Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Raisin compote

While we were out at a little bistro this weekend we tried an amazing raisin compote that was served with some manchego cheese. I've tried to recreate it, and I'm not quite there- but this was pretty good. I combined:
1/4 cup cointreau
1/4 cup apricot preserve (was pretty liquidy (about the consistency of a smoothy)- which is why it wasn't all eaten)
1 cup organic rasins
1/3 cup currants
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbs black currant balsamic vinegar (or any flavorful vinegar)
3 Tbs mostarda de frutta fig- with balsamic vinegar
2 tbs honey
4 heaping tbs sugar

combine all ingredients in sauce pan and cook over low heat, stirring often. When raisins plump and mixture thickens, it's done. I am going to try adding orange juice and orange peel, or maybe lemon peel, next time. I think some candied fruit would be an excellent addition as well.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


So I saw this recipe come through my email:

yum, I thought. But I had no nectarines. I did however have some lovely fuji apples and a couple of pluots. I sliced one of the apples very thinly, ditto for a pluot, and stirred them with the sugar mentioned in the recipe. Then I laid the apple slices out in a lovely circle- leaving a hole in the middle, and I filled the center with a starburst of pluot slices. It looks lovely. I have pictures (I will post them in the morning). I have not eaten it yet- but I hope it is as delicious as it looks. It was easy as pie (actually easier than pie). I used a Trader Joes pie crust.

The First Week of School is OVER!

I have taken pictures of most of our lunches- but have not put them up yet. But at least I can tell you what we had. On Tuesday, the first day of school for me, I made peanut butter sandwiches, but I added Costco chocolate covered peanuts. I'd say there were about 9 -10 peanuts per sandwich- I'll have to count them in the pictures. At any rate, my kids and I loved this addition. It makes your sandwich taste like dessert! With the sandwich I sent green grapes, carrots, some yogurt covered raisins, and some pistachios. On Wednesday, we took brie wedges, water crackers, apples (I just sent whole apples- was too lazy to cut them and dip them in vitamin C water), more grapes, dates and chocolate chip cookies. On Thursday we took cups of hummus (from Costco) water crackers, dates, raisins, chocolate peanuts, and carrots. On Friday we had more peanut butter sandwiches with chocolate peanuts- because they were SO good we wanted them again. This time I packed applesauce with them (berry flavored), celery sticks, and I broke a kitkat bar in half and put it in my kids' lunch tins. The kitkat melted- and my kids told me it made the sandwich extra delicious- so that was a lucky break for me.

I'm out of practice making lunches in a hurry. So this weekend I'm baking some breads to use in my lunches, and I'm going to make some pasta salads and other easy things to pack. Maybe some home made cookies too- or some scones. Maybe both!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

First Lunch of the New School Year

My son started college today, so I packed him a lunch. He could have made his own, of course, but I'm trying to get back in the swing of things. I bought little individual hummus cups at Costco, and sent those with water crackers, grapes, chocolate pistachio date bread (very delicious, from the Bread Machine cookbook- see the bottom of this post), some cheese, a gingerbread-walnut-raisin muffin, and an organic applesauce cup. Since my son is gone from 7am- 3:30pm, I wanted to make sure he had lunch and snacks. He said I DID send enough food :-) Tonight I'm making the Bread of the Angels, also from the Bread Machine cookbook. It's got marzipan, sour cherries, and slivered almonds. It's baking right now, and smells amazing. I'll post pictures later.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Today's Lunch

Sadly we were hungry and ate this too fast to get a photo. Our bad.

We bought pumpkin bolani at Costco (roadshow item) and some sweet jalapeno jelly, and some garlic mint sauce- used the sauce and jelly to spice up the bolani. Served organic blueberries, watermelon and uncured organic hot dogs (from Trader Joes) on the side. Delicious.


Here's a little tip for making a cake a little different. Our local gourmet cupcake place puts graham cracker crumbs at the bottom of their cupcakes- so I thought "Why not do this with cakes?" I think it's a delicious addition. So now before I put in the batter, I line the bottom of the pan with graham cracker crumbs- I was lazy and even bought them in a box (Keebler- although there are several brands to choose from). I also use them in all the cupcakes I make now- because my kids love this addition, and it works with muffins and sweet breads too!!! Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Where have I been?????

Ok- so clearly I have been a slacker. My poor little 17 year old daughter said just the other day "Couldn't you make those bento lunches again?" "Why doesn't she make her own bento?", was my first thought- but that was ungenerous.

So I am going to try to get back in the groove. It should help that it is summer- I hope. This year at school was one of the busiest of my life- mostly because the classes were so huge. All that school work left very little time for making lunches.

Here's hoping life settles down, and I can actually get back to cooking more!