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Concord Grape Refrigerator Jam

Grape Jam

Grape Jam

I have posted this recipe before but have been working on it and I think I improved on it. I found concord grapes last weekend at the farmers market and was immediately so excited, I love concord grape jam and had used my last jar from the batch I made last year. Honestly, a PB&J with this jam is amazing. I use less sugar than called for in the original recipe and use an apple with all of its’ pectin to help set this jam. It has a robust concord grape flavor, it’s not too sweet (just right in my opinion) and spreads like a dream.

Made: 48 oz jam ( I put in four 8 oz jars and 2 six oz jars)

Ingredients:

2 quarts (about 8 cups) concord grapes, cleaned and removed from stems

4 -4.5 cups sugar

juice of 1 lemon

1 small apple (I used green apple) peel on seeds and stem removed and quartered

Add grapes, sugar and lemon juice to a medium saucepan mash the grapes to release some of the juices. Bring to a boil on high heat, when it comes to a rolling boil reduce heat to medium and let simmer uncovered for about an 1-1 1/2 hours. You will notice it is thickening and it will coat your spoon. Drop some of the jam onto a saucer and if it thickens it’s ready.

simmering grapes

While the grapes are simmering sterilize your jars and lids, let them boil for 15 minutes, remove to a clean tea  towel to dry. When the grapes have finished cooking take a large non reactive bowl, I used an 8 cup heatproof glass measuring cup place a sieve on top and carefully pour the grapes into it. Stir it so that the liquid drips into the bowl, stir constantly and scrape the bottom of the sieve from time to time.

Strain it well

All you want left is the skin and seeds, push the pulp through, there will be very little left in the sieve.

See not much left only seeds and skin

Place the liquid back in the saucepan add the apple and simmer on medium for about 20 minutes or until apple is soft, remove apple. Pour into sterilized jars, screw lids on tightly and let sit until it reaches room temperature. It will become very thick, you know, like jam. Or if you have the equipment and know what you are doing you can process or preserve the jam. I added to sterilized jars pouring hot jam in them and they sealed but it’s not a good strong seal so I store in the refrigerator and it kept for several months unopened.

Grape Jam on buttered english muffin

Grape Jam on buttered english muffin

Happy Halloween!! Awesome Salsa Giveaway- The Winner is…….

Salsa

Salsa

True Random Number Service

Do you own a smartphone or tablet? Check out our app for iOS and Android.

List Randomizer

There were 17 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

  1. stefano

Congratulations Stefano, I will be sending you an email I need your address to give to Tamara so that your delicious jar of Salsa can be sent to you.

I’ll leave you with a few Halloween Images. Happy Halloween Everyone!!

Bela Lugosi Dracula

Bela Lugosi Dracula

Mia Farrow-Rosemary's Baby

Mia Farrow-Rosemary’s Baby

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

Awesome Salsa, Empanadas And A Giveaway!

One of the things I love most about blogging  is meeting and get to know other bloggers, I love visiting their sites, it’s a source of inspiration for me. One of the blogs I love and follow is Pretty Bitches Can Cook Too, the very pretty Tamara contacted me asking if I would like to do a guest post, and of course I jumped at the opportunity. Not only does Tamara have wonderful recipes on her site, she also is quite an entrepreneur and has a clothing line and makes and bottles her own salsa and hot sauce and is a philanthorpist. She sent me a jar of her Medium Serrano Salsa to try and I told her I would love to create a recipe using her salsa, she also generously offered to provide a lucky reader with a jar, if you love salsa you will LOVE this stuff!!

Salsa

Salsa

Now, I am not an expert on food from South America or Mexico or even the Southwest US but Tamara’s salsa inspired me to make empanadas. Well, they are sort of empanadas they are not half moon shape but round like little hand pies,  it’s my interpretation I guess you could say, I have never made them before and decided they are after all a turnover of a sort, so I used the recipe for galette dough. The tender flaky pastry goes so nicely with the spicy filling. The filling is so simple, ground beef, onion, garlic, black beans and salsa, this is topped off with some Manchego cheese.  It’s a great combination and would make a great appetizer or snack, first thought was how great would these be while watching a football game!

Empanadas

Empanadas

The salsa is so good I can think of so many uses for it besides dipping chips or nacho’s. It would make a great base for chili or any dish with a south of the border or southwestern flavor profile. The medium serrano salsa has the just right amount of heat for a wimp like me, you know it’s there but it’s not uncomfortably hot. It’s fresh, and zingy and contains only good stuff, no preservatives or additives. It’s the real deal!

The empanada’s were wonderful served with some avocado (or guacamole), sour cream and some more salsa for dipping.

Spicy and flaky

Spicy and flaky

See above for link to galette dough.

Makes 1 dozen small pies

Filling:

1 lb ground beef, 90% drained after cooking

1 small onion diced

1 clove garlic minced

1 cup black beans (I used canned)which I drained

1 1/2 cups Medium Serrano Salsa (Pretty Bitches Can Cook Too)

1 cup Manchego cheese grated (or grate as you need it, thats what I do) You can also use Monterey Jack or whatever kind of cheese you like

salt and pepper to taste

egg wash

Coat a fry pan with a little olive oil and saute the onions, when they are soft and translucent add the garlic and continue sauteing until completely cooked. Add the ground beef and brown, now add the salsa and black beans. Cook on medium/high for approximately 30 minutes, it will be nice and thick. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Pre heat oven to 400 degree’s. Roll out your dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Using 3 or 4 inch biscuit cutter cut out rounds, place a spoonful of the meat mixture in the middle top with a generous sprinkle of grated cheese, wet around the edge of the dough and place another round on top, press down and crimp edges with fork. Pierce the top with a fork, Place on parchment lined baking sheet, brush with egg wash and freeze for 15 minutes before baking.

Place directly from freezer to oven and bake for 25-35 minutes or until a beautiful golden brown.

Now for the giveaway:

To be entered in the contest you should:

– Leave comment here

– Follow Tamara on her blog “Pretty Bitches Can Cook Too

– Like on Facebook

– Follow@prettycooks on Twitter

– Tweet about the giveaway to @prettycooks and @bklynpuggal

Winner will be announced on Oct. 31, 2013 and will be selected by Random.org. Good luck everyone. This salsa is amazing, you will love it!! Be sure to let me know that you were able to complete all the requirements. If you do not have a twitter or facebook account it’s ok, just let me know and you can just leave a comment here. Open to US residents only, sorry my dear friends abroad.

Creamy Chicken Tenders

Chicken Tenders In Cream Sauce

Chicken Tenders In Cream Sauce

This recipe is so simple and delicious. I have been meaning to post it for a while but never got around to it until I saw the Whole Foods recipe contest is stovetop chicken recipes and I decided to enter it. This can be a quick weeknight supper or an elegant entree for a dinner party. Because I use chicken tenders it’s a very quick cook, including prep it’s less than 30 minutes. I like to serve with plain rice but it’s equally good eaten alone with a vegetable or salad on the side. I’ve been making this for years and I can’t honestly remember where I got the recipe, it’s quite possible I created it myself. The sauce is rich and so flavorful.  You can omit the heavy cream altogether for a light sauce increasing the white wine to 1/2 cup and maybe add a tbs of butter.

Serves 3-4 depending on serving size

    • 8 chicken tenders
    • 1 shallot peeled and chopped
    • olive oil for pan
    • 1/3 cup white wine
    • 12 cherry tomatoes cut in half
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 6 basil leaves divided (3 and 3) cut chiffonade or 1/4 tsp dried basil
    • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Heat enough olive oil to coat your saute pan, add the shallot and cook until tender and translucent, add the chicken tenders and sear, remove chicken from pan and add the white wine to deglaze the pan, let reduce by 1/4 (approximately 3 minutes on med/high heat) add the cherry tomatoes and let cook until the tomatoes soften. Now add the heavy cream, worcestershire sauce and 3 of the basil leaves that have been cut. Add the chicken tenders back to the sauce and let cook for approximately 8 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and sauce thickens a little. Before serving add the rest of the basil chiffonade.

Divine Chocolate Giveaway-And The Winners Are…..

Divine Chocolate

Divine Chocolate

I was supposed to announce this yesterday, sorry, the day got away from me. I listed everyone that made comments on random.org  and they picked the winners. 3 lucky people will receive a box from Divine Chocolates with a Bakers Assortment, The winners are:

List Randomizer

There were 19 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

  1. Pamela (Brooklynfarmgirl)
  2. Georgie (georgiecakes)
  3. Azita (Fig And Quince)

Congratulations, Divine Chocolate will be sending all three of you an amazing box of chocolate. I will be contacting each of you by email to get your information.

“Divine” Chocolate Gingerbread, Roasted Pears And Chocolate Caramel Sauce

Chocolate Gingerbread and chocolate caramel sauce...Divine!

Chocolate Gingerbread and chocolate caramel sauce…Divine!

I love Divine Chocolate, it’s fantastic, the quality, the flavor and the company itself. Divine is Fair Trade Chocolate, the farmers are the owners, it’s a cooperative that is a huge success, with happy workers that all share the company profits. Whats not to love, honestly, a great product produced by a company that is a model for fair and ethical work standards.

I partnered with Divine to create some baked goods for “No Kid Hungry” bake sale and fell in love with their chocolate. The good people from Divine have asked me to partner with them again to create a recipe using their incredible chocolate, how can I say no!! There were several themes  suggested and I got to choose which I wanted to represent and my choice was local produce, supporting local farmers and farmers market. It should also to represent the season “Autumn” and what better fruit than the lovely and delicious pear (ok except for maybe apples).

The gingerbread is a recipe from a friend from Food52, Antonia James, I adapted the recipe slightly adding a little more chocolate than she called for, it’s moist and delicious and warm, the spicing makes me think of Autumn, my farmers market find that I incorporate with this are pears, oven roasted, gently spiced, sweet and buttery and when paired with the gingerbread it’s heavenly. Served warm and topped with some vanilla ice cream and homemade chocolate caramel sauce, this dessert is rich and totally delicious. The gingerbread itself is not very sweet, Antoniajames tops with a hard sauce, I chose a chocolate caramel sauce, this makes for the perfect amount of sweetness.

Spiced Roasted Pears

2 pears (I used bosc) peeled cored and cut in half

1/4  cup brown sugar

3 tbs butter

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Optional splash of Poire William

Heat oven to 350 degree’s place pear halves cut side down in baking dish, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together and sprinkle over the pears, dot with the butter. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until pears are just tender. Cover baking dish and set aside  I also added a splash of Poire William to the pears thats purely optional.

Chocolate Gingerbread 

  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick, or four ounces)
  • 2 ounces Divine Bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/3 cup regular molasses (not light, not blackstrap)
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar NOTE: recipe didn’t say packed, I did pack the sugar
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ – 2 teaspoons ground ginger, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of cloves
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional . . . I don’t use it)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Pre heat oven to 350 degree’s and generously butter an 8×8 baking dish. Melt the butter and chocolate together over low heat (or do what I do, which is to put them in a Pyrex one-cup measure and microwave at about 40% for 2 -3 minutes).
  2. Put the melted chocolate and butter into a medium bowl with the molasses and brown sugar. Stir well to combine.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients.
  4. Gently beat the eggs and stir into the wet ingredients, with the vanilla.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and stir just to combine. Do not overbeat.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake in the middle of the oven for about 30 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan. NOTE: I omitted the cloves and included the cinnamon.
Chocolate Caramel Sauce

Chocolate Caramel Sauce

Chocolate Caramel Sauce:

1 cup granulated sugar

6 tbs salted butter (yes salted) cut into tbs size pieces

2 oz Divine bittersweet chocolate chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

Put the heavy cream in a glass measuring cup and microwave on high for 45 seconds, add chocolate and microwave another 30 seconds Stir until its smooth, set aside so that it will cool before adding to the caramel.

In large saucepan add the sugar, turn heat to med/high and let sit until it starts to liquify. Start stirring with a heat proof spatula, the sugar will crystalize but thats alright keep stirring until its all liquid. Stop stirring and let it cook until it turns amber in color, now add the butter, stir to combine. Remove from heat and add the chocolate cream. Stir until its incorporated in the caramel. Store in container at room temperature until ready to use. Note: If you make this ahead of time, simply place the bottle or jar in hot water to warm the caramel so it’s pourable.

Disclosure: The very nice people from Divine Chocolate provided all the chocolate used in this recipe

Heirloom Cherry Tomato And Goat Cheese Tart

Tomato And Goat Cheese Tart

Tomato And Goat Cheese Tart

My task today is to make an appetizer that will serve approximately 50 people for a Mealku event this evening. Now, I am not a big appetizer person, I enjoy but usually skip the appetizer unless it’s a salad. I was thumbing through a William Sonoma cookbook of appetizers and saw this lovely tomato and blue cheese tart. I didn’t have blue cheese but did have a lot of goat cheese so I thought this would be delicious. I had just bought some heirloom cherry tomatoes  also, had some thyme in my garden so the menu was set. I adapted the recipe slightly, I used my favorite pie crust recipe, used goat cheese and cream cheese mixed, roasted the tomatoes before hand. Well I guess I took the idea from the WS cookbook and really changed it pretty much completely but the idea is still there right? I made two tarts, a large 12″ round and a rectangular. Cut into appetizer size pieces it will easily feed 50 people. I recommend blind baking the crust just about 10 minutes to crisp up the bottom and then finish baking with the cheese.

Pie Crust (Julia Child’s recipe)

makes enough for 1 9 inch double crust pie

1 1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1/2 tsp salt

6 oz unsalted butter very cold and cut into cubes

4 oz cold vegetable shortening or leaf lard

1/2 cup ice water

In large mixing bowl add the flours and salt and whisk together, add the butter and using a pastry cutter or your hands work the butter into the flour until it resembles crumbs, there will be some pea size pieces of butter that ok it should be like that. NOTE: I added 2 tbs of cornmeal to the recipe.

Add the water and stir with a fork, gather the dough into two discs, wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Tart

1 lb cherry tomatoes cut in half

8 oz goat cheese

4 oz cream cheese

2 tbs heavy cream or half and half

6 sprigs thyme

olive oil

Chives (optional)

Heat oven to 400 degrees, line sheet pan with parchment and place cherry tomatoes on pan, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and some thyme and roast in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until tomatoes start to caramelize . Remove from oven and set aside.

Place goat cheese and cream cheese, some thyme and some pepper in bowl add the cream and mash with fork.

Roll out pie dough and place in tart pan (Optional but recommended, blind bake the crust before baking with the cheese) place foil on top of dough, add weights or beans and bake for approximately 10-15 minutes, remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes, add the goat cheese mixture and bake for approximately 45-50 minutes or until crust is golden brown and the cheese is lightly browned. Remove from oven and place the roasted tomatoes on top, add a little pepper and drizzle with olive oil. I snipped some chives on top but thats optional. If you don’t want to blind bake its fine, just add the goat cheese to the on top of the unbaked pie shell and bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown.

Rectangular tart

Rectangular tart

My Neighborhood

IMG_3528

There are no recipes in this post, I have been very busy the last few weeks planning our annual block party. I live in Brooklyn, NY and my neighborhood has a very tight knit community,  we have a block association and I am President of mine. We hold our block party every year in early October, this year it was yesterday Oct. 5th. It’s quite a process, I have to apply to the city for a permit for a street fair, we close the street to traffic all day and everyone has a great time, the children ride their bicycles, skateboards and scooters without fear of cars, we have a blow up ride, face painting, balloon sculpture, food, vendors and music. It takes a lot of planning to put this together, no small feat and with my little block party committee we work hard for weeks to get this whole event planned. We grill hamburgers and hot dogs and sell them with all proceeds going to benefit our block association, there are bake sales, stoop sales and all of our neighbors come together to talk and play and just generally have a good time. I didn’t get any photo’s of the food, it was fast and furious, but it was good we had thick juicy hamburgers on brioche rolls with lettuce and tomato and lots of condiments and add on’s, cheese and bacon. I was so busy grilling I didn’t have time to snap any photo’s we also had baked tilapia on a roll.

I just want to share some photo’s of yesterdays event, I’m exhausted but had a great time. I was the designated grill master, making the hamburgers, hot dogs etc… and was busy all day long. The weather was warm and sunny and a fun day was had by all.

Blow up ride

Blow up ride

My block setting up

My block setting up

More set up

More set up

Live jazz

Live jazz

starting to get crowded

starting to get crowded

Adorable budding musician

Adorable budding musician

A “Divine” Chocolate Giveaway And A DIVINE Triple Chocolate Cake

Divine Chocolate

Divine Chocolate

I planned on two posts this was going to be the second, the first is a recipe I am developing using Divine Chocolate, well this will be first because I have had some setbacks and the recipe didn’t turn out so it’s back to the drawing board. Stay tuned for another totally DIVINE recipe. The chocolate is fantastic and so is the company, owned and operated by the farmers it is truly a cooperative venture that is a recipe for success.  A Fair Trade product of outstanding quality you don’t get better than that.

Who doesn’t love chocolate, well I am sure there are a few that don’t and then there are those poor souls that are allergic. But for the rest of us and speaking for myself there is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t at least have a bite of chocolate. Since I discovered just how wonderful Divine Chocolate is, it’s always in my pantry and is now my go to chocolate for baking and eating,  I have partnered with the very lovely people at Divine for a fantastic giveaway, I know you will love this chocolate as much as I do and you will really love this Bakers collection.  Open to US residents only I am so sorry my friends abroad!! Just leave a comment here and I will use random.org to pick 3 lucky winners on October 14, see below for directions on how to enter. Good luck everyone!!

Divine Chocolate Giveaway 3 lucky winners!!
Divine Chocolate, the premium chocolate brand and Fair Trade social enterprise co-owned by cocoa farmers in Ghana, is giving away ***THREE*** Divine Bakers’ Collection Gift Sets so you can Make Something Divine. Each gift collection contains two 70% Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bars, one 38% Milk Chocolate Baking Bar and a 4.5 tin of unsweetened Cocoa Powder.

To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is:

  • Follow @bklynpuggal on Twitter and Tweet:
    • I’d love to win a Divine Chocolate Gift Set #DivineInNYC
  • Like Divine Chocolate USA on Facebook (www.facebook.com/divinechocolateUSA) and leave the comment:
    • I’d love to win a Divine Chocolate Gift Set. Sent by apuginthekitchen #DivineInNYC
  • Follow @DivineChocUSA on Twitter and Tweet:
    • I’d love to win a Divine Chocolate Gift Set. Sent by bklynpuggal#DivineInNYC

Good Luck! Winners will be selected at random and notified by [Oct. 14, 2013]. Divine Chocolate is responsible for delivery of the Gift Sets. This giveaway is open to US residents only.

Triple Chocolate cake

Triple Chocolate cake

I couldn’t resist, since I am working  with all of this fabulous Divine Chocolate I had to resurrect my favorite chocolate cake. For this cake you are using 3 types of chocolate , Divine unsweetened cocoa powder in the cake, Divine white chocolate in the Mousse and Divine Milk Chocolate for the ganache, Irresistible!!

White Chocolate Mousse
  • 2 tsp powdered gelatin
  • 6 ounces Divine white chocolate chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
Dissolve gelatin in 2 tbs of cold water. Set aside for 5 minutes. Place chocolate in food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Prepare an ice bath. Place 1/2 cup heavy cream in small saucepan, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add the gelatin and stir to dissolve. Pour into food processor with chocolate while the motor is running, process until smooth.
Place in ice bath until mixture is thick and falls from a spoon in ribbons.
Whip remaining heavy cream and gently fold into cooled chocolate mixture. Place in airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups Divine unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (If you want to substitute melted butter for the oil its fine)
  • 1 cup whole milk at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature and lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee (Optional but recommended)
  • soft butter and flour to prep baking pans or you can use cooking spray
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9″ round baking pans, butter the bottom add a parchment round then butter bottom and sides and flour the pan or you can use cocoa powder instead of flour.
In large mixing bowl add your dry ingredients, flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder and whisk to combine. Now add the wet ingredients milk, oil,eggs and vanilla do not add the boiling water yet. With hand held mixer beat for 2 minutes. Now add the boiling water with optional espresso powder, beat just until combined. Pour into your prepared pans (the batter is quite thin) and bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cakes sit in pans for 10 minutes then invert onto cake rack to cool.
Milk Chocolate Ganache
  • 8 oz Divine milk chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream
Chop chocolate into very small pieces and place in medium size mixing bowl, bring cream to a boil and pour over chocolate. Let sit for 3 minutes, stir until smooth and shiny. Cover and refrigerate until it’s spreadable (approximately 1 1/2-2 hours)
Assembling:
Place one cake layer on serving plate, spoon the mousse on and spread, you may not need to use all of the mousse it will be very thick I used about half, place other layer on top, pour and  spread the ganache on the cake. Refrigerate if not serving immediately. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving if it was refrigerated.