June 29, 2015

Garlic Scape Corn Relish (for hot dogs)


Ingredients:
2 ears' worth of corn (raw) kernels
3 garlic scapes, diced
1/4 cup minced fresh shallot (or spring onion)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seed
sea salt

to serve:
hot dogs
buns

Direction:
Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour prior to serving. Use to top hot dogs.

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups


My thoughts:
It is really no secret that hot dogs are one of my favorite foods. Every time I go to a new city, I figure out what their regional hot dog is and track down an iconic spot to try it. I also like making hot dogs at home and varying the toppings (Baltimore is oddly lacking in the hot dog department). This time I went for a quick and easy corn relish using tasty in-season garlic scapes and corn. I used it about an hour after making it, but the leftovers were still crisp the next day just in case you needed to serve it a bit later than that. If you don't like hot dogs (the horror!) it would also be great served over grilled fish.


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June 27, 2015

Apple Butter-Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies



Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter*
4 ounces butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1/2 cup sugar
1/2-3/4 cup Musselman's Apple Butter



Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Whisk together dry ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

Beat peanut butter and butter with a mixer until smooth. Add brown sugar, and continue to beat until fluffy and well incorporated. Add egg and vanilla paste, and beat until incorporated. Stream in dry ingredients, and mix until combined.

Scoop tablespoons of dough and roll in your hands to form into balls. Pour sugar into a shallow bowl. Roll each ball in the granulated sugar, and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.



Bake until cookies are puffy, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and make indentations in centers by pressing with your thumb. Return to oven, and bake an additional 5-8 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer sheets to wire racks, and let cool completely.


Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of apple butter into each cookie.



Store in an air-tight container.

Yield: about 35 cookies

*I used the natural kind that you don't have to stir the oil back in to use.
My thoughts:
My husband grew up in a "healthy" household and a treat was apple butter-peanut butter sandwiches. I took that and turned it into something even more indulgent, cookies! He has been busy this spring taking an evening sign language class and for their last day, they had a potluck. What better place to serve something nostalgic like thumbprint cookies? Peanut butter is always a crowd pleaser (we checked--no allergies in the class) and this year I am a Musselman's apple butter blogger so I knew exactly which apple butter to use. The apple butter is surprisingly spicy so it was a nice contrast to the sweetness of the cookies. Quick tip, if you are transporting these, they did really well in a square Tupperware container with sheets of wax paper between the layers of cookies.

Check out the Musselman's Apple Butter Pinterest account for more ideas.


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June 25, 2015

Spiralized Cucumber Salad


Ingredients:
1 cucumber, spiralized*
2/3 cup matchstick carrots
1 bunch's worth of green tops of fresh shallots or spring onion, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
12 grape tomatoes, quartered
juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Directions:

Cut the spiralized cucumber in half. Place in a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, toss to evenly distribute all ingredients. Allow to marinate at room temperature one hour prior to serving.



*I used this handheld tool I bought very cheaply on Amazon.



My thoughts:
I've been enjoying playing with my little handheld spiralizer. I'm not fooled into thinking it is pasta but it is saving the tedium of chopping. This salad was made extra special by the fresh shallot tops which I had never had before! They added a bit of onion-y goodness without having to toss in regular raw onion which I sometimes find overpowering cucumber salad.

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June 22, 2015

Triple Raspberry Cake




Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup seedless raspberry puree*
1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup olive oil
pinch salt

1 cup whole raspberries


for the icing:
1/4 cup seedless raspberry puree
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a standard loaf pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.

In a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the egg, balsamic, milk, puree and oil. Slowly stream in the dry ingredients (while the mixer is running!) and mix to combine. Fold in whole raspberries. Pour into prepared pan.



Bake 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean. Unmold to a wire rack and cool.

Whisk together the icing ingredients. Frost cooled cake.



*I made this by blending 2 cups of fresh raspberries in the blender and then whisking it through a wire mesh strainer. Discard the seeds. Repeat for 1 additional cup for the frosting.





My thoughts:
This recipe is brought to you by...the over 2 quarts of raspberries my husband and I picked in our backyard in a single evening. Raspberries are some of my favorites but unfortunately, even freshly picked raspberries don't last long. I need to make something with them quickly! This recipe uses a lot of raspberries: in the batter, stirred into that batter then turned into a shockingly pink icing. Let's just say my counters and hands were quite pink for much of this afternoon. The result of all those raspberries is that this cake the dessert with the truest raspberry flavor I have ever had. Every bite is a raspberry bonanza. I love loaf cakes, they seem sort of old-timey and since we are a family of two, the perfect size for just us or to share with a couple or two.

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June 20, 2015

Cherry-Blueberry Shrub


Ingredients:
1 cup blueberries
3 1/2 cups pitted cherries (otherwise left whole)
1 1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 3/4 cups apple cider vinegar



Directions:
Place the fruit and the sugar in a nonreactive bowl, jar or plastic bag. Crush the fruit with a muddler or, if using a bag, squeeze lightly. Refrigerate 24-48 hours or until the juices are well seeped and starting to form a syrup.

Place a metal sieve over a bowl and mash the fruit with a potato masher until any large pieces are well mashed. Whisk the mashed pulp through the sieve. Discard the pulp. Pour the resulting liquid back into the nonreactive container, stir in vinegar and refrigerate until ready to use. Try it as-is, stirred into club soda, still water or if feeling naughty, spike it--historically dark rum was often stirred in.

Yield: about 1 quart


My thoughts:
Like I've said before, shrubs are a great way to revisit our colonial past without the fear of the stockade, trampling horses, dysentery, cholera, yellow fever, outhouses, or lack of proper bathing.

Shrubs are a precursor to the modern day soft drink; mildly effervescent and nonalcoholic. Not only were they refreshing in the hot summer months; the vinegar helped preserve the drink so they didn't need refrigeration, something difficult to come by at that time. I do recommend refrigerating modern day shrubs like this one because 1. we can (in your face, colonials) 2. it will keep longer 3. I think it tastes better cold.

Shrubs are also a great way to use up fruit that might be slightly too soft to pleasantly eat out of one's hand but otherwise perfectly fine to eat. In this case, I combined deep red, sweet cherries and blueberries to make a drink that is as dark purple as it is tasty. Impress your friends and take it to your next picnic or cookout! It required less than 10 minutes hands-on time but everyone who drinks it will be impressed.


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June 18, 2015

Cherry-Chipotle Ketchup


Ingredients:
4 cups well-crushed sweet cherries
3 cloves garlic, quartered
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground chipotle
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Prep your jars/lids. Place all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed nonreactive pot (I used my enameled cast iron Dutch oven). Bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat. Use an immersion blender or ladle in a regular blender to pulse until smooth. Return to a rolling boil and cook until thickened to ketchup consistency*, about 20 minutes. Ladle into pint jars leaving 1/4 inch headroom. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.



Yield: about 4 8-oz jars

Note: A great source for canning information is the Blue Book guide to preserving. I highly recommend it for learning how to can. Here are some of my other favorite canning books and supplies.


*The sauce does thicken up a bit upon cooling. You can place a small amount on a dish and chill it in the refrigerator (while you're cooking the ketchup) to check the cooled consistency if you'd like.


My thoughts:
The cherry recipes continue! As longtime readers know, one of the few foods I truly despise is ketchup. Sweet, syrupy, bland tomato ketchup holds no appeal. I do like to dip things so I'm always a little sad when I have say, a tot and nothing to dip him in. Enter the homemade fruit (and vegetable!) ketchup. Spicier and more flavorful than its store-bought red cousin, it is welcome on burgers, fries and any place you need some zip.

For this one, I paired the sweet cherries with chipotle to give it some heat and used what I think of as "warm" spices to flesh out the flavor. I love the result! A ketchup for adults and sophisticated children everywhere.


Note: Since this makes a small batch, I made it at the same time as the cherry-raspberry jam so I could fill one whole canning pot.

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June 16, 2015

Cherry-Raspberry Jam



Ingredients:
1 cup crushed raspberries
3 cups crushed sweet cherries
3 tablespoons powdered pectin*
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla paste


Directions:

Evenly sprinkle the bottom of the Ball Jam Maker with the pectin. Spoon the fruit in a relatively even layer over the pectin.  Press the jam button. You will hear a beep at 4 minutes. Sprinkle the sugar and vanilla paste over the fruit mixture while the machine is still running. Cover and wait for the jam cycle to complete. Press the cancel button and unplug the machine. Ladle the jam into prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in the hot water bath for 10 minutes.



Yield: about 4 8-oz jars



*I recommend these jars of flex batch pectin.

Note: A great source for canning information is the Blue Book guide to preserving. I highly recommend it for learning how to can. Here is a bunch of other canning books and equipment I find useful.



My thoughts:
Once again the sweet people at Sweet Preservation sent me a big box of Washington stone fruit to can. For the first time it was cherries; more cherries than I have ever seen before. I've made a few things with the cherries, but I thought I'd share this one first. Last year I don't think I made jam for the first time in years. We didn't have a good berry crop here and I ended up making more pickles, ketchups and shrubs. This year looks like it is going to be a good one for our garden. I picked the raspberries I used here in just one day; the first day I had any ripe fruit. We finally have pawpaws growing this year too. Fingers crossed I can make something fun with them later this summer! Anyway, the cherries were super ripe and sweet and would have made a great jam on their own but why not take advantage of some other in-season fruit while you have it? The raspberries added a depth of flavor and for those who are seed-adverse, only a tiny bit of seeds to the jam--much less than would be there in straight raspberry jam. Plus it is a beautiful purple-red color.


Note: I know some canners do not like the Ball Jam Maker but I really do. It makes just about 4 jars of jam (perfect for someone like me who mostly does small batch canning), frees my stove up to cook up other things to preserve, and makes the jam in less time than it takes to watch a sitcom. Which you can, because you do not need to watch the jam while making it. Of course, you can safely can this jam the traditional way if you so choose.

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