Thursday, September 3, 2015

Red Shiso: First Harvest

15 leaves so far
Collecting them to try my hand at making some tsukemono--shibazuke one of my favorites. Japanese pickles of cucumbers and eggplant flavored with red shiso. I found this recipe from Sojourner FOOD. Hopefully will try it after labor day.

You probably know shiso as that green ruffle-ly leaf served with your sushi. You probably thought it was decoration. It's sort of like mint with refreshing flavor. Red shiso is use in to give flavor and color to umeboshi--japanese pickled plum. 

Such beautiful leaf. After I harvest enough for my shibazuke. I'm going to try and harvest the smaller leaves to add to salad. I'm also going to try the recipe that our Thai chef suggested of wrapping fish in the leaf and grilling it. Stay tune for more.
red on backside
and green on top

Sunday, August 30, 2015

tiger fig, fig jam, FIG NEWTON!

Someone at my office left me a tiger fig on my desk while I was in a 1/2 day meeting. It was so beautiful sitting alone on my desk.
what a beauty!
inside and out
This and the FB comments lead me to my next recipe testing. HOMEMADE FIG NEWTONS!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

I started with dessert . . .

. . . and now to the rest of the meal.

Friends from Hawaii are in town to move #2 into her new college. Decided to test out some recipes on them. Since they are foodies as much as me I need they would be up for the challenge.

A while back WG had brought home rack of goat. He wanted see what it was like. But it was large amount and we couldn't eat it all. I remembered that A/A were coming at the end of summer and I knew they would be up for it.

Started with appetizers, my grilled tomato salsa with chips and veggies. If you want the recipe, I posted it here. I this time I added green onions to the mix. Made this why A/A/C were in the city seeing friends and doing the tourist thing.
before it was salsa
4 quarts later
Next I marinaded the rack in chimichurri sauce. I'm in love with this stuff. The lemon and lemon zest make this so delicious anyway you eat it. I posted the recipe here. This batch, my herb blend was mint, flat leaf parsley and cilantro.

I also marinaded some shrimp in olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and thyme from garden, just in case people didn't like the goat.

Then I started prepping for the panzanella salad from the pioneer woman--grilled some bread, chopped tomatoes, red onions cucumbers and yellow pepper. To be put together when they arrive back.

When A/A/C got back we started to grilling. Goat and shrimp got toss on the grill manned by A and I tossed up the salad.
I think I chopped up bread too big
Now for the main course.
Shrimp with fish sauce/lime juice/chili dipping sauce
carving up the small rack
close-up of A's carving technique
right off the grill from the grillmaster
All came together for a nice tasting with good food, good drink and good friends. 

The overall review of the goat was the smaller rack was pretty tough but flavor good. The chimichurri charred nice and gave is a nice smoky flavor. Just enough salty taste. Larger rack was much more tender and easier to eat. If you never had goat before it not as gaming as lamb. Really worth the try. Even C gave it a try [she was very leery of it] and like it. 

Next time, WG brings home goat from the market. I may try and make a stew out of it. 

Friday, August 28, 2015


soooo good!
That is all I need to say. So delicious, light creamy, bits of crunchy from the meringue with the bright and sweet tastes of the fresh berries. What can be better.

Been wanting to test this recipe. I was thinking that I would maybe make mini ones for the restaurant. I needed to see if it would hold up, how long it would keep and if anyone would like it. I needed an audience to test beside me and WG. 

Then my audience arrived this month. Friends taking their daughter back to college, staying at the house as their home base. And foodies on top of it, perfect!

The pavlova was the finishing course of 4 course meal:

  • STARTER: grilled tomato salsa and prosecco
  • SALAD: panzanella salad and champagne
  • MAIN: grilled rack of goat and shrimp and red wine
  • DESSERT: pavlova with lilikoi mousse, sweeten whipped cream, blackberries and raspberries
Will post more about this meal but this post it's all about the sweets and I wanted to share this recipe. Great presentation and so delicious. You will make your guests very impressed and happy.

Used the Ina Garten's Mixed Berry Pavlova recipe. I didn't think the oven was hot enough and baking time seemed too short because I didn't think the meringue wasn't crisp enough. With further research, I've found some other recipes that I may try this again. One from, that took me to this one from

Here's some pictures of my pavlova. The meringue cake can be made ahead. It takes the longest time. But what I did was make it in the morning and let it sit until my guest arrive and put it together right before serving. 

the meringue cake
I had 2 layers on top of the meringue cake. The center layer was lilikoi mousse that I made up with some leftover lilikoi syrup for another recipe [fail] and blackberries and raspberry. Top layer was whipped cream with the rest of the berries.

I whipped up a cup of cold heavy cream with 1/4 of sugar, till I got stiff peaks. Watch out you don't make butter. Then I put half of it in another bowl and added the lilikoi syrup. The lilikoi syrup I have was from a failed attempt from this recipe I was trying to make an orange passionfruit version on my first try and it didn't set which left me syrup. If I made the syrup from scratch, I would make up as simple syrup and add the juice and reduce to it became syrup-y. You don't need that much to flavor the whipped cream. I probably added about 1/4 to 1/3 cup. It's mostly to taste.

My friend and her daughter assembled the pavlova. They lovingly distributing the berries on each layer. But if you are lazy like me, you can plop the lilikoi mousse on the meringue cake. The berries on top of mousse, the whipped cream on top of the berries and drizzle he  lilikoi syrup on top of all of it.
all put together
with the drizzle of lilikoi syrup
The five of us tried our best to eat all of it but we couldn't. The leftovers [for me and WG, twist our arms] was eaten the next day, not as good texture-wise, a smig soggy but taste-wise still delicious. Try it! You and your guest will not be disappointed.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

I need to dehead

I wish I spent as much time gardening as I do in the kitchen. As a result of my neglect, I need to dehead many of my plants. I actually thought most of them are quite beautiful and  took some shots of the many stages of deheads. 

Here's a couple of shots of my neglected plants. At least I have seeds for next year's planting. 
purple coneflower
I think I should start some new plants from the purple coneflowers. My patch is looking a little sad. I need to add some other plants in that bed.

Thinking of making up collection of black and white cards from these to put on my etsy site. I made up album on flickr if you want to see more.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

What to do with ...

Peaches (2), apple (1) and a cup of blueberries. Well, I decided I wanted cake. Found a recipe with this fruit combination and it had crumb topping, that sealed the deal.

This Apple Blueberry Peach Coffee Cake recipe is from

This are my adjustments I made: 
-used a springform pan
-didn't have enough blueberries [only had 1 cup]
-add approximate 1 c chopped walnuts to the crumb because I saw crumbs walnuts in my freezer right before I started the cake

Forgot to get shots of prepping fruit and making the batter. This is really hard to document these steps. Lots of stopping and starting and getting setup. Here's where I remember to start shooting.

The recipe calls to add 1/2 the apples and peaches to the batter. That's a great idea it makes the cake moist and you get the fruit flavor throughout the cake, not just the top. Tried to chop the fruit about the same size.
All fruit chopped and topped on the batter
I would keep the butter on the cool side verse room temp so the crumb will be more chunky. I forgot and I left my butter out.
Crumb add--lots of crumb. Yum!
[Color change because I was trying to shoot the cake with just natural light. Lots of learning about shooting food. I think I'm getting better. One day, I'll be totally prepared to shoot every step.]

The cake took longer than the recipe called for. I used a cake tester to make sure it came out clean.
right out of the oven
This is a very tall cake. I'm so glad I used a springform pan. It makes it so much easier to get out of the pan. {Hint: I always put a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom of the springform pan for easier transfer to the serving dish or cake board.} This cake probably can serve at least least 10 people, depending on how big the slices are but I know it can serve more.
Eat Me!
[Back to the overhead light. Too hard to get a shot of the inside of the cake]

Notice the fruit layer. If I had more blueberries, it would have had larger purple layer. See how buttery it is.
The first slice
This is a really great cake. Buttery, moist and great crumb. Looks great, will impress any guest. Hardest part of the recipe probably was the chopping of the fruit. [not really that hard if you like to chop like me] Give it a try, it is so worth it. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Random Link: Aug 2015

-love the embroidery added to the logos. via quipsologies

-a friend of mine is painting an abstract painting every day for a year and posting on Facebook. Love the project.

-for all the star war fans. These are beautiful. via

-tried a new recipe for coffee crumb cake with leftover fruits from my jamming and baking for the restaurant that I had--blueberries, peaches and apples. Came out great. Will post my result later. via julia's album

-been having issues with dirty coffee mugs in the sink at work (not just one, like 6+). Yes, disgusting. But maybe I should have just made art with them and made an instagram acct. These are fun. via quipsologies

-been a little sideline with a wrist pain, so not too much knitting for me. I found a fiber podcast to inspire me to get better soon.

-one last link: love that it was all handmade. Her bouquet is great.