Thursday, July 31, 2008

Canning Pears



This is the time of year when I can pears. I started canning a few years ago when I was able to have access to fresh fruit that was picked locally just the day before. Pears are one of my favorite. It is a little time consuming, and a bit messy, but it is all worth it in the end. You know a perfect pear when there is a slight blush on one side of it. They bruise very easily, so handel them gently. After skinning the pear, I dip it in citrus water bath so they won't brown. I then cut it in half, and scoop out the middle with a melon baller. It is necessary, but tricky, to pack the fruit in the jars as tightly as you can without mushing the pear. Packing the fruit tightly helps the fruit to not float to the top during the processing time. The best book I have found for canning is the "Ball Complete Book of Home Canning."















The Perfect Green Sauce

I saw Mariel Hemingway on the food network being interviewed by Rachael Ray. In this episode, Mariel showed how she made this wonderful green sauce that she puts on everything; fish, chicken, or salads. Admittedly it did look suspicious. After all it was very GREEN. The ingredients were not unique, but not items that I would have ever thought to put together. I decided to buy her book, "Healthy Living from the Inside Out". The green sauce recipe is in the book, however the recipe in the book is not quite like what she did on the show. The variations from the show included an unfiltered apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of stevia (an herb used for a sweetener). It is a wonderful recipe that you just kind of have to adjust to your own taste.


Green-Green Sauce & Dip
adapted from Mariel Hemingway's
"Healthy Living from the Inside Out"

1 bag baby spinach
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup "French's Mustard"
4 kalamata olives and a splash of juice from the bottle
1/4 cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1 pinch of stevia
water as needed

Put everything in a blender and blend until smooth. Use water as needed to get the desired consistency. Use on salads, fish, or meat.

Thanks Mariel Hemingway!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Days of Salad

In the summer I look forward to lots of green salads. My salads must always have heirloom tomatoes, avocados, English cutecumbers, micro greens, and goat cheese. Sometimes I use mache, endive, or baby spinach for the base of the salad. I recently discovered an orange vinegar at the store. It made a wonderful vinaigrette dressing for the salad.


Orange Vinaigrette

3 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp orange vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

pinch curry powder

Whisk vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, and curry powder together. Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the vinegar mixture while whisking. Pour over your favorite salad!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Carmel-by-the-Sea

Last summer I was able to go to the beautiful California seaside town of Carmel. It is hands down one of my favorite California towns. I promised myself that I would take an entire afternoon to walk up and down the streets to take pictures of the cottages. The gardens in these homes are usually beautiful. One of the many charms of Carmel is that there are not any house numbers. Each house is uniquely named. This gate artfully displayed the house name as "Le Chat". While in Carmel I had tea at the Tuck Box . They have a wonderful patio, and delicious buttered scones! On the side are a couple of jams that are made there, and a small bowl of whipped cream. Who could ask for anything more?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Strawberry Lemonade

Have you ever had a moment on a hot summer day when you craved lemonade? I don't mean the kind of lemonade that you get out of a machine or in the frozen isle of the grocery store. I am talking about fresh squeezed, juicy, & tart lemons. Well, that was me today. As the temperature climbed, I could not stand it any longer, & I went to the store in search of my lemons.

I grew up with three huge lemon trees. There was never any need to buy a lemon in the store. In fact, we made fun of people who had to buy the tiny lemons at the grocery. The lemons we grew were a special variety called "Ponderosa Lemons". They were the size of grapefruit. We made pitcher after pitcher of lemonade.

Today I thought I would do a little twist on my lemonade. I have had many times in restaurants strawberries, blueberries, cherries, or some sort of other fresh fruity concoction in my lemonade. I also once saw in a Martha Stewart wedding book with various flavors of lemonade served in large glass biscotti jars. It was quite stunning seeing the different colours of beverages in the icy containers. So, I got my Ball "Complete Book of Home Preserving" out. They have an excellent recipe for not only fresh concentrate, but one that you can bottle for future use.

The result? Wonderful!