Sunday, June 28, 2009
I have been in the mood to make some jam or jelly lately. But what kind to make?? Usually, I would let the sales at the grocery store determine this. And in this case, that was part of my decision. The other part was the figs I had bought earlier this year at Trader Joe's- just sitting in the freezer, begging to be used. City Market had strawberries on sale this weekend. Hmmmm....strawberries and figs....that sounds like jam to me!
In my usual pattern, I googled strawberry fig jam to see what might pop up. I found a recipe, complete with step by step pics- so I figured I'd use that.
I think the person who made the recipe probably makes this jam all the time, and just expected the reader to know instinctively what to do, because there were several details left out.
I started by washing, hulling and quartering my strawberries. I needed 3 cups. Then I washed, destemmed and sliced my figs (I used a combo of Calmyrna and Mission figs). I needed 3 cups of them, too.
I dumped them in a pot with a mixture of 1/4 c. of white sugar and a whole pack of pectin (the amount needed was one of the details left out of the original recipe- so I winged it). I waited until it heated up and began to bubble. The recipe said it should boil, but there wasn't enough liquid to do that. So- I added a little water. After it boiled vigorously for about a minute, I dumped in the rest of the sugar (2 cups). Next time I'll use a little less.
While all this was going on, Dev was sterilizing my jars and warming the lid seals for me. He's so handy in the kitchen :)
I let the mixture boil about five minutes (no time measurements were given in the recipe), then took it off the heat. I filled my jars and processed them in a water bath for about 25 minutes (10 minutes is recommended for sea level, plus an additional 10- 15 minutes for our altitude).
Here's what I got....
It tastes really good, but I think next time I'll do two things....I'll use less sugar and I'll cook it longer. To me, it has an ever so slightly grainy texture. But it fit the bill for the jam I was craving, and it has put me in the mood to make even more!
My next attempt will be mango vanilla!!
Although we hadn't done it in a while, Friday nights are usually Pizza Nights for Dev and me. I make a pizza and we settle in to watch bad cable, a netflix movie or Friday Night Boxing- whichever is on.
Because we hadn't had home made pizza in a while, I decided to go half and half. One half is hawaiian (Canadian bacon, ham, pineapple and red onion) the other half is veggie (onion, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach and parmesan).
I made a quick sauce from a can of crushed tomatoes, olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic, red onion and a little sugar.
I love pizza night!
Barbecued Chicken. It sounds so simple. Google it. You will be amazed at the number of recipes for sauces and methods you will find.
Chicken is one of my favorite things to roast and grill. And BBQ chicken is all that much better.
So I began to look around for a sweet, spicy sauce to slather all over some beautiful organic chicken quarters I bought at the store.
I found the perfect sauce recipe in the Foodtv magazine. And it was a Bobby Flay recipe. That suits me just fine, because I love his recipes for grilling, and I love the spice in his recipes.
Here's the recipe- scanned right out of the magazine...
I'm pretty sure I followed it to the letter, although I think I substituted vegetable oil for canola.
The results were terrific! It is sweet and thick and spicy! Next time I will add a little more chipotle, though. After refrigerating it a few days, it lost some of the depth of the heat.
I roasted the chicken at 400 until it was about 10 degrees from done (it had reached 160 on an instant read thermometer), then I slathered on the sauce and put it back in the oven to reach 170.
The chicken shared the plate with some garlic smashed potatoes and roasted squash. A very yummie meal indeed. It will be repeated several more times before the summer season is over. I can't wait to put this sauce on some grilled chicken, or even pork....the possibilities are endless!
The Cavalcade of Fun for 2009 will be split into 2 parts. The first part was Di's visit to Colorado. The second part will be my returning home the last two weeks of July.
Part the First was too short and way too busy. But that's what happens when you plan a wedding right at the beginning of the visit. Even though I think it somewhat compromised the visit for Di, I am ever so grateful to have had her here to stand next to me at my wedding. Here's a shot of the wedding party...
Poor Diane, she didn't even get her own room the second night she was here. Devin's family was here for the wedding, so his parents got the guest room, and Diane and Shanda (Dev's sister) slept in the living room- one on the couch and the other on a camping cot.
The morning after the wedding, everyone was up and out the door. Dev's family headed back to Montrose, and a little later, Dev, Diane and I headed out the door to take the scenic route to Montrose- pausing for some tourist moments along the way.
Here's Diane at the top of Slumgullion Pass...
We stopped and took a look at the Black Canyon on the way into Montrose.
The next morning we set out for Colorado National Monument. Di wanted to do some hiking and see some scenery. We did a small hike, but boy did she see some scenery. I know she was close to puking a few times on some of the twisty canyon roads. Sometimes I forget what it's like to see things like that for the first time.
Here's a pic of me at the Monument, taking a quick power nap on a rock...
Dev's parents had a get together to celebrate both our wedding and Father's Day, so Diane and I whipped up a low country boil to feed the masses. I think everyone enjoyed it. I know we did.
A hummingbird even showed up for the party and started building a next on top of an extension cord on Dev's parents' patio.
The next morning (Sunday)Dev, Diane and I headed back for Alamosa, to try and relax and enjoy the last day of her stay. That evening we headed over to Cole Park to enjoy an outdoor concert by "Indian Nickel." The weather was beautiful. We managed to kick back and relax for a couple of hours. Here's a shot of Diane relaxing at the concert...
The next day, Di and Devin headed out for a short hike at Penitente Canyon. I stayed home and got some blogging and cooking done. That night was the only night we really got to cook together on this first half of the Cavalcade of Fun. We made a yummie dinner of grilled chicken, zucchini cakes, and herb focacchia. Needless to say, we never go hungry.
Unfortunately, Diane had to catch a plane back to Savannah the next morning, so we got up early and headed out to Colorado Springs.
I was sorry to see her go, but I also know that Part the Second of the Cavalcade of Fun 2009 will be even better than the first. So stay tuned for more cooking and fun with Diane and Mimi!
Diane also posted on her blog about the visit, so mosey on over there and check out her account.
Some mornings I wake up and I still can't believe we actually went through with it. After threatening to get married for over a year, we took the plunge.
It was a very simple ceremony, performed by a local judge, right outside the courthouse. The weather was as perfect as it could be here in Alamosa (plenty of sunshine but very windy), and things went off without a hitch.
Dev's family was there (unfortunately, mine could not attend, but my friend Diane from Georgia happened to be here visiting, so she stood up for me. She's like a sister to me, anyway, so it was perfect) and my friends Mel and Cheri from school and Claire, Connie, Kim and Debbie from my knitting circle came. Kim's husband, Brian, wants to get into wedding photography, so he came and took some groovy pics. Kim also brought a cake (the one you see in the pic above).
After the ceremony, we all walked over to the local brew pub and had some dinner.
All in all, I'd say it was exactly what we wanted it to be. Simple, un-fussy and to the point. I would have liked for my family to have been there, but I'm sure we will mark the occasion when we fly home at the end of July.
Here are a few more pics of the festivities....
Monday, June 15, 2009
The down side?? METRIC. I read a number of blogs from other countries, and the recipes on these blogs invariably give measurements in metric units. ARGGGHH!
I've tried doing the conversion math in the past- with disastrous results. But earlier this week I found a site that has opened up a whole new world of recipes for me (ok- so I had a little help from Dev on this one).
If you need to convert nasty metric units into nice, easy to understand standard units, go here. All you have to do is type the amount, then the units given and the units you want. Presto- your new measurements are right there for you to see!
I used this nifty site to convert the measurements for the flat bread crackers I'm making for the festivities this coming up week. I'll post about the crackers later...
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I've been banging around in the kitchen all day, anticipating the arrival of my fellow kitchen-adventurer, Diane.
I took a break whilst one of my experiments was in the oven and decided to see what was going on in the world of the internets.
Imagine my shock when the lead off article on the Yahoo! homepage was about the lousy economy threatening to destroy KRISPY KREME!!!
Please, say it ain't so. Why can't the economy destroy something I don't like...take McDonalds, or Burger King, or coconut farms, or licorice factories. Why Krispy Kreme?? Life will be difficult to live without Krispy Kreme. Ok- so I don't eat them much (because they are so good and so BAD for you) and they aren't really available where I live (except sometimes in boxes shipped God knows how far to get to my local supermarket). But life was richer just knowing that somewhere, someone just like me was biting into a fresh-off-the-conveyor-belt Krispy Kreme donut.
So- to keep this ultimate evil from happening, I want everyone who reads this blog (all 4 of you) to go out and buy dozens and dozens of Krispy Kreme donuts. We have to save this cultural icon! We have to preserve this wonderful treat for our children and their children and their children after them. Do you want your progeny to grow up in a world without the soft melty-goodness of a fresh, hot Krispy Kreme donut??? I know I don't want that. Selfishly, I don't want that for me. I want to go home to Savannah this summer and be able to gawk at the conveyor belt laden with hundreds of little glazed love pillows. I want to stand in the store and eat 2 of them right off the belt and wash them down with some ice cold milk.
Economy be damned!! I want my donuts!!
Monday, June 8, 2009
Dev and I went out looking at wedding flowers today.
I suppose I don't pay too much attention to flowers. I have never been willing to spend my valuable and all too sparse grocery money on cut flowers.
Perhaps this is why I almost choked when the helpful florist lady told me that a simple, handheld bouquet of 2 purple irises and a few yellow daisies was going to cost $45.00. Do you have any idea how much sushi you can get for $45.00?
So I decided I wasn't going to pay that.
I asked Dev to take me to City Market. That's right. I am buying my wedding flowers from a supermarket. You know why? Because I found my absolute favorite flower in the whole world there, and they will make a handheld bouquet of them for me (including greenery and ribbon) for $12.99. They are even making a buttonier(sp) for Dev.
What is my most favoritist flower in the whole world, you ask?? Why, it is the peony. I have always loved them, but they don't grow well back home. I didn't even see them in the case. Dev was looking around and called my attention to them.
Needless to say, I'm thrilled. I am getting my all time favorite flower and a buttonier for Dev for $22.00, instead of paying $55.00 for flowers I wasn't that thrilled with.
I guess I'll spend the extra $33.00 on sushi!!! :)
"Don't refuse the occasional wild goose chase...you never know what you'll catch."
- Author Unknown
I have been accused several times (with accuracy) of living a life full of wild goose chases. I've always been a follower of the mentality "Life's a journey- enjoy the ride." Efficiency and speed are rarely even on the list of things that influence my decisions.
Does this make me a bad person?? I hope not. But, even if it does, I doubt things will change much at this point!! :)
Sunday, June 7, 2009
"What's for breakfast?' said Pooh. 'What do you say, Piglet?'
"'I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?' said Piglet.
"Pooh nodded thoughtfully. 'It's the same thing,' he said."
- A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh (1926)
I was reading through an old copy of "Saveur" magazine today and I came across this quote. I thoroughly agree with Pooh on this one.
We will be doing a lot of this over the next few weeks.
It looks like we will be travelling quite a bit as schools start calling Dev to schedule interviews. We've had 3 so far, and next week we go back to Grand Junction for a second interview at Chatfield Elementary. Wish us luck!!!
Saturday, June 6, 2009
I become more and more like my mother everyday. I'm ok with that.
I have tons of things to blog about, but presently I am attempting to make my way through a mountain of papers that have piled up since school got out. As soon as I have finished the pile and can see the top of my desk, I'll take a few minutes and blog my little head off. Really. You'll see.