the cookie sheet.
Enjoy!
We like these best with chocolate and coconut added and Amaretto syrup substituted for the French Vanilla syrup.
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Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

TO LEARN MORE try www.bettina-network.com

 

A New Bettina House in Washington D. C.

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

copyright Bettina Network, inc. 2009

Each new addition to the Bettina Network is more exciting than the last.
This house, which will now welcome some of Bettina’s bed and breakfast guests is in Takoma Park, MD.  Just 1 block from the D. C. line; a short walk to the metro, restaurants, easy access to the beltway and in 10 minutes you can be at the Capital, on the National Mall or?
Takoma Park itself is a fantastic area to visit!  It is a small town with a population of about 18,000 people.  It is northeast of Washington, D. C. and was a place of retreat during the Washington D. C. summers because its high elevation eliminated mosquitos and malaria so prevalent in the city.  It was the world headquarters of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, which has a college, hospital and radio station in Takoma Park.  It is also a Sanctuary City. Sounds like another city we know – Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA.
Your home away from home in this location is wonderfully furnished with its own private entrance.  You have a bedroom, living room, bathroom and kitchen – all to yourself.  In the bath there is a jacuzzi and treadmill – to keep your energy level up while making those great and difficult business decisions.
The bedroom has a king bed with luxurious linens, and lots of comfort.  In the living room there is a Shiatzu Massage Chair to welcome you home after a long day of meetings, or touring, TV with cable, wii games, sofa, desk, wireless internet, fax machine, telephone and more.  In the kitchen you have laundry facilities so you don’t have to worry about running out of clothes, and the kitchen is fully furnished with lovely porcelain, crystal, pots, coffee, tea, etc.  Everything has been newly renovated just to welcome guests.
A lovely way to travel, especially in and around the nation’s capital, which can be a hectic place on its best days.
The rate for this self-contained space is $175/night including breakfast – which you can make yourself, join your host family for conversation and networking, or ask for a tray brought to your apartment so you can enjoy breakfast in bed – or take a different option each morning of your stay!
What more could you want!!!  Lie back, read the Bettina Blog, learn about Takoma Park, visit Washington, D. C., take care of your business there and head out of the city for a quiet evening retreat away from the hectic city.  Or…. head home for a quick nap, refreshing shower and back to Washington D. C. for a night on the town – it is close enough to make that possible.
Add much depth to the rest of your life with this serendipitous exposure to people you wouldn’t meet otherwise and you don’t have to go out of your way to Network via Bettina’s.
Shopping? You will find many unusual items in Takoma Park to take home – how about antique kimonos!  There are wonderful places to eat, parks to stroll, plays to take in and more.
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Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

TO LEARN MORE try www.bettina-network.com

 

Bettina’s Chocolate Pudding

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

copyright the Bettina Network, inc. 2009

There are few dishes as comforting as chocolate pudding!  And, there are even fewer desserts, which are easier to make and harder to fail than chocolate pudding.
We try to keep chocolate pudding in elegant pudding dishes in the refrigerator for those moments of high chocolate need or unexpected guests or after breakfast treat.  We also find guests slipping down to the kitchen late at night to get a dish of chocolate pudding before bed.
+ 6 overflowing tablespoons organic cocoa powder
+ 2 tablespoons organic corn starch
+ 6 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup organic turbinado raw sugar
+ a pinch of salt (careful, don’t make this a big pinch, just enough to sweeten the dish-the way a little salt sweetens cantaloupe.)
Put the above ingredients in a saucepan and stir with a wire wisk until well mixed, no lumps and looking as though they have been sifted.
Put heat under the pan and add:
+ 2 cups organic milk
+ 1 cup organic heavy cream
+ 3 egg yolks, plus 2 eggs (organic eggs only, please)
stir constantly and slowly as you add the liquids until the above mixture begins to thicken and comes to a slight boil – don’t let it become a rolling boil – just bubbles around the edge of the pan.
Once mixture heats up add
+ 1 cup (or more to your taste) semi-sweet organic dark chocolate bits 
mix this in with everything else and continue to stir.
When the mixture thickens, mix in
+ 1/4 to 1/2 cup organic butter (depends upon your taste)
+ One or two tablespoon of vanilla – or amaretto – or raspberry syrup – or etc.,
    also depending upon your taste.
(These are the syrups sold, usually in the coffee section of the grocery store, to add to your morning coffee – yes, Virginia, they are organic.  One brand is “Flavorganics”.  There must be others.  We like the result these syrups give over the extracts.)
Using a ladle or large spoon, pour pudding into the dessert cups or whatever you are using, top with a small saucer turned upside down, to cover, and refrigerate until cool and set.  The saucers keep a coat from forming on top the pudding and saves on waxed paper.  No need to recycle the paper, just wash the saucers after you’ve eaten the pudding!!  A nice touch is to use saucers to match the dessert cups and use the saucer under the cup when serving.
For breakfast, this is nice served warm as a breakfast dessert, freshly made.
You can serve this – once cooled – with whipped cream on top and/or all kinds of other toppings.
You could also use three whole eggs instead of three egg yolks, but the resulting pudding will be lighter, very loose, jiggly and of a totally different texture than the Chocolate Pudding we have come to know and love. Also very nice, if you like that texture pudding.
A suggestion for use of the left-over egg whites would be to make ‘Bettina’s Macaroons’ – a five minute cookie.
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______________________________________________________________

Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

TO LEARN MORE try www.bettina-network.com

 

A Holiday Message to our Astro-Physicist friends

Friday, January 9th, 2009
MAKING CONNECTIONS;

Galileo died January 8, 1642

              Stephen W. Hawking was born January 8, 1942
                               Elvis Presley was born January 8, 1935
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Learn More About How We Use Your Donation!

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______________________________________________________________

Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

TO LEARN MORE try www.bettina-network.com

 


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