Most Delicious Stuff

It’s been raining here in Maine FOREVER.  On Saturday I impulsively made a Hungarian Mushroom Soup…

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Most Delicious Stuff

It’s been raining here in Maine FOREVER.  On Saturday I impulsively made a Hungarian Mushroom Soup from The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen – about the best!  When your just done with the nasty, skanky cold stuff….make this soup and then maybe drink wine or eat cake.  You’ll feel better.

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2 Tbs. butter and some olive oil

2+ cups chopped onion

2 boxes of sliced portabellas, 2 lbs.

1 tsp. or so of salt

3 Tbs. dill

1 + Tbs. paprika

2 tsp. lemon juice

3 Tbs. flour

2 C. water

1 C. milk

1/2 C. sour cream

Saute onions for about 5 minutes or so, add the mushrooms, salt, dill & paprika.  Cover and cook for 15 more minutes, stirring.  Add lemon juice.  Add the flour, stirring for about 5 more minutes.  Add water, cover and cook 10 minutes or so, stirring.  Add milk and sour cream plus some black pepper, turn heat to low and just let it simmer.  I like to double the paprika and use more salt and pepper but that is just me.

Very simple soup, snappy to make and even better the next day. 

As it was miserable out…..I made some summer jam both days of this past week-end.  It’s such a process but goes smoothly if you have everything lined up and ready to go – it just takes time in the kitchen.  As that is usually where I am; works for me.

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This beauty is Blueberry/Rhubarb Jam.

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I’m going to give you this recipe I pulled off the internet.  As many years as I have been making jam this one is by far the most tasty.  It’s easy to make, it just takes longer because you don’t use pectin or anything fake, it’s the real thing. 

Every August we buy Maine low bush blueberries from a family stand near where we keep our boat in Blue Hill, Maine.  Sounds about right, no?  The berries are to die for!  No pesticides, not terribly expensive and an amazing taste.  We eat a whole box on the way home and usually buy 36 quarts per season.  I freeze them up 2 quarts per zip lock. 

You all do know I have three freezers in my basement for stuff like this?  I have a thing about freezers….people throw them away, I bring them home and fill them up. 

And, as I have a profusion of rhubarb at the moment….here we go!

Blueberry-Rhubarb Jam

8 C. Blueberries

4 C. Chopped Rhubarb

1 lemon rind grated

juice of same lemon to equal 2 Tbs.

1 C. water

4 C. sugar (this is a tad much, drop it to 3-3 l/2 C.)

o.k. get your canning jars & lids going in a pot of boiling water to cover.  In another large pot combine the berries, rhubarb, rind, juice and water; bring to a boil.  Stir frequently, boil vigorously until it reaches set of 220.  This takes a long, long time.  I believe I did it for at least 1 hour yesterday.  Really try and get it to 220, I may have (which means I did) pull it at 218.  Let it sit for 5 minutes or so.  Fill your jars, do the bath thing for about 10 minutes at a rolling boil.  Pull and let the jars sit on a doubled dish towel to cool.  You’ll hear popping which are the jars sealing.  It’s a good sound.

The jars you see is from me doubling the recipe. 

I have a Post Wedding Scone & Tea party I’m catering July 6th. for 3-400 people so I made this jam and the day before I made the same amount of Rhubarb/Ginger Jam.  Beautiful color, recipe below.  I think I’m set now other than an Herbal one that I need to make – Lemon Verbena I hope.

Rhubarb/Ginger Jam

2 Lbs. Rhubarb, chopped

1/2 C. Water

2 Tbs. lemon juice

1″ piece of peeled, smashed fresh ginger root

3 C. sugar

2 Tbs. chopped candied ginger

Get your jars going in the boiling water bath.  Combine in another large pot your Rhubarb, water, lemon juice and ginger; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and stir often till fairly soft (I added more chopped rhubarb at this point because I have so much of it).  Add sugar and chopped ginger and stir well, bring to a boil and again take it to 220 or pretty darn close.  Ladle into your clean, hot jars, screw the lids on tightly with 1/2″ head space.  Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Let sit on dry, clean dishtowel to cool.

Fini.  There is such a sense of accomplishment when you’ve got all these jars lined up for the year.  And, since it’s such a process you may as well double the recipe and be done with it. 

A friend of mine asked for the Rhubarb/Anise Upside Down Cake recipe.  I posted a picture last time, I believe. 

Pre heat oven to 350.  Get out a cast iron skillet and place 1/2 stick butter in it, melt this then asdd 3/4 C. dark brown sugar to the butter, let that sit without stirring it.  Just sprinkle that sugar on top.  It needs to be undisturbed for 3 minutes.  It won’t melt, it will look crusty.  Pull off the heat and top with lots of chopped rhubarb (about 3-4 cups).

Cake part:

1 tsp. ground up anise seed (I use my coffee grinder)

1-1/2 C. flour

1-1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 stick melted unsalted butter

2/3 C. sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

3/4 C. buttermilk or just milk, almond would be my milk

Mix your dry together.  In mixer beat the butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs.  Add the dry alternately with the buttermilk.  Fold onto the top of your Rhubarb stuff and bake for 45 minutes, test with toothpick till done.  Let cool 15 minutes then invert on a plate.  You can use any fruit.  Sometimes I’ll actually do the topping neatly in the pan, as with peaches or some slice able fruit.  It looks nice when you invert it.  This cake always tastes amazing!

Dysfunctional

I am here!  Finally.  I’ve been in California helping to take care of our grand daughters while the parents worked and went to a wedding in Washington, D.C.  It’s been a wild time.  I love going out there – Berkeley is such a happening place…..crazy for me and absolutely a wonder every single day.  The flowers and foliage totally blow my mind; it’s explosive.  The little girls are explosive at this point also….almost 4 and almost 6 now.  Whew.  I am an old woman!  I wonder, just how did I take care of three kids of our own?  The girls had colds when I got there and having just gotten off one of those 6 hour flights I, of course, got a terribly rough cold.  Flying home with the plague was not a good idea.  I now know why babies cry on take off and landing.  It took two days for my hearing to come back.  It was funny, sort of, when I finally went to my doctor assuming I had pneumonia she said “gee, your not a frequent flyer, you must be dying”.  I never, ever go to a doctor and of course they gave me meds and of course I couldn’t take them (they made me sicker if possible) so here I am 3 weeks and on the mend finally.  I wish these things were visual so if you saw it coming you could duck.  It’s bad.

Here at home the rhubarb has grown, big time.  I made a rhubarb/anise upside down cake.  So familiar, so spring, one of our favorites.

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The goats milk is flowing these days so I went up the mountain and bought quite a bit.  I’ve made Cherve, feta and a bomb….a Mexican caramel that curdled; tastes good but visually and texturally it’s not so….out it goes.

The dysfunctional explanation as the header?  Not only me but my new phone has not transferred the photos I wanted to show today but I felt I should check in and let those who care know I’ll have more to post when this technology gets functioning. 

I’ve read some great books….The Orchardist, Claire & Mr. Tiffany and now Maya’s Notebook by Isabelle Allende.  Oh, I read The Alchemist and Eat Cake also.  But, the first two on my list are total must reads, wonderful books.

More later tater.

 

Spring Fever

We’ve had some crazy stuff going on.  Luna, my fabulous nine year old chocolate lab and constant companion disappeared the other night.  Fortunately I didn’t know it until the police called with news she had been found – a mere 35 minutes after Paul had thrown the ball to her a zillion times. 

Apparently….she was stolen by some skanky chick hitch hiker who must have come on our property in the back (we are hidden from the road back there), she lured Luna probably into a car because she was found down the road about 4 miles.  A woman who is new to the area had randomly gone out – catch this….she was facing having a Jenny Craig dinner and just couldn’t cope so she drove up town for a bottle of wine and some ice cream (my kind of girl).  On her way back she saw Luna wandering in the busy road with a hitch hiker so she stopped her car and yelled at the girl to leash her dog.  The girl said “she’s not my dog but I’m keeping her”.  That was it.  She opened her door, Luna jumped in clearly relieved then she slammed the door shut before the hiker could get in.  She asked her where she got her and she replied “the other side of 95” miles from us in the other direction.  Then she asked the girl why her hands were pink.  She said she dyed her sisters hair that day.  o.k. pink hands, wicked long dreads, scrappy, dirty, drifter looking and young, waaay young.  My new Angel drove away with Luna looking for a human out in the road looking for their dog.  Not knowing our area she called the police, they found us (the hiker couldn’t get the expired State of Maine tag off the collar).  Bad, bad, bad experience.  When I got the call I was seriously confused.  Luna never leaves our yard.  We have an electric fence that broke years ago but she doesn’t know that.  It’s all a mystery but thank you for bringing me my new best friend!  Betsy is a really cool person and smart.  To recognize and act in this situation was perfect.  The police asked her how she knew to get the dog in the car she said “I’m from New York, we don’t trust anybody”.  Amazing.

The next day we went up to Boothbay (Luna too) for Paul to survey some spring work on a boat.  The owner of this boat has had perhaps 11-12 of these things built and Paul has had his hand in most of them; usually building the hull or at least the spars.  That’s him in the blue hat.

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While in town I spotted this laundromat.

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Only in Maine!

Another item I think is kinda cool.  We have a sawyer come to us whenever we have logs hanging around.  He has this small portable sawmill that he drops off then comes back another time to do the sawing.  A one man operation.  Lee Tree Company brings us wood whenever they think we may use it…they just drop it off.  It’s awesome, very generous.  Paul does use it for various components of the boats, lots of ash, oak, etc.

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That white paint at the end of the log?  Paul paints the fresh logs to keep them from checking.  Sometimes it’s hysterical we have all sorts of colors going on out in the yard.  You could think we’re organized and color coding….no, just what comes to hand, although that would certainly be smart.

It’s been hot this week, working tilling the garden, getting the pool functioning, mulching the berries, etc.  Iced coffee time.  I love this maker.  You end up putting 12 oz. of coarse grind coffee and six cups of cold water in the top part with a plug and filter, let it sit overnight, pull the plug and you end up with this concentrate.  I use 1/3 coffee, 2/3 fresh water per drink.  It’s about the best method I’ve found.  Fairly clean process and lasts a long time as it’s concentrated.

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Speaking of Spring…our Rhubarb was ready to be picked yesterday.  We have tons and tons, many, many plants.

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Paul’s favorite….Rhubarb Cobbler.  All the guys came in for “snack time” yesterday for a dish of this.  They are so funny – we’re all about the same age, 50s’-60’s worn out from a life of boatbuilding but give these guys a warm, yummy, homemade snack and you’d think I had given them windmill cookies and a box of milk just like in kindergarten.  Very sweet and they are very appreciative.  Food is such a healer.

Last but not least.  I have been anxiously awaiting my new book and it arrived yesterday afternoon.  Yea!  It’s great.  I love to make GF breads, etc. it’s such a science project and yummy.

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First off.  I sat down and read the whole book – the writer is a great writer it’s as though you are listening to her speak.  You get to know her family, etc. very sweet.  I got cracking this morning making up my flour combinations.  Through all my own experimentations I had everything I needed.  That said I made the bread you see which is sandwich bread made with the basic flours and buckwheat to give it that flavor and color.  Yum.  It’s going to be my new toast for breakfast.  I had a slice with almond butter on it an hour or so ago – wicked tasty, perfect texture.  While in that mode I made mini hamburg buns using the basic mix and adding corn flour, cute little buggers, crispy top.  And, as a test I made Chocolate Chip cookies with walnuts as a trick to see if my non GF husband could be fooled.  He was.  He ate a pile of them and loved them.  I took them out to the guys for their coffee break and they too said they never would have known they were GF.  They wanted to then know about all the flours, etc. I had to go up town for a dump permit so I took the Town Clerk group a bag of cookies, loved them!  kinda cool. 

I have to say – I am having so much fun and am very stimulated with this new baking adventure I have been on.  I keep thinking…..if I had a bakery again……..I’d love to offer these things exclusively.  Ah me.  Go get this book.

Sunday – off to San Fransisco to see my girls.  I happen to be going to a Cinco De Mayo party just after I get off the plane.  What luck……one of the stops on the train out to my son’s house…gee, Mexican food, no problem, I’m there!