Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Spring’ 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.

Read Full Post »

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!

Read Full Post »

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!

Read Full Post »

Taco Salad

Want to skip the crunchy carbs of taco night?  Make a salad instead!

Chop up your favorite lettuce.  Make a fresh “salsa” out of diced tomato, onion (red or white, or green yum) and peppers.  Cook ground meat with taco seasoning or combine chili powder, garlic, oregano, cumin and salt.  To make it vegetarian, you could use beans instead of the meat or diced Portobello mushroom caps.  Hey that actually sounds pretty tasty!  Top with shredded cheese.

Funny tidbit for you:  the most popular search on my blog remains at Claire Robinson, she has many fans including yours truly!

Read Full Post »

Toss the following:

  • steak, cooked how you like and sliced (leave off for vegetarian option)
  • spinach
  • tomato
  • red bell pepper
  • cheddar cheese, cubed
  • croutons
  • jicama shards (those are the white pieces)
  • italian dressing

A view of a half-eaten salad that I decided was tasty and wanted to share it with you.  Too bad your screen isn’t scratch’n’nibble!

Read Full Post »

Cucumber

In a tizzy with leftover cucumbers?  I have a few suggestions for you!

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

Pretend you will be hosting the Royal Princess to high tea and make some simple cucumber sandwiches using a cream cheese spread of choice, little mayo, crustless bread, and peeled and seeded thinly sliced cucumber.  Be authentic and use English cucumbers which do not require seeding.  Season gracefully with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Pasta Salad

Easy salad with very few ingredients, topped with sliced cucumber.  Cooked and cooled pasta, diced tomato, fresh basil chiffonade, a splash of balsamic vinegar, good quality olive oil, sea salt and pepper.

A Cool Drink

Cucumber with melon blended drink, spiked with fresh ginger.  (Feel free to add vodka or tequila)

2 cups seedless watermelon, diced

1/2 cucumber, peeled and seeded

1 tsp minced ginger root

juice of 1 lime

Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Not just for ethnic foods, whip up a sauce for your BBQ chicken tacos!

3/4 cup finely diced cucumber

1/4 cup finely diced red onion

juice of half a key lime or tsp or so lemon

sea salt (to taste)

pepper (to taste)

2 -3 tbsp plain yogurt (drained) or greek yogurt

1 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

Read Full Post »

Lunch Box

In my lunch box today…

Tomato Basil Soup from Randall’s (Safeway)

Salad:

tomato

zucchini

radish (garden)

basil (garden)

arugula (garden)

peas (garden)

beans (garden)

croutons made from French bread

Italian dressing

It was missing red onion and maybe some cheese.  That would make one smashing salad!

What did you have for lunch today?

Read Full Post »

These were inspired by a winning recipe on Food52, Salvadoran Breakfast Cakes.  The original recipe was tested a while ago and I found it very greasy.  I played with the ingredients and found a good combination that is springy, moist, and now has blueberries added.  I love blueberries so it was inevitable they would make an appearance in these otherwise plain cupcakes.

  • 1 1/4 cups rice flour (white or brown)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 8 ounce container of low-fat sour cream (1 cup)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, washed and dried

 

Pre-heat the oven to 325ºF (dark metal pan) or 350ºF (light metal pan).

Sift or whisk the rice flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the buttermilk, sour cream and lemon zest, beating well.

Fold in the blueberries.

Fill each cup of a metal muffin tin almost full of batter.

Bake for 25 – 28 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.  This batter is very moist so it’s hard to over bake these, the blueberries only add to the moisture factor.  Just keep an eye on them after the first 20 minutes.

 

Read Full Post »

My mother-in-law had a copy of this book in hardcover. I was immediately drawn to the illustrations in black and white of each herb and spice you can imagine, all in alphabetical order for ease of reference. This book gives anywhere from one to a dozen recipes for a specific spice or herb.

I wouldn’t call this “American” or “French” per se, it’s just simple recipes to give you ideas on the versatility of those little plants and jars in your kitchen. I also like the descriptions, they give times-past associations of spices with prosperity, luck, love, and hate!

I tried the Cabbage with Capers last night and my husband said it was one of the best things I’ve made in a while!  (Why doesn’t he like the rest of it? Or is he too nice to tell me so? Well I have to admit that I’ve been heavy handed with the salt as of late…)

Adapted from Cabbage with Capers from Cooking With Herbs And Spices by Craig Claiborne

  • 1/2 head of green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup cooked ham, small dice
  • 1 Tbsp bacon fat
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp capers with brine
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup water

Start with the bacon fat, ham, and onion.  Add the garlic after the onion is soft and fragrant, cook for a minute.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine then quickly cover and reduce to medium-low for 10 minutes.  It’s ready when the cabbage is soft, stir to scrape up any bits stuck to the pan if needed.

This dish resembled a very mild sauerkraut only the caraway was replaced with capers.  Big Brother is not a fan of caraway seeds, so this is a good swap for him.

*   *   *   *   *

In other news… I’m hosting a bake sale on Mother’s Day!  I’ve opened a cottage bakery in my house, Cardamom Finnish Cottage Bakery, and I thought this would be a good way to let neighbors know about me.  And for all of you Austin readers, this is a chance to actually taste some of the sweet things you’ve been drooling over while reading my blog.  Locals can pre-order via the bakery website to pick up on Sunday, or just come on by between 9 and 11 am and shop at the sale (2800 Adelen Ln, Round Rock).

Read Full Post »

Remember how I was trying to think of ways to use up my bag of Teff flour?  Well, I did it again.  This time I made muffins with a boost of fiber from the sneaky addition of Teff to the batter.  The neat thing about Teff is that in small portions it is easily incorporated into any recipe with all-purpose flour, including these lemony blueberry muffins.

Look good enough to eat, eh?

Here’s another tip for you… If you are like me and don’t like soggy areas of muffin around the fresh berries, use dried blueberries instead.  Dried berries are always in season and you won’t have to wait for them to thaw.  The best part is no soggy muffins!

  • 1 cup dried blueberry flavoured cranberries
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Teff flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 12 paper muffin cups
  • turbino sugar for sprinkling

Note: My typical recipe includes 2 or 3 mashed bananas, the lack of extra moisture should have been more apparent to me.  This recipe would be improved with the addition of a 1/2 cup of plain yogurt or applesauce.  I didn’t have anything else on hand.

Pre heat the oven to 325ºF.

Mix the wet ingredients with the lemon and blueberries and set aside.  Combine the dry ingredients (except the turbino sugar) in a large bowl.  Make a well in the dry mix and pour in the wet mix.  Stir until the flour disappears, the consistency should be lumpy but evenly moist.

Divide the batter between 12 regular sized muffin cups in a metal tin.  These would also be cute as mini muffins for a brunch or coffee table.  Top with about 1/2 tsp of the turbino sugar.  Turbino sugar is coarse and will not completely melt during baking, this leaves a crunchy topping to the muffins.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotate the pan half way through.  The middles should be set and the edges lightly golden brown.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »