Posts Tagged 'cooking'

Quince rosehip jelly

Now that all recipients have received their gifts…

Peel and core 5 large quinces. Cover with water. Add 10 dried rosehips from the garden (after removing the stems and the dried sepals, and giving them a quick rinse).

Boil/simmer for an hour. Mash the pulp once it is soft.

Drain through a strainer into a bowl. Cover so no cat hair gets in the strainer (maybe that’s just my house). Use a nonreactive strainer like a jelly bag. The next morning, measure out how much juice you’ve gotten, and pour into a nonreactive pot. Add about half the same amount of sugar (i.e., 1/2 cup of sugar to 1 cup of juice) and the juice of one lemon. Watch carefully, and once it hits the jelly stage (I used a candy thermometer for this, as well as the cold spoon and dropping a little into cold water to see the pattern it makes) take it off the heat and put into prepared canning jars with sterilized lids.

It turned out lovely.

I have other fruit in the refrigerator, and I hope to make it into something useful later.


6 jars of jelly


5 presents wrapped

4 last-minute robocalls (yes, I already gave…)

3 curious cats (they’ve seen the tree)

2 cookie batches (sugar cookies, Moravian Christmas Cookies… and Jul Konfekt, which is chocolate, but not a cookie)

And one heck of a Christmas tree.

I’m wishing you and yours a beautiful Christmas Eve, a happy Christmas day, and a happy and a healthy New Year! We’re going to celebrate, now that the work is over.

Shopping small 4: For the cook

You don’t have time to make dishcloths to go with chichi soap for the kitchen, especially when you’re stuck on the second sock for a family member (but it’s really not about me). But you still want to do something for that person in your life who lives to cook. Instead of going to that fancy chain at the mall, or that other one (we happen to have two), you might want to try shopping at one of the small, independent cooking stores.

Fantes in Philadelphia has:

  • Cake pans: How about an adorable airplane tin cake pan? (squee)
  • Cookie cutters and springerle pans: How about an adorable springerle owl? Or the 12 days of Christmas springerle boards that you can hang on the wall? (At over $200, it’s not a stocking stuffer.)
  • Choose cookbooks and accessories with a theme, like the Vedge cookbook, a mushroom-themed apron, a mushroom scrub brush, or a vegetable peeler, and you’re done.

If your recipient is in Chicago, how about a cooking class at The Wooden Spoon ? (January has some great classes, including one on Basque Cuisine)

Compleat Lifestyles out in Colorado offers things for foodies who have their own herb garden, or access to a green grocer:

They don’t have much online. I’d check the store itself to see if there’s something your cook can’t do without (or never knew existed).

Happy hunting!

Figs, fig jam, and grape jelly

  1. Lots of little pots of grape jelly Grapejelly
  2. Jars of balsamic-rosemary fig jam (savory)
  3. 5 mismatched jars of cinnamon fig rose petal jam (closest to the flavor of fresh figs)

The last 5 were done tonight. I have my freezer back, but now we have very little counter space. All the ingredients for all 3 kinds of preserves came from the garden, except the balsamic vinegar, sugar, and cinnamon. Yay, Gardener!


The Gardener planted a lovely grapevine on the side of the porch. Rather than let all the grapes go, literally to the birds, we got busy.

Grapejelly11 cups of grapes = 3.5 cups of juice. Add sugar, boil = 13 little 4 oz jelly jars, filled with jelly using the “no water” recipe in the Joy of Cooking. The kitchen’s a bit of a mess, though.

The snow of February


…covers the backdoor steps, like time erasing the footprints of the past. (And how fun that it’s groundhogs’ day?)

The snow made a splendid excuse for baking corn muffins and making chili instead of going outdoors. It’s very small grains of snow, and no one across the street has shoveled yet, so it sparkles on sidewalks and streets in the streetlights’ glow. (And mercifully muffles the sound of revelers preparing for Superbowl.)

Pumpkins at the orchard

Pumpkins at the orchard

It is officially autumn here. The little kids are getting their photos taken while sitting on pumpkins in the apple orchard. (I took a utilitarian Hubbard squash home, as well as enough apples to make a pie, I think.) Some of the trees are blazing orange as their leaves turn. And like always, I look on autumn as the start of a new year. I do miss the trees back where I grew up, dripping sugar maple leaves onto the streets until it looked like Midas touched them. It was lovely, and bittersweet.

Tonight’s dessert: a mug of steamed milk

I stayed up way too late last night, watching the Tony Awards. [Link to the opening number with Neil Patrick Harris] So I made myself a mug of steamed milk, threw in some crushed dried lavender buds and a few drops of vanilla extract. It ends up being sweeter than I expected, but very soothing. If you have some extra lavender, it’s worth trying. Just don’t pick blossoms that have been sprayed with pesticide, I suppose, so your dreams will be happy.

Baking frenzy

Yesterday was a day of baking from the old standby — Fannie Farmer.
From a French style honey bread….

to prepping French vanilla ice cream with a bit of lavender in the milk… which was churned today (Monday) by the Gardener.
And then I made meringues (because honestly, what else should I do with that many egg whites, but not enough for an angelfood cake?).
The house smells delicious. And I’m not sure how many times I’ve washed the bowls. 🙂

I’m in the middle of a delightful book, called Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart. In 1945, two young girls from the University of Iowa hop a train for NYC, and manage to be the first women to work on the shop floor. The book is bound in Tiffany blue, and although it’s not a recent printing, it’s a great deal of fun. Airy, a bit like my meringues. (Fun and frivolous — unlike the gravitas of recent news headlines, talking with family about recent storms in the heartland, etc. )

Sounds of discord, caramel edition

Unset caramel (that has cunningly set up at the top of the pan so that it is firm to the touch), when the pan is flipped over onto a sheet of wax paper the next morning at oh-gawd-o’clock:
“Glub glub glub glubbity glub…”
Me, “oh… feck. Not before my morning coffee!”