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, June 20, 2010

cantonese orange pork

one night this past week, i experimented with a recipe i found in a saved fine cooking magazine from june and july 2003.  this stir fry recipe is one of my favorites, since it is categorized under their regular feature cooking without recipes.  using a basic template, many different dinners can be made last minute.  the recipe is divided into three easy steps.  first, slice and season a choice of meat, chicken or shrimp.  then, choose the vegetables, and finally, create a sauce.

for tonight's dish, i used boneless pork and sliced into thin strips.  next, i chose carrots, broccoli, red onion, and green peppers.  i sliced each of these vegetables into small pieces.  for the sauce, i chose the cantonese orange sauce recipe given.  other selections are: spicy sichuan sauce, sesame soy sauce, or the chinese black bean sauce.

after the pork is cooked, stir fry the vegetables, and add the sauce.  here is the recipe for the orange sauce:
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch, 2 tsp soy sauce, 1/4 cup homemade chicken broth, 2 tbsp thawed frozen orange juice concentrate, 2 tbsp red wine, 1 1/2 tsp oyster sauce, 1 tsp sugar, and 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger. i purchase ginger at the grocery store in the produce aisle, and first remove the skin with a potato peeler.  then grate the amount needed for the recipe.

 after the sauce is mixed in a small bowl, and the vegetables are complete, add the sauce, heat for a minute or two and serve.  there are countless number of combinations to create with this recipe and it will always seem like a new dish.

ginger and cream biscuits

cook's illustrated offers a variety of great simple recipes, and this one is a classic.  it can be varied a number of different ways for breakfast, lunch or tea.  these biscuits use the standard ingredients including heavy cream, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  but, the choices make the difference. 

for these, i  tried crystallized ginger. using only 3 tablespoons mixed into the batter made the difference.  they were tasty and not sweet.  personally, i think even adding more would make the biscuit even more flavorful.  other suggestions given in the recipe would be to make these biscuits adding fresh herbs or 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese.  baking time would increase by a minute or two to make certain the cheese is fully incorporated.

time for a picnic

i have been reading this book by DeeDee Stovel for the past week looking for some new ideas for picnic fare.  every wednesday during the summer months, dow gardens offers lunchtime concerts under the white birch trees.  for the past couple of summers, brian and i seem to make a couple of these concerts and have never been disappointed.  so, i am planning our picnic lunch for an upcoming noon time rendezvous.

one of the best sandwiches that i make starts with a great bread, and i like to try different country breads.  DeeDee recommends lots of vegetables thinly sliced, such as paper thin cucumbers, transparent onion rings, and roasted red bell peppers.  these are my favorites as well, with lots of fresh spinach leaves instead of the usual lettuce.  brian prefers either peppercorn turkey breast or a maple ham slice added, whereas i can make a sandwich half from simply the crispy vegetables. cheese is optional, but i often like a very thin slice of provolone, with a condiment of peppercorn dressing.

a nice side to a sandwich is always fruit, and easily packed are beautiful red strawberries and an assortment of red and blue grapes.  these are always easy for a picnic and seem to be recommended by DeDee as well.

for dessert, a number of choices are offered in the book:  raspberry brownies, apricot almond bars, carrot cake, lemon bundt cake or even cookies. i am certain to find a couple of great cookie recipes and offer brian a selection. i truly enjoy a picnic and with live music and the beauty of dow gardens, summer is here to be enjoyed.

sweet woodruff

one of the best ground covers for shade also happens to be classified as an herb commonly known as sweet woodruff.  another name for this scented plant is galium.  the pretty leaves carry a scent throughout the summer and can be used when dried for sachets.  for the first year, i am going to try to dry some of the leaves on some screen.  another highlight of this plant is the beautiful white star-shaped flowers in the springtime, which brighten up my shady border.  this herb likes the shade, but without any sun at all may fail to bloom. this plant grows in my shade garden in my backyard and was given to me by my friend jennifer, who i met at the midland master gardener association.  thanks jennifer, i love this plant.