Sunday, May 26, 2013

Amethyst in the Spring!

iris, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

I think Spring has arrived in Denver. The trees finally have leaves-although not very many yet- and the temperatures are warming up. All of the purple flowers are blooming. I thought I would take you for a tour. First the iris. When I first moved in to my Denver home the only thing living besides weeds were these iris. They were all clumped into a shady corner so as I have landscaped the yard and paths I have spread the iris around. I can't believe the blooms this year. Lucky me! Chives have been up for months. They live quite happily under layers of snow and now with the heat they are turning to flowers. Perfect for toppings to deviled eggs. Last year I planted allium bulbs for the first time. They send a single stalk straight up with a perfect sphere on the top. I love them. And columbine in the state flower of Colorado.....gotta have some of those. With all of this purple inspiration I just had to get out my watercolors too.
Happy Spring!

chive blossoms, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

chive blossoms

amethyst in the garden, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

columbine, allium and sage

add a little purple to your deviled eggs

amethyst radishes

amethyst radishes, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

amethyst radish, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Rhubarb Spring

strawberry rhubarb crisp, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.
Do you love rhubarb? Only with strawberries? In a crisp? Jam on toast or ice cream?
I love rhubarb. It is one of the signs of Spring along with asparagus and peas.
When I was a young girl my uncle next door had a rhubarb patch. I once tried a stalk raw....don't do that. Throw some sugar on it. Mix it with strawberries and make a pie:

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp:

4 cups rhubarb, chopped (4 large stalks)
4 cups strawberries (3 dry pints), hulled and halved
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp orange zest
1 Tbs cornstarch
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup oatmeal
12 Tbs (1 1/2 stick) butter

Preheat oven to 350deg
Toss rhubarb, strawberries, orange zest and 3/4 cup granulated sugar together in a large bowl. In a cup mix the cornstarch and orange juice until the cornstarch dissolves. Then mix into the fruit. Pour into 8" by 11" baking dish.
Combine the remaining sugars, oatmeal, flour, butter and salt into a crumble and sprinkle over the fruit. Bake for 1 hour. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Bon Appetit!

Thanks to Ina Gartin's recipe

rhubarb, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.


strawberries, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

oranges, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

strawberries and rhubarb, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Rhubarb jams

Rhubarb jams, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.
I chose 2 different recipes for rhubarb jam. The classic is the same ingredients as for the strawberry rhubarb pie. The second one was flavored with vanilla and Earl Grey tea. Both of the recipes come from Marisa McClellan's "Food in Jars"

If you love rhubarb and have some time to preserving some for later try these recipes:
Rhubarb jam, with strawberries and oranges:
6 cups chopped rhubarb (2.5 lbs)
4 cups chopped strawberries(2 dry pints)
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
5 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 (3oz) packets liquid pectin
Bring all ingredients except pectin to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer 15-20 minutes until the rhubarb breaks down. Add the pectin and bring to high heat letting the jam boil for 5 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars and process in boiling water bath 10 minutes

Vanilla-rhubarb jam- with Earl Grey (bergamot)

8 cups chopped rhubarb (3 lbs)
4 cups sugar
1 cup Earl Grey tea (double strength)
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
juice of 1 lemon
pinch of salt
1 (3oz) packet liquid pectin
Bring rhubarb, sugar and tea to boil.
Add vanilla bean and seeds, lemon juice and salt and let bubble 15-20 minutes.
Add the liquid pectin and bring to boil. Let boil 3-4 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars. Process in boiling water bath 10 minutes

Rhubarb jam on ice cream

Rhubarb jam on ice cream, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Quinoa and kale salad

quinoa and kale salad, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.
A super food salad perfect for a spring day meal.
Have you used quinoa in the kitchen yet? You should. It is a tiny grain (really a seed) originating from South America in Andes cooking. It is very low in the glycemic index unlike rice and wheat and very high in fiber and antioxidants. It doesn't taste like too much alone but mix it with other flavorful foods and your good.
Add kale-another super food. I love kale. I had plenty in my garden last year through Christmas and now my new kale is starting to grow. Use full size kale, ribbed and chopped fine for this salad or simply use baby kale from the salad section in the markets.
Cranberries- enough said, another super food. I use the cranberries dried in apple juice (instead of sugar) from Whole Foods.
Walnuts-I'm tempted to try pistachios but love the combination of walnuts, cranberries and citrus. Yes they are super too.
Tangerines (who doesn't love Cuties?), orange zest and orange juice

Here's the recipe:
quinoa-1 cup cooked in 2 cups water-yields about 4 cups cooked
kale-4 cups chopped or baby kale
cranberries, dried, about 3/4 cups
walnuts, chopped about 3/4 cups
tangerines, 5-6 peeled and cut up
orange zest- from one orange

juice of one orange
olive oil
balsalmic vinegar to taste

Toss all together and enjoy your super salad
Bon Appetit!

for all the flavor-more "super foods"

Kale, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

quinoa seed, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.
a very small seed (not really a grain) ready for the boiling water

quinoa, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.
cooked and fluffed up


quinoa, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Spring in California

wisteria, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.
Yesterday was a beautiful spring day in Denver but I am still waiting for a leaf on a tree. They are coming but not yet. I took a chance on planting tomato and basil plants outside with my fingers crossed
So while I am waiting I thought I would flash back to Spring in Southern California. These pics were taken in March! Even the cactus was blooming

Cactus in bloom, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

orange blossoms, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Iceland poppies, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

nastursium, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Happy May Day

May 1, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

and yet it is snowing again