Come along with me as I journal about my latest cooking and gardening adventures. Discover what grows in my zone five garden, and see what new recipes I try from my cookbook collection each week.

As I share recipes and information from my kitchen, I invite readers to comment and share ideas along with me in this blog. I am looking to increase followers to my blog, so that I may learn more about cooking and gardening.

Since moving to Midland, Michigan, I have been reading and researching many cooking journals, cookbooks and collected recipes from the past thirty years. Organizing pictures of gardens I enjoy has also been a joy for me, as I continue to learn about garden design and horticulture.

angel food cakes

angel food cakes
this kitchen is seasoned with love

Sunday, May 30, 2010

orange raisin bread and a cafe latte

everyone loves a fruit bread. this recipe for orange raisin bread is easy and delicious. if fresh oranges are not in your fruit bowl, just substitute orange juice in the recipe. this recipe is easily adapted to omit the raisins and instead add chopped nuts. it also can be made with both ingredients. instead of making one large loaf, the recipe can be divided into two smaller loaf pans with an adjustment to the baking time. the large loaf bakes for 60 minutes.

taken from edible offerings, traverse city michigan.

1-3 oranges, 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 cup raisins, 2 tbsp shortening/butter, 1 egg, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 cup nuts.

squeeze juice from oranges to make one cup. grind orange rind and mix with raisins, or substitute dried orange peel. mix sugar, shortening, and the rest of the ingredients. i top my fruit breads with demeura sugar to add an interesting crunch to sweet breads.

bake 350 degrees for one hour/large loaf or 45 minutes for smaller loaves. cool, slice, and enjoy with a cafe latte.

wicker deck flower baskets

a couple of weeks ago i planted my three wicker deck baskets. they are located on the south side of the house, and receive morning and early afternoon sunshine. i choose full sun plants for these baskets and have enjoyed a different combination of flowers for the past two years.

this year, i chose white euphorbia to fill the planters, along with calibrachoa in coral pink to wave through the baskets. to trail from the baskets, i planted licorice plant and purple queen setcreasea. i chose this plant for it's color and leaf shape to add a bit of contrast to the baskets.

so far this year, the plants are thriving and require a nice watering every morning. the euphorbia has grown tremendously and gives a light feel to the baskets.

to fertilize the plants, i placed osmocote pot shots, two per basket, just under the surface of the soil.

english tea biscuits

today i felt like baking a classic british breakfast bread, english tea biscuits. actually, these are often served for afternoon tea and can be flavored with a variety of fruits.
sometimes these biscuits are called cream biscuits, since they are made with whipping cream. the recipe calls for rich milk, so to save a few calories, half and half could be also used.

the dough is very sturdy and comes together nicely in the bowl, and rolls out very easily. i use a bit of extra flour on some waxed paper to roll out the biscuits. this recipe makes around 15 depending on the size of the biscuit cutter. today, i chose an oval round. i also used dried orange peel, since i didn't have a fresh orange to grate for the recipe.

recipe for cream biscuits:
2 cups flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 5 tbsp butter, 1/2 cup rich milk, 1 rounded tsp. grated orange peel (could use lemon peel, lime or grapefruit peel), 4 tbsp. orange juice, and 1 beaten egg yolk for the glaze.

Measure flour, and add baking powder and salt. Cut butter into flour mixture. Stir in the rest of the ingredients to make a soft dough. Knead on floured surface, and roll into a 1/2 inch thickness. Brush top of biscuits with egg yolk to glaze. Bake in 450 degree oven for 12 minutes. Check and bake up to 15 minutes to brown biscuits.

These can be served with fruit or egg dishes for breakfast. Offer guests a variety of jams, jellies or lemon curd.

summer cookbooks

i have a collection of summer cookbooks, since summer cooking incorporates the freshness of foods and herbs from the garden. here are two of my favorite summer books, one by susan branch and the other from the vineyard. each year i try to make something different from these books, and this year i was looking at several recipes that sounded amazing. i am going to try the grilled chicken on rosemary skewers along with the stir fry sugar snap peas from the vineyard book soon. also, the sweet corn pepper salsa looks like a great side for broiled fish, so i plan to purchase the ingredients for this recipe this week. it is not difficult to find a dessert recipe that sounds tasty, and the black dog ginger cookies are a bit different that my favorite recipe for the same cookie. so...i will experiment with those as well.

from susan branch's book, i plan to make the lemon linguini this week along with the parsley salad. i also have my eye on the sunshine salad made with walnuts, carrots and raisins. i have made the profiteroles in the past and they are delicious, so i will put them on the list to serve next weekend with ice cream. check back to see these recipes and my taste test commentary.