August 21, 2015

Swedish Spiced Peach Jam


Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups lightly crushed peaches
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon cardamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
3 tablespoons pectin
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon citric acid


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, spices, citric acid 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. If not using a Ball Jam Maker, make the jam on the stovetop using the traditional method as seen in this recipe.

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 Canning. I highly recommend it for learning how to can. Here is a bunch of other canning books and equipment I find useful.



My thoughts:
Longtime readers know of my love of all things Swedish food despite being brown haired, blue-eyed and well, anything but Swedish. I've made quite a few Swedish dishes over the years, fairly regularly travel the 1 1/2 hr to Philadelphia to attend (holiday and food, natch) events at the American Swedish Historical Museum, walk miles out of the way in 95° heat to buy pounds of candy at my favorite store, Sockerbit in NYC and live mere minutes from Ikea. So is it any wonder I finally decided to make a Swedish-inspired jam? Cloudberry or lingonberry jam maybe more traditional but peaches sure are easier to find here in the US. For this batch I used huge Washington state peaches sent to me by the lovely people at <a href="http://sweetpreservation.com/">Sweet Preservation</a>. The juicy peach flavor was really enhanced by the use of spices commonly found in Swedish dishes like Julköttbullar (Christmas meatballs) and Pepparkakor (spice cookies). It was yummy in a sandwich but I can't wait to try it as a filling in maybe some bar cookies or in a cake!





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August 19, 2015

Hibiscus Peach Jam




Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups lightly crushed peaches
3 hibiscus flowers in syrup*, drained and chopped
2 teaspoons hibiscus syrup*
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon citric acid
3 tablespoons low sugar pectin


Directions:

Evenly sprinkle the bottom of the Ball Jam Maker with the pectin. Spoon the fruit, hibiscus and syrup in a relatively even layer over the pectin. Press the jam button. You will hear a beep at 4 minutes. Sprinkle the sugar and citric acid 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. If not using a Ball Jam Maker, make the jam on the stovetop using the traditional method as seen in this recipe.

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 used this, found in well-stocked supermarkets and specialty food or cocktail shops

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:
Today's my birthday so it seemed fitting to share this festive jam. I love the flavor of hibiscus so when I found a jar of whole hibiscus flowers in syrup I immediately put it in my cart. Then in my fridge where it sat until I was looking for flavor inspiration for my fourth incarnation of peach jam I was making with the Washington state peaches from Sweet Preservation I received. I pulled out the jar, fished out some flowers and here you go! A lovely, fresh peach jar with a citrus floral note. Perfect for a birthday jam sandwich.




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August 14, 2015

Sweet and Sour Five Spice Peach Ketchup



Ingredients:
5 cups pureed peaches
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Chinese five spice
1 teaspoon ground roasted ginger
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 and cook until thickened to ketchup consistency*, about 20-30 minutes. Ladle into pint jars leaving 1/4 inch headroom. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

*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.

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.


My thoughts:
I love making fruit ketchups because I hate regular tomato ketchup but I love to dip. When I received a whole case of Washington state peaches from the generous people at Sweet Preservation, I have to say, I was a little overwhelmed. I ended up making four different small batches of jam (tune in next week for two new jam recipes) and still had a lot of peaches left. A peach ketchup was the answer! I pureed the peaches (and crushed the ones for jam) last night and then today, when it came time to actually make the ketchup, I was stumped. I dug around in my spice cabinet and came across a new bottle of Chinese five spice powder and went with it. I added some garlic and fresh ginger for extra punch. The result: a sweet-and-sour ketchup that reminds me oddly of a grown up, fresh, homemade version of my secret childhood love, McDonald's Sweet 'N Sour Sauce. I know that might be offputting to some, but trust me, it is fantastic! Now I just need some nuggets.

An aside: I know some canners are purists and eschew things like the Ball Jam and Jelly Maker and want to make everything the same way people have been making jam for thousands of years etc but I am not one of them. I like canning because I like having my own homemade jams, jellies, ketchups, fruit butters, pickles and other preserves on hand; not because I like spending the hottest days of the year trapped in my tiny kitchen in my un-air conditioned house with gallons of boiling water going, stirring molten jam over a hot stove. So when I saw this electric water bath canner, I knew it would be my present to myself when I finished my latest cookbook. I have to say, I loved it. It used less water, was just as quick as the stove top (quicker, actually because the water boiled in a quarter of the time as my old canning pots), it can be used with any canning recipe (and can also serve hot beverages, cook soup, steam fruits and vegetables) and best of all, did not heat up my house at all. It did 8 pints at a time which is the same as my stove top pot and had no problem doing three batches back to back; in fact, it was actually quicker than the stove top because the water returned to boiling so quickly. Plus if you are making things on the stove like this ketchup, you are no longer taking up a burner (or more!) with your large canning pot.  I'm a total convert. In fact, I think I might can even more now because the prospect is so much less daunting.




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August 12, 2015

Italian Summer Salad



Ingredients:
1-pint cherry tomatoes, halved
8 oz container's worth of drained fresh mozzarella balls "ciliegine" size (1/3 oz each),  halved
1/4 of 1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons nonpareil capers
1 sweet marconi pepper, minced*
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Directions:

Toss together the tomatoes, cheese, pepper and onion in a medium bowl. Set aside. Whisk together the capers, garlic, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Serve immediately or marinate up to 4 hours prior to serving.


*I used a purple marconi pepper because that is what I had. A green marconi pepper or even half a cubanelle would work as well.

My thoughts:
Okay, I don't really know if this is a salad people actually eat in Italy. I doubt it because I just came up with in my kitchen earlier today. However, this salad combines nearly all of my favorite Italian ingredients into one salad: tomatoes, Italian peppers, garlic, caper and mozzarella. I made a quick vinaigrette and it was good to go! I served it fresh with lunch shortly after making it but it was just as tasty (but more marinated and vinegar-y) at dinner time.


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August 07, 2015

Picnic Potato Salad


Ingredients:

2 1/1 lb red skin potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 hard-boiled eggs, whites chopped and yolks reserved
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/3 cup diced white onion
1 spear kosher dill pickle, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper




Directions:
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the potatoes and cook until fork tender. Drain. Allow to cool to room tempertature. Toss with onion, pickle, celery and the egg whites

In a small bowl, mash the yolk into the mayo, mustard and vinegar until smooth. Pour over the potatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir to coat. Refrigerate 1 hour prior to serving.
My thoughts:
The other day we were on the way to our favorite Chesapeake sea glass-hunting beach and on a whim stopped at a restaurant that was attached to a gas station off all things. Luckily it was really good, we both had an excelled soft crab BLT that came with particularly good potato salad. I normally don't put egg in my potato salad because it masquerades as potato but the potato salad we had featured eggs so I decided to branch out. I diced the egg and kept the dressing light so there would be no chance of biting down on egg when expecting potato (which is almost as bad as expecting coke and taking a sip of root beer). The potato salad we had was light on the celery and used white onion (which I normally only use in guac) and I'm not sure if it had pickle but I can't make potato salad without it. Mashing the yolk into the dressing was a bit off work (if you feel like dirtying up a mini chopper that would make quick work of it) but it bulked up a bit and gave the salad a mild deviled egg-esque flavor we both enjoyed.


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August 05, 2015

du Puy Lentils with Summer Vegetables


Ingredients:
1 cup du Puy lentils (French green lentils)
4 cups water or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch rainbow chard, stems and greens chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium-large zucchini, diced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped



Directions:
Pour the water and lentils into a saucepan. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10-20 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, saute the vegetables in a large pan until the onion and zucchini is soft and the chard is wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lentils and saute 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately.



My thoughts:
I served this as the side to my Tuna Niçoise Burgers for a vaguely French meal. Well, French meets American, I guess. I love du Puy lentils because they hold their shape but they can be tricky (and oddly expensive) to find. However, I found a bag at Target of all places. It was labeled "French Green Lentils" but they were clearly du Puy.

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August 03, 2015

Tuna Niçoise Burgers



Ingredients:

for the burgers:
4 5-oz canned solid white albacore tuna in water, drained
1/4 cup coarsely chopped niçoise or kalamata olives
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1 tablespoon nonpareil capers
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup matzo meal or bread crumbs



to serve:
4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
4 rolls


Directions:

In a medium bowl, break up the tuna into small pieces with a fork. Add the remaining ingredients. Form into 4 equal patties*. Heat a small amount of canola oil in a skillet. Cook, turning once, until browned on both sides and heated through, about 10-12 minutes. Serve on buns, topped with tomato and egg slices.


*If you are not making the burgers right away, refrigerate them until ready to pan-fry,
My thoughts:
Salade niçoise is a classic French salad composed of fresh or canned tuna, tomato, hard boiled eggs, niçoise olives and anchovies. I thought it would fun to turn that idea into easy-to-eat (and thrifty) tuna burgers with the same flavors. I was excited about how yummy they turned out, the capers, olives and anchovies perked up the canned tuna and the saltiness of those ingredients was balanced by the hard-boiled egg and tomato slice. Plus it was super quick to make and didn't heat up the house, a major plus for a weeknight summer dinner. I love recipes that I can whip up just using ingredients I have on hand!

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