Thursday, June 30, 2011

Limoncello

Limoncello

Like a lot of you, during the summer, my thoughts turn to putting things up for the winter.  Though, instead of the usual green beans and tomatoes, mine almost always involve alcohol.  After making cranberry liqueur and orange liqueur last year, and totally loving them, I decided to expand my alcohol preserving a bit this year.

So, I turned to one of my favorite putting up books, Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projectsby Karen Solomon.  Seriously, a book that has this sentence:  “Make your own bacon, cheese, marshmallows, and more” on the cover, is my kind of book! 

I can’t tell you how this turns out, because it’s still seeping, but I have yet to meet a homemade liqueur that I didn’t love.  I might leave it as limoncello, but I might do her recipe for limoncello di crema, where you add a milky simple syrup mixture and keep it in the freezer, which she recommends as then serving as dessert shots!  Sounds good to me!

limoncello

Like most liqueurs, this is really easy, it just takes time.  But if you need help, Coco has experience!

Limoncello

  • 8 lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups vodka
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

Peel the zest from 4 lemons, avoiding the white pith.  Pour the vodka into a clean, wide mouth jar, with a tight fitting lid.  Add the zest, seal the jar and let sit for 2 weeks, shaking the jar daily.  Then strain and discard the lemon zest.

Make the simple syrup by combining the sugar and the water in a small saucepan.  Heat until the sugar is dissolved.   Let cool completely and add the fresh squeezed juice from the remaining 4 lemons (straining out seeds).  Add the lemon syrup to the vodka and let it mellow for about 6 more weeks. 

Store it in a cool dark place, or in the freezer.

Makes about 3 cups.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What Was it Wednesday?

Pizza

You’re looking at June 5, 2009.  Pizza, obviously.  What do you think?  I see some green – maybe some pesto?  Plenty of cheese, of course!

*** What was it Wednesday – my attempt to work my way through my backlog of cooking photos.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Garden Tuesday–Hollyhocks!

hollyhocks

Hollyhocks with oakleaf hydrangea in the background.

hollyhocks

They haven’t done so well this year.  They have rust and you can see where the leaves are all lacey like from it.  That’s a malva growing in the middle, that stuff grows everywhere!

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Basil!! And more basil!!

Basil

If you are anything like me, you may miss a blog post now and then.  Oh sure, you try and read everything everyone posts, but sometimes life gets in the way, and before you know it, Google Reader says you have 1000+ blog posts to read.  So, maybe you missed my posts last year about basil, more specifically harvesting your basil.  So, this is a repeat of a sorts, using this years basil.  The pic above?  That’s my first basil harvest of the season.  I start out with about 3 basil plants, when they get about 10-12 inches tall, I trim them all the way back to about 4 inches tall, making sure to leave a few leaves.  Then I bring in all the stems and put them in little vases.

Rooting basil

After a couple of weeks, this happens!!!   Yep, basil roots crazy easy! 

Basil

I take all my new little basil plants and plant them back in my herb bed.  Now, I have eleven basil plants.  In about a month, I will harvest all of them, and begin the process of freezing the basil, either in pesto, or just chopped up in olive oil and frozen. 

This will be my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by   Cinzia from Cindystar

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weekend Wine #64

Pouilly Fuisse

Pouilly Fuisse, Louis Jadot, France, 2008.  $21.00.  We say:  fruit up front, pear and apple, with a bit of citrus, a little honey at the end.  Buy again:  Probably.  This was pretty much at the top of price point for wine, but it was very good.  Every once in a while we dabble above our usual five dollars a bottle!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Weekend Cat Blogging #316 HERE!!!

Smudge

Someone asked Smudge if it was hard work hosting Weekend Cat Blogging.

Smudge

He was going to reply, but then he fell asleep.

 

 

This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by ME (and well Smudge, though you can see how much help he was).

Friday, June 24, 2011

Ginger Beer and Apple Pops

Ginger Beer and Apple Pops

Okay.  Did you order the pop molds and the Pops book, back when I showed you mine?  No!  Well, go right now and order it, because by the time you finish reading this post, you’ll be sorry if they are not rapidly on their way to you.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my ice cream maker, but boy-oh-boy using pops molds is so easy!  Practically anything can become a pop.  Mix it up, pour it in the molds, pop in the freezer, freezer does it’s job, and bingo..instant dessert or treat.

Donna Hay Magazine

Even though I have my new Pops book to work through, I remembered Donna Hay Magazine #55 that had a gorgeous picture of pops on the front.   And guess what?!  Remember the Banana Ginger Granita?  Well I still had some ginger beer and she had a recipe for Ginger Beer and Apple Pops…how cool is that?! 

Ginger Brew

These were so yummy!  Very much a grown up pop!  The ginger brew gives it a heady spicy taste, with lots of ginger heat.  Then the apples provide a welcome bite of sweetness.  Perfect and oh so easy! 

Ginger Beer and Apple Pops

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups ginger beer
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 small Granny Smith apple thinly sliced

Make simple syrup by combining sugar and water in a small saucepan.  Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves, then turn to high and boil for one minute.  Allow to cool completely.

Pour the simple syrup, the ginger beer and the lime juice in a bowl with a pourable spout (I used my large pyrex measuring cup).  Arrange the apple slices in 8 x 1/3 cup-capacity pop molds.  Pour the ginger mixture over, allowing at least 1/4 inch headroom for expansion.  Insert sticks and freeze for at least 4 hours.  Makes 8. 

 

 

This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Chive Pesto

Potatoes with Chive Pesto

Sometimes my basil is ready to harvest, sometimes it’s not.  But what is always ready is my chives.  Chives look a lot like grass, and like grass, they sprout up everywhere and grow with wild abandon.  So, I am always looking for ways to use them.   Because you know, this is the summer of cleaning out my garage and using my herbs.

And thank you Bon Appetite for giving me a fantastic way to use my chives.   I found this Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Chive Pesto in their May 2011 issue.  

What I take away from this is two things…one…chive pesto is fantastic.  This recipe makes plenty and I used some of the leftover on a grilled cheese sandwich.  So good.  Second..why have I never thought of roasting potatoes and then quickly tossing them in something flavorful?  This will be a new technique for me that I plan on doing all sorts of things with! 

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Chive Pesto

  • 1 3/4 lb. fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (packed) chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup (packed) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, or pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Preheat the oven to 425.  Toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper.  Spread on a cookie sheet and roast, turning occasionally until golden brown, 25-30 minutes.

    While the potatoes are roasting, combine chives, parsley, almonds and garlic in a food processor.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Slowly add the oil through the feed tube, while the machine is running.   Transfer to a small bowl, stir in the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons water, and season with salt and pepper.

    Put the potatoes on a platter and drizzle with half the sauce (I put them back in their bowl and tossed them).  Serve with the remaining pesto (or save for sandwiches!!).

    This will be my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by  Chris from Mele Cotte

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    What Was it Wednesday?

    Portobello Mushroom

    You’re looking at June 4, 2009.  Yes, I know.  It’s a Portobello mushroom.

    Portobellow mushroom sandwich

    Apparently I did this with it.

    ****What Was it Wednesday – my attempt to work my way through my backlog of cooking photos.

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Garden Tuesday–Daylilies

    Daylilies

    Finally.  We got some much needed rain!

    Daylilies

    Really the daylilies were ever so thankful.

    Daylilies

    Rain is good.

    Daylilies

    Don’t they look all nice and clean after the rain?

    Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Blue Lagoon Pops

    Blue Lagoon Pops

    I don’t know about you, but in the summer, everything is better on a stick.  Chicken, veggies, and yep, your cocktail. 

    I don’t know what it says about me, but the first section I chose to use from my new Pops! by Krystina Castella was the Cocktail Pops section.  With choices like:  Tequila Sunrise Pops, Margarita Pops, and Cosmopolitan Pops, you can expect a lot of frozen cocktails are in my future. 

    Oh my, these were good!  My only complaint and it’s all my fault is that it called for Maraschino cherries soaked in vodka.  I had no cherries!  Believe me, a vodka soaked cherry at the tip of this pop would have been fantastic!  Also, believe me, Maraschino cherries were immediately added to my grocery list.

    Since I am a contributing member to Cocktail Puppy,  a pretty lackluster one, I might add, I am actually posting the recipe over there.  So, you really must click over to Cocktail Puppy, see this and all the other wonderful cocktails. 

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    Weekend Wine Reviews #63–Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc

    Cupcake Suavignon Blanc

    Cupcake Vineyards, 2010, Sauvignon Blanc.  $7.79 – Costco.  They say:  the aromas are integrated, delighting the senses with flavors of Meyer Lemons, Key limes and finish that awakens the appetite.  We say:  aromas of citrus and freshly mown grass (hey, we can sound fancy too, if we try).  Very smooth, citrus, herby, grassy.  Buy again:  Yes!! 

    Happy Father’s Day!!!

    Saturday, June 18, 2011

    Weekend Cat Blogging #315 and Saturday Pet Blog Hop

    Coco

    I bet I’ve got something that you don’t have.

    Coco

    Really.  I bet you don’t have one.

    Coco

    What is it?

    Coco

    A kitty that likes to play in the sprinkler!

     

     

    This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Mind of Mog.

    AND next week is me!!!  So get you kitty posts ready and come join Smudge, Patchouli, and Coco right here!



    This will be my entry for The Saturday Pet Blogger Hop! 

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    Italian Rice Salad

    Italian Rice Salad

    I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time breaking from the old …one protein, one starch, two veggies plates of the past.  When I serve a meal without a starch, it feels like it’s missing something to me.  Goodness knows, I love my pasta, rice and potatoes.

    So, when I find a side dish that gives me my starch, and my veggies, I am all over it.  Like this, Italian Rice Salad, from Cooking Light. 

    I’m not going to repost the recipe, I encourage you to follow that link, because this really is an excellent side dish.  I made a note that it is the perfect side dish for grilled foods.  You can make this ahead and have it ready to go.   It would also be great for potlucks.  The only changes I made:  I used brown basmati rice,  cooked it in my rice cooker and chilled it in the fridge (didn’t do the spread out on a cookie sheet that they recommend). 

     

     

    This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!

    and

     

    This will be my entry for Souper Sundays (Soup, Salad, or Sammie) hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.  UNLESS, I forget to email her, which is highly likely.  And she only encourages me, by sometimes picking up my links and basically allowing me to be a very bad blogger!

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    Knob Creek Whiskey

    Knob Creek Whiskey

    Is there a “Bottles Anonymous” group?  If so, I need to join.  I love bottles.  Blue bottles, green bottles, bottles with interesting shapes.  When Mr. Sidewalk Shoes, brought home this Knob Creek whiskey in this wonderful bottle, I swooned.  And then gave him strict orders to hurry up and drink it up, because I wanted 3 of them.  I had visions of them lined up holding pretty flowers.  It’s hard to tell in this photo, but this is a big bottle, and it has a sort of old fashioned medicine bottle look to it.  When I get all three bottles, I’ll fill them with flowers and take a pic, so you can see my vision. 

    In the mean time, hubby, is busy trying to accomplish his task.  It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    What Was it Wednesday?

    You’re looking at June 4, 2009.  I don’t know!  What do you think?  Maybe some sort of tapenade?

    ****What was it Wednesday, my attempt at working my way through my backlog of cooking photos.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Garden Tuesday–House Finches

    House finch

    After the tornadoes on April 27th, we have only seen one gold finch at our bird feeder. 

    House finch

    Before the tornadoes, we would usually have a swarm of gold finches at our feeder.  It was impossible to tell how many they had, it was a constant revolving door of finches.

    house finches

    I believe I heard these house finches say, “Gold finches, shmold finches.  What are we, chopped liver?”

     

    Edited****I've been told my link is not working. I am away from my computer, I'll try to get it fixed tonight!!!

    Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    Pops, Pops, and More Pops

    Tovolo star pop molds

    I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but here, it’s hot.  It’s 90+ degrees everyday.  So my mind turns to cool things.  Must have cool things.   Like these Tovolo Green Star Ice Pop Molds.

    Groovy Ice Pop Molds

    Or these, Tovolo Yellow Groovy Ice Pop Molds

    Pops Icy Treats for Everyone

    Or how about, Pops!by Krystina Castella for ideas on what to do with your pop molds!

    Yep, after coming in from gardening and desperately wanting an ice pop, and having none in the freezer, I decided something had to be done about it.  Off to Amazon I went, and as usual, I totally fell for the if you like this, you’ll love buying all three of these things together.  And they were right.  I have already made one set of pops, and while eating one hubby said, “Maybe you should buy two sets so that we can have choices and always have some in the freezer.”  Silly boy, I’m already on top of it, not only did I buy two sets, but I also got the book for ideas. 

    So, this is just an intro, a promise of good things to come.