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Posts from the ‘Jam and condiments’ Category

Caponata

I posted this recipe for Caponata years ago and I am afraid it’s been a long time since I have made it. This came about partly because I had gone a little overboard during my last visit to the farmers market, I tend to do that every time I go and I think I have mentioned this before but I hate to waste food. My Mom used to serve Caponata from time to time, usually it was purchased from the Italian supermarket commercially prepared. I liked it but thought it was too sweet, the basic idea is wonderful and it makes a delicious condiment slathered on some good bread. It really is so delicious. I think of Caponata as the Italian ratatouille. Its very easy to make, you can add what you like and subtract what you don’t.

I am going to bring this along with a loaf of homemade bread to Fiesta Friday #186 and this weeks co hosts are  Colleen @ Faith, Hope, Love & Luck and Alex @ Turks Who Eat

Farmers market haul

Caponata

Makes 1 quart

2 medium size eggplant stem end cut and sliced in half

2 cups chopped tomato or cherry tomatoes cut in half

1 small onion chopped

1 shallot chopped

2 stalks celery

3 cloves garlic minced

2 bell peppers medium size (I used a purple and red)

1/4 cup capers

pinch (or more) crushed red pepper flakes

pitted olives – didn’t measure but a generous handful cut in half if large

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tsp sugar

Heat oven to 425 degree’s. Line baking sheet with parchment. Brush the eggplant with olive oil on both sides. Place on baking sheet cut side down and roast for 15 minutes. They should be browned on the cut side but not mushy.  Cut the eggplant into bite size pieces and set aside.

Nicely browned

Heat some olive oil in a skillet and add the onion, cook until softened, add the celery and pepper and cook until soft and fully cooked. Add the tomatoes, capers, olives, crushed red pepper and continue cooking until the tomatoes are cooked through, add the eggplant, vinegar and sugar and cook until thick and most of the liquid from the tomatoes is reduced. Spoon into storage containers let come to room temperature and then refrigerate. I find it’s always better served the next day and served at room temperature.

caponata and a egg fried in olive oil on homemade bread

 

Some Jam, Scones And Sour Cherry Hand Pies

When I saw the baskets of sour cherries and gooseberries at the farmers market I had to buy them. Both are delicious but really not great eaten fresh/raw. They are very sour on their own and I thought they would be best made into jam or preserves and a small jar of sour cherry pie filling. They are very tedious to prep, the sour cherries are small and soft and juicy and hard to pit, (please don’t eat cherry pits you can actually get sick when eaten in large enough quantities, saw this article on food52) and the gooseberries need to have the ends pinched off, both ends. Luckily I did not buy a huge amount of the fruit so although tedious it didn’t take me all day to prep them. I have been working on recipes for Teagan’s wonderful Thistledown episodes, I absolutely love this story and am inspired by the magickal world of faeries.

Refrigerator jam is a wonderful thing, no muss no fuss, no canning or preserving, it’s stored in the refrigerator rather than sealed properly and stored in the pantry. I still use sterilized jars and it does seal somewhat but not enough to make me comfortable storing unrefrigerated. It really lasts a long time in the fridge and if you haven’t ever made your own jam or preserves you must give it a go, it really is delicious.

I had 3 pints of sour cherries and 2 pint of gooseberries which was enough to make 2 16 ounce jars and 8 ounces of cherry pie filling. The scones are my favorite recipe from my friend on Food52 Liz Larkin aka @sconeladylarkin on Instagram. The recipe for scones IMHO is the best scone recipe ever, they are tender and light and delicious.

The hand pies were an after thought. There was leftover galette dough after making the tomato tart, and the small jar of cherry pie filling. Cherry pie has always been one of my favorites especially warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

Royal Wedding Scones

Recipe by Liz Larkin on Food52

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup sugar

1 tbs baking powder

6 tbs cold unsalted butter

1 large egg

1 cup heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup frozen blueberries

Pulse the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder a couple of times in the food processor, add the butter and pulse about 10 times until the butter is broken up in the flour mixture don’t worry if there are some larger pieces butter it doesn’t have to be uniform crumbs. Dump the mixture into a large bowl and add the frozen blueberries. Mix the egg, cream and vanilla together and add to the flour mixture. Mix with a fork until just combined, be careful not to over mix.

The dough will be a bit shaggy, place on floured work surface and press gently into a circle that is about 1/2 inch thick. Cut in half, in half again and then each quarter into two wedges you will have 8 scones. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and freeze until completely frozen about 1 hour. You can then bake them or store in freezer bags until ready to use, I like to wrap each frozen scone individually in either plastic wrap or parchment.  Before baking brush the scones with some heavy cream and sprinkle some sugar on them. Bake in a 420 degree oven until golden brown, when touched with finger they will feel solid. Don’t over bake, because they are frozen it can take a little longer than usual approximately 20-25 minutes.

Sour Cherry Jam and Gooseberry jam

Makes 2 16 oz jars

2 pint sour cherries pitted, in separate pot 2 pint gooseberries trimmed

1 1/2 cup sugar each

pinch of salt

Cook on medium high heat until thickened. Test to see if its ready by spooning some of the jam on a very cold spoon, if it thickens it’s ready because it was not a lot of jam it only took a little less than 30 minutes to cook. Pour into sterilized jar, let cool to room temperature and refrigerate. Note: The longer you cook the thicker your jam will be, I like mine on the loose side so for my taste about 30 minutes was perfect.

Sour cherry pie filling

Makes 8 ounces

1 pint sour cherries pitted

2/3 cup sugar

4 tsp corn starch

pinch of salt

pinch of cinnamon (optional)

place everything in a medium non reactive pot and cook on medium high heat until thickened. Pour into clean or sterilized jar and refrigerate after it’s cooled to room temperature.

To make the hand pies use your favorite recipe for pie dough or pre made dough works great as well, using a biscuit or something round cut out circles, you will need 2 for each pie. Spoon a little filling in the middle, brush some egg was on the edge of the circle place the other round on top, seal, cut a vent in the top, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar and bake in 375 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes.

Thanksgiving

Photo by James Ransom

Photo by James Ransom

Every year I make the same meal for Thanksgiving, there is little to no variations year to year because everyone loves it that way. It makes things easier sort of, the only planning involves the shopping and of course the preparation. I try to make as much in advance as possible to save myself work on the big day. This will be Percy’s first Thanksgiving with me and I plan on giving him a plate of food along with the rest of my guests. I am excited that this year my two cousins will be joining me as well. My menu is very basic, nothing fancy but everything is homemade and has withstood the test of time. The dishes on the menu are linked to former posts so that you can see the recipes. Mashed potatoes, well, no recipe required, so my potatoes have not lumps I use the food mill and then simply add sour cream, butter and salt and pepper, thats all, the same goes for the pumpkin pie, I used canned pumpkin and follow the instructions on the back of the can, I’ve tried other methods and quite honestly the results are so similar it’s not worth the extra effort. The meal is always served with wine, this year a Cabernet Sauvignon, Lambrusco, Sparkling blanc de blanc and I am still undecided on whether to serve a Chardonnay or white bordeaux.

Thanksgiving Menu

butter and herb roast turkey

dressing

mashed potatoes

oven roasted brussells sprouts

corn

cranberry sauce

dinner rolls

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Dessert

Pecan Pie

Apple Pie

Pumpkin Pie

My Very First Post- A Mixed Citrus Curd

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This week I am taking you all on a little trip down memory lane, I am re visiting a few of my first posts. I actually posted twice on that first day. The first a mere paragraph saying I had no idea what I was doing and would try to get this blog up and running. It is embarrassing a little to read it but also saddens me because my pugs were alive when I started this blog. When I figured it out I posted this recipe which I had already posted on Food52 for mixed citrus curd.   I have not made this recipe since I first posted it in January 2012 and I am using tangerines, cara cara oranges and lemon. This would be good with any citrus you like, the flavor of the mixture of different types is delicious.

I was so nervous starting this blog, what if no one likes me or my recipes or ever even stops by was probably my biggest fear. I posted for the first time on Jan, 14 but the truth is I had the posts sitting in draft for about a week before I got up the courage to hit the publish button.

This is a very nice curd but I prefer the recipe from Tartine, the method is different you process or blend in the cold butter and get a thick, buttery, creamy curd that you can use immediately. Even sitting overnight this curd is not thick enough in my opinion to use as a filling for cake or a tart. When using this curd I would whip some cream cheese into it to stiffen it a bit and add some additional zest from an orange.

Mixed Citrus Curd

Mixed Citrus Curd photo from 2012

Mixed Citrus Curd

Makes 3 cups of curd

1 heaping tbs mixed zest from the fruits

1/2 cup  mixed citrus juice (juice from each fruit mixed to yield the needed amount) I used the juice of 1 lemon, 2 small tangerine and 1 cara cara orange.

6  large or extra large egg yolks

4 oz cold unsalted butter cut into pieces (1 stick)

1 1/2 cup sugar

pinch of salt

1-2 tsp orange zest (added after its cooked)

Instructions:

Zest the fruit and set aside a heaping tbs of mixed zest, juice the fruit mix together and set aside 1/2 cup. In mixing bowl add the egg yolks, sugar and a pinch of salt. Beat with hand held mixer until creamy and light. Whisk in the juice and zest and pour into sauce pan. Cook at medium low heat stirring constantly until the sugar has melted and it’s hot to the touch. Now add the butter one piece at a time stirring constantly until the butter is melted. Place thermometer in and continue cooking until it reaches a temperature of 175 degrees. Remove from heat.

Pour through a sieve into a bowl or large measuring cup, add the orange zest stir to combine and cover with plastic that sits directly on top of the curd, allow to come to room temperature then refrigerate overnight.

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Chai Spiced Pear Butter

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Yesterday when I posted about Sonal’s wonderful gift of spices I included her recipe for Chai Tea, which I am totally addicted to by the way. It’s delicious. I bought an abundance of pears and some were really ripe, I had so many I couldn’t eat them fast enough so I decided to oven roast and refrigerate until I figured out what to do with them. I thought the pears would be awesome with the chai spice and making pear butter (just like apple butter) would be wonderful. It’s so unbelievably simple to make and incredibly delicious you will be amazed. The pear butter is wonderful on toast or bread, on hot cereal  or eat it straight from the jar.

Chai Spiced Pear Butter

Makes approximately 2 eight ounce jars

6 pears – I used bartlett very ripe peeled, cut in half and cored

1/3 cup packed +2 tbs brown sugar

1/3 cup Poire William (pear liquor) or pear nectar or water.

2 vanilla beans (sliced open)

Pre heat oven to 375 degree’s. place the pear halves cored size down in a 9×13 rectangular baking dish (ceramic or glass is best non reactive), pour the liquid in the baking dish, sprinkle the pears with the brown sugar, place the vanilla beans in the liquid and place in the oven.  Note: I buttered my baking dish but it’s not necessary.

Bake the pears for about 45 minutes, turning the pears over half way through baking, the liquid should have reduced to almost nothing, only just barely covering the bottom of the baking dish, the pears will have started to caramelize and will be very soft. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes. You want the pears very warm.

Making the pear butter

Place warm pears with the small amount of residual juice in a blender, add 1/2 tsp chai spice and a a tiny pinch of salt and blend until smooth. Pour into clean canning jars and store in the refrigerator.

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