Me and the 2013 Pima County Fair

The Pima County Fair is coming up soon and this year I entered cookies. My great aunt’s gingersnaps won a blue ribbon for me last year, so why not?

Hope runs high for the Lemon Drop Cookies. They have four sources of lemon flavor, including a glaze and it’s still not too much. Taste testers love them and maybe the judges will too.

“Everything” Cookies are a wonderful combination of many favorite flavors of other cookies: peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chips, coconut, pecans and raisins.

Cranberry Coconut cookies are sometimes considered a special cookie reserved for the holidays, but they’re yummy anytime, so they’re on the list, too.

Brownies aren’t really cookies, but these triple chocolate,  super rich and delicious-with-a-hint-of-coffee deserve to compete.

I’ll let you know how we (me and my cookies!) do.

Your friend in the kitchen,

Jean

Get Rid of Odors in Your Freezer

This tip is worth its weight in gold – if you should ever need it. Read on.

If you’ve ever had your power go out while you were away, you know how awful it is to try to get rid of the odor of spoiled food – especially meat – in your refrigerator or freezer.

It happened to us once and we tried EVERYTHING that didn’t work – all manner of cleansers, elbow grease, bleach, putting the appliance outside in the direct Arizona sun with the door removed. As a last resort, we called an appliance repair place and asked for advice. Here it is:

Pour fresh coffee grounds (canned is fine) onto a paper plate and place in the refrigerator or freezer plugged in and running with the door closed, for a few days.  While the odor is strong, discard and replace the coffee grounds  every couple of days.

It actually worked! It took a week and though very inconvenient, it was better than buying a new refrigerator. It’s a good idea to use an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator for light duty odor absorption. Replace every three or four months.

Your friend in the kitchen,

Jean

The Green Onion Experiment

I found this great idea on someone else’s blog. Sorry, I don’t remember whose, but I give you full credit! It’s about extending the life of your green onions and getting new tops from them.  It really works! It’s especially nice if you don’t normally use the white bulb part of a green onion.

Here’s the thing: After you’ve cut off and used the green tops, instead of throwing away the rooted bulb portions, stand them in a small glass of water, an inch or so deep. Leave them on the kitchen counter.

In less than a week, the onions will have grown new green shoots, ready for you to cut again. Check the water level every few days and keep the root balls covered.

Kids will love watching the onions grow;  I have to say it’s been fun for me, too, and very convenient. I just reach up, snip them off and toss them in the salad.

Happy snipping!

Your friend in the kitchen,

Jean

Blue Ribbons at the State Fair

For the first time, I entered food products (2 yeast breads and 4 jams & jellies) in the Arizona State Fair. Judging was done within 24 hours and I learned that both of the breads – Rosemary & Cottage Cheese – were awarded blue ribbons. The Apricot Pineapple Marmalade earned a red ribbon.

I love it when people like what I cook!

 

Celebrate Date Night

Let’s hear it for Date Night!

I was recently approached by a young professional who said, “I’m past due for Date Night; I’d like to bring my wife to one of  your cooking parties.”

He planned the evening as a surprise, invited another couple to join them, and didn’t tell anyone where they were going.

They showed up hungry, as instructed, and we got acquainted over Brown Bread with Dates & Raisins and Sparkling Cider. Everyone participated: whipped the cream, chopped the fruits and vegetables and even cooked the broccoli/pepper/jicama side dish. Whoever was on the other side of the counter got to supervise:  checking instructions, verifying ingredient amounts and monitoring cooking times.

As the mother of sons and wife of someone who considers himself “strictly a consumer” when it comes to food, it was fun to have two guys volunteer to work in the kitchen. (The wives snapped pictures to have a permanent record.)

Besides the veggie side dish, we made Chicken Saltimbocca, Fruit & Veggie Pasta Salad and Lemon Ice Cream for dessert. Rosemary Bread was baked earlier in the day.

We all sat down to eat, talk and laugh like old friends and it was 9:30 before we knew it.

It was all about what they wanted to celebrate, but it turned out to be Date Night for us, too. What do you want to celebrate?

Your friend in the kitchen,

Jean

 

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“Happy Birthday” Cooking Class

What fun it was to celebrate Jean’s birthday with her and her two adult daughters on Saturday. The girls planned it as a birthday surprise: a cooking class in my kitchen, just for them, followed by a special lunch for the four of us.

They snacked on Heirloom Brown Bread with Raisins & Dates and sipped Sun Tea as we got acquainted. The menu included Apricot Chicken, Fruited Rice, Almost Caesar Salad w/Homemade Dressing, Rosemary Bread and for dessert, “They Won’t Believe You Made It” Lemon Ice Cream with Gingersnap Cookies. Cooking from scratch is so much fun!

We talked food, cooking and the novelty of a private party cooking class. A good time was had by all.

Thank you, ladies. It was a special treat to celebrate with you!

County Fair Judges liked my entries

I don’t mean to brag, but this is too delightful to keep to myself. Just for fun, I entered five food items in the 2012 Pima County Fair, hoping for (maybe) one blue ribbon.  Wow, was I surprised! Here are my entries and the results:

  • Rosemary Bread – Blue Ribbon and Best of Class Ribbon
  • Blue Corn Mini-Muffins – Blue Ribbon
  • Gingersnap Cookies – Blue Ribbon
  • Orange Rosemary Jelly – Blue Ribbon
  • Tomato Jam – White Ribbon (3rd Place)

It’s the first time I’ve entered a county fair competition or even thought of  winning a blue  ribbon in anything.  I’ve served all these foods to many friends and they have affirmed the yummy-ness (I know, made up word) of each one.

So I know it and they know it. But now it’s “official” – isn’t that what blue ribbons are for?