Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ginger Project - Part 1 -

Sliced Ginger Roots

To tell you the truth, I'm writing this post in November, after harvesting some ginger roots from my veggie garden. I was going to post about the excitement of the first harvest, but I thought it would be better to upload this "part 1" story beforehand.

So, this is about what I made in September with some store-bought ginger. And I'm posting it with a date in September... Sorry about my procrastination - as always - and modifying the post dates like this from time to time. :P

Anyway, in early September, my inner voice ordered me to make ginger syrup, and I followed the order. I cooked ginger slices with sugar and spices ...


 ... until I got this nice, thick syrup. The color turned out pretty dark because I used brown sugar.

 Homemade Ginger Syrup and Candied Ginger

What you see in front of the syrup is candied ginger I made with the ginger slices left from the syrup making.

The syrup was a success. I mixed it with club soda and threw in a few mint leaves to enjoy the sweetness with the refreshing kick, and before I knew it, the jar was empty. :D

The candy turned out quite hard, sweet AND very gingery. I was pretty satisfied and looking forward to using it for ginger bread and soft ginger cookies. But one day when it was extremely hot and humid, the candy melted and the whole thing turned terribly soggy.
* Sob *
So, would I throw it away?
Of course not.

There'll be a post about the Part 2 of this ginger story, and you'll see how I used the soggy sugar-ginger mixture.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Another Jam Session in the Kitchen! ;)

Homemade Blueberry Jam, 2014 

I've been lucky with my jam making this summer: Ume plum jam (used the plums taken out from homemade ume juice), tomato jam (used home-grown oval tomatoes, Aiko) and this blueberry jam.

If you are a long-term reader of my blogs including the previous foodblog, you might remember the sunshine blue bush I was growing in a planter? I brought it with me when I moved into my parents' house and planted it in the garden. Last winter it looked sick, so I cut most of its branches. Then the bush had no flowers this spring and I thought the other blueberry wouldn't yield any fruits because it wasn't a self-pollinating kind. But for some reason (maybe someone in this neighborhood is growing blueberries), it gave me this many!

This Year's Harvest (336 g)

Yep, I kept them in the freezer, and this time I didn't wash them before freezing because I had read that it would make the skin harder. And the day before yesterday, I finished the tomato jam, so yesterday morning, I found myself cooking these berries in an enameled pot.

The jam tastes good, but seedy. I wonder if there is a seedy kind or it's the way I grow the bush...
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Monday, September 22, 2014

Before Summer is Totally Gone...

Sun-dried Tomato and Cream Cheese Canape

Now, before summer of 2014 is over let me post about two more creations from my sun-dried tomato project. The project was the highlight of this summer, I would say.  :)

First, these canapes.
I soaked the semi-dried tomatoes with warm water and after they were softened, chopped them like this. Then all I did was just putting them on Ritz crackers with cream cheese and basil leaves. Yeah, you see the tiny green pieces? At first I used a whole leaf for each. But its strong flavor overpowered the sweetness of the sun-dried tomatoes. So I tore the basil leaves into small pieces and sneaked one under the cream cheese, topping it with an even smaller bit.

This simple creation was actually the best of all my attempts with dried tomatoes this summer! The combination of the tomatoes and the cream cheese was just heavenly with the refreshing kick of the sweet basil.  :D

Sun-dried Tomato and Bacon Muffins


Second, these muffins.
This was another "just okay" attempt of mine with sun-dried tomatoes. I thought the tomatoes would taste great with bacon, which was probably a right guess, but obviously I didn't use enough bacon. The muffins would have tasted much better if I diced the bacon into larger pieces and put more in each with more cheese and black pepper. After all, the muffins were rather bland.
But I ate them all in one day. :P
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