Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cajun Corner - Vol. 4, No. 1

Cajun Corner – Vol. 4, No. 1 – January 7. 2012

Bon Jour!  Welcome to Cajun Stitchery’s weekly email and welcome to our family.


Don’t forget to visit our blog at, and often.   We are also on Twitter and Facebook. 

Visit our on-line catalogs at:

Ahhh, a new year.  First on the agenda is, Happy Birthday, Mama.  She would have been 94 today. 

The Mardi Gras season is upon us.  Today at 3 p.m. at Paradise Bar & Grill on Pensacola Beach is our King Kake Party.  Everyone is invited and sure to have a great time.  There will be music, and, of course, King Kake.  Most important, though, is we crown our krewe’s new king and queen.  Come on out and party with the Mystic Krewe of Nereids.

My George has celebrated his birthday for nearly a week now.  Happy Birthday, sweetheart.  He is definitely a keeper.

Our fall garden is gone.  The recent frigid temperatures in the 20’s finished those plants.  We had harvested everything we could before the freeze.  It was time.  Ha!  Of course, it was.  First week of January every year, like clockwork, there is a freeze.  We had a freeze for 2 days and now we are back in the 50-70 degree range.  That was just the fall garden.  We also have a winter garden.  George took out all of the old plants and we are getting ready to transplant some broccoli and plant some celery.  Our garlic and carrots are still growing, as is the catnip and parsley.  I love gardening in Florida because you really can garden 12 months out of the year.

Last year may have been the year for Facebook but this year may turn out to be the year of Pinterest.  What is Pinterest, you ask?  Go to  I’m not really sure what you would call it.  It is pictures.  It helps you organize.  Where some bulletin boards on the internet allow you to “post”; Pinterest allows you to “pin”.  It is just their cutesy name for it; or, “posting” may be words where “pinning” is pictures.  Who knows?  You must be “invited” to Pinterest.  If you would like to be “invited”, just let me know and I’ll be glad to send the invitation.  This all sounds so dull.  Let me tell you that from the first time I went to Pinterest, I was hooked.  I simply could not stop looking at the pictures and reading the comments.  It looks like it will be a good venue to post Cajun Stitchery items, and that is the real reason that I’m on Pinterest – but, I simply cannot stop looking at the pictures, and reading the articles.  Once you are registered on Pinterest, you can have as many “boards” as you like.  The boards are used for organizing.  For instance, you can have a board for home décor, or recipes, or gardening, or whatever you like.  You can have as many boards as you like.  As you find things on the internet, or Pinterest, you can put them on the appropriate board for future reference.  Let’s say you want to redecorate your living room.  A search on the internet brings up several photos of your style, or a chair that would work perfectly, or a painting, or whatever.  You would just “pin it” to your board with a tool that you keep in your favorites.  As you collect photos, you can go to your board and start to define how you want to decorate your living room.  You can also save arts and craft tutorials, a good article, whatever you want.  I’m still trying to get used to the organizing of the boards and remembering to click the appropriate board for the items that I’m pinning, but that is just learning.  People are visual.  Pinterest is in our future.  I do not see Pinterest taking the place of Facebook, though.

A friend that I met on Facebook ordered two of our flannel scarves.  One was the “Party Girl” scarf – embellished with rhinestones, of course.  The other was custom.  She wanted a man’s long scarf in black flannel with gold fleur de lis.  I was a bit worried that I would not be able to find solid black flannel, but there was nothing to worry about.  I found the black flannel at the first store.  A search on the internet showed me that men’s sporty, long scarves are the same size as women’s.  They are about 72” long by 10” to 20” wide.   The one I made for her was 72” long by 10” wide.  The fabric was doubled to hide the back of the embroidery.  In my opinion, it would have been too bulky if it were any wider than 10”.  Nevertheless, the scarf turned out so beautiful that I’m making another one to list in our Etsy Store.  After all, the Saints ARE going to the Super Bowl again this year, right?

Our end of the year Etsy sale was a lot of fun.  Several items were sold.  Scarves seem to be the thing that people wanted.  Not only was the sale fun, but it gave me an opportunity to go through all of the items in our Etsy Store and do some extra embellishments here and there.  I was also able to see some things that I want to take out of the store--forever.

The market baskets are still selling like hotcakes.  The rhinestoned and Mylar Mystic Krewe of Nereids design is a hit.  Personally, I think each krewe needs to have their own krewe’s design for market baskets since we all carry so much stuff.  The latest market basket order did it up right.  The customer ordered the Nereid design on one side of the basket with her name embroidered on the other side.  It is perfect.  What do you do if you already have a market basket but your basket isn’t purple, green, or gold?  That’s easy.  You get a market basket for Mardi Gras, patriotic holidays, Halloween, and Christmas.  You have a purse to match different colors or seasons, don’t you?  You also need a matching or holiday appropriate market basket, too.

I finally came up with the 2012 design for my Krewe’s birthday gifts.  The design should be revealed today when our first birthday girl of the year receives her gift.  After that, I will be able to show off the new design.  I digitized it myself and I sure hope those girls like it.

Another friend of mine has started a website called  She has some really good articles on her website and also has forums and several interactive things.  It is worth a visit.  The whole gist is to buy local and buy made in the USA, thereby creating and saving jobs.  I cannot stress enough my feeling that the USA has an abundance of untapped talent.  I’m not blind to the fact that we live in a world that gets smaller each day due to technology; that there are people starving in third world countries; and that the majority of US citizens cannot imagine living without conveniences that other people in the world cannot imagine having.  However, in order to help others, we need to help ourselves.  The caregiver must also take care of herself/himself to be able to continue being a caregiver.  We all need to buy local and buy items made in the USA.

While making scarves, I did a little research and the number one country in the world that sells fashion scarves is, you guessed it, China.  Number two is India.  My scarves are handmade right here in the USA.  Even our thread comes from a mill in North Carolina.  We can do this, but we need to unite and do this together.  We can turn around our economy and put ourselves in a healthier position to help others.

If you are not a subscriber and would like to receive Cajun Corner weekly, please email and let me know to put you on our email list. 

Here is a recipe that I found on Pinterest.  It reminds me of the larger than life chocolate cake that a dear friend of our’s made for George’s birthday.  It also reminds me why I do not like to cook:

Salted Caramel Chocolate Fudge Cake

Yield: One 6-inch, 3-layer cake

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Yield: Three 6-inch round layers

Serves: 8+


1 1/2 cups (180 g/6 oz) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups (300 g/ 10 oz) sugar

3/4 cup (90 g/3 oz) dark unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder – Extra Dark )

1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL/6 g) baking soda

1 teaspoon (5 mL/4 g) baking powder

1 teaspoon (5 mL/5 g) salt

1/4 cup (60 mL/2 liquid oz) vegetable oil

3/4 cup (190 mL/6 liquid oz) buttermilk

3/4 cup (190 mL/6 liquid oz) hot brewed coffee

2 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten


1. Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Prepare three 6-inch round cake pans with butter, parchment paper rounds, and cocoa powder. Tap out excess.

2. In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients and add all remaining ingredients to bowl with the dry ingredients and with paddle attachment on mixer, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (you may need the plastic splash-guard that comes with mixer) and pour into prepared pans. If possible, use digital kitchen scale and weigh divided batter in pans for even layers. Batter will be liquidy.

3. Bake for 20 minutes and rotate pans in oven. Cakes are done when toothpick or skewer comes clean–approximately 30 minutes. Try not to over bake.

4. Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes, then loosen edges with a small palette knife, and gently invert onto racks until completely cool.

Salted Caramel Swiss Buttercream (for filling)

Yield: ~4 cups


1 cup (200 g/7 oz) sugar

1/4 cup (60 mL) water

1/4 cup (60 mL) heavy cream

generous pinch of sea salt (and additional sea salt, preferably Fleur de Sel, for sprinkling), for example: Fleur de Sel De Guerande- French Sea Salt; 6oz

1 1/2 cups (340 g/12 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 large egg whites (120 g/4 oz)

1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract


The first step is making the salted caramel (you can also do a non-salted caramel by omitting the sea salt), to set aside to cool while you make the Swiss Buttercream. You then add the cooled caramel sauce it to the buttercream as the very last step. I haven’t tried buying ready-made gourmet caramel sauce and adding it, but I suspect it would taste nothing short of awesome.

1. Place 130 grams (5 ounces or 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) of the sugar and the water in a medium saucepan to a boil over medium heat. Brush down the sides of the pot with a dampened pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Stop stirring and cook until caramel is dark amber, gently swirling from time to time. Remove from heat, and slowly add cream, whisking by hand until smooth. It will be splatter, so be careful. Whisk in sea salt. Let cool.

2. Place butter in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (flat beater) and beat on medium speed (I use #4 on my mixer), until pale and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

3. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer clean with lemon juice, and place egg whites and remaining sugar into bowl over a pot of simmering (not boiling–you don’t want to cook the eggs). Whisk occasionally and gently until sugar dissolves and mixture registers 160° on a candy thermometer.

4. Remove the bowl from heat, and place back onto the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed for 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high, and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form (about 5-6 minutes). Once the bottom of the bowl is neutral and no longer warm to the touch, reduce speed to medium-low, and add beaten butter, one cup at a time, whisking well after each addition.

5. Switch to paddle attachment. With mixer on low speed, add cooled caramel, and beat until smooth (about 3-5 minutes).

6. Prepare to taste the most incredible buttercream you will ever encounter.

Dark Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Yield: ~5 cups


1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (45 g/1.5 oz) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (I use Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder – Extra Dark )

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (90 mL/3 oz) boiling water

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks/341 g/12 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup (63 g/2 oz) confectioners’ (icing/powdered) sugar

Pinch of salt

1 pound (454 g/16 oz) good-quality semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled


1. Combine cocoa powder and the boiling water in a small bowl or glass measuring cup, and stir until it cocoa has dissolved.

2. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (flat beater), beat the butter, the icing sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until it is pale and fluffy–about 5 minutes.

3. Reduce mixer speed to low, and add melted chocolate (cooled), beating until combined and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

4. Beat in the cocoa mixture until well incorporated.


1. Frosting can be refrigerated for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 1 month in an airtight container.

2. Before using, bring to room temperature (usually overnight on counter does the trick), and beat on low speed until smooth.

*Dark Chocolate Fudge Frosting Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart


C’est tout, mes amis

Peggy Henshall

Cajun Stitchery

(850) 261-2462

P.S.  You are always welcome to stop by and look at all of the catalogs and pass some time with me, cher.

No comments:

Post a Comment