Sunday, January 30, 2011

Red wine & ripe tomatoes

I thought it was time for a facelift (for the blog, not me) and this red is rich; it reminds me of red wine and spaghetti sauce… 

Two years ago, we planted our first vegetable garden, and it produced!  Most notably, we had amazing amounts of tomatoes. From late summer well into the fall, so late that rescued the last big batch of fruit from the cold and piled them onto every windowsill in the house. Every few weeks, I would make tomato sauce, so as not to waste any of the fruit of our labor. It turned out to also be a great way to use up half-drunk bottles of red wine that are no longer fit to drink.
I also put in garlic and herbs from our garden. I froze it in large and small jars, for using as a pasta sauce and sauce for pizza.
Last year, we weren’t so lucky with our garden. Our tomatoes, in particular, caused us some serious grief, and even after replacing dying plants several times, the harvest was minimal, to say the least. And so, in order to replenish our stock in the freezer, we spent a small fortune on tomatoes at a local farmer’s market. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Granola bars - 1 / Diet – 0

Tonight's two endeavors were both second trials, attempts to tweak and improve upon my first tries. I did indeed improve both recipes to my satisfaction, and was pleased with the end results. 
First was a copy-cat of a local bakery’s granola bars. They’re loaded with seeds (sunflower and pumpkin) and oats. I even added the tinniest bit of Callebaut semi-sweet chocolate chunks, which works well with the bar's chewy, caramel-like texture, created by cooking the butter, corn syrup and brown sugar. What I learned? The bars do not cook for long or at a high temperature. I learned this the hard way the first time and overcooked the bars, so I reduced the baking time to a mere 15 minutes.
Secondly, the peanut butter oat bars, which were… amazing.  Another crack at mimicking: this time, a coffee shop dessert bar. Very sweet (and addictive), no-bake, (Callebaut) milk chocolate... There is just no resisting this food – It is too powerful, at least for my willpower.
I barely had the time to take a picture to share with you. Every last trace of these treats was devoured, wrapped up, shipped out or passed in the blink of an eye.