dickens: (Default)
2012-03-11 02:35 pm

Notes on making marmalade

This is mostly for my own reference though if it is helpful to others, all the better.

A local grocery had Seville oranges, which I've been looking for each winter for a few years because I wanted to try my hand at marmalade.

The recipe I picked (http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/seville_orange_marmalade/) calls for more oranges than others that I've looked at since, I'll probably try others to compare because this one was particularly work intensive.

Which leads me to note 1 - This is a two person task or a two day task. My hands aren't up to doing that much at once. So I did all the prep (juice fruit, pull out membranes and seeds, scrape pith off the rind, julienne the rind) and the first round of cooking in one afternoon and did remaining steps (add sugar, cook again, put in jars, process for 5 minutes) the next day.

Note 2 - Maybe spend a bit more time separating pulp from seeds, it all went in the jelly bag and I wouldn't mind more pulp in the marmalade.

Note 3 - Ignore the thermometer, ignore the "drops on a cold plate" method. Is the marmalade congealing on the spoon used for stirring every few minutes? If yes, done. (The recipe said to heat to 220 degrees or it wouldn't gel. My thermometer didn't ever go over 213. I will grant that this is as likely to be a device error as a recipe error, but I don't know if I'll be replacing the device so...)

Note 4 - The result tastes exactly like Aperol. (probably not surprising, Aperol is a bitter orange liqueur).

Now I just need fresh scones.
dickens: (Default)
2011-06-26 09:33 pm

Lovely combinations

Saturday at the farmer's market yielded the last fresh asparagus of the season and the first new potatoes and strawberries.

Dinner tonight was potatoes w/ butter, olive oil and chives, asparagus w/ lemon olive oil and ribeye. I could've made a meal just from the potatoes.

The co-op was out of their shortcakes (I really should've bought more when I was there on Friday) so I'll probably just do ice cream and strawberries later.

There was also zucchini that I sauteed w/ olive oil and garlic yesterday and served on quinoa (a recipe I stole from my brother and sister-in-law last summer).
dickens: (cat)
2010-07-17 01:26 pm

Red Currant Liqueurs

Since I had so many currants, I tried making a couple flavored liqueurs. Mixed success.

Currants w/ simple syrup and vodka - Not bad, I think this would make nifty Cosmos, but I need to experiment w/ ratios. I think the original recipe was intended for black currants, if I make it again, there will be more berries and a bit more sugar to the same amount of vodka.

Currants in rum w/ star anise and raw sugar (recipe here:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/recipes/3290417/Readers-recipes-redcurrants.html) What I wanted/expected was mainly currant w/ a hint of anise. After trying it, I can see exactly where every flavor came from, unfortunately, they add up to something resembling Nyquil. I can see occasionally sipping it as a digestif, but I'm not sure what else to do with it.

The recipe might be worth trying with cinnamon and/or allspice or clove instead of anise.
My next experiment will be with peppermint which I have a half garden full of. It should make fine creme de menthe.
dickens: (dance)
2010-07-07 10:31 pm


I recently saw a production of Dollhouse by Rebecca Gilman at the Guthrie. This is adapted from Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House. The story of Nora and Torvald in the late 19th century becomes the story of Nora and Terry in the early 21st century (post Enron et al, pre-mortgage crisis).

The story translates pretty well to modern America. But I don't really feel like it said anything new. In some ways, 21st century Nora is less of a progressive character than her 19th century counterpart. She seems to have less agency at a couple of key points in the narrative.

Thoughts and spoilers behind the cut. )
dickens: (cat)
2010-06-27 10:05 pm

Productive evening

After an afternoon nap and tasty dinner, I picked two pints of black raspberries and a pound of red currants.

I realized yesterday that bike gloves are perfect for picking raspberries. They protect most of your hand from thorns but leave your fingers free for picking. Now if I could only find the right-hand one. I blame a small grey cat for its disappearance.

Currant jelly still hasn't been made, but that should happen sometime soon.

Completely different topic - mris, you might want to check out this link: http://oldnorsenews.org/2010/06/peter-footes-library-up-for-auction/
dickens: (Default)
2010-06-23 11:51 pm


I grew up knowing what Sisu means (it's a Finnish thing) and that I can't translate it well. But Wikipedia's cross reference both fits and never really occurred to me.

dickens: (cat)
2010-06-19 11:14 pm

The town I grew up in - Wadena MN

I'd briefly toyed with the idea of heading north for the Wadena Deer Creek High School reunion this weekend. If I didn't like the scene, I figured I could just head to the family cabin a few miles away. Plans changed.

Thursday night, multiple tornadoes hit town. Below is a picture of my high school. It no longer has a roof. The larger red box shows what used to be the community center's roof in front of the entrance. The smaller box 1/2 a block further? That was my house. The windows on the upper floor were my bedroom.

Looking north parallel to highway 29 as you enter Wadena from the south.

Here's the thing. I didn't much like living in Wadena. We moved there when I was 5, (just before kindergarten) and I told my parents that when I grew up I was moving back to the Twin Cities. (June 1996 following my senior year of college, I moved back to the Twin Cities.)

And yet, this is the town that in some ways, I still know best. I lived there for 17 years. Every picture I see is somewhere I've walked, or biked, or hung out with friends. When I see pictures of people responding to the tornadoes, they're often people I knew, or I knew their parents or kids. Last time I was in town I got a hug from the woman who owns the bakery, she hadn't heard that my dad had died. I went to the 'cyber cafe' that used to be my parents' store and the HS student behind the counter recognized my name.

Last week I would've said my ties to Wadena were pretty tenuous. Today, I'm not sure what to say.

Processing needed I guess. And I gotta say, tornadoes need to stop attacking my favorite maple trees.
dickens: (Default)
2010-06-19 11:23 am

I need a food icon.

So, we're nearing the end of spring, in my garden this means that I will soon have too many red currants. (Followed closely by the long awaited black raspberry season.)

I still have jelly from the last batch, I still have currants in the freezer from last year, and I'm about to have my biggest crop yet.

What should I do with all these currants? "I'll come over and pick a pint for myself" or "I'll take a quart of frozen ones" are valid suggestions at this point.
Here's one recipe I tried previously: http://www.deliciousdays.com/archives/2005/10/21/red-currant-tart/

The shortbread crust was delicious but the tart itself has a problem. That picture? Not representative. What came out of the oven was these beautiful ruby berries embedded in a yellowish beige custard. Not particularly appetizing. (It was tasty, reminiscent of rhubarb custard pie with a bit more bite.)

Thoughts on how to make it look prettier would be welcome.
dickens: (Default)
2010-04-28 10:27 pm

The marmalade never set up. I have tangerine syrup.

Any thoughts on what to do with over a quart of tangerine syrup (with slivers of rind?)
dickens: (dance)
2010-03-27 08:42 pm

My day in citrus

2 lbs mini-tangerines, a meyer lemon, a lime and a regular lemon plus water and sugar made 4 quarts of marmalade. (That's a lot, most jam recipes I make result in a couple quarts.) I had a friend over to help, so she got half the results.

This is the first time I've made any sort of preserve without pectin. The important question now is whether it will gel like I want it to.

The whole house smells like tangerines and sugar. I can't complain.
dickens: (cat)
2010-03-26 11:26 pm

Still around, just not posting lately

One of the things I picked up from reading Citadels was "read everything since your last visit before posting" and so, whenever I fall behind (325+ messages this time), I don't post.

Took me days to catch up.
dickens: (Default)
2010-02-18 08:13 pm

Scandinavian trash talk - Mostly to amuse mris

Coming home from tai chi class, I heard an article on MPR - The World about Sweden/Norway rivalry during the winter games. (Norway has more Winter medals than any other country.)

Apparently it started when a Swedish commentator said that Norway had more psychologists than medals at the Olympics this year (4).

Then a Norwegian athlete beat out the Swedish favorite to win a gold.

A Swede interviewed about the friendly rivalry said that it was probably an inferiority complex since Sweden has global brands like Volvo and Ikea and Norway just has fish... and great winter athletes.
dickens: (Default)
2010-02-13 10:56 am

Last night's show at Northrop

I love Pilobolus. (Who wouldn't love a dance company named after a fungus?) Most interesting I think is the range of things that the dancers list in addition to dance in their bios. For example, one of the artistic directors mentioned he's done landscaping.

They performed 5 pieces last night and all of them were great.

The first was a story-dance called Lanterna Magicka about catching fireflies to make a lantern. It had several characters who weren't necessarily human and of course, they released the fireflies at the end of the dance.

Lanterna is also being performed this afternoon in their kid-friendly matinee. There's also a piece I won't get to see that was choreographed by a creator of Spongebob Squarepants.

Another great piece was called Hitched, it was the story of a marriage (starting with groom chasing bride, followed by bride chasing groom). Some wonderful slapstick was followed by a more serious moment where the marriage is obviously in trouble. The couple make peace at the end and leave the stage in an embrace where each has only one leg on the floor, they could only walk if they worked together.

See a sample of Pilobolus here http://www.ted.com/speakers/pilobolus.html
dickens: (anemone)
2010-01-05 07:06 pm

A dish that makes me sad

I have a set of dishes from my one of my grandmothers. Most of them are chipped or a little faded.

When I was little and we spent the night and grandma and grandpa's house, we would always have breakfast from the pasta bowls of the set. In fact, I was probably in my 20s before I realized they were pasta bowls. Grandma and grandpa used those bowls every morning, regardless of what breakfast was: cereal, swedish pancakes, eggs, and eventually oatmeal every morning for health reasons.

Two of the pasta bowls have broken since I got them, (I use them contantly). One was slightly faded compared to the others. One of the remaining bowls has almost no pattern left. I suspect that the broken dish marked the end of periodic trips that resulted in breakfast by my brother or cousins or me. The dishes no longer got 'shuffled' and two remained at the top of the pile all the time. The most faded dish, the one I keep on the bottom of the pile, is the one my grandma ate out of every morning for a year after my grandfather died. And then she died too, and they moved to my cupboard.
dickens: (Default)
2009-11-14 04:36 pm

Hello Mr Rabitt, what were you doing in that hat?

Last month someone I just met asked me if I would present a seminar at her women's conference. I said I'd think about it.

I just finished the presentation about 45 minutes ago. It went really, really, well. I talked about prioritizing and understanding the technology in your life. A lot of things I expected would come up didn't, and a bunch of things I hadn't thought about did and I still managed to know what to say. Everyone seemed engaged and interested and we had a really good conversation.

I may have said 'um' once. But that's it. I could do this again. (In fact, I may have volunteered to do just that...)

Yay! (tired now)
dickens: (Default)
2009-10-27 07:18 pm

Joined Facebook

I had enough people ask me if I'm on Facebook that I joined yesterday.
dickens: (Default)
2009-10-26 11:05 am

This is fascinating

Article on F. Scott Fitzgerald's Income tax returns.
dickens: (dance)
2009-10-17 11:55 pm

My first premiere

Tonight was the Royal Winnipeg Ballet world premiere of the new ballet Moulin Rouge. It was darned good for a ballet with a (let's be honest) cliched plot. The female lead was choreographed as much more innocent than Nicole Kidman's jaded version in the movie. Not as great as Eifman Ballet, but they're on a whole different level.

The costumes were great, and the music was generally recognizable but not intrusive. For example, the 1st act ended with a pas de deux to Clair de Lune and the dance numbers kept teasing with the can-can song I fully expected to hear, then finally used it to great effect.

I'm not sure I could expect anyone else to take me up on it, but I'd be much happier to see this every few years rather than the Nutcracker, Giselle or Coppelia again and again.

I have to admit I missed why the cast list included 'Green Fairies' until Toulouse Latrec appeared with a bottle of absinthe.
dickens: (dance)
2009-10-04 06:16 pm

So many tomatoes that people look at you funny.

Making up for the lack of vegetables from the Farmer's Market yesterday, we* realized it was tomato soup weekend** this weekend.

So we came home with 75 lbs of tomatoes and commenced canning. This is one of my favorite fall events, though I'm always very tired at the end of it all.

At the market, we decided it was silly to carry the tomatoes any farther than we had to, so I stood with the bags and R got the car. Several people looked oddly at me (grinning broadly) and all my tomatoes.

I am home now with 11 quarts of soup and a gallon bag full of tomatoes I'll do something else with tonight or tomorrow.

The something else will probably involve cumin, toasted onion flakes, and polenta which was a lovely combination when I created it last month. Delicious served with broccoli.

* [livejournal.com profile] rmnilsson and I.

** You can always tell, the farmer's market has baskets full of slightly spotty tomatoes for ridiculously low prices. Usually the first weekend after a frost.