Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I am unable to do it all, right now.......


Caught in the middle of many things needing attention, lost in the list of what to do next, keeping a less than stellar account of what has been done, verses what needs to be done, leaves no choice...........

I must take a break,


there is a garden to till and mature plants to transplant from yard one to yard two,

a canopy to build over the wood pile to keep the wood dry, so that the wood will keep us warm this winter,

there are tree limbs to clean up from necessary pruning,


and iris tubers to plant in the front yard on the street side, to flower and border our home in a blaze of color.

But there is also the spirit, which is quite tired and needs to go to the beach, pick some blackberries before they are all gone, and ride a bike in the wind. 


There is life, where a series of changes have in the end enriched my life, and made the future brighter. And thankfully, family love to be a constant yet gentle push to continue on. 


Please don't go away, as this blog now so many years in the making is very important to me and chronicled so much, has also given me some great and wonderful friends along the way. 

I thank you for that friendship.

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





Monday, August 27, 2012

Roasted Beets, Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad over mixed greens.

Roasted Beets, Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad over mixed greens
by the seat of my pants!
serves 2-4

4-6 medium beets
1/4-1/2 c blue cheese crumbles
1/4-1/2 c toasted broken walnuts
4-6 c mixed greens
vinaigrette of choice

Place beets in a baking dish, roast at 350 degrees for 1-1 1/4 hours or until pierced easily with the tip of a knife ( I was amazed at how long this took.) Let cool, skin and slice. Set aside.

To assemble the salad:
toss greens with vinaigrette, layer in the bottom of a shallow serving dish. Toss beet slices with additional vinaigrette, layer over greens. Add blue cheese and top with walnuts.

Serve!

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:
hearth and soul@premeditated leftovers
full plate thursday@miz helen's
food friday @ carole's chatter

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wild Plum, Port and Cinnamon 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, Monday August 3, 2009.

Tonight I got around to making the jam, and it sure is pretty. Smells wonderful also, plums, port and cinnamon. I did not really use a recipe, but followed the guidelines - somewhat.

Wild plums, these were harvested from a flowering plum tree.

Plums have a lot of pectin naturally, so I felt confident that the jam would be just right with a double recipe and only 1 package of pectin. I had made a wonderful plum butter out of some leftover plums and used no pectin, it turned out wonderful and was gone in 3 days.

My favorite part of jam making is the little bit that doesn't fit into a jar. You get to enjoy it now. We always had bread and butter as part of dinner on jam making days, back in the day........


At this point I had the clean jars resting in a 250 degree oven. And the pan to the rear holds rings and lids, resting in hot (not boiling) water.

This pan of fruit puree, was started on Sunday. It contains 6-8 cups of the cherry size plums washed and left whole. 1 c port wine and 4 cinnamon sticks. Brought to a boil, and then simmered for  45 - 60 minutes. Set aside to cool. When cool remove cinnamon sticks, strain fruit through a stainless steel colander, stir gently to push fruit solids and through the holes. You will have a small mound of pits and some skin remnants to throw out.

I measured the puree, I had 6 liquid cups. I added equal sugar and the juice from 1 large lemon. Then it went into the fridge to rest until I was ready/had the time to finish.

To finish, stir 1 package of pectin into the puree, bring to a boil. Boil rapidly for 1 minute (you might want to check your pectin brand, it might be different).

Ladle int into 8, 8 oz jars, cap and place in boiling water bath. Process for 10 minutes starting after the water has returned a boil.

Remove jars from pot, set aside to cool. You should hear the "ping" of the seals coming down.

Makes 8, 8 oz jars and a little bit for now.


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
gallery of favorites@premeditated leftovers

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Garden Tuesday, the one where she stumbled upon it!

I know what you are thinking, will she ever get over it?
"It" being rhubarb, yeah probably not.

I am not an experienced gardener, and having had such bad growing conditions what with huge fir trees that produced wonderful shade for people, soured soil from said trees and simple lack of knowledge, this really is a big deal to me. I'm just sayin!

Originally I was going to transplant the rhubarb this fall. I was hoping for that little bed to just sit there, waiting for spring time, what with so many other things to get done. Moving to a new home does that to one's schedule, with so much to do, what can wait, must wait. But.......

I knew exactly where I wanted the rhubarb in the new backyard. I had noticed rhubarb planted in various little nooks and crannies in other gardens and it did just fine, actually more than fine. At the west end of the new house, I thought would be a wonderful little "nook and cranny" for the rhubarb. It could be watered as much as is needed, without over watering other plants. Oh and full sun, all day long. That was the other growing condition I had observed. And probably the most lacking in the old yard........

Since I was going to create a garden spot with cinder blocks to make a raised bed and have a deep spot to plant the goofy looking roots, it was actually a quick and easy task as far as gardening goes. The hardest part was hauling home heavy bags of soil and other fine things. So..........


I did not wait to move the plants. Some of the goofy bottoms were fairly large, as I have been struggling growing rhubarb for about five years. And while I did not harvest any much it was apparent that the growing conditions at the old house were simply not conducive to grow food for harvest. However......

Some of the goofy bottoms however were very small, as I have been adding plants as the years go by. But I planted them all. I took off all of the stalks, as they were yellowish and not healthy. Except for the biggest plant, those I left to grow. I knew they were large enough to keep growing and hoped they would. I needed some way to measure what I had just done!


Those goofy bottoms were now planted in a deep bed of rich soil and aged manure. Really, could they ask for more? Then I coiled on a soaker hose, and covered everything up with my homemade brown paper mulch. I watered the bed and felt a bit of pride in getting this one task done. I would kept an eye on the remaining stalks each time I watered. And continue to hope it would all be OK in the spring. But then..............

Little green curly leaves started to raise up the mulch, first here and then there. Happiness is! Except for the north side of the bed, where the littlest goofy bottoms were planted. I stood back and observed each time I watered, even peeking under the mulch. But still nothing green was to be seen on the north end. Well I consoled myself, 80% success in the transplant is wonderful! I could fill in the north side in the spring. And then.........


I noticed a little bulge in the mulch and lo and behold a curly leave on the north side. Yes! I did not plant those little goofy bottoms upside down, there would be no rhubarb growing in China after all, it was going to grown in my backyard, finally for once!

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

Monday, August 20, 2012

White bean soup, with cilantro broth

This is an all around, anytime, easy to produce meal. Full of vegetables, plenty of protein and delicious! You have the options of using cooked beans from your own kitchen or canned beans. Either way, with beans in your freezer on in your pantry, dinner is a simmer away.


White bean soup, with cilantro broth
adapted from: cook with what you have
serves 4-6

6 c vegetable bouillon  - divided
2-3 leeks or 1 medium onion
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
1 (large) bunch of swiss chard
2 c cooked white beans or 1 can cannellini beans ,drained
1 bunch cilantro - 2 c packed cilantro
4 - 6 eggs
4 - 6 slices of crusty bread
Romano cheese, if desire
salt and pepper

Remove the green part of the leeks, rinse well, cut in half and slice thinly. If using the onion, dice in 1/4 inch size. Add about 2 T olive oil to a large flat bottom pan, saute the leeks and garlic, until soft, do not brown. Stir frequently. 

Wash and remove stems from chard. Dice into 1 inch squares. Add to pan along with the 5 cups of the broth and drained beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes.

Puree the cilantro leaves with the remaining 1 c broth. Stir into soup kettle. Again bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, carefully drop eggs into soup, season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer until eggs are set.


Toast the bread, butter or rub with garlic if desire. To serve, add a slice of toasted bread to the bottom of a soup plate, spoon out an egg and place it on the bread, ladle soup over all. Drizzle with olive oil if desire, sprinkle with Romano cheese if desire.

Enjoy! 

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!





Friday, August 17, 2012

Sharing the view.......

A Friday view..........

If life had no responsibilities, like working and commuting, this would be my daily driver!

We are having very hot weather, too hot to cook or even eat for that matter, especially dinner. How are you ending your summer?

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


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Graham Cracker Muffins, 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, Sunday November 14, 210.


When I first joined Cookbook Sundays, my own mindset was unaware of how simple the whole process could be! I though my post would have to be big and beautiful and beyond what we eat on a regular basis. But soon I realized my own thinking process was flawed, and that all I need do is grab a book, cook, post.
Easy, just like 1, 2, 3.

I love this old food mill, being used to hold small fruits and vegetables

This Sunday I have granddaughter here for a sleepover, and immediately muffins came to mind. A quick check and the perfect recipe was right there, Graham Cracker Muffins. Everyone here loves graham crackers, especially Olivia.

Graham Cracker Muffins
adapted from:  Mostly Muffins
Barbara Albright & Leslie Weiner
400 degree oven

1 c flour
1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c wheat germ
1/4 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c sugar
1 1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

1 c buttermilk

1 egg
1/3 c oil
1/3 c molasses

1/2 c raisins - optional (I did not use)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a 12 cup muffin tin, set aside.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, whisk to combine.


 
Combine egg, oil and molasses in small bowl, whisk to combine and beat egg.


Add wet group and milk to dry group. Mix well. Batter is thin. Divide batter between tins equally.


Bake 15 - 20 minutes, or until tests done in your oven. Remove from oven and let cool 5-10 minutes, loosen muffins from sides of tin and turn on to their sides to release steam. Makes 12.


Serve with:

Brown sugar Cinnamon Butter
4 T soft butter
1 T brown sugar
1/8 t cinnamon
Set this up to soften while the muffins bake.

Combine well, making sure no streaks of butter are present, serve with muffins.



Grandma tested, granddaughter approved!

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

this post shared with:
full plate thursday@miz helen's

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Garden Tuesday, the one where she shows a round-up!

Let's see now.....


Apparently knowing what you are, does make a difference!



Still hauling wood, these cut limbs and the scrap pieces were under the tree.

There is still lots of clean up, but 

In this backyard is a shady spot, with many trees coming together to form a canopy of shade. I want this area for a quiet zone, oh yes I do! Stay tuned.....

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


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Vegetable Bouillon, for your pantry

Local for my community includes a state line. Two states and two cities have become a blended community. Each is very different, each has it's own charms, but it is a pleasure to have the added bonus of the spillage from one city into the other and the creation of a metro area.

I happen to live on the north side of the river, yet I work on the sound side of the river. It all comes together offering the best, to one and all.

On the south side of the river, is another cook, with a similar philosophy about food......cook with what you have. It goes a step further for this cook however, she is involved with local farmers and also gives classes to promote that same way of life, in your own kitchen.

As I read the blogs of other cooks, not only do I see beautiful food to make for my Sunday dinners, I notice the simple warming delicious foods for the end of a work day. Food that can still be cooked, at the end of my work day. Soup comes to the rescue, many times, and seems the perfect dinner in my mind. 

I love soup, a warm, satisfying, earthy, delicious soup. While reading about making her current favorite soup, I followed a link to a homemade veggie bouillon. This or an adaptation of your own flavor preferences is about the smartest and easiest thing to have in your pantry. Instant. Delicious. Homemade. Flavor.

Also it is a space saver, no more containers of cooked vegetable stock in the freezer. I knew right away I wanted to make this for the added zip it will add to my cooking, I hope you will too.

Homemade Vegetable Bouillon Paste
adapted from: cook with what you have

2-3 carrots, scrubbed - peeled if desired
2-3 stalks celery
1 small celeric, peeled and trimmed of any woody parts
1-2 shallots
1-2 cloves garlic
1-2 leek, white part only
6-8 dried tomatoes
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
3/4 c sea salt














Cut cleaned vegetables into chunks. Process using a pulse method until the mixture is consistent.


















Add parsley and salt, pulse to mix in. You will need to open the processor bowl and bring the contents from the bottom to the top, pulse several times and repeat bringing bottom to top. Finish pulsing to mix all ingredients together.












Spoon into freezer jars, and freeze for storage. Due to the salt content, this will not freeze hard. To use:  start by using 2 t per each cup of water, you may adjust per you own taste preferences.




and now, time to clean up!


Additional suggestions:  add to water when cooking rice, stir a spoonful into the pan drippings from a roast, simmer and serve, add to any other liquid or broth when making soup or even mashed potatoes.


What are some of your ideas?


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


This post will be shared with:
weekend cooking@beth fish reads


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pizza Sauce from the pantry, 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, Monday February 28, 2011.

I like to do it myself, most of the time anyway. However I like being able to do it myself, even more. I don't care to get caught up in reliance upon others (things or people) for everyday living.There is a lot of "hurry up and wait" with that option. This is especially true in the kitchen. A few basic skills and a sense of wonder, coupled with my desire to be independent, is how I like things to roll. And I can usually produce what we want, or at least what is acceptable.

We had homemade pizza for our dinner on Sunday. When I went to the pantry cupboard there was no tomato sauce. Around here tomato sauce is usually purchased as part of a recipe that is planned for, except for that lone can in wait for "those times" and apparently I had already used it! Not wanting to send Honey back to the store a third time (yes He did go twice, short story, I forgot the pizza cheese on the supplies list, for Pete's sake!), I improvised.

And as luck would have it, this is now our pizza sauce. Worth the little bit of extra time, and the bonus? I always have cans of diced tomatoes, I could not get along without them. This sauce if flavorful with just the right touch of tomato goodness.


Pantry Pizza sauce
by the seat of my pants

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes - do not drain
1 T sugar
1/2 t oregano leaves
1T basil leaves
1/4 t garlic salt
1 T olive oil

Empty tomatoes into a medium sized saucepan.


Mash the tomatoes with a potato masher, to break up.


Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil.


Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thick, 30-45 minutes.













 This is at the 15 minute mark. Just beginning to thicken.





 
This is done, 30 minutes. Thick enough to stay
where the spoon pushes it! The smell is so good!




Now your pizza is ready to be made, choose your favorite flavors and bake! Pizza is fun, easy to personalize and then all you have to do is enjoy!

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 helens