Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Slow-Cooker Creamed Corn

Can you read the recipe from the picture I took? This is something my mother-in-law served us on one of our visits last year. Hooray for the seventies and cleaning out picture files!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Frozen Strawberry Jam

Our family's kind of spoiled for any other type of jam, although we're not opposed to trying new ones occasionally (especially ones given as gifts and/or as a travel souvenir). I just use the recipe in the Sure-Jell package and have found that the easiest way to crush strawberries is in my little mini food processor. I've even drawn a line at the two-cup mark so I don't have to dirty a measuring cup. One recipe usually makes about 3 jars, using old jam or condiment jars.

Frozen Strawberry Jam

2 cups crushed strawberries
4 cups sugar
1 package dry pectin
¾ cup water

Mix crushed strawberries with sugar, and let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir the pectin into the water in a small saucepan - will be lumpy at first. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 1 minute. Stir the mixture into the strawberries. Allow to stand for 3 minutes before pouring into jars or other storage containers, leaving about 1/2" headroom.  Place tops on the containers, and leave on the counter for 24 hours. Place into freezer, and store frozen until ready to use. Then transfer to the refrigerator. 

My favorite way to use our strawberry jam - on toasted homemade bread. This time it was Honey Wheat Bread.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Wakame, Tofu, Miso, and Dashi!

Many moons ago I tried Miso Soup at a restaurant and decided I didn't really care for it. Wayne loves it, though, and has it regularly when he goes to the Oriental restaurants near his work for lunch. Trying to be a good wife, and also realizing that it's a very low-calorie dinner option, I decided to try making it at home.

In order to do that I needed wakame (or seaweed) and miso (or soy bean paste), which I found at Whole Foods.

I tried the recipe on the back of the miso package and decided I still didn't care for it. However, I later learned that there are different types of miso paste, and maybe a lighter colored version wouldn't be so strong. Amazon came to the rescue.

This time we tried the recipe on the back of the wakame package. Both of these recipes were pretty similar, and along with the miso and wakame included carrots, which Wayne says aren't necessary. Many of the recipes I googled included tofu. They also mentioned dashi, which apparently is a vegetarian broth. Since the version we tried with the lighter miso was a bit bland (which also meant it wasn't strong and overpowering), maybe I need to find some dashi.

So, while this wasn't an exact replica of the restaurant version, it was definitely better than the last recipe I tried. We have many years ahead of us to keep experimenting. Maybe someday I'll come up with a combination we both like!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Cherry Crisp

The one thing I don't like about making a fruit crisp, or really anything with a streusel topping, is cutting the butter into the flour/oat mixture. Recently, however, I saw a recipe that used melted butter, so I gave that technique a try, and it worked! I need to remember to do that every time. These proportions seemed to work well.

Cherry Crisp

One can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling
4 cups frozen Bing cherries, thawed*
1/2 cup dried cherries
1 1/2 cups oats
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

Combine three types of cherries and place in baking dish. Combine remaining ingredients and sprinkle on top. Bake at 425 for 25 minutes. Serve warm or cold, plain or with ice cream or whipped cream, or both.

*The fresh cherries I bought at the grocery store were bland and tasteless. So disappointing! However, I couldn't just throw them out, so I pitted them and stuck them in the freezer. While looking for a dairy-free dessert idea, I noticed some cans of cherry pie filling in the pantry and thought maybe mixing the two would give the "sweet" cherries some flavor. It definitely helped. We also discovered that the dessert tasted even better the day after, which was a nice surprise.

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Alien in the Refrigerator

The other day Wayne opened the fridge and was startled to see what he called an alien in there.

I guess it kind of does look like an alien. Do you know what it really is?

This was definitely an impulse purchase, but every so often I figure it's good to try something new. Fortunately, the attached tag was helpful and correct. Dragon fruit is easy to peel, and it was a great addition to our simple quesadilla lunch. I'm sure it would also be a great addition to a tropical fruit salad.

It tastes like a mild kiwi, so I imagine Wyatt will really like dragon fruit. One of these days when he's visiting, we'll have to alien for lunch again.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

The Eighth Drink

Presidente Cocktail

3 tablespoons apple juice (instead of rum and sweet vermouth)
1 tablespoon white grape juice (instead of dry vermouth)
1/4 teaspoon rum extract
Dash grenadine
Dash orange bitters (istead of Amer Picon liqueur)
1 maraschino cherry
1 slice lemon peel

Combine first five ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add cherry and lemon peel. Serve over ice in an old-fashioned or martini glass.

Braised Celery

Just like all the reviewers of this Alton Brown recipe, I often have celery languishing in my refrigerator. Also like them, that may not be a problem in the future. Braised Celery is actually pretty good, and super simple as well.

Cut celery into 1" chunks. Sauté in a bit of butter for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add some beef broth (his ratio was 1/2 cup broth for 8 stalks celery), cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove lid and cook for 5 more minutes until broth is reduced. That's it!