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

Saturday, March 19, 2011

spring garden

a quick stroll through the garden today allowed me to come across lots of green growth hidden beneath the leaves.  i found yarrow, thyme, lamb's ears, crocus, hyacinth bulbs, daffodils, and even rhubarb.

the sun was shining and many of my garden plants were waiting to have wet leaves removed from their crowns. 

although the temperature today in michigan was only in the mid 40's, the sun warmed the ground and seemed to bathe the plants in much needed light for their growth.

spring is here and is welcomed.

orange zest whale sugar cookies

these sugar cookies can be cut into any shape for any occasion.  the dough is a sturdy consistency and must be chilled for one hour before rolling and cutting into shapes.

preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  mix 1/2 cup unsalted butter with 1/4 cup Crisco, and then add 1 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.  mix very well.  blend in 2 1/2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon of salt. next, add  2 1/2 tablespoons of orange zest and mix well.  incorporate the dough into a flat rectangle and place covered on a 1/2 sheet pan. 

chill for one hour.  remove and place on a flour covered surface.  roll out cookies and cut into shapes.  place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until light brown.  this recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies, depending on size of cutters used.  after baking, i added the candy eyes.

option:  use lemon zest instead of orange zest.

cherry and cinnamon scones

enjoy these simple scones for a wonderful breakfast treat any weekend morning.  first, heat the oven to 400 degrees.  in a large bowl, mix 1 3/4 cup flour, with 1/3 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  then add, 1/3 cup of unsalted butter cut into the mixture until crumbly.

the add, 1/3 cup of milk or half and half.  and, 1 egg, beaten.  when mixed, add 1/2 cup of dried cherries.  mix together well and then place dough on a slight floured board.  pat into a circle about 8 inches wide.  place the round onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  sprinkle the top with sugar.  lightly score the circle into segments, but do not cut apart.  bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.

this is delicious warm from the oven, served with fruit, tea or coffee.

green eggs and ham

to celebrate st. Patrick's day this year, i made green eggs and ham omelettes for my family.  here is the omelette during cooking.  i used a mixture of egg beaters and eggs, and whisk them well, pouring into the heated omelette pan.  i usually use a slice of margarine mixed with a couple of teaspoons of olive oil pre-heated in the pan prior to pouring the eggs into the pan.

i added spinach, salt, and pepper.  when the eggs were fully cooked, i added in the deli slice of ham, and folded the omelette over into the traditional shape.  these omelettes will stay warm in the oven while the rest of the omelettes are cooked for the remaining members of the family.

if desired, spinach can be added to the pan first, before the eggs are added.  the omelettes will have more green on the exterior instead of just inside of the dish. 

pacific pineapple and pork stir fry

for a tropical evening dinner, try this easy stir fry recipe.  first, brown a sliced white onion in one tablespoon of olive oil.  next, add sliced green and red peppers, along with sliced carrots on the diagonal.  if desired, shredded carrots may be used for this dish.

then, add grilled pork slices and pineapple chunks that have been drained.  reserve the pineapple juice from the can.  allow all of these flavors to combine in the skillet for at least 10 minutes.  season with salt, pepper, sliced green onions on the diagonal, and toasted sesame seeds. as the dish continues to cook for not more than 30 minutes, additional moisture can be added with the reserved pineapple juice.  this will allow the vegetables to steam and heat through for proper serving temperature.

serve with white rice that has been fluffed with a fork.

irish soda bread

Irish soda bread is a standard for st. Patrick's day.  we enjoyed the traditional recipe for dinner, along with green eggs and ham, and cabbage and leek gratin. this recipe is very similar to a scone recipe and takes about one hour to bake in the oven.  golden raisins could be substituted if desired.

here is the recipe for the bread:  preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix 3 1/4 cups flour with 1/3 cup of sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1 tsp baking soda.  Add 1 tsp salt in the large bowl.  Next, cut in 1/2 cup or 1 stick of unsalted butter into the mixture until fine and crumbly.  Add 1 1/3 cups of buttermilk and 1/2 cup of raisins.

Place dough on a flat surface, lightly flour and knead until smooth. Shape into a round loaf, no more than 2 inches in thickness.  Place on a greased baking sheet.
Mark and "X" on the top of the loaf with a knife.  Sprinkle with more sugar.

Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown.  Cool slightly and serve. This is a wonderful easy non-yeast bread that can be made in just over one hour.  Very tasty too!