Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cooking Class Photos

I’ve taken a bunch of cooking classes, and have yet to prepare the majority of those recipes at home, despite good intentions. It’s been fun learning about new spices and techniques, and messing around with the camera during class has yielded some nice results (I think).

These bowls of spices include some in their natural form. Compare to a rack of containers in the technical school kitchen for the students to use during the day.

I don’t usually have a pile of eggplants to photograph…

Or bunches of lemons and limes! I haven't taken the time to experiment with the new camera- that's still on the to-do list...

I’ve been on the road – planes, trains, and busses, and will soon have more travel posts. Gathered some new material (literally) at my Mom’s to try new card-making techniques, thanks to the inspiration I received from others earlier this year, so stay tuned!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Eggplant Tomato Sauce with Oregano and Basil

A few posts ago, I mentioned an abundance of tomatoes and searched for recipes to use them up before the next farm share arrived. During the winter months, I usually make pasta sauce with a packet of spice mix and a can of tomato paste, but there’s no reason to do that in the summer with so much fresh produce available. I started with this recipe, and swapped out what I had on hand.

Here’s my version of the ingredients and instructions: sautee in olive oil one chopped tomato, one green pepper (from our own garden!), three cloves garlic, one chopped white eggplant, five chopped tomatoes, a handful of fresh basil (cut with kitchen shears), and two sprigs of fresh oregano. Salt and pepper to taste.

I suspect the eggplant would have tasted better if I’d prepared it according to the original recipe, but time was short after work, and this way was fine. “Next time” I’ll pre-cook the eggplant in larger slices so it’s nice and tender, then make the rest of the sauce.

Here you see soy crumbles and shredded cheese, making a nutritious and tasty meal over whole wheat pasta. Endorsed by Mr. Spice asking for seconds!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Nutmeg and Cinnamon Carrot Bread

This week, I considered renaming “Through the Spice Rack” to “Peach, Tomato, Carrot”, but the latter isn’t as catchy. Or how about “Farm Share Recipes”? I’m elbow deep in fruits and vegetables, and have several new recipes in the queue to try out. One was a total disaster, and entirely my fault, when I substituted way too many healthy ingredients – so I’ll remake that one with the original recipe before sharing.

I modified this Carrot Bread recipe only slightly, but will still share the entire recipe with my changes. The blog post title simply recognizes the spices already in the bread/recipe.
Blend 1/4 cup oil with 1/4 cup applesauce; add ¼ cup honey, ¼ cup brown sugar (mix in); add 2 eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla, ½ tsp. baking powder, ½ tsp. baking soda, ½ tsp. salt, 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon, and ½ tsp. nutmeg. Once everything is blended, stir in 1 ½ cups shredded carrots or 1 ½ cups shredded zucchini. Stir in 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour. Add ½ cup nuts (optional) and ½ cup raisins (optional). Bake in 9” loaf pan at 350 for 45 – 60 minutes.

Taking photos of some recipes is a challenge. For example, I made indian pudding for the first time, but it’s not attractive to look at and I didn’t want to decorate it nicely with ice cream and whipped cream just for the photo. Don’t get me wrong, it tastes great with those additions, but we’ve stopped stocking those items at home to reduce the temptation to finish them off rather quickly. So no photo of the plain pudding (brown), and the early steps of the carrot bread were equally unglamorous.

I did not reduce the amount of sugar/honey called for in the original recipe. I found this bread to be good but very healthy. I didn’t want to add frosting made out of confectioner’s sugar- that was the whole point of making a bread instead of a cake or muffin, but I did want a bit of interesting flavor and/or moisture to round out this bread. I enjoyed a slice with flavored fat free yogurt instead of frosting! Next time I would add either chocolate chips, pineapple, or a touch more sugar to the recipe.
Due to less than stellar photo quality for the carrot bread, here is a bonus on our "save the watermelon" campaign. As you can see, the neighborhood squirrels or rabbits helped themselves to the young watermelons (completely decimated melon not shown). A plastic colander with a guard statue may save the last one for us to enjoy in a few weeks! Stay tuned...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Cards # 30, 31, and 32 Paris, Panama, Puerto Ayora

I wish for everyone the opportunity to travel the world and learn more about cultures other than our own. I feel fortunate that I grew up in a military family, and took my first international flight before I can remember. Vacations are not limited to destinations within driving, train or bus distance.

This trip to Paris was for a wedding anniversary. Though just a few short days due to budget and other limitations, it was well worth the travel time. The food was outstanding, and we decided to get museum admission "card” for tourists to gain entrance to a number of famous locales. The Musee D’Orsay was my favorite.

The evening photo of Panama City yielded interesting shades of blue because it was taken under a restaurant patio roof, looking into twilight. There were cars driving past us but this view is more serene. We were fascinated by the canal locks and enjoyed the food throughout the three regions we visited.

We took many photos of the fish market in Puerto Ayora (Galapagos, Ecuador), but they couldn’t convey the amusing scene well enough to show via still pictures: fishermen filleting large catch, surrounded by eager “helpers”: a sea lion bobbing its head in time with the man’s arm motions, pelicans and marine iguanas awaiting scraps that were tossed their way from time to time.