Posts Tagged ‘plum’

Nyom, nyom, nyom

November 15, 2010

Note: I’m not sure why I didn’t publish when I wrote it, but here it is: only three months after composition.

I’ve been on a baking streak lately. First it was the Bean’s birthday cake:

Then I made chocolate-peanut butter chip cookies, using–alas–the Doubletree Hotel recipe instead of my old Betty Crocker standby that has all the family-approved adjustments written in. They were good, but not great. Which is why we still have a dozen left after two whole weeks–a situation unheard of in our household.

Next I tried a new Smitten Kitchen recipe: Peach Shortbread. Oh, it looked so beautiful in Deb’s photos. And it was tasty, but not what I think of when I think shortbread. A little too close to pie crust in texture. I’d like to try messing around with this recipe to see if I can come up with something more like shortbread, but embedded with some sweet little peach slices as in this recipe.

Tuesday was a dear friend’s birthday, so I made her a single-layer chocolate cake, cutting down the recipe I used for the Bean’s birthday.

Wednesday was the weekly garden Weed-and-Feed potluck, so I made Plum Kuchen. I had a few pints of wild plums from the farmer’s market and a Deborah Madison recipe accompanied by yet another gorgeous photograph. Mine was delicious, even if it wasn’t as pretty as the inspiring picture. I love to cook for garden night, because I can try new recipes without fearing I’ll have to eat a ton of the result. Aside from the Green Tomato Cake (which was HUGE), I have yet to bring home any leftovers.

Yesterday I received a few gallons of pears and apples from my grandparents’ trees. Today I searched for pear recipes online. I found another Smitten recipe: Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake. So I made it for tonight’s dessert, to share with my parents and in-laws. Ooh, yummy.

Up next? Another Deborah Madison recipe: Cornmeal Crepes with Plum Compote (for breakfast, because I still have at least a pint of plums). Then maybe Emeril’s Blue Cheese-stuffed Figs with Lavendar Honey. Or perhaps Fig and Orange Flower Water Custard Tart, also from Deborah Madison. But then what will I make with all of my remaining apples and pears?

Am I in a rut? Is it irrational that I want to bake at least three desserts between now and our trip to New York (only five more days!)? What does it mean that my baking is suddenly using more fruit than chocolate? Will I ever learn to take gorgeous food pictures for my blog?


Weekend O’ Food

August 9, 2010

Friday my mum and I made four pints of plum butter, using sand plums that she and my dad picked from my uncle’s farmland in Oklahoma.

Saturday I spent $40 at the farmer’s market. I bought peaches, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, corn on the cob, eggplants, garlic bratwurst, smoked pork loin and four types of lettuce. When I came home, I made lemonade, fried green tomatoes, corn on the cob and garlic brats for lunch. My husband made the base for a vanilla ice cream.

Yesterday we froze the vanilla ice cream. I made plum syrup with liquid leftover from cooking Friday’s sand plums, then made ice cream using the syrup. I blanched the remaining dozen ears of corn, cut the kernels from the cobs and froze it. (I ended up with roughly four pints.) I made two pints of peach conserve by adapting the apricot conserve recipe from Jeffery Steingarten’s It Must Have Been Something I Ate. For supper, I made soy-glazed eggplant (using homegrown garlic) and a stirfry of snowpeas and carrots.

Yesterday I also bought eight more cartons of mushrooms for pickling, port wine for poaching the underripe pears picked from my grandparents’ tree, ginger for stewing some of the same pears…

I did not buy juice, because we have homemade frozen grape juice concentrate that we need to mix up.

I did not buy Coke, because it was almost $5 for a twelve-pack. I did, however, buy two types of fancy cheese, wine and $8 of chocolates.

The status of my foodstocks

February 3, 2009

I have been intending (for months) to take a photo of all my lovely preserved foods. Unfortunately, the artificial light in my house is crappy for taking photos, and it’s been too darn cold to take pictures (or walk, breathe, think, etc.) outside for months. BUT this week I will finally have a golden opportunity, for the weather this Friday is supposed to reach a balmy 52 degrees!

The bounty of the summer has lasted a lot longer than I thought, and honestly, I have had a hard time keeping track of how much we’ve eaten. But this afternoon’s inventory turned up the following:

  1. 2 pints of applesauce
  2. 4 cups of peach conserve (this is soooo good mixed into yogurt)
  3. 2 cups of plum jam
  4. 2 pints of strawberry-lemon marmalade
  5. 4 pints of pickled okra
  6. 4 pints of cherry tomatoes (with garlic and basil)
  7. 5 quarts of peeled roma-style tomatoes
  8. 3 quarts and 1 cup of pickled green beans
  9. 3 pints of gorgeous strawberry jam
  10. 1 ~5-pound Long Island Cheese pumpkin
  11. 1 ~5-pound Rouge Vif d’Etampes pumpkin (I think that’s the strain, anyway)
  12. 1 ~2-pound spaghetti squash
  13. ~2 cups frozen strawberries
  14. 2 cups frozen green tomato puree
  15. 3 cups frozen shredded zucchini
  16. 3 pheasants
  17. 25 frozen cubes of pesto (~4 cups)
  18. ~2/3 cup sugarplums
  19. ~6 cups plum syrup

The 19 “items” listed above are what I preserved myself–except for the pumpkins and spaghetti squash, which have not been preserved in any way. They are just, um, still good. Oh, and the pheasants, which were shot and cleaned by my father-in-law.

I also have a ton of good stuff purchased from my local food co-op, including:

  1. ~2 cups dried apples
  2. 2 pounds carrots (left from the 10-pound bag I ordered in December)
  3. ~1.5 pounds of beets (also left from December’s order)
  4. a smidgen of Greek-style goat cheese
  5. ~1/2 cup roasted and peeled chestnuts
  6. a 3.5-pound pork shoulder
  7. ~7 pounds of beef short ribs
  8. 1 pound of cubed lamb
  9. 1 pound of beef shank bones
  10. 1 pound of beef soup bones
  11. the necks, etc. leftover from four chickens and a turkey (saved for stock)

In the midst of all this bounty, I feel incredibly inept in that I cannot think of a single idea for dinner. And slightly ashamed that we recently purchased a ton of food at the chain store down the street when there’s so much good stuff waiting at home.

The scent of heaven

August 22, 2008

I wish there existed some way I could record the smell permeating my kitchen right now. It is the most delicate perfume, slightly flowery in an totally non-cloying way. It is mild and mouthwatering and uplifting and…mmm…almost beyond description. It is the smell of plums.

I know. Plums? But trust me. These are not your supermarket-variety red or black plums the size of a ten-year-old’s fist. At the farmer’s market two weeks ago, I purchased about eight pounds of tiny (think baby fist) yellow plums for five dollars. I don’t even know what variety they are. But I can justify my purchase. Point #1: this was a STEAL! Point #2: I had never seen Nebraska-grown plums before. Point #3: I had never seen plums like THESE at all.

Granted, they were underripe–thus the yellow skin. But some were tinged with a lovely blush, and I could tell that once ripe, the plums would be a vibrant red. In this prediction, I have not been disappointed.

Yesterday I ate my first plum. When I took it out of its plastic-bag prison, the smell hit me. Oh. I suffered simultaneous desires to EAT the darn thing and rub it on my neck for perfume. Restraining the latter impulse, I sank my teeth into the tiny, rosy plum. And…ooh! Was it SOUR!

I then spent 2-3 hours peeling and pitting plums to make plum jam, my dad’s favorite (I think). Now I have four cups of gorgeous red-gold pulp that appears to glow from within. Another day or so, and I’ll have jam!

I’ll also have about 2 pounds of leftover plums tormenting me with their alluring and ephemeral scent. What shall I do?