Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard........12/29/2011

Since we have been eating lots of fattening Holiday foods lately, I thought that this week I would post a nice healthy and nutritious meal that we make around here.

This is a basic Stir Fry that we truly enjoy. The recipe can be adjusted to add any wonderful veggies tht you have on hand and meat if you desire.

Stir Fry

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar or honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch or another thickening agent like flour
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Veggies of your choice. I used Onions, Carrots, Pak Choi, Peppers & Mushrooms
  • Meat of your choice. I used some Flank Steak and left over Chicken.
  1.  In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a wok or skillet over medium high heat. Stir-fry ginger and garlic for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the Meat and stir-fry for a few minutes.
  4. Remove the meat and add the Veggies and stir-fry for a few more minutes
  5. Add the soy sauce mixture, bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat and simmer until the sauce is thick and smooth and Veggies are about done.
  6. Add meat back in and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  7. Serve over Rice or maybe Spaghetti Squash
  8. Enjoy!!

Look at all those Beautiful Veggies from the garden!
 The mushrooms are the only ingredient that we did not grow!


What's been going in or out of your Cupboard lately?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thursday's Christmas Kitchen Cupboard.......12/22/2011

As many of you know, I do a lot of baking for the Holidays. This year I did not do a single post on Holiday baking!

So, I decided for Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard. I would post some pictures of what I have been baking, a recipe or two and links to previous posts with some of the other recipes.

A post including two favorites around here, Chinese Christmas Cookies and Pecan Squares can be found here.

Chinese Christmas Cookies

Here we have from top to bottom: Snowballs (recipe below), Pecan Squares (recipe at link above) & Almond Crescents (recipe is also below).

A post with my favorite Holiday treat, Nanaimo Bars can be found here.
Oh boy....these babies are good and just a wee bit fattening!!!

This is a new cookie for me this year. Lynda at Cortina Creek Farms posted this recipe here. When I saw these cookies, I knew that I had to try the recipe with many of our homemade jams and jellies.

Aren't these just Beautiful?? Thanks Lynda!

I also made traditional Chocolate Chip Cookies and a variation using the base to that recipe.

White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Almonds.
I think that I like these better then the traditional Chocolate Chip Cookies made with semi-sweet chocolate & walnuts.

Snowball Christmas Cookies

  • 3/4 Cup Softened Butter
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp. Water
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Cups Cake Flour
  • 1 Cup Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  1. Cream together first 4 ingredients
  2. Add Flour & Salt and mix well
  3. Stir in Chocolate Morsels
  4. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or days. I make my doughs ahead of time and then bake them all in one day.
  5. Roll into 1" balls and place about 1" apart on lightly greased cookie sheet
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 300 F
  7. Remove from oven and roll in colored sugar or plain sugar when still warm
  8. Cool & enjoy!
Almond Crescents

  • 1 Cup Softened Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Cup Finely Ground Almonds
  1. Cream together first 3 ingredients
  2. Mix in Flour and then Almonds
  3. Refrigerate the same as the snowball recipe above
  4. Roll about a teaspoon of dough into a log form, place on lightly greased cookie sheet in a crescent form and then press the edges down with your fingers. I really should have taken a picture of this...but, I forgot. If you look at the shape of them in the picture above, you will get the idea of the shape.
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the edges start to turn a golden color, at 300 F
  6. Remove from sheet and sprinkle with Powdered Sugar
  7. Cool & Enjoy!
I also made some labels for the Mustards. They are now ready to be given as Christmas Presents!

Here are some of the mustards ready to go.
As you can see I used various different jars that have been saved or given to me. I was so happy that I didn't have to use many small canning jars! There always seems to be a shortage of the small jars around here.

What has been going in or out of your Cupboard lately??

From "The Italian" and I to each and every one of you....Have a Wonderful Holiday and a Bountiful New Year!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Soil Block Mixture

Recently "The Italian" got me a soil block maker for my Birthday. Since I have never made soil blocks before, I started doing a little research on making a good mixture to make the blocks. Jody over at Spring Garden Acre also has a soil block maker that he has never used.

We would both appreciate a little expert advise on what any of you use or any tips on making the blocks.

Thanks a bunch!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard.........12/15/2011

This past week I finally got around to grinding some of the dried peppers hanging around the kitchen. This task has been on my "to do" list for some time now. When you run out of Paprika in the pantry and Christmas is quickly approaching, you get the motivation to do it.

The Paprika is easy. All you have to do is remove the tops & seeds from the dried peppers

place them in a bowl, break them up into smaller pieces and


And you have some beautiful ground Paprika Powder for cooking!

Making the requested Habanero Powder for my sister in-law is a little harder though. You will need a couple of additional items.

A mask & gloves!
Please don't try to do this without them.

The first thing that I did several months ago was dry them. I did not have success hanging them to dry as I do with the other peppers.

I cut the peppers in half, removed the seeds and tops and placed them on a rack.

Since I don't have a dehydrator, I dried them in the oven using the convection setting and set the temperature as low as I could. Once they were dried, they were cooled and stored in a glass jar until I got around to grinding them.

Here it is, Habanero Powder!
Another tip is to put a dish towel over the grinder when grinding hot peppers. This helps keep the powder out of the air.

What's been going in or out of your Cupboard lately??


Monday, December 12, 2011

Harvest Monday............12/12/2011

This past week I have been getting some small harvests from the cold frames and a little from the spinach bed too.

A nice bowl of lettuce and finally some spinach!

The fattest carrot I have ever grown! One of four that survived the late planting.

Pak Choi

There are three varieties of Asian Veggies growing in the cold frames. The Tatsoi & Baby Choi are doing well with the exception of some nibbling from bugs. But, the Pak Choi pictured here is bolting. I guess there has been too much fluctuation in temperature with all the unseasonably warm weather and now cold weather.

Total weighed harvest - 1 lb.

Carrot - 4 oz.
Lettuce & Spinach - 4 oz.
Pak Choi - 8 oz.

Stop by Daphne's Dandelions our host of Harvest Monday to see what's going on in Veggie Gardens around the globe!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard..........12/08/2011

This week I finally got around to making the last jam of the year, Dutch Apple Pie Jam. If you like apple pie you will definitely love this jam! I found the recipe for this jam here.

This jam is a favorite among many of our friends and family.

Dutch Apple Pie Jam

  • 3-1/2 cups prepared fruit (about 1 lb. Granny Smith or other tart green apples)
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 4-1/2 cups granulated sugar, measured into separate bowl
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. butter or margarine (optional
  • 1 pouch CERTO Fruit Pectin
  1. Peel and core apples. Chop finely or grind. Add water and raisins. Measure exactly 3-1/2 cups prepared fruit into 6- or 8-quart saucepot. Stir in lemon juice, cinnamon and allspice.
  2. Stir sugars into prepared fruit in saucepot. Add butter to reduce foaming, if desired. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly.
  3. Stir in pectin quickly. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
  4. Ladle into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids.
  5. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath.
  6. ENJOY!
What's been going in or out of your Cupboard lately??

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    Gifts for the Gardener

    I had another Birthday this week and received some great gardening gifts! "The Italian" surprised me, as always. I had given him a list of a few things that I needed for Christmas and he got them for my BD!

    One of Eliot Coleman's books that I did not have. This wasn't even on the list!

    My first Soil Block Maker....I can't wait to use this!

    I've been wanting to make cheese and heard this book has some good recipes.

    I really needed a more precise scale for weighing the harvests and cooking. This is a small lightweight inexpensive scale that had good reviews.

    I also found a surprise on the front porch!

    This pretty box.....

    With the cutest card....from my garden helper Sophia! Sophia has been my buddy since she moved here from Ghana. She has a natural talent for gardening and can tend to the plants growing in the basement and greenhouse better then our house sitter when we go away!

    What a thoughtful gift! Now I have something to wash my dirty gardening hands with!

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    Harvest Monday...........12/05/2011

    This week I finally remembered to take a picture of something that has been harvested from the garden!

    The bottoms of these green onions were used to make a wonderful Turkey Noodle Soup. The tops wll be used in another dish this week...probably a Gumbo or Jambalaya.

    We have been using fresh herbs from the garden on a regular basis. But, I have not been taking any pictures or weighing them.

    Yesterday I stopped by the plots. Our one gardening neighbor Bill was there and he was digging up his parsnips. Look what he gave me.

    These two parsnips weigh 3 lbs. 9 oz. before trimming. I think that "The Italian" and I will get a couple of good meals from these babies!

    Hop on over to Daphne's Dandelions, our host of Harvest Monday to see what's going on in gardens around the globe!

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard.........12/01/2011

    My goodness, I can't believe that it's already the first day of December! I really hope that the long days of winter fly by this fast!

    All of the mustards are finished and ready to be put in jars! In addition to the mustards posted here, I made a Horseradish Mustard. This mustard was made on 11/21/11. The mustard had aged to a good flavor yesterday. The only problem is that was it was too thick. So I added more vinegar to it. The recipe below is adjusted accordingly.

    Horseradish Mustard
    • 2 oz. Mustard Flour or Dry Mustard (I used Dry Mustard)
    • 3 oz. All-Purpose Flour
    • 3 tsp. Salt
    • 1 oz. White Sugar
    • 3 oz. Fresh Grated Horseradish
    • 1 Cup Cider Vinegar
    1. Sift the flour
    2. Add all of the other ingredients and mix thoroughly for a few minutes
    3. Cover and let it stand for 1/2 hour, mix again
    4. Put in a covered glass container and let it age for one week in a cool dark place.
    5. When it's ready, put in jars and refrigerate

    Here are all of the mustards ready to be put in jars.
    From left to right: My Coarse Ground Mustard w/Beer (needs a new name), Yellow Mustard (made with ground mustard seeds), Yellow Mustard (made with dry mustard) Horseradish Mustard & Spicy Brown Mustard.

    Coarse Ground Mustard w/Beer - This mustard was aged perfectly at two weeks. The flavor was OK...but, I wasn't completely happy. The recipe was adjusted by adding some Dry Mustard, Apple Cider Vinegar & a little Honey. The recipe has been adjusted and you can find it here. I really like this mustard now. We shall see what all the mustard lovers think of it after Christmas.

    Yellow Mustard (made w/ ground mustard seeds) - This mustard was aged perfectly after two weeks also. It takes like a basic yellow mustard. The only difference is it is a little coarser due to using ground mustard seeds instead of dry mustard.

    Yellow Mustard (made with dry mustard) - This mustard only needs to be aged for one week at the most. This is a perfect basic yellow mustard for those who aren't mustard connosiuers and just like plain old yellow mustard. The recipe can be found here.

    Horseradish Mustard - This mustard was great after only one week of aging. I think that it will be a hit! You could even add a bit more horseradish if you love horseradish.

    Spicy Brown Mustard - This mustard was perfect after aging for two weeks. It was almost everyone's favorite mustard last was definitely my favorite! The recipe can be found here.

    All of these mustards will be put in various types of jars and many will be given for Christmas gifts.

    What's been going in or out of your cupboard lately?