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

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

roasted boneless pork loin glaze

to keep a boneless pork roast moist and flavorful, here is a great glaze recipe:

1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
orange liqueur or madria sangria

heat all ingredients in a saucepan, reserving the sangria until the last.  the last 45 minutes of roasting time, apply the glaze to the pork loin.  more warm glaze can added when serving.

shredded potatoes au gratin

another wonderful side dish for a holiday breakfast meal is hash brown potatoes.  i really like barefoot contessa's recipe for potatoes, and have made them on several occasions.  however, sometimes i don't have enough time for her preparation, and have opted to use pre-shredded potatoes.  i totally recommend this recipe for those occasions. the potatoes are served individually which makes a nice presentation.

preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  lightly spray 6 ramekins with nonstick cooking spray.  combine about 1/2 bag of refrigerated shredded or thawed frozen hash brown potatoes with some half and half  to moisten, add about 1 1/4 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup sliced green onions, sea salt and black pepper.

place the mixture into the ramekins.  of course, the whole bag of potatoes could be prepared if your guest list is larger and enough ramekins are available.  sprinkle the tops with additional cheese.

bake on a 1/2 sheet pan until bubbly and golden brown and the potatoes are fully cooked.  this may take at least 45 minutes.

easy pineapple upside down cake

i have owned this pineapple upside down pan for about thirty years.  it is a wonderful pan for this cake, as it has impressions into the pan to allow for space for the pineapple.  this makes the pineapple topping rise a bit above the surface of the cake, allowing for an attractive presentation.  i would recommend finding one if you don't like the appearance of your traditional pineapple cake.

this recipe is very easy, since it uses a standard box white or yellow cake mix. the topping is quite standard as well, but can be changed to your family's taste.

here is the recipe:
1/4 cup margarine, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar (option to use 1/2 cup light brown, and 1/2 cup dark brown)
1 20 ounce can pineapple slices, drained well and patted dry
1 jar maraschino cherries without stems, drained and patted dry
1 box yellow or white cake mix (mix as directed)

heat oven to 350 degrees.  melt margarine and place in bottom of pan.  add brown sugar and then place pineapple slices on top. decorate with cherries inside of the pineapple and all open spaces around the pineapple.  press into the sugar. i have also substituted dried cranberries and they have also been tasty.

prepare the cake mix as directed and place over the other ingredients.  as an option, reserve the drained pineapple juice in a measuring cup and add water to equal the amount on the cake mix package.  so, the pineapple juice is replacing a portion of the water in the mix.

bake this cake at least 40 to 45 minutes or until completely done.  when out of the oven, run a knife around the edges of the pan and invert onto a cake stand.  allow the pan to stay over the cake for just about 3 minutes to allow all the brown sugar to drizzle over the cake.  remove the pan.  this cake can be served warm or cooled and should be stored in the refrigerator. 

serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

roasted tomatoes and shrimp with feta cheese

roasted vegetables consistently have more flavor, texture and a better taste.  for this recipe, i begin with 2 pints of grape tomatoes, and drizzle them with a high quality olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper in a large ceramic casserole dish.  next, they are placed in a preheated oven at 450 degrees and roasted for 15 to 20 minutes.

during that time period, i chop a full jar of roasted red peppers, after rinsing them well. i also prepare my shrimp.  i like to see the large size shrimp in this dish, so i use a whole bag of 26-30 count raw shrimp which have been cleaned with tail on.  i thaw the shrimp just before using and remove the tails.

after the tomatoes have roasted, i add the shrimp and peppers and cook until the shrimp are pink.  this is about 10 to 15 more minutes.  this step helps to continue to roast the tomatoes. 

when ready to serve, toss with 1/2 cup of parsley flakes or fresh chopped parsely, and one 4 ounce package of feta cheese that has been cut into large cubes.  a fresh squeeze of lemon juice is optional, and i did not add to the dish this past week. this is a very tasty dish and a nice break from standard shrimp stir frys.

i served this over rice with a crusty sliced bread.  a small side salad also complements the meal.

roasted granny smith apple and pears

one of my favorite treats is warmed breakfast fruit.  i usually like to serve warm fruit for holiday meals, and this year was no exception. for Easter, i prepared this recipe of roasted granny smith apples and pears.

here are the directions:
core, peel and slice 2-3 granny smith apples
core, peel and slice 2 large green pears
1/4 cup raisins or cranberries
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons honey (i used orange flavored honey this year)
2 teaspoons fresh orange peel or grated rind

preheat oven to 350 degrees.  combine apples, pears and raisins in a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.  toss well.
combine water, honey and orange peel in a bowl.  pour over the apples.

cover and bake for at least 45 minutes.  serve warm.  this recipe will easily serve 8 people for breakfast.
this dish is a nice complement to eggs or french toast.

this dish will stay warm in the oven covered with foil or in a chafing dish. it will reheat the next day in the microwave and still keep texture and taste.

ham and cheese breakfast casserole

one of my better recipes for the breakfast crowd is this ham and cheese casserole.  like many others, it can be prepared a day ahead and just baked in the morning.

this recipe is easily adapted to include either bacon, ham or a breakfast sausage, if desired.  select a large deep casserole dish and prepare the following:

several slices of a crusty round bread
cooked ham, bacon or sausage
1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
8 eggs (i use 4 eggs and the rest egg beaters)
1 1/2 cups of half and half
1 teaspoon salt

arrange the bread at the base of a casserole.  layer with the meat selection.  then, place cheese on top for the next layer.  pour egg mixture over the top.  chill overnight.  bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until done.

serve this with a fruit salad and a wonderful muffin or scone. this recipe will serve at least 8 guests.