wasabigirl's ramblings

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Now that I have had successful forays into the sourdough and sauerkraut, I am attempting kombucha...

tea and sugar:

add the SCOBY:

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Edinburgh day one

This is mostly a note to myself to fill in later. We started the day by walking through the park below the castle. Then we spent hours traversing the nooks and crannies of Edinburgh castle (there are many, some dating back to the 12th century). After the castle (which included lunch), I was peckish. We stopped in a cafe tucked off the royal mile. I hade coffee and a scone with cream AND butter and raspberry jam. When a group of German tourists came in with a tour guide, we all learned that we were somewhere notworthy. After nourishment and cream were ingested, we continued down the royal mile. We stopped at St Giles' church, which dates at least to the 14th century and reminded me of a lot of churches we saw in Spain. Even though it is Protestant rather than catholic. Interestingly, it has lavish stained glass windows. Per Wikipedia: "in the 19th century, stained glass began to be put into the windows which had been largely clear or plain since the Reformation. This was a radical move in a Presbyterian church where such decorations were regarded with great suspicion. They were finally allowed on the basis that they illustrated Bible stories and were as such an aid to teaching, and not flippant decoration, or worse still perceived idolatry. " After St Giles, we continued down towards the sea. We had dinner near the port, then walked the 2.4 miles back, which were now uphill. Dinner was great, and I need to remember to look up cape gooseberries (Physalis).

Safe travels to Scotland

Despite a closed runway in San Francisco (Asiana Airways crash earlier is in the week), and a fire that closed Heathrow the morning of our flight, and that when we tried to check our bags we were told the flight was 'restricted' and 'please hold on...' - we finally boarded our flight and arrive early in London. Once at heathrow, we waited at customs, retrieved my suitcase, and then had some period of panic when S's suitcase wasn't on the carrousel. Eventually we found it (someone had already taken it off and set it aside?!?!). Then off to check in for our flight to Edinburgh. The bus ride into town had wifi, so we could peep that we'd arrived. Our first night was pretty much just showering, walking around, finding a pub for a pint and some food. Now we are off to explore a castle!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Spicy tomato jam

Spicy tomato jam (adapted from NY Times)

I started with this recipe, but resolved that next time I would reduce the amount of sugar, probably down to 3/4 cup. Also, I didn't use roma tomatoes (see the photo for the assortment I used). Finally, I used a pepper from the garden; it was mildly spicy. I wish I could remember the variety because it was so perfect for this recipe. I'd probably use a jalapeño in the future.

Part of why I love this recipe is that it is one of few tomato recipes that doesn't require you to peel or de-seed the tomatoes. Just chop and simmer.

1 1/2 pounds good ripe tomatoes (Roma are best), cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar (I'd reduce to 3/4 unless the tomatoes are really tart)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 jalapeño or other peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced, or red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste.

1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan, Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.

2. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes. (I probably doubled the time, it was too watery at 1 hour.)

Taste and adjust seasoning, then cool and refrigerate until ready to use; this will keep at least a week. I put mine in small jars and then froze it. It kept nicely for a year.

Plum Clafoutis

Plum Clafoutis (I think I was inspired by this and then tinkered alittle).

I recently had a blueberry clafoutis that was DELICIOUS and based on Julia Child's recipe, which was published in the NY Times recently. Next time, I will try Julia's recipe.

clementine cake

clementine cake (smitten kitchen)

4 to 5 clementines (about 375grams/slightly less than 1 pound total weight)
6 eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225 grams) sugar
2 1/3 cups (250 grams) ground almonds
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder

I made this over two years ago, so I don't remember how I tinkered with it (other than I am certain I did). Since it is from Smitten Kitchen, follow her instructions and you should be good. It is a great cake when you need something wheat-free.

Strawberry cake and radish butter

Lounge Lassie is better at posting than I am, clearly. Last summer I made both strawberry cake and radish butter - both of which were posted by Lounge Lassie, but not by me. Rather than create posts here, I'll just link.

Beer has been bottled!

Correction to last post. Apparently that was the stage just before bottling - which is just before letting it rest in the bottles for a few weeks.

Brewing beer

S has decided to make beer and mead this summer. I have no idea what stage of the process this is, but it is a pretty color, clear, and tasty.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Plum cake (aka Gâteau de genévrier based on Clotilde Dusoulier's Gâteau de Mamy)

I love, love, love upside down cake.  I found this looking for a pear cake, but didn't make it until plums were in season.  It is my new favorite cake.  The pictures are Juniper's.

Gâteau de Mamy recipe (from http://chocolateandzucchini.com): 

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Butter a non-stick 9-inch cake pan or springform.

  • 150g of sugar // 3/4 cup
  • 125g of butter // 1 stick + 1 TB (original recipe calls for unsalted ("beurre doux") but here I used half unsalted, half salted ("beurre salé") and I liked it.)
  • 80g of flour // ~ 9/16 cup (optional: substitute 20g of powdered almonds for 20g of flour)
  • 2 eggs
  • 5g baking powder // 1 1/4 tsp
  • 4 large or 6 small apples (or pears, apricots, plums...)
  • optional: vanilla in batter
  • optional: spices appropriate to the fruit, cinnamon with apples, etc.

Melt butter, set aside to cool.

Cut up the fruit. Lay the pieces of fruit at the bottom of the pan. This recipe works with a variety of fruit: apples, apricots, plums... If using a really juicy fruit, mix in some flour or cornstarch. if using a really tart fruit, mix in some sugar. If adding spices to the fruit, mix in now.

Mix sugar with two eggs. If you are adding vanilla to the batter, add it now.

Mix flour and baking powder together (I sift them together, but it isn't necessary), then add to the sugar/eggs and mix.

Add the butter, mix.

Make sure you added the butter, you would be shocked how many times people (including me) forget to add the butter.

Pour/nudge the dough over the fruit in the pan, and bake for 40 to 60 minutes.

Insert a knife or toothpick to test for doneness.

Let the cake settle for a few minutes or overnight.

If you want an upside-down cake:

Invert it on a plate (the fruit side will be on top), scrape the bits of fruit that may stick at the bottom of the pan and place those bits evenly on the inverted cake.

If you want a right-side-up cake:

Use a second plate to invert the cake again (the fruit side will then be at the bottom). Sometimes with a springform pan and fruit that isn't too delicate, you can slide it off the pan onto a plate, but it rarely works.


Pour the dough on the fruit in the pan,

and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.

Let the cake settle for a few minutes. Invert it on a plate (the fruit side will be on top), scrape the bits of fruit that may stick at the bottom of the pan and place those bits evenly on the inverted cake. Use a second plate to invert the cake again (the fruit side will then be at the bottom).

The resulting cake is golden, incredibly moist, light and fruity, with a slightly crusty edge, and it is very hard to stop at just one slice. But if you do and there are leftovers, your reward will be that this cake is even better the next day...

Right out of the oven: 

After a few minutes, it pulls away from the edge of the pan:

Turn it out of the pan:

Then turn it over, so the fruit is on the bottom again:

Then eat it:

Dazy Donut Maker

The joys of childhood, the DAZY DONUT MAKER . . . back when children were trusted with hot, sharp, and otherwise dangerous items.

Thanks to ebay, I am happy to announce the triumphant return of the DAZY DONUT MAKER!!! (we got two so that I can give one to my sister, but I had to test it first.)

Recently we had apple donuts and they were delish, so I was thinking fruit donuts. However, when the Dazys arrived I had an abundance of plums, so I made plum donuts.

I didn't put enough butter in this one, so it stuck. For the next batch, I used a silicone "brush" to brush butter on the top as well as the bottom).

The next batch were perfect.

Today's garden haul

We've learned alot this year. We will definitely plant earlier next year. Today, I brought in a few tomatoes, an onion, a yellow squash, peppers, green beans, and I thinned the carrots.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

no-knead sourdough combo 1st attempt

inspired by Julie's no-knead bread, I set out to make a loaf with sourdough. This recipe scared me because I've never made sourdough without yeast.

my combo version was this:

1 cup fully active sourdough culture
3 cups flour, more for dusting
1 cup water
1 packet yeast (dissolved in warm water)
1.5 teaspoons salt

I followed Julie's instructions, kind of. (In a large bowl combine yeasty water, water, and sourdough, add flour and salt. Stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, and up to 24 hours, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.) I added red onions and cheese before the last rise. Next up: no-knead raisin bread.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Camp Sites

I tried to take pictures of each camp site on the trip. I'll post pictures in individual posts below. The route, roughly, was southwest on hwy 81 from NJ to VA, where we spent the first night.

Then mostly west to spend night two in TN on a lovely lake, created thanks to the TVA.

We passed through Nashville, saw free live music at 4:30 in the afternoon (GOOD live music), and spent night three in one of Davey Crockett's special places, somewhere in southern TN.

Day four we headed south through Alabama, stopping in Birmingham, and we stayed the night somewhere in Alabama or Mississippi.

Day five we hit the gulf and drove west to New Orleans. We spent the afternoon wandering around the french quarter. A friend of Steven's mom lives there and gave a us a driving tour of the larger city and we had po boys and allegator tarts for dinner. We spent night five in a real bed in a lovely house on one of the bayous.

We drove around southern LA on day six checking out the bayous and various WPA projects, stopping for gumbo at the shell station, and driving towards Lafayette where we camped at our only dud of the whole trip.

Day seven we shot across Texas, stopping in San Antonio to see the Alamo, walk around the 'river walk' (another WPA project), and grabbing a bit to eat at some really good restaurant in an industrial part of town. In an effort to make Texas a one day event, Steven drove until 1:00am and we stayed in a hotel near the NM/TX border.

Day eight we started with a trip to Carlsbad caverns and then made our way to the Navajo Nation. We arrived at the campgrounds at Canyon de Chelly at around midnight in the midst of a storm.

Day nine started off with five hour hike down into Canyon de Chelly with our guide Stanley. It was pretty amazing. We drove north through Monument Valley, swung east (I know, the wrong direction) so that I could stand on the four corners. That night and the next we stayed at the camp grounds in Mesa Verde park in Colorado. Somewhere are here we found out that Steven's aunt died and that he needed to get to Washington State for the funeral. Fortunately, we were already headed in that direction, but we needed to pick up the pace.

Day eleven we set out from Mesa Verde to meet my mom at Arches in Utah. Because she was running late we snuck in a visit to the museum and hike before we left Mesa Verde. We stayed the night at a campground about five miles outside of the entrance to Arches, on the banks of the Colorado river.

Day twelve was a push after Arches to get as close to Bryce as possible. We arrived very late at night and were lucky enough to find a nice place with a few campsights. not really a campground, per se, but nice. I can't remember the name of the town, but it was at around 8,000' just north of Bryce.

Day thirteen we set out for Bryce, did a whirlwind tour, and made it to the campgrounds in Zion just before they closed.

Day fourteen was a trip through Zion and then starting the drive north. The most interesting thing that happened after Zion was trying to find a place to eat in Salt Lake City on a Sunday evening.

We stayed in Twin Falls, Idaho. The next morning we set out for Pendelton where we parted ways (Steven heading to the memorial sevice/funeral in Washington). I stopped for a day in Portland before making my way to Jewell.

Pictures, in no particular order, can be found here:

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Hitting the Road

I leave on Monday to drive cross country with my friend Steven. Destination: Jewell, Oregon. The plan is to camp/hike/explore around Bryce, Zion and Arches. if there are storms, wild fires, plague, pestilence or sightings of either Tom Cruise or L Ron Hubbard, then we'll likely cut that part of the trip short and head directly to Oregon.

There is the chance that we'll stop in New Orleans and/or the caves at Carlsbad to see the bats en route.

In case you are wondering: I did finish my first year of school. They haven't yet asked me to leave and I didn't fail any of my classes, so I am sticking around to see what another year of it might bring.