Sunday, February 27, 2011

Easy Carrot-Parsnip Soup

Wash your root vegetables and chop off the greens.

Chop in 1-inch pieces and toss with some butter & olive oil or coconut oil in a deep pot.

 Add a little stock, herbs, and salt.  Cover, and let it cook over medium heat for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

 Blend with a stick blender (handheld) right in the pot.  Add more stock, or cream, if desired.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Grape Jelly: Mission Accomplished

Remember last fall when I made grape jelly? I think I've written about that several times by now.  Just thought I'd let you know what that looked like - I found this picture on my phone a few days ago.  40 jars baby!  They all became Christmas gifts.

That picture prompted me to look for the pictures I took of the whole process... my first time making jelly, so I had to document it, you know!

The finished grape juice, after cooking down the grapes and straining.

Adding sugar... more sugar than juice by volume!

This liquid pectin was really easy.

Filling hot jars.

The last batch!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pumpkin bread in February

I wasn't that impressed with the recipe I found after a desperate Google search for "pumpkin bread" + "coconut milk", so I won't link to it, but the loaves do look homey, don't they?  Something to warm up my kitchen in the middle of winter and use the leftover coconut milk I had on hand.  Good enough.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Remember those plums?

You might remember the plethora of plums I had on my hands last fall...  Here's what I decided to do with them (besides the plum cake, that is)!

Plum Clafoutis

More Plum Cake

Plum Sauce

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Catherine makes caramel!




Mmm... doughnut muffins. Or muffiny mini-doughnuts.  Or baked doughnuffins.

A Caramel Primer

Stir together a cup or 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar and a few tablespoons water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.

Cook over medium-low heat until it starts to simmer.  Gently brush any sugar crystals down the sides with a brush dipped in water.

Get your other ingredients in place (vanilla, cream, butter).

Wait and don't touch.

Wait and still don't touch.  Try not to panic.

Keep waiting, spoon in hand, until you see and smell a little corner of the caramel start to smoke.

Immediately take off the heat, pour in 1+ cup cream, the vanilla, and a few tablespoons of butter.  Stir stir stir.  Watch out, it will get angry.

Mmm.... taste.  Taste again.  Taste again.  Taste... oh, wait, you have to save some for the cupcakes you're making.  Pour the whole thing over some chopped, salted nuts.

Carve out the centers from a batch of chocolate cupcakes and spoon in the nutty caramel goodness.

Replace tops and frost.  Contemplate trademarking the name "Snickers Cupcakes".

Cranberry Shortbread Bars

I love Dorie Greenspan's recipes.  I think I've mentioned her book Baking: From My Home to Yours before.  Probably 90% of everything I've ever made of hers turns out well, which is a pretty high success rate for a book of over 500 pages.  Here's a few pictures of my version of her Cranberry Shortbread bars - I didn't have enough cranberry sauce to cover the whole pan, so I ended up sauteeing some apples in butter and cinnamon and adding those (as suggested in her creative "Playing Around" sidebars in the book).  This was a big hit at work, and that orange-scented shortbread would be really fine on its own as well!

This is what happens when you try to open the bag of cranberries without a sharp object. Not recommended.