I love buying things for my kitchen or that are used to prepare or serve food, hand crafted items made by artisans are some of my very favorite things that I treasure. I found Michaels blog, Michaels Woodcraft & Blog about a month ago, Michael is an artist, a craftsman and does the most beautiful cutting boards, rolling pins, ice cream scoops and bird houses that I have seen. Each one carefully and lovingly made by hand. You cant tell he loves what he does, it shows in his work. I saw that he had a giveaway, a gorgeous cutting board so I left a comment hoping for the best but never expecting to win. Well, I won the board, I got it yesterday and it’s the one pictured here. Isn’t it beautiful??? Michael uses natural hard wood, you can actually choose what wood you want for some boards and I have to say his prices are so reasonable. I love my board and can’t wait to use it. You all know how much I love ice cream and when i saw that he makes ice cream scoops also you know I had to have one. There were several different varieties of wooden handles but I asked Michael to surprise me and oddly the one he sent is the one I picked for myself. Follow the link above to visit Michaels blog, I highly recommend his products, they make wonderful gifts as well. Stay tuned for a giveaway here very soon!!!
Re blogging this from Prudy at butter, basil and breadcrumbs. Lets send this sweet little boy lots of birthday cards. The story breaks my heart.
There is no recipe tonight…. just a simple request.
I cannot tell you how much all of the love and support that you gave to Mike and me…after I told you about his illness… meant to me. While I’m not surprised, because over these last few months, I’ve come to know that there are so many, many good people in this world…I am deeply touched by the kindness that you showed to the both of us.
I know that many of you are moms too, so I know you feel what I feel. I would give my son anything that would make him happy (within reason…I’m not buying him that $30K truck that he wants!).
Like I told you, we are blessed. Michael has the disease, but it’s manageable. He can live a long life.
Last night, I was watching the news…and there was a short segment about a…
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I have to reblog this, it was such a wonderful night and I didn’t blog about and I am so thrilled that Azita did. I LOVE Francesca and Stefano and everyone that was there and I wanted to share this great pasta recipe with you from Francesca (Floras Table)….
Originally posted on Fig & Quince:
Hi all! This glorious pepper and pancetta toriglioni pasta concoction is a yummy guest post by my treasured Italian friends Francesca (who wrote the recipe and the story) and Stefano (who did the photography.)
Many of you fellow bloggers already know and are fans of this talented Italian power couple, but for those of you not in the know, borrow two feet in addition to your own two feet (rough translation of a Persian saying, ha ha) and run and check out their food (authentic Italian cuisine & riveting storytelling), wine (reviews and inspired pairings – Stefano is a certified sommelier) and photography (outstanding nature and wildlife shots) blogs. I was already entirely “in like” with Francesca and Stefano as bloggers (I just really dig their vibe, you know, Italians and Iranians do share many cultural sensibilities believe it…
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Crisps or Cobblers or buckles or whatever you want to make are a really simple and delicious way to enjoy summer fruit or berries. I have been wanting to try working with some different flours other than wheat and bought some barley flour. This crisp is so simple and quick to make and I must say the crumble or crisp part is wonderful, I used oats, barley flour, almond flour, butter and organic brown sugar. I bought already pitted and preserved sour cherries, I don’t have a cherry pitter. It took almost no time at all to put this together and I had it for breakfast this morning, don’t judge, think about it, grains, fruit, why not? It would also make a smashing dessert!! I’m also very excited that this is my 300th post!!
Crisp or Crumble
1 stick salted butter softened
1 cup oats (I used Bobs Red Mill, certified GF)
1/2 cup barley flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup organic brown sugar
Mix until it’s all incorporated and set aside.
The cherries and make the crisp:
1 quart cherries (I used sour)
Scant 1/2 cup brown sugar (If using sweet cherries only use 1/4 cup)
2 tbs tapioca starch
pinch of sea salt
Pre heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cherries, tapioca, sugar and salt together and pour into baking dish. I used a rectangular approximately 8×11. Distribute the crumble topping on the cherries, sprinkle with a little course brown sugar (like demerara or Hains organic brown. Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes or until crumble topping is browned and the fruit is bubbly.
I like to serve with a little heavy cream poured on while it’s hot.
I’m not much of a soup person when it’s really hot out, however a cold or room temp soup is perfect summer fare. I had an over abundance of vegetables that I bought at the farmers market that I needed to use and I love roasted vegetables, I put them in salads, eat on their own or as a side they are delicious and very versatile. When I say I had a lot of vegetables I mean a lot, I roasted two 1/2 sheet pans of assorted vegetables, some I ate the others I thought I would make into a soup. This soup is a mix of asparagus, green beans, carrots, red scallions and summer squash. It takes a short time to roast and then you are done with the hot oven and all you will need is your blender or food processor, I simply put the vegetables in the processor, added salt, pepper,creme fraiche and vegetable broth. I garnished with mint and garlic that I fried in some olive oil. You can of course use whatever vegetables you like or have on hand. There really is no recipe. you puree vegetables and add liquid until it’s the desired thickness, I don’t use any spices if you like to add them I think it would be wonderful. Serve warm, cold or room temperature.
Week #25, my how time flies. Well this week our always glowing host Angie@The Novice Gardener has asked two bloggers that were the very first co hosts for Fiesta Friday, Hilda @Along The Grapevine and Julianna @Foodie On Board. We are in good hands my friends
Here is what I used:
1 bunch asparagus, cleaned and woody stems snapped off (make sure to really clean the heads they can contain sand)
approximately 2 cups green beans stem end snapped off and cleaned
6 small carrots roasted whole with about an inch of the green stem left on
4 yellow summer squash cut into large chunks
4 large red bulb scallions cleaned ends cut ( I didn’t use the long green stems only about an inch above the bulb)
vegetable or chicken broth (enough to thin the soup to desired consistency)
creme fraiche or kefir I added about 1/2 cup
salt and pepper to taste
Mint cut chiffonade
garlic sliced very thinly
Roast the vegetables in a 375 degree oven, I roasted the carrots, squash and onions longer than the asparagus and green beans. About 30 minutes for the carrots etc and 15-20 minutes for asparagus and green beans.
Remove from oven and place in processor with some stock, process until smooth. Pour into bowl and add the creme fraiche or kefir, salt and pepper, do all of this to taste and desired thickness.
In saute pan coat with olive oil, add garlic and when it just starts to turn a light brown add the mint, saute until mint is crisp and garlic is a nice light brown, remove to paper towel. When serving sprinkle some on top of each serving you can also add a dollop of sour cream.
When in Whole Foods last week I saw in the bulk pasta section several different types of pasta that are all locally made (Brooklyn) die cut and organic, I loved the look of the black and white orzo so decided to give it a try. Now I love orzo, I remember a Greek friend used to make a baked orzo dish with tomatoes that was wonderful. This is not baked and it’s not Greek but it does have Mediterranean flavors. It’s simple to make and can be served hot or cold. No recipe needed make it according to taste, if you don’t have black and white orzo use whatever you have available. I had some heirloom cherry tomatoes grown on a rooftop in Brooklyn, the basil and parsley came from my garden, I think the ricotta salata is Italian in origin but for the most part this dish is made with ingredients made or grown locally, I love that! You can add whatever herbs you like, I chose basil and parsley. This is simple to make, no recipe required, tailor to your tastebuds and is good hot or cold.
Makes 2 servings
12 (approximately) cherry tomatoes
2-3 cloves garlic skin removed
1 cup orzo
handfull basil and parsley
ricotta salata (a little less than a cup cubed or broken into small pieces)
salt and pepper
Heat oven to 375 degrees, lay parchment or foil on 1/4 sheet pan, place the tomatoes whole on the sheet pan along with the garlic, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, Roast for 20-30 minutes or until tomatoes are soft, a little caramelized and have given off some of their juices, the garlic should also be soft. Remove from the oven to cool. While tomatoes are roasting boil the orzo, I like it al dente it took about 15 minutes. Drain and put in bowl, chop the basil and parsley and ricotta salata and add to bowl, Smash the garlic with a fork and mix with the tomatoes, add to the orzo and toss to combine. Before serving check for seasoning and drizzle some good olive oil on top.
It has been years since I’ve had Black Forest Cake, it’s so wonderful I really don’t know why I haven’t made one in such a long time. Honestly, you don’t hear them mentioned very much anymore. A Black Forest Cake is chocolate cake, cherries and whipped cream, pretty simple really, decorate with chocolate shavings and you have a wonderfully delicious cake. In the US and some other parts of the world the cake does not contain alcohol but in Germany they use Kirschenwasser or Kirsch a fruit (sour cherry) liquor, I happened to have some on hand so I macerated the cherries in some Kirsch and sugar. I thought it would be fun to make individual cakes in jars for the party, they are portable and neat. The cake is a chocolate sponge cake, the cake will hold up well with the moist cherries and whipped cream. I didn’t have sour cherries but did have some beautiful Rainier cherries so I used those and whipped cream of course. Very simple and very delicious.
Fiesta Friday #24 is hosted by Angie@The Novice Gardener and just a little shout out you have to see what she brought, AMAZING and so creative. This week is pretty special because we have three wonderful co hosts Indu @Indu’s International Kitchen, Selma @Selma’s Table, and HHilda @Along The Grapevine. I really love FF not only is there an amazing array of delicious food but the company is stellar, I don’t know about you but I love getting to know my fellow bloggers and what is happening in their kitchens and lives, its great to see what they are up to and get idea’s for my next meal. A really big thank you to Angie for making all this possible.
Black Forest Cake In A Jar
Makes about a dozen (depending on the size of your jar)
2 cups pitted cherries sliced in half
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup kirsch
Combine the cherries, sugar and kirsch, give them a little bit of a mash to help them along, gently. Refrigerate covered for about 2 hours.
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 large eggs at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Note: I find the amount of batter varies every time I make this, I never like to fill the pan to the rim, it’s better to leave a small space so the cake can rise. If you have leftover batter make a few cupcakes.
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Place milk and butter in glass measuring cup and microwave for 45 seconds or until butter is melted. Using stand mixer with wire whisk or electric mixer whip the eggs and sugar on med/high for approximately 8 minutes or until the mixture is pale yellow, tripled in volume and thick, with the machine running slowly add the heated milk and buter. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Fold into the egg mixture, there should be no lumps. Fold in the vanilla. Grease a 1/2 sheet pan, lay parchment sheet and grease the parchment, and sprinkle with sugar. Pour batter into the pan, spread so that it is evenly distributed and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes in the pan run a knife around the edges to loosen then invert onto wire rack, remove parchment and let cool completely.
This makes about a dozen small jars, I used a weck small tulip jar you can use whatever you have, mix and match.
Make your whipped cream. You will need approximately 1 pint of very cold heavy cream. Pour into cold bowl and whip with hand held or stand mixer until it thickens, add some sugar (to taste) and instead of vanilla I used some of the syrup from the cherries, about 2 tsp. If you use vanilla add 2 tsp. Whip until thick and billowy.
Break off small pieces of the cake and place in the bottom of each jar, spoon some of the cherries and the juice on the cake, add a dollop of whipped cream and repeat. End with whipped cream on top, add some chocolate shavings. Enjoy!
I was so inspired by Emily’s guest post the other day, I decided to give canning a try. Mind you I don’t have the proper equipment but I did happen to have some unused Weck canning jars. I followed Emily’s instructions but used peaches and apricots instead of strawberries (because I didn’t have any) The jam itself is amazing, I just got everything out of the pot after processing for 10 minutes but don’t know if it took. I can’t tell with Weck jars. I will have to read about it. I think that I will purchase a bunch of ball canning jars and have some fun. Thank you Emily for the inspiration. The tulip jar is not full so I didn’t process, that will sit in the refrigerator and get eaten immediately. I used a deep heavy pot, first sterilized the jars and then placed a round cooling rack on the bottom of the pan and brought to boiling. I didn’t have proper tongs with rubber tips so I used my regular tongs and it worked but was a bit precarious. I will invest in proper canning equipment so I can really do this right. This was fun!!
Peach/Apricot/Ginger Jam: (Adapted from Emily’s Strawberry Cardamom Jam)
4 cups peaches and apricots (I peeled the peaches but not the apricots)
1 1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 smallish apple grated (peeled)
1 1/4 cup organic sugar
1/4 cup honey (Was wishing I had the calmer sutra ginger honey)
E m-i-lis, the lovely blog that I enjoy every single morning while I’m having my morning cup of coffee, I enjoy it because it’s honest, open, always has amazing recipes and satisfies the voyeur in me by giving me a peek into the life of Emily, her two sons Jack and Oliver and husband T and I can’t forget her adorable Percy the pug and Nutmeg the cat. I asked Emily to do a guest post for me because I love her blog but I also LOVE her jam, I have been the recipient of several jars and it’s the best jam EVER!! I also had the opportunity to meet her in person when she and T came to NYC, we had a great day. I first met Emily on Food52, we became online friends I was in awe of her recipes she submitted on the site, each one so delicious like this Rhubarb Cherry Hibiscus Crumble. Emily is a mother, blogger, caterer, canner, organizer, well she wears many hats. She teaches canning/preserving and jam making in Washington DC where she and her family reside. Check out her blog, subscribe, you’ll love it. I really enjoy sharing what I think is great content on blogs that I follow, I love making jam but haven’t a clue how it is done properly. Emily’s instructions are easy to follow she’ll make a great jam maker out of anyone, even me, you see I have a fear of canning or preserving.
Allow me to introduce Emily who will demystify the art of jam making and she is also offering a delicious recipe for Strawberry Cardamom Jam. Take it away Em!!
Two of my fondest memories involve jam. Or at least, the jam-making process, also known as canning. When I was a young girl, I often watched my grandmother cook. Nanny, my mom’s mom, lived just a few miles from us, and I grew up spending a great deal of time with her, something I felt lucky about then but appreciate even more now that I’m an adult with children of my own.
Nanny, a French Cajun, married a Sicilian-American, a handsome, sometimes-grumpy restaurateur who loved to eat. We called him Papa and most of our Sunday lunches were spent sitting with them at their 1950s Formica table, eating steaming plates of spaghetti and roast, fresh salad and iced tea. Papa regularly bellowed from his end of the table, “More cheese!” and one of us would dutifully pass the freshly grated Parmesan Nanny kept in an hinged-top silver bowl.
One of Nanny’s specialties, and one that very literally made our holiday tables special, was her cranberry sauce. It was the antithesis of that canned cranberry log by which I mean it was instead, a spectacularly crimson, lazy suspension of cranberries and chunks of diced lemon in a sweet-tangy combination of sugar, Mayhaw (a Southern berry-producing tree) juice and grated apple which had dissolved away into nothing but flavor and pectin. Her cranberry sauce made turkey sing, and it was equally wonderful straight from the jar, licked off a tea spoon. She taught me to make it and those lessons were my initial foray into canning.
Fast forward many years, and my husband and I are in Normandy, staying at a B&B near Mont St. Michel. We were newlyweds so everything was dreamy anyway, and on top of that: France. After we awoke our first morning there, we made our way down to the dining room where we found a literal buffet of fresh jams made by the Madame. We ate an ungodly amount of bread during that breakfast, simply to keep tasting her concoctions. They were magnificent, though the only flavor I recall is her rose petal jelly; the others have swirled together like a decadent taste tie-dye.
It seems no more than obvious, really, that I should now be such an avid canner. I teach canning and preservation classes throughout the D.C. area, and during the summer months, my canning pot never leaves my stove top. Putting things up, as canning used to be called, feels like a bind to the past, a connection to what I idealize as a simpler (though not easier) time. I like being constrained by the seasons, preserving week by week what is being harvested locally at that time.
Strawberries (Fragaria ananassa) are technically not berries but accessory fruits, meaning they grow not from the plant’s ovaries but from the vessel that envelopes them. Nonetheless, they are, at present, brightening up farm stands and grocery displays everywhere. They’re leaking their lollipop red juice down eager fingers, throughout shortcakes and all over whipped cream. Part of the great red trinity that also includes watermelon and tomatoes, strawberries let us know that summer is most definitely here.
Although strawberries are an incredibly delectable ingredient in jam, their lack of natural pectin can make it tough to achieve a set any firmer than sauce. Strawberry sauce is wonderful in its own right; think spooned over ice cream, stirred into fresh lemonade, blended into smoothies. But for toast and its bready kin, you really want something more spreadable than pourable.
You can certainly add pectin, the powdered or liquid forms made by Ball for example, but I prefer not to because I find that it leaves a vaguely metallic aftertaste (the powdered type) or instills a slightly unnatural wobble (the liquid). Also, I use organic fruit and sugar and feel like I’m letting them down if I add to them a commercially produced substance. Pomona’s natural pectin is gelatin free which is great for vegetarians and folks who keep kosher, but you’ve got to activate it by adding calcium water to your jam, and I rarely feel like taking that extra step.
To avoid dealing with pectin altogether, you can add a pectin-rich fruit to the strawberries -rhubarb adds just the heft you need- but what if you want straight up strawberry jam in which the strawberries are the lone star on the stage? A cored and grated apple does the trick beautifully. Apples are high in pectin and fill in the gelation holes that strawberries alone cannot.
This recipe, one of my newest, lets summer strawberries shine. Their flavor is buttressed by sugar, apple and lemon, while cardamom adds a magical element of mystery and offsets the sugary sweetness nicely. It’s a loosely set jam studded with hunks of berry and, as was Nanny’s cranberry sauce, it’s as good when used in the “expected” way -toast- as it is off a spoon straight from the jar. I also love it with Greek-style yogurt and homemade granola!
If you have a trusty wooden spoon, use that when you make jam. A great way to tell if your jam is at a set-point is if it sheets, rather than rains, off the back of the wooden spoon. A stainless, plastic or silicone implement will not work for the sheet versus rain test.
Ingredients (I recommend using organic if you can):
4 cups washed and trimmed strawberries, cut into halves or quarters
1¾ cups unrefined, granulated sugar (I use the 365 organic from Whole Foods)
juice of ½ lemon
¾ teaspoon ground cardamom; use a nice pungent one; I like Guatemalan
1 small apple (roughly 4 ounces), cored, grated
Fill your canning pot (or your largest, tallest stock pot) with water, cover, and set over high heat. Do this first because it takes a long time to bring this much water to a rolling boil. You will need enough water to cover the jars by at least a half-inch.
Ready the appropriate number of jars (3 for this recipe, more if you double) and get out your canning funnel, ladle, lid lifter, hot pads and such. On the counter next to your canning pot, place a dish towel; when you remove your sterilized jars from the water (and, later, your filled and sealed jars from the pot), you can rest them here without worry that they’ll slip or slide.
In a jamming pot or other heavy-bottomed stainless pot, stir together all your ingredients. Let sit for a half hour (you can also macerate this overnight; in that instance, don’t start heating your canning pot until you’re ready to actually cook the jam).
When a decent amount of syrup has pooled around the strawberries, set the pot over high heat, and stir regularly (but not constantly) as the mixture comes to a boil. You want it to boil like crazy so as to evaporate off as much water as possible.
Strawberries foam a lot as they cook, so if that bothers you visually, skim or carefully spoon the foam off. Keep stirring, and if your berries aren’t breaking down as you’d like, crush them with a potato masher. It really depends on how much “chunk” you like in your jam.
If you’ve not already, sterilize your jars by placing them in the boiling water bath. Sterilize your lids too either by putting them in your canning pot for 2-3 minutes as it boils or by placing them in a smaller pot of boiling water which you then remove from heat. You do not need to sterilize the jar bands.
If you have a Thermapen or similar instant-read thermometer, start checking the temp after about 20 minutes. You want to get to at least 217° F. When things are getting close, a rim of strawberry gunk should have adhered to the sides of your pot (at the level of the jam), the bubbles in the boiling jam should look thick like lava, not loose like boiling water, and the jam should sheet not rain off the back of a wooden spoon
When the jam is ready, carefully ladle it into your prepared jars (leave roughly 1/4″ of headspace) and run a thin tool like a chopstick or knife blade around the inside of each jar to let any air bubbles escape. If the bottom of your jamming pot looks like this, you can feel confident that your jam has achieved a good set.
Wipe the rims, apply the lids and bands and carefully place into your canning pot. Process for 10 minutes, remove and sit on a kitchen towel for at least two hours.
For a list of helpful canning resources and equipment, click here: http://em-i-lis.com/wordpress/cooking-eating/a-year-of-canning/
Kebab Kubideh is minced or ground meat, beef, lamb or even chicken, formed onto a skewer and grilled, the meat is succulent and delicious. It can be served with rice, and on the side Torshi (Iranian pickled vegetables) grilled tomatoes and salad or as shown here on flat bread. I thought that something grilled would be a great addition to the Fiesta Friday dishes. Sprinkle generously with Sumac, if you can’t find it locally order online, Amazon carries as well as many online spice stores, it really adds great flavor to the meat. I want to pass on two recipes for Torshi the first is an eggplant torshi, from Azita from her wonderful blog Fig and Quince, the second is from the incredible Fae of Fae’s Twist and Tango, a mixed vegetable torshi
This weeks Fiesta Friday happens to fall on The 4th of July, a day we celebrate our countries Independence. It’s a day when we all get together with family and friends, eat, drink and remember how lucky we are to have our freedom. So all of us at Angie’s amazing party will do just that, enjoy each others company, eat and drink and have a great time. This weeks party is co hosted by Sylvia@superfoodista and Margy@la petite casserole, I love both of their blogs and am so happy that they are hosting this weeks festivities together.
Makes at least a dozen
- 2 pounds ground beef (you can also use ground lamb)
- 1 large onion grated on the largest grate and drained of juices
- 2 egg yolks
- salt and pepper to taste
- sumac (optional but highly recommended) to sprinkle on meat after cooking)
- 2 small cucumbers diced
- 2 tomatoes diced
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried mint
- juice of 1 lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- Grate the onion and drain, I squeezed it in a double paper towel. Put the onion in a bowl, add the beef, egg yolks and some salt and pepper, Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour
- If you are using bamboo skewers submerge in water while the meat is resting in the refrigerator. Dice the cucumbers, parsley and tomatoes, add the lemon juice and season with mint, salt and pepper. Form meat onto skewers whatever size you want, heat your grill and place meat skewers onto grill. You want the meat cooked medium done. Let grill 3-4 minutes on each side turning over once. Test for doneness, just poke with your finger it should feel firm but not dry. NOTE: I find it’s best to refrigerate your kebab once formed onto the skewers for about an hour before grilling.
- Remove from heat and tent with foil while you prepare your bread. Grill the bread either on the burner or in a pan, brush with olive oil and lay kebab onto bread, sprinkle with a little sumac (optional) and spoon some of the cucumber and tomato on top.
- Suggestions for other garnishes: Crumbled feta cheese, plain yogurt mixed with cucumber and mint.