Thursday, July 30, 2009

Orange Blueberry Muffins

I really haven't made many quick breads lately due to Summer, I think. But when I made these yesterday, I remember how much I missed them.

Really, it was due to soon going out of town, and having a basket of blueberries to use that caused me to make these. And R1 was coming for lunch...enough reason for me to turn on my oven...

I think I had clipped this recipe out of a Florida's Natural Orange Juice ad in the Sunday paper more than 3 years ago, always figuring I'd try it, but never really setting out to do so. What a shame! So delicious, and not too overwhelmingly orangy - although I don't mind that. Easily enough, I think you could lemonize the recipe if so desired. Originally it was a loaf pan recipe, but I prefer 12 of something to one... That and I have instant portion control, which when it comes to quick bread, sometimes I need.

So here it is: but I added coarse sanding sugar to the tops before I baked, you could also use turbinado sugar or probably even plain sugar (maybe even mixed with a bit of cinnamon if you love that).

Orange Blueberry Muffins

1/2 c. orange juice
1 c. blueberries
2 T. ap flour
1 3/4 c. ap flour
1/4 c. cornmeal (I like coarse here)
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt (omit if using salted butter)
6 T. room temp butter
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
2 t. orange peel, grated

Preheat oven to 350.

Line muffin tins with papers.

Toss blueberries with 2 T. flour to coat them and prevent them from sinking in your batter.

Sift together: 1 3/4 c. flour, cornmeal, powder, soda and salt in a medium bowl

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar on high for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. I really do set a timer here. Add egg and beat well, then beat in orange juice and peel.

Add flour mixture and beat on low until well mixed, but don't overbeat. Stir in blueberries.

Portion into muffin tin, and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake for 25 minutes or so for 12 muffins. If you must make a loaf, butter and flour your loaf pan well, then bake it for 55-65 minutes. In both cases, test with a pick to make sure they are done.

If it is not nearly 100 degrees where you live, and is a very pleasant and manageable mid 70's like it's been here the past few days, give quick breads a try in the summer - or earmark it for a few years until you rediscover it and wish you made it earlier. If you're like me, you'll have to give away some, but that only can add to your popularity! If not, you could always hoard them in the freezer.
I can envision myself sitting in this thing for hours, even though it is completely unlike anything I would ever buy... It's reminiscent of a lady in a stripy swimsuit, who wouldn't want that in their living room?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Beginning of Cherry Cordial

Come Christmas, I may have a pretty nice drink to give away: I tried this easy peasy recipe for Cherry Cordial. I've never made a drink before, though I remember jotting down a recipe for dandelion wine more than 10 years ago, but the cherry obsession that I found myself with called for the trying.

This recipe calls for 1 lb of tart cherries and 500ml of vodka (about 3 cups). Ever since I read Alton Brown's books, I must confess that I really prefer to weigh everything. It's a pity more recipes don't include the weights, I think things seems a bit more accurate that way. I'm very glad the digital scale I bought also weighs liquids in oz. and ml.

Seeing as I had just over 2 lbs of cherries to do something with today, I used a half pound to make another half batch of cherry cordial (rationalized not due to my excessive drinking, but the hopes that this would be so wonderful, I'd wish I'd made more to give away...) and then I canned the rest whole, pits still in, in 3 little pints.

I found how to do this on another good resource site for home canning: the National Center for Home Food Preservation or I was happy that I could minimize my work for the day by leaving the pits in. I rather like spitting out (and finding a place to spit out) the cherry pits...and it helps to keep track of how many I've eaten. I used my Mom's recipe for extra light syrup, however, which is 1 c. sugar to 1 quart of water. After all, I didn't really want too sweet cherries.

They looked so nice coming out of the hot water bath. I already fantasize about next February cracking one open and devouring them, remembering instantly the many hundreds I've devoured this July.

Next summer, I think I'll have to do this again. It's been a great week deciding what to do with cherry madness. And I'm so lucky to have the access to delectable fruit!

Monday, July 27, 2009

pickle frenzy

I managed to can some pickles today...

Yesterday, I got the recipe from my mom, my Gram's recipe...the best ever. Since my son only likes a limited amount of food lately, and pickles make the cut, I had already decided that I was going to make these. After the recent inspiration from Food in Jars, I bought the pickles at the farm market on Saturday.

I think part of my aversion to canning has been time, but also that my family always canned what they GREW. I know that plenty of farmers come to the city and sell amazing wares, but for some reason, I end up thinking that I should have planted this or that to "put up". Since I am now somewhat of an Urban Dweller, I am thankful that there are people to buy great fruits and veg from, since my little plot only supplies me with tomatoes, herbs, peppers and this year potatoes and eggplants.

I love thinking about my Gram's garden, when she still had nearly a half acre of haphazard things growing and thriving barely in rows. My Dad always planted a very neat and orderly garden: very beautiful and organized...but my Gram's garden is more like my garden I guess, a wing and a prayer. She definitely knew more about plants than I do, but she kept a very organic and loose feeling plot... more a semi-organized whim, I think.

I feel grateful to have scored mostly the same size small 1/4 bushel of cucumber from the farm market. I got the last one from that particular vendor, and the farmer told the poor soul who asked after I finished paying that she should have arrived 20 minutes sooner. I felt obligated to give her my apologies. I have no room for cucumbers in the land directly south of my semi-urban garage (notice I did NOT say "suburban" here), and truth be told, I don't think I'm much of a farmer. Oh, I wish it were in my genes, as my Dad and Gram could cultivate just about everything... but I fear that tomatoes and basil are about my limit of patience and ability. Give me an animal, even a large animal, to attend to and I think I'd do fine. But I think a lot more reading and research is due to me to become a better gardener.

I even bought the dill at the market. Too bad I don't live as close to my folks as I'd like, my Mom told me she has tons of dill to spare - me, I paid $1.

I finished the pickles, excited as can be. No pickle tastes as good to me as the ones I grew up eating...and this is THE RECIPE. So, I should be well rewarded in 30 days or longer when I try them, from my own hands, the first time.

July 2009 Daring Baker Challenge: Mallows

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

This was my first Daring Baker Challenge, and I was so excited to discover on July 1 what mysterious item I would be baking. I wasn't disappointed. I have been needing an excuse to try making marshmallows for quite some time. I was surprised how easy they were. I guess I knew this, having read other articles on marshmallow making (notably Mollie Weizenberg's article in Bon Appetit last summer: here is her recipe which I will soon be trying. Well, maybe I will wait for fall...

These cookies were a little labor intensive, and I did use an 1 1/2 inch cookie cutter, and had many many more than the 2 dozen the recipe said would result. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I just wish it were Christmas time so I had more people to give them away to. July isn't really the time to have way too many chocolate covered anythings laying around...

I think next time I would be a little more careful piping the marshmallow clear to the edge of the cookie. I will say that the recipe was well written. Many times when you follow component type recipes, you end up with way too much or not enough of one of the components. These worked out pretty much perfect, just a little extra chocolate glaze, and that can't be a bad thing.

I dipped them at night. Note to self: figure out how to take better digital night time photos. I usually just wait for daylight, since I don't have good lighting in the kitchen at night, and nothing looks quite right after being snapped...

The shortbread cookie bottom was really good, very neutral, but well designed to complement the marshmallow and chocolate coating. The only other problem I ran into was that the chocolate coat did not ever really harden up. I ended up just leaving them in the fridge, where they happily remained hardenedand chilled until they were gone. I would have preferred them at room temp, however. Either way, these definitely shouldn't be eaten while wearing anything white.

I also discovered that these are beyond delicious if you spread them first with peanut butter before eating them...No pics of that though, too too messy to shoot one handed!

I can not believe that August is just around the corner. Another July escapes and fall is breathing down our necks. Now that I'm obsessively canning, I look forward to a month of tremendous garden windfalls, and if that fails, tremendous farm market windfalls...

If you are at all interested in canning, or even just toying with the idea of starting out, please visit Food in Jars. I promise you that you will be instantly inspired. I just finished canning some pickles this afternoon, 11 pints I'm proud to say will line the basement shelves for the coming months. I'm sure some photos will follow later.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

cherry basket case.

cherries in baskets, originally uploaded by Rcakewalk.

It has been one week now since my total and complete obsession with cherries. Last Saturday when Elisa and Laura were here, I happened to try some tart cherries at a farm market. I was a goner. I bought 2 baskets, and half of 1 was probably missing by the time we walked back through my door. Since, I've been back twice. Yesterday I bought 8 more, since I was warned by the super nice farmer that the end is nigh.

This evening I made jam from a recipe I got off of Food in Jars. I spent a fair amount of time in perusal of her site determining that I was indeed going to can more this year. I was in part inspired by Food in Jars, in part by Boy-O's addiction to eating pickles, and my own recent obsession with these tart cherries.

After said jam making, I still have 5 beautiful little baskets left. What to do? I'm going to try my hand at a cherry liqueur. I found a nice recipe at Homestead Farm, so I think I'll give it a try.

Meanwhile, I'm also addicted to flickr. I upgraded to pro and can add a million photos; it's fun to see what other people are taking pictures of too. It's too easy to think that I'm in my own little corner of Wisconsin, and not take time to remember how big the planet is. Well, quite a bit smaller now due to flickr, I think. Amazing still to see what other creative people are doing in all parts of the world.

I've been so excited about these ridiculous cherries that I almost forgot tomorrow is the day I can post my first ever Daring Baker challenge! See you in the morning...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Accidental Lunches (Vadouvan Spiced Couscous), or in Which I Discovered the First CakeWalk Series...

Today, a Wednesday, is Library Day. Most weeks, boy-o and I walk to the library for a story time, then play at the park for a bit weather depending, and then walk home for lunch. I love that when I wake in the morning, I would have no idea what is going to be on the table for lunch. Most of the time it's just leftovers from the day before...but occasionally, I am inspired and something erupts either out of necessity or inspiration. Such was the case with the Accidental Lunch Salad back in June, and such was the case today with Vadouvan Spiced Couscous.

The flatbreads in the background are another of my favorite things, I happened to have some in the freezer, and also happened to have the oven on, so I popped one in to heat up and it was if I had just made them...
Another local obsession is The Spice House. (Find them online here: When I go in, I am addicted to asking what's new. The last time I went, in May, it was this spice that if I remember correctly is popular in Britain. It smelled great, like a mild yellow curry, and I bought a small packet to try.
I must confess to a small arsenal of small packets of Spice House treasures. Most of them I try right away, and then try to keep the packets organized in my cabinet. This Vadouvan however, managed to get a little lost in the shuffle, and happily rediscovered today. Originally, I had some leftover couscous, and cold home-canned corn (from my Mom), both peering back at me from the lonely confines of my fridge...then I used up two packets of frozen veg from the freezer: peas and green beans. I was really looking for Japanese Seven Spice Powder (Shichimi Togarashi) that was another such purchase from the Spice House, but remembering that I didn't have any more, I saw this Vadouvan looking up at me.

I think the resulting recipe, which could be easily changed to accommodate any leftovers really, would make a good side dish to any supper...or even a main dish with some kind of protein - currently obsessed baked Tofu or chicken comes to mind. As with all things I cook, amounts are approximate.

Vadouvan Spiced Couscous

1 1/2 to 2 cups leftover couscous

1-2 T. olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, finely diced

1-2 T. Vadouvan spice

1 cup corn 1/2 cup frozen peas

1/4 cup frozen green beans

salt and pepper

(Normally I don't microwave much, but I did today since boy-o was whiney and tired and needed his PB&J...) Microwave peas and green beans in 1/4 c. water for about 3 minutes until done. Drain and set aside. Saute onion in olive oil over medium high heat until just starting to release some liquid. Add Vadouvan spice, and continue cooking until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add corn, and saute until heated through. Add couscous and heat through, then add peas and green beans with salt and pepper to taste, and let everything get nice and hot, about 3 minutes. The longer you leave the couscous on the heat, the crunchier it becomes.

You could certainly add more veg, cubed carrots and red pepper would have made the cut here if I wasn't trying so hard to be fast. I hope to post all future Accidental Lunches as they become imagined, and will try to measure my ingredients a bit better in the future to approximate more accurate recipe writing...

Monday, July 20, 2009


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Low Country Sweet Potato Salad

I sometimes enjoy reading and trying reader recipes, and most definitely knew I would like Low Country Sweet Potato Salad submitted to a Cook's Illustrated magazine, Cook's Country, by Veronica Callaghan. I love sweet potatoes, and any time I find recipes for them - especially when they are roasted - I try them. And this recipe has bacon. What more can I say?

The first time I tried this, I used it as a side dish. It made so much that I added the leftovers to tacos, with nice results. This time I made it knowing how much it made, anticipating the tacos that would be made from the leftovers. I had these particular leftovers last night with my friend Elisa, visiting from Boston, in pinto bean tortillas, with scrambled eggs, tomatillo salsa and mango salsa. Queso Fresco would have been a natural fit, but none in the icebox, so thin slices of mozzarella were acceptable. My dimly lit room doesn't do much for showing how good this actually was... We each ate 2 and were full and satisfied.

leftovers, remade.

These tortillas are good freezer staples. I know now that I am good at cooking many things, but nothing in this world will allow me to make tortillas like my Mother. So instead of disappointment to myself, I adopted the art of the corn tortilla. After two years of only corn tortillas, freshly made to order, I got this recipe that R1's Mom gave her for flour based tortillas with beans which are not only healthful, but easy to make, and hard to over work. I also like that I can use any type of bean, and frequently use leftover refried beans or whatever type I happen to have going. I'm going to post the recipe here since I misplaced it recently, and didn't trust my memory so I had to call around the people I knew that had it until I got it again from R1.

(A Note: 15 oz. cans of beans contain only about 9 oz. of actual beans. I know because I bought a can and drained them and weighed them. Since I make my own beans from dried, I usually use about 10-12 oz. for this recipe, with fine results. The important thing is that the "feel" is right to you. Either alter the amount of water or flour depending on your likes, and cook Confidently! I also like to add other spices when adding the flour: coriander, cumin, chile powder, Mexican oregano... whatever you think you would like.)


(Makes at least 20, depending on your size. Leftovers freeze well for a month or so.)

1 15 oz. can drained black beans (or pintos, kidney, white, etc. see note above)
3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup water (more or less)
scant 1/3 cup oil (I usually use about a half of a 1/3 c. measure with fine results.)
salt, 2 or more pinches

In food pro, processes beans until semi-smooth. If you use leftover mashed beans, just whizz them around to break them apart a bit.

Add oil, whizz some more, then add flour and salt. With machine running, add water through the top until the dough looks like dough, taking the top off to check the stickiness if needed. I usually use the whole 2/3 c. of water, and sometimes more depending on the humidity. Try not to over process.

When dough is cohesive enough to handle, turn out onto a board using a bit of flour if needed and lightly knead into a ball. Cover in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes - 1 hour. Then pinch off ping pong ball sizes of dough, roll out on a floured board, and cook on a medium hot cast iron pan.

You may lose a few the first time you try, but persevere. I find that I like to add a little extra flour when I form the balls and roll them out, so I don't like to leave the dough too dry before it rests.

As for the potatoes...

(serves 6-8)

2 3/4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 c. olive oil (you can use a bit less if you like, like I do)
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large shallot, minced (or 1 white onion, chopped to your liking)
1 t. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1 T. lemon juice (I just use half a lemon)
1 t. hot sauce of your choosing
2 T. toasted sesame seeds
2 T. or more chopped parsley (or cilantro if you like it better)

Adjust oven racks to upper middle and lower middle positions, and heat to 375. I like to line 2 sheet pans with foil for easy cleanup, or you can spray or oil 2 sheet pans.

Toss potatoes with 1/4 cup of olive oil, bacon, shallot or onion, cayenne, pinch(es) salt and pepper. Divide between the two pans and roast 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Switch position of the pans at the half way point. Cool potatoes for 20 minutes.

Whisk together lemon juice, hot sauce, and remaining olive oil in small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Transfer potatoes to a large serving bowl, and add dressing. Mix in chopped parsley or cilantro, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve cold or room temp.

When I scrambled the eggs for the tacos last night, I first heated up the pan and refried the potatoes first. Then I added my eggs right to the skillet and scrambled them in with the potatoes. I would venture to say that there is not a bad way to reheat these potatoes, and though I haven't tried it, I think they may caramelize a bit more if you roasted them initially at 400 or even 425 or 450 if you are brave. Next time, my friends. And I'll be sure to let you know.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New to Flickr

Wisconsin butter.

I am in the process of uploading more food related photos to Flickr. I hope to upgrade and post more photos soon. My pictures are posted under rcakewalk:

If one was inclined to spend hours on the computer, you could certainly do so at Flickr. I haven't all that much time to browse, but if you have a feeling for perusal of just about anything or anywhere, drop by and search it!

Enjoy Thursday, we have perfect weather in the 70's today, with breeze. These are the days that make it bearable to live through January in Wisconsin...

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Day with the Circus

Our local paper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, runs a food section on Wednesdays and Sundays. I usually read the Sunday paper, and only occasionally see the Wednesday. Sunday's food section always has a well written article and recipe by Sanford D'Amato, of local Sanford and Coquette Cafe fame, and a smattering of things that sometimes are good, and sometimes not so much. While larger papers may boast better staff writers, once in a while I read an article whose subject matter is so interesting to me it could be written for second graders and still keep my attention. Such was the case with this article posted July 5, called Three-ring feast. (It is posted online at:

Sunday in Milwaukee, The Great Circus Parade marched through the downtown area with circus wagons, marching bands, (too many) clowns, horses and circus-type animals. I went thinking I really wouldn't be all that interested. But the article on circus performer meals was lingering in the back of my head, and piquing my interest in this strange phenomenon of the circus. I maybe didn't consider that in the heydays of the circus, people had no access to the outlandish things that have now made our planet seem incredibly small. 100 years ago, wagons were built and people with adventurous spirits decided to leave their small towns or farms and go see the country with one of the only means possible.

The Clown Band. Not normally a fan of clowns, but these reminded me of Raggedy Ann and Andy...

The article mentions that many people may have joined the circus in the depression era due to the promise of 3 meals a day. Circus eats were well prepared it seems, and reminds me of the chuckwagon cooks of the old west. Chuckwagon cooks had to do with what they had and what traveled well, but the circus cooks could take advantage of their travels to more "urban" areas and score some of the best options to feed the performers. Today of course, things are probably different. Hundreds of performers certainly aren't gathering at once under a gigantic tent to have a meal together. But had I lived 100 years ago, maybe I would have run away to join the circus...or at least would have wanted to run away to be a circus cook.

It's fascinating to me that traveling carnivals and circus' still exist...even more that people still want to attend. Given the things you could do with a Sunday afternoon in 2009, just seeing a downtown full of people cheering and getting excited for basically no reason was amazing.

I never saw circus wagons before, and I was surprised at the amount of detail and craftsmanship each one had. They were all unique, and I love thinking about who may have been designing such things, and what they were using to design and build with.

And who was importing these animals from the far reaches of the world, and then designing the means to transport them around the country?

When my Dad and I were out in Wyoming, we went to the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody. An incredible example of American entrepreneurship, Buffalo Bill Cody imported massive things from Europe, the bar that still stands in his hotel for example... and animals and people from all over the world to star in his Wild West.

Wisconsin stagecoach

lasso-ing cowboy

just a girl and her longhorn...

And seeing so many horses in one place reminds me of the horses I had when I was younger. This palomino in particular, since it was stopped right in front of me...I think once you have had large animals, they get in your blood, and it's hard to ever forget how they smell, or move, or the work it is to take care of them.

Horses, I always thought, have personalities like giant cats. You certainly can not control one that doesn't want to be controlled, yet they generally are mild mannered and enjoy being scratched behind the ears.

I couldn't have imagined that a trip to The Great Circus Parade would have ignited so many questions in my mind... And it's fun if only for an afternoon to let yourself wonder about such historical things, to wonder what it may have been like to be eating under the big tent.

Friday, July 10, 2009

This Week in Pictures

Really it was last week when I went to the farm market and found these amazing specimens of beets and romaine lettuce. A new organic vendor (I'll try and remember to note the name when I go again tomorrow) had the most amazing greens I've ever seen. Really, I am not exaggerating. Normally you see a bunch of new beets at the market and would never really consider eating the ultra nutritious greens, but these would beg you to differ. And this romaine lettuce actually took up the entire drainboard in my kitchen before I cut it apart, tenderly washed and wrapped up the leaves in kitchen towels for an almost as amazing week long storage in the fridge.

amazing lettuce.

Monday, Sasa and Dimitri came for dinner and appropriately I made a humongous Greek Salad with said humongous romaine lettuce, complete with Greek Tofu. Do the Greek's eat tofu? They probably should... I baked this the same was as the Accidental Lunch Salad tofu, only used olive oil and lots of dill. Had I not used my last lemon to make the salad dressing, I would have included it in the marinade too. It was good. And true to my inability to see a mango in the store and pass it by, we sauteed champagne mangoes in a little butter and brown sugar to have over ice cream for dessert. No pics of that though, it was gone in the blink of an eye.

Greek Tofu.

Most of Wednesday I spent preparing for a 3rd birthday party for boy-o. I made hot beef sandwiches out of the organic grass fed cow my mom and I split last fall. It is such a great feeling to have a deep freeze with amazing high quality food in deep deep slumber just awaiting a whim. It ensures that even if I have the most meager of stocked pantry, I can make something without running to the shops first. This fall we're ordering some pork and a turkey from the same source, and I am already dreaming of what fun that will be. For the children, I made a cake plate full of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches...still the only food my son requests.

However, I was able to get him to eat a surprising amount of this Monday nite supper:

The party went well, my cleaning obsession was renewed with the washing of all floors today, and my favorite moment of last evening was the pinata. It was masterfully constructed in Mexico so that no child would ever be able to break into it. After 10 minutes of beating, my husband's friend brought out the aluminum bat from his trunk, and I accidentally got this picture when all of the candy was hurled at me at the speed of light. NICE.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July

Ten or even five years ago, the 4th would have found me listening to Bruce Springsteen (in my younger mind, the most American thing I could think of...) and planning a drive. But midnight on this 2009 4th found me finishing up my second knit hat. Tuesday I took a much appreciated knitting class at the yarn shop Loop ( and learned how to knit on circular needles. It was so nice to learn from an actual person, that I may be addicted. I'm hoping to take a few more classes.

Here is the finished pink wool hat (sitting upon the Declaration of Independence, and an announcement of Imelda Marcos' 80th birthday...) - just perfect for the beginning of July, don't you think?

I think due to my class, and watching the instructor's hands knit in the English style (I knit Continental), I was more able to easily produce this hat with two colors, knitting the darker pink holding the yarn Continental in the left hand and the light pink holding it English in the right at the same time. I dare say that I am getting faster at knitting, too. I used to wonder if that was ever going to happen. But like they say, Knit with Confidence!

A picture of me in my new pink hat. The sad thing is, I'll probably need it in 3 months... but today and its weather will not be wasted, after breakfast I'm off to the farm market and making a bean salad for a grill out later...and weather permitting (it looks like rain) fireworks later tonight with a boythat I don't think will be afraid for the first time. We saw a few last night, and he seemed excited. I think "WHOA" was the actual quote.

Happy July 4th!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The First of July = Baking Cake

July 1 is my husband's birthday. And as it is written, everyone needs a birthday cake. Keeping with my recent Dorie Greenspan obsession (and seeing as I had 4 perfectly overripe bananas leering at me from the counter top this morning), I decided to make her Lots of Ways Banana Cake. I'm am happily convinced that I could use any of her recipes last minute without hesitation that they will emerge from the oven perfect examples of what true cakes should be.

These babies were so delicious that had they not had frosting, I may have even passed them off as a somewhat healthy banana bread and toasted them for breakfast. With frosting (I chose her Marshmallow Frosting from previously addicting Devil's Food White-Out Cake...) it may have been a bit sweet, but I'm not complaining.

Before the oven.

We had Orange Roughy fillets, roasted in foil in a 400 oven for about 15 minutes - my favorite way to never overcook fish. I tossed in a drizzle of olive oil, a smidge of butter, a dousing of vermouth in lieu of white wine, and salt and pepper. Along with my new favorite farm market discovery: new garlic.

If you look carefully, you can see where the new cloves would develop.

New garlic apparently is underdeveloped garlic. Picked before the individual cloves are formed, it seems to me to be a bit milder than regular garlic. But in stir-fry last week, it held up and had no harsh garlic bite, and when roasted tonight, it was a delicious mild, toothsome garlic. I love this stuff! Thanks to the amazing Pinehold Gardens gardeners in Oak Creek for producing the best local garlic ever! Their site is under construction, but check back: Pinehold Gardens. Two years ago when my husband's Rhode Island relatives were visiting, his uncle actually took home their garlic in his carry-on. I'm sad when October comes, and after I've used my Pinehold stores, have to go back to finding garlic in the shops.

Before all of this, I thought I would be making a spicier type fish...and utilized the perfectly ripe mango that when it woke up this morning, probably thought it may not get the chance to make it into my belly. Normally, I make the Ina Garten cooked mango salsa, but today decided to cube it up and leave it raw. Just green onions, some red pepper, cilantro, one minced chipotle chile, half a lime and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and perfection. I think I'll have some on some eggs for breakfast tomorrow, and knowing me, probably in a tortilla. Perfect for summers of limited heat in the kitchen.

We still ate some salsa on the side of the rice: see my plate for example.

A good day! With a baked cake, how can it be bad? Another happy and healthy year for my darling and a nice dinner at home. I could only be more excited about my knitting class yesterday which empowered me to knit on circular needles with confidence...and my confirmation into the world of the Daring Bakers. Stay tuned for my first challenge post at the end of the month.