What I’ve made so far

This is what I’ve made so far this first quarter of 2022. I wanted to keep track of what I’ve done. Trying to keep myself busy.

Food

Top to bottom, left to right: Laurie’s pear cake, chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles, cheese biscuits, pickled veggies, chichi dango, roasted sweet potato pudding, Costco rotisserie chicken broth, tuna tofu patties, fig and orange jam, caramelized onion and zucchini quiche, pad see ew, roasted tomato salsa


Craft

Top to bottom, left to right: stitch and mend sampler, denim whale with pleats, Feather and fan scarf, denim whale with topstitching, Hawaiian quilt pillow, Aloha shirt blanket, Year of Hat March hat, garment cover with upcycled aloha shirt

Fav Pics: Grilled Tomato Salsa

Veggies on the grill.

I haven’t posted one of these in a while. I’m still cleaning out my images. Lots of memories make it hard to eliminate. I decided to post this grouping as I just made this recipe and remembered how easy and delicious it was. This salsa is versatile. I made it for the chips that I bought, but it is also excellent on eggs, salads, fish . . . etc.

I can’t find the recipe initially used, but it is so easy and versatile to your taste. Here’s the list of ingredients and what I did for my recent batch.

  • Tomatoes, sliced in half–for the last batch I made I use about six medium size tomatoes, locally grown
  • Bell peppers, sliced in half, deseed–I use the mini peppers, about six, what I had in my refrigerator
  • Round onions, sliced in half–two large
  • Garlic–four cloves
  • Serrano peppers-two, could use more if like hot or use spicer peppers
  • Green onions-didn’t use because I didn’t have any in my fridge
  • Cilantro to taste
  • Lime–I use local lemon to taste
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

I placed all the ingredients, except cilantro and lime, on a baking sheet, cut side up. Placing them cut side up captures the juices they produce during the cooking process. I set the oven at 400º and cooked for about 30 minutes. Veggies should be charred but not burnt to a crisp. (my veggies were a bit more burnt than I wanted)

*Note: after grilling, remove the root from the scallions, seeds from the bell peppers, and stems and seeds from serranos (if you like it hot, leave the seed in)

Placed the grilled veggies in the food processor or blender and process till pureed. Depending on your food processor or blender, you may have to do it in two batches. Add coarsely chopped cilantro, lime (or lemon) juice, salt, and pepper to taste. The recent batch made about a quart and a half of salsa.

Four quarts from NJ tomatoes

If you use a grill, this salsa takes on a smokey quality. This recipe is worth trying, and it makes a lot to share. Enjoy!

Fav Pics: Pickled Veggies

Summer veggies getting ready for the brine

I love the colors of this pickles. The natural light in my kitchen always made my kitchen picture looks so beautiful. I got most of the veggies from my local farmers market. The recipe is from smittenkitchen.com and her beautiful pics inspired me to make it myself. This recipe is delicious and get in a salad.

Recipe Testing: Ricotta Cherry Scones

Look what I got in the mail.

Joanne Chang’s Pastry Love. I’ve seen delicious posts of recipes from the book, and I caved in during Prime day.

But what should be my first bake from this book? I was inspired by what was in the refrigerator, cherries, and ricotta I’ve was saving for cannoli pound cake from Smitten Kitchen (one of my favorite pound cake recipe). It would be Ricotta Cherry Scones.

The only problem I was missing a few ingredients: superfine sugar, creme fraiche, and dried cherries. Once again, I’m winging it because I’m just too lazy to run out to the market. I decided to use regular sugar (I’m sure it would come out better with superfine, but with the limited space in the kitchen, regular sugar would work out fine). I happen to have sour cream, and that would be my replacement for creme fraiche. And I had a small amount of dried cherries but not enough. So I made up the rest with blueberries and golden raisins.

One great takeaway from this bake is pitting cherries with a stainless steel straw was quick and easy. Don’t spend your money on pitter. The straw worked out great.


As I measured out the wet ingredients, I had just a little bit left of ricotta and sour cream. I just dumped it in. I can’t stand waste or leaving just a little bit to go bad in the refrigerator. Well, I will end up adjusting the flour at the end to thicken up the batter.

Oh, I forgot. My mom told me to use the blueberries that we had hanging around.

With all this improvisation, I got a baker’s dozen instead of six. Haha. I was a little worried this would be a total fail because I went off so much. But in the end, these turn out delicious and light. I would add more zest next time. I think it would make it even better. I can see how an all cherry version would be so delicious. I used Joanne’s suggestions and froze half the recipes for another time. Definitely a make.

Fav Pics

I got a new idea for a new feature while cleaning out my photo collections. I haven’t looked back at them for a while, and there were so many that I loved. So I decided to share these favorites as a weekly feature. I would love to have it short and sweet, but I want to add a recipe in the first photo I picked. Haha. 

FAV PICS: I took this picture to promote one of our favorite desserts at the restaurant, Caramelized Apple Bread Pudding.  I forgot about this pic and how good it looks. Wasn’t easy to get a good picture from the restaurant. Always on the run.

I thought I’d share this recipe. I was making bread pudding for the restaurant with all the extra bread we had. My customers keep coming back for it and always getting it to-go when they are too stuffed from dinner.

Caramelized Apple Bread Pudding

Serves eight large pieces or twelve regular size pieces

  • 1-gallon zip lock bag of stale bread, cubed**
  • 1/2 c raisins
  • Custard
  • 3 c whole milk 
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 T butter plus extra 1-2 T butter for pan

Caramelized Apples

  • 3 medium apples, peeled and sliced 1/8″ thick*
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten

Vanilla Sauce

  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1/4 c powdered sugar–you can add more or less to taste

Grease the baking dish with 1–2 T of melted butter. Note about the pan: My pan ceramic is 8 x 11″ and 3″ deep. Use a 9 x13 pan if you don’t have this size pan.  

In a large bowl, add bread and raisins and set them aside.

Making the custard

Add custard ingredients to a pot, heat over medium heat until you see tiny bubbles forming on the edges, stirring occasionally. Don’t boil. The milk should be steaming. Pour milk mixture over the bread and the raisin and mix until the milk has soaked all the bread. Don’t over mix; the bread cubes should keep their shape somewhat. Set aside.

Caramelizing the apples

Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a frying/saute pan on medium heat. Add sugar to the melted butter, slightly stir it to help it melt evenly. It should start turning brown at the edges. Stirring occasionally, all of the sugar should turn evenly brown. 

It should be light brown all over. It’s probably better to lighter than darker brown because the darker it gets, the more bitter it will taste.


Add the sliced apples and stir into the caramelized sugar.

This moment is when you will probably freak out because you think you ruin your beautifully caramelized sugar. Nope, you didn’t. The sugar will seize (becomes hard clumps) because of the juice from the apples, but keep stirring the sugar and apples together. The apples will start producing a lot of fluid, and the clumps of sugar will melt into the liquid. 


Reduce the apple juice/sugar mixture to half, and the apples should tender by then.

Pour the apple/sugar mixture into the bread custard mix. Mix the apple and bread well, so everything is evenly distributed.

Now turn on your oven to 350º. Once my oven is ready, the mixture is cool enough to add the eggs to the bread custard mix. Mix well, trying not to break up the cubes. Pour mixture into butter dish/pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes. The top should be golden brown and puffed up a bit. You can you a cake tester to see if it comes out clean or press down on the top with your finger, and if it springs back, it’s ready. 

Vanilla Sauce

Mix all the ingredients well. 

Serve it warm with a drizzle of vanilla sauce.

This recipe keeps well in the freezer. I slice it up into the serving size, double wrap in plastic wrap, then in foil. Should keep for a month. Take out and defrost in the refrigerator. Heat the slice for a minute in the microwave or toaster to get the texture of the bread soft. 


NOTES

*I use fuji because it holds up to the caramelization but uses whatever apples you like.

** I get my bread from the restaurant, usually hard rolls. I cube the bread, put it in the gallon-sized zip-lock bags, and throw them in the freezer. So I have the bread ready to make when I need it. It’s usually 5-6 hard rolls to fill a gallon freezer bag. Stale bread works the best for this recipe. If the bread is too fresh, it becomes mushy when you add the wet ingredients. Still useable/eatable but doesn’t look as good. I have added some slices of whole wheat bread to the mixture; it adds a nice sweetness.