Saturday, December 28, 2013

Candied Citrus Rinds

Oranges and lemons are the shinning bright stars in the cold winter. I love to drive through the country to the orange groves. While trees such as Walnuts, Nectarines, and Almonds are sleeping away through the winter, the citrus are thriving. Today I drove out to Exeter to teach music lessons, the drive was rather dreary until I reached the green trees decorated with orange and yellow ornaments. Such a refreshing scene!

I have been experimenting with candied tangerine rinds from the family trees, I used the tangerines since our oranges weren’t quite ready at the time I made them. Next I am going to try lemons and grapefruit. I got this recipe from Closet Cooking. The rinds were delicious, I was pleasantly surprised since I have never tried such a candy.

The cooking process is relatively easy, a lot of hurry up and wait. Mine did not turn out nearly as beautiful as the blogger’s did, but it was hard to make the pretty long slices with tangerines. Hopefully with the oranges I will have better luck. But some of the rinds charmingly curled, which will make lovely toppings for desserts.
After making the candy I decided to make a citrus yellow cake. I found the recipe in Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book. I used fresh orange and lemon rinds along with fresh lemon juice. Here is the instruction:
  • Combine 2/3 cup shortening, 1 tablespoon grated orange peel, and 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel: mix well. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups sugar: cream till light and fluffy. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
  • Sift together 2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 3/4 cup milk, beating smooth after each addition. Bake in 2 greased and lightly floured 9x1 1/2 inch round pans in oven for 25-30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool.
For the frosting I made a meringue frosting which can be found at Cake Journal. I also used fresh squeezed lemon juice in the recipe. A word of warning, do not refrigerated frosting after making it over night, I found out the hard way it separates. Meringue is too much work to have it fall apart like that! I had to make a whole new batch.  

The end result was a beautiful yellow cake with pretty white frosting. I topped off the cake with my candied orange rinds.
Orange rinds decorate the cake.
Our garden butler, Jives, holding the cake.

Bright orange shining off the meringue.
Delicate lemon color cake.
Nancy Jane

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Personal Lives of Birds

 For our first blog post we enter the lives of our feathery friends. The birds hold a special spot in our hearts. They eat the cat food, dog food, and sneak the chicken food. My dog Ginger Snap finds it her responsibility to chase them, but the little creatures know she has no chance.

        To make sure the birds are happy, we try to provide them little homes. Each are unique to match any birds’ personality. Though we supply them with a warm cozy dwelling to sleep, they still find it necessary to nest on our canopies and eaves to my dad's angst.

“…do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

~ Matthew 6:25-26

Nancy Jane

This one has a nice view.

A secret spot.

A unique abode for any tea loving bird.
Some houses aren't a hit.

This one got foreclosed.