September 30, 2013

Fig & Port Jam

Ingredients:
3 3/4 cups diced figs (brown turkey)
1/4 cup port
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin
1 cup sugar

Directions:
Evenly sprinkle the bottom of the Ball Jam Maker with the pectin. Spoon the fruit, honey and spices in a relatively even layer over the pectin. Sprinkle with lemon juice and port. Press the jam button. You will hear a beep at 4 minutes. Sprinkle the sugar 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 3 8-oz jars and 1 4-oz jar


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:
We are winding down fig season here in the mid-Atlantic. I almost saved this recipe to post next year but then I had some lovely local cheese on a fresh, Maryland fig this weekend at one of the best, thoughtful and well-organized  food events I've been to, the Field to Fork dinner at St Brigid's Farm (thanks, Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association!), and I couldn't resist sharing one last fig recipe with you, just in case you had some final figs to use up. The figs I used are actually ones I gleaned from a friendly neighbor who had her fill of figs this year.

It makes just a small batch, so you don't need too many figs. As you all know, I love small batch canning! Living in a household of 2 humans (and 3 dogs!) and loving to can, it is easy to overwhelm yourself if you make big batches. My canning cabinet is already jammed packed. This jam makes a good addition though, it has that rich fig taste that is only enhanced by the port. It would be perfect on a sandwich but I urge you to try it on a wedge of very good cheddar. You won't be disappointed.


And as always, you can make this on the stovetop but your yield might be slightly smaller.

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September 27, 2013

Cookies & Cream Ice Cream Cupcakes



Ingredients:

2 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup melted cookies and cream flavored ice cream
2 teaspoons baking powder
HERSHEY’S Cookies ‘n’ Crème Frosting


Directions:
Preheat oven 350. Line or grease one 12 cupcake cupcake pan. In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and eggs. Add baking powder. Beat briefly, then add melted ice cream and flour alternately beginning and ending with flour. Mix until thoroughly combined. Divide evenly among 12 cupcake wells. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the center cupcake comes out clean. Remove to wire rack, cool then ice.


My thoughts:
The folks at Betty Crocker asked me to develop a new recipe using their new line of products they paired up with Hershey to create. I decided to come up with a homemade cupcake to compliment their new Cookies ‘n’ Crème Frosting. I melted down some cookies and cream ice cream and used it instead of milk. It added a ton of cookie flavor! If you want to get fancy, you can bake them into cake cones instead of wrappers. Just stick the cones in a mini muffin tin and fill them 3/4 of the way full. Follow the rest of the instructions above. The icing actually tastes like the candy bar it is based on and comes with cookie crumbles so it was a snap to decorate the cupcakes.


September 21, 2013

Pickled Fish Peppers

Ingredients:
3 cups whole ripe fish peppers (jalapenos or cayenne would work too)
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon white peppercorns
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 cup water
1 1/2 cup white vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoon pickling salt


Directions:
Fill 1 pint jar with whole peppers (don't overstuff the jar or they may float in the canning process and break the seal). Set aside. Slice the remaining peppers and place in the half pint jar. Evenly divide the seasonings between both jars. Combine the water, salt and vinegar in a saucepan and bring to a low boil. Stir to dissolve the salt. Pour brine over the peppers, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Remove any bubbles. Seal and process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Allow to sit one week prior to eating.


Yield: 1 pint whole peppers, 1 8-oz jar sliced




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:
Just a quick pickled pepper recipe for you this weekend! I always forget that I end up with more peppers in September than I do the rest of the summer. I'm really proud of how our heirloom fish pepper plants have been doing! Even with just two plants we've had enough to eat in few dishes and still have a bunch leftover. I thought I'd pickle some up so I can enjoy them later as well. This recipe makes a micro batch of pickles but you could double it if you have more peppers. Try them over nachos, in tacos, soup, salads, Bloody Marys, beans; any place that need a bit of pickled heat.

Note: you could skip the water bath step and just pop them in the fridge. It is a small enough batch, you could probably get through them in a couple of months before they'd spoil.


September 20, 2013

Hatch Green Chile Deviled Eggs


Ingredients:
6 hard-boiled eggs
1/4 cup diced Fire Roasted Hatch Green Chiles
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground dried lemon peel
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Use o a mini prep, food processor or blender to thoroughly mix together the yolks, mayonnaise, onion, spices, and peppers until fairly smooth. Spoon an equal amount into each of the egg halves. Garnish with additional chopped pepper, if desired.

My thoughts:
My last entry in my Southwestern ladies who lunch recipe week. Such a genteel meal deserves some great deviled eggs. If you've been reading, you probably know I am some what of a deviled egg aficionado. I've made them many times in many, many different ways. I'd say this egg is drifting into the "stuffed" category rather than being a strict deviled egg. The peppers add quite a bit of volume to the yolks creating sort of an impressive tower of filling. I also used fresh onions which added to the bulk and gave the filling a bit of crunch. So not quite the silky smooth texture of a traditional deviled egg. Which I enjoyed! If you wanted a more traditional texture I'd only use 4 or 5 yolks and use a mini prep food processor to really whip it up.

September 18, 2013

Hatch Chile Tuna Salad

Ingredients:
2 7-oz cans albacore tuna, drained
1/2 cup diced Fire Roasted Hatch Green Chiles
1/2 red onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 bunch green onions, diced
2/3 cup mayonnaise
zest of 1 lemon
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Directions:
Mix together all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Refrigerate at least 1 hour prior to serving.

My thoughts:
My Southwest ladies who lunch meal also included this yummy tuna salad. I hadn't made a spicy tuna salad before, and now I am sad I wasted all these years not making hot tuna salad. It was really good as a stuffing for tomatoes if you are into that sort of thing. I know I'm trying to eat as many tomatoes as possible before the season ends!

September 16, 2013

Hatch Green Chile Pimento Cheese

Ingredients:
8 oz shredded aged sharp cheddar
4 oz jarred diced pimentos, drained
1/4 cup diced fire-roasted Hatch Green Chiles
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon ground garlic
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper



Directions:
Place all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Refrigerate at least 6 hours and up to overnight for best flavor.


My thoughts:
Last January as part of our annual decade-theme meal(s) we celebrated the 1920s with a "ladies who lunch" lunch featuring chicken salad with tarragon and slivered almonds, a zippy tomato aspic, classic creamy pimento cheese and deviled eggs along with celery sticks, carrot sticks and a relish tray. It was so much fun making a meal of all these little bites! When I was thinking about what to do with the Hatch chiles I didn't freeze, I thought making a green & red pimento cheese would be fun. Then I took it a step further and decided to make a whole meal out of it. Think of it as "ladies who lunch....in the Southwest". Normally Hatch chiles seem to be tossed mostly in spicy Southwest or Tex-Mex dishes like enchiladas, burritos, tacos, chili and stew (and I admit, I like them in that form as well) but I thought it would be fun to explore them in a slightly unexpected way and pop them into dishes that aren't known for their heat. Look for a couple of more recipes from this lunch in the next few days.

September 13, 2013

Eggplant & Hatch Green Chile Risotto Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Ingredients:
6 'baby' Japanese eggplants or (largish) fairytale eggplants, cut into coins
6 large portobello mushroom caps
5 1/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup diced Fire Roasted Hatch Green Chiles
1 onion, diced
1 bunch green onion, diced
1 (large) clove garlic
2 cups Arborio rice
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter

sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Brush the eggplant and mushrooms with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 10-20 minutes or until softened and lightly browned. Set aside.

In a saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer. Heat oil and butter in a large saucepan. Saute the onion, chile pepper and garlic until the onion is softened. Add the rice and spices and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring continually. Add the broth a 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, and waiting until the liquid is absorbed before each addition. When the risotto is creamy and the rice is al dente remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan, green onions and eggplant. Scoop on to portobello mushroom caps. Garnish with shaved Parmesan if desired.



My thoughts:
I'm still working my way through the spoils of my trip to the chile roast and the Mushroom Festival so here is another recipe teaming the two together. I had originally thought of putting the mushrooms in the risotto but I'm not always happy with how portobello risotto turns out (too tough, too full of chunks) so I thought I'd make eggplant risotto (I also had some lovely eggplants to use up) and "stuff" the mushrooms instead. It ended up being not only really tasty but filling! We normally eat risotto as a one pot, one course meal but with the mushrooms added it was like we were eating a pile of risotto and a whole steak. Roasting eggplant leaves it with a silky texture. Perfect for those who are on the fence about eggplants. It isn't bitter or spongy at all. Just warm and toasty tasting. The perfect foil for creamy risotto and hot pepper.

September 11, 2013

Portobello Mushroom Chili with Okra and Hatch Green Chiles


Ingredients:
8 portobello mushrooms, large dice
1 onion, diced
2 Cajun Belle peppers, diced
1 cup diced Fire Roasted Hatch Green Chiles
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pint okra, diced
14 oz canned fire roasted tomatoes, drained
10 oz frozen dark red kidney beans
1 teaspoon hot New Mexican chili powder
1 teaspoon mushroom powder*
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


fresh parsley

Directions:

Add all ingredients except the parsley into a 6 quart slow cooker. Stir to evenly distribute the ingredients. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Stir in the parsley prior to serving.



*Powder made from ground dried mushrooms. Make your own or purchase.

My thoughts:
It's Hatch Green Chile season again! Even though we live far from New Mexico, a store in Annapolis hosted a chile roast. You place an order online for 25 pounds (!) of chiles and then they are ready for you to pick up the following weekend. We are getting better at removing the skin and freezing them, it only took an hour and half this year to get them ready for freezing. We also diced some and refrigerated them so look for more Hatch Chile recipes to come!

Coincidentally, this weekend was also the Mushroom Festival in Kennett Square, PA, the mushroom capital of the world. We had never been before but I am so glad we went! It was seriously the nicest, best run and most fun food festival I've ever been to. The food was amazing and fresh and full of mushrooms. There were also a ton of mushroom related products for sale ranging from mushroom condiments to mushroom earrings to cooking tools to giant mushroom hats. They were also selling big boxes of mushrooms! We bought a 5 lb box of portobello mushrooms for only $15. Score! So when faced with 5 lbs of mushrooms and 25 lbs of peppers, it only made sense to make a big vat of chili. On our way back we stopped at an amazing farm stand and picked up even more produce including some pretty okra. Why not add that too? The final chili was wonderful, very rich tasting yet light. It is amazing how an enormous amount of mushrooms (it filled the entire insert of my 6 quart slow cooker) cook down to make an intensely mushroomy final dish. A great vegan addition to my chili and hatch chile line up!

September 09, 2013

Chipotle Ranch Chicken Salad

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 chipotle peppers in adobo
1 1/2 tablespoons dry ranch dressing mix
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 small shallot, minced
1 stalk celery, diced


Directions:
Pulse the mayonnaise, chipotle peppers and ranch mix in a food processor until smooth. Pour over the chicken. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Mix until well combined. Refrigerate at least 1 hour prior to serving.


My thoughts:
I'm still trying to eke out all that I can from the remaining days of summer. Despite school starting up again (this would make a great packed lunch now that I think of it), we still have a few weeks left before it is officially fall. Chicken salad can be enjoyed any time, of course, but its picnic-y nature lends itself well to summer and warm days spent eating outside. The chipotle gives it a bit of a smoky kick that is tempered by the ranch, creamy mayo (I splashed out and used fancy Sir Kensington's classic mayonnaise but any good mayo would do)and fresh celery and parsley. A fun twist on the typical chicken salad.

September 06, 2013

Port and Spice Pickled Figs


Ingredients:
1 lb small figs
4 cloves
6 tellicherry black peppercorns
1 large cinnamon stick*
1 cup water
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup port
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1/8 teaspoon whole mace
2 whole star anise


Directions:
Prep your jars/lids. Evenly divide the spices and figs between 2 pint jars. Combine the water, port vinegar and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a low boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour brine over the figs, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Remove any bubbles. Seal and process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Allow to sit one week prior to eating.


*I get mine at Costco


Yield: about 1 wide-mouth pint-and-a-half jar (maybe 2 pints if your figs are bigger than mine)




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:
I've become a big fan of fruit pickles since I've started canning. You don't see them a lot in the stores, but they are easy to make at home. If you don't want to go through the hassle of canning them to store you can just refrigerate them instead. I used figs I picked in our own backyard which is always fun, but I didn't have many so I made a very small batch. You could double this without any problem for a larger yield. I added tons of spices and port for a richer flavor that pairs wonderfully with cheese. Or just eat them as-is or on a panini, any place that needs a fruity kick!

September 04, 2013

Fig Honey Cardamom Jam



Ingredients:
4 cups diced, slightly mashed figs (Celeste)
1/2 cup summer wildflower honey
1/2 light brown sugar
3/4-1 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 tablespoons Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin
3 tablespoons lemon juice


Directions:

Evenly sprinkle the bottom of the Ball Jam Maker with the pectin. Spoon the fruit, honey and spices in a relatively even layer over the pectin. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Press the jam button. You will hear a beep at 4 minutes. Sprinkle the sugar 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


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:
We have a fig tree in our backyard, but it is only a couple of years old, and while we've gotten a bit of fruit off of it (I'll post what I did with them later) it hasn't been enough for jam. I love fig jam (and if you like Fig Newtons, you do too) so I had an idea and posted a message to my community listserv asking that if anyone had any figs growing in their yard that they weren't interested in picking, to let me know. I actually had a few responses! I went picking and ended up with enough for a couple of small batches of jam. Figs and honey are a classic combo (and incidentally make this the perfect spread for Rosh Hashanah) that lends this jam well to being used in not only sandwiches but in other applications like cookies and cakes.