Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Zinnia's from the garden and a furry surprise.

It took all summer but FINALLY the Zinnia's from the fruit smoothie mix came in. This is the first to fully bloom. It reminds me of a blazing august sunset. I cant wait to see the other colors. I also have to note that my peppers have gone into overdrive producing numerous buds which will be tons of peppers by mid to late September...which is perfect for making tasty Caribbean style pepper sauce to use over the winter.

Lastly here is the surprise:
This is from last week.
And this week.
The kitten is named Juma which is Swahili for "friday born". He shakes like he has Parkinson's, so I hardly get a clear shot of him. He is now hopefully the last of four rescued cats.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New Cupcakes: Caramel Mocha Latte Cupcakes

This will be a next short post. I just wanted to show some ultra delicious cupcakes that I baked up last night. Its an over the top version of the Brown Eyed Baker mocha cupcakes. This recipe is perfect if only for the fact that it makes exactly 12 cupcakes. I must say that I  changed some of the ingredients to suit my personal taste and I also used my own icing. I am sure the original recipe is good as is since it has gotten great reviews all over the web...but I know what I like and bake to suit. To make these extra decadent I made some caramel sauce following a David Lebovitz recipe. I have made his salted caramel before for brownies with success, so I decided to try his other caramel recipe that doesn't need butter. This caramel recipe cooks relatively quick and taste great. Enjoy

Creamy Caramel Sauce
makes 1 1/2 cups
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

- In large heavy-duty saucepan, spread the sugar in an even layer and cook over medium to low heat.
- Keep careful watch on the sugar to see when it begins to liquefy.
- Use a heatproof spatula or spoon to gently stir and encourage cooking.
- Stir sugar until it is completely melted and turns a deep amber color.
- Immediately remove from heat and stir in half of the cream and stir vigorously.
- Carefully stir until the sugar is dissolved and then whisk in remaining cream, salt, and vanilla.
- If you get any hard bits just cook over low heat until dissolved and smooth.
- Sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks.

Garden Pics: Asters

This is just a quick picture to show you all the aster crego mix flowers that have been blooming profusely since the beginning of august. I have enough flowers to cut new ones everyday.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mixed Drinks: Carnival Breeze.

Who doesn't like a good mixed drink in the summer? Living in the city far away from my favorite beaches in the Caribbean means that I don't have many beach days. Today I just wanted to feel like I was back in Trinidad for carnival surrounded by sweet music, great friends, ridiculous antics, never ending parties, and sunshine. There was only one...well two problems, carnival is almost six months away and I am no mixologist. I did some research on existing drinks around how I wanted mine to look and I got to work. This drink uses the special edition Angostura Single Barrel rum that came out for carnival but any TRINIDAD rum will do. Don't let me hear you using wray and nephew or just wont do!! We also used the famous Angostura bitters in this as well. As soon as I finished mixing I took a towel up to the rooftop and took in some sunshine. Its no beach but it gave me a lil time to reminisce. Mix this this up quick and take a mind trip to the sun and soca.

Carnival Cooler
Makes 1 drink
1 1/2 shots Single Barrel Rum (or other trinidad dark rum)
1 dash Angostura bitters
dash of lime juice
4 shots pineapple orange juice (can use plain orange juice)
Crushed ice
Grenadine Syrup
1 Maraschino cherry
Lime wedge

- Mix rum, bitters, lime juice, and orange pineapple juice together.
- Pour mixture into tall glass over crushed ice.
- Pour grenadine syrup into the glass slowly it will sink to the bottom. DONT MIX.
- Garish with lime wedge and maraschino cherry.
- Serve immediately.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Garden Critters

This what I believe to be an eastern black swallowtail caterpillar that has taken up residence in my curly parsley. I usually would run like hell in the presence of most creepy crawly caterpillars but this one reminds me of the blue caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland. It is going to turn into a beautiful black based butterfly if it sticks around. Ill take an update picture later on in the summer...stay tuned!
This is what it will turn into!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Weekend Baking: Watermelon Cupcakes.

I made these watermelon cupcakes for my girlfriend...she LOVES watermelon! I used mini chocolate chips for the watermelon seeds and I tinted her favorite cream cheese frosting.These were too cute for words and too yummy to last any more than 2 days lol!

Pink Room Garden News: August Edition

Sadly the end of the summer is nearing and I cant stand to think about it. Why does summer feel like the shortest season? Probably because you're just enjoying it too much. Anyways....on to the garden. August is the month that the tomatoes finally decided to come in. They didn't grow to the size I wanted them too and I just think they took entirely too long to ripen, I will not be growing big boys next year. Instead I'll grow some roma tomatoes and maybe some heirloom varieties. I also lost an entire plant to some fungal disease which reduced my expected crop dramatically! Ill do a lil' more research to prevent these problems next year.
The Big Boys
The sunflowers and zinnias I plated in the vacant box by my neighbors window seems to be growing at a greater speed than those planted by my window but I believe I know why. The zinnias and sunflowers over by my neighbor have enough space since they are in their own boxes. The flowers in front my window are cohabiting. I ignore a lot of planting rules...I planted a whole pack of asters and morning glories in a box that's about 2 feet and the morning glories grew up an entire story. I guess it didn't work in my favor for the zinnias. Don't get me wrong they are growing, just slowly.
The zinnias by my neighbor grew so fast!
The sunflowers are almost as tall as her window!
I'm also waiting on my African cayenne, habeneros, and Trinidad hot peppers to come in. So far I've gotten a few peppers from one of my habenero plants.
Habenero pepper.
African Cayenne, its about 4 inches now.
Check out my rosemary from last year...its gotten so robust! Over the winter it looked so scrawny and half dead. I asked some farmers from USQ farmers market for some tips and I was told to change the pot your rosemary is in every year and keep in a sunny spot. I followed these tips in April and even changed the soil it was in....within a month the half dead rosemary started to look better than when I initially bought it.

Finally I harvested some sweet pea flower seeds to use next year. After the flowers drop, a pod starts growing in the same spot. You let the pods turn brown and then you harvest the seeds. You place them in a dry place in an envelope and plant next year spring.

Dried seed pods
Sweet pea seeds