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Everything posted by lovebenton0

  1. lucky you, fifi! we used to grow a bunch on the old place. dewberries and mulberries made my berry season! would love to encourage some here...
  2. looking good, fifi! these pics are making me hungry for this cake... now i just may have to make this again, far sooner than i would have expected. i have always used the Hershey's cocoa too. and i have a new bag of 10X sugar and a new hand mixer (finally!) just waiting to be used for something.
  3. thanks, _john. i really may have to order some of this... their variety-pick-your-own-flavor combos look very tempting. also, Laurie, there may be some shops that carry it in NYC not on their list??? you may want to ask about this seasoning in the NY forum... not everyone gets to us in TX.
  4. How dumb I am is that I actually thought you were growing a cinnamon plant, not a basil varietal. Thorough perusal is my downfall; coupled with faulty math skills and viola! Three kids in four years (sigh). ← jess, my dear, just wishful thinking on your part... i should have been clearer. i too wish i were growing cinnamon!
  5. i've made this quite a few times, with and without pecans, but i always sub strong coffee for water, add more cocoa than that. absolutely has to have the cinnamon. i usually use my 9x13 pyrex also. last time i made it in my stoneware bundt pan. it was for Easter and two bros bdays also, so just wanted it to look a bit fancier, poured on the icing while warm. no pecans because of one bro's nut allergies. younger bro did homemade choc ice cream also... we decided to wait to have that a bit later. we were still in orbit! so it's not strictly the traditional i suppose especially with the bundt but it was a lovely and luscious cake anyway.
  6. apparently this is for seasoning, not to duplicate the fresh salsa... interesting site with several varieties of spice blends. Laurie, you can click on the store list tab to see where it is distributed locally. lots of stores in AZ and CA, a few in TX and elsewhere. looks like the closest to NYC is Warsaw, NJ... welcome to the TX forum! hope we have helped.
  7. the grapes won't be ripe until a lovely deep shade of red... and they aren't really sweet on their own at that point either. i can't imagine the tartness of a green grape pie made from unripened mustang grapes. however, they do make a helluva good jam or jelly. jelly is really easy since you can let the process remove the seeds for you. not at all like the concord grape you get at the store... but a lovely wine red color and more delicate flavor. i make it from our grapes every year. poison the grapes!!! offer to give your neighbor a jar or two of jelly or jam, see if you can't bribe her that way. meanwhile, it's gonna be a month before the grapes ripen for us, and most everything is still just green babies. but the wild spring onions which i encourge to grow in the front garden beds (more horticulture than agriculture ), are lovely and delicious right now. and the fennel is fantastic. just starting to put out blooms, but the stalk and leaves are wonderfully aromatic and tasty. leaves are quite good as a topper for salads, including a potato salad which surprised me, but i had to try it as i had a lovely frond in hand at the time. pics forthcoming on the cinnamon basil, jess... it's still too small to really see the difference in color... the stalks, stems and the blooms turn purple as it grows. the aroma is addictive to me and the plant itself is beautiful warm and earthy, if you haven't tried this basil variety i would heartily recommend it! incredibly good stuffed into the crevices of a leg o' lamb, along with garlic. one of my fav ways to use this basil. also excellent freshly chiffonade on salads with beef and orange, or with leaves garnishing an Indian curry dish.
  8. My, my that sounds good. It sounds like one of those deceptively simple recipes that is so much more than the sum of its parts. I think shrimp season is about to open. I often marinate onions (red or 1015s) in lime juice, s&p but I have never thought of adding Tabasco. Hmmm . . . Maybe sriracha would be good as well. ← fifi, i betcha sriracha would be good too. have to try that also. since i grow and make our own c&j's tabasco sauce i grab that on a regular basis for a little kick. but the sriracha is always in the pantry too. thinking about making salmon croquettes tonight, and thinking that marinated 1015 and tomato slices on greens with a light bit of fennel leaf to top would make a nice side. although wish i had some cabbage for slaw.... 1015s are killer in creamy slaw with raisins, almonds or other nuts, and a bit of curry in the dressing. that would be perfect with the croquettes.
  9. and did you, fifi? i got some my herbs into the ground this full moon after hardening them up from the greenhouse for a couple of weeks while they bulked up a bit in the pots. have some more seedlings of herbs and veg to plunk into the gardens soon too to join the plants we put in a couple of weeks ago. new herbs: cinnamon, lemon, sweet and Thai basils, a new greek oregano to go along with my established MX and Italian oreganos, and sage. promise some pics sooon. the earlier tomato and pepper plants are already blooming, hot bananas are an inch long and growing fast. i decided to go with a mixed bag of hot pepper seeds this year so it will be interesting to watch those develop... and tomatillos, a yellow cherry tomato, all the basils, and eggplant , greens from seeds.
  10. yep that season change hit us in central TX again... low 40s and grey and cool all day over the weekend out here. so i wanted to enjoy something a bit warming and was dying to try out my new la chamba 4 qt pot for some slow stovetop cooking. Tex Mex style chicken and rice with yellow squash. (boneless skinless thighs, sliced, and slowly browned in the pot with lots of onion, garlic, cumin and a couple big jalapenoes. then slow cooked with chicken stock and diced tomatoes. removed all then browned the rice grains and returned the rest with thick slices of squash to cook about 30 until rice/squash were done.) served with corn tortillas and a little salad (sourcream/homemade salsa for dressing). result? yes! i love my chamba.
  11. amazing transformation into this gorgeous kitchen, Varmint! envy, envy!
  12. throw one of those 1015s in your foodprocessor, pulse with a couple of jalapenoes, add to chopped tomatoes (your garden toms and chilies are the best, of course ), lime juice, minced garlic and kosher or sea salt, toss liberally with fresh cilantro. fridge it for a hour and you've got a hot, sweet, sour and salty table salsa aka pico de gallo. not revolutionary but the 1015s really add a nice touch. did this a couple nights ago... marinate thinly sliced 1015s with lime juice, a sprinkle of kosher or sea salt and a dash of tabasco while your shrimp are marinating to go on the grill (or in the boil pot). then toss the onions with the cooked shrimp to serve. nice combo. finger licking allowed.
  13. i hit up ebay and grabbed two i've been lusting over. The Tex Mex Cookbook by Robb Walsh The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen by Paula Wolfert both new and i'm in love...
  14. baked the white beans in my la chamba 4 qt, 4 hrs at 250.... not enough. baked them for another 2 hrs and they just made it in time for dinner. i added the tomatoes at hour 5. and yes, i do have a separate oven thermometer. i love my la chamba! so easy to clean up too. and the initial water/oven seal was perfect. sorry, i have no pics this time, we had an unexpected, semi-regular buddy as dinner guest that night and the guys were scooping out the beans before i could get in there to get a shot. beans were lovely, spicy, cubed beef was meltingly done, all scooped up with flour tortillas. will do something different, but more soon! promise pics next time if i have to hold them off with my wooden spoon. edit to add: beans were even better the next day, of course, and i reheated them slowly on stovetop in la chamba. i really love this pot!
  15. omg! Vengroff, you've convinced me... i'm going to have to try the casatiello. your loaves are stunning. i can almost taste it toasted with eggs on the side, or sandwiched inside, already.
  16. ← i'm going to have to jump on this cart! those enchiladas look fantastic, fifi. you've convinced me to try those. i just made migas two mornings ago and didn't realize i was having fun here already. i have to agree... the salsa verde is a staple. hopefully with my own tomatillas this year too. i love the red salsa from our garden goodies but sometimes nothing is better than the verde. with salad, and for me enchiladas are not complete without salad, i drop some good rich sour cream on the side with a big spoonful of salsa of choice. i recently bought some little gratin dishes, not LC, but heavy ceramic (and cheap ) and they work great. i like the idea of doing the enchiladas in individual servings too. so what's up next? i need to drag out the copy and start perusing.
  17. well that's good, because i've always done them longer and slower before. i can't remember what thread i was reading this morning that had that temp statement, but i thought i'd give that a shot. never mind. i'll just stick with what i know. especially with you and Adelle, and the braising thread, to back me up.
  18. ok. i was just thinking of other comments on braising beef, needing close to 300 to break down the connective tissue. and these little steaks definitely have some. however with the longer and slower temp it seems it should do the same thing... you're right, some beans are just stubborn... comes with old age, eh? but when i do slow cook my beans i do them for about that long anyway when going lower temps.
  19. your beans look wonderful. my la chambra soup pot (4 quart) has been water sealed in the oven and is just waiting for me to plop in some white beans. although the usual for me would be to cook these with smoked bird or pork what i have on hand is a couple of round eye beef steaks. so i'm thinking more of a chili style bean with the beef, onions, ancho and habanero pepper, stock, tomatoes, etc. if i brown the beef chunks and saute onions on the stovetop then add the rest and cook all in the oven (taking a cue from from your beans, richard) about 4-5 hours at maybe a bit higher temp for the beef, maybe 275 sounds good to me. hmmmm adding the tomatoes later, after beans have softened a bit? for stovetop cooking in the future... i do not (gasp) have a diffuser, but am thinking that my la chambra would sit nicely on my wok ring over the gas flame. has anyone tried this? i do have a burner adjusted with a very low level setting. edit to correct: 4 quart soup pot not a 2 quart
  20. haven't posted here for a while and just going through the thread i must say there's been a lot of great looking bread produced. my latest from the BBA was the sourdough rye onion bread with carraway seeds. a very moist and flavorful bread. the onion in the loaves and the way the onion bakes to darkened bits in the crust... so wonderfully aromatic. we've eaten it cut fresh with butter, toasted, in grilled swiss cheese sandwichwes, and buttered then grilled quickly over coals alongside a pork roast. just a few pics, not a complete storyboard of the development of this bread... i'm very pleased with the rye barm and plan to use it for a mixed grain sourdough next week. stirring oil into rye barm starter before adding to flour mixture after bulk fermentation loaves fresh from the oven (with those bits of onion) the crumb... i loved this rye, but we're ready for a change after eating two loaves so the plan is to bake a lighter bread this week. i want to do something i haven't tried yet....
  21. well this fennel grouping i have grows to almost six feet tall. it's already over four foot. so i suppose i'd need to bag it and lop it to shake the pollen. I'll definitely let you know, Paula... sounds like a fun experiment anyway. it wasn't a volunteer, she did plant it. and i'm not sure about that wild thing, fifi. but it does seem to make sense looking at the evidence (no rounded bulb). it doesn't spread like a weed though. i only have that one grouped fennel (probably 12 or 15 spatulate semi-bulbed plants now). it has increased the size of grouping by one or two shoots a year. i've only had it try to spread twice and i dug up both of those and gave them to butterfly-loving friends for their gardens. it is surrounded by MX petunias. maybe i just discouraged its tendency to be aggressive. if you decide you'd like to try some seeds PM me. so throwing the sliced fennel stalks into soups and braised veggies....? or slicing thin for salads, slaws, etc.?
  22. well, not fifi here but as another Texan i can say we have a lot of lamb available in the Austin area, all year round. legs, shoulders occasionally (which are a damn good deal, last one i got was .99/lb), chops and frenched. used to be more imported NZ lamb, but the TX lamb has taken over the majority of the market in the last year or so in this area. for ground lamb, personally i prefer to buy a leg o' lamb, or a half leg, and grind it myself in food processor. but then i've started doing that with all meat i want ground and have to say we really appreciate the difference. now i just have to get a little leg to use for some moussaka. so hungry for it after reading through this cook-off.
  23. we definitely have those caterpillars and the butterflies! i haven't done anything with the pollen, hadn't thought about that. will try some later in the season before it goes to seed. thanks. lots of good ideas here already, from everyone. i'm going to enjoy this fennel more this year than in the past. thanks! and fifi if this really is the wild fennel you might find it around your area too... if it's growing along the west coast as stated in the wild fennel thread
  24. thanks, Pan. must have done something wrong when i googled it, i ended up with way too choices. and i was hoping to get some input on actually being able to pluck the fennel goodies fresh and use them. this thread on wild fennel makes me think that what we really have is wild fennel. it was already here when we bought the house. (at least two years old according to previous owner who planted it, given to her by a friend.) since we don't have those big round bulbs i'm thinking this is the case. yeah, fennel seed in Italian sausage is the best and i've added ours fresh and dried to dishes i make using that when i want some extra punch. the Italian sausage in TX is just not the same as i could get up around Chicago or in NY. so the added fennel seed really helps.
  25. lovebenton0

    It's my party!

    oooh, Chufi! lovely muffins. have you thought of a food theme for your buffet? that might help us narrow down suggestions a bit... or do you want it wild?
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