Monday, June 27, 2011

Rose Geranium Cupcakes

The adventure with rose geranium sugar continues! Cupcake time!


Yield: 18-20 cupcakes
Prep: 15 minutes
Bake: 25 minutes

Batter:
1 c butter, room temperature
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 c and a little extra rose geranium sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c buttermilk, room temperature
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c boysenberry jam (or whatever you have)
Icing:
3/4 c powdered sugar
1 tbsp milk (adjust for desired consistency)
1 tsp boysenberry jam (or whatever you have)
1 tsp rose geranium sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 20 muffin cups with liners. Beat butter and sugar with a stand mixer until light and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, vanilla, and buttermilk; beat until well blended into a smooth creamy dreaminess. 
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, Gradually beat into butter mixture until well blended.
  3. Spoon 2 heaping tbsp batter into each liner. Top with 1 tsp of jam, then another 2 heaping tbsp of batter, carefully spreading it to cover jam.
  4. Sprinkle a little rose geranium sugar on each cupcake.
  5. Bake cupcakes until a toothpick inserted toward the edge comes out clean, approximately 25 minutes. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
  6. To make icing, stir together all ingredients listed and use milk slowly until desired consistency - shiny and gives a little pull when mixing but not too "sticky."
  7. Using a spoon, spread about 1 tsp icing on top cupcake and spread around in a circle. Let it cool to a pretty shiny glaze. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Gorgonzola Burgers

Every once in awhile, we get a craving for a really good burger. Burgers are a great place to experiment with flavors. You can add practically anything!

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10-12 minutes
Yield: 3 to 4 burgers

1.2lb ground sirloin
1 egg
1 (heaping) teaspoon of minced garlic
1 Serrano chili, minced with seeds removed
1 Thai chili, minced with seeds removed
Worcestershire sauce
coarse sea salt
3-4 oz Gorgonzola cheese
3 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced as half rings
grapeseed oil (or olive oil)

  1. Using your hands and a large bowl, mix together ground sirloin, egg, garlic, chilies, Worcestershire sauce until well combined. Form into 3 to 4 balls. 
  2. Divide up cheese into number of patties and insert one chunk of cheese into each patty ball. Form patties all the same thickness.
  3. Sprinkle both sides of patties with a little coarse sea salt.
  4. Grill patties on low for 5-6 minutes a side for medium well to well done. 
  5. Meanwhile, place mushrooms and onions on aluminum foil, drizzle with oil and put on grill until they're at the done-ness you desire.
  6. Serve on your favorite buns with a side of grilled veggies! Careful not to burn your tongue on the hot gooey cheesy center! 
Note: In the end, we couldn't really taste the chilies. Perhaps the Gorgonzola was too big of a flavor and masked the heat? Color-wise, they added great flecks of green and red! Since our garden is producing lots of chilies, we keep trying to experiment with them....

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Garden Update - June 25, 2011

Summer squash, cucumber, and zucchini are growing like there's no tomorrow! Seeds from a spaghetti squash we ate in the winter, ended up at the far end of our garden. Now, we have several baby spaghetti squash (covering them with CD's is a great trick to shoo away the birds)!




Friday, June 24, 2011

Spanish Rice

There are many ways to make Spanish rice (also known as Mexican rice). Something interesting I learned (unsure if it's true because I'm citing Wikipedia).... Although it is called "Spanish rice" this side dish is unknown in Spain. The term "Spanish rice" is not used by Mexicans or Mexican food enthusiasts. Its use probably stems from the fact that the Spanish language is spoken in Mexico where the dish is usually simply referred to asarroz ("rice"). If anyone knows otherwise or can confirm this, please share. Thank you!

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Yield: 8 side dish servings

1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup bell peppers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
15.25 oz can corn kernels, undrained
3/4 cup brown rice
1 Serrano chili, seed removed minced (from garden)
1 Thai chili, seeds removed, minced (from garden - was going to use 2 but then chickened out)
shredded cheddar cheese (optional - but for me, cheese is rarely optional)

In a large skillet, cook onion, bell pepper, chilies, and garlic in hot oil until tender. Add chili powder and cook for another minute until you can smell the chili. Stir in undrained tomatoes, corn, and rice. Bring to boiling; reduce heat to low, simmer, covered for 30 minutes or until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Serve topped with shredded cheese.

While rice is cooking, you can cook the rest of your meal. I pan fried tilapia with scallions, Smart Balance butter, lime juice, and local white wine (we usually have some sort of wine in the fridge from months ago because we never finish a whole bottle....).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Parmesan Thyme Crackers

I have never cooked with fresh thyme before. Thanks to my husband's glowing green thumb, we have thyme growing next to the jasmine! "THYME" to look up some recipes! Below is a recipe adapted from Ina Garten for Parmesan and Thyme Crackers. Note, if you use freshly grated cheese you may not need to add the extra water or oil because freshly grated cheese will have more moisture than pre-grated cheese. These crackers are delicious as a snack, with a salad, or as an appetizer!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive: 30 minutes (aka clean up time)
Bake: 20-22 minutes x number of trays

Ingredients:
1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons water (optional per note above)
grape seed oil (or olive oil, optional per note above)

Directions:

  1. Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix until creamy. Add the Parmesan, flour, salt, water, thyme, and pepper and combine. Add a little oil if needs more moisture. The dough is at the right consistency when it starts forming a ball - not too crumbly and not too sticky!
  2. Dump the dough on a lightly floured board and roll into a 12-inch long log. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 30 minutes to harden. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Cut the log crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place the slices on a sheet pan and bake for 20-22 minutes. Should have golden brown speckles and fill your kitchen with an herby cheese scent!
  

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Chocolate-Dipped Oatmeal Lace Cookies

This is your sophisticated oatmeal cookie. A delicate presentation perfect for a girls luncheon or dinner party dessert with fruit. Recipe adapted from The Best of Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library: Desserts.

Total Time: 1.5 hours (-ish)
Bake: 10-11 minutes (per tray of 6 cookies)
Yield: 2 dozen

Ingredients
Cookie:
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c quick-cooking rolled oats
3/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 T unsalted butter, melted*
1/4 c whole milk
1/4 unsulfured light molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Coating (~ 3/4c):
8oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp shortening
1/4 c sliced almonds


*Note: The original recipe calls for 1/2 c plus 2T of melted butter. I overlooked the "1/2 c" part and only ended up using 2T. I think they still taste great! 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (if you use aluminum foil, it will stick and be trickier to remove cookies without getting foil flakes stuck... been there, done that).
  2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, oats, flour, and baking powder. Add the melted butter, milk, molasses, and vanilla. Stir until just blended. Let stand for 15 minutes. Meanwhile start your chocolate.
  3. Combine chocolate and shortening in a heatproof bowl placed over (but not touching) simmering water. OR, combine chocolate and shortening in the top pan of a double broiler. Melt over (but not touching) simmering water just until smooth, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  4. Back to the cookie dough. Drop tablespoons of batter onto the prepared baking sheets. Form rounds 1 inch in diameter and space them 3 inches apart. I conservatively fit 6 cookies per sheet. 
  5. Bake until browner at the edges, 10-11 minutes. Slide off the parchment paper with the cookies onto a work surface. Let cool completely. Gently peel the cookies from the paper.
  6. Using a spoon, layer a little chocolate on half a cookie and spread evenly with the back of the spoon. Sprinkle on some sliced almonds. The almonds stick to the melty chocolate. 
  7. Chill cookies on paper in fridge until chocolate sets, about 20 minutes. 
  8. Gently remove cookies from paper. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Tomato Basil Bread Pudding

Our garden is overflowing with basil! To keep our basil plants healthy, we pinch off anywhere flowers appear to preserve the flavor of the plants and channel the energy of the plant into growing more leaves. If the plant flowers and forms seeds, it will become woody and produce less yield. The leaves will also taste less sweet and bitter. With a bowl full of basil, I tested the Tomato Basil Bread Pudding recipe by Giada De Laurentiis (with a few changes based on what ingredients I had at home).

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30-35 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

Filling:
Butter, for greasing baking dish
8 oz multi-grain loaf, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3 T olive oil  grape seed oil
1 large shallot, thinly sliced  1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 3 cloves garlic, minced (I REALLY like garlic)
12 oz cherry or  4 grape tomatoes, halved (from our garden) and 1lb locally grown tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 packed cup chopped fresh basil leaves (from our garden)
1 1/2 cups (6oz) shredded Parmesan

Custard:
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper


Filling: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Add the bread cubes and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots  onion and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil. Pour the tomato mixture and Parmesan cheese over the bread cubes and combine well.
Custard: In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper together until smooth. Pour the custard over the bread mixture and gently toss to coat. Bake until slightly puffed and golden, about 25 to 30 to 35 minutes (will take a little longer than Giada's original recipe because using more tomatoes which also have more water). Remove the pudding from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Garden Inspirations Part II

"Garden Inspirations" started with singular flowers.... What about bouquets?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fresh Noodles

In Italian, the word "pasta" means "paste" and refers to dough made by combining durum wheat flour (semolina) with water or milk. Doughs made with flour and eggs are generally referred to as "noodles." Fresh pastas cook in a fraction of time compared to dried store bought pastas. Because the noodles are highly perishable, they must be refrigerated in an airtight container after drying and can be stored this way for 3 days. The recipe below is adapted from "Noodles" in Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, 75th Anniversary Edition.

**In blue are revisions based on additional trials**



Prep: 1 hour
Cook: 90 seconds to 2 minutes
Yield: 4-5 main-dish servings (~1lb noodles)

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (may not be necessary, just have a little extra flour on side for kneading and stuff)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 beaten egg yolks
1 beaten egg
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon olive oil
  1. In a large bowl, stir together 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour and salt. Make well in the center of flour mixture. In a small bowl, stir together eggs yolks, whole egg, water, and oil. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; mix well.
  2. Sprinkle kneading surface with 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (may not be necessary if you're in a really dry climate, the second time I made this I didn't need any additional flour). Turn dough out onto floured surface (I used what was left in the bowl that hadn't mixed in). Knead until dough is smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes). You'll be able to feel a good "tug" in the dough, the surface will be even, not floury. Cover loosely with kitchen towel and let dough rest for 10 minutes while you wash the used bowls, measuring cups, etc. and wipe down your surface.
  3. Divide dough into 4 equal portions (I like using the dough scraper gifted to me by my mother because it reminds me of times we spent in the kitchen together). On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough into an approximate 12x9inch rectangle about 1/16 inch thick about as thin as you can roll it without it tearing! Let sit, uncovered, for 20 minutes (usually by the time I'm done rolling each portion of the dough out, the first one has been sitting out for 20 minutes already). Lightly dust dough with flour and loosely roll dough into a spiral. Cut the dough into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Gently uncoil.
  4. To serve immediately, cook for 90 seconds to 2 minutes (or until tender but still firm). If dried or frozen noodles, allow an extra 1 to 2 minutes. Drain.
  5. To store cut noodles, let the uncoiled noodles dry on a wire cooling rack for about an hour (longer or shorter depending on your humidity). Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. If you'd like to freeze the noodles, after drying for at least an hour, place them in a freezer bag or container, label them with the date made and what they are (in case you forget!) and freeze up to 8 months.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Garden Update - June 14, 2011

Thyme, Thai chilies, Japanese eggplant, Grape tomatoes
Did you know...?
The THAI CHILI grows to only about 1 to 1.5 inches long and 1/4 inch in diameter. It packs a fiery punch that doesn't dissipate with cooking. The "bird chili" is the dried form. It's so named because drying causes the chili to hook into a bird's-beak shape. (Food Lover's Companion Fourth Edition) 



We had a zucchini that grew to a foot long! 
(Couldn't think of an interesting fact to post about zucchini...)

Chewy Espresso Double Chocolate Cookies

When I get a chocolate craving, I REALLY get a chocolate craving....Recipe Courtesy: Gale Gand from The Food Network


Prep Time: 45 min
Cook Time: 7 min x (number of sheets of cookies) = ~1 hour?
Serves: 60 cookies depending on size

Ingredients
3 1/4 cups and 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso

  • In a bowl over simmering water, melt the 3 1/4 cups chocolate chips and butter together.
  • Meanwhile, in another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a mixer with a whip attachment, mix the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and ground espresso, then add the chocolate mixture. Mix in the dry ingredients and the remaining 1 1/2 cups chips. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to set up.
  • Scoop onto parchment lined sheet pans with a medium ice cream scoop then freeze. Bake from frozen in a preheated 375 degree F for 7 minutes. You can par-bake them for 5 minutes then bake an additional 2 minutes at the time you serve them so they're warm.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Crêpes

There's something about turning beautifully thin wrappings into delicious little presents that makes a Saturday brunch so special. Satisfy both your savory and sweet cravings with practically any ingredients found in the fridge or pantry. Get creative!


Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Yield: ~12-18 crepes (depending on the thickness/thinness of your crepes)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

Fillings:
Anything you want!

In a 4 cup Pyrex, measure the milk and then add all other ingredients. Beat with whisk until combined. Heat a non-stick 6-inch skillet on low-medium. Pour in some batter, lift and tilt skillet with some rounding wrist action to fully cover the bottom of the skillet but not too thick. Return to heat; brown on one side only. Gently using a wooden spatula, lift from a drier side of crepe and transfer to a plate (crepe should stick to spatula so you can carefully dangle it over to the plate without having the entire spatula under the crepe which would otherwise make releasing the spatula from the crepe more difficult in my experience...). Repeat with remaining batter.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Grilled Veggie Salad

What to do with home grown veggies?? Grilled veggie salad! Eggplant, yellow summer squash, tomatoes, basil, oh my! (Side Note: We've had our grill for 6 months now and it has been put to great use!)

The photo above is missing some of vegetables (like the eggplant) because they got chopped before I remembered to take a photo.... The vegetables are from our budding garden and my in-laws' bountiful garden.


Ingredients:
tomatoes, halved and quartered (depending on the size of the tomato)
summer squash, diagonal slices
Japanese eggplant, diagonal slices
mozzarella cheese, cubed
basil, julienne strips (I believe the technique is called "chiffonade"?)
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
salt
aluminum foil
sheet pan

  1. After veggies are washed and cut into size, put them (minus the tomatoes and basil) in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil and a little salt. Mix well. Pour out on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil.
  2. Slide foil with veggies onto grill at medium. Let them cook until you see charred marks on the bottom. You can stir them up a bit once or twice if you'd like. We didn't set a timer. My husband was responsible for this part. He says "not everything has to be timed, Dear." So, basically, just check the veggies every few minutes, taste them for your desired doneness. Ours were perfect!
  3. Meanwhile, mix together your prepared tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese in that same large mixing bowl you were using earlier (so you don't have to wash another bowl). 
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar and olive oil until they don't separate. Pour over bowl with tomatoes and stuff. Stir it up.
  5. When grilled veggies are done, plate them first, then place generous helpings of your tomatoes and stuff on top. 
  6. Enjoy! This is perfect as a side dish or as a light dinner with garlic bread!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rose Geranium Ginger Snaps

Last fall, I had the pleasure of strolling San Francisco's Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. A particular stand stood out with its glass jars of sugars. Organic cane sugars infused with various lovely scents were begging to be poured carefully into my eager palm...and licked! "Rose Geranium" went home with me.

Yield: ~ 4 dozen, 3 inch diameter wide cookies
Oven: 350 degrees F
Prep Time: ~30 minutes
Bake Time: ~11 minutes per batch

Ingredients:
4 1/2 c all-purpose unbleached flour
4 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 c shortening
2 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c molasses
3/4 c rose geranium sugar

  1. In a medium bowl stir together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.
  2. In a large mixing bowl beat shortening with an electric mixer on low speed until  fluffier (~30 seconds). Pour in the 2 cups of granulated sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and molasses until combined. It should be a caramel color. Beat in as much flour mixture as mixer can handle, then stir in the rest.
  3. Shape dough into 1.5 inch balls (I used a mini ice cream scooper); roll in rose geranium sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. I fit 1 dozen per cookie sheet. 
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F oven for 11 minutes. Bottoms should be lightly browned and tops are puffed. Cook on cookie sheet for a couple minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Sprinkle on additional rose geranium sugar if you'd like. Mmmm....
Note: If you don't want to make all the cookies at once, freeze the dough in wax paper. Label with what type of dough it is and the date. When you're ready for some yummy, ready-to-bake cookies, defrost what you plan on using at room temperature and follow steps #3 and 4. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Grilled Pizza

Summer is here! Instead of heating up the house, heat up the grill! Here's an easy and yummy grilled pizza recipe to kick off your summer.



Yield: 2 personal pizzas
Prep/Bake Time: 60-90 minutes

Dough
¼ cup warm water
1 ½ teaspoon yeast
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs of choice
1 ½ teaspoon olive oil and some
¾ cup all-purpose flour and some

  1. Combine water and yeast. Let sit 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in salt, sugar, olive oil.
  3. Add ¼ cup flour at a time, mixing in between.
  4. Knead dough on floured surface.
  5. Cover in warm spot for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  6. Roll out dough on floured surface, sprinkle on herbs, press into dough.
    Split into two and roll out with hands until desired thickness. (~8-10 inch diameter if circular and varying if oval…).
  7. Brush both sides with olive oil as you continue to get it to the right size/shape.
  8. Set aside on a baking sheet for ease to carry to the grill.
Topping
handful of sliced bell peppers*
small handful of sliced kalamata olives*
large handful of torn kale*
½ medium onion, sliced in half rings*
½ cup tomato sauce (I usually use whatever spaghetti sauce I have on hand)
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 T feta cheese
Olive oil

* Feel free to use any vegetables of choice. You can also replace tomato sauce and mozzarella with ricotta cheese. Use as much or as little of any toppings for your own taste preference.

  1. Heat grill to low/medium.
  2. In large bowl, combine vegetables and 1 T of olive oil; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill vegetables over aluminum foil, turning occasionally, until vegetables are tender (6-9 minutes). Then set aside.
  4. Transfer dough pieces to grill. Cook until undersides are firm and beginning to char, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs or a large spatula, transfer crusts grilled side up back to baking sheet.
  5. Dividing evenly, top crusts with tomato sauce, then mozzarella, then vegetables and feta cheese. Slide back onto grill and cook, rotating occasionally, until crusts are cooked through and cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer pizzas to a cutting board, cut in fourths, and serve!

Watermelon Birds

Do birds eat watermelon rinds? We will find out! Yesterday afternoon, I placed a couple rinds out on the back fence. This morning, I heard a lot of commotion out back and discovered birds fighting over the rinds! It was quite amusing watching them. One bird would be sitting in the middle of the rind, eating away. A second bird would sneak up behind the 1st bird and try to hop in while the first bird's head was down. A third bird tried joining the party and was told to go away!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Our Garden

We LOVE having a garden. So much joy comes from growing flowers, fruits, and vegetables. There's a great sense of satisfaction and excitement knowing you're able to grow something! By no means are we expert gardeners, it's all trial and error. We plant what we think will grow and what we like to eat! Our collection of herbs and vegetables include cilantro, basil, rosemary, thyme, carrots, eggplant, summer squash, Thai chilies, Serrano peppers, and tomatoes (when asked "what kind of tomatoes did we plant?" my husband responds, "I don't know... delicious ones!"). Fruits include raspberries, Fukushu kumquats, and Meyer lemons. Flowers we're enjoying are snap dragons, bachelor buttons, calla lilies, bougainvillea, gardenias, pansies, nasturtiums, petunias, moss flower, and sunflowers! 

Look at the squash - in only 10 days.... it reached the ground!!!
May 21, 2011

10 Days Later...

June 1, 2011


Bring the Outside In!

I trimmed off a little branch from our bougainvillea. It instantly brought a pop of color to our bathroom. No worries if you don't have flowers or vases at home. You can find beautiful blooms from your grocery store or farmers' market (or maybe your nice neighbor's yard?) and display them in bowls (cut off the stems and let the blooms float in a bowl of water), glass jars, or aluminum cans!

Moss Rose

If you live in an arid climate, moss rose (also known as Portulaca Grandiflora), is the plant for you! These annuals are native to South American and love full sun. Encourage flowering by pinching off spent blooms. These super dee duper cute bright flowers are so cute I want to eat them! Well, not really but ... if I could figure out how to candy them and put them on top of cupcakes....

Friday, June 3, 2011

Melting Resonance

My violin was born February 1, 1924. The last time she received routine maintenance was probably 10+ years ago.... She has gone through near 100 to 0% humidity conditions over the years. Her bow resembled a balding man with a comb over. I finally brought my baby to a violin maker to assess the damage ... and ... she pretty much needed a face lift ... and some. We reunited 3 weeks later.

Melting resonance.
Crisp and honey tones.
We fell in love again.

Try picking up something you haven't made time for in awhile.
Fall in love again!

Lemony Figs

Yield: 1 quart
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb fresh figs*
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 packet of gelatin (optional)
  • zest from 1 lemon*
* Lucky to have wonderful in-laws with beautiful bountiful fig and lemon trees!

1. Wash figs. Trim harder stems off figs. Slice into mashable pieces.

2. Dutch oven on stove at low-med heat. Add brown sugar and figs. Stir and mash with wooden spoon. Add gelatin if desire more solid preserves. Note, when preserve cools, it will solidify some even if it looks soupy now.

3. When mixture starts bubbling, turn heat down to low and let simmer for 30 minutes uncovered. Add lemon zest. Save the lemon for some lemonade!

4. While mixture is becoming delicious, thoroughly wash and sterilize a large glass jar. I used a spaghetti sauce jar and boiled it. Let it dry on a cooling rack. Since I plan to devour this concoction within a week or two, I didn't do a proper canning. If you'd like to make this for gifts, I'd recommend canning the proper way (which I've never done before so you probably don't want me telling you how to do it...).

5. Once the preserve is cooler, pour it into your glass jar, seal with lid, and refrigerate!

I have been enjoying this deliciousness smothered over toasted English muffins with melted brie. Let me know how it goes for you and how you enjoy it! Maybe... mixed into vanilla ice cream?? or Greek yogurt??

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Garden Inspirations

In the last few weeks, I started crocheting floral necklaces as a segue from winter hats and scarves into summer. With our garden in full bloom, inspiration was flowing and out popped these lovelies! (base pattern courtesy of CreativeYarn)