So, last night I made "Carpathian Onion Soup" (we are now nearly out of onions, plural, which is something I never expected to say, beleive you me) and spent the evening chatting with a lovely couple (one member-of-whom I got to stick needles in at Harvest and the other member-of-whom turns out live just up the street from DA_Gibbs - small world, but no big surprise) and then having tea and cranberry-coconut coffee cake with them plus our friend Moderatrix, which was quite lovely.

I now have about a litre of this soup left over (it has paprika, and I didn't remember that paprika is a bell pepper - one of our guests is alergic - until after I'd added it, so I wound up make a separate pot for her) plus half a tin of coconut milk and a tub of red pepper hummus.

So The Plan for this evening is to take the imersion blender to the remains of the soup, then stir in some of the hummus, the rest of the coconut milk, a little bit of curry powder, then top it up with some water (or actual dairy milk, we'll see) and serve it as a cream/purreed soup with - still - bread with melted cheese added on top. :-) It should be tasty and filling and delicious. Here's hoping! :-)

Here's the recipe I've come up with (as if making it from new and not from leftover Carpathian Onion Soup):

~*~

INGREDIENTS
Sesame oil OR lard OR butter
1 red onion (diced)
3 cloves garlic (raw)
1 carrot (grated)
+
¼ C red lentils
1 C coconut milk (or table cream)
1 C water
+
½ C mashed sweet potatoes (OR unsweetened canned/mashed pumpkin)
½ C red pepper hummus
1 tsp each: soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, apple juice
1 tsp each: ketchup, grainy mustard
½ tsp each: dried basil, dried winter savoury, curry powder
+
1 C white wine
1 C Water OR coconut milk (OR table cream) + extra to desired thickness


DIRECITONS
1. In a deep pot, combine fat, onion, garlic, and carrot and allow to cook on very low heat for 15 minutes (covered)
2. Add the lentils, coconut milk, and water
3. Bring to a boil on high heat
4. Reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer for half an hour, or until lentils are cooked through
5. Remove soup from heat and, using an immersion blender (easiest and safest way to do it), puree the soup (which should be quite thick at this time)
6. Stir in mashed sweet potatoes, hummus, and seasonings
7. Slowly add white wine, then water (or coconut milk) until desired thickness is achieved (this can work as anything from a bisque to a pottage, so as you will)
8. Return to the soup to the stove and heat through
9. Serve as-is, or garnish with (a) pea shoots, (b) sautéed shiitake mushroom slivers, (c) yoghurt/sour cream, (d) sautéed red peppers, OR (e) broiled cheese-on-toast slices, as for Carpathian Onion Soup
10. Serve and enjoy
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Hey there!
So the Glebe Metro is now carrying Seed To Sausage sausages (3 for $10 or so, so not cheap) in a variety of flavours. (Apple & sage, Red wine & garlic, Maple & walnut, Onion & peppers, and I think there's a spicy/chorizzo type as well).
You'd think I'd just go to the actual store half a block from my house, but NOOOOOOOOOO, I have to go to the grocery store and get them that way. :-P

But anyway. What I'm aiming for here is this:
They get their pork from local farmers. I have no idea if they get their pork from local ethical/humane farmers, although I hope so. (Maybe I should just stick my head in the door and ask for the names of the farms?)
But you guys, their sausages are actually really good.
Like the "free from" and "traditionally raised" stuff that I usually get? It's got nothing on this stuff!

So. While, in my experience, fancy-ethical-artisanal-expensive animal products... don't actually taste any different from the not-so-ethical stuff, and while I'm typically buying it for reasons of Better Quality of Life for the Critter... This stuff is also better because it's amazingly delicious.

Anyway. That's it for me. Tasty sausage is tasty. :-)


TTFN,
Amazon. :-)
Tags:
Okay.
So I spent the past hour chopping up peaches and nectarines.
Know what I've learned?

(1) For some reason, the stone-fruit that I'm getting at the grocery store (Foodland Ontario peaches and netarines from Nicastro's + Foodland Ontario peaches from the Glebe Metro) have cracked pits, or pits that are not-too-solid and that slice open when you go to cut the fruit off the seed. I have no idea what this means, though I'm somewhat inclined to try growing a peach if that's looking like it could work out.

(2) The nectarines I got were cling-stone rather than free-stone, so not all that easy to work with.

(3) Even when the fruit that you get is from in-Province (so, like, a day away by truck rather than a day away by airplane - still a day away), you're going to have a mixture of already-ripe, nearly-ripe, and not-ripe-at-all peaches/nectarines in your 3-litre box of fruit. Gods, that's a piss-off. :-P

Anyway. So here's what I've done:
I cut something like 9 peaches and 18 nectarines into eighths (so cut them in half, and then cut each half into quarters) in the hopes that (a) they'll dry a little faster - I'll talk about that, shortly, and (b) they'll be pre-sized for as many different purposes as possible (so, like, good for thowing into a coffee cake OR into a yoghurt parfait OR into a braise OR into a bag of car-snacks... without having to be trimmed or halved or whatever once they've already been dried).

Drying times for nectarines are listed (in the instruction manual that my dehydrator did, in fact, come with - it was tucked between two of the trays rather than down the side of the box) as 6-16 hours. Drying times for peaches are listed as 14-18 hours.

I know that I'm going to have to rotate the trays - bring the ones on the top of the stack to the bottom and vice-versa - rought every three hours.
I also know that my peach chunks aren't all the same size. Same goes for my nectarine chunks.
Basically, I'm going to have to keep an eye on things all day. :-)

So we'll see how this goes.

Right now I'm feeling weirdly stressed about it all. This may have more to do with needing to eat breakfast than anything else, but my shoulders are kind of up around my ears a little bit. Also, the dehydrator totally sounds like an electric hand-dryer is going on the other side of the room. I suspect this is going to become a little grating by the end of the day, but we'll see.

I'm fretting about a dozen things right now - mostly to do with Vigilance and worrying about who/what is going to come out of the wood-work (and try to eat the food) if I leave the house for a couple of hours between tray-rotations.

I'm trying to distract myself by (A) listening to podcasts, (B) sorting out my to-do lists, and (C) writing a chocolate-chili peanut-butter cookie recipe that... I think is going to be pretty damn good. :-)

Anyway. I've got candles and cookies to make - which will hopefully take me the hour-and-a-half that I need to fill between now and the first time I have to rotate my drying racks (after-which point I am hitting up the grocery store because I'm out of yeast(!) and need that if I'm going to make me some bread - so I'm going to head out.


TTFN,
Amazon. :-)
Making garlic-dill cucumber pickles.
Except that they contain very little garlic (alas). Let this be a lesson to me: Plan Vietnamese Garlic Chives that are available early-on and are perenial... y'know, in the event that I have a yard to garden at some point in the hopefully-not-TOO-distant future.

Last night, I processed half of my eight pint-jars in a boiling water bath... A process which resulted in a lot of over-flow and a lot of lost (leaked) pickling solution... So I'm trying again, this morning, with the jars the other way up[1].

The funny thing is that the jars that lost all the pickling solution? They still sealed. They might have been just fine to eat from in a month or three (or six, or twelve...) but I don't know that, so I opted to try again.

Anyway. The first batch is out (one jar has already sealed, I'm waiting for the tell-tale "plunk" from the othe three), and the other batch is processing. :-)

I'm hoping that this works.
So far, this season, I've done a moderate amount of freezing - serviceberries, strawberries, pesto, raspberries, "edamole" (although that was made, in large part, from previously-frozen edamame, so I'm not sure if it counts), and red currants - but only a little bit of canning (two cups of asparagus relish, four half-cups of black-currant curd). The pickles are my first "big batch" of canning in 2014, and I'm hoping that they'll work out, in part because - while Fridge Pickles are great and all - I don't want to have to eat through four litres of vinegarry, quasi-cooked cukes in a couple of weeks. (Ha! And a second jar just sealed! Woohoo!) So make that three litres of vinegarry, quasi-cooked, cukes. But you get the idea.

I continue to have high hopes around preserving - particularly tomato-based preserves (roasted-garlic balsamic tomato sauce, for sure, as well as a significantly larger batch of spicy tomato-peach salsa[2] - think 8-12 cups rather than three - and (maaaaaaaaaaaybe) some crushed tomatoes, most likely done as one-cup jars rather than two-cup jars... in the name of getting them to seal.

Which brings me back around to my pint-jars of cucumber pickles and my hope that they, too, will seal properly.
Getting a half-cup jar to seal is easy. It's small. Five minutes (ten, tops, for if you're doing fruit curds or other "dense...ish" preserves) and the lids'll plunk shut, fully sealed, in no time. But, I find, the bigger the jar, the longer the processing time (this is not surprising) but also the longer it takes for the seal to form after coming out of the bath. I'm not sure why this is, but it makes for some (mild-to-moderate) anxiety while waiting to see if the seals form at all.

Anyway.
So that's where I'm at with the canning and other forms of preserving.


TTFN,
Amazon.


[1] When I'm processing half-cup, or even whole-cup (half-pint), jars of preserves, I do what my mom did and use a frying pan with the jars flipped lid-side-down. Less water, yeah, but lots of steam (which is quite a bit hotter than water, thank-you-very-much). It works just fine.

[2] I admit, in the interests of finding out if it would work[3], I'm inclined to try making this stuff using slivers of dried appricots rather than diced fresh peaches...

[3] Because The Goal is to eventually own a yard that is big enough (20x12?) to grow a dwarf, two-variety apricot tree for the purposes of harvesting fruit for fresh-eating, drying, possibly fermenting into Country Wine, and canning as fruit butter, fruit-in-simple-syrup, "jam", and salsa.
Tags:
So I just got back to the house.
I headed out with Ghost this morning - she to catch her bus to work, and me to drop off a resume at The Red Apron. It's a cute little shop. The fanciest of fancy grocery stores, but there you have it. It smells good when you walk in. :-)
Here's hoping that someone gets their dream job offered to them with a July start-date, and that they decide to hire me to take over the position.

Further to this, I... )


This afternoon will include:
Writing at least 1000 words for The Novel (I may already have most of the next scene or three written, so I will have a look and see if I can't get a little bit ahead of myself on this front)
Grating cheese (ideally using the food processor)
Dishes
Making pesto (probably)
Changing the sheets (probably)


Up, up, and away! :-)


TTFN,
Amazon.


[1] Think: 3 cups of roughly-chopped garlic chives + 1/4 C crumbled walnuts (or chestnut meal) + 1/4 C grape seed oil + 1 tbsp white wine vinegar + 2 tbsp nutritional yeast + 1 tbsp dried basil + 1 tbsp water + pinch each salt & black pepper --> Chuck it all in a food processor (possibly before grating mozzarella cheese) and blend until well purreed. Freeze by the cup OR half-cup for use on pasta and pizza.

[2] Okay, yes, freezing cheese kind of screws with the texture. However since this stuff was bought to be melted anyway? I'm fine with chucking it in the freezer.

[3] Black currant syrup from the grocery store. It's, like, $10 for a litre of the stuff, and I use it to make black currant curd - it's delish.
So. A friend of mine has a family with a sugar shack.
She's offered to haul home an order for me in May. What I've ordered:

1 gallon (8 tins) of maple syrup
1 kg (two packages) of cassinade - which has the same consistency as brown sugar, so it's reasonably soft and can be used in baking
1 box of a dozen maple-butter filled chocolates


I'm figuring that this will keep us in syrup for a good two years, possibly more, and it'll mean that - next time I run out of a brown sugar (which should take a little while, I realize) - I'll have a much more local source already on hand. YAY!

I'm really happy about this offer. She's only making it to some of her close friends - I suggested that she put that list on facebook or something, as it would get her family some extra business, but she's making the run by train which means a lot of heavy lifting for her. So she's trying to keep things "in the family" as much as possible.

It makes me wonder about Buying Clubs, however, and whether or not something closer to home - like the Vanier sugar shack, for example - would do a bulk order with similar prices. Don't know, but it's something to consider.

I'm interested to see how much maple syrup I use when it's (sginificantly more) affordable than usual. Like... I know I use maple syrup as part of the sugar in my home-made pumpkin butter preserves. Maple-based brown sugar is about six times as expensive as cane-based brown sugar (though it's only one-and-a-half times as expensive as organic, fairly traded cane-based brown sugar, so... Apples to apples, right?)
But I'm wondering... will I scrimp on expensive sugar? Or will I use it as a plentiful thing when I've got four litres of the stuff Just Lying Around?
In terms of canning, I can - apparently - only use maple syrup in place of 1/4 of the necessary sugar. I suspect that maple sugar would be more of a 1:1 exchange, but I could be wrong. Anybody know?

Anyway.
This is sort of Step One in my quest to do a lot of my grocery shopping "by year" with up-front payments through CSAs and bulk-buying.
Here's hoping it works out! :-D


TTFN,
Amazon.
amazon_syren: (Default)
( Jul. 12th, 2013 03:52 pm)
Feeling somewhat better.
Told my lovely wife my Ridculously Convaluted Idea that would tie in Imogene's third opponent to her inherited house... and she said "I can totally see that happening. Also, you just summarized your book for me without blowing the ending."

!!!

So, having been told by someone that the idea is actually workable and not a giant cluster-fuck, I'm going to run with it. (I would have run with it anyway, but I would have tried to down-play it as much as possible, rather than trying to see what happens when I make it a major focal point in the story).

I'm so relieved.

It means I don't have to find a way for Imogene's Mom (Louise) to show up unannounced and uninvited on the premises (which is good, because I was SO not prepared to go there).

Also, my paycheque from RHO arrived AND I got my tax refund (thank you Mitzu, Mattaer, and anyone else who had a hand in that one), which means that the phone bill and 1/3 of the credit card bill are now paid AND we have eggs, tomatoes, and snap beans. Huzzah! :-D


Now to make pickles. And maybe some other stuff.


TTFN,
Amazon.
Hallo!

Last night I made basa fillets baked in tadouri sauce (take 2 tbsp tandouri goo-inna-jar and mix it with 2C plain yoghurt... I would actually up this to three and three, personally, but ymmv).

2 basa fillets (or any other white fish - also works with salmon)
3 C plain yoghurt + 3 tbsp pre-fab tandour paste-inna-jar

Combine yoghurt and tandouri paste until well blended. Pour half of it into a lightly greased baking dish. Add the fillets. Pour the rest of the tandouri mixture over the fish. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes at 350F (or follow your nose).

During the last 15 minutes of cooking, fill a small pot with water.
Add:
3-4 small (ice-cube-sized) cubes of frozen spinach OR ruby chard
1 C frozen broccoli florets
Any other frozen veggies you care to incoporate

Bring water to a boil.
When the veggies are (a) unfrozen and (b) hot, drain them through a sceive.

Serve the fish topped with the veggies. You can serve this with rice if you are so inclined. :-)


TTFN,
Amazon.
amazon_syren: (Default)
( Jul. 20th, 2012 10:49 am)
So my Zazzle order (Ilthit's pretty, pretty notecards) is, in theory, on its way. However - also in theory - they tried to deliver it about an hour ago.
Which I think is a lie because I didn't get a phone-call from anyone downstairs saying "I have a delivery for" so... WTF.

I hate fedex with a fiery, fiery loathing right now. Lazy, dishonest bastards.


Anyway. Moving right along. :-P


Other than that my morning has actually been pretty awesome and at least slightly productive.

I chopped up 15 cucumbers, most of which are now in the first step of brining (chopped up and soaking in salt water for 24 hrs). And I think I've got just enough 2C jars to put them in, too. :-)

I also fixed a necklace (that's been on my to-do list for months), and checked my soap (which is curing, albeit really, realy slowly... I don't know why that is, either...)

My plan for the afternoon is
1) Make jewelry
2) Do some writing
3) Dye my hair
4) Possibly go to the grocery store (again) and get the spices I need to do the pickles tomorrow morning.
5) Possibly make new beeswax tealights for at-home use


I want to make peach butter.
However I've only got 12 (small) peaches. Which means I can make about 1.5 cups of peach butter. OR I can make 3 cups of peach jam. OR I can make 3 cups of balsamic-peach pickles or spicy peach chutney.
I made tomato-peach salsa last night (with yellow onion, garlic, jalapeno peppers plus white wine vinegar and a pinch of cayenne).


I've discovered that General Store Publishing House is an Ottawa Valley publisher whose catalogue includes cook books. This is very good to know. :-)


Things I want to make (or have already made) this summer:

Rhubarb syrup
Rhubarb chutney (surprisingly barbicue-sauce-like)
Strawberry-Rhubarb jam
Strawberry-Raspberry-Peach-Rhubarb jam
Sumac-Raspberry-Rhubarb syrup
Peach-Tomato Salsa
Frozen White Mulberries
(I froze them on a tin plate and then threw them in with my other frozen berries)
Garlic-Dill Cucumber pickles (started)

Peach butter (with ginger and cinnamon)
Spicy Peach chutney OR Balsamic Peach pickles (or both, but we'll see...)
Raspberry jam
Raspberry syrup
Raspberry curd
Apple butter
Apple cider
Apple-cranberry chutney
Cranberry curd
Spicy Cranberry relish (maybe...)
Pumpkin butter (with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves... and maybe just a little maple syrup)



That said, I think I'm going to make peach tarts today.
We're going to Brockville Pride tomorrow and, iirc, there's a picnic after the parade, so it would be nice to have something tasty on hand. :-)

I will make a custard and pour it over sliced peaches... that's my plan. There may or may not be pecans involved...


Anyway. That's where I'm at. :-)


TTFN,
Amazon. :-)
Slow-cooked pork shoulder roast with apple-service-berry marinade and garden basil

Basmati Rice (left over from last night - not remotely glamourous, but there you go)

Salad of swiss chard, dandelions & other wild greens[1], tomatoes, and goat cheese

Gewurztramiener

Strawberry-Rhubarb Tart (or similar)


~*~

Off to pick up onions, pick dandelions, and generally get things prepped. :-)


Happy Solstice, folks! :-D


TTFN,
Amazon. :-)


[EDITED TO ADD: [1] Having gone our and about, the "other wild greens" includes: as many relatives-of-dandelions (miner's lettuce and the like) that I could find PLUS lamb's quarters, that yellow stuff with flowers that look like yellow garlic-mustard flowers, a little bit of broad-leaf plantain, a smattering of wood sorrel (not too much, just a bit for flavour), and a heap of grape leaves. Whee! :-D /EDIT]
Tags:
Chocolate Pumpkin-Seed-Butter Cupcakes

Ingredients

CUPCAKES:
1 1/2 C flour
1 C cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt

1 1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C sour milk OR plain yoghurt
1/4 C margarine
1/4 C pumpkin-seed butter
2 eggs

1/4 C chocolate chips


FROSTING:
1 1/2 C icing sugar
2/3 C pumpkin-seed butter
1 C margarine



Directions

Preheat the oven to 350F
Whisk together the Dry Ingredients
Blend together the Wet Ingredients
Blend the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients
Fold in the chocolate chips
Spoon batter into cupcake-liners (in a muffin tin, of course)
Bake for 15 minutes (more or less)
Allow to stand for five minutes, then pop them onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
Once cupcakes are fully cooled (give it a good half-hour?) frost the tops with the above recipe (you can get fancy with a pastry bag and a fluted tip, or you can just slather it on with a knife - it should be smooth enough for either) and decorate with hulled pumkin seeds or whatever you happen to want to throw on there. :-D


~*~

I have to admit... I may not have enough pumpkin-seed butter to do the frosting. We shall see.


[EDIT: Have baked. They are tasty and awesome. And, yes, I did NOT have enough pumpkin seed butter to do the frosting. by any stretch of the imagination. None the less, they are still tasty and delicious. Go forth and try them out! :-D /EDIT]

NOTE 1: You can, of course, substitute any nut/seed butter you want for the pumpkin-seed-butter. Hazelnut would be a good one, for example. Probably chestnut, too.

NOTE 2: At present, they basically taste like really good brownies. If you wanted to up the nut/seed flavour, I would say double the nut/seed butter and leave the margarine out (although adding a tablespoon of veggie oil wouldn't be amis).


In other news: I have taught someone to KNIT today!! :-D Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!! :-D


TTFN,
Amazon. :-D
Have just tried this recipe for cranberry coffee cake.

Was out of eggs, so it required a fair bit of tweaking.


Recipe went as follows:

3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/3 C margarine
1/3 C sour cream
1/2 C apricot-ginger cranberry sauce
1/2 tsp orange extract

1 C wheat flour
1/2 C ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt


Creamed together the wet ingredients (and the sugar). Whisked together the dry ingredients. Added the wet to the dry and blended until moist and kind of lumpy.

It's now divided between two small dessert-loaf pans, baking at 425F (because my oven is basically broken - normally this would be 375F) until... probably close to 6pm.
My hope is to get a couple of small, airy loaves out of the dough, but we'll see how it goes (I suspect crumbling and, thus, trifle, will ensue. But I'll have to get more eggs, first). :-)



TTFN,
Amazon. :-)
Tags:
amazon_syren: (Default)
( Jan. 5th, 2012 02:25 pm)
Tonight will be: Pork chops braised in apple cider; potato gnocchi; plus beets and daikon radish parboiled then roasted in a marinade of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and garlic.

There will be cranberry juice for beverage and possibly some kind of baked goods for dessert.


Wish me luck! :-)
Tags:
Considering trying the following recipe as an experiment:


Cranberry Coffee Cake

Ingredients
1/3 C granulated sugar
1/4 C margarine
1/4 C sour cream
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla OR orange extract

1 egg white

1 1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt

1/2 C cranberry sauce (cranberry-apricot-ginger in this case)


Directions

0) Preheat the oven to 375F
1) Whip the eggwhite until it forms stiff peaks
2) Cream together the sugar, sour cream, margarine, egg yolk, and vanilla/orange extract
3) Whisk together the dry ingredients
4) Blend the wet mixture into the dry, being careful not to over-mix
5) Fold in the eggwhite
6) fold in the cranberry sauce
7) Grease a loaf pan
8) Pour the batter into the greased pan
9) Bake for about 1 hour (until it passes the fork test)
10) Remove from oven. Allow cake to stand for ten minutes or so before turning onto a wire rack and allowing to cool the rest of the way


Serve sliced with cranberry curd and/or appricot compote and/or sour cream and/or custard-sauce, or whatever else you feel like throwing at it. OR eat it on its own, served with coffee. It would probably work really nicely with a white-chocolate glaze or something, too, come to think of it.


Anyway. We'll see how/if this turns out. :-)


TTFN,
Amazon. :-)
Tags:
Last night was rainbow trout (broiled until crispy on both sides) served with a Serbian riesling (rather tasty, though not as bright as other rieslings I’ve had) plus a sauté of (cooked) wild rice + russet apple, fennel, and red onion. Dessert was some of the remaining mandarin oranges we’ve got floating around. We had russet apple with 2-year-old cheddar (PC) for starters (the parrot had some, too).
It was hella tasty. The veggies mix was lacking a little something – mustard, cranberry, a spritz of cider vinegar, something to brighten it up a little – but otherwise it was flavourfully well-rounded and delicious. :-)

This evening will probably be something fast-and-easy Rotini with alfredo sauce and some veggies – probably frozen spinach, preserved red peppers, and garlic, but maybe some other stuff thrown in there, too. We shall see. Maybe we’ll serve it with cranberry juice or something. :-)

One of these nights I’ll be doing beets with chevre, I do know that. I just need to figure out what to serve it with… Maybe gnocchi and some roast pork or something. I don’t know. :-)
Okay,

So I made a batch of cranberry curd for the first time today.

Now, it's possible I feel this way because I've only ever made lemon curd with lemon-juice-from-concentrate[1] BUT: I think I actually like the cranberry curd better. It's thicker. This may be because I made it wrong (I was doing a half-recipe, but may have used more cranberries than called for), or it may be because cranberry curd uses purreed cranberries rather than cranberry juice, thence the thicker consistency.

I made it as part of my collection of to-be-traded-for-moose preserves to send to Ghost's co-worker, as such about 2/3 of the batch when into a 500mL jar[2] BUT the other cup of it (or there-abouts) went into: Cranberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake! (Which is gloriously pink and also currently in the oven).


How to make the Cranberry Curd:

Combine in a sauce pan:
2/3 of a bag (AKA 2/3 of a pound) of raw cranberries
1C water

Cover and simmer until you have a thick and saucy sauce.
Put the sauce in a blender (or similar) and purree until it's super-smooth.

Return sauce to pan and add:
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/4 C butter

Stir in, over medium heat, until well-combined. Turn off the heat at this point.

In a small blow, beat together
3 eggs
1/4 C sugar


Add the egg mixture to the cranberry mixture, and stir in until very smooth.
Turn the heat on again under the cranberry mixture and stir slowly, over medium heat, until the mixture thickens up nicely. It'll be a bit like pudding. Or maybe like Greek yoghurt. Or something. (I'm not being very helpful here, I know).

At this point, you can either pour it into sterilized jars and process it, as for jam, in a boiling water bath
OR
You can chuck it in a tupperware and throw it in the fridge (where it'll keep for a week, in theory)
OR
You can use it immediately on/in the baked goods of your choice.


Case in point:


Cranberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Cream together
1C sugar
½ C butter/margarine (soft)
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 C sour cream

In a second bowl, mix together:
2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

Blend the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until smooth, then stir in:
1 C cranberry curd (OR lemon curd)


Pour it all into a greased spring-form (or other) cake pan

OPTIONAL: Sprinkle on top:
Almond crumble (ground almonds, brown sugar, and margarine)

Bake at 350F for about an hour and a half (until it smells done and passes the fork test)

Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the sides of the pan, cut and serve with something floopy like vanilla yoghurt or raspberry sorbet or clotted cream or whatever. Enjoy!


*~*~*~*~*


Anyway. so that was the cranberries.

I also made a mint jelly (with a little white wine vinegar in it for an extra dimension of flavour and also the cut the sweetness of it a little bit) -- that used up my other remaining 500mL jar. I'm just glad I had a spare bottle (that used to house cocoanut oil) lying around, because that took the rest of it.
It occurs to me that you could, in this way, make a LOT of herbal jellies basically by making Very Strong Tea that uses a ration of 2:3 water:sugar, and then adding a package of pectin at the appropriate moment. I may give this a shot, just to see how it turns out. Hrm...

Anyway. So there was that.


I am also doing a pork roast for dinner. It was on for cheap, and I they are Very Tasty. Plus we've still got a tonne of apples in the fridge from Ghost's parents' place, so it didn't hurt to use one up (there was a very tiny worm in its heart. It will be happy in a compost heap somewhere, I'm sure).

The roast includes:
Pig!
Mushrooms
1 Apple
1 Beet
1/3 of a yellow onion (or there-abouts)
Savoury and Mustard on top of the meat
A dribble of red wine in the bottom of the pan

It has turned out very nicely, and now we are going to eat it.

OM NOM NOM! :-D


TTFN,
Amazon. :-)


[1] Which, I gather, is total anathema and you're only ever supposed to use carefully juiced REAL lemons, ideally meyer, to do the job. It's never been any kind of a problem for me, fyi, to use the concentrated stuff and completely omit the lemon zest, but that's just me.

[2] My last one, as it happens - Hartmann's was all out, they had two packages of twelve 1L jars left, and that was it. I'm hoping they get in more in the sizes I need before the end of the week.
I have discovered that, just as a pound of beeswax makes about 30 (maybe more) tea-lights, it will also make about 10 votive (-esque, they're shorter than a standard votive) candles. (I got ten of the little, steel ketchup-holders from the grocery store and used them as votive molds. They're wide enough at the base to be used as a tea-light holder after the candle's been used up, which doesn't hurt, either.

I figure that I can sell them for about $4 each (standard-size beeswax votives typically go for about $5 around here), and still turn a decent profit off of them (per candle, I mean). Which is good to know.

I also made soap. The plan was to do this after having made the candles, because I could use whatever beeswax remained in the pot as part of the soap recipe (thus making it at least slightly easier to clean. In theory).

And I did. (I didn't quite get *all* the wax off, though, which is slightly suck-tastic, but I can work with it).

See, ages and ages ago, back when there was still snow on the ground, I bought a set of 12 silicone mini-cupcake forms with the intent of using them to make both (a) beeswax tea-lights, and (b) miniature/sample soaps.

I think I'm more likely to use them for soaps, really, since I very much like to keep my candles in some kind of a foil/metal liner (I would LOVE to get my hands on a package of foil candy-cup liners as they hold roughly the same amount of wax as a tea-light liner. The only problem is that, most likely, they're a much thinner foil and they might not stand up to the weight of the liquid wax in them. (Possibly I could do 12 at a time and use my silicone liners as back-up until they harden? Thoughts?) That said, if I'm going to custom-order something, I may as well custom-order actual tea-light foils and be done with it.

ANYWAY. That's what's on my mind in that regard.

I did make tiny soaps today, with the plan being to put together four Pretty Little Bags (ideally gold or copper coloured -- will have to check dollarama) with three different soaps in each one (Unscented[1], sweet orange[2], and gingerbread[3]). They are currently sitting, in tupperwares, on my (glass) coffee table. Hopefully they are Doing Their Thing without having to be wrapped, further, in a blanket. they look really, really cute, to be honest (even if I am saying so myself). And, bonus, they're all a slightly different shade of beige. Not massively different, but enough to (hopefully) tell them apart once they're out of their colour-coded silicone forms).



Further to this, I've boiled (30 minutes) then baked (3 hours at 250F) about 2Kg of butternut squash and sweet potatoes[4] and then mashed the hell out of them, adding:

1 large log of soft goat cheese (1.5 to 2 C?)
1/3 C plain 3% yoghurt
1/4 C butter
2 tbsp black pepper
1.5 tbsp dried rubbed sage
1 tbsp garlic-salt


ZOMG they are DELICIOUS!!! (I had a taste, and shared a little bit with Lola the Parrot, who found them quite agreeable, by the looks of things -- she is a cheese fiend, and has enjoyed sweet potatoes in the past).



Lastly: I have taken out the compost, got a new jug of milk (the old jug of milk went off, like clockwork, today. So we are going to mix it with pear cider vinegar and have delicious, delicious fluffy pancakes for breakfast tomorrow morning. (I think this will involve getting a container of vanilla yoghurt, along with a new box of compost bags AND a tri-light bulb (ye gods) chez the grocery store on the way back from Ami_B's pierogie party). It will be the yummiest. :-D


Tomorrow is going to be food-tastic, FYI. I've got a pork roast, plus spiffy sparkling cider, plus (as of this evening) a number of Glorious Pierogies to choose from (which will be fried up with mushrooms and garlic and, maybe, a little bit of broccoli),PLUS I will be (finally) making apple pie[5]. With an almond-crumb crust. It will be delicious. At least that is the Plan. :-)
(Plus, hey, if I keep myself busy in the kitchen, I won't be badgering my girl, who is definitely going to be needing some rest tomorrow! ;-)


Anyway. I'm out of here in pretty short order. :-)


TTFN,
Amazon. :-)


[1] Saponified: Beeswax, soy wax, coconut oil, and sunflower oil.

[2] Same mix as the Unscented, but with added vanilla and sweet orange essential oil.

[3] Same mix as the Unscented, but with added vanilla and essential oils of ginger and cloves.

[4] Which can be grown in Ontario! Who knew? :-D <*plots future dream-gardens*>

[5] Apples courtesy of Ghost's parents' apple trees. :-D
In the oven right now is something like a peach-blueberry custard pie.

I say "something like" because, unlike, say, pancakes or cookies, I'm not totally confident in my ability to 100% make things up as I go along when it comes to custard-based pies. I'm a little worried that it'll be an egg-y mess. (Although there's only one egg involved, since I wanted to make sure we had a couple for breakfast tomorrow).

BUT. What it all consists of is:

1) ground-almond-butter-vanilla-flour crumb crust (I used wheat flour and margarine, plus a pinch of salt, but y'know) I'm using a very small pie-pate. Like 6"-8" in diameter and relatively shallow.

2) 4 peaches (ripe enough) peeled <*shrug*> and roughly chopped + 1/2 C sugar + 1/4 flour, mixed together

3) 1 C froze blueberries + 1/2 C sugar

4) 1 egg + up to 1 C milk + a splash of vanilla + 1/2 C sugar + pinch of salt, well-blended


You partially-bake the crust while you deal with the fruit and the egg mixture

Then you layer the peaches and the blueberries in the pie-plate and pour the egg mixture over them. (Hint: If you've got some peach/apricot jam/sauce lying around, you might want to spread/dot a little bit on the crust before adding the layers of fruit).

Bake at ~350F until it looks and smells right. (I don't know what duration that is, but it's probably about half an hour in a fully-functional oven. Me and my single-element oven, however, are probably going to need 40+ minutes).


Serve and, I hope, enjoy. (I'll let you know how it goes).


- TTFN,
- Amazon.



[EDIT to Add (at 8:40pm):
Okay, based on having put the pie in the oven at around 7pm - and possibly because I was using frozen blueberries (thus --> lots of water) - it looks like took a good hour-and-a-half to cook my pie.

Presently, it's cooling on the stove-top while Ghost makes us cream of mushroom soup and a side of cheese-and-tomato sandwiches. The berries are looking very, uh, cooked... but the peaches look good and the custardy stuff looks practically caramelized.

So... it should be sweet as fuck and probably fairly tasty. Time will tell. For a given value of "time" wherein "time" = 20 minutes.
Dinner now (or soon enough to now that it doesn't make a tonne of difference). Will report back on the state of the pie once we've tasted it. :-)
/EDIT]


[EDIT to Add (at 10:00pm):
And the results are in.
I have managed to make what is, more or less, a giant fruity butter tart (involving shockingly little butter, granted, but a HEAP of sugar, so). I think it could have done with something extra - a hint of ginger or lemon or both, most likely - but beyond that? Yum!

I declare this pie to be A Success! :-D
/EDIT]
Today, I made jam. Specifically, I made THIS jam:

Cherry Berry Jam )

*~*~*~*~*

This recipe, which is kind of a cheater’s jam, since it waters down the fruit and adds sugar by volume after that, makes about two 2C mason jars worth of jam. Having only just made the stuff, I haven’t got a clue what it’s consistency is going to be like (whether it’ll be closer to jam or jelly, for example), but going by the stuff I used in the cold-plate test, it’s going to (a) be ridiculously sweet, and (b) taste pretty good, in spite of that. :-)


Rayne says: This isn't just bio-reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeegional, it's, like, micro bio-reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeegional. Do I get extra points for that? ;-)


- TTFN,
- Amazon.
So I was just over on Pandagon reading stuff about cooking from scratch and making healthy food choices and how economic class has a huge impact on the kind of food you’re likely to be eating/buying (not just in the sense of Food Deserts – although that’s definitely significant – but also in the case of the not-on-food-stamps-but-definitely-below-“upper-middle-class” segment(s) of the population.
They were talking about how cooking isn’t intuitive.

And I thought “Yes it is” and then I thought again.

Thinking About Food )

So there’s a fair bit of stuff I need to remember and a fair bit more I need to learn.


There’s more to this coming I think, talking about materialism and trying to reconcile my glee over getting new shoes (or whatever – consumerism R us) with my desire to be low(er) impact and less dependent on petroleum and Buying Crap. Y’know?


Anyway. At the moment, I'm actually blogging at the office (after hours - which may come as a shock to some of you), and I'd rather be getting myself home (and pick up Something on the way to bring to Phamily Dinner).


But yeah. Stuff that's weighing on my mind.


- TTFN,
- Amazon. :-)
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