Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In a (Triple Dill - Double Garlic) Pickle

I was thrilled to find an abundance of cute little pickling cucumbers at the farmer's market a few weeks ago because I had been waiting for several month to make this recipe from Coconut & Lime.  Dill and garlic are two of my favorite flavors so adding dill seed, dried dill weed and fresh dill to the brine sounded like great pickles to me!

I played with the amounts of herbs a little bit and added 1 tbsp. of dill seed, 1 tsp. of dried dill, and 1/2 tsp. of ground mustard (I didn't have mustard seeds) to each pint jar.

I also doubled up the garlic and crushed it lightly to let more of that great garlic flavor into the pickles.  Dropped in bay leaf and then I was ready to load up the cucumbers.

I filled about three pint jars in this batch, but I wish I had bought more cucumbers! After topping with the fresh dill, I poured on the boiling vinegar (the kitchen didn't smell great at that point!).

Ten minutes of hot water bath processing and then a few days of waiting before they were ready.  The resulting pickles are surprisingly crisp considering they were boiled for 10 minutes.  The dill flavor is assertive but not over-powering and the garlic is surprisingly subtle.  There is a sweet flavor that comes out despite the absence of sugar in the recipe.  Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the outcome and these were by far the easiest produce to can yet!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

One Skein Summer Shrug

It is a common affliction among those who indulge in the yarn arts - the single skein.  I have no idea why I purchased this particular lonely skein of electric teal Paton's wool, but I suspect that my though process was something like "OOOOOOO, PRETTY!!!!".  It has been in my stash for at least two years, but I never knew what to do with it. Coincidentally, I have had a pattern for a "capelet" which I though would be a quick and cute little project to use up this small amount of yarn.

I tried to figure out how to adjust the pattern for the thinner yarn and to deal with the fact that there were no measurements in the original pattern.  In the end, I realized it would be easier to start from scratch.  I found this formula for a raglan sweater and calculated it to my measurements.  I also decided that I wanted to work the shrug in an open lace pattern so it would use less yarn and better for summer.  I leafed through my Vogue Guide to Knitting until I found a lace pattern I liked with a relative short repeat (this one is six stitches).  The short repeat length was important because nearly the entire shrug is raglan increases and I wanted to minimize the ugliness created by trying to increase in a lace pattern. All in all, I am quite happy with the resulting shrug. It is light enough for summer, even through it is wool, and it adds a nice pop of color to neutral dresses.  One skein down, lots more to go!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Rainbow of Popsicles

When the weather gets hot (so pretty much all the time in Texas), I love popsicles.  We usually keep a box of Edy's All Fruit in the freezer, but occasionally I get in the mood to try something more exotic and a little more grown-up.  Here are few recipes I've tried recently using ingredients I had on hand.  Each makes 4 popsicles in my molds, which each hold about 1/4 cup.

Cantaloupe Pop

1 cup of cantaloupe puree

Clean and simple, it just tastes like cantaloupe.  The texture of these is a lot more solid than the watermelon pops I've made in the past.  There are all sorts of things you could do to jazz these up.  A little ginger would be good, mint and or lime would be nice too.

Key LimeYogurt with Fresh Blueberries Pop

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 key lime juice
1/2 cup blueberries
3-4 tbsp. sugar

The tartness of the yogurt and lime juice demand the sweetness of the sugar and the blueberries.  I filled the molds with blueberries and then poured in the liquid ingredients.  I had leftover key limes from a pie I made, but I bet the frozen custard from the key lime pie would make a pretty amazing popsicle too.

Pineapple Pops with Toasted Coconut

1 cup pineapple
1/2 cup peaches
1/3 cup milk
3 tbsp coconut, toasted

Blend the pineapple, peaches, and milk and freeze the popsicles. I used peaches and pineapple because that is what I had on hand for making smoothies, but you could use anything. When ready to eat, toast the coconut and sprinkle on the the popsicle while still hot.  I suppose you could mix the coconut into the pop, but the texture of the toasted coconut really gilds the lily.

Iced Mocha Pops

1/2 cup leftover, strong coffee
1/2 cup milk
2 heaping tbsp Mexican hot chocolate powder

I made it with just leftover morning coffee but if you had espresso, that would be great.  I also think a Thai Iced Coffee pop with sweetened condensed milk would be amazing.

I hope those keep you nice and cool for a bit. I have another idea I'm working the kinks out of and will post soon.  It might be the last popsicle I ever need.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

First Publication of 2011!

It looks better in real life.
I haven't posted about work in a while (it's good, but I think about it all day, so I don't always want to write about it when I get home).  So I thought I should point you to my first publication of 2011.  This is actually the outgrowth of my master's paper (which I wrote three years ago) and so is a bit overdue.  The article, "Iris texture traits show associations with iris color and genomic ancestry" was published this month in the American Journal of Human Biology.  Thanks to the fun pictures of irises that we used in the study, we made it to the cover!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Greek-Inspired Sausage Sandwich

I didn't start out planning to share these on the blog, but they came together so deliciously that I wanted to pass this recipe on to you.  I hope you like them!

serves 8-10
Greek Sausage:
2 lbs turkey
1 1/2 cups finely diced onions
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 large bunch chard
1/2 cup rehydrated, finely diced sun-dried tomatoes
1 tbsp. oregano
1 tbsp. dried pepper flakes, or to taste
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. olive oil, divided
juice of 1/2 lemon

Tzatziki Sauce:
1 cup Greek Yogurt
1 cup coarsely grated English cucumber
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. corriander
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 c. dill

To make sausages, roughly chop chard and saute in 1 tsp. oil.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all sausage ingredients except oil and lemon. Lightly grease a baking sheet with 1 tsp. of oil.  Form meat mixture into 8-10 patties or links or into small meatballs and place on baking sheet. Squeeze the juice of half a large lemon over the meat and brush with remaining 1 tsp. of olive oil. Bake 15 minutes for large patties or 7-10 minutes for meatballs. While the patties cook, make the tzatiki sauce. Drain the grated cucumber and mix with remaining ingredients.

I served these on pita with lettuce, tomato, onion, and lots of tzatiki sauce.  Although the turkey makes it a bit lighter, this is a pretty heavy sandwich so I served it with a simple Greek salad dressed only with balsamic vinegar.

I put the extra cooked sausages in the freezer for Geoff to eat while I'm in Seattle.  I always add minced onion to ground turkey to make sure that they stay moist in the absence of the fat you would get from ground beef.  This is particularly important when you are planning to cook and reheat the meat like with these sausages or the chicken meatballs that are also in the freezer.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

When it comes to Father's Day posts (and Mother's Day posts, for that matter), I am not really sure what to say.  I want to share an inspiring story of some wonderful piece of advice my father gave me that has shaped my life ever since.  But I can't particularly think of one.  What I remember about growing up is not so much the big events or talks, but that my dad was always there - driving field trips, coaching teams, making dinner.  My dad didn't teach me life lessons by lecturing me about the world, he did it by always being there for me.  And really, isn't that the best thing a dad can do.  So this is my simple post to say thanks to my dad for teaching me to cook, taking me shopping in eighth grade to buy "please, just something that isn't black", and alerting me to typos in my blog posts.  I love you!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Foto Friday

I'm in Seattle for a series of workshops in statistical genetics methods through the end of the month so posts will be a bit sparse until July.

Saturday June 11: Lazy Day
Sunday June 12: Stockpile to Feed Geoff in my Absence
Monday June 13: Blocking
Tuesday June 14: En Route to Seattle
Wednesday June 15: Being Shamed by the Ridicule Pole
Thursday June 16: First Full Day of Statistics
Friday June 17: Seattle Wildlife

Foto Friday

BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Foto Friday

Saturday June 4: My Big Fat Greek Movie Theater
Saturday June 4: My Big Fat Greek Movie Theater

Sunday June 5: I Take This for Granted
Sunday June 5: Sometimes, I Take the Music Geoff Brings into My Life for Granted

Monday June 6: Geoff's First Day Back to School!

Tuesday June 7: metal sombrero
Tuesday June 7: Metal Sombrero
Wednesday June 8: Offshoot of Grandma's Plant
Wednesday June 8: Offshoot from Grandma's Plant
Thursday June 9: Watermelon = Summer Dinner
Thursday June 9: Summertime Means Watermelon with Every Meal
Friday June 10: Rock Stars
Friday June 10: Rock Stars

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tiny Tlayuda

We had lunch last weekend at La Gloria, a restaurant that specializes in the street foods of Mexico.  Street food is perfect to make at home because it is so simple.  Although we have no gigantic metal sculptures at home.

Tlayuda, which you will sometimes hear called "Mexican Pizza", sounded like the perfect application for the chorizo verde (pork with jalapenos, serranos, and poblanos) I picked up at the farmer's market this week.  Native to Oaxaca, Tlayuda is supposed to be made on a 12" or larger corn tortilla, but I couldn't find any.  So tiny tlayuda (well the size of a normal corn tortilla) it would be.

The recipe for this is so simple that you could figure it out from the photos but I'll break it down for you: (1) puree cooked black beans with onions, garlic, cumin, and hot sauce to taste (2) smear black bean puree on corn tortillas and top with chorizo and queso oaxaca (or mozzarella) (3) cook directly on your hot pizza stone just until cheese melts (4) add some shredded cabbage and cook about 5 more minutes.  Done!

I added a little avocado and hot sauce to gild the lily.  Since the tlayuda was so quick and easy to make, I also made some brown rice horchata.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

We Be Jammin'

I got a good deal on blackberries at the farmer's market so I decided blackberry jam was in order.  So far, I have only made jam using low-sugar pectin.  Standard jam recipes call for shockingly high sugar to fruit ratios - more than one to one - so that the jam can set using only the natural pectin in the fruit.  The low-sugar pectin allows you to add no sugar at all or sugar to taste (I used about a 1/3 of a cup). 

I followed the recipe included in the pectin packet but added the zest of two lemons and the juice of one.  The jam was incredibly easy to make since there is virtually no prep of the fruit - just wash it and lightly crush with a potato masher. When I pulled the jars out of their water bath and they started to cool, I heard satisfying pops indicating that the vacuums had formed.

I opened a jar the next morning and slathered it on toast.  The small amount of sugar and the lemon meant that it was still pretty tart - certainly not as sweet as a standard jarred jam. I liked that the delicate taste of the fruit came through.

Although I happily ate it on toast every morning all week, the jam really fulfills its destiny in a peanut better and jelly sandwich.  The tartness of the berries cuts through the richness of the peanut butter.  

It occurred to me that canning requires a tremendous amount of science.  You have to think about the relationship between heat and pressure and the role of temperature and acidity in sterilization. I suppose that most of these things, as with yeast and bread making and countless other things in the kitchen, were learned first by trial and error and only later was the science understood.  Still pretty impressive, though.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

June Baking Challenge: English Muffins for Geoff

Today was Geoff's first day back to school and I wanted to be sure he had something a little special for breakfast this week.  I made English Muffins using the King Arthur Flour recipe since I have had good luck with their breads in the past.  I don't have a bread machine, so I kneaded it in my mixer and let the dough rest about an hour before patting it out.

The bread flour and the long knead time made for nice and chewy English muffins. The muffins are cooked up on a griddle so they get a nice crust on the outside but stay super moist on the inside.  I love English muffins and homemade ones are crazy delicious - fresh off the griddle, with jelly for breakfast, as the base for a tuna melt, and of course, in Eggs Benedict.

I don't have baking rings, so I had to add an extra 1/2 cup of flour to the recipe so that the dough didn't flow across the griddle like lava.  A wetter dough would have more of the nice crevices that English muffins are known for.  But split and toasted, these guys were ready for the next layer.

A delicious pork layer.  Extra smokey, locally cured English bacon from our friend neighborhood hipster charcutier.  (Seriously, he's a 20-something man with a heavily waxed handlebar mustache.)

Top with a poached egg and classic hollandaise with an extra squeeze of lemon and shot of cayenne pepper.  I didn't manage to get it made for breakfast, but it was a darn good dinner.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...