You gather bacon, onions, some brown sugar, vinegar, maple syrup, and coffeesimmer and viola!!!!
I sliced up two onions and cut up my bacon and make a pot of coffee. I warmed up my pot on med high heat and cooked my bacon until it was nice and crumbly and drained it on napkins. I then save a bit of the bacon drippings in the pan and sauted my onions until they were nice and caramelized. I returned the cooked and drained bacon to the pan with the lovely onions and added coffee, vinegar, brown sugar and syrup and brought it up to a simmer. My lovely bacon-y goodness starting to simmer. I cooked it until most of the liquid was reduced and it was nice and thick and I put it in my food processor and blitzed it to a nice spreadable consistency. I toasted a slice of bread and spread some bacon jam and topped it with a lovely egg. I read that bacon jam was delicious and I am bit late on the bacon jam trend of last year but wow, it is really delicious.
I am so excited to say I am participating in CharcutePalozza. It is a year long commitment based on Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Poleyn and we will be given a challenge each month introducing us to the amazing world of Charcuterie.
So here is my first challenge turning duck breast into prosciutto. I have my book and I bought a fresh organic, free range, pasture raised duck at the farmers market. I watched a online video on cutting up my duck. Here are my duck breast are resting in salt overnight, then I will rinse season and wrap and hang to cure. I think it is going to be odd to see hanging meat in my home and not be in a deli.
So I am excited and fascinated that a art that was created before refrigeration was conceived and could be lost except to wonderful places in Europe for example Spain and their serano ham and Italy with salami, prosciutto and parma ham. When the world was being traveled and discovered by ship there were sailors at sea eating cured meats and cured fish it is truly inspiring to know how important salt plays in all of this. Salt is not just in a shaker on the dinner table it really has more important roles than in a shaker our bodies actually need salt.
So as the saying goes you get what you pay for, so for a quality end result I did start with a organically free ranged, pasture raised duck. I will post pictures during the curing process and end result.
I had five lovely thin skinned lemons on my lemon tree and I decided to preserve them I have read they are easy and add a amazing amount of vavoom to many recipes so here is the start of my jaunt of preserving lemons. I must add since I was a child my sister and I have always love, love, loved eating lemons it makes my mouth water just looking at these pictures. So I have a month to squirrel away some recipes to try with my preserved lemons. I must note I did use a combination of two salts they are celtic sea salt and regular salt.
I am making a lovely almond torte, I am grinding the almonds into a lovely flour and I kid you not my vitamix blender blended it into a amazing flour. I am such the novice when it comes to baking and the whole mindset behind it. Here I have a greased pan and my beaten egg whites I am folding into the almond flour in thirds it is so light and lovely. Here is my lovely almond torte in the oven baking into a light lovely deliciousness almost like a angelcake and we had it for dessert topped with my amazing papaya marmalade/jam.
I started with a mexican papaya and peeled and seeded it and blended it and basically prepared it like I would a jam but added grated orange and lime peel to it just before I put it in the jars so its almost a marmalade. To make it shelf stable I process it in a water bath. Look at my pretty jars of papaya jam, sigh..... I can say this my son and daughter who absolutely hate papaya in any form are smitten with it who would have guessed.
I was reading a few blogs and it seems that its not too early to start planning my summer garden. Since I live in SoCal and we have a warmer climate I thought why not? I have seen seedlings being started and seeds being chosen and ordered and thought maybe its not too early to start. I actually have bought and won seeds from urbanhomestead they are in Pasadena, Ca. and they are a very inspiring family check them out I am impressed they are urban gardening and actually supply produce for local restaurants. You Grow Girl is another site to read too if you are interested in trying a garden.
So since inspired and I was in planning my garden mode I thought I should check on my containers I use and see what shape they are in since I haven't seen them in awhile they are at the far end of the yard. Well my tomato plants are still alive which I have read can happen and well my pepper plants are still producing as you can see they are a interesting bunch so I have serrano's on top left, next are thai chili's top right, bottom right I am not sure?, bottom middle are little purple bell peppers, bottom left are rastra chile's and in the middle is just a bit of sage I wanted to use. I can honestly say I have neglected these containers because I thought they were done.
So since I found a little treasure I decided to put some in my dehydrator and then grind some up for chilis and crumble some up for pastas and pizza and the thai chili's I will keep whole and used for cooking and my pickling. I will then store them in my favorite room in the whole house my stocked pantry.
I did dry most of them but on a whim I decided I would pickle some of the chiles with some other chiles I had on had so there is a mix of serranos, thai, habanero, jalapenos and rastra. I think it is going to end up quite hot but can't wait to try them out on a sandwich let's say, yum...
I just realized that I have had this blog for 6 years, wow.... I haven't blogged consistently by any means and I have a long ways to go learning the ways of the blog sphere. I originally started this blog when I was learning how to knit and then started sharing different creative avenues I have taken along the way which include my love of cooking and everything cooking related so "cheers!"
Today I made this lima bean soup, I have made it twice and its really delicious. I love all beans and when I found this recipe Baby Lima Bean Soup with Chipotle Broth at 101 Cookbooks I knew I wanted to try it. So I made it again and it is so simple and easy and so full of flavor. So to go with my lovely pot of lima beans I baked skinless, boneless chicken thighs and made a simple salad of cut romaine with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
I love to read 101 Cookbooks and I have to say what I love the most about Heidi Swanson and her blog is not only is she a inspiring cook using natural foods and simple techniques I love to gaze at her pictures. I can say she really inspires me, I want to learn how to photograph my food properly. Rather I should say I need to learn how to take better pictures period I haven't a clue basically I aim, say "smile" and press the button hahahaha one day.....
Had a late lunch at Wurstküche and it was a soul satisfying experience........ I had a amazing spicy louisiana sausage sandwich with grilled onions and grilled sweet peppers where do I begin??? It had the perfect bite and pop when I took my first mouthful and as I chewed the incredible balance of flavors the heat kicks in and I chased it with my ice cold beer and the the belgian fries with truffle oil and dipping sauces it was all too incredible I almost teared up. The other sausage or 'wurst' is my daughter L's and I am sad to say I was so besotted with mine I am having a brain lapse of what she had okay... it had grilled onion's and sauerkraut hahaha.... only because I can see that in the picture I did take a bite of hers and she added a bit of a brown mustard and it was delicious but, I have to admit I love spicy, sigh......
1/2 cup diced pancetta *I know your suppose to use bacon but I had pancetta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 lb of cubed chuck
salt and pepper
I large onion cut into large chunks
1 pound carrots peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
7 cloves of garlic peeled
3 cups beef stock
1/2 cup cognac or brandy *you can omit
1 bottle red wine
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 pound fresh mushrooms
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Heat a heavy dutch oven and add about a tablespoon of oil and add bacon I used pancetta since I had some frozen and stir until golden brown and remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Sprinkle cubed meat with flour and add in two batches to pan and brown in hot oil and pancetta drippings until seared on all sides and then remove with slotted spoon to bowl with pancetta. Then to same drippings add onion and carrots and saute for 8-10 minutes and then removed to same bowl with slotted spoon and set aside. Then add garlic cloves lightly saute and add to bowl also.
Then add brandy or cognac and a cup of the broth and stir to pick up all the good drippings and simmer to reduce it then return the meat and all the vegetable back to the pan add the bottle of wine, tomato paste, brown sugar and stir to mix well. Add mushrooms thyme, rosemary and 2 bayleafs and simmer for a few minutes stirring a few times.
Put the lid on the pan and put in the oven for a hour and a half lower heat to 300.
I can tell you as I am writing this my house smells amazing I feel like I am in France sitting at french bistro or in a farm kitchen.
Here are a few jars of my finished jams I made. I made Fig Jam, a lovely Pear and Vanilla Bean Jam and Blueberry Jam. I really enjoy making jam, preparing the fruits and combining flavors and tasting it as it simmers and I feel proud when my family barrels through it. Honestly the part I dread the most has to be the most important part the sanitizing of the jars and the processing of jam. But of course knowing it has a shelf life and one morning months later and we are having waffles or french toast and I can pop one of the little guys open and have for example that yummy Pear and Vanilla Bean or Blueberry Jam warmed up and drizzled on a fresh warm waffle all I can say is yum.......
Here are my Roasted Potatoes from Ina Garten and my Popcorn and Rosemary oil from Giada and my Union Square nute from Nigella and all are so yummy..... I had almonds and pecan which I combined and roasted together really delicious!!! My popcorn and diced potatoes and rosemary all ready to go.... Olive oil simmering with fresh rosemary it smells delicious. Red potatoes and fresh rosemary all ready to go and I am sad to say my photos posted in the wrong order due to my lack of blogging and I need refigure this all out again.
So I used Ina Gartens Roasted Rosemary Potatoes and Giada's Popcorn with Rosemary Oil and Nigella's Union Square Nuts this challenge turned out delicious......
Here are the starting ingredients for my January Spice Rack Challenge which is to use Rosemary and I have it growing in my front yard so I decided to use fresh. I am one of those people who cannot go to the grocery store hungry because sad to say I end up with so many thing I would have never bought had I not been hungry. So when I cook and I am hungry I can end up without a theme or a balanced meal which is what happened today hungry + challenge = three recipes. I went straight to the three gals Ina, Giada and Nigella because I know I can depend on them Ina is straight out bold, Giada I can count on for light and flavorful and Nigella is usually quick and to the point. So I went for Ina's Roasted Rosemary Potato's which honestly I don't need a recipe for because I have my own version but I thought I should have something to reference since I am not accurate at writing recipe's. Then onto Giada and I saw her Popcorn with Rosemary Oil which I thought would be interesting and my family like's a snack but are not into heavy and overly sweet well.... maybe a little bit sweet which I went to Nigella who to this day I still make quite a few of her dessert recipes from her Nigella Express even if I do have the time to spend and her Union Square Cafe Nuts which I have made and are seriously yummy... This was fun and I have a garden full of Rosemary plus I had everything I needed right here in my pantry and I never thought to make Rosemary infused oil even though I have made many infused oils and I have to say is Nigella's Garlic infused oil is always on my counter.
I started my blueberry jam... I am at a crossroads in my research and I am trying to decide if I will use a store bought pectin or to try apples which can be used as a natural pectin. This will be my first batch of blueberry jam ever so I am going to sleep on it....
We have been on a salsa kick lately from making scrambled eggs and adding salsa to chilaquiles or huevos rancheros and of course standing at the counter and dipping tortilla chips yum..... So I made two fresh salsas the first is in the blender a tomatillo salsa and then a red salsa with charred tomatos, jalapenos, onions and garlic and then blended. The charring of the tomato's and jalapenos add a smokiness to the salsa which is different from your salsa fresca's. I also have a fig jam simmering in the red pot and a pear and vanilla bean jam in the yellow pot I have my jars simmering and getting ready to get filled. I will post my completed jams including a blueberry jam I am making and a cranberry jalapeno one I experimented and made.
I made soap again here are two batch's one is lavender scented with dried lavender sprinkled on top and the other has a lovely cherry almond scent like the old Jergens hand cream my Mother used to use back in the 70's. I made them about two weeks ago so they are in their curing phase right now. I can't wait to use and gift some of it....
Go over to Erin Cooks Blog and sign up to win this book if you are interested in attempting too can some fresh fruit or vegetables. But there are also so many other recipes to make marshmallows, pop-tarts and so many other comfort treats.
It is strange to wake up and realize where did 19 years go? and so quickly!!! My baby, my teenie, tiny baby just turned 19 yesterday. Happy Birthday "L" I love you baby and you know to infinity and beyond... "L" decided Disneyland was the plan and it was so much fun and full of laughter and way too many pictures to post.
I went grocery shopping at a asian market a few days ago if you have never been to one its worth a trip. I usually find beautiful fruit and it so well priced and really fresh vegetables and of course there is the really fresh seafood like it is still swimming and you pick what you like and well lets just say you can figure it out. I usually stick to the produce area and condiments.
I had hit that point of the day were I was tired and I was getting grumpy and I knew it was traffic hour, ugh! So there is this beautiful bakery next door and I decided to splurge and get my honey a pretty pastry for dessert and as I was waiting for it to be beautifully wrapped I decided to order a hot tea as a pick me up. Not only were they so polite and asked me if I would like to have a seat it would take a few minutes for it to brew, I didn't I am so used to order and dash at Starbucks. My fresh cup of tea was measured out and made in a beautiful porcelain cup, I just stood and stared in awe at the whole process it was amazing and so gracefully prepared. Then it was gingerly poured into a to-go cup and I was handed this little bag with a sugar stick and a fresh baked biscotti in it and my beautiful wrapped dessert for my honey. When I got into the car I took a picture because I wanted to remember not only was my tea perfect and the added free treat of my biscotti delicious it really made me really, really happy...
I have to say I love attention to detail and polite customer service! How many times in a day can I say I encounter great customer service? Not often sadly to say that is why I was doing the happy dance over a cup of tea and a delicious biscotti.
We attended a event at space15twenty in Hollywood and it was a fun. I fell in love with so many of Mirror/Dash line I need to go back to Urban Outfitters. I am wearing my vintage studded leather jacket, I love this jacket, it holds so many of my fun memories from back in the day I am wearing my favorite old levi's and a leather shirt I made from thrifted leather pants. My daughter "L" is wearing a thrifted jacket and some thrifted pants and my boots she is so stylish and has a such a special way of tossing things together.
I am silly and I love to laugh, I love cooking and I am self taught so I am always trying to improve and learn as much as I can. I believe chocolate or lemon bars are a cure all, I love to eat, I studied fashion, marketing and design, I love to go to thrift stores and find vintage cashmere sweaters to bring back to life to wear, I love my jeans and flip flops. I enjoy dressing up too... I love perfume. Blue is my favorite color and I adore my family.
Such a green way to go. This great so when you toss a fruit into your handbag or backback it protects it from getting bruised or poked by a pen or a knitting needle. It is a better way to go than a plastic baggie. I made mine from cotton so I can toss it in the wash. I have made so many they have been a hit with friends and family and such a pretty way to carry a healthy snack. Find the pattern at gonnapurl.blogspot.com