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

Friday, February 10, 2012

herb of the year 2012

the international herb association yearly publishes a book to celebrate one herb.  this year, the rose has been chosen for its' antiquity and ability to soothe and heal.  i have been reading this book for a couple of weeks now and have been enjoying the articles written by more than 25 contributors.

one of my friends, Donna Frawley, is a regular contributor to the publications.  Donna, who owns frawley's fine herbary in midland speaks on a variety of herb topics.  i have attended several of her cooking classes which are delightful, informative, and very tasty.

in this book, Donna has a recipe for rose butter cookies with a rose glaze.  she uses rose water in the recipe, and i am looking forward to making these cookies for valentines' day. 

watch for their appearance on the blog.. coming soon !

for more information on Donna frawley, follow this link:  http://www.frawleysfineherbary.com

baking tip: parchment rounds

one of the best baking tips that i have used over the years has to be placing a parchment round at the base of any cake.  these rounds are produced in a variety of sizes, and i often purchase them when i visit a sur la table store.

once i prepare the baking pan with baking spray, i apply a round to the base of the pan and coat it again with baking spray.  this technique allows the cake to come out of the pan in all one piece, never leaving any part of the base attached to the baking pan.

sweetheart cinnamon tea

i have been enjoying this tea all week in anticipation of valentine's day.  bigelow introduced this herb tea that is "kissed with sweet apple" just for the holiday.  this no caffeine blend is so tasty and reminds me of cinnamon hearts without the sugar ! 

this all natural tea has been warming me during this colder month of February, and has to be one of the best seasonal teas offered by bigelow.  i was able to find this tea in our local grocery store, but if you are having difficulty, follow the link: 

spicy sweet chicken wings

every football party needs to have a special chicken wing recipe.  and this one seems to be better than most.  with just a few ingredients, the wing sauce brings the dish up to an amazing level.  from Martha's recipe book, she doesn't disappoint this time at all.

to prepare the sauce for the wings:
2/3 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons fresh orange zest or bottled orange peel if not available
1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

combine the ingredients and whisk thoroughly.  reserve 1/2 cup of the marinade.

prepare the wings and divide into 3 segments if desired. allow the wings to marinate in the refrigerator in the sauce for at least 2 hours prior to baking.

when ready to bake, place the wings on a sheet pan covered with foil. the foil will allow for an easy clean up after baking. bake the wings in a 375 degree preheated oven, using the reserved sauce to baste while turning the wings.    total cooking time is 45 minutes.

serve on a platter of shredded lettuce.  this recipe will become one of your favorite wing recipes very quickly.  it is sweet with a hint of spice and could also be served with additional hot sauce for those who might like a very spicy wing. 

super bowl taco dip

last weekend was the super bowl and i was excited to try a couple of new recipes, which were both lower in fat and calories.  my version of the traditional taco dip was super tasty and super easy.

as with many of the spreads, the ingredients were simple and easy to prepare. here is what i used to change up the recipe:

1 8 oz Kraft Philadelphia neufchatel cheese ( 1/3 less fat than cream cheese)
1 cup fat free sour cream
taco seasoning to taste
1 small can of rotel diced tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes can be used)
shredded lettuce
shredded green onion
shredded light cheddar cheese (1/3 of the 8 oz bag)

to prepare the spread, allow the neufchatel cheese to come to room temperature.  mix this cheese with the sour cream and taco seasoning to taste.  spread on the bottom of the flat dish.  sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top. next, add the drained can of rotel diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, green onion and black olives if desired.

chill the plate and serve with a spreader, along with lower salt and low fat crackers.  or, with the traditional tostito chips alongside.  excellent spread that your guests will think is the traditional taco dip.