Monday, November 19, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup

I wanted a good recipe for the famous Pumpkin Spice Syrup used in the yummy holiday season lattes found at most coffee stops.
I found one on Pinterest, which originated with Annie's Eats.  I really like the ingredients, but found I wanted a spicier syrup, so I doubled the spices called for.  I posted my revised recipe here today for:
Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup
1-1/2 cup water
1-1/2 cup sugar
4 cinnamon sticks or 1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder
2 tsp. grated nutmeg
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cloves
6 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
Heat water and sugar in small saucepan, stirring as sugar dissolves.  Whisk in the pumpkin, spices and add the cinnamon sticks.
Heat this mixture on med. low for 5 to 10 minutes, do not allow to come to a boil.
Cool and strain through sieve or cheesecloth into container.  There will be some spice sediment in the liquid, that's ok.  Using a funnel, pour mixture into a bottle and store in the refrigerator.
Add 3 tablespoons to cup of coffee, or more or less as desired.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fig Tree Named ~Hope

A bowl of freshly picked figs for breakfast!

An unknown fig variety. I have named ~Hope!
 Transplanted and thriving, determined to make it!  Just like my husband and I!
The fig tree my fruit came from was one which I dug out of the ground in a lady's yard.  With her permission of course! I had asked her for a shoot, but she said I could have the off-shoot growing next to her main tree. The tree was small, but the tap  roots were deep and so hard to extricate.  I brought the fig tree home and planted  it in my yard two summers ago, but  I was not sure it would make it.  The tree lost most of it's leaves at first, my husband thought it was done and said we should discard it, but with attention to watering, the little thing rallied round.  I am so glad! It has started bearing fruit and the figs are very tasty.  Since the birds agree, and I have had to cover the fig with netting, because I just don't want to share the fruit with the birds! 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Jambalaya ya ya



Assemble all the ingredients ahead of time,
 and you have an easy meal ready in 25 minutes!



1 lb. Good Cajun sausage, sliced and browned in skillet

1 to 2 lbs. Raw, cleaned, de-veined shrimp
 2 c. cooked chicken diced
2 c. uncooked rice
4 c. chicken stock (have it hot and set aside)
3 T oil
½ onion,
2 stalks celery,
 ½ green pepper,
 3 cloves garlic…all chopped up
1/2  Roma tomato, chopped is optional
2 bay leaves, salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.


Use very large skillet, with a good fitting cover. Into the skillet pour oil and rice,
 (you see I am using Tony C's Yellow Rice, I like the yellow color of the finished dish!  Reminds me of Paella)
stir constantly over medium heat until the rice turns golden.

Immediately add the chopped onion, celery, garlic, green pepper, bay leaves, seasonings, omit salt if you use a pre-seasoned rice. Pour the hot chicken stock over all.

Immediatly pour the stock over all and stir.

Add the raw peeled, deveined, rinsed shrimp,
stir again and cover the pan.

Turn down heat to low, allow to steam cook with cover in place for  20 minutes. 
No peeking under the lid!!!

 Here is the finished Jambalaya, nicely plumped rice, all stock absorbed.  It's ready to serve!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Buttermilk Drop Donuts, like McKenzies Bakery~ Recipe & Review

I know there is a risk when trying an Internet recipe.   
I don't need to waste precious ingredients, so it's a good practice to find reader reviews before I try any recipes out in my kitchen.

  Here is my reader review and revision for the  improvised McKenzie Buttermilk Drop donuts recipe.

 I am visiting my daughter in Washington and wanted to make fresh buttermilk donut drops for breakfast, so I located a recipe for McKenzies Bakery Buttermilk Drops on the net. 

 McKenzies Bakery was a New Orleans favorite and the Buttermilk Drops were unbelievably delish!  The bakery is now closed, so if I want  Drops, I have to make them! 

 I adapted a recipe I found online a bit and found it to be satisfactory.
 I recommend you use a  cooking thermometer to keep the oil temp. at 350 degrees

They are really good!

If you want lattes or iced coffee, Torani's White Chocolate Flavor is a real good flavor addition

Buttermilk Drop Donuts

1 cup flour
4 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Whisk these dry ingredients together in a bowl.

Add the following to the dry ingredients and stir until moistened throughout batter.
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. melted butter
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk

Drop by spoonfull into 350 oil.  Cook until golden.  Remove and drain on papertowels.  Glaze with powder sugar glaze or dust with cinnamon sugar.  I enjoy these just plain, too!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fig Tart Link

Have you ever...?

Fig Tart from dolciagogo.blogspot     You will have to translate for the recipe, unless you speak Italian

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Old Fashioned Brine Pickles
Like my grandmother made!

The brine will turn cloudy after 1 week or so, this is normal &  means pickles are correctly brining.

I put a small bowl into jar before placing  lid on , this is to keep the pickles submerged in the brine at all times.

Grape leaves from my garden, garlic cloves, peppercorns and fresh dill flower heads, stems and leaves are added to the brine, also!

After 2 and  1/2 weeks ( I left my jar on the kitchen counter because room temp stays in the 70's) the pickles are ready!  I did check on the liquid every 5 days or so, to skim off any white scum from the top, but on this batch there was hardly anything to skim off!
I store the entire jar, as is, in the refrigerator after the pickles are ready, and we just eat right out of the brine!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Strawberries!!! Very Low Sugar Jam

I really am pleased with the flavor of this batch of Ponchatoula Strawberry Jam.  I adapted the recipe from the box of "Low Sugar Pectin" and the flavor is true strawberry tartness with a lightly jelled, not runny body to the jam.  I will share this one for those who want to control the sugar intake in their diet.
* Update:  Keep the finished jars in the freezer.  After thawing, store in refrigerator and after opening eat it up soon!

Ponchatoula Very Low Sugar Strawberry Jam
I tried this one with much less sugar than called for and it did work! Ponchatoula strawberries are tarter than berries from other parts of the country, even so, this jam came out just delicious! Here is the recipe.

6 pints strawberries, rinse well, remove leaves and core, cut up a bit.
(Strawberries will be measured once more prior to adding to cooking kettle).

1 box Less Sugar Powdered Pectin

1 ¼ cups sugar

1- 12 oz. can frozen 100% apple juice concentrate

Measure 6 cups of mashed strawberries into kettle. In a small bowl combine the pectin powder to ¼ cup sugar and stir, then add to kettle with strawberries. Add the thawed apple juice concentrate. Stir mixture well and heat the mixture until it comes to a rolling boil, all the while stirring so as not to stick to bottom. Boil for 1 minute when it reaches full boil and then add the remaining 1 cup of sugar, stirring into the mixture well. It will come again to a full boil and you will continue to stirring at full boil for one minute. Remove from heat, skim off foam from surface. Ladle into sterilized jars, add caps and rings, tighten and place jars into a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. Using jar remover utensil, remove jars and allow to cool completely.
  This recipe makes 5 full pint jars of jam.

 The following jar was opened after refrigeration and I found it to be jelled sufficiently for holding up on bisquits or toast.  It would be great as a topping for waffles or icecream. I will probably use it as a filling for my King Cake along side cream cheese!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Pizzaria!

My Pizza

4 cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 3/4 cups room-temperature water

Beat together all, knead for 15 minutes, place dough in oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise for 1 hour or until doubled. Punch down, dump our onto floured surface. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Divide into 2 lumps of flour. Roll out into a circle or square, on a floured surface to about a ½ thickness and size of pizza sheet. Adding flour as need be to assist rolling. Place each round onto oiled pizza pan or baking sheet. Brush surface of each with olive oil, gently, cover again with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 25 to 30 minutes. Uncover and add sauce to top, and all the toppings you want.
*Bake in a preheated, very hot, 400° oven for about 20 minutes, checking on it during baking so the cheese doesn‘t burn.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice is a staple meal we eat once a week, ~or close to once a week.

1 1lb. bag of large red Kidney beans( I like Camelia Brand)
1 lb. smoked sausage, cut into 2 inch lengths
1 smoked ham hock
1 medium onion, diced
1 green pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp. parsley
1 tsp. Creole seasoning

Rinse the beans and drain.  Place in a bowl and cover with water for a couple of hours. (the soaking step may be omitted if pressed for time)
Drain beans and place into stockpot with all other ingredients, including ham hock. Don't add any Creole seasoning or salt, at this time, will add later after beans have softened. Add water to pot to cover over the top of beans 2 inches.
Lightly cook the sausage in a skillet, just to brown a bit, add this to pot of beans.  Stir and cover.  Simmer for 2 or 3 hours, stirring every so often, to ensure no sticking.
When beans are soft, add the salt and/or Creole seasoning.  Taste.  Cook until beans are soft enough to mash against side of pot with spoon.
Serve over steamed rice and along with Iced Tea and buttered french bread!
Don't forget to the Louisiana hot sauce on the table!

Friday, January 27, 2012

True Cinnamon

Some facts  about my favorite spice--cinnamon.
I love this spice!
 It's scent, it's flavor, in cooking or in candles and in essential oils, it calms me, stimulates my digestion, and brings sweet thoughts to my mind.
One day, I began to research my favorite sweet bark and I will summerize what I have found to be important facts for all of us, cooks and cinnamon lovers to know.

My search for info began when my husband, Mr. Goodwrench was given a bottle of Pharmacy brand, Cinnamon Oil capsules 1000mg. to try for high bloodpressure.  I simply got online and found that the oil in the capsules was not true cinnamon oil, but cassia oil.  There are four types of Cinnamon.
Of the four Cinnamonum species:  [1]

Cinnamonum verum (true cinnamon or Sri Lanki or Ceylon cinnamon)
Cinnamonum burmannii (Korintje or Indonesian Cinnamon)
Cinnamonum loureiroi (Saigon or Vietnamese)
Cinnamonum aromaticum (Cassia or Chinese)

 The Ceylon cinnamon, verum, is the one to use, it is the true cinnamon.  The Ceylon cinnamon is  lighter in color, the curled bark sticks are thinner and will crush easier. The flavor of Ceylon cinnamon is sweeter and as cinnamon goes, Ceylon is the highest prized.   Europe and Mexico is the greatest importer of Ceylon cinnamon and in America the primary import is the Chinese Cassia aromaticum, more marketable due to the availability, darker color and stronger scent and flavor.[2]

An ingredient in all Cinnamonum plants is "Coumarin". [3]  Coumarin is found in highest concentration in the Cinnamonum aromticum, or Cassia bark.  This Cassia is the cinnamon oil contained in the Parmacy brand capsules of cinnamon oil given to my husband. I am glad he didn't use the capsules because in high concentrations Coumarin can damage the liver.  Coumarin, as you research, you see has many pharmacutical uses, Coumadin is developed from it, and  Coumadin is a commonly prescribed blood thinner. "European health agencies have warned against consuming high amounts of cassia bark, one of the four species of cinnamon, because of its coumarin content." [4]
Coumarin is found in much lower amounts in the three other species of cinnamon.

Now I am looking for the botanical name (source) of any cinnamon on it's product labels.  McCormick brand, Saigon Cinnamon is found on most spice shelves in groceries.  I called McCormick Spice at 1-800-632-5847, for the botanical name of  the Saigon Cinnamon because it is nowhere to be found on the bottle. The customer service department told me   McCormick Saigon Cinnamon  is Cinnamonum Laureiroi Nees, which is Saigon or Vietnamese cinnamon.
 Since I frequently use cinnamon in cooking, I am choosing to avoid Chinese Cinnamon, or Cassia and stick to using the real cinnamons--verum, burmannii, and loureiroi.   Read the labels, ask questions,  most cinnamon spice for sale in stores is Cassia. 

Hope this helps!

Internet Sources:
1. Wikipedia article, "Cinnamon"
2.  New World Encyclopedia article, "Cinnamon"
3. Wikipedia article, "Coumarin"
4. Wikipedia article, "Coumarin

Friday, January 6, 2012

Winter Fare