In My Kitchen – May 2016

It’s May and spring is in full force here in South Carolina.  I originally had several things I was going to put in this In My Kitchen post, including things I’ve forgotten in recent months.  But then the weather got gorgeous and all I can think about is how much I am loving spring!

Thanks to the lovely Maureen over at Orgasmic Chef for this monthly roundup.   It’s always fun to peak into bloggers’ kitchens and see what is happening around this world.  I may be excited about spring here, but people in the southern hemisphere is welcoming autumn after a long summer.

So back to my excitement about spring.  Two foods shout “spring” to me, asparagus and strawberries.  Since our garden asparagus didn’t do too terribly well  (or it shot up before we noticed) I’ll stick with a strawberry theme for now.  This past weekend the boys and I went strawberry picking at Cottle Strawberry Farm.  I’ve been taking the boys there since they were babies in a carrier.  It’s a family outing I look forward to every spring.

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It’s always a challenge getting the boys to put the strawberries in their buckets instead of their mouths.  I certainly can’t blame them, the berries are so incredibly ripe and sweet.  It’s just too hard to resist!  This year we each had a bucket, so by the end we had four gallons of strawberries.  This is what spring is all about!

What does one do with four gallons of strawberries, besides of course eating them plain before you even bother to wash them?  First off is preserving.  Now I say it is spring, but here in the South that means the heat has started to kick in to the 80s and 90s Fahrenheit.  So first I crank up the air conditioning a little so I can survive standing over a hot stove for a long time!

I made four pints of strawberry vanilla jam, four half pints of honey sweetened strawberry jam with thyme (with a little left over that went straight to the fridge) and a pint of roasted strawberries with thyme.

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Then I made a batch of no churn strawberry ice cream.  This was great with some extra warm jam drizzled on top!

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Then of course there have been several cocktails with strawberries muddled.  Salads with strawberries.  Strawberries galore, and STILL I have about one and a half gallons left.  I think I may be preserving again tomorrow.  I’m thinking cocoa strawberry jam.

Another spring food I can’t get enough of is lettuce fresh from our garden.  We got a little bit of a late start planting this year, plus two late frosts/freezes so our lettuce crop is smaller than what I’m used to.  This is the first of the lettuces ready to be washed with some dill for a tasty salad with roast chicken and of course strawberries!

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My birthday also happens to be in spring.  A couple weeks ago Josh and I were out of town for our anniversary.  Since it was a weekend he baked my birthday cake then (my birthday is just three days after our anniversary).  We froze it and brought it home.  One of the layers stuck a little, nothing too terrible.

Then I suggested why not just put the cake in jars and add the filling and frosting.  It worked brilliantly.  It was a delicious lemon cake with raspberry sauce and whipped cream cheese frosting.  Another advantage of the jars is that you can easily freeze leftovers.  I still have a few jars in the freezer, for cake emergencies you know!

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The weather was beautiful on my birthday so we had drinks, dinner and dessert on the porch.  The drinks were served on a new tray I received for my birthday.

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I also received a larger tray which sits on my kitchen table for now.  I may or may not find another home for it.  Here it is in the evening light with three vases of flowers from the yard,  I love having fresh flowers readily available again!

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I also have my new sourdough starter.  Josh seems to have developed an allergic reaction to Scarlett after I babied her last time.  Luckily I remembered I still had some dried starter from Celia in the fridge from over a year ago.  I got it going and she’s doing well, no allergic reactions!

While trying to come up with a name I was researching bread quotes and came up with this one from Julia Child, “How can a nation be called great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?”  I couldn’t help but laugh out loud!

Call it fate, but I had to stop the research and name my starter Julia.  You see, I brought the starter to life just days after the anniversary of my sister’s death and her name was Julie.  So with this new sourdough starter I can gladly remember my sister and help improve this “great nation” one loaf of bread at a time.

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Whether you are enjoying spring or autumn, swing on by Orgasmic Chef and take a peek at what is happening in kitchens across the globe.

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25 thoughts on “In My Kitchen – May 2016

    1. Gretchen Post author

      Julia is doing quite well! So nice to have sourdough for everyone again. It was crazy making two different breads, especially since hubby didn’t eat a lot but still needed a separate loaf.

      Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      Thank you, it was a wonderful birthday. This week is another busy one too. I always think things will slow down but then it’s full speed ahead again!

      Reply
  1. ladyredspecs

    Love the choice of name for your new sourdough starter, Julia will be strong and forthright and achieve great heights, just like her namesake! Did you try the cocoa strawberry jam? I’m intrigued.

    Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      Julia is indeed doing very well. I have a recipe for the cocoa strawberry jam but can’t find the special pectin locally. I believe I can still make a different version today, just need to do a little more research and fin the time. I’ll let you know how it goes if I get it done. I made one a couple years ago and remember it being pretty good.

      Reply
  2. SeattleDee

    Your no-churn strawberry ice cream looks SO yummy – a new-to-me concept that sounds irresistible. Any difference in method from your chocolate &coffee no-churn recipe? What a perfect way to celebrate strawberry season.

    Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      The method is exactly the same as the chocolate coffee ice cream. I just chopped up a bunch of berries and let them sit and juice up before adding them in. Next time I would add even more berries, thus the added warm jam on top for even more strawberry flavor.

      Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      There were even more jars of jam a couple days later. Four half pints of cocoa strawberry jam and two bottles of strawberry syrup!

      Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      We had a fantastic Mother’s Day, thank you. The boys and hubby did well fixing breakfast. I hope you enjoyed your day as well.

      Reply
  3. Karen

    First a belated Happy Birthday and Happy Mother’s Day, Gretchen. Your kitchen must have smelled wonderful as all those strawberries were bubbling away. Love strawberry ice cream, my mother and father used to make it every year for the 4th of July.

    Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      Thank you Karen. It was a wonderful birthday and Mother’s Day. I hope you had a lovely Mother’s Day as well. The strawberry ice cream was definitely popular, it would indeed be delicious on the 4th of July.

      Reply
  4. peregrinationgourmande

    Love love your tray, very classy!
    I really have to get the kids to work in the fields too. But i still find that the strawberries are not sweet enough! xx cathy

    Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      Our berries are very sweet right now, perfect for eating straight from the field. I need to teach the boys to garden better, it would be great to have help weeding all the time!

      Reply
  5. sherry from sherrys pickings

    soooo many delish things in your post gretchen. cocoa strawb jam? sounds amazing. i love making no churn ice cream too. Nigella Lawson has heaps of great recipes for them. and i love the cakes in jars. some people think food in jars is kitsch but i love it. your loaf looks wonderful too.

    Reply
    1. Gretchen Post author

      I find the jars handy for some foods. They are great for leftovers, especially soup in individual servings. Freeze, thaw and heat right in the jar. Besides, I already have so many jars from canning why not use them. The cocoa strawberry jam is quite tasty. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply

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