Monday, September 15, 2014

Best Potato Salad Ever!

Summer makes me not want to cook, mainly because the heat gets into me. Past few weeks have been crazy here over MA. it was a great change to use to clear the refrigerator and make few cold dishes my son and I always find ways to eat cold food. I bought a bag of red skin potatoes few weeks back and wanted make sure that I use all. 

i like potato salad made with redskin potatoes because it adds a beautiful color to the dish. After spending few hours in the net I was able to narrow the dish to few recipes. Funny thing is I like few ingredients in one and I did not like some in the other. 

Usually what happen in a situation like this is I create my own with mix of recipes. It was the birth of our potato salad add one more thing I was able to clear out few almost empty bottles from the refrigerator as well and it is always a plus making space!  

We loved it so much I could not take any pictures of the potato salad because it was gone, we were too hungry to control ourselves to take few pictures of the potato salad on a dish, kind of sad. 

However, I was able to capture the process of making the salad you could see the dressing minus the redskin potatoes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

This summer I baked!

This summer, I decided to work on creative frosting. In other words I want to know all about frosting and making it white and fluffy, frosting a cake with no crumbs, and finally to know all about frosting patterns. It was a success with almost every week baking a cake. The heat was so high somedays and I was thinking why did I came up with this crazy idea to bake during summer, but there is always little people who loved my baking. Licking the cake batter off of the spatula to taste testing and running around when I finished decorating a cake was heart warming to see and experience with my little girl. She wanted to frost a cake so much! I promised her that I will be helping her to achieve her little goal soon!

My favorite was the little sunflower that I frosted and decorated with simple frosting recipe. It was fun to see how everything came together! We are planning big for next spring with mini cakes to celebrate with tiny sandwiches which I feel like a long ways to plan. Our backyard welcoming summer was a huge success with our neighbors this past summer.

The hydrangea cake was definitely fun creating, May be next time I might work on covering the entire cake with little flowers. At the end  really liked how it turned out. Varigated frosting was a winner! It was an orange cake with strawberry preserve in the middle with almond flavored frosting! It was the most flavorful cake ever, I have to admit!

Finally the very first cake which includes transferring patterns was fun to make and frost. Little Nicolette was so confused which to eat first. Everyone enjoyed summer baking hopefully we will continue this into fall with few exceptions. Perhaps we will try to bake during weekend so it will be ready for the busy school nights!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Camping August 2014

This summer we did a bit of local traveling as spouse to international. We decide to do that due to many reasons. However, at the end I am glad that I made that decision because I needed it more than anyone in our family. Our camping trip to Vermont was super fun! We enjoyed every bit of it. 

I was so happy that my children had company to do what they want to mainly Nicolette had fun with her friends. I had couple of drinks every night with really good company. 

It was educational with the right amount of amusement for every one, we learned how cheese is made at Cabot cheese factory and how Ben & Jerry makes sweet ice cream, matter of fact we were there twice! It was very educational and inspiring. 

We were adventurous to kayak to Jasper Island after lunch, I wish I had hiking shoes, then we would definitely miss dinner. We enjoyed kayaking back although it was tiring our arms, mainly me compiling to my oldest. 

Burlington, Vermont has so much to offer, community gardens, breath taking beautiful lakes, earth clock, and so much healthy food.

Our favorite was The Spot for breakfast it was neat place! I want to say 2014 summer was a blast! I am so sad it is coming to an end. 

I will be making a 2015 summer bucket list soon!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Peach Chutney

When I get home from school on the days that I don't have to go to night classes, I enjoy the time with everyone at home with a quick snack. It is rewarding to open a bottle of jam or chutney to spread on a toasted english muffin or a slice of bread. 

Stepping into my second year as a much season canner and understanding the elements of canning has push me to explore the possibilities with canning and pickling throughout the year. 
My goal this year is to push the boundaries to do more canning towards the late winter, that would be great to have to stove on during cold winter months. Perhaps watch the snow fall with few jars of canning on hand would be an ideal snow day. 

This summer feeling the new territory of chutney making is extremely satisfying to me and to close friends who gets to enjoy them. Some are new to chutney embraced it with new taste buds. When I was a teenager, my mum took me to a christmas party of her friend. I tried chutney for the very first time with pork and to this day I remember that moment. 

However, American chutney tends to gravitate towards more sweeter side of my taste buds, but I do crave for Sri Lankan chutney. I might work more with chutney making next year to create something closer to Sri Lankan palette.  

This is my very first attempt to make peach chutney, I have to admit spices cooked in harmoniously with peaches makes this a very desirable chutney to enjoy with pork chops. I took one of these to the camping trip and it was the star during snacking. I followed the canning queen Marisa’s recipe. I would certainly add more heat to this on the next round of chutney making. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Zuchini Bread

When I planted the zucchini seeds this spring, I did not expect to have much because of the shade we get from the trees in our yard. However, I was happy to have decent amount of zucchini crop this summer. Did not plant any yellow squash this year, but zucchini was able to make up the yellow squash crop. 

I managed to make two loafs of zucchini bread past week and it was delicious. Used olive oil instead of butter and it is a great healthy option and it did not comprise the taste at all. Both my older and the younger enjoy it very much and not  single loaf left the house.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Peach Preserve with Almonds and Lemon Thyme...

Eastern Peaches were on sale not as low as last year, but it is a good reason for me to can few pounds. Now that I am a bit confidence canner, I am experimenting few new canning recipes. I have few small bushes of thyme growing in my vegetable garden this year comparing to last year. I am very thankful that I have an abundance of herbs this year. You can find few varieties of thyme I have German, English, and Lemon. Out of all I have developed a keen interest on lemon thyme and loved it, it has a subtle lemon flavor and an aroma which is heavenly to make sauces. 

I used about 8-10 cups peeled,pitted, and diced peaches
1 cup silvered almonds
6 cups sugar
2 lemons zested and juiced 
3 teaspoons of lemon thyme leaves 

Place everything in the pan except the thyme and almonds cook until jab cook about 15 to 20 minutes depending on your stove temperature. Add lemon thyme and silvered almonds and continue to cook for about another 5 to 6 minutes. 

If the peaches have not broken use an immersion blender to break pieces at this point. I did not add any pectin solely decided to depend on lemons. 

Have your canning gear ready and start the process to can. Boil the jar for about 10 to15 minutes and turn off the stove and let the cans sit in the water for about 5 minutes.

 Next take them out place them on a dry towel and you will hear the lovely popping sounds of your cans.  Check them after a day and store them in nice cold and dry place and enjoy them.

I took one for camping and had it on a lightly toasted English muffin with some tea and it was heaven. Every one enjoyed the peach jam! I hope I can save some for long winter!

I followed Liana Krissoff's and Marisa McClellan recepies but did some twisting to use all fruits. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Purple Cabbage...

Last year a neighbor surprised me with a purple cabbage from his garden. I truly did not know what to make with it other than adding it to my salad. I made a salad and took it to school for lunch. 

This year I bought a purple cabbage from the local market and decided to pickle it. My goal this year to have food from home for long school nights. That being said, I decided to pickle my red cabbage it was so beautiful, when I sliced it lengthwise. I took few pictures before I chopped them to skinny stripes. 

All I need was couple of spoons of pickling spices and I was ready to go. I can’t wait to try them. According to the recipe it needed only six days to cure and ready to eat. 

This being the first year that I am pickling vegetables I am kind of excited to try few more recipes before the season ends. 

I love how these jewels turned out, it sure adds a beautiful hue to my pantry. Hopefully less time prepping food on weeknights.