Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Garden Fresh Tomato Soup...a recipe

A few weeks ago I found myself with too many tomatoes and too little time to do anything with them. We were going away for the weekend, so I put them in the refrigerator and forgot about them. Three weeks later I decided I needed to throw them away. But when I looked at them, there were a few bad ones but most were still good.
I decided to run them through the food mill and freeze them. But wait, I still have several jars of tomato puree, from last year, in the freezer, so I decided  I would make a tomato soup. I didn't have a recipe but I know onion makes it sweet and garlic and thyme go well with tomatoes, so I started creating a recipe and it turned out really good.

The end result was so delicious.
garden fresh tomato soup

garden fresh tomato soup

garden fresh tomato soup

Garden Fresh Tomato Soup
10 cups fresh tomato puree
1 large onion, sliced thin on a mandolin
4 oz. butter
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
3 Tablespoons canned tomato paste
**as needed: sugar, baking soda and balsamic vinegar

Melt butter in a large pan. Add onions and gently cook until they are soft and melted. Add garlic and celery and sauté until soft. Mix in remaining ingredients. Bring everything to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until reduced by almost half, about 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Remove the thyme sprigs.
Smooth out the soup by running an immersion blender through it to make a nice creamy texture.
Mine tasted a bit metallic, so I added 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon sugar and 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar.

To serve the soup, make grilled cheese croutons. Just a simple grilled cheese sandwich, then cut into small chunks.

Freeze the leftovers into serving sized proportions. I put mine in pint jars, which are probably 2 servings each. 
Yield about 10 cups.

*the next time I make the grilled cheese croutons I will use a crustier bread or just make a chunky, parmesan crouton. My grilled cheese croutons got too soggy too fast.

Important Note: It is not recommended to water bath can tomato soup to store on the shelf. I used canning jars but have stored the soup in the freezer.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fig Gelato

Gardening is a lot of work. Most of the work is not in planting or maintaining the garden, but comes after the harvest, when you must do something with the massive amounts of fruits and vegetables that it yields.
Our fig tree produces 100's of figs every year. Most are picked and eaten fresh or passed on to friends who enjoy them. I also make fig jam, fig cookies and dried figs. 
This year, I decided to make Fig Gelato using this recipe I found on Pinterest. I used the first recipe listed in the blog post and it is delicious. I tripled the recipe and had to freeze it in three batches, because my ice cream freezer is a small capacity machine.
The color is so pretty, but the taste is even better.

Does anyone have a favorite fig recipe? I'll be picking another 5-6 pounds of figs this evening.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Limes a Plenty

Bearrs Limes

Bearrs limes

Making angel food cake

making lime curd

Lime Mint syrup

Tangled fx app

The wild winds have been crazy ridiculous in Southern California. Those who are envious of our warmer weather only need to hang out with the winds and your desire to live here will quickly change. May has been unusually winding and has caused all our limes to fall from the tree.
What do you do when you have so many limes? I made lime curd and lime/mint syrup. Both recipes are from Marisa McClellan's books
I made several jars of the lime curd and keep them in the freezer. It is delicious atop a scone or a bowl of fresh berries. It also makes a quick last minute dessert spread on a freshly baked pastry crust. I recently had a piece of Lemon Angel Pie at a friend's house, and it would be perfect for this dessert.
I ended up with a dozen eggs whites that were not used in the curd so I made an angel food cake. A little lime curd mixed with some cool whip or whipping cream made a delicious topping for the Angel Food cake. I used this cake recipe but not the frosting or the flower recipe.
There are so many ways to use Lime Curd. Just check out this Pinterest page.
The lime/mint syrup makes a refreshing drink with just a little bit poured over ice and topped off with sparkling water. For a grown up refresher, you can add some vodka or rum to make a quick cocktail. 
I doubled the lime juice in the recipe and if I made it again, I would cut down on the sugar. It is a bit too sweet for my taste.
One of my Instagram friends told me she freezes whole limes and lemons to be used later. You can grate the rind while frozen and use the juice as needed. This was a brilliant suggestion, so I threw a bag of limes in the freezer to be used later in the year while the tree is bare.
Finally, the lime curd in the pretty jars I ordered from Fillmore Container and the syrup in the stopper bottles from The Container Store made a beautifully composed still life. I used the Tangled FX app to edit the photo.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Made in October

I know I say it every month, but seriously, where did October go? I feel like it was just August and now it is November 1! I'm not doing well with time passing so quickly. My grandkids are growing before my eyes and of course that means I am getting older faster than I really want to. But enough about's what I made in October.
As usual, I include my special food makes because they take a lot of time and it's a good excuse why I haven't gotten much done in the sewing department of late.

1. Seventeen pounds of raw olives have now been brined, flavored and jarred.
2. My 2013 Stitch Tease Bee quilt, Dreaming of the Caribbean, is finished. It still needs a proper photo shoot.
3. Stitch Tease bee block of flying geese for Val.
4. 2 Log Cabin blocks for Emily in Modern Stitching Bee
5. Cascade Quilt, gifted to our son and his fiance for an engagement gift.
6. Kombucha
7. Serpentine Socks
8. 2 blocks made and donated to Quilts of Valor
9. Pumpkin Spice Cake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting.
10. Simple Clutch for a friend
11. Modern Maples quilt top

Linking with Lynne. Thanks Lynne for hosting this fun linky party each month. It's so fun to see everyone's makes for the month.

Lily's Quilts

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Do You Kombucha?

2013 was the year of trying to improve my health. I started out the year on a Whole 30 Diet and have continued to {mostly} eat a Paleo diet...except the random desserts and alcoholic drinks that I don't want to give up. I swam more laps than I have ever swam this past spring and summer. I continue to try to maintain my weight and even lose a few more pounds but lately that has been difficult because I have had a flare up of Plantar Fasciitis. Hopefully I can get back to a regular form of excercise soon. The plan was to start walking October first, but the pain in my foot will not allow that right now.

One of the things I have learned to really like is a probiotic drink called Kombucha. I must admit that prior to learning about the Paleo diet, I had never heard of Kombucha.

It is so easy to make at home. All you need are some tea bags (or loose leaf tea), sugar and water.

And you need a slimy, ugly thing called a scoby or a "mushroom" as some people call it. This can be purchased at a health food store, online or if you know someone who makes Kombucha (like me) you can get a scoby from them. With every batch of Kombucha that is made a new scoby is created, so there is plenty to share.

After bringing the water to a boil, you allow the tea to steep for 30 minutes. Then you add the sugar and more water and the scoby. You cover loosely with a cover that will allow air to flow but keep dust and the bugs out (I use a t-shirt) and let it sit in a quiet place for about 10 days. This is where taste comes into play. Some people like a more vinegar taste (then you can let it sit up to 14 days), but I prefer my Kombucha to still have a bit of sweetness to it.

After the initial ten days, then you divide up the batch to flavor it. You can flavor it with herbs and fruits. So far my favorites are Blueberry/Basil and Lemon/ Ginger. You let it sit again for 3 days and allow the flavors to meld and a bit of carbonation to form.

It even gets a little alcoholic, but really nothing worth mentioning here. It has a refreshing, soothing taste and creates a good bacteria for the tummy.

I used my new labels from my son and daughter-in-law to mark the flavors
that was supposed to say Blueberry Basil

I try to drink about 8 ounces a day and it seems to keep my tummy feeling good. 

So tell you Kombucha?

How I make Kombucha
Bring 64 ounces filtered water to a boil.
Add 10 tea bags and allow to steep for 30 minutes.
Add 1 cup sugar, stir to dissolve.
Add 64 ounces more filtered water and allow to come to room temperature.
Put cooled tea in a large glass vessel (I use a 3 gallon jar), gently add the scoby and about 2 cups of plain Kombucha from a previous batch, cover with a thin t-shirt held closed with an elastic tie.
Allow to sit at room temperature, out of direct sunlight and away from drafts for 10 days.

After 10 days...
you need 5 or 6-32 ounces glass canning jars
to each jar add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup of your preferred flavorings. I like blueberries (fresh or frozen) and 5-6 leaves of fresh basil muddled together;  1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger and 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice; a few slices of fresh or frozen peaches.
Then fill each jar, leaving 1" of head space and cover with a folded paper towel held on with a rubber band. Allow to sit in the same way for three days. Then strain into bottles and refrigerate, covered tightly with a screw on lid or a wire swing top lid. It keeps for several weeks.

Kombucha can be tricky. This is  just a brief lesson in how I make it. If you decide to make it please read up on it in a book or on the internet and learn all the rules. There are lots of recipes on Pinterest
A couple of good websites

These books are two that I have found very informative.

Monday, September 9, 2013

I Be Jammin

We have a fig tree that, when it produces, yields a huge amount of figs in a short couple of weeks. As with all fruit trees it is either feast or famine. Last year, our tree did not produce but this year made up for it. After the initial excitement of eating fresh figs until we had a bellyache, I started putting them in Ziplock freezer bags to collect enough to make fig jam. Last Saturday was my jam making day.

While getting everything set out and ready for my day of stirring and measuring, canning and labeling I discovered that when eaten in it's frozen state, a fig tastes just like fig sorbet. It has the perfect texture and now I want to eat more frozen figs.

My fig photos sparked quite a conversation on Instagram. I am surprised at how many people have never eaten a fig. I guess I am spoiled living in California and growing up with lots of different food influences from friends, both as a child and as an adult.

I bought some new jars this year from this website. They are 9 ounce jars and I think they are so pretty.

I designed these labels years ago, using a photo of a fig leaf from our tree and have continued to use them every year.

The majority of these 30 jars of jam are being donated to our local ladies guild of Children's Hospital for their annual boutique next month. But I think next year it might be fun to have a jam swap.

Here's my recipe.

Fig Jam

12 cups chopped, ripe figs
3 Meyer lemons, seeds removed, chopped fine {I throw mine in the food processor after removing all seeds}
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons calcium water
Mix everything and bring to a boil in a wide pan. Last year I got a copper jamming pan and it has really speeded up the cooking process.

When this fruit mixture comes to a boil add:
5 cups sugar mixed with 3 teaspoons pectin.

Return to boil and continue to boil for 5 minutes, then check on a frozen plate to see if the jam is the consistency you like. If not you can cook it down further, stirring often to prevent scorching.

Fill your jam jars and process in a boiling water canning bath for 10 minutes.

*I use Pomona Pectin. It comes with the calcium packet to make the calcium water.
yield: 12 half-pint jars

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

There's No Such Thing as Super Woman

but we all try, don't we?

About 4 weeks ago I set a goal for myself to swim 30,000 yards by the end of June. I am quickly approaching my personal swim challenge, usually swimming 1000-1200 yards a day but I have swam as many as 2000 yards in one day. Today started out with a great swim...I've never really experienced the whole endorphines thing from exercise, but I'm thinking they might have kicked in today.

I came home and after a quick shower, I worked in the garden for about an hour to pick this beautiful array of fruits and vegetables.

I started making Kombucha a few weeks ago and today was the day to move the big batch into smaller glass jars and flavor this probiotic tea drink. I am following this recipe.

I am flavoring one jar with cherries

another with blueberries from our garden

the third, I flavored with a mango puree made from frozen mangoes. The fourth, I left plain.

I have also been making this recipe for quick sour dough bread that Karen shared with me. Mr. Romance loves raisin bread, so I have been adding raisins to a loaf or two each time I make it. This recipe makes 4 loaves of bread and the dough is so super easy to make. No Kneading! (In case anyone is wondering; our Paleo diet has been put on hold until August, when we will do another Whole 30)
Today I tried adding some fig jam and rolling it up jelly roll style and also a loaf with coconut and chocolate chips. They looked good raising.

But, I think I put too much jam and it all came out and burned. The chocolate chip and coconut one looks great. I have yet to taste either one.

That rhubarb I picked earlier in the day got mixed with some strawberries

Cooked in the fabulous copper pan my son Evan ordered for me last summer

and made into Starwberry Rhubarb Jam.

I bought this towel during our first trip to Europe in 1988.
I just can't part with this old, tattered thing.

The recipe says it makes 5 half-pint jars, but it only made 4. I saved the last spoonful for Mr. R to taste when he got home from the office.

With all this cooking and prepping, the kitchen was a mess.

I ended the afternoon by taking the grandkids out for a treat to celebrate the end of the school year 

So back to the title of this post...SUPER WOMAN should be renamed TIRED WOMAN!