Monday, September 13, 2010

An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

There’ s nothing like a beautiful Saturday afternoon to get in touch with nature’s finest fall produce. I headed out with my parents and my sisters, all in the same car, just like when we were little.  We drove out to a local orchard for an afternoon of  exterior fun!

After the apples, we stopped by a pick your own vegetables farm.

I picked up one of these great spaghetti squashes.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cream of Mushroom Soup

I love soup! Growing up, and even to this day actually, my mom always had a large Tupperware of homemade soup in the fridge. Soup has just always been on the menu!

-    4 small packages of white Paris mushrooms, thinly sliced
-    6 tbsp of butter
-    1 onion, chopped
-    1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
-    2 tbsp of flour
-    6 cups of beef stock
-    3 tbsp of rice
-    1 branch of fresh thyme
-    Salt and pepper
-    cream, optional ( I used 15% cream but you could use a higher or lower fat content cream)

- In a large pot, cook the mushrooms in 4 batches using 1 tbsp of butter each time. Season with salt and pepper.
- Put the cooked mushrooms aside. Keep ¼ of the mushrooms apart for later use.
- Cook the  onion and garlic in the remaining butter until golden.
- Add the flour and stir well. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add the beef stock, rice, thyme and mushrooms. Season to taste.
- Cook for 15 minutes on low heat.
- Remove the thyme branch and pulse the soup in the electric blender until you obtain a creamy consistency. Add the reserved mushrooms,  (sliced and cooked).
- Add a little splash of cream just before eating.


Somewhere over the rainbow


After a night of stormy thunder and lightning, I woke up this morning to the nicest rainbow I have ever seen.  

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tiny Yellow Plum Jam

My dad came home with a big bag of these tiny yellow plums. Home grown by one of his friends who, as a hobby, has many different fruit trees at his home.  At first sight I thought that they were yellow cherries but no, sure enough they were plums. Small, sweet and perfectly ripe.

I looked up a few jam recipes and all of them called for the same amount of sugar as fruit. The plums that I used were perfectly ripe and oh so sweet so I decided to use dramatically less sugar. From past experience, I find that cooked jams that use so much sugar are too thick to my liking. I put less than half of the sugar that was called for and the results came out perfectly. Just thick and sweet enough! 

- 4 lbs of plums
- 2 cups of water
- 3 cups of sugar

-    Wash, cut in half and remove the pits form the plums.
-    Place the halved plums in a pot with the water.
-    Cook on low heat until the plums are nice and soft, about 40 minutes.
-    Add the sugar and cook until the liquid thickens, about 1 hour.

                     Sinfully delightful on toasted crusted bread with butter!

Anne’s Pickled Carrots

Happy Labor Day everyone!  I hope that everyone is enjoying their day off. I sure am! All of last week was extremely hot and sticky  so I was looking forward to catching one last weekend of sun by the pool but surprise… fall arrived on Saturday morning with it’s crisp air and strong winds.

What does the Cherry Pie do on a crisp fall long weekend? Can you guess? Cooking! Are you surprised!!! What better way to celebrate fall then by canning up some of the summer’s harvest! Here goes for my very first try at pickling! I thought I’d start with something easy yet delicious! This is my sister Anne’s  recipe.

-    1 lb carrots
-    1 ½ cups white vinegar
-    ½ cup water
-    1 cup sugar
-    3 tbsp mixed pickling spice
-    3 cloves of garlic per jar

- Wash and scrape carrots. I had small fresh garden carrots so I didn’t even peel them. I just washed them carefully.
- Cut the carrots into sticks.
- Cook carrots in salted boiling water for 3-5 minutes until crispy.
- In a pot, combine the water, vinegar, sugar and pickling spice and bring to a boil.
- Place the garlic and carrots into a hot sterilized jar. ( I sterilized my jars by placing them a hot oven for about 10 minutes).
- Pour pickling liquid over the carrots in the jar and seal.

This was my very first experience pickling experience. I was a little scared by the whole jar sterilization process but I must admit this it went very well and was a lot easier then I had expected. I would recommend being two people for the jarring process. I did all of this with my mom. As I filled the hot jars with the veg, she poured in the pickling liquid and sealed the jars.
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