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

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

farmer's market pickles

last Saturday we made a trip to midland's farmer's market.  it was a wonderful experience filled with people, families, noise, and a tremendous selection of great food.

we purchased these fresh cucumbers and i promptly tried a new recipe for refrigerator pickles.  i have already posted a recipe for pickles on this blog, which is Martha's easy recipe.  however, i tried a new recipe this weekend and love it equally.

using about 10 small size cucumber pickles, slice into spears and chunks and place in a bowl.  add one sliced vidalia onion to the bowl.

next, in a glass bowl, mix 2/3 cup white distilled vinegar, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon celery seed, and 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed.  microwave this mixture for 3 minutes allowing time for the sugar to melt into the liquid.

pour over the pickles and the onions in the bowl and then divide into clear glass jars.  cover and place in the refrigerator for at least one day before eating.  these are crisp and tasty fresh pickles.  delicious.

chocolate cookies

here is a recipe for an old fashioned drop cookie that is perfect if your family is a fan of dark chocolate.  this is from martha's cookie book.  recently, i attended a garden club potluck and took these cookies to the event. this recipe makes 4 dozen cookies

to make the cookies:   stir together 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour, 3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl.

next, in the bowl of an electric mixer, mix 2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature with 2 cups granulated sugar.  then, add 2 large eggs, and 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract.  add flour mixture slowly.

form into a flat disk and wrap the cookies in plastic.  i place on a 1/4 sheet pan to store in the refrigerator for at least one hour.  the cookie dough is very soft and will firm up in the refrigerator.  when ready to bake, using a cookie scoop, form into small balls and roll in sanding sugar. place on parchment lined baking sheets or use silpat mats.

bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes.  the cookies will be soft from the oven.  allow to firm up before transferring to waxed paper.  another martha taste treat for your enjoyment.

sage and bacon wrapped chicken tenderloins

are you searching for another way to prepare chicken tenderloins?  are you tired of endless nights of grilled chicken?  here is another technique that allows for lots of flavor and just a little more fat.

served over fresh from the garden tender lettuce, this is a great summer salad.

i simply wrap several thin tenderloins, each with a sage leaf from my garden, and a thin strip of bacon.  to prepare the chicken: grill over the stove until the bacon is crispy, while removing the bacon fat along the way.  i use a large grill pan that allows for the chicken to cook on the ridges of the pan.  the chicken is flavorful and tender.  i usually brown and then reduce the heat, while the grill pan is covered with foil to allow the chicken to cook through very well.  the sage leaf gives another great fresh flavor to the chicken.

the chicken over the salad can be served just as is, or with a nice dressing. one to two tenderloins is usually a standard size serving.

salted peanut bars

here is a three ingredient recipe that is perfect every time.  taken from Martha's everyday food chefs, it is one of the easiest and best tasting carmel recipes i have ever made.  there is no need for a candy thermometer and an afternoon of mess. 

simply unwrap one bag of Kraft carmels, which is 14 ounces.  place in a sauce pot.  add one cup of mini marshmallows and one tablespoon of water.  the water is very important. then, melt for about 8 minutes.

while this is happening, chop 2 1/4 cups of unsalted peanuts.  place 1 1/4 cups of peanuts in an 8 by 8 square baking pan, that has been lined with parchment paper. allow the parchment paper to overlap the edges for easy removal from the pan.  when the carmel mixture is melted, pour over the peanuts in the pan.  then, top with the last cup of chopped peanuts.

allow to come together for at least 2 hours before cutting.  i usually place in the refrigerator to cool and harden even more.  if using the refrigerator, make certain you allow for time for the carmel to soften again before cutting into bars.  these are better than the store bought "payday" bars.

these can be stored, but must be individually wrapped or the carmel with adhere to the other bars.

fresh from the garden salad with creamy peppercorn dressing

for the past few weeks, i have been having a wonderful time in my garden.  the weather has been splendid and except for the baby rabbit that seems to have moved into my fenced garden space, all of my vegetables, herbs and flowers have been growing nicely.

the baby rabbit is quite hungry and i have been attempting to protect many of his favorite items with green chicken wire fencing, which seem to be helping a great deal.  inside of the picket fences, i already have chicken wire along the base of the perimeter, but this little guy seems to be small enough to squeeze through and under the gate, and between some of the pickets.. well, soon enough he will be too big for the garden and won't be able to manage entry. i keep reminding myself of peter rabbit and have been enjoying him, and not minding him too much. he is wonderfully fluffy and small.

during these past weeks, i have been able to gather some arugula and baby mache lettuce greens for some delicious salads.  there is nothing like fresh greens from the garden.  i really understand what people mean now that i have tasted my own home grown lettuce from seeds.  fresh, tender, and such a distinct flavor that i have never really experienced before this year.

paired with a fresh creamy peppercorn dressing, this is a summer salad to be enjoyed.

borrowed from everyday food from Martha Stewart, this creamy salad dressing is one of the best. to make the dressing:

in a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, and 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper. season with salt to taste.  chill and serve over salad.

i replace the sour cream with low fat sour cream and the mayonnaise with canola mayonnaise.  this is a great dressing and does not overpower the lovely fresh lettuce greens.