Blueberry Galette

I know, I know I’ve been MIA for a few months.  I would like to tell you I’ve been vacationing in some far off exotic locale, sipping a cocktail with a cheesy umbrella in it, wearing my not so sexy bathing suit with the attached skirt.  When the truth is I’ve been home suffering through the “dog days of summer”!  Eh summer, not my favorite season.  But Fall is just moments away (happy dance).

What I have been doing is sewing.  I took formal lessons this past April-May and while sewing school is on hiatus for the summer I’ve been sewing to my hearts content, practicing the basic skills I’ve learned so far.  I love sewing!  I have a long way to go, so much to learn, as I’m such a beginner, as in the seam ripper is my friend.

Needless to say cooking has taken a back-seat to my sewing.  And while I still prepare meals for my husband, were talking things I can produce quickly on the stove.  For example “Beanie Weenie” and “Creamed Tuna on Toast” are favorites.  Or grilling burgers or steak is easy too.  My oven, probably like yours takes a break in the summer.

Maybe in the Fall I’ll be in the kitchen more, maybe I’ll find my balance between my love for sewing and my love of cooking/baking.  Who knows?  My husband sure hopes so.

A few weeks ago I did make this Blueberry Galette, I had an overabundance of blueberries, and while vanilla ice cream with blueberries is nice or just popping them in your mouth ice cold as a snack are favorites I wanted something different.  I wanted to eat pie, with minimal effort and not a lot of time in the kitchen.  If you’ve never made a galette it’s incredibly easy and unpretentious.  I use store bought pie crust, the final product has a nice rustic, primitive appearance.  I’ve also made this with strawberries, if using strawberries you may need to increase the sugar, depending on the tartness of your strawberries.  Give it a try!

Blueberry Galette – Inspired by Pioneer Woman

  • 1 storebought pie crust
  • 2 heaping cups of blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus a little more for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

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  • Stir together blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, juice of half the lemon and salt in a bowl. Set aside once combined.

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  • Unroll one store bought pie crust onto parchment lined baking sheet. (I use a pan with sides as tart may leak.)

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  • Place the blueberry mixture in the center of crust.

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  • Carefully fold up edges of crust, doesn’t have to be fancy.
  • Make egg wash by beating one egg with a tiny bit of water. Brush edges of tart with egg wash. Sprinkle the crust with sugar.

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  • Bake for 15 minutes until golden and bubbling.

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  • Enjoy!

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xoxo,

Sandee

Orange Marmalade

It’s been HOT, were talking unseasonably warm temperatures according to the experts.  Last week the thermometer hovered well past 90 degrees with some days over 100 degrees!  Dangerously hot conditions for animals.  I did my best to keep my indoor dog and cat comfortable.  Arturo likes frozen peas and carrots, and Pepper and Arturo love ice water when its warm.  I made sure my resident stray Fluffy had access to fresh cold water all day.  I didn’t worry a whole lot about her, she’s outdoor cat savvy, she knows to stay where its cool till the sun goes down.  My chickens are another story, even though they were under the shade of their run the air was so miserably hot between 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. that they were panting in the afternoons.  They like ice water and standing in a little chicken swimming pool Vince made for them.  Would it be wrong of me to wish we could skip summer and head directly into Fall?

(Story about my weather has absolutely nothing to do with orange marmalade…sorry)

Ahhhh I love orange marmalade and didn’t even know it.  I recently made a glaze for a ham I was preparing which called for orange marmalade.  I bought a store brand and had so much left over I tried it on toast.  Yum, the sweet orange taste with a sassy hint of bitter from the rind, it’s so good!  The only dissapointment with the store brand was the first ingredient in it is “high fructose corn syrup”.  Here’s my version, it’s super easy and tastes great.

Orange Marmalade

  • 2 medium navel oranges (look for oranges with thin skin)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar

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Cut off ends of orange and disgard, cut orange (skin and all) into small pieces.  Add to food processor and pulse until orange skin is in tiny pieces (or to your desired chunkiness).  Add pulsed oranges and skin into pot with the sugar and water.  Bring to a low boil stirring frequently for approximately 15 minutes.  Remove from stove and let cool.  When cool put into a jar with a tight lid and refrigerate.   Chill for a few hours before eating.

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I like to enjoy mine on an english muffin with peanut butter!

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Enjoy!

xoxo,

Sandee

 

 

 

Fudge Popsicles

This post was started a couple of days ago and was originally titled “Ginger Lime Popsicles”.  Major fail!  You have days like that too?  I started a ginger simple syrup, my plan was to counter the sweetness of the simple syrup with the tartness of fresh lime juice.  I bought 8 limes and at least 6 of them were dry, dry dry, no juice in them.  I was lucky if I yielded 3 tablespoons of lime juice out of all those limes.  I had even thinly sliced some lime pieces so they would freeze inside the popsicle.  Big disappointment!

Plan B, chocolate as in fudge popsicles, can’t go wrong with chocolate in my opinion.

Fudge Popsicle Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 4 standard-sized popsicles, which was just enough for 2 of us!

2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups whole milk (I used almond milk)
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, optional (I left it out)

In a medium saucepan over very low heat, gently melt the chocolate chips, stirring constantly until smooth. (This happens really quick) Stir in sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, milk and salt and increase heat to medium. Cook mixture, stirring frequently until it thickens, anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add vanilla and butter (if using) and stir until combined.

Set aside to cool slightly then pour into popsicle molds. Freeze 30 minutes, then insert popsicle sticks. Freeze about 4 hours before serving.

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BBQ Teriyaki Chicken & Grilled Artichokes

While it wasn’t really grilling weather yesterday afternoon Vince obliged and grilled these dishes I had prepared earlier in the day.  He’s a team player like that, especially when it’s his dinner involved!

This is my Teriyaki Marinade recipe, it goes well with either chicken or thin sliced beef for teriyaki.  Back home in Hawaii I would refer to this dish as “Shoyu Chicken”.  The measurements in this recipe can easily marinate 5 pounds of chicken.  I almost always halve the recipe to cook for just Vince and I.  The great thing about a teriyaki recipe is that you can experiment with different flavors.

Basic Teriyaki Marinade

  • 3/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • piece of ginger (about 3 inches)
  • dash of sesame seed oil
  • pinch of red pepper flakes

Mix soy sauce and sugar together.  Mixture will be thick and syrupy, if you find it’s too thick for your tastes feel free to add some water.  Peel ginger, cut into approximately 3 pieces.  With the blade of your knife smash ginger and add to soy sauce/sugar mix.  Remove paper skins of garlic and mince, add garlic to soy sauce/sugar mix.  Optional: sesame seed oil, red pepper flakes.

Mix well, pour over meat (chicken or beef) in ziploc bag and marinate in refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours to overnight.

Heat grill, place meat on hot grill, cover and cook until meat is done.  (I prefer to use boneless skinless chicken thighs)

Serve with hot steamed rice!  Hmmm!

BBQ Teriyaki Chicken

BBQ Teriyaki Chicken

 

If you try one new grilled recipe this Spring let it be grilled artichokes.  If you already love them steamed, grilling artichokes with olive oil and fresh herbs will knock your flip-flops off!

Grilled Artichokes  Adapted from Simply Recipes

  • 4 artichokes
  • 1 lemon quartered
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • coarse sea salt

Place rosemary in a small microwave safe bowl, add olive oil.  Cover, microwave for 30 seconds on high.  Let the rosemary steep in the warm olive oil until ready to use.

Trim artichoke stem, cut off top 1/2 inch.  Place trimmed artichokes in large pot with enough water to cover artichokes.  Add lemon and boil artichokes until you can easily pull off outer leaves.  About 20 minutes, depending on how large your artichokes are.

Boil artichokes with quartered lemon.

Boil artichokes with quartered lemon.

Remove artichokes from pot, drain on paper toweling.  Let cool enough to handle. When cool slice artichokes in half, scoop out the fuzzy choke and small inner leaves.

Sliced, choke and small leaves cleaned out.

Sliced, choke and small leaves cleaned out.

Prepare grill, high heat.  Using a pastry brush, brush rosemary infused oil all over artichoke, sprinkle coarse sea salt.  Place cut side down on grill.  Cover and grill 5-10 minutes, just until grill marks form on artichokes.

Enjoy!

Perfection on a plate!

Perfection on a plate!

 

Enjoy!

xoxo,

Sandee

Lemon Cornmeal Cake with Lemon Glaze and Crushed-Blueberry Sauce

Happy Spring From My Garden to Yours!

Happy Spring From My Garden to Yours!

I love Spring!  The weathers warming up, the gardens are sprouting wonderful colors, smells and beautiful flowers.  I made a “Lemon Cornmeal Cake with Lemon Glaze and Crushed Blueberry Sauce (say that 5 times) earlier in the week.  It’s fresh and colorful with the crushed blueberry sauce, a perfect compliment to all the colors in my garden!

Lemon Cornmeal Cake with Lemon Glaze and Crushed-Blueberry Sauce,  Recipe from Epicurious

Lemon Glaze
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used unbleached flour)
  • 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For glaze:
Combine powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in small bowl. Stir with spoon until smooth and paste-like, adding more lemon juice if glaze is too thick to spread. Set aside.

For cake: 
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides; line bottom with parchment. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl; whisk to blend. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, lemon peel, and vanilla in small bowl. Pour buttermilk mixture and melted butter into flour mixture. Using rubber spatula, gently fold liquids into flour mixture until just blended (do not stir). Scrape batter into pan; spread evenly.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean and cake pulls away from sides of pan, about 30 minutes.

Immediately run knife around sides of cake. Place rack atop cake in pan. Using oven mitts, hold pan and rack firmly together and invert cake onto rack. Remove pan from cake. Place another rack on bottom of cake; invert 1 more time so that cake is top side up. Stir glaze until blended. While cake is still very hot, drop glaze by tablespoonfuls onto cake; spread to within 1/2 inch of edge. (some glaze may drip off the edge) Cool completely. Serve with Crushed-Blueberry Sauce.

Crushed Blueberry Sauce

  • 3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (divided)
  • 2/3 cup golden brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • pinch of salt

Combine 1 1/2 cups blueberries and all remaining ingredients in medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to simmer, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until berries are very soft and liquid is syrupy, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add remaining blueberries. Using back of spoon, gently press fresh blueberries against side of pan until lightly crushed. Cover and chill.  Serve chilled or rewarm before serving.

IMG_1138I hope you give this a try, I love the texture that you get from the cornmeal, the lemon zest and fresh lemon juice make it taste fresh and light.  My husband loved it too!
xoxo,
Sandee

The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day!

I discovered this book “The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” back in January at the library.  Given my love for bread I was intrigued so I borrowed it.  As soon as I finished the first couple of chapters I was hooked and knew I had to try out this method of bread making.  The dough itself is simple, flour, water, yeast and salt.  The “secret” though is this, mix enough dough for several loafs and store it in the refrigerator.

Because I was so successful with this method and knew that I wanted to incorporate this bread into my cooking routine, I ordered the book on Amazon, along with some of the equipment recommended. Like these storage containers and this oven thermometer.  Lastly because this method relies on steam to produce a crispy crust I purchased this bread cloche.

Book, Food Storage Containers & Oven Thermometer.

Book, Food Storage Containers & Oven Thermometer.

Beautiful Bread Cloche, it looks like a piece of art!

Beautiful Bread Cloche, it looks like a piece of art!

I’m excited to show you how easy this master recipe is for a basic boule loaf.  I’ve linked to Artisan Bread in Five website that has additional information.

  • 3 cups  lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoon granulated yeast (if using a packet of yeast I dump the whole packet in)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (I use a fine sea salt
  • 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I use an unbleached flour)

Add yeast and salt to the water in a 6 quart bowl or, preferably, in a lidded (but not airtight)   food container or food grade plastic bucket.

Mix in the flour – No kneading necessary.  Mix until uniformly moist with no dry patches.

Mix dough thoroughly.

Mix dough thoroughly.

Allow to rise, cover with a lid that fits but can be cracked open.  If you’re using a bowl, cover it loosely with plastic wrap.  Allow to rise at room temperature about 2 hours.  Then you can refrigerate it until you’re ready to bake a loaf.  For the first day leave the container cover cracked to allow gases to escape.

When I’m ready to bake, I prepare a piece of parchment paper and lightly dust it with cornmeal so my bread won’t stick to the cloche during baking.  Next I take out a portion of dough from the container, about 1 pound (grapefruit sized).  With a dusting of flour so the dough doesn’t stick to my hand I gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides.  The bottom of the ball may look bunched up but it with flatten during the resting time.

I place the formed dough on the cornmeal prepared piece of parchment and let it rest for a minimum of 40 minutes.

Place cold bread cloche in oven and pre-heat oven to 450 degrees, this is when the oven thermometer comes in handy.  (I knew  my oven ran hot, but now I know it’s 25 degrees too hot)

Once dough has rested dust with flour and slash the top with a serrated knife.

Dust and Slash.

Dust and Slash.

When oven is pre-heated to 450 degrees, carefully remove cover of bread cloche and place parchment paper inside cloche.  Carefully replace the cover.  Bake in covered bread cloche for 30 minutes.  Remove cover and bake 5-10 minutes longer to brown the top.

Bakery Fresh French Boule Bread at Home!

Bakery Fresh French Boule Bread at Home!

Note:  You don’t need any of the equipment I talk about, I chose to buy the additional equipment, but I was just as successful without it.  If you’re interested in trying it yourself I would recommend clicking this link, Artisan Bread in Five for more information about this bread baking method, as well an alternative for baking with steam other than a cloche.

xoxo,

Sandee

Limoncello

I was first introduced to Limoncello watching the romantic comedy “Under the Tuscan Sun”.  It’s the story of Frances a newly divorced woman who while on tour of Italy impulsively buys a dilapidated villa in Tuscany hoping to forget her painful divorce and change her life.  Her love interest Marcello takes her to his home in Positano.  After their meal Marcello offers Frances a pale sweet lemony drink, followed by a walk on the beach and a tender kiss.  This movie is worth seeing even if just for the breathtaking Tuscany and Amalfi Coast scenes.

It took me years to finally try Limoncello, a store bought brand that did not live up to the cold lemon drop taste I was promised.

It’s funny how your brain stores information only for it to resurface at a later date.  I don’t know how the thought of Limoncello re-emerged into my thoughts a few weeks ago, nevertheless this time around I set out to make my own.

I turned to Giada De Laurentis for help.  I recalled years ago watching an episode on Food Network where she made Limoncello.  Here is the easy recipe:

Limoncello, by Giada De Laureates

  • 10 lemons (preferably organic)
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle vodka
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar

Directions:

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips, being careful to get just the peel, not the white pith.  Place the lemon peels in a container, that will hold at least 2 quarts.  Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature.  (I put the bottle in my dark, cool pantry)

Lemon peels and vodka, cover and let steep for 4 days.

Lemon peels and vodka, cover and let steep for 4 days.

After 4 days:

Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture.  Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight.

Add Water & Sugar Mixture, Let Stand Overnight.

Add Water & Sugar Mixture, Let Stand Overnight.

Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels.  Transfer the limoncello to bottles.  Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.  I have my bottle in the freezer so it will keep longer.

Limoncello!

Limoncello!

I got my bottles at World Market.  But any type of glass bottle that has a tight fitting cover will do.  This really was worth the effort, it’s the perfect summer after dinner drink!

Remember those 10 lemons that I peeled for this recipe?  Don’t forget to juice them and freeze the juice for fresh lemonade this Spring or Summer!

Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice.

Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice.

Salute!

Sandee