Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Summer is here...

And don't I know it!  How, you ask?  I spent the first three days of my vacation sans air-conditioning and they just happened to be the hottest days of the year so far...triple digit heat index on all three days.  The upside is the AC is now fixed and I can go back to using my oven, making jam so I can spread a little summer on my winter toast, and scouring the farmers markets for juicy summer berries

I scored these at the local farmers market...the biggest, sweetest, juiciest blackberries I've seen this season.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Rosemary Cookies with Tomato Jam

Rosemary is one of the best-loved herbs and one of my all-time favorites. I look for ways to use it in cooking and will snap up bath and hair products at the store that contain it (some of it's medicinal uses throughout the ages have been to prevent baldness and heal wounds). I never tire of the fragrance and often use it in cooking, so there is always some rosemary in my garden. Often you can find me sitting next to the rosemary plant on my deck, sipping a glass of wine and reading.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day, Tropical Storm Beryl, and Portokalopita (Greek Orange Cake)

I've been looking forward to this weekend for a long time.  I had it all extra day off after the holiday, four whole days to do whatever...catch up on some reading, watch a few movies, work in my garden, start some seeds, take a long walk....but then along came Beryl.  Not a hurricane, but close.  Here in north Florida we spent Saturday and Sunday in anticipation of Beryl's arrival on Sunday evening.  While she spoiled the Jacksonville Jazz Festival and the Memorial Day activities, she brought us much-needed rain and broke a weeks-long drought.  So with every cloud there's a silver lining.

Beryl did cause some power outages, some fallen trees, and flooding, and a tropical storm is not really welcome on a holiday weekend, but when life gives you make Greek orange cake...Portokalopita.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sweet Pickle Relish and Therapy

Last week ended on a sour note...I'll spare you the gory details, some of which were a result of my own impulsivity.  I landed on my doorstep Friday afternoon wrung out and in a low mood.  So I rolled into bed early, secure in the knowledge that things would be better after a good night's sleep and a spell in the garden, and I was right.  Five hours of hard work, weeding, watering, and spreading compost on Saturday morning proved to be the cure.  With fresh air and sunshine and these looking down on me, I was cured.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tuesdays with Dorie - Hungarian Shortbread

Yowza! A whopping pound of butter!  That was my first thought when I scanned the recipe for this delectable treat.  It's so buttery an adaptation of the recipe was featured in Issue #109 of Saveur ... the Butter issue!.

The Hungarians call this Omlos Teasutemeny (oom-loosh TAY-ahsh-soo-teh-men-ee) which I still can't pronounce even with the phonetic spelling!  The Czechs have a version called Cukrovi that includes nuts in the jam filling.  True Scottish shortbread is made with only butter, flour, and sugar ... no eggs.  But none of that matters 'cause this jam-filled treat is addictively declicious!

I figured with dough this rich I needed to keep the filling on the tart side.  So, for the rhubarb jam, I cut the sugar down by 2 tablespoons, added 1/2 c. chopped strawberries for color and pectin, and a handful of chopped candied ginger for some zing.  Because I couldn't find fresh rhubarb and had to use frozen, I reduced the 1/2 c. water to 1/4 c.  The jam was a little loose after cooking, but it thickened up after a day in the refrigerator.
Rhubarb jam with the addition of strawberries and candied ginger.