Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sour Cherry Sauce and Sour Cherry Dressing

I bought 3 quarts of sour cherries at the market a few weeks ago.  Two of the quarts I used to make Kirsch, aka, Cherry Liquor.  Hmm.  The remaining quart I decided to make some sour cherry sauce. The sauce, hopefully, will have a few applications.  The first of which is a salad dressing that my friend made. The dressing was a nice contrast to the bitter green salad we had.  Ah, sadly, the greens I picked up at the market last week were a bit bitter.  

I will do my best to impart what my lovely friend added to make the lovely dressing.  She added cherry sauce (1/4 cup) to some olive oil (3 tablespoons), lime juice (1 whole lime), basil (1 teaspoon), oregano (1/2 teaspoon) and mint (8 leaves).  Measurements are approximates as she made this on the fly.

My friend also brought over some wonderful Brazilian appetizers.  A woman, locally, makes and sells them, frozen or already fried.  Her name is Tia.  She can be found here, at Yummy Bite Brazil.

I am giving you the name of these nuggets of deliciousness.  If you are curious and want to learn more about them, click on the names.  I am so sorry I did not take pictures of them the other day.  I have some in my freezer though and will take pics, the next time I make them.

Coxinha de gallinha (a chicken filled nugget)
Quibe - Kimpe (bulgur wheat, beef and seasonings- totally like kibbe, a Middle Eastern dish)
Empadinha de palmito (Hearts of Palm empanadas, the one we had also had green olives in it)

Sour Cherry Sauce
If you dont have fresh sour cherries, you could totally use some Tart Cherry juice here. Just use 1 3/4 cups juice.

1 quart sour cherries, pitted
1 cup water
3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 1/2 tablespoons Thermoflo or cornstarch

Wash, remove stems and pit the cherries.  Place in a saucepan.  Add 1 cup of water.  Bring to boil, then turn down heat so the cherries simmer.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Turn of heat and strain the liquid from the cherries.  Save the cherry pulp for smoothies if you like.  I had 1 3/4 cups juice remaining.

Return liquid to clean saucepan and add sugar.  Bring to a boil. Add in lemon juice.  In a small cup mix Thermoflo with a couple tablespoons of water to make a slurry.  Drizzle the slurry into the cherries, stirring constantly to prevent lumps.  Cook until thickened, though this will happen really quick.  Keep stirring.  Remove from heat and stir in almond extract. As the mixture cools, it will thicken more.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Tahini Potato Salad

I love alternatives to mayo.  Sometimes you want something different then the normal potato salad with mayo, this is the ticket.  Its very flavorful and scrumptious.  Experiment with the amounts of lemon juice and dill etc to get it to the flavor you like.

Great for taking on a picnic.  Which, this summer, we have been doing a lot of.  Happiness!  Its been so hot though, the only places we usually go is where there is somewhere to get wet.  Much better that way!

Tahini Potato Salad

5 large potatoes
1/4 cup dill, chopped
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic smashed, then minced
salt and pepper
3 green onions, sliced

Peel and cut potatoes into bite sized portions.  Cook until tender.

In a large bowl combine tahini and lemon juice, stir until it is thoroughly combined.  Add in dill and minced garlic.  Stir in potatoes when still warm.  This will help the fats melt a little and move easily throughout.  Mix in green onions.  Serve warm or chilled.  If you serve it from the refrigerator, give it some time to come to room temperature.  It will taste much better that way.  

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Bella's Cupcakes

My daughter decided to make these lovely cupcakes for her friend.  She did a great job.  I let her fly solo, what the heck, she's 13 she can manage.  Amazing!  She did a great job.  They tasted great.  The only thing is she insisted she did not want any vanilla in hers but I would put it in.

I think the idea for these cupcakes was hatched when we were at the Amish Store this past week.  My daughter saw watermelon food flavoring.  I said I would buy it.  I love when the kids get excited about baking or cooking.  Anything I can do to foster that excitement.

Bella's Cupcakes
Makes about 22 regular size cupcakes, give or take, depending on how full you make them.

8 oz (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 medium eggs
4 tablespoons whole milk

6 oz cream cheese, softened
4 oz butter, softened
2 cups give or take confectioners sugar
3 drops of watermelon food flavoring (or to taste)
color, if desired

Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare muffin tin with paper cups.

Place butter into a bowl and beat it until softened. Add the sugar, flour, salt, eggs and milk and whisk until the mixture is smooth.

Use a traditional-style ice-cream scoop, to divide the mixture between all the paper cups.
Place both muffin tins in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then swap over the position of the tins over and bake for a further 3-7 minutes, until both trays of cupcakes are a light golden color.

Remove the muffins from the oven. Leave the cupcakes in the tins for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool.

Frost when completely cooled.

Beat cream cheese and butter together until fully incorporated.  Beat in salt, confectioners sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.  Add in color and flavoring, beat until fully incorporated.

Friday, August 12, 2016


After making my dill cucumber relish I had some leftover cucumber juice to use.  I decided a mixed drink was in order.  A super refreshing drink!

I am not sure what you would call it.  It isn't quite a mojito because we used vodka.  I am not exactly an expert on mixed drinks.  If there are any bartenders out there that know if this drink is called anything, let me know.  For now, I am going to name it a "Cucumber Chill".

No matter what it is called, it went down smooth.
Hamlin Beach State Park, newly renovated beach house to the right, new landscaping and walk.  Looks great.


2 cup cucumber juice
1 cup vodka
1/2 cup mint simple syrup*
1/2 cup lime juice
fresh mint leaves
lots of ice

Shake it all together. Pour and enjoy.

*Lots of mint, like 2 cups, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil.  Boil for two minutes. Turn off heat, cover and let steep.  Chill in refrigerator and you are ready for any mojito or "cucumber chill" urge that comes your way.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016



I try to buy all natural Maple Syrup whenever possible.  It is a bit out of my budget and the way my girls go through it is insane.  It makes me kind of crazy to find pools of it on their plates.  Kind of... okay, a lot crazy.  But instead of crazy I just buy some name brand maple syrup and call it a day.  But then my internal nutritional monitor says, what?  artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup, fillers?  The blueberry syrup is my answer.  Yes, blueberries are not to be wasted either but I feel much better about this that artificial maple syrup.

So, maybe pancakes aren't your thing but you love blueberries and want to preserve them.  Just add water to this canned blueberry syrup in a large pitcher and you have blueberry juice to drink in the winter.  Bam!  Love it.  Or maybe blueberry mojito's... Oh, yeah!  

Blueberry Syrup
Ball Canning Recipe here.

8 cups blueberries, crushed (about 3-1/2 lb)
6 cups water, divided
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Place blueberries, 2 cups of the water and lemon zest in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat and boil gently for 5 minutes.

Pour into a strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth set over a deep bowl. Let drip, undisturbed, for at least 2 hours.

When ready, heat water canner to boiling. Heat jars in warm water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.

Mix sugar and remaining 4 cups water in a clean large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar, and cook until temperature reaches 230°F, adjusting for altitude. Add blueberry juice. Increase heat to high, bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

Using a large measuring cup pour hot blueberry syrup into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.

Process jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes*, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

*Please remember to not time your canner until it is boiling.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


Why do I always feel like a crazy woman in the summer?  I know I am not alone... Taking the kids here and there, canning vegetables, freezing vegetables, making jam, going places.  I am not complaining but it is precisely around this time that I start looking forward to taking a breath in September when the kids go back to school.  I will say, though, it takes like a good month to just be able to sit down and relax.  I kind of twitch because I am used to so much running around.

Do you like Werther's Hard Candy?  This is what this ice cream taste like to me.  Scumptious!

Dulce de Leche Ice Cream

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vodka
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 can Dulce de Leche

In a saucepan heat the milk and cream just until it almost boils.  Remove from heat.  Stir in dulce de leche with a whisk until it has all been melted.  Add vanilla and vodka.  If you make your own vanilla extract with vodka, omit the vodka part.