Adventures In Food and Wine

Join me in my kitchen while I embark on a journey of cooking and enjoying food and wine.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Happy Birthday to my first born son!
I Love You!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

ARF Tuesday-Garlic

While perusing the Cooking Light Bulletin Boards the other day, I came upon two good sounding recipes I wanted to try. Once I copied the recipes into Mastercook, I realized they were both creations of the same person, Jewel. Jewel has been a frequent poster on the BB and often offers her own recipes or tweaks of other recipes. These two were just perfect since I had some beef chuck to use up and some canned pumpkin.

First up is Garlic Harvest Soup. This is packed with fresh veggies and tons of garlic. The garlic is not overpowering and really adds a nice dimension to the finished product. With the addition of barley and wild rice for fiber (my Mastercook gives the nutrition at 45 grams fiber per serving) this is a soup that is good and good for you. A perfect addition to Sweetnicks ARF Tuesday event.

Next up is Spicy Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars. Pumpkin and cheesecake...what's not to like about this! I wanted to make something to take into work tomorrow and with the fall-like weather we are having now I thought this would be perfect. I have not taken a treat into work for quite some time and my co-workers are continually reminding me of that. A mixture of brown sugar, pecans, butter, spices, and Bisquick forms the crust and topping. The filling is eggs, pumpkin, spices, sugar, and cream cheese. I used the 1/3 less fat cream cheese with no ill effects. This bakes up quickly and looks great also. I will have to let you know what the co-workers think of this. I did get a small taste of the filling before baking and it was very tasty.

So thanks go out to Jewel for these great recipes. Be sure to check out Sweetnicks for the other ARF Tuesday submissions. And check out the Cooking Light Bulletin Board. It is a fun place to hang and all the people are great!

Monday, September 18, 2006

What to do with 4 pounds of plums? Plum Tart!

I went to the Farmer's Market Saturday in search of some seasonal goodies. I found some Candy Onions (If you have never had these, they are great. Sweeter than a Vidalia), some fresh garlic, honey, and Italian Plums. These were grown right here in Delaware County Indiana. I had never seen or tasted an Italian Plum before so the vender let me taste one. WOW. These are awesome! Very juicy and sweet. A carton was $3.00 so I picked one up. When I got them home, I weighed them to discover I had almost 4 pounds of plums. I kept envisioning a plum tart so I went to The Food Network website in search of a recipe. I found one by Ina Garten that sounded relatively easy and did not require a ton of ingredients.

Being an Ina Garten recipe, it is not light with 1 1/2 sticks of butter in the crust/topping. The only sugar in the recipe is in the crust however. The plums themselves are on their own with no additional ingredients needed for the filling. The flavor of the plums shine in this recipe. This is one that will be repeated next time I get my hands on some of those Italian Plums!

My garden is about done for the year. I canned 7 quarts of tomatoes on Friday and had enough left over to make a pot of chili. The weather is taking a cooling turn here in central Indiana which is fine by me. Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the cool crisp days and the turning of the leaves. I will miss summer, but I guess I am ready for the change of seasons.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Pumpkin Butter - makes it taste like Autumn

I finally got to the canning of the Pumpkin Butter today. This was a very easy project and can be made any time of the year. The base is canned pumpkin along with sugar, spices, and the pectin. The finished product is thick and smooth with a bit of a tang to it from the pectin. I think if I make it again, I may try it with less sugar as the pumpkin flavor was not all that prominent. It is still good and spicey however and a pleasant reminder that fall is just around the corner.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

ARF Tuesday, Chocolate in Chili?



What is that tantalizing aroma?

Oh, it is the marinara I have simmering away in the crock pot.

I decided to push the pumpkin butter back a day and make some marinara. I have not made any for a while and it is so much better than jarred marinara sauce. When I do resort to the jarred stuff, Zac who is a pasta sauce junkie will ask "Mom, what is wrong with this sauce? It doesn't taste as good." I will use some for the lasagna we are having for dinner and freeze the rest.

I know you are asking yourself "What is the recipe for this wonderful marinara?" Well friends you can find it over at The Savory Notebook. Alysha became world famous on the Cooking Light Bulletin Board with her marinara and thus Cooking Light took noticed and published her recipe. I think the secret is the carmelizing of the onions (and the red wine). This sauce is so thick and rich, it reminds me of the sauce that was served in a little Italian joint in the town I grew up in. So good!

And speaking of Alysha. She made a posted about a Cooking Light recipe the other day that caught my eye, Black Bean and Chorizo Chili. (you can read her post here) I recently came across some Spanish Chorizo at the supermarket so I snatched a package up and stowed it in the freezer (usually all I ever see around here is Mexican Chorizo which is a totally different sausage). This chili is loaded with black beans, tomatoes, corn, peppers, a small amount of cinnamon, and just a touch of good for you chocolate (yes I said chocolate). The chocolate really gave it beautiful color and depth with just a hint of sweetness. Cinnamon is traditionally in Cincinnati-style Chili, and since we do not care for that, I was worried that the family would not like this. No worries! The boys loved it and DH wanted to take it in his lunch today. Unfortunately, after a midnite raid by Chris, there was only about 1/2 cup left!
Since beans and chocolate are so good for you, this is perfect for Sweetnicks ARF Tuesday event. Hosted each Tuesday by Sweetnicks, the focus is on foods that are good and good for you. Be sure to check it out, there are some great dishes submitted by some talented and dedicated food lovers out there!

Until next time...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Labor Day Weekend

A potato of love!

Now isn't that something! I love to find unusual shapes in food!

I have been fighting off a summer cold this week. It had me down Wednesday and Thursday, but I took some Echinacea and I began to feel much better Friday. I hate summer colds.

I worked in the garden on Friday and did I harvest a haul! I picked 6 pounds of green beans and 7 pounds of tomatoes. Several peppers, but I did not weigh them. The garden has been very bountiful this year. We have gotten so many peppers this year, I have had to freeze them. If you ever have an over abundance of peppers, just pop them in a bag and freeze them. They work well in a cooked recipe after that. It is nice to just pull one or two out of the freezer in the winter for chili.
Again with the green beans!
How is your Labor Day Weekend going? Since I have to work tomorrow, we decided to grill some burgers and some corn on the cob tonight. Really good and simple stuff. I went to my usual farm stand to pick up some corn and they were closed with a sign stating they were sold out of corn for this year. So I went a little further out in the country and bought some. It was good, but not as good as what I bought earlier in the summer. Sigh, I guess that means that fall is truly upon us when the corn is gone. I never did pick up any extra to freeze for the winter.

Along with the burgers and corn I served a recipe I watched Paula Deen cook while I was vegging out in front of the TV with the cold earlier in the week. Marinated Tomatoes are a good way to use up some of your tomato harvest. Paula claims this recipe will make even store bought winter tomatoes taste like summer. That is a mighty big claim! The recipe makes a lot of marinade, so when the tomatoes are gone, just add more or use it as a salad dressing. The tomatoes were bursting with flavor after a quick soak in the marinade. Add some chopped green onions for additional crunch and color ( I forgot to add these however).

I picked up a book at the library the other day called Blue Ribbon Preserves.
What a great book! I found a recipe for Pumpkin Butter. I haven't had any of that in ages! I have all the ingredients so I plan to make some on Tuesday and can it. Hopefully, I will be successful and I will post the results. Many other recipes caught my eye for some jams and jellies. My only experience with jam is Strawberry Freezer Jam. I think I may try my hand at some cooked and canned jams soon as well!

Hope everyone has a great holiday!