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Archive for the ‘Food and Cooking’ Category

Sunday Supper – Salsa!

I really love to make things, and food is no exception.  I also particularly enjoy making Sunday dinner.  Last night we had Mexican, the Mr.’s favorite, so I decided to make one of my favs, fresh salsa. This is a great way to use up fresh tomatoes, peppers and onions from your, or a friends, garden. Plus, it’s also super simple, quick and such a lovely reminder of the season just past.

I like my salsa a bit on the chunky side, also called pico de gallo or salsa fresca, and I could honestly eat it on anything from eggs to grits. If your preference is for a less chunky consistency, you can use an emulsion blender or a food processor to make it more blended. If you like both then you can even mix in the chunky with some puree to make it the way you like – this recipe is highly adaptable and just begging to be tinkered with.

First gather together your favorite salsa ingredients, whatever is fresh and available to you will work.  I use what I have on hand, but you can get really creative with this, there’s no reason for restraint.  However, this is so delectable because of fresh garden tomatoes and honestly I use all varieties – no discrimination here; I love, love, love all fresh tomatoes. You can make a little or a lot, depending on how much you need or want. If you like more onions, add more onions, or if have a bunch of carrots and it’s appealing to you, throw some in.

This recipe as detailed below will yield about two and half cups worth of scrumptious salsa for dipping, and devouring.

  • 2 cups of finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small to medium white sweet onion, finely chopped (I use Walla Walla sweets, but Vidalia, red or other onions are just as good)
  • 1 small pepper (hot or not), finely chopped or minced, *(Just a note here, I like me some spice, so I use jalapeno and even Habanero at times, but any pepper will work, it’s that “green” flavor we are going for here. Also, if you omit seeds from the spicy pepper it will tone down the spice a bit).
  • Juice of one lime
  • Two garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • Tablespoon of finely chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together, refrigerate for at least an hour so the flavors can meld.

You can also make fresh tortilla chips to go with this salsa.  Just brush tortilas lightly with olive oil, cut into strips or triangles, spread on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes and voila , a fresh snack that oozes summer spirit.  Enjoy!

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I’m absolutely giddy today and I can’t decide if it’s because it’s a super sunny Earth Day, because it’s Friday, because it’s Easter or because I’ve got that special feeling I always get this time of year… that jittery feeling I get from eating too much easter candy. I have quite a bit planned for this weekend and where I’m not particularly religious I do love that holidays tend to bring together friends and family. I’m going to try to stop by the farmers market, go to a Passover dinner, make a quiche for an Easter Brunch, though I can’t decide what flavor, this or this, (maybe both?), attend said Easter Brunch and hopefully squeeze in a bit of relaxation and creative time.  I’ve been in a cooking mood lately and wanting to try both of these impossibly pretty confections, this cake and this taffy, but honestly, I’m not sure I can fit it all in. I’m actually sort of winded thinking about it but I’m looking forward to every minute.

Hope your weekend is filled with joie de vivre!

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After my internet binge today I was feeling rather sloth like and decided to do something productive and try making ricotta cheese – it’s been on my list of things to do/ try for quite some time.  I used a recipe from the book jam it, pickle it, cure it, but there are many comparable recipes on the internet that are just as simple, as well as similar in technique and ingredients.  I’ll honestly never buy ricotta again, it’s so quick, easy and delicious. I thought I would start with a simple, straight forward cheese for my initial foray into cheese making and move on from there.  I think my next cheese experiment will be with mozzarella. Caprese anyone?

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It’s a gloomy day so I’ve been window internet shopping and clicking around. Just some things I found that are quite nice to look at, and I thought I would share so you can go and have a look-see yourself.

This beautiful baroque pearl from Conroy & Wilcox

 

This unique Moon Diamond print from The Best Part

 

This decadent meringue-encased lemon cake from This is Glamorous

 

This pair of sexy sandals from Chie Mihara

 

This modern fish task at Urban Outfitters

 

These stylish snack boxes from Jia

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I was perusing around the Marth Stewart website, as I often do when I need a quick break from working, and ran upon these cakes decorated with hand made paper crocus and snowdrops on the Craft’s Dept Blog. Two of my favorite things combined, crafts and dessert.  Almost too pretty to eat…

You can find the cake recipe here and how to information for the paper flowers here.

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This Friday is particularly awesome because it is the first day of my eleven day vacation! The new year started off running and it’s been a bit hectic so I’m really looking forward to some serious down time.  I’ve decided not to put anything on my “get done” list, live in the moment, and really just kinda go with it in order to get the most of my eleven days off. Did I already say eleven? Yes, eleven blissful, sleeping in, pajama wearing, doing whatever I want days of no working!

I do have some fun plans for the upcoming week.  The Mr. and I are headed to Mt. Bachelor with some friends for four days where I will hopefully learn to ski.  Since Portland seems to be one of the few city’s that didn’t get snow this past week we are going in search of some. I’ll admit I’m a tad nervous because my foray into snowboarding was a painful one, on the knees and derriere in particular.

I’m going to try to cook as much as I feel inclined to, there are so many recipes I want to make, like this one and this one. I find cooking so relaxing and comfort food is always nice when you have time to make and savor it.  I’m considering making some chili and think I might try one of these recipes from Bon Appetit, or this from Camille Styles. I may work on perfecting my yogurt making skills. I live for a beautifully thick and creamy yogurt with a little honey and bran cereal, mmm.

I’m also planning to make some things and be creative, which to be quite honest, is inevitable.  When I’m relaxed I tend be able to make things and channel my creative energies with an ease that doesn’t come in a normal work week.

However, if I just read and eat and have good conversations I will be completely satisfied, considering it a week and vacation gone perfectly.

Hope every minute of your weekend is fantastic!

Photo from J.Crew

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Sweet Treats

I’m considering making these peppermint marshmallows from Canelle and Vanille . Paired with a rich hot chocolate mix and a pretty mug they would be a sweet gift for friends or anyone with a sweet tooth.

Peppermint Candy Cane Marshmallow

This recipe makes one layer of the marshmallow, so you will need to make it times two if you want to just make one color, or two times for the bicolor effect; one recipe with food coloring, the other without.

I used a 14″x14″ square frame

320 grams sugar
12 grams glucose or corn syrup
130 grams water
40 grams powdered gelatin
130 grams water
45 grams egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
20 grams sugar
1 tsp peppermint oil (optional)
5-6 drops of natural red food coloring (optional)

In a small saucepan with tall sides, combine the sugar, glucose or corn syrup and water. Cook to 126C.

In the meantime, whisk the powdered gelatin and 130 grams of water together and let the gelatin bloom.

Place the egg whites and the cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer and start whipping in medium speed. When the egg whites are almost fully whipped, add the 20 grams sugar and continue whipping in slow to medium speed depending on how far the sugar syrup is from reaching the desired temperature.

When the sugar syrup reaches 126C, turn the heat off and add the bloomed gelatin (will be a solid mass) to the saucepan. It will bubble up so be careful. Whisk until the gelatin dissolves completely in the syrup.

Add the syrup with the gelatin into the whipped egg whites while whipping in low speed. When all has been added, turn the speed up to high and let it whip until ribbons start to form. Add the flavoring and food coloring at this point. We don’t want the marshmallow to cool completely because we want to be able to spread it. Remove from mixer and pour into the square frame that has been placed over a silicon mat. Let it harden.

If making the bicolor marshmallow, repeat the recipe and pour on top of the first layer.

If it becomes sticky, sift together half cornstarch and half powdered sugar and lightly dust this over marshmallow. Roll in crushed candy cane powder.

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