Saturday, February 26, 2011

Spring: it might not be in the air, but at least it's in the mail!

My first package of seeds have arrived! Woot!
These ones are all from Urban Harvest which a local business specializing in rare, heirloom, and native varieties.  Most of their seeds and seedlings are also certified organic by Ecocert.
Here's the back of the sugar snap pea packet:

I think most of the rest of what I'll plant this year will be purchased as seedlings, since I don't have any indoor space to start my own (re: I'm to lazy to rearrange the house and rig up a light).
Come on spring! I have carrots & things to plant!

What will you be growing this season?

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Great Fig Newton Experiment (with other baked goods)

Today is the last day of a long weekend.  I decided I better get my baking done before the long weekend was over!  The main goal today was to use up some of the fig jam that I made last July. Hello jam!
What's the best way to use spiced fig jam? Well, fig newton cookies seemed the best option.  I had a recipe in my Company's Coming Cookies cookbook.  Instead of using their version of filling, I just substituted my jam.
It was a suprisingly uncomplicated process. Once I had the dough for the fig newtons chilling in the fridge, I made these chocolate chip peanut butter cookies to pass the time.
Once the peanut butter cookies were done, out came the dough for the newtons.  I rolled it out, sliced it into long, skinny thirds, filled the thirds with jam, and folded the sides over the jam.  Then the first batch went into the oven.  Unfortuantely for me, the first batch was ready to come out of the oven before I was quite ready to put the second batch in. Here's where the hardest part of fig newton making happened: I let the first batch cool while I finished up the second to put in the oven.
How was that a hard thing to do you ask?  Well, I'd forgotten one of the main properties of cooked jam: it sets like super-glue when you let it cool.  So, I was able to slice the long rolls into cookies, but getting them off the pan was another story all together.  Oops.
They're a little crumbly (the better looking ones are from the second batch) but they taste AWESOME!

Lessons learned from today's fig newton experiment:
  1. You too can stick it to the man and make your own preservative free fig newton cookies.
  2. For the love of all that is good in this world, don't touch the hot jam when it comes out of the oven! It's worse than a glue gun and just as hard to get off your fingers.
  3. Cut the cookies as soon as you take them out of the oven, or you may be eating cookies with a foil or paper backing.
  4. I am going to gain a ton of weight if I don't stop eating these bad boys.
  5. Side lesson: peanut butter cookies are just as awesome as when you were a kid. And the ones with the slightly burnt bottoms are still the best tasting.


So, this is my first official post. Officially. I've been avoiding this for a while, since really, who am I to add to the cluttering of the interwebs?  On the other hand, I have lots of photos and things that I want to talk about and social media sites don't really seem to be up to the task.  Like any other blog, I expect formats to change in future, as I figure out what I'm doing.
In the meantime, here are some delicious things that I've baked from scratch.  Yay food!
Star Wars sugar cookies thanks to officially liscenced cookie cutters! You can get the cookie cutters at Williams Sonoma (along with pancake molds, sandwich cutters and other paraphenalia that is Star Wars related). *nerd squee*

Sweet cuppin' cakes! Chocolate Smartie cupcakes with vanilla frosting, yellow cake cupcakes with chocolate frosting, and homemade sprinkle cupcakes. Yum! Also, I love my cupcake stand.
Seedy Lemon Cranberry Muffins.
I put all sorts of good things into these like pepitas, sunflower seeds, and butter.  They were delicious and tart and oh so good.

Now that I've gone and made myself hungry, I'm going to check the freezer to see if there are any cookies left.