Friday, June 29, 2012

Sharing the view.........

A Friday view........


          .................................i am guilty.


Have a great weekend!

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Apricot Riesling Jam, Recipe rewind because some things are too good to miss!


Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come..........you can also view it here in the archives, Wednesday July 22, 2009.



I am so in love with small batch preserving! I am also making new memories of canning and jamming. In previous years when I was a SAHM, I canned about everything we ate. Jams, fruit, tomatoes, pickles, relish and even a canned grape drink from the concord grapes in the back yard. I told the kids it was homemade "koolaid".

After I went to work full time, I wanted to return to canning and jamming, but honestly while working 6 days a week, this was not a reality. I missed the homemade treats and to a lesser degree I missed making them. Granted I did not want to return to canning at the level I did and work a full time job, but still I missed part of those days.

Fast forward 20 years (Eeee gads!) and I am back to it. I found this recipe and knew I wanted had to make it.

Apricot Riesling Jam

adapted from Simply Recipes


Find 2 1/2 pounds of ripe apricots. If they are not ripe enough, let them sit a few days to mellow and make your jam then.

Clean cut in half, remove the pit and chop up. I usually dice my fruit, about the size of dinner peas. You should have 5 cups (or so, you know a 1/2 cup either way will not matter)

I had read on another blog that if you combine your fruit and the sugar and let it sit overnight with the pits, you will not need to add pectin. This recipe did not call for pectin, but I thought - why not. Apricot jam has a reputation of not "setting" up.

With a tight schedule, this 2 step process is great, I was able to accomplish what I would usually save for the weekend. Before you begin cooking you will need to do the following:

Have 4-6 jars (half pint) ready, including the domes and rings. Place the domes and rings in a pan of very hot, not boiling water, cover and set aside.

Turn your jars upside down in a small glass pan, add an inch of hot water. Set in a 200 degree oven while you cook the jam. Your jars will be hot and sterilized when the jam is cook and ready.

Place 2 small plates in the freezer.

Now to make the jam............

In this pan and boiling like mad:

5 c chopped apricots
2 3/4 c sugar*

juice of 1 large lemon
1/2 c Riesling

Bring mixture to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Let boil 5 minutes stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and let gently boil for about 20 minutes. You will notice the mixture thickening and will need to be there and stir frequently the first 10 minutes, constantly the last 10 minutes.

When the cooking time is up, your jam should look like this. Take one plate from the freezer and add a small teaspoon of jam to it. The jam will cool quickly. Is the jam thick enough for your preference, if so you are done cooking. If not cook another 5 minutes and test again.

Fill your jars to within 1/4 inch. I always prepare extra jars - just in case. Take a wet cloth and wipe the top of the jar, this will ensure a good seal.

Give your jars a 10 minute boiling water bath. I did not have a rack that would fit in the bottom of this pan, so I put a cloth dishtowel between the jars and the bottom of the pan. Worked like a charm.

Use a jar lifter to remove from water, the lids will begin "pinging" when the jars are removed from the water, that is the sound of success.

Store in a cool dry area, should keep 1 year. However this is delicious, it won't last a year.

*if you did the overnight fruit/pit soak, the sugar is already with the fruit,

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

this post is shared with:
full plate thursday@miz helen's
foodie friday@rattlebridge farm

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chimichurri Sauce, a delicious spicy parsley sauce

Parsley is one of those ingredients I have a fondness for. I even have a category/label for parsley. You can find a few recipes there, and now this one will be added.

Chimichurri sauce is delicious and more than a sauce for grilled meats, although it shines in that role. It is a condiment that knows only the boundaries of your own taste buds.

It is delicious over grilled meats, but it also is a colorful marinade before the grilling takes place.

For other uses beside grilling meats, you can stir some into sour cream for a delicious creamy sauce for fish, vegetables and to decorate a taco or two. It would make a zesty salad dressing, simply stir some into yogurt or mix it half and half with your favorite vinaigrette.

And now lets make Chimichurri.


Chimichurri
adapted from tasting spoons
make about 1 1/4 cups

3 cloves garlic
1/2 jalapano pepper - use a spoon to remove the ribs and seeds, not your hands.....
1 T chopped yellow onion or 1 green onion sliced
2 T red wine vinegar
1 bunch flat leaf parsley- remove and discard the bottom half of the stems
1 3/4 t dried oregano
1 lime, juiced
1/2 t salt
1/2 c olive oil

Combine the garlic, jalapeno and onion in a food processor, pulse about 6 times, scrapping the sides of the processor bowl once. Add remaining ingredients through salt and process until mixture is chopped. Add oil and continue processing until mixture is beginning to become smooth, but still has some texture.

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

this post shared with:
gallery of favorites@premeditated leftovers
hearth and soul@premeditated leftovers

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Garden Tuesday, the one where work is not yet making a garden

Often times there is a lot of work to be done in a yard, in order to make/start/have a garden. Such is the case with the new house. This was complicated by the fact that wood was stacked by the shed, when a faulty decision maker, was in charge of making the decision on where to stack the wood.....Let see wood dried and very tasty by a bug's standards, stacked right up tight against a wood shed, where the wood is dried and also very tasty. Like I said faulty.......but lets move on shall we?

So far I have moved this wood, the first layer, a wheelbarrow at a time. Some nights after work I will move and stack 3-4 wheelbarrows of wood, some nights none, and tonight I moved 6. It has been almost pleasant, tactical if you will, after a day at work. With the first layer moved and stacked, the second layer needs to be moved.....


Your right this does look like more and it probably is. We got a good deal on the 2X4 ends, 2 1/2 cords cost $80.00. And I like how easy it is to work with these pieces.

The area by the shed will be for composting and storage area for the wheelbarrows. We will also stack any  new wood trimmed from the trees that needs to dry out. Once dry, it will be moved to the wood stacks on the side of the house, where it will be easy to load into the wood silo.

I believe this area was a dumping ground for the previous owners, and as things go, by default was a composting area, you can see the dirt mound to the right of the wheelbarrow tire.

Other news in the yard.....

The garden will eventually go here, this are has full sun all day. I want to stake the corners and begin a lasagne style layering so the grass will compost down. Since we won't move the plants from the other house until fall, I think that could work out fairly well. Then before moving the plants, we can till and till in well rotted manure. The plants should winter over safely.


This little Japanese Maple seems to have a close friend, maybe too close. I need to get this little guy dug out while he is still little.

And the carnations are doing well (please excuse the weeds....), but so far I don't see any red as the blooms are beginning to open. They were marked red carnations, but it would not be the first time I purchased a plant and the marker was wrong. I like white carnations, they smell spicy and last a long time in a vase on the table, but honestly I really really like red carnations............they are a bit more assertive, I like that in a flower!

And how is your garden growing?

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

this post is shared with:
garden tuesday@sidewalk shoes
tuesday garden party@an oregon cottage

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Our Sunday Cafe, June 2012

When I looked back on our dinners, we were a bit heavy on the desserts and a bit light on the vegetables. I have been turning that around for the last couple of months and it has proven to be not only healthier but everyone still has a nice dinner, great conversations and we all get caught up in what is happening with everyone. Eating healthier is just a sweet little extra bonus!

Starters:
Vegetable Plate, with ham wrapped green onions, swiss cheese and ranch dip

The ranch was made with greek yogurt and very little mayo, tastes great. I like setting out vegetables with a dip or dunk as a starter and have been doing this for years. 

Main Dishes:
Grilled Meats (flank steak, chicken thighs) with Chimichurri sauce




The chimichurri sauce came from this tasting spoons, I love to visit and see what they are eating, always interesting.
 Side Dishes:
Grilled Shaved Zucchini over Tossed greens with Feta

The shaved zucchini salad from proud italian cook, I really enjoyed the texture of the zucchini ribbons. But this salad needs a lemon based vinaigrette to shine, next time.....

Grilled Caesar Salad


Slow cooked Green beans with hocks and red potatoes, seasoned with garlic, thyme and dried tomato


Roasted Green Beans with Mushrooms

Just like you, I cook with what I have. What I had was a large bag of green beans to use up. I love the slow cooked green beans with ham hocks, but knew that many at the table would prefer the roasted green beans. I am glad I made both, there is lots of delicious leftovers for the next few days.

Buttered Brown Rice
 
Dessert:
Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Brandied Prunes

 Honeyed Cream Cheese Spread with Cinnamon


Apricot Pie with cobblestone crust (because I did not get enough last weekend.....)

The zucchini bread used up the last of the brandied prunes made so many months ago and tucked in the back of the refrigerator. I think homestyle food has always been a cook with what you have process, I know it will continue on here in this kitchen.
Beverage:
wines - red and white
Beer
Ice tea
Sodas
milk

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

And now, my favorite Peanut Butter Banana with Chocolate Syrup Ice Cream Sundae

The homemade chocolate syrup is delicious. And so, with that I must share with you one of my favorite ways to have ice cream.....

Peanut Butter Banana and Chocolate Syrup Ice Cream Sundae
by the seat of my pants

peanut butter
ripe banana(s)
vanilla ice cream
chocolate syrup, you might want to try this one!

step 1:

spread a spoonful of peanut butter in the bottom of your bowl.

step 2:

add a scoop of vanilla ice cream

step 3:

top with banana slices

step 4:

drizzle with chocolate syrup

step 5:

garnish with whipped cream if desired, I usually desire...

step 6:

enjoy!

this one was for granddaughter!

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

this post is shared with:
see ya in the gumbo@Me enPlace


Friday, June 22, 2012

Family Favorite Macaroni Salad, easy and delicious

Like most every other family, the macaroni salad we eat, has evolved. I prefer a light dressing, so that the individual components of the salad can shine through. This is a basic salad and can be adapted for your own family. The last time I made this salad, I used dried tortellini for the pasta, it was delicious!


Family Favorite Macaroni Salad
by the seat of my pants
serves 6-8

3/4 c small shell macaroni or salad macaroni
OR
2 1/2 c dried cheese tortellini
1 c frozen peas
4 green onions, thinly sliced or 1/2 c diced onion*
2 hard cook eggs, diced
2 stalks celery (try to use the inner stalks, they are tender and sweet)
1/3 c chopped "bread and butter" style pickles
1 tomato, diced
1/3 c sliced black olives, if desire

3/4 c mayonnaise
2 T dijon mustard
2 T sweet pickle juice
2 T milk
1/4 t garlic salt
fresh ground pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.

When ready to drain pasta, add peas to the colander and if using regular onion, top the peas with the diced onions, drain pasta over the peas and onions. This will blanch the onion and thaw the peas. Let cool.


Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.


Combine all ingredients for the dressing, mix until smooth.

Gently fold the dressing into the salad ingredients to combine well.

Refrigerate until serving time.

You may also to add in one or two of the following for a main dish salad:

1/2 diced cheddar or other cheese desired
1/2 c diced ham
1 c "pulled" BBQ chicken
1/2 c crumbled smoked salmon or cooked shrimps

recipe rating: Oh yes, will make again!

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

this post is shared with:
weekend potluck@meet penny
hearth and soul@premeditated leftovers





Thursday, June 21, 2012

Quinoa Tabbouleh, Recipe rewind because some things are too good to miss!

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come..........you can also view it here in the archives, Saturday August 7, 2010.


There is a small chain of family run cafes that serve delicious Mediterranean food, The Jerusalem Cafe.  I have enjoyed eating there for many years. I have always loved the Tabbouleh, it is so good. The thing I really enjoy  about the food is that it is real home cooking.

When I first starting eating there about 15 years ago, Mom and Dad cooked, in the first little spot in downtown Vancouver. Now the different cafes are run by family members, and even with Mom and Dad retired it is the same food and just like home.

The tabbouleh is big on vegetables with lots of parsley and lemon. Also it is made with whole wheat couscous, instead of Bulgar. But today I will (try to) translate my love of their tabbouleh into this recipe for Quinoa Tabbouleh.


Quinoa Tabbouleh
by the seat of my pants!

2-3 c cooked Quinoa
1 bunch green onions, cleaned and sliced through 2 inches of the green section


1 bunch parsley, washed, shook dry and chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon*
1 tomato - diced small
1 English cucumber - diced small

1- 2 T minced fresh mint  - optional
olive oil to moisten, up to 1/4 c
1/2 t salt
Combine gently, chill until serving time. Enjoy.

* if you enjoy the tang of lemon, use the whole lemon.
Serves 4-6

As always,
thanks so much for stopping by!

this post shared with:
full plate thursday@ miz helens

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday's words

Making the purchase of the new house, was long range planning. I don't plan on moving again, until the final one, yep that one. There is so much to do here, a lot really. Fortunately it does not have to be done right now!

I try to get something done each day. It is not overwhelming or fatigue inducing. And there are days that making a living has already used up my resources, but even that is OK. It has to be, because there is also a life to live.

There is wood to be moved and stacked, a garden spot to be tilled, an out door living space to set up, a worm box to construct and begin using, soon there will be cherries to pick, and this fall there is a garden of berries and rhubarb to transplant. And I am probably forgetting something.......

So I just keep peddling and it is going very well, because I am not in a race, I am living my life.

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Garden Tuesday, the one where I left the tag on!

With Father's Day,m out of town guests and other chores, not much work got done in the yard this week. Well that is not entirely true, I have been stacking wood for winter, but that is not "gardening" so I could only tell you about that by sneaking it in here!

But we did get the tree planted. You know the one, the free tree. We had set it where I thought it would work nicely to offer a bit of a privacy screen at the curb, yet offer easy access to the back yard for delivery of wood, compost and/or anything else needing delivered.

It looked like this.....

Now it looks like this, not quite done, but in the ground. When we got down about 2/3 of the way we ran into nothing but rock, so the plan shifted to garden up, with a mini raised bed around the tree. This weekend finds me at the garden center getting decorative brick borders to make a taller, slightly larger bed.

Oh and see that tied on piece of cloth? That must be the "tag" from the person that no longer wanted this tree. Marking it for removal. I think it is time for me to take the tag off.......

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

this post shared with:
garden tuesday@sidewalk shoes
tuesday garden party@an oregon cottage


Monday, June 18, 2012

Homemade Chocolate Syrup, for your ice cream and chocolate milk

One of my favorite treats is a peanut butter, vanilla ice cream, sliced banana with chocolate syrup over the top, Sundae. Just the other night I went to have one, and yep you guessed it, no chocolate syrup. That will not happen again.....


Chocolate Syrup
adapted from: one good thing
makes approximately 1 1/2 cups

1 1/2 c sugar
3/4 c cocoa
dash salt
1 c water
1-2 t honey (what ever falls in the pan, this will help prevent sugar crystals from re-forming during storage)
2 t vanilla

Combine dry ingredients, stir well to mix.


Add water and honey, stir to combine.



 
Bring to a boil,


lower heat, simmer for 1 minute.


Stir in vanilla, let cool and decant.

Store in the refrigerator. Shake gently before using, if needed.

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

Oh and here is how to make a peanut butter banana sundae,

Take a small bowl, "frost" the bottom of the bowl with 1 - 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, add a scoop of ice cream. Slice a banana over the top and drizzle with chocolate syrup, YUM!

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. I appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

this post shared with:
hearth and soul@premeditated leftovers