Sunday, January 31, 2010

Honey Bees in the White House Garden

There's a honey bee hive nestled in the White House garden. Take a 2-minute tour of the garden with cute Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies (I love what he says about the bees!) and Sam Kass, White House Chef.
Time to start planning our garden, a very good winter activity. I'm still on the path to becoming a good food gardener. I'm really good at growing radishes and sunflowers...
...the rosemary appears to have survived and likes it where it lives under a tree. I wonder when our espalier apple tree will share apples? It's a beautiful tree, and my mom's been helping me sort out how to keep it pruned. She's totally smart about sorting out happy gardens.
Squirrely cherry-picks all low growing food like strawberries, tomatoes, and the fallen apples from the neighbors. So, longer days (more sunshine)? Check. Still cold? Check. It's time to sketch the garden!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

From My Desktop Calendar...

Desktop calendar recipe for blueberry muffins
Desktop calendar recipe for blueberry muffins.
Yep, I got this recipe from my desktop calendar that greets me with a daily cupcake and recipe. So, what's a nice blueberry muffin recipe doing in a cupcake calendar? No clue, but I saved the recipe. Me and blueberries, we're old friends. I saw all the huba-baloo on Twitter about "National Blueberry Pancake Day," and while these aren't pancakes, they're my salute to my favorite fruit.

Blueberry Muffins
1/2 C superfine sugar (I used regular)
1 T grated lemon zest (Yum! Thanks for helping zest the lemon, Em!)
2 1/2 C flour
1 T baking powder
2 beaten eggs
1 C milk
1/2 C butter (melted)
1 t vanilla
2 C blueberries

Mix sugar, flour, lemon zest, and baking powder. Separate bowl mix eggs, milk, butter, vanilla. Add liquid to flour, mix, then add blueberries and combine. Bake 20 minutes.

Recipe Source: Well, this was from my desktop calendar, but in the fine print on the paper it says it came from the book "500 Cupcakes."

Baked blueberry muffins
Baked blueberry muffins
Review: These muffins dare to be different from the other blueberry muffins. Em compared them to cornbread texture which is right on the nose, and they're not so sweet either. They would be a very good muffin to have with soup or salad. (Lemon zest is one of the best parts of this recipe. I love baking with lemon zest it makes the whole kitchen smell good!)

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Leftover Bread

There must have been some astrological event that drew certain ingredients together in one place at the same time. Cinnamon applesauce, leftover milk-chocolate chips, overripe bananas, cage free eggs, see other ingredients listed below. This doesn't happen everyday and it calls for a special/rare occurrence of a recipe that I developed when Emily was little. The mythic "Leftover Bread."

Cookbook Bites: Leftover Bread
Cookbook Bites: Leftover Bread

This particular recipe has the approval of the whole family. It's been made many times. It's yummy, and I don't vary the recipe to the relief of everyone (again with my theory of the planets aligning, because if you know me, I likes me some creative license.) Thanks, Eric, for your help keeping the bananas in stasis, and for getting the batter in the pans - and well for requesting that I make this - you must be in tune with force. You knew we had the ingredients, man. You knew.

Leftover Bread

2 eggs
1/3 C butter
1/2 C cinnamon applesauce
1 t vanilla
2 1/2 T milk
1 overripe banana
1/4 t kosher salt
1 t baking soda
2/3 C sugar
1 3/4 C flour
1/2 - 1 C milk chocolate chips

Mix wet ingredients. Mix dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix. Fold in chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hey friendly, what do you think?

Sugar cookie baking at my mom's in 2005 with Gma Mumford's recipe.

Valentine's Day is coming, and yep that means being thoughtful and sweet, so here's a fun way to be sweet to yourself! Grab a cup of cocoa and settle in with this little "Cookbook Bites" questionnaire inspired by Proust's Questionnaire. Use it to journal, blog, scrapbook, or even to ponder on some pleasant thoughts - if you feel like sharing some of your answers, please comment! I'd love to see what you think, and I might just be brave enough to post some of my answers too!

Cookbook Bites Questionnaire
Pick and choose questions you feel like answering. This is so not going to be tough!
  • Your favorite recipe:
  • Your favorite recipe name (for the name alone):
  • Your favorite blossoming fruit tree:
  • Your favorite blossoming vegetable:
  • Your favorite thing to make and send to a friend:
  • What do you appreciate most about the people you cook for:
  • Your main fault when trying a new recipe:
  • Your favorite apple color:
  • Qualities you require in a ripe tomato:
  • Qualities you require when choosing a watermelon:
  • Your favorite quality about a farmer's market:
  • Your favorite thing about your own garden:
  • Your favorite thing about cooking:
  • Your favorite kitchen tool:
  • Your favorite cookbook:
  • 2 cooking links I may not know about:
  • Your favorite chef:
  • Your favorite food when you were young:
  • Your favorite fruit and vegetable:
  • Your favorite main dish:
  • Your favorite dessert:
  • Your favorite cooking shows:
  • Your favorite cooking heroine:
  • Your favorite cooking hero:
(C) Cookbook Bites

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Breakfast

It's Sunday morning and I'm making breakfast! To quote Mushu, the cute, spazy dragon from Mulan "...Rise and shine, Sleeping Beauty! Come on. Hup, hup, hup! Get your clothes on. Get ready. Got breakfast for ya. Look, you get porridge! And it's happy to see you!"

When I went outside with "the Squirrel" this morning, the fog (or would that be "the inversion?") was "gathering" on the trees, little ice crystals had formed and were growing off leaves and branches.
Rhododendron in the front yard.

Blackberry bush in the backyard.

Back to the recipe...

My Version of the Hash Brown Egg Bake
1 package frozen hash browns
1/8 C bacon bits*
1 3/4 C grated cheese
1/4 t kosher salt
1/4 t Lawry's
1/4 t Onion Powder*
1 small yellow onion
8 eggs
1 3/4 C milk
3-4 dashes paprika
Fresh cracked pepper

Mix the cheese, onions, salt, and hash browns - then place in greased glass pan. *For 1/2 vegetarian version sprinkle bacon bits over half of potatoes and mix in lightly in that 1/2 of the pan. Mix eggs, milk, Lawrys, onion powder, pepper, and paprika then pour over potatoes. Bake at 350 until golden brown (about 1 hour) I ended up turning it up to 375 for the last 5-10 minutes.

Review: This will work out swimmingly for breakfast on-the-go this coming week! After Breakfast Notes: *Eric thought it was too onion-y, Em didn't care for the texture. So, apparently I'll be the one taking it for breakfast. (Squirrelly liked it.)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hot Fudge "Icing?"

What do you do when you don't want to drive out into the winter darkness, but somebody in the house really wants a sundae? You cook, man. You cook. Keep it real and homemade! I was in a hurry, having just finished cooking dinner and I didn't read the "icing" part in the recipe title. Sigh. It looks like hot fudge, it tastes like hot fudge... it must be hot fudge! Opps, no, it's still icing... but it's pretty darn good on ice cream. It's got kind of a "magic shell" kind of thing going on when it gets cold.

Hot Fudge - fine, okay it's "Icing" (feel better?)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
6 tablespoons milk
1 pound powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Melt the butter, add the cocoa, milk, and vanilla. Mix in the powdered sugar.

Recipe Source:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Split Pea Soup (Vegetarian)

I'm not a fan of split pea soup, but yesterday, Eric bought a new vegetarian cookbook so I decided to try making the soup without ham. The recipe alone was pretty plain. So after reviewing several recipes... I walked my own path, again.

Simplest Split Pea Soup
(pg. 118 How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)
2 C dried split peas
6 C Vegetable broth

My Version of Split Pea Soup (Vegetarian)
2 C split peas
2 boxes of vegetable broth (ended up removing about 1-2 C)
1/2 C chopped onion
1 potato chopped
1/2 t celery flakes
pinch thyme
1 bay leaf
fresh ground pepper
1 T butter
1/2-1 C milk

Rinse the peas in a colander and pick out anything that looks funky. Start with broth and combine all ingredients. Cook for about 1-2 hours, remove the bay leaf and mash. ( I ended up taking out some of the broth and replacing it with the milk.)

Review: The peas were still kind of chewy and starchy. The broth became less carrot-y as the soup simmered. I think next time I'll try frozen peas. Mixed reviews.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes

Cookbook Bites: Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes
Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes with white chocolate chips

I'm still using up the pumpkin from the Heirloom Pumpkin Walnut Muffins. And buttermilk from The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake Ever that I took to a work party, so thanks to "Mr. Breakfast" I found a recipe that called for both: Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes.

I made these for breakfast on New Years day. Em requested chocolate chips and we topped them with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice.

Review:  Really good!

Note: Eric had plain pancakes with syrup and seemed to like them. I tried to make him some Mickey shaped pancakes, but I'm not so good with the pancake molds, never have been. Mickey looked like he'd had seriously better days.

P.S. Looks like there's a healthy "no flour" version too: Low Carb Pumpkin Pancakes or if you're looking for Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes these look good too (haven't tried either of these.)

Update May 1, 2011
I didn't want to loose this recipe...

Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes

2 C all-purpose flour
6 T packed brown sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t salt
1 and 2/3 C buttermilk
3/4 C canned solid pack pumpkin
3 large eggs - lightly beaten
2 T melted butter

In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and the spices. In a medium bowl, stir together the buttermilk, pumpkin, eggs and melted butter. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Dollop the batter in 1/4 cup amounts onto a well-greased skillet or large frying pan set to medium heat. Cook until tops bubble and turn and cook other side - about 2 minutes per side. If working in batches, place finished pancakes on a baking sheet in the oven set to 250 degrees until all are done. Serve warm with softened butter and your favorite syrup. It's also great with just a dollop of whipped cream for a pumpkin pie breakfast feeling.

Recipe Source: Mr. Breakfast: Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes (Thank you Mr. Breakfast!)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

"Bratten's" Clam Chowder

Like a lot of really good stories this one started long ago (1970's) but not so far away (Sugarhouse.) My co-worker Jo D was talking about peeling potatoes for the traditional Christmas Eve Chowder her mom was making, and me being, well, me, I asked her for the recipe. Her Mom, Jean Walker, agreed to share and I'm making her recipe today for New Year's dinner. Bratten's Clam Chowder (recipe) is apparently well known around these parts. I've spoken to my dental hygienist and my mom about it and they both knew about it. Apparently Bratten's was a seafood restaurant located here, in the middle of Utah. (photo) As I talked about Bratten's to my mom, it came out that there was a story about her, my dad, and "Bratten's."

My Dad's "Bratten's" Story
"It was on Saturday, January 15, 1977.
A moment to remember."
"There was a photographic workshop that day, that I was planning to attend. I asked your mom if she would like to join me. The workshop was being held in Sugarhouse in that old school on 2100 South, between 1100 and 1300 East. At the break, I suggested we have lunch at Bratten's. The restaurant was located just East of 1300 East on 2100 South. I think the building is still there, but Bratten's closed about 15-20 years ago. As we were eating, sitting opposite each other, without any prior planning to do so, responding to an inner thought, I just asked her to marry me at that moment."

Review: I made Bratten's Clam Chowder yesterday and actually followed the recipe. Eric, Gayle, and I had it for lunch with the leftover olive bread. They seemed to like it. The best part of this recipe was the story that came with it.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Black Olive and Colby Jack Garlic Bread

"Twas the night before New Year's when all through the house..." I was watching Ghost Labs on Discovery in the kitchen with Maisy. Emily was in her room with Squirrely, and Eric was in his office. It was time to make a New Years Eve treat for the fam, but this year the crock pot was empty. I had no plan, and it was almost midnight. Eric happened to bring home a loaf of french bread. That was a start, so I thought maybe Garlic Bread. After eyeballing a recipe for green and black olive bread with mayo on the web I knew I wouldn't be making bread with any mayo-paste (ewww!) but it did inspire me.

I went to the pantry and "poof!" It's like my own fairy godmother had been there. I found a can of black olives. So I decided to merge our family favorite Garlic Bread with black olives and Colby Jack cheese (another thing Eric happened to buy yesterday, he must be psychic or something!)

Cookbook Bites: Black Olive and Colby Jack Garlic Bread
Black Olive and Colby Jack Garlic Bread

Black Olive & Colby Jack Garlic Bread

1 loaf of french bread
1 can of black olives
1 stick of butter
2 sections from a clove of garlic (about 1 to 1 & 1/2 t)
2 C grated Colby Jack cheese
1/2 C parmesan cheese

How to: Slice up the french bread and lay the pieces out on a cookie sheet. If you put them on aluminum foil clean up is easier. (Did you know they have 100% recycled aluminum foil now?) Next put the butter in a medium size microwaveable bowl and melt it. Drain the olives and then chop and add to the butter. Peel and run the garlic through the garlic press (or crush and dice) and add to butter. Stir in the parmesan. Spoon mixture onto the bread slices and sprinkle each slice with the grated Colby Jack. Put in the oven under the broiler and remove when toasted to perfection.

Source: Suzanne Nikolaisen

Review: The whole family liked this recipe!

Happy New Year!



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