Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday night brights

Monday Night Brights has been temporarily set aside to accommodate a needed medical appointment and stop at the pharmacy.

See you tomorrow, and again thanks for taking the time to stop and say "hello"


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Cafe

Layered Lebanese Salad, with feta and olives
Pork chops with cabbage and bacon
Mashed potatoes
Black eyed peas with bacon and red wine vinegar
Rustic white and Whole wheat with honey bread tray
Homemade jam and butter
Pluot and raspberry crisp
Blueberry and Lemon cake
Rhubarb creme pie

Visually this is a beautiful salad. And it is delicious as well. I offered bowls of feta and sliced olive salad to top it off with, if you were so inclined.

Although the recipe suggested not tossing, I tossed it at the table, and I am glad I did. It was much easier to serve.

Pluots and raspberries
covered with streusel,
Baked up to a crisp.
The zest of two lemons goes into this cake, yum.

Blueberries are in the batter and sprinkled on top, then the struesel. After it is baked, you cover it with delicious lemon syrup.
Rustic white baguettes, from Firesign Farms. These shared the bread and butter tray with whole wheat bread from Noble Pig. And 3 kinds of homemade jam.

Rhubarb creme pie. This is very good. Creamy without any dairy.

This is the pork chops with cabbage and bacon. This is not a pretty dish, but it was tasty.
We also had meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

Then every dessert was turned into a birthday celebration. Happy Birthday Son!

As always, thanks for taking the time to stop by.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Today's jam is Peach Melba

I used the standard recipe from the pectin package, the only change is that I used 4 cups of peaches and 4 c of whole frozen raspberries that cook down to about 2 21/2 cups of fruit. I did not increase the sugar, because I have found for me more sugar than fruit is too sweet.

I blanched the peaches, they peeled so easy.

Such wonderful peaches, the smell was great.

I simply mashed them with a potato masher.

Stirred in the frozen berries, packaged pectin and brought to a boil, per package instruction. Added the pre-measured sugar and cooked at a rolling boil. Completed the standard capping process and a 10 minute boiling water bath.

I now clean up the kitchen while the jars are processing in the boiling water, and you know, it only takes about 10 minutes to scrub the jam pot and utensils. That way when you remove the jars from the canner, you are really done.

As always thanks for taking a moment to stop by.


Friday, August 28, 2009

If you actually ate from this blog, you might starve.

I know I have been busy, away, lazy-well scratch that one, and wore out at the end of the day.

I cannot say this will end soon, we (as in where I work) are in Survey window. Now for folks that do not work in a medically inclined field, this is big time, high gear, be ready, do right and do it right now - time.

Not that we don't every day, but this is IT!

The state folks can (and do) walk in at any moment and place a sign upon your entry door declaring that the yearly survey is taking place. And life as you knew it, has ceased to be.

Fortunately my piece is small, probably the most I have to deal with is the folks actually dealing with the state folks. But it is still high stress time.

So without further ado, I am going to declare my chore list for the weekend, because as you know it is Sunday Cafe weekend and I am looking forward to the fun.

Tomorrow I will need to get a few chores done, you know the vacuuming etc, and make a batch of the Peach Melba jam, because the peaches are now juicy and soft. A quick trip to Costco with Honey, one of the things we need to do is stock up on is his beloved Pepsi. And then another quick stop for a hair cut, for me. Funny how fast short hair grows!

Then just leisure time after those stops, you know some baking some blogging and some wine sipping. I hope your weekend is wonderful and see you back here with some great Cafe shots.

As always, thanks for stopping by.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday night brights

Purple basil from the garden, this vinegar will make some great salad dressing. I want more bottles, there are more herbs in the garden to flavor more vinegar.

Beautiful peaches set out to mellow, Peach Melba jam is on my to do list.

OK, I am not mechanical, but I can make do. I used zip ties to make a sling to hold a stainless steel bowl in the tree. If you put out food, you need to put out water. My other attempts have broken, or blown away. We will see about this one.

Raspberries gone wild. It's OK the new growth is next years crop. Fortunately I have more zip ties! By the way, the zip ties worked great keeping the raspberries canes on the wire. I will zip tie the new growth, but I think after that they can just be "set" upon the old growth and will naturally follow the wire. We have a city farm close by, and the canes from previous years lend support to the current crop.

This one got in here by mistake, but I decided to leave it. Hi!, I am Melynda of Mom's Sunday Cafe. Daughter snapped a few shots of me before we left to see Julie & Julia. A great movie by the way!
This is a page from my photo album. You may have noticed the Facebook badge on the blog. I am not techie anymore than I am mechanical, but I decided to add some features to the blog. I am also (truthfully) learning how to use them. Right after I opened the Facebook account, I did a search for my best friend from Yakima when we were 14. Right there on Facebook as quick as pushing enter. And here she is (with the necklace - left side center shot), we are once again in touch. Great times getting to know what we each have been up to in the last 30+ years.

Oh and yes that is a snake wrapped around my wrist, lower left.

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

It is time to start planning

In one week it will be August Sunday Cafe. This has been an interesting month, about the most I have cooked is jam. But the Cafe Sunday will not suffer, actually by the end of the month, it is the boost (kick in the pants is more like it!) that I need!

I know I will make this, with blueberries from my own backyard. Found over at the Wednesday Chef.

I need to make this pie, and the rhubarb came from you know where! Found over at Coffee Tea Books and Recipes.

French vanilla ice cream, for the above.

These only because I cannot resist, salt and chocolate. I spotted these at Hey Mom, What's for Dinner.

I am hoping we have some more warm weather so I have tomatoes for this. From Tasting Spoons, it looks beautiful as well as delicious.

This looks wonderful and has my favorite flavors. Another great recipe from Kalyn's Kitchen.

I plan to make this bread into dinner rolls. I have to thank Noble Pig for this one, she found it over at Baking and the Boys. I recently purchase a bag of white whole wheat flour, I will use it here.

Butter and jam tray to go with the dinner rolls.

Pork chops with bacon and cabbage from Martha Stewart's everyday FOOD, Sep09 edition recipe on page 94.

Mashed potatoes to go with the pork chops.

Buttered green beans. I love those organic green beans from Costco, so wonderful.

Blackeyed peas with red wine vinegar and bacon. These are so good, and easy. Simmer and forget about them til dinner. I cannot remember where I found this, maybe a little spot filler in the local newspaper, years and years ago.

It is time for a meatloaf, and buttered corn. These are for Honey. He is a great sport, but sometimes there is not enough of what he wants at the Sunday Cafe. Besides Meatloaf leftovers are wonderful.

As always thanks for taking the time to stop by.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Today's jam is raspberry

As kids we always would have bread and butter for dinner on the day that Mom made jam. That way the foam that was removed before jarring up, would not go to waste. With 5 hungry kids and a starved Husband, there really was not enough of the treat to go around.

Tonight we too shall have bread and butter with our dinner.

As the raspberries grew and ripened, I picked, washed, towel dried and then froze them individually on a dinner plate or baking sheet; depending upon how many were harvested. This proved handy, I was able to pour the berries out into a large measure.

I guestimated that 2 one quart bags would make the required 5 cups mashed berries as instructed on the leaflet from the pectin package. A rounded 8 cups of berries does thaw and mash to 5 cups.

I chose to make this jam in pint jars, Honey is fond of raspberry jam, so the pint size will not be wasted. The recipe was exact, calling for 8 half pints. I wanted to use a quick cooking recipe for the berries, to preserve as much flavor as possible. Berries tend to be a bit more delicate than stone fruits. It has also been many years since I had made raspberry jam using pectin. I noticed a small change in the directions, cook the fruit and pectin 1 minute on boil then add sugar. The mixture is brought to a rolling boil, boil 1 minute and that is it. Done.

I have another batch to make this evening, the berries have taken up a lot of room in our limited freezer space. I am thinking I will have enough berries left after the second batch for a batch of Peach Melba jam. Daughter in law made some, and boy oh boy, it is so good!

Today will be busy, I have week-end Manager duty, a trip to Costco and more jam this evening. Oh yeah and I will make dinner, after all there is bread and butter to eat!

As always thanks so much for stopping by.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Did you see the wagon.....

then it must of rolled away, right after I fell off.

I have fallen off the wagon, the dinner wagon. I thought I had a good handle on the reins, a decent map to follow, and then out of nowhere I fell off.

This has been an impossible 2 weeks. I have been eating homemade soup from the freezer, but I have not cooked anything for dinner in days and days. Honey has been on the evening shift, so his meal at 7:30 or 8:00 pm is ham and eggs or a sandwich and bowl of soup.

I have made jam, and posted the proof. It is tasty, frugal and homemade. All great standards I employ and continue to use, daily.

But dinner seems to be a real problem for me. I go along great for a couple of dinners, on task everything is just fine. Then boom, on my butt again.

Hmmm wait a minute, was that a wagon that just went around the corner? Whoa, I need to get back on, slow down, please, slow down.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday night brights

This is daughter's old ENVY full keyboard phone. She upgraded when she could, and I got this one. I am happy to have a larger screen and a full keyboard, the thing is though, the keys are in different places!

The June bearing berries are still producing. Not a lot, but a couple more "harvests" and I will have enough for a "Backyard Pie".

When we went to Sellwood for the afternoon, we spotted this. Of course it hangs in the kitchen.....
Hmmmm is this a warning or a testament?

This is the last of the plastic garbage bags. By the time this 1/2 roll is gone, there will be a worm farm in process and we will be able to drop the garbage pickup to every other week. On of my many little plans.

Roasted Cauliflower salad. Slice the cauliflower, cut a large lemon in 1/2. Place the cut cauliflower in a bowl, squeeze the lemon and add about 2 T olive oil. Stir to coat well. Slice the squeezed lemon in thin pieces. Arrange the veggies on a baking tray and sprinkle with garlic salt. Roast 500 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes on a cookie sheet (rimless) or 20 - 25 for a pan like this one. YUM!

Here is the bread I took to this fun event.

As always thanks for taking the time to stop by.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pluot jam

I had only eaten a Pluot once before.

I was not real impressed. I did not find it to be a, fresh eat out of hand, on the spur of a moment, kind of fruit. For me, that is what fruit is, a eat it now, kind of snack. It is refreshing and delicious, with vitamins and fiber. Can you ask for more, in a snack?

But this morning after making the Plum and Blueberry jam, Honey and I had to go to the market for a few things. I happened to see the display of Pluots. And they were on sale for .98 a pound. Now come on, you know I cannot resist a bargain. So we came home with 3 pounds of Pluots. I was not sure, but you know sometimes you just have to step out, and go for it.

I will tell you this, this jam is delicious. Maybe Pluots are the kind of fruit that is better cooked. I think I will stop on the way home tomorrow and get some more.

Pluot jam
makes 4 half pints

Wash, quarter and pit the fruit. Add it to a large pot along with 1 c Riesling wine and 1 cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat, let simmer for one hour.

Remove the cinnamon stick and return to the pot. Stir the fruit, mashing and forcing through the colander. You will know when you have forced all the fruit from the skins. The mass in the colander will be pale and pasty looking, discard the remains. I measured the pulp and juice. I had a little over 4 cups.
Add the 4 cups of pulp, 4 cups of sugar and the juice of 1 lemon. Bring to a boil. Boil uncovered over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken. You may use this time to prepare your jars, caps etc. As the mixture begins to gel, you will notice the foam cook away. When it had reduced and thickened, fill your jars, cap and process in a gently boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Makes 4 half pints and a bit for now.


Plum and blueberry jam

This morning I made the Plum & Blueberry jam. The plums were gleaned from the kid's yard and the blueberries were from my back yard. This is another delicious jam, the combination of plum and blueberry is bright.

Plum and Blueberry jam
makes 8 half pints

3 c plum puree
6 c blueberries, mashed after measuring or slice frozen in a food processor.
juice of 1 lemon
6 c sugar

Bring to a boil, turn heat down to medium. Stir every 15 minutes or so. This will need to gently boil to concentrate the flavor and develop the natural pectin in the fruit. This part takes about an hour, use this time to prepare jars, rings etc.

You will know that the jelling has begun, the foam around the edge of the pan will begin to cook away. At this point you will need to pay close attention to the mixture, stir constantly until the desired thickness is achieved. Remember that the mixture will thicken upon cooling.

If you are new to jam making, place a plate in the freezer, drop a teaspoon of jam on the frozen plate to cool instantly and you will know how thick it will be when chilled.

Ladle into jars, cap and process for 15 minutes in a gently boiling water bath.

Yum! Now I am cooking Pluots with Riesling and a cinnamon stick. Next is Pluot jam.

As always thanks for taking the time to stop by.
I appreciate your comments, enjoy your day!

This post is shared with:
Blue Monday @ Smiling Sally's

Friday, August 14, 2009

What do you do to close down a rough week?

You check on the blueberries,
and the heirloom tomatoes,
and the strawberries,
see that the chive blossoms have not fallen off,
and just spend some time in the garden.

I have not posted because of the workload, and it does not look like it will end. I feel as tired as those poor pitiful candles that did not survive the summer heat, but have not been thrown out yet! Time for some soup from the freezer, and let it all go..............

As always thanks for taking the time to stop by.


Monday, August 10, 2009

silver spoon and salt cellar and other great finds!

I bought this antique silver serving spoon in Seaside Or about 9 years ago. My sister and I were making a very special dinner, and I wanted something special to add to the festive atmosphere. We were preparing food for a "Before and After" dinner*.

It is very tiny, that is a dime beside it for scale. It is an antique serving spoon, from a salt cellar. I never did find a cellar to go with it, and I have kept the little spoon in my jewelry box, waiting.

For this, a tiny milk glass jar that I found in Sellwood, this weekend. Our trip to the beach never did materialize. When the weather people talked about rain on the coast, we made other plans. Those plans included a trip to Sellwood and walking through the antique shops. Although the two were not made for each other, I love them together. The pieces are so small, they are difficult to photograph.

I also found some vintage garnet red glass apothecary jars. I have them on the open hutch shelves in the kitchen. I think the large one for cookies, and the smaller one for the open crackers we might be eating currently.
Honey thought it would be fun to show the cellar serving spoon along side a regular serving spoon.
I also found this 1954 cookbook. Straight forward frugal New England cooking. Fun.

An this hammered cooper basket with a brass handle. I love hammered cooper.

And these vintage Anchor Hawking red glass pieces. I would love to find more little red things. I just love red. But I am sure I have touched on that before!

* A "Before and After" dinner is a fun time to have when there is going to be a wedding. All the women in the family are invited, and each brings a gift for everyone. We held the number to 8. We also placed a limit on the amount that was spent on a gift. Each time a guest arrived there were 8 more gifts added to the gift corner. My sister and I made a lovely dinner, we acted as servers. After the dessert we all went into the living room and everyone opened their gifts Everyone had a wonderful time. Our guest list included every step in marriage. Short term married, long term married, married and expecting, and the about to be married. Hence "before and after".

As always thanks for stopping by to visit.