Category Archives: Food

T is for Tarts

So simple, but so lovely and delicious. These tarts are perfect as a little something to take to a potluck, or to share with the office, or to give as a thank you gift.

Make as many or as few as you need; taking into account their nibble-bility factor!

Choose your favorite, most flavorful preserves and prebaked, ready-to-use tart shells.

Tart with Preserves

Combine two parts preserves to one part confectioner’s sugar, adjust as needed until thickened. Add two teaspoons almond extract. mix well.

Spoon into prepared tart shells.

Tarts Spoon

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Add a touch of whipped cream or frosting.

Tarts Pan

S is for Salad

Happy Earth Day!

In honor of this incredible planet, this post celebrates gardens and gardeners.

Salads are actually quite a lot of fun to create – the components are limited only by the season, one’s preferences, and the size of the bowl. Any memory of salad as iceberg lettuce with pale tomato quarters drenched in heavy dressing is nothing more than a fading gastronomic nightmare.

Fresh greens are just the beginning.

Add some fruit, a splash of fresh lemon juice …

Homemade dressing, beans, shredded veggies and cheese …

Hard boiled eggs, raw cauliflower, a sprinkle of seaweed …

With sun and rain and fish emulsion (yuck), bright and happy gardens will flourish and soon fill farmers’ markets and our kitchens with dew-fresh veggies and fragrant fruits. Splurge, indulge and delight in the bounty that is spring and summer!

Best FriendsFor Mona.

 

R is for Rising Yeast

Prior to an open house, realtors often suggest homeowners bake bread so the house smells ‘homey’ and encourages sales. Mr. Selfridge, the marketing genius, was the first to place perfume counters near his store’s front entrance to create a scent barrier between the muck and stink of the city outside and a lovely shopping experience inside. Even today, major retailers strategically position baking ovens, or purposefully scent the air, knowing how important fragrance is to a sense of well-being.

Rising Bread Machine

With the convenience of bread making machines, that same contented, bakery-fresh feeling can pervade your home with the push of a button.

The recipe below is slightly more labor-intensive than a regular loaf of white or wheat breads, but having just devoured a piece of the stuff – oh it is so worth it!

Basic Sweet Dough

As with any bread machine recipe, please refer to your particular machine’s manufacturer’s directions first.

(For 2 pound loaf)

3 eggs, large at room temperature

1/4 cup + 3 1/2 tablespoons water

6 tablespoons sour cream or plain yogurt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

4 1/2 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon yeast, active dry, instant or bread machine

After fitting with paddle, place all ingredients in order given above in bread pan. Place pan in machine, choose the dough setting.

Rising Dough BowlAllow to complete cycle, approximately 1 1/2 hours, then remove from pan and place in large, lightly greased bowl. Punch dough down and let rest 10 minutes before continuing.

 

 

Rising Dough Big

Cinnamon Filling

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 – 2 tablespoons cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves, etc. to taste

Combine all three ingredients in small bowl, set aside.

Shape dough into rectangle, then cover with butter spice mixture, spreading evenly. beginning with widest edge, roll dough into log shape, pinching the seam edge with fingers.

Spray tube pan with non-stick baking spray.

Place dough seam side down in prepared pan.

Rising Dough Pan Tube Wide

Allow to rise in warm, draft free location until double, or until finger pressed into dough leaves an indention – approximately 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375*

Bake for 17 – 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

 

Remove from oven, allow to rest 5 minutes before removing from pan. While still warm, but before serving, drizzle (or slather?) bread with icing.

Cinnamon Icing

In small bowl combine powdered sugar with generous amounts of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, ground cloves, etc. and small amounts of milk and/or grade B maple syrup. Mix until smooth, adding milk or sugar as needed to reach desired consistency, noting that the icing will thicken as it sits.

Use as icing for breakfast breads, waffles, or to frost chocolate cake, etc.

Enjoy!

 

K is for Kelp …

… and other veggies from the sea!

DSC_0018

 

If you have never used various seaweeds in cooking, you might imagine something stinky or slimy. Not usually.

DSC_0043

 

Although we are not on a sodium-restrictive diet, we substitute granulated sea veggies (above) for salt in almost all of our cooking. It shakes out as a slightly coarse powder and tastes like salt, unless you use a lot of it – and then you’ll get a fishy flavor, but it really isn’t unpleasant.

 

And roasted nori is wonderful cut into thin strips and added to stews, salads, deviled eggs, sandwiches, or soups.

DSC_0019

 

I especially enjoy roasted seaweed plain, right out of the package – but that might be a culinary quirk of mine …

Anyway, this is the seaweed that is used in making sushi, but you can keep things simple and roll plain rice in a sheet of the roasted nori for a mineral-rich side dish.

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Have a good time inventing your own favorite dishes with delicious and healthy veggies from the sea!

J is for Jam

Although the berries are ripening a little slower this year than last, I still intend to stock up on some mouth watering South Carolina strawberries in a few weeks. In my experience, there is simply no comparison to other berry sources; when it comes to sun warmed deliciousness – it is well worth an eight-plus hour drive for the best fruit – for the best jam, ideally!

Rather than provide the step-by-step directions for making jam, I am going to suggest only three key points:IMG_20150520_110201

  • Preparation is 89.5% of the work – completely clear your work area, super-clean your jars, rings, lids, tools, everything. Read the recipe at least three times – every year, every time.

 

  • Get the freshest fruit possible. Picked-that-morning-fresh, if you can manage it. Your fruit is the flavor, but also the consistency and the safety of the finished product – fruit even in the early stages of decay can result in ruined jam and wasted effort – and very ill humans!

 

  1. And finally – Ball. Yup – the pectin, the Blue Book, the jars, the brand new rings and lids every single year (no skimping here!). I am not usually loyal to any one brand, but after canning for more years than I had realized until right this minute, I trust Ball.

So, begin by opening just one box of fresh pectin at least a few days before you intend to can anything, and pull out that folded up wad of paper inside. Read and read and make a list and head to the farm or the orchard or the grocery store – and have SO MUCH FUN!

And enjoy!

I is for Ices

When the sun scorches and the breeze is nothing more than moving dust, the following recipe can be relied upon to bring some much needed blizzard-cold refreshment.

(It is also a perfect ending to a rich meal, or a light lunch.)

Lemon IceIces Lemons

3 cups water

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind

3/4 cup lemon juice

Bring water to a rolling boil.

Add sugar, stirring until completely dissolved. Remove from heat, allow to cool.

When cool, add lemon rind and juice.

Ices Ingredients

Ices Lemon Frozen

Freeze in metal tray or bowl – or cake pan.

To serve, use fork to shave ice, scoop into cold individual serving dishes – serve immediately.

H is for Hoagie

Although April has remained a tad chilly for many folks, the general consensus is that warmer weather really will return and it will once again be time for long walks, vintage baseball games, and picnics.

One of the easiest grab-and-go sandwiches is the tried and true hoagie.

Yes, it can be called a sub, torpedo, grinder, hero … but the basic premise is the same:

Fresh Bread

Hoagie Bread

Condiments

Hoagie Condiments

Veggies

Hoagie LTO

and the all important … Meats and Cheeses

Hoagie Meat and Cheese

And tah dah!

Hoagie Lunch2

Grab some fruit, chips and a beverage of choice, toss an old blanket into the back of the car, and take off for the afternoon.

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