Sunday, 12 June 2011

Savory, For A Change

I've been glancing at my recipe index here and realize that I have posted a lot of recipes for baking, more than for cooking.  Not sure why that is, but thought I'd balance that out with something from left field today.

It's a recipe for "Radish Dip".  It is currently chilling in the fridge, and I'll be taking it to work tomorrow to eat with my veggies at supper time.  It seemed like a seasonal thing to experiment with, although I've given up growing radishes in my garden as I am usually the only one who eats them and they bolt and go buggy so quickly.  More economical to buy them when the mood strikes.  However, store bought are nothing like the hot peppery garden ones that make you sweat and call for glasses of water.  Funny how those root vegetables can pack such a punch (although I believe it is of the cabbage family??  Am I right?).  I saw a TV show last night where a chef shared a restaurant known for it's extremely hot......seafood sauce/shrimp cocktail....of all things.  From what I saw, it was the horseradish (quantities, I'm guessing) that packed the punch on that one.  Isn't it amazing how the garden produces such incredible varieties of flavors and all from dried little seeds that look lifeless.

On a side note, I believe that seafood sauce is simply a combination of horseradish and ketchup.  I often keep a jar of horseradish in the fridge and make up my own if I'm planning to do a seafood appetizer.  Simple.  Cheaper to make your own.  I always like cheap.

Here is the recipe!

Radish Dip

1 cup halved/quartered radishes
1/2 cup sliced green onion
1/4 cup fresh parsley (I had to substitute dried, I think fresh would have been much better)
Whirl in a food processor until finely processed.
Add:
1/2 block of cream cheese, softened (125 gram total)
80-90 grams of feta cheese, crumbled
2 tsp lemon juice
s and p to taste.

Mash until softened; add vegetable mix and continue to blend/mash with a fork.
Serve with raw vegetables, crackers, pita breads.

Have fun experimenting!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Fritters, Must Share

Due to popular demand (well, ONE of you, thanks Janelle!), I will share the recipe for rhubarb fritters today.

We were invited to our friends' home last night for supper and a swim.  They are the friends I mentioned in the last post, the ones that we have made an annual tradition of eating a good batch of rhubarb fritters with.

It was a perfect evening at their place, always is.  The sun shone warmly.  We all had a dip in the pool and then delved into our burgers.  While the kids had a second (and third...and fourth...and fifth) swim, the coffee was made and I began frying the fritters so that we could eat them fresh out of the fryer.

Mmmm.  Fritters fresh from the fryer.  There are no words.

There we sat.  Icing sugar flying in any and every direction, as the fritters passed from bowl to mouth.The middle of the fritter, hot as lava.  Sweet as, well, sugar.  Tart as, well, rhubarb!  Conversation came to a brief lull.  We hunched around the our icing sugar infused fritters at the picnic table with the sounds of happy children in the background, the warm sun on our faces, good coffee in the cups and the familiarity of friendship long enjoyed. And fritters.

It isn't any friend that would sit around the picnic table with you, eating rhubarb fritters.  But I think that when you've been friends with someone for so long, you stop needing to impress with culinary works of art, and you start to share many things of value - hearts, family traditions, trials.  And, yup, we've shared all that with them.

I'd love to share fresh, hot fritters with more of you around the table.  Anyone interested?

Here's the recipe, and, again, if you're going to make them, please share with a trusted friend!

Rhubarb Fritters

1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup milk
3 Tbsp sugar
1 egg
1 cup diced rhubarb (small dice please)

Combine dry ingredients; add the egg and milk as per muffin method.  If the batter is really tight, add a small amount of milk to loosen slightly; texture should be roughly of a muffin batter.  Add diced fruit.  Drop by spoonfuls into hot oil, turn when brown.  Drain.  Dip in white OR icing sugar to eat!

P.S.  I have changed the blog format.  I just had to.  How can one write a blog about tasty food on a bland background?  I really don't have the hang of this formatting thing yet, but I think I like the change, for now anyway.  Finding myself a little more every time I'm on here.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Back In The Saddle Again

Here I am, sitting down to write a few thoughts, realizing that a lot of time has gone by since I've last shared here.

The past couple of weeks have contained some pretty memorable events for us.  The biggest event, without a doubt, was last Wednesday night where we and 64,996 of our closest friends sat down to listen to a little entertainment by a band named U2.  It was spectacular, to say the least.  So amazing on so many levels.  I've had a hard time lassoing just one favorite moment, but perhaps it was when the entire stadium was belting out the lyrics to "Magnificent".  Oh, we sang, we danced, we batted balloons around, we did about 7-8 rounds of "the wave", we waved our cell phones in the air during a tribute to the residents of Slave Lake, and we sang some more.  We battled the several-thousand-people line up for the LTR and survived!  An amazing time.  So thankful we had the chance to go. 

In just over 3 weeks, we'll be flying to the Maritimes for our first-ever major holiday.

Dean and the boys just picked up tickets to the WWE event in Saskatoon in August.  A whole group of guys are going from here.  Should be fun.

One of our favorite Christian bands is coming through Saskatoon in Oct.  We'll have to go to that, too.

Ben asked me the other day if we are "richer" now than we used to be, because, after all, we're doing all this cool stuff, trips, concerts, etc.

Nope.  Not at all.  Snort.  Richer?  HA!

But I think we've turned a corner, at least for the moment.  I think we have finally decided to live a little and to take those opportunities when they come our way, instead of living in the world of "aw, we should have gone...".  We did that for a long time.  Felt like we just couldn't possibly do "fill-in-the-blank" - too much money, too much time, too difficult.  And, granted, our kids are big enough now that we have a lot more freedom to go.  But we've also decided that we need to just GO.  And we're taking the kids with us. 

I sat in the West Edmonton Mall wave pool on Thursday afternoon, part of Ben's 10th birthday celebration, and was amazed at the joyful peace that was dwelling in my spirit.  We Did It!  We have learned how to have fun!  Congratulations to us! 

It's kind of a big deal.

Sometimes you have to give a little ($$, energy, effort) to get a little (joy, peace, memories).

We're finding the pay-off to be rather profound.

Hmm.  I hardly want to give you a recipe.  This blogging thing does something for me, too.  Sigh.

However, I called this post "Back In The Saddle" because, in spite of all of the crazy things we've been able to do, there is nothing like coming home and getting back to normal.  I'm itching to clean the house and get some yard work done this week.  It's beckoning me.  And, today, I was itching to do a little baking.

I always enjoy using the rhubarb when it's fresh in the spring.  My family grew up with a marvelous tradition of rhubarb fritters - deep fried fritters dunked in icing sugar - sugary sweet and rhubarb-y tart.  MMM.  We have friends that we share these with every year now, and we'll be having these together on Wed.  Dean must have wondered what kind of family he got himself into upon realizing that one of our piece de resistance of the culinary sort was a deep fried fritter!!  No fancy cakes for the Letkeman clan!  But he loves them now too!

(and ding went my oven timer...)

Today, though, I decided to try making rhubarb scones.  They have literally just come out of the oven and look wonderful!  I whipped up some cinnamon butter to go with them and I think a cup of tea would be fitting as well.

Here's the recipe!

Rhubarb Scones

2 cups flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk (being adventurous, I used 1/3 cup yogurt, 1/3 cup coffee cream and 1/3 cup milk)
1 cup rhubarb, diced small, tossed with 2 Tbsp sugar

Mix the first 3 dry ingredients together in a bowl.  Add the butter and cut together until mixture resembles a crumbly mix.  Add in the 1 cup of liquid and work quickly to combine.  Add rhubarb/sugar mixture and stir to mix.

Drop by tablespoon onto greased cookie sheet.  I shook a small amount of white sugar on each scone to crisp up a bit.

Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes.

Cinnamon butter - I took a couple of tablespoons of soft margarine and mixed in about 1 tsp or so of cinnamon.

If this recipe happens to be a flop, which I doubt, I shall forever be in your debt for posting a recipe AS it was baking in the oven.

And, by the way, it smells wonderful in here.  It's good to be home.