Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cake Dome Sunday # 27: Make at home Ice Cream Sandwiches

This is a BIG week for holidays.  Here in Canada July 1st is Canada Day.   In the U.S. of A. on July 4th, Independence Day is celebrated.  The celebrations in both countries are much the same:  cookouts with burgers and hotdogs, cole slaw, potato salad and DESSERTS! 

In celebration of Canada Day tomorrow, I've made for The Mister homemade ice cream sandwiches. These ice cream sandwiches are made with homemade vanilla bean ice cream and my mother's BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Get your pen and paper out, or in this modern era I should say COPY and PASTE this recipe.  It is sooooooooooooo good!

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 1 cup of heavy cream (whipping cream)
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  1. Combine the milk and cream in a saucepan and add the vanilla bean.  Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Using a wire whisk, beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl for 2-3 minutes, until thick and pale, then whisk in the warm milk mixture.  **NOTE:  don't use an electric mixer.  Whisk by hand.  An electric mixer will incorporate too much air with the eggs and sugar.** 
  3. Scrap the seeds from the vanilla bean into the mixture.  Remove the bean pod.
  4. Wash the pan and pour the mixture into it.  Stir over very low heat for 5 - 10 minutes until thickened.  To test, run a finger through the mixture across the back of the wooden spoon - if it leaves a clear line, the custard is ready.
  5. Pour the custard into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool completely in the refrigerator for at least three hours but preferably overnight.
  6. Once cooled, pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according to your ice cream manufacturer's directions.
  7. Remove the ice cream from the  ice cream maker and spread it into a 9" X 9" pan and place in the freezer to firm it up.

Mom's BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup butter (I use 1/2 cup Crisco and 1/2 cup butter)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces chocolate chips
  1. In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and brown sugar until creamy.  Beat in the peanut butter.  Next beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Slowly mix this into the butter/sugar mixture just until blended.  Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Scoop large spoonfuls onto a chilled, parchment lined baking sheet. I use a cookie dough scoop.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
To assemble the ice cream sandwiches remove the ice cream from the freezer and using a biscuit cutter, cut circles of ice cream from the pan and place between two chocolate chip cookies.  Wrap the ice cream sandwiches individually and put back into the freezer until you are ready to serve.

Until next time,

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Organic Plant Food

This looks kind of disgusting, doesn't it?  Don't be too put off.  It's merely coffee grounds and egg shells.

Every day I save my coffee grounds and egg shells and keep them in a small ice cream bucket.   I crush the egg shells well into the coffee grounds and then each day when I walk the garden with the pups, I dig down around my garden vegetables and work this mixture into the soil.  Voila!  A simple organic plant food!

Roses love this mixture too.  And if you have a banana peel or two, simply puree the peeling and stir into the coffee ground and egg shells.  This will add potasium to your soil as well as the calcium from the egg shells.  The coffee grounds provide a rich incentive for red wigglers (worms) as well as for plants that like a little extra acid in the soil.  Also, coffee grounds are a bug deterent. 

The bottom line is, save those coffee ground and egg shells.  And if you are into vermiculture, you most definitely want to add these to your vermiculture compost bin.
Until next time,

Friday, June 28, 2013

After the rain

It has rained nearly every day for the past week.  Today it rained ALL DAY with no let up at all until this evening.  The dogs and I needed to get out of the house after being couped up all day so we walked around the garden.  I thought the rain drops on the plants were very pretty.
My beans have begun to blossom.  It won't be long until I'll be picking fresh green beans for supper.

The nasturtium are about to bloom.  I planted these nasturtium from seeds I'd saved from last summer's plants.  **Hee Hee**  If you look closely at the raindrop you can see the outline of me taking the photo.

It might be a little late for most people to just be getting pea blossoms on the vines, but here in Eastern Ontario, we had such a cool spring and summer so far, so I'm just glad that my peas are growing and also to see the blossoms coming on the vine.

With all of the rain and cool weather we've had my garden is growing very well.  Now we need some warm days and sunshine.  My greatest concern is that we might get black rot on the tomatoes if it continues to be so wet outside. 
More rain predicted for the week ahead but hopefully we'll get a day or two of sunshine mixed in.
Until next time,

Monday, June 24, 2013

Fried Dill Pickles and Tzatziki Sauce

This year's garden planting is done and the vegetables in the garden are growing.  But my larder still has many jars of dill pickles that I put up last year.  I had MANY jars of pickles left and I know I'll be harvesting more cucumbers before too long.  Then, it occured to me to use up some of the surplus by making Fried Dill Pickles

Off I went to the basement and brought upstairs to the kitchen about a 1/2 gallon of dill pickle slices, dusted off the deep fryer, made a batter of flour, milk, eggs and Panko crumbs and began frying batch after batch of dill pickles.  And of course we wanted a cool dipping sauce.  The Mister and I really like a cool Tzatziki sauce with ours so that is what I made to go with the fried pickles.

Fried Dill Pickles and Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup - 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  1. In a shallow bowl combine the flour, salt, pepper and baking powder. 
  2. In a second shallow bowl whisk together the milk and egg.
  3. In a third shallow dish (or you can use a zip lock bag) place the dry Panko crumbs.
  4. After you have drained and blotted dry the pickles, dredge each slice in the flour mixture.  Then dip the slice in the egg/milk mixture and then coat with the dry Panko crumbs.
  5. In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat the oil to 375 degrees.  Fry the coated pickles working in batches no more than 10 pickles slices at a time.  Fry for about 3 minutes or until golden brown, turning once.  Remove from frier and drain on paper towels. 
  6. Continue working in batches of about 10 slices, coating and frying until you've fried as many as you need.
Tzatziki Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cucumbers, peeling and diced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill (may substitute dry dill weed)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. In a blender combine cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, oil and dill.  Process until well blended.
  2. Stir in Greek Yogurt and Sour Cream
  3. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  4. Place Tzatziki sauce in the refrigerator and chill for at least two hours before serving so the flavors can blend.
  5. This will keep for a few days in the refigerator, but you will need to drain off any water and stir each time you use it.

Because I had quite a few jars of dill pickles I made a huge batch of fried pickles and put them in the freezer for a quick snack.  We'll just need to take the out of the freezer, heat on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven and warm them up (much the same way as one heats frozen french fries.)
Until next time,


I can be found sharing at these online parties:
Homestead Barn HopWhimsy Wednesday , Knick Of Time , Hickory Trail , Make the Scene Monday (at Alderberry Hill), From the Farm Blog Hop , A Peek Into My Paradise , A Delightsome LifeShare your Cup Thursday Have a Daily Cup,  Homework , Green Willow Pond , A Stroll Thru Life , Work It Wednesday , Savvy Southern Style , I Should Be Mopping the Floors , Common Ground Be Inspired , Simple and Sweet Fridays , Frugal Fit Family Friday Follow Along , Sweet and Savory Sunday , Sugar and Slice Sunday This Gal Cooks Marvelous Mondays

Sunday, June 23, 2013

White Roses

I cut the first of my roses from the garden today and wanted to share them with you.


~George Eliot

You love the roses - so do I. I wish
The sky would rain down roses, as they rain
From off the shaken bush. Why will it not?
Then all the valley would be pink and white
And soft to tread on. They would fall as light
As feathers, smelling sweet: and it would be
Like sleeping and yet waking, all at once.

Until next time,

Cake Dome Sunday #26: Cherries with Lavender Sauce

Summer has arrived and with summer comes hot and humid days. Today I wanted to make a dessert that was simple to prepare and cool and refreshing to eat. Nothing fits the bill better than an ice cream sundae! Since I've been on a fresh fruit kick and my lavender is now beginning to bloom, I decided to make a simple syrup/sauce of Bing Cherries and Lavender Flowers.

If you've never cooked with edible flowers before and are a bit leary of doing so fearing that your food will taste perfume-y, don't worry.  It doesn't.  In this recipe the lavender is a background note with the bing cherries being the big, bold, brass band playing at the front of the palate. 

Cherries with Lavender Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lavender flowers
  • 2 1/4 pounds of fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted
  • Lavender flowers for garnish
  1. Combine the water, sugar and lavender flowers in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and let it steep for another 10 minutes. 
  2. Once steeping is complete, strain the sugar/lavender syrup to remove the lavender flowers and return the syrum to the saucepan.
  3. Add the cherries to the syrup in the saucepan and bring to a boil.  Immediately remove from the heat, cover and cool to room temperature.  Once cooled put in the refrigerator and chill.
  4. Garnish with lavender flowers.

This cherry and lavender sauce would be delicious spooned over pancakes or waffles too.  Ohhhh so many ways to serves this simple sauce. 

Until next time,


I was feature!

I can be found sharing at these online parties:
Homestead Barn HopWhimsy Wednesday , Knick Of Time , Hickory Trail , Make the Scene Monday (at Alderberry Hill), From the Farm Blog Hop , A Peek Into My Paradise , A Delightsome LifeShare your Cup Thursday Have a Daily Cup,  Homework , Green Willow Pond , A Stroll Thru Life , Work It Wednesday , Savvy Southern Style , I Should Be Mopping the Floors , Common Ground Be Inspired , Simple and Sweet Fridays , Frugal Fit Family Friday Follow Along , Sweet and Savory Sunday , Sugar and Slice Sunday , This Gal Cooks Marvelous Mondays , The Silly Girl's Life "we scream for ice cream"

Friday, June 21, 2013

How does your garden grow?

After a very slow start due to cold, frost and many days of gloom and no sunshine, my garden is finally taking off.  This morning I spied my very first beefsteak tomato on the vine.  YIPPEE!!  I have 6 beefsteak tomato plants and three Roma tomato plants.  If they all produce I'm going to be up to my eyeballs in tomatoes later this summer.

Several weeks ago I posted the garden signs I made but at the time my garden hadn't been entirely planted and the signs really weren't marking anything...until now.  Above is one of the Roma tomato plants in front of the sign. 

I've already harvested my broccoli and soon will be harvesting cauliflower.  I have both cheddar cauliflower and white cauliflower.  LOOK what I found this morning!  CHEDDAR CAULIFLOWER.  It should be ready very soon to harvest. 

It is amazing how fast bean seeds grow.  Just a month ago I showed you row markers but nothing growing.  Now look at the beans.  You can barely see the garden marker labeled BEANS!   I feel like "Jack" from "Jack and the Beanstalk". 
The spinach is growing very well.  It really likes the cool weather we've had and we've been enjoying it so much.  Trust me when I say, homegrown is eversomuch better than store bought.  Plus, I know that there are no GMO's.  Just garden fresh deliciousness.
I'll take a little garden video in a few weeks as the rest of the vegetables begin to come on vine.  The summer squash plants are getting big so I'm hoping for some blossoms very soon, as well as from the cucumbers and beets.  The pumpkin plants are gigantic.  WOW.  And the peas are growing well too. 
And how does your garden grow?
Until next time,

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Asian Plum Sauce

The fruit markets are getting in the most beautiful variety of fruits and last weekend the plums were just too tempting to pass up.  I love fresh plums and was considering canning some so we could enjoy them in the wintertime. 

As I thought more about canning the plums it occured to me that these beauties would make a lovely plum sauce.  Yummmmm...plum sauce for ribs, pork, chicken, spring rolls and as a dipping sauce or a marinade.  YES!  I would make plum sauce.  And so I did.

Asian Plum Sauce

Yields approximate six 1/2 pint jars

  • 4 cloves finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 ounce fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 cup brown sugar (I used 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup honey)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/8 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1 teasoon sesame oil
  • 1/8 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed dried hot pepper flakes
  • 3 lbs plums, pitted and chopped
  • the juice of 1 freshly squeezed lemon
  • the juice of 1 freshly squeezed orange
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  1. Place the first 12 ingredients into a large pot and bring ingredients to a boil.  Once boiling, turn down the heat to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  2. After 30 minutes of simmering, pour the plum mixture into a blender or food processor and process just long enough to create a smooth texture.  If you prefer a chunky sauce you may omit this step.  I like the smooth texture so I did process in my food processor.
  3. Return plum mixture to the pot and return to a slow simmer. 
  4. Mix water and cornstarch together in a small bowl and add it to the simmering plum mixture.
  5. Simmer until thickened.  (Depending upon how much your plum sauce cooked down and thickened on its own you may not need to add the cornstarch/water.  I used just a little because my plum sauce was thickening nicely and only needed a small amount more of thickening.)
  6. Pour into sterilized jars and place into a water bath for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove jars from the water bath and cool undisturbed for 24 hours.  Label and store in a cool dark place until ready to use.

This plum sauce is full of plum good plum flavor and is tangy with the ginger and garlic and just a wee bit spicy.  If you like a spicy-er plum sauce you could always add more ginger and hot pepper flakes.  It is fabulous as a dipping sauce with spring rolls.
And this evening I made spare ribs marinated in the plum sauce.
This plum sauce was very fast to make and put up.  The recipe and process is not complicated at all. I know this winter we'll especially enjoy having this flavorfully delicious plum sauce to bring a little spring fruit fresh flavor to the table when it isn't normally in season.
Until next time,
I can be found sharing at these online parties:
Homestead Barn HopWhimsy Wednesday , Knick Of Time , Hickory Trail , Make the Scene Monday (at Alderberry Hill), From the Farm Blog Hop , A Peek Into My Paradise , A Delightsome LifeShare your Cup Thursday Have a Daily Cup,  Homework , Green Willow Pond , A Stroll Thru Life , Work It Wednesday , Savvy Southern Style , I Should Be Mopping the Floors , Common Ground Be Inspired , Simple and Sweet Fridays , Frugal Fit Family Friday Follow Along , Sweet and Savory Sunday , Sugar and Slice Sunday

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Cake dome Sunday #25: Cherry and Almond Tart

It's official! The Mister is spoiled! When I bought this domed caked saver at a second hand shop just a year ago, the salesperson told me I needed to keep it filled and not let it gather dust. Little did I know that the Mister would demand, insist upon be surprised to find a new dessert nearly each week...and so "Cake Dome Sunday" was born.  We are now up to dessert #25 !!  WOW!

Today's Cherry and Almond Tart and Tartlets are a huge hit in our house!  You can make the components of it in advance and put it together right before serving if you need to.

The tart pastry is made of ground almonds, a little sugar and butter. The cherry vanilla filling is a simple jam you cook on the stovetop.  The whipped cream topping was supposed to be Creme Fraiche but I improvised and made a whipped cream and Greek yogurt topping that rivals any creme topping you've ever tasted. 

After preparing the almond pastry and lining my 9" tart pan with the pastry, I had a little bit of left over almond pastry left with just enough to roll out about a 1/2 dozen little tartlets.

Cherry and Almond Tart


     For the Almond Pastry:
  • 1 cup of ground raw almonds (I ground my almonds in the food processor)
  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups plain flour
     For the Cherry Vanilla jam filling:
  • 2 heaping cups of Bing cherries, pitted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
     For the Topping:
  • 1 cup whipping or heavy cream
  • 6 ounces plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting
  1. For the cherry vanilla jam filling, combine the ingredients in a saucepan and stir over medium high heat until the sugar dissolves.  Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches the setting point, about 6 - 8 minutes.  (Note:  To test for the setting point, place a couple of small plates in the freezer before you start cooking the jam.  When the mixture becomes thick, remove it from the heat and spoon a small amount of jam on the clean, frozen plate.  Wait about 30 seconds and then run your finger through it.  It should be "set" if the mixture will hold a trail as you draw your finger through it.  If not, continue cooking a few more minutes and then try again on another frozen plate.)  When your jam is set to your liking refrigerate it until it is well chilled (1 or 2 hours).
  2. Once you've prepared the cherry vanilla filling it is time to prepare the almond pastry.  In a food processor, process the almonds until they become coarse crumbs. (Reserve a tablespoon or two of the crumbs to sprinkle over the top of the finished tart later if desired.)  Beat the butter and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy, scrapping down the sides of the bowl.  Add the flour and the almonds to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to just combine.  Form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour to rest.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch and line a 9" fluted tart pan, trim edges and refrigerate until firm.  After it has chilled, lay a piece of parchment paper over the almond pastry and weight with pie weights (dry peas or beans make excellent weights).   Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 - 12 minutes until lightly browned.  Remove parchment and weights and continue baking until golden and crisp (6 - 8 more minutes.  Cool completely.
  4. For the whipped cream topping, whisk the cream and powdered sugar in a chilled mixing bowl until soft peaks form.  Gently fold in the Greek Yogurt until blended.  Refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. To serve, spread the chilled cherry vanilla filling onto the base of the cooled pastry.  Spoon the chilled whipped cream/yogurt topping over the jam and top with fresh cherries and dust with powdered sugar, a dusting of almond crumbs and serve. 
  6. If you have made little tartlets, assemble them in the same manner and serve.

 I would love to know if you would enjoy it if I started and hosted a "What's under your cake dome" linky party?  Once a week I'd open the linky party and you could link up any type of sweet treat you've made and it would link back to your own blog.  For the past year I've had a great  time joining linky parties all over the blog-o-sphere. These linky parties allow you to "meet" new friends and gather new tips, ideas and recipes too.  Please leave me a comment if you'd be interested and like for me to set it up.  I will try to figure out the details on adding "Mr. Linky" and we could begin next week.
Until next time,
I was featured at:
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Friday, June 14, 2013

The Service Member's Flag

June 14 is Flag Day in the United States of America. As a nation, we've carried and displayed many different flags as our nation grew, as well as flags to honor and remember specific causes.   One flag that has seen a resurgence since its use during WWII is the Service Member's Flag, also known as the "Son in Service Flag."
The framed flag (above) is the Service Flag that was displayed in the homes of my Grandfather during WWI and then for my father, in the framed photo next to the flag, during WWII.  Carrying on the family tradition, I displayed this flag in my front room window while my former husband served in Iran and finally when my son served each of two tours in Iraq.  Time and direct sunlight has taken its toll on the flag. We've preserved it in a frame due to the extensive wear this dear flag has endured over the years.
Are you familiar with the history of the Service Member Flag?  If not, here is a brief description:
The Service flag was first displayed in the front windows of homes during World War I to signify a son or husband serving in the Armed Forces. The flag quickly became known as the "son in service flag" with each blue star indicating one family member. During World War II, the Department of War issued specifications on the manufacture of the flag as well as guidelines indicating when and by whom the Service flag could be flown or the Service Lapel button could be worn (an example of the flag can be seen hanging in the window of Mrs. Ryan's house in the movie Saving Private Ryan). 
The blue star represents one family member serving in the Armed Forces. The blue star is covered or replaced with a gold star to indicate that the family member was killed or died during the war or period of hostilities. The blue star represents hope and pride, and the gold star represents sacrifice to the cause of liberty and freedom.
Each blue star indicates one family member serving in the Armed Forces of the United States. If multiple stars are shown, a gold star takes the place of honor nearest the staff. 
The Service flag is authorized for display by Americans to honor their family members who are serving in the Armed Forces of the United States during ANY period of war or hostilities. It is not necessary for the Service member to be stationed overseas, or be present where hostilities are taking place. All of the military service members contribute to the performance of our Armed forces regardless of where they are located, and they can also be called upon at any time to enter combat!
Thank you for letting me share a bit of my family history today as it applies to Flag Day. 
Long may she wave!
Until next time,
Sites I enjoy linking to:
Make the Scene Monday (at Alderberry Hill)
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Monday, June 10, 2013

Cherry Rhubarb Jam

The first fruits of the spring:  Bing Cherries and Rhubarb.  Last week I made The Mister his all time favorite Crumble Topped Rhubarb Pie with the first of the rhubarb.  But I wanted to do more than only a pie.  Then I saw Bing Cherries!

I decided to perform a marriage ceremony of tart and tangy rhubarb with sweet and rich cherries.  My Cherry Rhubarb Jam was born!

I played around with quite a few cherry and rhubarb recipes that I've seen to come up with my own recipe.  I think it is the best jam I've ever made.

I had some for breakfast this morning on my English Muffin.  Yummmmmm...  And now, I want to share my recipe with you.
Cherry Rhubarb Jam
  • 2 1/2 pounds of pitted and chopped Bing Cherries
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped rhubarb (chop the rhubarb into 1/2 inch slices)
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Juice of one orange
  • 1 vanilla bean, using the "caviar" (seeds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of butter
  1. Prepare your canning jars by washing the jars, bands and lids in hot, soapy water.   Place the bands and lids in a bowl, covered with very hot (but not boiling) water and set them aside. Place the jars in the rack of the canning pot, cover them to 1 inch ABOVE the top of the jars with water and keep the jars hot until ready to use. 
  2. Place all ingredients in a large stainless steel pot (or any large pot as long as you don't use an aluminum pot). Split the vanilla bean and scrap the cavier (seeds) from the bean with the edge of a butter knife and add the vanilla bean seeds to the pot with the rest of the ingredients.  Allow the ingredients to mercerate for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. This is a good time to place a small, clean plate or dish in the freezer.  We are going to use this ice cold plate later to test the jam to see if it will be the right consistency (thickness).
  4. On your stovetop put the pot with all of the ingredients and turn the heat on to medium high.  Heat the mixture until it is boiling vigorously.  The butter that you've added should help prevent foam from forming on top of the mixture, but if you do see the foam, just skim it off.  Allow the mixture to continue to bubble viorously, stirring very frequently to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  5. After about 20 minutes you'll want to check the consistency of the jam to see if it is ready to can.  Remove the plate from the freezer and spoon a small amount of jam on the COLD plate.  Allow about 30 seconds to pass and then run your finger through the now cooled jam to test what the consistency will be.  Boil for a few minutes longer if the jam isn't the desired thickness.  (Remember to always test it first. When jam cools it will thicken up: thus the use of the frozen plate.)
  6. When the jam is the consistency you'd like, ladle it into the hot, sterilized canning jars, leaving a head space of 1/4 to 1/2 inch.  Wipe the rims of the jars clean before placing the lids on them.  Screw the ring bands on to finger-tight.  You'll want to work quickly!  Place the jars in the water bath canning pot and and once the water returns to a full rolling boil cover with the lid and boil for 10 minutes if you are using small jars or 15 minutes for large jars. 
  7. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.  NOW remove the jars from the canning pot and set them on a clean towel.  The jars must sit UNDISTURBED for at least 12 hours.  You'll hear the familiar "POP" sound of the lids sealing within a couple minutes of removing them from the canning pot.
  8. After 12 hours, check to be sure the jars have sealed, then retighten the bands and store the jars in a cool and dry place for up to 12 months.
*  Save the vanilla pod in a plastic zip lock baggie and cover it in sugar and leave it in the cupboard for a week or two.  After the bean and sugar have been left for that time you'll have created vanilla flavored sugar which is great on your cereal, in coffee or tea.
**  If, by chance, any of your jars don't seal just put them in the refrigerator and use them first.  I've never had a problem with jars not sealing but just in case, you'll know you can eat it as long as you refrigerate it immediately.

I have more cherries to use. I've chopped and frozen several quarts of rhubarb to use later in the year. Check back for a super yummy cherry dessert next Sunday.

Until next time,

You can find me joining in these blog parties:
Make the Scene Monday (at Alderberry Hill)
Share your Cup Thursday Have a Daily Cup 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Cake Dome Sunday #24: Little Lemon Souffle

Tart, tangy, light and airy.  This little Lemon Souffle has great eye appeal and is the perfect dessert for hot summer nights, for an afternoon tea or just because...

It's a bit fussy to make in that it requires a great deal of whisking by hand, but the end product is well worth the effort.  The added benefit is you'll workout your arms and can forget about going to the gym...for one day. 

Come know you wanna play in the kitchen and whip up a half dozen or so of these for your family and friends!  Here's the recipe:
Little Lemon Souffles
  • 6 large lemons (Meyer lemons if you can find them)
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (separated into two 1/4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Confectioners' sugar to sift over the top
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Trim tip end from a lemon so it sits level on the baking tray.  Cut stem end one-third of the way down, cutting parallel with the bottom.  Reserve the top.  Repeat with the remaining lemons.
  2. Hold a lemon above a seive set over a bowl and scoop out the pulp.  I found using a grapefruit knife easiest, though you could use a melon baller too.  Squeeze the juice from the pulp and reserve.  Repeat with the remaining lemons.  Place scooped out lemon shells on prepared baking tray.
  3. Combine egg yolks, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup of reserved lemon juice and the flour in a heat-proof mixing bowl of an electric or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.  Beat mixture on medium speed until pale yellow (about 3 minutes).  Place pan over a bowl of simmering water and whisk constantly until very thick (about 8 minutes).  Remove bowl from heat and return to mixer.  Beat on medium speed until cool, scraping down sides several times (about 10 minutes)  Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
  4. Combine egg whites and remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a clean mixer bowl.  Place the bowl over the pan of simmering water and stir until sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch.  Remove bowl from heat and return to mixer.  Beat on low speed until frothy.  Gradually increase the speed until the meringue is shiny and holds its soft peaks (about 2 or 3 minutes - being careful not to overbeat.)
  5. Whisk 1/3 of the meringue into the yolk mixture.  Gently fold in the remaining meringue.  Carefully fill the prepared lemon shells to just below the rims of the lemons.
  6. Place baking sheet with lemon souffles in the oven and bake until the meringue is slightly golden and rises about an inch above the shell (about 14 minutes baking time.)  Remove from the oven and transfer to individual serving plates.  Garnish with the reserved lemon tops and dust with confectioners' sugar and a sprig of mint.  Serve immediately.
*   Serves 6 individual little lemon souffles
** Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Grab a spoon and let's eat!

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Saving a folding chair: from the junkyard to the concert hall

Several years ago I discovered in our basement an old folding chair that was bound for the junkyard.  It was filthy, the black vinyl seat and backrest were torn and long ago "decorated" by one of the Mister's sons.   I brought the chair upstairs and dusted it off and since then it is the chair I sit on when I play my cello.  Despite its ugly exterior, this chair is just the right height and balance for me.  I think every musician has particular preferences.  This chair was just right with the exception that it was UGLY! 

I have a concert this coming weekend and I really am embarrassed to drag my ratty chair out in public.  The trouble is, the chairs we have in the concert hall are not quite right for playing a cello.  Necessity is the mother of invention, so last weekend I set about turning this junkyard bound chair into a concert hall chair.

No, it isn't a vintage replica.  And no, I didn't do anything particularly unique or creative.  But I did give it a new life.  Here is all I had to do:

First I removed the seat and back rest.  They were just screwed in, so that wasn't difficult.  Then I gave the chair frame several coats of white satin finish paint.  I think the above photo was taken just after the first coat of paint, but it is showing potential already.

After removing the vinyl and the foam, I replace the original foam with a new piece of memory foam.  VERY comfy!  The pressed wood seat board serves as my pattern.

I had this pretty blue Robert Kaufman fabric that I'd planned on making pillows with but decided this was a better use. 

The backrest was the next piece to go on.  I cut out some more memory foam.  Originally I thought I'd wrap the foam to the backside of the backrest as I did with the seat, but then I realized that, unlike the seat, it would have to fit in the outlined groove of the metal frame and wasn't going to allow for excess bulk.  I trimmed the foam down to fit the backrest.

Time to cut out some more fabric.  Then, with a staple gun, I attached the foam and fabric to the seat as well as to the back rest.  The Mister helped me hold and staple.  You need about four hands to keep everything lined up with no gaps or puckers.

And here is the finished chair.  I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.  It isn't a centerpiece in our home.  It's just the chair I sit on to play my cello.  But now it is comfortable and pretty.

Until next time,



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