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Figgy Newtons

15 Feb

What else would I do with a family figgy jam recipe except make fig newtons!

My very first memory of fig newtons was of the one in the yellow package that tasted real sweet and light.  And came on your grocery stores shelves.  One day my mom took me to a health store in the mall to get her vitamins.  Normally a kid would hate going to such a shop.  But I loved this shop because as well as vitamins, they carried big bins of giant, dense, bran fig newtons.  And in three flavors!  Apple , raspberry and plain.

Although I have no idea how to make these wonderful newtons from my childhood, but I have another favorite.  My recipe for buttery newtons make a light and slightly crisped newton, that will make anybody a fig lover.

Ingredients:

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup Butter
1 cup Sugar
2 large Eggs
1 teaspoon Milk
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg

31/2 cups All-purpose flour or more for rolling
1 1/4 teaspoon Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/2 pint Fig jam (previous post)

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar well. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat after each addition. Add milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and blend. In the first cup of flour, add baking powder and salt. Continue adding flour until the mixture is the proper consistency for rolling dough on floured board.

To make fig newtons, divide dough into 2 parts. Roll between 2 pieces of waxed paper, about 8 inches square. Remove top layer of waxed paper,  Spoon jam on half. Fold dough on center line. Cut in squares.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until light tan. Cool on rack. Store in tight containers.

Figgy Jam

5 Nov

Figgy Jam

For the first 12 years of my life I lived across the street from a huge fig tree.  I remember picking them up off the ground and then throwing them at my playmate.  These bright green pods with lots of little seeds were collected and preserved every year by my love grandma Angie.  Her parents built a giant Victorian house right off of Union Ave (now it’s MLK Blvd) during the  late 1890’s.  This house had a giant cellar and a giant willow who’s branches we used to swing from for hours.  After the death of Angie and her sister Barbara, eat time I bit into a fig it took me right back to their home.

Last year I was biting into a fig newton and I instantly knew the next recipe I wanted to bake.  Too bad figs were out of season at the time, but not for too long.  I know that there is a cool website for the Portland area where people list fruit trees and other veggies that are on Public and private property.  You are able to go to these sites and respectfully collect fresh produce that would go to waste.  I will blog about this site later:)  I found lots of fig trees, but decided to hit up the Farmers market instead.

The figs that I found at the farmers market were bright shades of green and most of them were ripe or soon to be.  I paid $2.50 for 7 large sized figs.  Too fill up a jar you will need 12-16 of these, so it can be quite spendy.  If I was not planning on putting my jam in a small batch of newtons, I would have found a tree:)

My jam turned out great.  It has an earthier and better flavor then the over sugared store bought jam.  I also decided to leave it a bit chunky and not cook it down to a thick dark brown jam.    I loved the fresh flavors, texture and colors that it gave the jam!

Ingredients

1 cup Mashed figs
3/4 cup Sugar
2 tablespoons Water

Directions

Combine mashed figs, sugar and water.

You can use your stove top on a low to medium heat, stirring often.  Or use a crock pot.  Cook until desired thickness.

Cool and use as filling ore spread on some crackers with fresh goat cheese. Yum.

*If you plan on canning this jam use safe preservation methods.  Or you can simply make this freezer jam.

Immature figs

Figs growing on tree

Dougnut Muffins

5 Nov

Here the thing.  One of my favorite meals of the day is breakfast.  However, I almost never eat breakfast.  Correction, I almost never eat breakfast at breakfast time.  I know that it’s the “most important meal of the day,” but who has the time or energy in the morning when opening your eyes is a challenge on its own?  So when I saw these quick and easy am goody on The Pioneer Woman’s blog, I could instantly smell the warm butter and cinnamon coming from my oven.

The wonderful muffins are perfectly sweet and dense.  They remained very moist and are great simply paired with fresh fruit.  The snow is coming in at the mountain and I plan on making these again for my friends to eat during our drive up to play in the fresh powder… Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1-¾ cup Flour
  • 1-½ teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoons Cinnamon
  • ⅓ cups Oil
  • ¾ cups White Sugar
  • 1 whole Egg
  • ¾ cups Milk
  • 1 teaspoons Vanilla *I added this to the original recipe

Topping Ingrediants

  • ¼ cups Butter
  • ⅓ cups White Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon

Directions

Mix flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in dish.

Mix oil, sugar, egg, vanilla and milk in separate large bowl.  Add dry ingredients to the wt and stir only to combine.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Melt the butter in a bowl and combine the white sugar with the cinnamon in another bowl.

Shake muffins out while still hot. Dip muffins in butter, then into the cinnamony sugar mix.  I really go overboard during this part:) Let the cool for a minute and enjoy.

This recipe makes 12 muffins.

 

My Food Photography Sucks!

6 Sep

I have recently been looking over some wonderful blogs in which the bloggers themselves are professional photographers. And then I looked at my photos.  Not the best.  I have never taken any type of photography lesson or class that teaches you about lighting or even basic photography tips. So I have made a vow to myself to learn more about this art form and not get discouraged by not so pleasant photos.
So keep an eye out for my future photos and let me know what I can do to improve the quality without purchasing any fancy equipment.

I will soon post up before and up to date photos to show my improvement:)

Happy Cooking!

Portland’s Farmers Market Bounty

4 May

It is finally that time of the year!  The time of the year when the Farmers markets are in action, makes me feel so close to my community and proud to be an Oregonian.  I remember going to these markets when I was a little girl with my mom, sampling the cherries and peaches.  And now that I am cooking and an adult, I realize how these trips have formed my eating habits for life.

Each time I’m at the markets I try to buy something from a vendor I have yet to try and to try something I normally wouldn’t buy.  The opening weekend at this years market came to us with a bounty of asparagus and other goodies.  And of course the market always opens right before my mans’ birthday, so I have fun planning his birthday dinner:)

What was in my basket?

Local red potatos

Red skinned potatoes are pretty much a house staple.  These have a slighty tougher skin since pesticides dont protect them.  This makes them perfect for everything potato, esspecially baking.  I will be using these for the birthday meal.

Marionberry Pepper Jelly

This yummy pepper jelly made by the Rose City Pepperheads is great.  They have many flvors that range from mild to hot and can be used on anything.  The marionberry is one of the most mild jellies that they make.  Aside from using this jelly with salmon, my favorite way to easily down a jar of this is with cream cheese and crackers!  Check out thier website to order thier award winning jellies and see what you can make with it!  Next up, cheesecake:)

Garlic

Can never have enough garlic:)

Asparagus

I love aparagus! And by is it asparagus season at the market.   My first memory of veges has to do with these green stalks.  I remember my mom asking me what vegetable I was going to eat for dinner, and I picked asparagus.  I love asparagus with pretty much anythiing, but butter and parm will do.

Black Truffle Salt

Oh yes I did!!  This is the only purchase that I can justify buying that is in no way local.  I purchased this wonderfully stinky bag of salt truffled with Italian black truffles for under $5.00.  Yes, I could have purchased a nice and stinky fresh Oregon Black Truffle, but my budget said to stick with the salt that day.  And with truffle salt, a little goes a long way.  The folks at Misty Mountain Mushrooms have some of the most wonderfully fresh shrooms and truffles, that they are always busy.  Not to mention that they have great customer service and are happy to give you any info about their fungus’s.  Check out their site as they also do custom orders or items can be picked up at the market.

These lovely crisp apple were purchased from the Draper Girls Farm.  They have a great selection of apples, cider and even meats.  They have wonderful samples and once you try these apples you wont ever want your waxy supermarket apples again.

Smoked bones for the dogs

The dogs never get left out.  And now that dogs are banned at the downtown market, I feel like I owe them.  So they each got a wonderfully smoked bone from Pine Mountain Ranch. They have an amazing selection of meats and it was nice to meet the owners, being that I drive by the ranch everyday when I’m with the sled dogs in Bend.  I am sure the dogs can smell the meat in the air:)

Dave's killer bread

You haven’t had a real sandwich until you have had Dave’s.  And I should know being that I worked as a “sandwich artist” at a deli for 2 1/2 years.  If they would have used Dave’s bread, they would still be in business.  I am not the biggest consumer of sandwich bread, but Dave’s has showed me a new side of bread.  His breads are very well known here in the NW and you wouldn’t argue that since his stand is a constant madhouse of bread fans.  My favorite loaf that is versatile is his Nuts and Grains bread.  It has all the goodies, but remains moist and chewy.  My other favorite killer bread of Dave’s is called the Sin Dog.  But because the Sin Dog is so crazy good, I am going to dedicate an entire future post to this loaf and to Dave’s company.  In the meantime go online and check out his site Dave’s Killer Bread and order some killer carbs.

Lemon Dill Vinegar

If I could poor a glass of vinegar and drink it straight, I would.  Except for the fact that I would be getting yelled at for stinking the place up:) Blossom Vinegars is something that you cant pass up.  Her vinegars are all natural and true to their flavors.  At the Blossom Vinegars stand you are free to do a vinegar tasting, the same as you would do a wine tasting.  She has such a wide variety of flavors that its hard to pick a favorite.  We choose to purchase the Lemon Dill to be used with our grilled salmon and to make the best Honey Mustard Vinaigrette(Upcoming post).   Check out her site to learn more about the process of making Blossom Vinegars and to drool over the selection.

One thing that I always get every week at the Farmers Market is these earthy purple, yellow, and orange carrots.  The carrots at this farmers stand are huge!  And there is this cute little old man with his family constantly arranging and cutting carrots.  His hands are a wonderful dirt stained color from years of working the earth.

Salmon and veggies birthday meal

This was his favorite birthday meal of the six years we have been together.  This time he helped me pick out all the veggies that he liked at the market.  So what you see is sweetened carrots, sauteed asparagus, Lemon dill salmon and mashed red taters.  To make his dinner extra yummy I used Truffled Salt on the taters and fish!

Beef n’ Barley Crock Pot Stoup

2 May

Beef n Barley Stoup

Beef and barley has always reminded me of dirt.  But in a good way.  I love how this soup tastes so earthy and fresh.  There is nothing like a hearty bowl of root veggies and some grains to make you feel warm on a brisk day.  Or for me, after a long day with the sled dogs!  This soup is great for a big group as this hearty Stoup (stew/ soup) has the yummy broth of a soup, but the heartiness of a stew.  This goes best with a crusty loaf of fresh bread.

Winter is over for us and I don’t think I have had my seasons’ worth of this hearty soup, so here we go!

Beef n Barley Crock Pot Stoup

1-2 pounds of stew beef.
1/2 lb. dry barley
2 c. thinly sliced carrots
1 c. sliced celery
3/4 c. chopped green pepper
1 lg. onion, sliced
1 (16 oz.) can cut up tomatoes
1/4 c. snipped parsley
1 tbsp. instant beef bouillon granules
2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. dried basil, crushed
5 c. water
Cut beef into cubes, brown on all sides, and drain well. In crockery cooker place carrot, celery, green pepper and onion. Place beef on top. Combine undrained tomatoes, barley, parsley, bouillon, salt and basil. Cover.Cook on low heat 10 to 12 hours. Remove bones if used. Skim any fat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Tip-If you like your stoup on the creamier side, go ahead and stir it a few times while cooking.  This incorporates the starch from the barley through out the dish and thickens it up.  This is my favorite way.
If you like your stoup with more broth and more soup like, DO NOT STIR.

The best lunch with my best!

2 May

Our city of Portland!So its not often that I don’t blog about food and dogs, but if includes my pups, my BFF and food, I make an exception.  It was just one of those days perfect weather, happy days in Portland.  Everyone around you is out and about, happily catching winter sun.

So my girlfriend Kate and I have been friends since the fifth grade.  We both went to school in Portland and met as pen pals.  While we were in fifth grade we wrote about hamsters, guinea pigs and school.  After a year of writing we finally met towards the end of the year when our class went to our pen pal’s school Laurelhurst Elementary to meet.  Kate has always been into sports and really good at them.  So now that I know he,r Im surprised that I kept my head after playing tether and kickball on the first day we met:)  Unlike some of my other classmates and their pals, we got along great.

After we had graduated from the fifth grade Kate and I never expected to really stay in contact.  So it was a great suprise to see her on my first day of 6th grade!  It was really awsome because the middle school that we had applied to had under 150 kids and it was it first year in action.  Our school called the “Environmental Middle School” was the first of its kind in the nation, since the days of living off the land and community schools are now almost extint.  At this school our friendship blossomed as we pulled ivy from native plants, hiked weekly and made community meals.  We loved calling our hippy teachers by their first names and taking the bus downtown to feed the homeless at The Blanchet House.

Over the years we have had so much fun together and unlike most friends, we have never had a huge blowout fight.  Our friendship is way to laid back for that.  Besides our common intrestes in art, nature and food, the one thing that keeps ourfriendship strong, is that we dont judge each other and dont set high expectations that might be broken.  It’s as simple as that.

So here we both are at 26 years old wondering what our next adventure will be…

In the meantime, we enjoyed our fish tacos and margaritas at “Por Que No” on Mississippi in Portland.  Yum:)

Fresh coconut mango margarita