Tag Archives: Recipe

Lavender Salt & Sugar

This post is so quick and easy I can hardly call it a recipe.

But pretty? Yes.  Delicious?  Oh, yeah.

Welcome, lavender salt and lavender sugar.  I’ve seen you around the blog universe, and I think even Martha Stewart would appreciate your gift-worthiness.  Plus, lavender grown in my very own herb garden made you extra easy to make–and real cheap.

Lavender Salt or Sugar

  • 1/2 C sugar (white or brown) or coarse sea salt
  • 3 t dried lavender buds (make sure they are approved for eating!)

I gave the lavender buds a quick whirl in my coffee grinder to break them up a bit and release some of those fragrant (not to mention delicious) oils.  I kept them mostly whole, so they were recognizable as lavender buds, though.

Either layer or combine the salt or sugar with the lavender in a glass container (or hey, you could go plastic if you want) with a lid. 

Well, that’s it.  You’re done.

I did a small one with brown sugar (probably only a quarter of a cup of sugar, if that) for sprinkling on top of oatmeal or baked goods.

I also did a bigger one with coarse sea salt–which would also be amazing on top of baked goodies (lavender salted chocolate fudge, anyone?), or fish, or pork.

Lastly, I made a fairly large container of plain white sugar–I figured I could add small amounts to things that I am baking for some extra flavor.  Or imagine rolling snickerdoodles in lavender sugar?  Gosh.

So many possibilities.

And of course, this makes a cheap and easy gift, especially if you tie a sweet label with some ribbon or string.

Christmas is coming up, ya know! 

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Filed under Spice Mixes

A Peck of (Really Hot) Pickled Peppers

Hello, friends! 

It feels so good to be able to cook and blog every day.  I will never, ever, ever take having power for granted ever again until probably this weekend when I get used to everything running smoothly without any effort on my part.

But I shouldn’t take it for granted, because it is so awesome to have power.

To finish up my fall prep by canning the rest of the goods from my parents’ garden, I decided to make pickled banana peppers.  We’ve been eating a lot of sandwiches (brown bag lunches at school, ya know), and I thought a sweet and spicy pickled pepper would be perfect to jazz them up through the winter when veggies are a little lackluster.

I also discovered that what I thought were harmless banana peppers were actually super HOT banana peppers, and now my poor innocent hands are burning like fire since I wasn’t wearing gloves when I cut them.  Word to the wise: wear gloves.  You could use this recipe with mild or spicy peppers–doesn’t matter one bit.

Pickled Banana Peppers

  • 25 banana peppers
  • 2 C water
  • 3 C white vinegar
  • 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 C salt
  • 2 T whole peppercorns
  • 1 T caraway seeds
  • 1 T dill seeds
  • 2 t ground allspice

These are getting canned into four pint-sized jars, so get all that canning stuff ready–big stock pot of boiling water to sterilize the jars, smaller saucepan to simmer the lids in, big tongs, and dish cloths and potholders to protect your sensitive mitts.  Especially if you’ve already burned the crap outta ’em with hot pepper juice.

Start by slicing the peppers–I cut off the tops, removed the core and as many seeds as I easily could with a knife, and then sliced them into thin rings.  Soak all the peppers in a giant bowl of ice water with a T or so of salt in it for at least an hour.  I’m not sure exactly what this step is for, but since everyone else is doing it, I’ll do it too.

Once the peppers are ready, sterilize the jars by boiling them in water for at least ten minutes.  While the giant pot of water is coming to a boil, bring the remaining ingredients (water, vinegar, salt, sugar, and spices) to a boil as well. 

Once the jars are sterilized, pack them full of peppers and cover with the vinegar mixture.  Careful with all the hot stuff–no burns, please!

It might be helpful to strain the liquid through a strainer as you pour it in the jars, and then you can evenly divide the spices among the four jars.

Put the lids on the jars, screw the tops on (not too tight, just a gentle closure), and return them to the boiling water to process.  Boil the jars vigorously for 40 minutes, then remove from the liquid and set on a dish towel to cool.  If the lids pop and don’t spring back when pressed, the jars have sealed properly and you are good to go.

Don’t they look gorgeous?

I’d let them pickle in the vinegar for a few weeks before eating them.

I’d also be careful about eating them if you used the same kind of death-in-disguise super-hot banana peppers that I used.

Winter sandwiches have officially been jazzed.

I leave you with a few pictures from a trip downport that Fritz and I took the other day with our good friends Cait and Jeff:

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Filed under Side Dishes, Snacks

Farro with Mushrooms & Artichokes

One thing my mom has always been really good at is giving me a challenge to complete.  And alongside that, she also gifted me the genetic drive to want, nay, the need to complete every challenge to award myself the ultimate satisfaction.

So when she handed me a bag of farro and a jar of artichoke hearts, the challenge was proffered.  And I accepted.

Plus, she always offers to buy whatever other ingredients I need.  Can’t resist that offer.

Farro with Mushrooms & Artichokes Printable Recipe Card

  • 2 C cooked farro (instructions below)
  • 2 T butter
  • 3 shallots (or one small onion), diced
  • 16 oz mushrooms, sliced (I used bella, but others would work)
  • 1 small can artichoke hearts, quartered (I used the kind packed in water, not oil)
  • 1 t dried ground thyme
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1/2 C dry white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc)

Start off by pre-cooking the farro.  Bring two cups of water to a boil and 1 C freshly rinsed farro.  Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally, until the water is absorbed and the farro is tender (about 25-30 minutes).

And farro, by the way, is delicious.  Kinda like barley, if you’ve never had it.  In fact, you can sub barley in for this recipe, or use any other grain (spelt? brown rice?  The world is your oyster).

Once the farro is nearly ready, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the shallots and cook until translucent, then toss in the mushrooms (it’d probably be a good idea to do the mushrooms in two batches so you don’t crowd them–Julie & Julia, anyone?).  Once most of the liquid is cooked out of the mushrooms, add the remaining ingredients (including the cooked farro), and simmer on low until the rest of the liquid cooks down.

Oh, man.  Yum.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

The farro gets a nice and creamy taste (without cream!), thanks to all the liquid that cooks with it.  Plus, can you really go wrong with butter, mushrooms, and white wine?

I mean, not really.  No.  The answer is no.  You can’t go wrong.

And if you were to imbibe in a refreshing glass of wine while this is bubbling away on the stove, no one could blame you.  I certainly wouldn’t.

Add some grilled tuna steaks to this meal, and you have really sealed the deal.  I’d come over for dinner.  You can invite me at lauren@fullmeasureofhappiness.com or on my Facebook page.

No, really.  Or invite Fritz over, because he’s all alone on Long Island, and probably hungry.  And Henry?  He’s definitely starving.  Always is.

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Filed under Side Dishes

Peppermint Patty Green Monster

Ever since coming back from vacation, I have been craving fruits and vegetables like whoa.  I think it’s because it’s hot back here in New York (not crazy hot, but it’s definitely not fall weather like Canada).

I had a beautiful salad for lunch made from a bunch of locally grown veggies (including the reddest tomato I have ever seen), and then an apple (golden and delicious, as the name implied), and then I was still dying for vegetables.

Green monster it is.  ‘Specially one that has a fresh and cooling taste thanks to some chocolate mint from my herb garden.

Peppermint Patty Green Monster Printable Recipe Card

  • 1 ripe banana, frozen
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • 10 small chocolate mint leaves (you can use regular mint, too)
  • 1/2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 C skim milk
  • 4 ice cubes
  • honey or chocolate syrup to taste (optional for those of you who want a sweeter drink)

Layer the ingredients in a blender in this order: spinach, mint, cocoa powder, banana, ice, and skim milk poured over the top.  Putting the heavy stuff on top helps to press the light stuff down into the blender mechanism.

Blend for a few minutes until smooth.  Pour into a glass and serve immediately (makes one smoothie).

I actually couldn’t believe how much this really tasted like a peppermint patty.  Sweet, a bit of chocolate (how good would this be with chocolate pieces stirred in?), and that perfect cool minty finish.

As always, you can’t even taste the baby spinach.  If you use a heartier green like kale or chard, you’ll be able to detect it–that’s why I went with spinach on this one.

Vegetable and fruit craving satisfied.

Now on to more important things:

7 Comments

Filed under Beverages

Seeded Crackers

What a relief to finally be home!  We began our travels yesterday at 8:00 in the morning and finally arrived home to Long Island at almost 9:00 at night.  Super long day.

Needless to say, we were super exhausted when we finally made it home–but very, very excited to see this face:

He’s been cling-wrapped to us all day and I think he’s finally starting to get that when we leave, we won’t be gone for another two weeks.  Oh–except that I’m catching a flight tomorrow night for Syracuse to see my side of the family (but Fritz is staying here, since his classes are starting tomorrow).

So, it was nice to have a bit of a normal routine today, including weekend baking.  I decided to attempt making crackers for the first time ever today, using this recipe from It’s Not About the Recipe for inspiration.

Seeded Crackers Printable Recipe Card

  •  1 C whole-wheat flour
  • 1 C rye flour
  • 1/4 C poppy seeds
  • 1/4 C sesame seeds
  • 1/4 C sunflower seeds
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 3/4 C water

This was a super easy recipe.  In the mixer, combine all the dry ingredients.  Mix in the olive oil, then the water, until a dough forms.  Let it rest for 15 minutes.

After resting, break the dough into four pieces (the original recipe said eight–not sure why, since it was not necessary and a bit more time-consuming).  Roll out the dough until very thin, using extra flour to prevent sticking (I stopped rolling only when I had to–when the thickness of the sunflower seeds prevented me from rolling it out any thinner).  Using a pizza cutter (or a pastry roller if you are lucky enough to have one), cut off the rough edges and slice the crackers into squares.  Place them close together on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and stick ’em with a fork a couple of times for those cute cracker dots.

Bake in a hot oven (450 degrees) for 7-10 minutes until light golden brown.  You gotta watch these guys carefully, since they’ll burn fast and the only thing worse than the smell of burnt sesame seeds is the taste of burnt sesame seeds.

Let them cool completely and store in an air-tight container for about a week.

I wasn’t a huge fan of these crackers at first, but I posted the recipe anyway because I think that it’s a personal preference–I’m just not a huge fan of toasted sesame seeds.

Fritz enjoyed the crackers just fine.

Oh, and when I tried them the way I used to eat Ritz crackers in my youth (with strawberry jam), I was totally won over.

Yum.

Double, triple, crunchy seedy cracker yum.  These guys might just be those crackers that really work best with toppings.

My next cracker attempt (because these were so fast that I will definitely be making more crackers soon) may have to be sweet.  Or cheddar.  Or herby.  Either way, we need more crackers.

Back at the homefront, Henry has been peering out from behind our television (the one place he’s not supposed to go and is therefore his favorite place), daring us to have the gall to yell at him after we abandoned him for two weeks.

World’s worst cat.

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Filed under Snacks

South African Sosaties

Spending over a week with a handful of South Africans means that you must be ready to eat a lot of meat.  A lot of meat, prepared on the grill.  A lot of grilled meat, accompanied with salads and fruits and grilled corn on the cob.

I am so okay with this.

So here’s an awesome recipe for yet another South African grilled classic, sosaties (in Afrikaans meaning “skewered meat with spicy sauce”, thanks to Wikipedia).

South African Sosaties Printable Recipe Card

for the sauce (sous):

  • 1 large onion, sliced into half-rounds
  • 4 C water
  • 2 T mild curry powder
  • 1/2 T ground turmeric
  • 4 T sugar
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 1 C malt vinegar
  • 2 C apricot jam
  • 1/2 T lemon juice (optional)
  • salt and white pepper to taste

for the skewers

  • 3-4 lbs beef or lamb roast, cubed into 1″ cubes
  • 1 small package dried apricots
  • 1/2 package of bacon (1 strip for each skewer)
  • about a dozen skewers, if wood, soak in water before using

The meat must be prepared ahead of time and marinated for at least 24 hours in the sosatie sauce, so make sure you have time and room in the fridge!

To prepare the sauce, first slice the onion and bring it to a boil in the four cups of water.  Set aside.  Combine the dry ingredients (curry, turmeric, sugar, cornstarch, and some salt and pepper), then add in the wet ingredients (jam, vinegar, and lemon juice).  Pour this mixture into the pan with the onions, and bring to a boil for 3-4 minutes, until it starts to thicken.  Set aside and allow it to cool.

Once the sauce is cooled, you can prepare the meat for the marinade.  Layer apricots, bacon, and the cubed meat in a plastic or glass container.  Cover with the cooled sosatie sauce.  This container was really convenient because it can be flipped to allow for the easiest mixing ever–but otherwise, you may have to get your hands dirty. 

Keep in the fridge for at least 24 hours before grilling.

To make the kabobs, skewer the beef, apricots, and the bacon (we’d suggest not having apricot on the ends, because they’ll tend to fall off during grilling). 

Grill the sosaties over medium heat for about 20 minutes, until they are cooked through.  Baste periodically with leftover sosatie sauce.

Enjoy!  These are tender and juicy, and the perfect combination of sweet and spicy.

And if you have never had a grilled apricot, then you haven’t lived.  Trust me when I say you might want to go out and find a South African to marry, if you haven’t already, because they make really great food:

The men are also quite handsome:

The sosaties were even better the second day, warmed up for leftovers with a giant salad–but I can promise you that the leftovers won’t last long.

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Filed under Entrees

Salt Potatoes–in the Mountains

If you aren’t from–you know, where I’m from (Syracuse, not Long Island), you may not know about salt potatoes.  And if you don’t, I’m really sorry, because they are just so darn delicious.

But before we get into that, let me show you where I am:

Oh, yes.  You’ll see much more of that later.

Plans for tomorrow involve a morning run, hiking (with bear spray), swimming, kayaking, and basically getting as much sun and fresh air as possible with Fritz, who hasn’t really seen the light of day since he started studying for his test. 

But back to the salt potatoes.  This isn’t much of a recipe, but more of an idea.  An inspiration, if you will.

Salt Potatoes

  • Baby potatoes (I’ve used baby red potatoes from my CSA box and white potatoes–both lovely)
  • Salt

Kinda makes sense, when you think about it. 

I’m not giving amounts of either because 1) it doesn’t matter all that much; 2) I probably don’t make them with the right amount of salt anyway since it horrifies me to add so much; and 3) it’s an inspiration, remember?  I’m not here to boss anyone around.

Start off by giving the baby potatoes a hearty scrub with a stiff brush and some water to clean them–no need to peel.  In fact, I’ll be mad if you do.  Maybe I am here to be a little bossy.

Dump in a pile of salt (I used sea salt and I’d estimate I used about 1/3 C to 1/2 C of salt for a few pounds of potatoes) into a pot.  And this is a VAST underestimation of how Syracusians really cook salt potatoes.  Wikipedia just told me to use a pound of salt for every four pounds of potatoes.  Another recipe said one cup of salt for six cups of water.   Add water and potatoes and bring to a rolling boil.

Try it the real way, at least once.  And then make it my way if it scares you to add a pound of salt to anything, even if you end up pouring most of it off.

Boil the potatoes in the salt water until tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Last rule is this:  you must serve these potatoes with butter.  And I’m talking real butter.  Don’t show me margarine or vegetable oil based nonsense with these potatoes, please.  Please?  I’m begging you.  Do it right.

Unless you really can’t.  In that case, I still love you.  But dude, I just learned that I am totally bossy.

Apparently what magic happens in the pot is that the salt forms a crust around the potatoes, preventing them from getting watery and instead making them soft and creamy.  And salty.  And delicious.

Fritz and his dad manned the grill, making lamb chops (or tjops, in Afrikaans) and boerewors, which are possibly my absolute two favorite grillable meats in the history of the world since I met and married a South African.

Have you ever seen anything more perfect than this?:

Good night!

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Filed under Side Dishes