Great Fudge & Some Summer Stuff

IMG_0019Late yesterday afternoon I was thinking chocolate.  My brownies usually do it but they are heavily laden with butter and eggs; a bit rich for a quick zip of chocolate.  Paul has no idea what a bite is so it’s a good thing to not have too much of that stuff available.  But, I had some Tahini on the counter waiting to be used.  A few days ago I had made some granola with tahini (a gluten free granola) for a birthday present for my friend Patty who has Celiac’s .  I used the usual type stuff except used quinoa flakes instead of oats.  Kind of comes out a bit like eating dust but with the vast amounts of tahini put in; it’s moister and pretty tasty.

My Darling Lemon Thyme is someone I follow on Instagram – she has some cool stuff going on over there in Australia and beautiful photographs of a world I’d love to see.  It’s just such a long plane ride, darn.  I’m pretty claustrophobic, the 5 hours to California to see my grand daughters occasionally puts me over the edge.  The idea of being airborne over the ocean without a chance to put down might put me in a big spin.  The thing about this claustrophobic stuff is I was fine before I had an MRI a few years ago…..just fine, never thought of it then I had one for a medical study I’m part of.  Once I slid into the machine my body froze so badly I couldn’t even push the stupid little button that I held in my hand to stop it.  That bad!  When they finally slid me out I vomited.  A few days later I flew to Florida and the minute the doors closed on the ground…..again, froze.  Airplanes are very similar to MRI machines, just more people in your hell with you.  Enough.

These fudge treats are a tweaked version of My Darling Lemon Thyme’s:

1/2 C. Maple Syrup

3 Tbs. Coconut Oil

13 oz. Tahini or thereabouts

3 Overflowing Tablespoons of Covature Chocolate or just break up a bar of great chocolate – those chocolate/peppermint nibs would be awesome in this!  Butterscotch chips would blend well with the flavor of Tahini too.

2 Tbs. Cocoa Powder

2 tsp. vanilla

a taste of sea salt

Line a small pan with parchment paper.  Gently heat the Maple Syrup/Coconut Oil/Tahini together, when blended and smooth add the chocolates & vanilla, blend till smooth.  That’s it!

I sprinkled a bit of salt in with the chocolate but you could use it to top the chocolate as I did with walnuts.  Wrap and freeze.

I think this is kind of healthy…..at least maybe healthy is the wrong word, how about not bad for you?  I particularly like the Tahini part, it’s a nice flavor and it’s wicked easy to make.

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I’ve been weaving of late. Liar.  Actually, I started this warp in the Spring but I used a variegated warp of cotton, turquoise to blue and with the weft it became a blur.  I guess I should have just used a solid warp.  I was disappointed in the turn out so each one has an experimental weft going on.  Ended up I was never happy with it.  They are dishtowels so i suppose it is just fine as such.  If you look carefully you can see little boxes on an angle.  That was the plan for the prominent feature.  It just got lost in the blur.

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The Wasps are in.  I was having a lovely time walking over to my wooden pallet raised beds where I’ve planted my lettuce this year.  I started to cut just one head of lettuce when all these wasps, yellow jackets, whatever they are called swarmed out of where I was picking.  I ran like hell and told Sabrina (the old, very old, 25 years old, black cat) to run.  There we were tripping over the tomato plants and running through the garlic.  Those dam things stung me.  Painful.  Sabrina made it away.  Both of my arms were stung, near my wrists.  I now have balloon wrists.  My skin is stretched so tightly even that is painful.  Nothing works for the pain except Witch Hazel of which I am practically bathing in it now.  I have a bottle in each bathroom and flush my arms multiple times a day and all night.  God this is the worst!  It appears I have about six or so in my right arm and perhaps 4 in the left…..little red dots everywhere.  The weird thing is as the poison exits me it travels up my arms so I itch up there where I’m not even bit also.

This picture is Paul’s idea of getting rid of them.  First he put stuff on last night at dusk, as the can said.  This morning when he went to check, bees everywhere so he threw some lighter fluid on first then some gasoline.  I told him to get his dam gun out.  These guys are persistent.  We’re going to have a serious bond-fire tonight.  I hope I have some garden left.  They build their nests in the ground so I’m worried now that it’s perhaps deep but spread out too.

Moral of the story, if this happens to you – you want this stuff on hand.  Really, on hand, not still at the drug store!

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Almond Scones it is!

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Wandering around this page trying to figure out how to get the type with the photo.  Ah, here we go, perhaps.  I’ve been thinking of almond scones for a few days lately.  Today, it’s raining so I’m thinking it’s a perfect day for baking.  I went somewhere locally, that’s new and had a scone a few days ago.  Why are they round?  They look like a lump thrown together, very unappealing, common, crappy looking.  Generally they are soft also.  Not sure if it’s because the heat goes round and round with nothing to stop it so the scone absorbs the moisture or if they are all just bad.  The scones I make are always triangles, lots of crispy edges, sealed, keeps the moisture out with a nice crack to the crust.  In these first few shots we have raw dough just cut.  The next photo are the scones, set on a baking sheet, raw, ready to put in the freezer for future use.  I cover the sheet with plastic and then when fully frozen put them in zip loc bags.  Baking is a snap….preheat the oven to 375, place them on parchment lined sheets and bake for about a half hour or so.  You want them to look like the baked ones here.

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The recipe for these scones – is a much coveted one.  I had always thought I would be opening another cafe soon and should keep my recipes to myself but I’m over that.

Almond Scones….16 Triangles

Preheat oven to 375.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper set aside.  With a food processor as your tool mix as listed below.

5-1/3 C. Flour

6 Tbs. Sugar

3 Tbs. Baking Powder

2-1/2 Sticks butter, cubed

8 Oz. Almond Paste

Chop it all up together then dump in a large bowl.

Add a handful of sliced Almonds.

In a measuring cup combine the rest.

2 Cups Buttermilk (today I used 1-1/2 C. Almond milk and 1/2 C. Yogurt)

4 Eggs (I used one giant duck egg and 2 regular eggs)

1 Tbs. Almond extract – Sieben Bitter Almond Essence if lovely if you have it available.  I have run out so I used vanilla.

Mix well with a whisk.

Make a well in the center of your flour mixture, pour the liquids in (save a bit in the cup for basting purposes, mix with a spoon very lightly.  Your making a biscuit here so try not to handle it much and definetly do not overbeat it.

Scrape it out onto a floured board incorporating a bit of flour until you can get it in a ball.  No kneeding!  Pat into two rounds, cut in 8 wedges each, baste with the leftover liquid, dust with almonds.  Freeze some for later and bake what you’d like now.  Scones really don’t taste fabulous the next day and if your going to make the mess making them…..make allot for the freezer.  Well worth it!

First of the Season….

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Well, perhaps not first, maybe second.  But, first would be chives and those are not sweet.  I’m looking for sweet/sour/crisp.  Rhubarb would be it.  It takes nothing to grow Rhubarb except dirt.  Get some roots from anyone, stick them in the ground in the spring.  The following spring there it is.  Super early, easy care as there is no weeding.  And, the beauty of Rhubarb is if you water it frequently it will grow forever during the summer.

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There is huge controversy regarding on pulling it out (see above is pulled) or cut it at the base, no photo.  I  can never remember which is the “right” way so I just get it out of the ground any old way.

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Here it is chopped and ready to go.  This particular batch I actually spread out on a cookie sheet and froze it for a day or two then bagged it up and froze for the winter.  Kind of cool to have cobblers and pies or Stewed Rhubarb in those frozen months.

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On the the cobbler recipe.  My favorite old book.  It’s inscribed from my sister in 1972.  Must have been living in Bradford, New Hampshire at the time as she was also.  I wasn’t cooking much but learning.  My first pie came from this book…. Buttermilk pie.  Sounds so New Hampshire don’t you think?

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As you can see the page is now gross with splatter but I can always find the page due to all the crud.

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And the final result.  Food of Goddesses I think.

Rhubarb Cobbler (and any other soft fruit you have added in)

 Chop up a pile of Rhubarb (at least 5 Cups of fruit) and add a cup of sugar and 2 Tbs. cornstarch.  Add a bit of water, 1/4C. maybe, mix it around and cook till it thickens and bubbles.  It doesn’t take long.  If I’m adding berries I usually drop those in just before it’s done.  Fruits like peaches & plums can go in with the rhubarb.

While your fruit is getting ready to bubble.  Make up a soft dough this way:  In a bowl, whisk together 1 C. Flour, 1 Tbs. sugar, 1.5 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Blend in 1/4 C. Shortening (I use butter, room temp).  Break it up with your fingers and mix in; add 1/2 C. any kind of milk or yogurt.  I’m pretty consistent with the almond milk or yogurt which will make a bit denser biscuit but sweet.

Pour the fruit into a baking dish, drop blobs of the fairly wet biscuit dough on top either with a spoon or your fingers, dust with cinnamon.

Bake @ 400 for 30 minutes.  You may want to put some parchment down on a sheet underneath it as it bubbles over sometimes.

It’s the same recipe just double the biscuit if you use a larger dish, like 9×13.

So, so easy.  Grow your own, that store bought stuff is old by the time you get it.  It just won’t have the same snap.

Amazing little Puff Pastries…..

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I saw a picture of something like this on Stumble Upon the other day.  Must have done this right as it looks pretty much the same.  Bring some water to boil with some lemon or lime juice and some sugar, not much.  Slice some apples (I used 4 or 5) and let them soak in the liquid, off heat, for 15 minutes, drain and pat dry.  I cut my puff pastry into three strips, brushed with an egg wash and dusted with sugar then lined up the apples as you can see.  Start to roll it up jelly roll style and at about halfway slice through, pinch the dough and place in an unbuttered muffin tin.  Roll the second one the same.  Cut the other two strips and do the same…..creating 6 pastries per sheet.  Bake at 375 till done – somewhere around 1/2 hour or longer.  Who knows, I was running all over the place and usually don’t time anything anyway.  Let it cool in the pan 5 minutes and turn out to continue cooling.  When completely cool dust with powdered sugar.

The thing I like about this is you use a very small amount of sugar so it’s actually edible and doesn’t make you sticky sweet sick.  And they are beautiful, no?

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Our son in law made this but it’s really easy to copy, which of course I did.  He slices and chops all that you see, presents it beautifully.  Then makes a broth of chicken & beef, adds noodles.  Your job is to add what you want.  We added pretty much everything and went to heaven.  Yummola.  This shot is with chicken.  I made mine with pulled pork; I like the chicken better.

New recipe for Banana Bread

IMG_1824Banana Bread has never been my thing.  We made a lot of it at the shop, perhaps that’s why.  But, today, I had four bananas sitting there, looking really sad (i.e. brown spots, soft, icky).  Well, I knew I didn’t want a banana cake, although The Silver Palate has just the best recipe with a chocolate glaze.  I didn’t have enough walnuts to mask a normal banana bread recipe of mine so what’s a girl to do?  I started digging for something new.

My sister in law, Sandi, gave me an old The Best Recipe book by Cook’s Illustrated.  Every single time I make something from it, it turns out really wonderful.  I tend to not go for the book as it has a “dated” cover so it makes me think, ewww, 80’s or something.  Nothing snappy about the book which is actually kind of good.  I’m tired of snappy, stacked food.  And, the other piece of my non looking at this book is I submitted an Application for a Test Kitchen job with these guys – they advertised through my Culinary school so I responded.  Apparently they liked my Resume and were going to schedule a full on Interview and then I never heard from them.  Yet, when they accepted me they said I had passed the first part of the process so that was good.  Then they dropped me like a hot potato.  I already had memorized the bus route, the train route, etc.  I was excited.  That would have been the ultimate job for me…..testing, testing, testing.  So, I’ve been carrying a grudge as only this Irish girl can do!

Back to the recipe.  It’s great.  I’ve modified it to suit what was on my shelf.  This is for 2 breads: 9×5 pans, greased & papered, 350 oven temp.

In large bowl mix together:

2 Cups White flour

1 Cup Whole Wheat flour

1-1/4 C. Sugar

1.5 tsp. Baking soda

1 tsp. Salt

Toss in Walnuts – I only had a cup or so.

Toss in Dried Blueberries & unsweetened Coconut – another cup or so of each.

In another bowl:

Smash four bananas, not much, keep it chunky

1/2 C. Whole Yogurt – my homemade stuff is a bit thick

4 Eggs lightly beaten in

6 Tbs. Melted butter and 6 Tbs. melted Coconut Oil

2 Tsp. Vanilla

Lightly mix this, mix it into the dry mixture using a rubber spatula, gently, leave it lumpy with dry spots.  Don’t overhandle it.  Scoop into your two pans and bake for an hour for sure.  My oven went an hour and 20 minutes.

Let it cool in the pan a long time then make sure you take the paper off and rewrap.

It’s super!  I may become a fan.  My daughter Ruth told me while I was raving about it, if it didn’t have chocolate in it why bother.  She’s so fussy!  I bet that little Callie would love to chew this up, chocolate or not!

Bread and perhaps a few other things

Toast, I love toast.  As a kid we always had toast in the morning, or at least I did.  Peanut butter sometimes but usually margarine.  It was good.  I loved the crunch.  Now we don’t have crunch anymore.  It doesn’t matter what I buy or make it never has that crispness I remember.  Recently I dug out my old bread machine which I’ve never had delicious success with.

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I tried yet another recipe.  Fabulous.  This recipe, which I have cobbled together from all sorts of ideas is the one!  Crispy toast.

Put everything in, in order, turn that baby on and 3 hours and 55 minutes later (for a 2 lb. whole wheat, dark crust loaf you got it.

1 C. plain yogurt, slightly warmed

1/2 C. warm water

1-1/2 Tbs. Olive Oil

2 Tbs. Brown Rice Syrup

1-1/2 C. Whole Wheat Flour

2-1/4 C. Flour

2 Tbs. Wheat Bran

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. yeast

 

I end up slicing whatever side is shortest.  I like a crust side and with this squareness you get four choices.  Tomatoes are in season here now…..there is nothing like a lime mayonnaise tomato sandwich toasted.  Yum.

 

I’ve been doing my Gluten Free experimenting lately.  This cake recipe is an adaptation from a regular flour recipe maybe from Yeh?  I see quite a few people on Instagram and everywhere else in my travels; it’s sometimes hard to remember who did what.  My apologies.

My version of an upside down plum loaf:  GF

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6 Plums or so (can be any fruit)

1 C. GF flour **

1 tsp. Xanthan

3/4 C. brown sugar

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. soda

2/3 C. Olive oil

1/2 + Kefir or Yogurt, plain

2 eggs

1 tsp. almond or vanilla

1 Tbs. lemon zest

1 Tbs. lemon juice

 

350.  Line an extra long loaf pan with parchment paper, spray.  Lay your fruit down in a marching row, skin side down.  Whisk together your dry stuff, your wet, add the two and blend well.  Pour over the fruit & bake 45 minutes or so.

Really delicious.

**My Flour Mix is:

2 C. Millet Flour

1 C. Sorghum

1 C. Corn Starch

1 C. Potato Starch

1 C. Tapioca Flour

Whisk it together, store in a container to use as needed.

 

I heard an interesting thing on the radio the other day.  It was an interview with Dan Barber, yet another celebrated Chef.  He was talking about Kosher food.  I usually buy Kosher when I can because I know it’s fresh, clean, blessed (whatever).  He said there is a friend of his who is the largest Sorghum grower in the U.S.  His sorghum is Kosher.  A Rabbi has to walk with his hand on the combine as it’s harvested to make sure there is nothing in the field that does not go with Sorghum (wild garlic is one).  Really?  Hence, sorghum is grown in small quantities.  I mean who can walk acres and acres?  Weird huh?

One other shot, maybe.  I’ve been knitting for #3 grand daughter of late (I’m also working on something for #2).

IMG_0024_2Is this not cute?  She’s 3.5 months old and teething.  I knit a few of these for the other girls when they were teething, love the pattern!

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IMG_1058Teeny, tiny peasant dress for Callie.

IMG_1063And, lastly, a Nani dress.  Zoe has one which was Colbie’s and now Callie has one – lots of little girls!

 

Liquids!

Cauliflower Puree

Well, there is something wrong with my tummy – I forget what they call it but it’s pretty painful.  Hence, I’m on lots of Cipro (which is most magic drug for anything) and liquids for awhile.  First two days, water….hello, bathroom.  Now I can do puree’s, then move to soft stuff like cottage cheese and much later chewing food.  Great forced diet if your into that sort of thing.  So, after being depressed about the whole deal I decided to embrace it and make something I could eat nutritionally without having to resort to Gator Aid or Pedialite crapola.  Yesterday I made a black cherry/papaya/yogurt & water smoothie.  No problems.  Last night I made this soup – it’s what I had in house and in garden, just about all I had as I haven’t been to the store.

Cauliflower Puree Soup

1 head of Cauliflower steamed for 1/2 hour

handful of fresh baby spinach

six or so fresh sprigs of marjoram

same of fresh parsley

After you steam the broccoli, puree for quite awhile then add the rest and puree some more

Scrape into a medium size pot – add some chicken stock till the consistency you like

Add a dollop or two of yogurt (for me that was about 1/2 cup)

squeeze of lemon

1/4 C. of parmesan

salt & pepper to taste

topped off (once served) with some olive oil

I know, all very basic but if your intestines aren’t working or something else is malfunctioning this food almost makes you feel your going to live.  There is nothing like starving to appreciate simplistic food and the nutrition you can get out of simple things.  Diverticulties, that’s what it’s called….whew, the old brain still works.

Paul is on his boat bringing it north from Virginia right now.  Good thing as there is no way I can make any meals or deal at the moment.

Lounging Callie

I had been in New Jersey for a few days  this past week, prior to realizing just how bad I felt.  Little Callie has the life of Riley!  Ruth is her barcalounger.  It really was a hot day when I took this shot; we were all pooped but this is how she prefers to hang out – never mind those bucket chairs, give me my mom! She’s two weeks old to the day in this picture. Yup, she’s precious and smells amazing.  What is it about babies????

My weaving time has been occupied by many other things of late but I am working on it.  I have an event to go to in just two weeks where I have to wear something I’ve woven so I’m on it now.  I’ve been experimenting with a “snake” pattern.  When washed these scarfs sort of twist up a bit and kind of look like snake skin.  That’s the effect I’m going for.  The first is a grey warp and blue weft.  The second is a teal warp and turquoise weft.

 

grey snake

blue snake

This blue one is becoming my favorite although I have a few more color combo’s in the making.  There is a green w/gold that might be kind of cool or gold with a burgundy warp.  Hummmm.  I think scarfs are going to be Christmas presents this year for my girl pals!  The material is Tencel which is my new favorite fiber – feels and acts like silk, although much less expensive.

Prior, just prior to Callie’s birth I wove a blanket for her.  Callie’s Chennile.

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It’s so rich.  But, it’s so hot out now it won’t get much use…..later, maybe she’ll like the feel and drag this around in the winter months.

My garden is coming in like crazy.  I have so much lettuce, arugula, spinach, radishes, kale and swiss chard, none of which I can eat.  It’s killing me, hurry up home Paul.  Time to get cracking.