Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chinese Food Stall-West Side Market, Cleveland, Ohio.

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For Black and White Wednesday, created and hosted by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook.
Original color image shot with a Leica d-lux 5 at West Side Market in Cleveland, Ohio. No computer with me on this trip so uploaded the image to my iPad using the camera connector, than edited with Snapseed,  using the black and white filter, a soft focus filter to soften the edges and draw attention to the girl standing, and finally, a border to frame the photo.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Silver Queen Corn at the Farmers Market-Black and White Wednesday

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For Black and White Wednesday, a culinary photo event hosted by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook.

Originally, a color photo enhanced some in Photoshop, then brought into Nik Silver Efex 2.0 for the black and white conversion.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ginger Sour Cream Scones with Homemade Fig Jam-Tuesdays with Dorie

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Had I prepared for this edition of Tuesdays with Dorie, I might have had time to search for  chestnut flour. Great job, Andrea, buying it ahead of time! However, because it supposedly has a very subtle flavor, I wasn't worried about substituting another flour for it. What really bothered me was the fact that I always keep heavy cream on hand, but somehow over the last few weeks, I did not replenish what I had used. So I was down to considering sour cream as a replacement. I realized that I would have to use 1/2 teaspoon baking soda to balance out the acidity, but I wasn't sure if that's all I needed to do. Luckily, I think they turned out okay. I love ginger, so chopped  about 1/2 cup crystallized ginger to add to the mixture, then sprinkled some of the sugar from the ginger on top before baking.

With a pint of fresh figs bought just yesterday from my local farmers market, I made a small batch fig jam to serve with the scones. The jam was superb dolloped on top of the sliced scones. If I only had some whipped cream, the scones and jam would make a delicious dessert, reminiscent of a shortcake.

Thanks to Andrea of Andrea in the Kitchen for her pick this Tuesdays with Dorie. Check out her blog for the recipe and some great tips on successfully making tender, flaky scones. Also, the Tuesdays with Dorie website for other variations on the chestnut scones.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Macaroon Shortbread Coconut Tart

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This is my first post for The Secret Recipe Club, the brainstorm of Amanda Formaro of Amanda's Cookin. Each month, one is assigned to another blogger's site, also a  member of the Secret Recipe club. The object is to choose a recipe from the assigned blogger and either prepare it as written or modify the recipe to suit your tastes. Sounds pretty cool to me. I was assigned to The Café Sucré Farine authored by Chris. Quite frankly, I was totally blown away by all the delicious, colorful and tantalizing dishes created by Chris. My task was quite difficult as I would love to make each and every recipe, but I had to to choose just one!

My girls were visiting this past week and the two of the five year old grandchildren were attending the University of Georgia Marine Science Camp on Skidaway Island, near Savannah, Georgia. In the past when I made desserts for my girls, I remembered how much they loved coconut. My decision was made when while perusing The Cafe Sucré Fariné, I found an amazing Coconut Macaroon Tart with a Shortbread Crust.

Here is my version with only minor changes- See note

Coconut Macaroon Tart with a Shortbread Crust

Coconut Macaroon Tart with a Shortbread Crust

1 -1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (8 ounces) butter, melted
¼ cup milk
¼ cup  all-purpose flour
1 -1/2 cups shredded coconut
2 tablespoons coconut rum

Short Bread Crust
1/2 cup (8 ounces) butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

Blend butter with sugar until well mixed. Add salt and flour. Spread shortbread crust into bottom of spring form pan and one inch on sides. A spatula makes it easier to spread the crust around the spring form pan.

Beat sugar, eggs and salt until mixture is lemon colored. Add butter and flour – blend well. Add milk. Fold in ½ cup of coconut. Stir in coconut rum. Pour into crust. Sprinkle the remaining 3/4 cup of coconut over the top and bake 325 for about 50-60 minutes. Cool 5-10 minutes before running a sharp knife around the edges of the spring form pan. Serve warm with fresh fruit.

This was an amazing dessert! There were no leftovers at all! A definite keeper in my repertoire! Thanks, Chris.

Note:The original recipe called for 1 cup shredded coconut-1/2 cup in the batter and 1/2 cup for the topping. I increased the 1/2 for to topping to 3/4 cup. For the batter, I added the 2 tablespoons of coconut rum for a more intense coconut flavor.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Exotic Tea Eggs-Black and White Wednesday

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For Black and White Wednesday, a culinary photo event created and hosted by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook. Exotic tea eggs was originally a color photo, but was converted to black and white using Photoshop-High Contrast Green Filter.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cream Scones-Tuesdays with Dorie

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While living in England, I had the most wonderful scones, some plain, some with currants or other dried fruit, but the most delicious scone treat I ever had was a Devonshire cream tea. Scones, either round or pie-shaped were split in half, slathered with a clotted cream and served with a fruit jam. With the ubiquitous cup of  English tea, it was a treat just short of heavenly. Slightly kin to our shortcakes with whipped cream and strawberries. 

Because I'm a scone aficionado, I had no problem choosing the Cream Scones on page 27 from  Baking From My Home to Yours as my pick for this edition of Tuesday with Dorie. Funny, I hosted last July about the same time. The scones were easy to prepare, easy to bake and delicious straight from the oven. When preparing the dough, it is important not to overwork mixing the butter and flour or to overdo mixing  the dough when adding the egg/cream mixture. A quick mix and a light hand will deliver the most tender scones.

As Dorie says-these are perfect for every scone-able occasion from breakfast to tea to midnight nibble and also perfect with a tart, chunky citrus marmalade or a bright berry jam. As blueberries are so abundant in the month of July, I chose a homemade blueberry cinnamon jam to serve with my cream scones.

Makes 12 scones.

Serving: Toss these into a basket and bring them to the table with lots of sweet butter and any flavor jam you love.

Storing: These are best served soon after they are made. If you want to save them, wrap them airtight as soon as they cool to room temperature and freeze them for up to 2 months. If you've frozen the scones, reheat them in a 350-degree-F oven.

Cream Scones

1 large egg
2/3 cup cold heavy cream
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
3/4 cup moist, plump currants

Getting Ready
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Stir the egg and cream together.
Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Drop in the butter and , using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter  with the flour. Quickly, working  with your fingertips (Dorie's favorite method) or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. You'll have pea-size pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pieces the size of everything in between--and that's just right.

Pour the egg and cream over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork just until the dough, which will be wet and sticky, comes together. Don't overdo it. Still in the bowl, gently knead the dough by hand, or turn it with a rubber spatula 8-10 times.

Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Divide it in half. Working with one piece at a time, pat the dough into a rough circle that's about 5 inches in diameter, cut it into 6 wedges and place it on the baking sheet.  (At this point, the scones can be frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped air-tight. Don't defrost before baking--just add about 2 minutes to the baking time.)

Bake the scones for 20 to 22 minutes, or until their tops are golden and firmish. Transfer them to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving, or wait for them to cool to room temperature.

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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Chocolate Chunk Muffins-Tuesdays with Dorie

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Not being a dyed-in-the-wool chocoholic, I had my doubts about these "cupcakes" being called "muffins" and supposedly good for breakfast or as a dessert. However, once I tasted them, I changed my mind! They are lovely for breakfast-not too sweet-and perfect with jam. Black cherry as Dorie suggested would have been wonderful, but I used my last little bit on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich  not too long ago. I did, however, just make some blackberry-lime freezer jam that was just as good. 

Bridget from The Way the Cookie Crumbles chose these for her TWD pick this week and a good pick it was! Check out her blog for the recipe and some great photos of the muffins. Next week, I have the honor of hosting and will make the Cream Scones on page 27 of Baking From My Home to Yours. Hope to see you there!

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Blackberry-Lime Freezer Jam

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A super easy and fresh tasting blackberry-lime freezer jam that is not only delicious on biscuits, toast and other breads, but doubles as a topping for ice cream or a filling for a cake. My summer seems complete when I can readily buy the juicy plump blackberries from a farm stand just down the road from me. To date, I have made blackberry crisp, blackberry frozen yogurt and have numerous bags of the tantalizing berries that I know will bring summer back to me in the form of a warm from the oven blackberry cobbler even on the coldest days this coming winter. 

Originally, I had planned on a blackberry port jam which required processing the jars in a water bath, but as I was packing to go to Kiawah Island for a week, time just ran out on me. The blackberry-lime freezer jam took no time at all to make. The recipe comes from a Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication-Canning-"120 ways to savor the season year round".  A treasure trove of delicious ways to preserve  summer produce. I only wish I had time to prepare all the chutneys, preserves, salsas and jams that are in this magazine.

Blackberry-Lime Freezer Jam

(Makes 4-6 half-pints)
5-1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 cups fresh blackberries, crushed
Finely grated lime peel from 1 lime
1-1.75-ounce package regular powdered fruit pectin
3/4 cup water

  1. Place crushed blackberries in a large bowl, add sugar and lime peel. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. In a small saucepan, stir pectin into the water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add to blackberry mixture; stir about 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves and mixture is not grainy. (See Note)
  3. Ladle jam into half-pint freezer containers. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours before storing. Store for up to 3 weeks in refrigerator or for up to 1 year in the freezer.
Note-I placed my bowl over a pan of warm water while stirring to ensure that the sugar had dissolved.

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Saturday, July 02, 2011

Blackberry Plum Sangria

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To me, Sangria just screams summer! Instead of using my favorite - red wine, the backbone of this  lovely pink libation is an off dry fruity Rosé d'Anjou from the Loire Valley, along with homemade plum syrup, Limonello and Framboise liqueurs, freshly squeezed lime juice, then generously garnished with fresh plum slices and plump, juicy blackberries.

With so many fruits and berries available in the summer, I tend to overbuy and then stay busy finding ways other than freezing to preserve my summer solstice bounty. This year, fruit and berry syrups are taking center stage in my kitchen.  Recipes for the plum syrup and a blackberry syrup follow the Blackberry Plum Sangria recipe.

Blackberry Plum Sangria
(Makes about 7 cups)

1-750-ml bottle Rosé wine
1 cup  cold Plum syrup (recipe follows)
2 limes, juiced
1/4 cup Limonela liqueur (lime liqueur)
1/4 cup Framboise (raspberry liqueur)

3 Plums-pitted and sliced
1lime, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh blackberries

Combine Rosé wine, plum syrup and liqueurs in a pitcher. Add plums, lime slices and berries. Refrigerate until very cold. Serve over ice with additional fruit. Garnish with mint, if desired.

Plum Syrup or Blackberry Syrup
(Makes about 2 cups)

1-1/2 pounds fresh plums, halved- or (2 cups ripe blackberries for blackberry syrup)
1/2 cup water-or (1 cup water for blackberry syrup)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
pinch salt

Bring the plums, water, sugar and corn syrup to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Continue to boil for about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in lemon juice and salt.

Pour mixture through a large fine sieve set over a bowl and press hard on solids to extract as much juice as possible. If liquid is too thin, return to pot and boil until desired consistency. Use immediately, or let cool to room temperature, then transfer to a glass container and refrigerate, covered until ready to use, or for up to 2 months. Shake well before using.

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