Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I use my Betty Crocker's New Cookbook all the time but always skip over the cake section. I'm not a very good cake baker, actually not much of a baker at all. I bake bread, cookies, biscuits and every once in awhile just when the sour cream is about to expire I bake a sour cream coffee cake.
I don't know what happened today, maybe it was the gray, rainy and cold day... But I had a hankering for cake. Looked through my cookbook, decided that Betty would not, could not let me down when I read the "Double Chocolate Snack Cake" recipe, that required no milk or butter of which I have none, and went for it.
Here is Betty's recipe:
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar or granulated sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Powdered sugar if desired and yes, it's very much desired in my case.
1. Heat over to 350F.
2. Mix dry ingredients except for the chocolate chips and powdered sugar with a fork in an ungreased square pan 8X8X2. Stir in the wet ingredients until well incorporated. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the batter.
3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool pan on a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Devine...I let it cool slightly, did not sprinkle the powdered sugar, yet...I just could not wait.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I've written about using baking soda as shampoo and with the addition of vinegar as a green cleaner in my home already. But since then I've used it for many other little jobs. I now use baking soda and vinegar exclusively for cleaning. I add vinegar and baking soda to the toilet bowl and let it bubble away for about 20 minutes, then wipe, no more bleach. I sanitize my cutting board with straight vinegar, even after I cup meat on it. I sprinkle baking powder on the carpet as a deodorizer.
Monday, September 28, 2009
I'm so lucky to be a 5 minute walk from my church. Actually I consider it a church annex. The "big church" is about a 10 minute drive from my house and has Sunday masses, it also holds confessions, the priests have their offices and home there and the Catholic school is also at the same location. But, there are two small churches in outlying areas, one has just one mass on Sunday at 11:30am and the church down the road from me has just one mass on Saturday evenings at 4:30pm, which is the mass I attend most of the times. So back to breakfast..going to Saturday night mass frees up my Sunday mornings to enjoy with big mugs of coffee and big delicious breakfasts.
Yesterday I made banana pancakes with homemade blackberry syrup and sausages and it was much more delicious than what the picture shows. I'm not a very good photographer but then photography holds 0 interest for me. I have a 4 year old digital camera that I spent 100.00 on and until it breaks that's probably what I'll continue using..
Beat one egg in a large bowl until fluffy. To the fluffy egg add 1 cup flour, 1 cup milk, 2 tablespoons of veggie oil, 3 teaspoons of baking powder and a dash of salt and a dash of nutmeg, mix until just smooth. . Don't over mix. Add one peeled and chopped banana to the batter. I use nutmeg only when I make banana pancakes.
Heat a griddle or skillet on a medium high heat, add some oil to coat the skillet, spoon the pancake mixture into the skillet, about 1/3 cup per pancake. The oil should sizzle around the pancake edges. Flip the pancake with a spatula when little holes appear. Keep warm in a slightly heated oven until all the pancakes are cooked. Serve with butter and your favorite syrup.
You need lots of coffee, the newspaper or better still your family to laugh and eat with around the breakfast table.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
The below picture is courtesy of http://www.bassano.eu/CITTA/PossagnoFunghi.htm
These are not my favorite because they are a tad slimy but the flavour is fantastic.
My neighbour forages for chantrelles and he very kindly gave me some. They are delicious and I'm so lucky to have such a great neighbour. The have a very distinctive look so they are very easy to recognize but until I go out with very experienced pickers, like my neighbour, I'll not pick any on my own. Again I wanted to take a picture of the dinner I made using the chantrelles but, well...I ate before I had a chance.
Here they are in all their glory before I cooked them up.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I will definitely grow these again, very easy. I started them indoors from seed in early March and transplanted them into the greenhouse in mid May. A couple of things I won't do again..is use peat pellets, they dry out to fast or peat pots, they don't break down fast enough. Before transplanting at broke the bottom off the pot but the roots had a tough time breaking through the sides. This goes for all my starters not just for the peppers.
To dry them I used a needle and some cotton twine. I poked the needle through the stem at the base and then hung them in my cantina. They should dry in about 4 weeks and then I can crush or grind them into a powder. Can't wait...
The rest I'll use to make jalapeno jelly. It's really good as a topping on creackers and cream cheese and the I'll pickle some when I make some pickeled veggies.
Stay tuned more canning and pickeling to come!!!
Off to Vancouver again tomorrow for two days, can't wait to see what bargains I'll find at my favorite fabric store, Dress Sew on Hastings.
Monday, September 14, 2009
What to do with all my little eggplants? Peperonata of course.
In Italy, peperonata is very popular and every region has it's own version. This is how my mom taught me....4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large eggplant - for me that was 3 of my little guys.
4 green peppers chopped - I grew the ones you see in the picture above but they were pretty small added 2 large yellow peppers.
1 onion chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups chopped tomatoes - I peeled and seeded my own tomatoes
Dried peperoncini flakes or in my case 1 Jalopeno - I grew my own and boy was it hot..
Salt and pepper to taste.
Friday, September 11, 2009
I few days ago I made the dog food and wow does he like it, or should I say , loves it. It's very simple to make with very basic ingredients. The meat I used was very old left over beef.
Several years ago I purchased a quarter side of beef. I was very disappointed with the flavour and it took me some time to get through most of it. Of that quarter I had 1 1/2 kilos left over which I chopped in my food processor as a substitute for the minced beef the recipe calls for.
Going forward I'm not sure where I'll get the beef. I called a local feed store and they don't carry raw animal grade beef and store bought beef will make it too expensive. Soooo...this might be a once in a lifetime treat for my dog.
I made the dog biscuits some time ago but my dog did not like them very much, he ate them but he was not very excited about them. The liquid I used was most likely not beefy enough so I'll be making them again this weekend but with a much more concentrated beef broth. Hopefully he will like them this time around. I will keep you posted.
Have a great weekend everyone.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
I've never picked hazelnuts before and information I found on the web...after I picked them...says "do not pick them green" and wait until they drop from the tree. Hah!!! As you can see there are some green ones in the mix but for the most part they are "hazel" and they were dropping from the tree, when I gave the tree a push...I hope I didn't pick them too early.
Now, I leave them to dry for about 4 weeks. I can then crack and roast the nuts to store in the freezer. Or I can just leave them and crack and eat them as we wish. The nut will stay fresh in the shell for quite some time. It's the air that spoils the nut.
I'm dreaming of a hazelnut torte!!!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I tried again in mid August but this time in 4 inch pots which were a better choice for the unexpected heat we had.
This weekend the seedlings were transplanted into the greenhouse. The windows are closed, the doors are meshed to allow for air circulation but will keep the bugs out..I hope.
You will notice little tomatoes on the ground, I'm going to leave them, hopefully I will have some volunteer tomato plants next year.
Further to my winter garden plan, is to move the radicchio into the greenhouse, once the tomatoes, eggplant and pepper plants are removed. Then I will allow garden access to the chickens who will, I hope, scratch out the weeds, eat some bugs, and fertilize the soil. All while giving us eggs, they are really amazing creatures.
And of course the chickens were really good at keeping my grandson busy.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Sugo di pomodoro.
2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped fresh Roma tomatoes.
1 clove of garlic, chopped
Saute the garlic in the olive oil on low heat for a few minutes, do not walk away, the garlic will burn.
Add the chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste and simmer without the lid for about 10 minutes, you want some of the liquid to evaporate.
When your pasta is almost ready add some basil to the sauce, I just tear it with my fingers but for my lunch I added a frozen basil cube I made a week or so ago.
Put the sauce into your drained pasta and again saute over a low heat, you want the pasta to finish cooking in the pot so it picks up some of the sauce as it finishes cooking.
Top with fresh parmigiano and there you go, a low fat, delicious fast lunch, or dinner.
Friday, September 4, 2009
So with three large zucchini I decided to make some Zesty Zucchini Relish from my Ball Complete Book Home Preserving.
I started by chopping the zucchini, peppers and onions in my food processor. Adding salt and letting the whole thing soak for 12 hours.
Rinse well with cold water and squeeze as much water as possible out of the mixture. I put the whole thing in a colander, topped it with a large plate, and then topped the plate with several large cans. The weight of the cans drained the excess water very easily.
Then into a large pot with the vinegar, salt and spices. Simmer for about 45 minutes.
Ladel into jars and then into the water canner.
This relish is very good on hamburgers but it's also really delicious on top of cream cheese and crackers.
If you want this recipe please let me know and I'll be happy to email it to you.
Have a great weekend.