Friday, October 9, 2009

More Cake

As I was leaving to take Nora's Birthday cake to her on last Friday, Contractor Jim (who is becoming a friend as well as buiding our wonderful new shop) said "So where is my cake?"

I decided to surprise him and make him a chocolate cake this week. It takes me a long time to do a cake, but I do a really good job - Henry calls them my "ten dollar cakes". When I was a bit miffed at that description, he explained that he didn't mean $10 for the whole cake, but $10 per SLICE... like a really good 'White Tablecloth Restaurant' desert! I was mollified. This is the cake I made for Jim's family: a very dense chocolate cake with a raspberry/moscarpone and whipped cream/Chambord filling and a chocolate French Buttercream frosting. Nice.

Since I had a bit of cake batter left over, and a 6" cake pan takes about half as much as an 8" pan, I made a small cake for Henry to have for his dessert - so he wouldn't feel left out. The little cake is the same as Jim's, and met with great success (and destruction) last night. Yummy, it was.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Saturday Bread

I haven't made bread for months! I made a Birthday cake for Nora's 50th, and delivered it to her on Friday... Then I came home and needed to bake something else.

Saturday morning I decided on bread, because I am good at bread and making it makes me feel good. I made plain French Bread, it had good crumb and a nice nutty taste. I only have one baguette pan, so I made some rolls for hamburgers, and a plain loaf. I need to give some of these away: they won't keep more than two days... and it has already been three.
Dog treats, maybe?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Berries and Pears... Oh, My!

After picking blackberries for a couple of hours yesterday, I grabbed a 5 gal bucket and went around picking up windfall pears. Jim said there was a bear in the neighborhood, so I didn't want to leave an open invitation to wildlife to drop by and help themselves to goodies! I have four of these buckets now, and all I've managed to do with them is dry some, and make some pear butter. They are super-sweet and juicy... I'm not sharing with bears!
Since Henry has really sensitive teeth, he can't eat Blackberry Jam... I decided to surprise him! I removed the seeds from the Blackberries (with a sieve, almost like making jelly, but I used a large enough mesh to allow most of the pulp through) He was pretty pleased.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pickles, Anyone?

Hey, look at that!
I made pickles... maybe. They have to sit for three weeks to mellow, then we can see how they really taste. When I tasted the "product" before I put the jars in the canner for processing, they were pretty good. We'll see what they are like when I get back from Palm Desert on the 15th or so. I hope they are good, I love sweet pickles!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Back on the Range...

I've been gone - obviously - for almost a month. Mostly in California, visiting my Dad and letting my brother have a much-needed vacation. It was fun being Dad's "Private Chef" for a while... his tastes are not as eclectic as mine, but he enjoyed having a different hand in the kitchen. Didn't complain too much about having to eat so many desserts, either! Larry doesn't bake much, (though he's an excellent chef) so ice cream and puddings are Dad's favorites. I did some cookies for his ice cream, a gallette, lemon tea cake, and rice pudding with blueberries.

When I got back to the farm, my new "Gelato Pro" was here!!! YYAAY!
I did a White Peach Fro-Yo just now... doesn't it look yummy? I'll do Cherry Ice Cream tomorrow for Henry - that's his favorite, I think - but I don't think he'll have too much trouble putting away the Peach tonight!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Pasta Variation: Sunday Supper

We have Grilled 'Burgers more often than not on Sunday nights. Perhaps the tradition stems from the times I worked most of the day on Sunday, preparing for classes and reading student papers all day. I wasn't in the mood to create something spectacular for my family's meal. They stood for a lot of abuse back then... sometimes they didn't feel I iwas giving them my attention, that I spent more time worrying about the students than I did about their welfare. Possibly true, but not an intended slight. I knew they cold take care of things that happened in their lives, and felt that many of the children in my classes needed more looking after. That may have been wrong. Most parents do what they can with the resources available to them.
I didn't feel like doing a Grill last night, so opted for a nice Prawn and Veggie melange over pasta. I put the peppers and tomato in just long enough to warm them; I had already sauted the shallots with garlic and mushrooms, deglazed the pan with Vermouth, and added the Prawns - letting them get just pink before I added about a cup of Marinara sauce (I didn't want the dish to be runny at all). I tossed in the Veg and let them warm as I drained the pasta. Then it was "Plate and Eat", with green salad on the side and Nova's Lemon Cake for dessert... Yummm!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Comfort Food

It started raining this afternoon as I was driving back from town. I felt like I needed to make something "Cozy" for dinner to chase the weather, and decided to make a variation of "Tuna Noodle" using a can of Turkey (didn't have any tuna) with some peas for color and a little variation in texture. Pretty yummy! Since 'd already put tonight's dinner in the oven before I left, I'll have it for dinner tomorrow when I come back from the studio.
I like the way the octagonal bowl looks with the mound of curly pasta in it! The bowl just came out of the kiln yesterday, so I'm not wasting any time putting it to use, am I? Good size, too... just right for two people.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

YAAY, Veggies!

The picture is a bit blurry because I was anxious to eat the "Artichoke That Ate Manhattan"! It was aboout the size of a softball - sitting on one of my 10" dinner plates, you can see how big it is! (No, silly, not YOU sitting on the dinner plate!) It was quite wonderful to have all the artichoke I could eat at one sitting. There was more for dinner, but I opted out on the chicken and fries. Just the big "Choke" was fine.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Going-Away Dinner

I made a Pork Loin for our dinner the night before I went to California for Erin's Easter Break... I'm to help her pack things to take overseas. Not much help so far, but she's doing fine - I'm really just here for support, I think.

Anyway, I made a nice roast... sauted Shallots, Garlic and Tarragon in OO. Added some water and Semi-Braised the meat in the oven until it almost reached temperature, then made a gravy by reducing the liquid (and a bit of added Vermouth). I had cooked some red potatos while the meat was cooking, and crisped them up in a pan for coor and texture. Steamed Asparagus and Salad finished out the meal. Unfortunately, H didn't like the gravy or the red potatos, but that's OK... I did.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


It was a rainy day (Don't say" you live in Oregon, what did you expect?"... yesterday was beautiful: warm and sunny) As I was saying... it was a rainy day and I hadn't baked anything for a while.

SSOOooo, can you guess what I made?

Yep! I made Chocolate Chip Cookies. I HATE those things! I almost always eat about a dozen and make myself sugar-sick. Definitely a love-hate relationship... they are so good I can't stay away from them. I'm almost glad when Henry starts gobbling them up too!

They don't take very long and they make the whole house smell sooo good!

Here they are... well, part of them anyway. And yes, they are as good as they look! If you make them 2" size, and don't eat all the dough before they are baked, there are about seven dozen in a batch. I ate six or seven from the first sheet out of the oven-"my bad"?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentines Day

This is actually Monday, but I've been working on "Wonky Stars" quilt blocks for Tia Curtis' "Bushfire Project" (quilts for people in Australia who have been wiped out by a devastating bushfire - over 80 are dead and thousands now homeless) so I haven't been cooking at all. I'll send them off to Australia this morning.

Henry took me out for "Pizza and a Beer" Saturday night for Valentines. We threw some Darts and played Shuffleboard; our Pizza was heart-shaped in honor of Valentine's Day. Fun... it was a good date.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sunday Supper

Since it was a rainy Sunday, and I was busy quilting, I decided a simple supper was in order. I put a nice Steelhead fillet on the BBQ (I had to split it with H, but half was enough) and re-heated some Basmati Rice (to which I added a couple of tablespoons of Tikka Paste for some snap) adding some sauted Cremini mushrooms at the last.

Sherm's had some really nice baby asparagus, and I do love asparagus, so I jumped on those! They were quite nice steamed. I have enough for another meal as well, or maybe I'll grill them to put in a salad.

Monday, February 2, 2009

February Comfort Food

Last night I was in the mood for "Down Home" food. Ham Steak with pan gravy, Garlic Mashed Potato and Green Salad seemed to fill the bill. I pulled some frozen "Fisher Family Hornschen" dough out of the freezer and we had those with Umpqua's Vanilla Bean ice cream for dessert. Quick and easy Winter food.
To keep the Ham from being 'boring', I mixed a tablespoon of Honey with two tablespoons of BBQ sauce and spooned it on while the ham was in the pan sauteing. Be careful not to burn the sauce, though, the honey (sugar) is quick to blacken!
After the Ham was nicely browned, I removed it from the pan and added a little butter and flour to make the gravy and releae the browned bits. This step is why you don't want the honey/BBQ sauce mix to burn - the flavor of burned sauce is not pleasant and will taint your gravy. (Yeech!) Add about 1 1/2 to 2 Cups of milk (it is OK to use non-fat, even though there is butter in the gravy - whatever you have got is fine) and slowly reduce the gravy to the desired consistency. When the gravy is 'almost there', put the Ham back in the pan to warm up again. Enjoy.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Shrimp Tikka... is that a dish?

Last night, when Henry asked what was for dinner I gave him the choice of Shrimp with Fetuccini or Ham Steak. Much to my surprise, the man who doesn't like pasta chose the Fetuccini!

I put the water on to boil and made a quick Roux. When the water boiled, I put in the Fetuccini (remembering that the commercial noodles take a bit longer than my hom-madeones). I added some Parmagiano and Vermouth after the roux had cooked for about three or four minutes, then I tossed in the cooked Bay Shrimp and some Tikka Massala for a bit of snap. After everything was heated through I dropped in some julienned red and green Bell peppers for color.

I plated the Pasta and Shrimp alongside a small green salad and a crusty sourdough roll, then topped the pinky colored Shrimp dish with a sprinkle of chopped Cillantro and a scratch or two of Asiago. Yummy.

Here is the receipe for the SHRIMP TIKKA WITH FETUCCINI

Put the water on to boil.
Make a Roux with Butter, Flour and Non-Fat Milk.
Cook the roux for about 3-5 minutes to lose the grainy "raw" flavor.
add Salt and Pepper to taste.
Next add:
1/4 Cup commercial Tikka Massala (or your own if you have it)
1/4 Cup Lite Sour Cream
1/4 Cup Parmagian Cheese
2-3 Tablespoons Vermouth (or dry White Wine if you have no Vermouth)
Check your seasonings.
Add 1 Lb. cooked Bay Shrimp, or small Prawns, or other shellfish.
warm through, and cook the pasta.
Add 1/2 julienned Green and 1/2 Red Bell Pepper.
Plate end sprinkle with cilantro and a few grates of Asiago if you'd like.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

A year ago today I posted on this blog. I was beginning a new venture; becoming a chef. I though that if I wrote what was going on, I'd be able to follow my own trail - not so. My habit of leaving things unfinished continues. Not only did I not make note of the journey to becoming a chef, the process was aborted as well.

I have retired from my "day job" in the Library at school and moved to Oregon. There is a remote possibility that I will return to Santa Rosa and take the two remaining courses I need to get my "Baking and Pastry Certificate", but I doubt that it will happen. The classes are eight weeks long (well, one is eight weeks and the other is two) and five hundred miles away. Not gonna happen in all reality.

This will become my Food Blog... I'll just write about food: making, eating, thinking about, buying, growing, and whatever. Just food.

Cheers, me - another endeavor.