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Archive for the ‘Seasonal’ Category

Easter Fiesta

Tried some wine, the Moscato was quite sweet and peachy (as expected), the Unoaked chardonnay was crisp and not too dry, and the red was shy on tannin (which I like actually). Who doesn’t love a rooster on your bottle of wine, ha! I bought all of these at Sprouts on sale.

Each paired nicely with dishes I prepared. The Chardonnay with the herb roasted turkey breast. The red with the spiral honey ham. The Moscato with the apple cinnamon crisp (a la mode  ). 

2014-04-20 15.15.00 2014-04-20 16.38.43 2014-04-20 16.39.02 2014-04-20 16.39.12 2014-04-20 16.39.28

My friends were welcome to bring something as a side, they brought mac’n’cheese (David’s recipe, which rocks because he puts Cheezits on top… I still have to try to replicate it!), green bean casserole, and apple pie tarts.  We could have fed an army!

It’s not the same as my family gatherings back home in Alberta, with a dish of every sort and cousins to match.  But Mom was here at least and my best friends, Stephanie and David, were enough to have a great time.  I love sharing my kitchen.

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Local Lovelies: Persimmons

local texas persimmon greenling.com

Second only to peaches, persimmons are my favorite local fruit.  Find them at farm stands or CSA boxes in the fall.

local texas persimmon greenling.comLittle Sister devoured more than her allotment!  Big Brother was on the fence but liked the few slices he tried.  You can taste the sunshine in these orbs, slightly sweet with a hint of diluted apricot.  I’ll be hunting for persimmon trees (if I can manage to keep it alive long enough to bear fruit!).

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2011-10 lemon poppy loaf 2

We were at a friend’s house this weekend to celebrate Mike’s birthday.  Friend of friend Sam made Avgolemono for everyone.  She graciously allowed me to share her recipe for this lemon egg soup, which was amazingly tangy and silky. A flavorful soup is one that takes time, love and affection. Like raising a child, you have to watch it carefully, give enough to keep it going, and know when it’s time to let go. A poignant analogy as many parents I know have let their chicks out of the nest to join the collective (a.k.a. college). My aunt is probably freaking out right about now as my youngest cousin begins his college career. Boy, do I feel old saying that!

Anyways, on to the soup!

Sam described creating the foundation of the soup with a homemade chicken stock. You can find posts here and here which discuss stock. For this soup, a simple mirepoix and a roasted chicken will suffice. Over a period of 8 hours, the stock should be watched, more water added as needed to extract every bit of chicken flavor from the carcass of a lemon-rosemary roasted bird. Keep the breast meat aside, but everything else can be used for stock. If you don’t have all day to make soup, you’re forgiven, go ahead and use the box or cubes instead. You’ll need 10-12 cups of stock. This will make 8-10 servings, depending how hungry y’all are.

Add shredded breast meat to the stock. Simmer while you work on the next step.

Get 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 10 lemons), less if you’re making less soup.

Separate 6 eggs. Set aside the whites (make a lemon meringue pie or something!). Whisk the yolks then add small amounts of stock from the soup to temper the eggs.

Add the lemon juice to the tempered yolks while whisking.

Turn the temperature down to a bare simmer. Slowly incorporate the yolks into the soup. Adjust the salt if needed.

OPTION: For people who can eat gluten, some cooked orzo may be added to this soup. Sam left it separate from the soup so everyone could choose to add some (or not) to their respective bowls. You can cook the pasta in the stock for 10 minutes before adding the chicken meat as well.

Thanks Sam for sharing your soup!

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While I wait for my next trip to the store or CSA or farmer’s market I was craving some green stuff for my morning smoothie.

I tend to hide things from myself, the motivation is to “save it for later”. Works well with special candy bars my parents smuggle down to Texas from Canada. Coffee Crisp bars are one of my favorites, I would arm wrestle you for one. Probably cheat by distracting you somehow just to get my mits on one of those puppies. Hiding kale from myself, in the save it for a rainy day fashion, now sounds incredibly weird when put next to chocolate. It came in handy this morning though! I tried making my own kale chips with a beautiful bunch that came in my Greenling box a while ago. I bagged up the leftovers and burried them in the freezer. It’s probably been two months, maybe more, that those kale chips sat waiting for someone to rescue them.

Have you ever seen the “Will it Blend?” series on YouTube? This is by no means an experiment of radical blending of random items. I do write with purpose (mostly), ha ha. Well, give that guy a bag of kale chips and see what happens. I can tell you that the results of a smoothie containing dried plant matter are not that appealing. Besides having large bits of kale in my breakfast smoothie, the flavor of nutty toasted kale threw me off. It was edible but I’m calling it a kitchen experiment failure.

I’d like to make this with fresh kale.

kale blueberry smoothie

The combination used here was:

  • half of a banana
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 1/2 cup orange juice, maybe more if too thick
  • heaping cup of blueberries
  • handful of kale (use fresh for heaven’s sake)

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  • 12 – 16 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • pepper to taste

Combine everything except the balsamic vinegar in a container with a lid or resealable zip top bag resting in a bowl or casserole dish.  Marinade overnight in the refrigerator, turning to coat a few times.

Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.

Line a roasting pan with foil.  Pluck the chicken drumsticks from the marinade and place in a single layer in the lined pan.  Roast for 1 hour.

While the chicken is in the oven, strain the marinade into a small pot.  Add the balsamic vinegar and bring to a simmer.  Reduce to a thick syrupy glaze.  Remove the chicken roasting pan from the oven and brush the glaze over the chicken.  Return the pan to the oven for another 20 minutes or until done.

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My loquats are showing

texas tx loquat fruit tree

Fresh off the tree!

With the warmer days of late April come the golden fruit of my loquat tree.  You have to work quickly once they start to ripen, bugs and birds snack on the juicy yellowish orbs while they turn in the sun.  These are the very first loquats of the season in my back yard.  Now I have to keep the big critters from devouring them all before I can cook them down into a jelly or butter format.  Sweet and sour notes prevail when raw or cooked.  The butter I made last year was put to good use.  My friend at Full & Content rounded up recipes for this unusual fruit which will be posted soon!

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chop drop soup

This is not so much a recipe as it is a map or method to creating soul satisfying soup in five easy steps.  Let your imagination go wild, with the blessing of your taste buds of course.  Soups are a perfect way to use seasonal veggies that you may find at your local farmers market.  Say there is an unusual squash on the table, ask the grower if it is hard, bitter, sweet, or soft?  Bitter squash is not the best candidate for soups, at least in my view, so I avoid those.  Zucchini is about as bitter as I will go.  Give chop and drop a try!

Step 1

Empty the veggie drawer into the (clean) kitchen sink or counter.  Wash all skin-stay-on veggies.

Step 2

Peel and trim veggies.  Chop into manageable pieces.  Hint: the smaller the dice the hastier it cooks!

Step 3

Drop into a soup pot with a swirl of olive oil, sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Stir.

Step 4

Add liquids.  Choose your favorite stock, broth, bouillon, OXO, Knorr, or even tomato puree, or can of cream of whatever plus milk.

Step 5

Wait.  Poke the veggies to see if they are tender. Heck, you could even taste one or two.

You are ready to eat!

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