April 30, 2011

Mango Pineapple Jam

4 cups finely diced ripe mango
4 cups finely diced fresh pineapple
5 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons light rum (optional)
1 6 oz box liquid pectin

Add the sugar, mango, rum and pineapple to a large pot. Prep jars/lids for canning. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add the lemon juice. Boil for 15 minutes or until thickened. Carefully mash, using a potato masher, any remaining large chunks. Add the pectin (both packets!). Continue cooking at a low (rolling) boil for 5 minutes or until thick and jammy. Fill the jars. Wipe off the lip and sea Process in the hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Yield: about 6 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:
The other day Matt was sick so I drafted him into helping me prep from late season citrus to turn into jam. After we did that, I realized I had a bunch of mango and a pineapple that needed eating, so I went ahead and turned them into jam too. I am glad I did. It is so fresh and tropical tasting without being too sweet. Just juicy and perfect.

April 27, 2011

Blueberry Jam Barbecue Sauce

8 oz blueberry jam
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup thick Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chili sauce (lke Heinz)
1/4 cup rye or bourbon
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (optional)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon mesquite liquid smoke
1 teaspoon ancho pepper
1/4 teaspoon allspice
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Pulse all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into a small saucepan and simmer on the lowest setting until heated through and it reduces and thickens, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool. Keeps in the fridge about a week.

My thoughts:
As you probably have noticed, I did a lot of jam making over the year. Now we are getting into prime jam making season again and I still have a lot of jars left. I need those jars emptied (so I can fill them again!) so I've been trying to use jam in new ways. This one is one of my favorites. It was quick to make and the jam gave the sauce a fruity yet not too sweet flavor. It was especially good on pork.

April 25, 2011

Asparagus, Lox & Stilton Frittata

1 lb asparagus, halved horizontally
7 eggs
1 cup crumbled Stilton
4 oz lox, diced
1/3 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon minced dill
1 tablespoon minced parsley
freshly ground black pepper

olive oil + 1-2 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 325. Whisk together the eggs, salmon, cheese herbs and spices, put aside. In a 12 inch cast iron skillet, heat oil and butter. When hot, sauté the asparagus and onions the onions are translucent. Add the egg mixture. Tilt the skillet slightly and turn to coat the ingredients in the skillet with the egg mixture. Keep on medium heat and cook until just beginning to set. Place int the oven about 10 minutes or until the top is just beginning to brown. Check to make sure it is fully cooked by sticking it with a thin knife. Continue to bake if it is really runny. Remove from pan and slice.

My thoughts:
I've been ready for spring since, oh, the end of last October. I was overjoyed to find some asparagus that was actually tasty and not woody and bland. I may have bought two pounds of it. Eggs always make me think of spring so I made this eggy delight for dinner one warmish evening with ingredients I had on hand. What, you don't have lox and Stilton on hand? Stock up! You are missing out.

April 22, 2011

Cast Iron Skillet Potato Kugel

3 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, grated and drained
3 jalapenos, diced
2 onions, sliced
4 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons potato starch
1/3 cup matzo meal
freshly ground black pepper

canola oil
Preheat oven to 350.  Saute the onion and peppers in a 12 inch cast iron skillet. Toss with the remaining ingredients. Pour into the pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden. Slice and serve.

Note: Potato starch and Matzo meal are sold year round but they are especially easy to find (and often on sale) right now because of Passover. I always stock up for the rest of the year, they always have great expiration dates.

My thoughts:
I love the idea of kugel but I am always disappointed. They always seem to end up gummy or mushy instead of creamy or not crispy enough at all. I was trying to think of a good way to get a very crispy outside while still preserving a creamy inside when I thought of my cast iron skillet. It worked perfectly. I wanted it to go with my Tex Mex pot roast so I threw some peppers in with the onions for some punch and sauteed them both to bring out their flavor. Because I used my cast iron skillet, it was super crispy on all sides and the top browned up wonderfully as well. Honestly, I can't put into words how much we liked this! We ate almost the entire pan of it in two days. Shameful, really.

April 20, 2011

Tex Mex Inspired Pot Roast

3 1/4 lb eye of round roast
28 oz canned diced fire roasted (or regular) tomatoes
2 onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic
3 jalapeno peppers, chopped
3 tablespoons sliced pickled jalapenos
2 tablespoons hot Mexican chile powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon chipotle
1 teaspoon ground ancho chile
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon roasted ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Mexican cinnamon (canela)

Place all ingredients in a 4 quart slower. Cook on low 10-12 hrs. Remove the roast from the slow cooker and slice. Top with with the remaining sauce.
My thoughts:
I wanted to make something other than brisket for Passover this year so I landed on pot roast. It is easy to do it the traditional way but I wanted to try something different so I went for a Tex Mex theme: lots of spices and tomato. I used round eye because it is leaner than other cuts used for pot roast and I am glad I did, the fat stuck to the meat and didn't make the vegetables greasy or unappetizing as I've had happen with other pot roasts. The meat was fall apart tender and the tomatoes and other vegetables held their shape well enough to become an appetizing sauce*. The fact that was pleasently spicy was just the icing on the cake. Way more interesting and fun than the typical pot roast and the leftovers will be great in a number of ways. I bet they will make a great burrito, taco or quesadilla filling but I am tempted to serve them over mashed potatoes.

*If your sauce is thinner, you could use a small stainer to scoop out the more solid bits.

April 18, 2011

Spiced Rubbed Pineapple Ham

1 pineapple, sliced
1 bone-in ham (about 6 lbs)

dry rub:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon cayanne

Preheat oven to 350. Whisk together the dry rub ingredients in a small bowl. Rub it on all sides of the ham. Attach the pineapple slices with toothpicks. Place on a roasting pan (preferably one with a rack) and roast until cooked through and hot, about 40 minutes.

My thoughts:
I love my pineapple slicer! It is like magic. It made the most perfect slices of pineapple to pin onto my giant ham. A giant ham that was both delious and enough meat to ensure that we ate ham for at least one meal each day for an entire week. Luckily, it was very, very good. Not too sweet and perfectly spiced.

April 15, 2011

Deviled Fingerling Potato Salad

2 lb mixed fingerling potatoes
1/2 white onion, diced
2 spears dill pickle, diced
1 stalk celery, diced (with greens)

for the dressing
1/4 cup mayonaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seed
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the potatoes until fork tender. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Place the potatoes, celery, pickles and onion in a medium bowl. Pour the dressing over the potato mixture. Stir to evenly distribute the dressing.
My thoughts:
Spring isn't spring unless there is potato salad. At least, I don't think it is possible to have spring without it, I've never tried. This month has been alternately chilly and cold or hot and sunny so it has been tricky planning meals. One day it was soup weather and then the next had me yearning for ice cream and sorbets. Not fun. So I made a big batch of this and served it with both hot and cold main dishes. The savory mustard-pickle flavor meant it went with pretty much anything save cotton candy.

April 13, 2011

Turkey, Fig & Capicola Panini

1 loaf Italian bread, sliced
2 oz fig jam
8 slices fontina cheese
8 slices very thinly sliced lean capicola
16 slices smoked turkey breast


Place the cheese in a single layer a slice of bread. Top with a slice of cheese. Spread the jam on the cheese, top with capicola, turkey and another layer of cheese.

Cover the cheese with the other slice of bread. Lightly butter each side of the sandwich. Place on a panini press preheated to "medium". Press until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted.

My thoughts:
One of my favorite ways to make a grilled cheese is on a panini press. It is arguably the easiest way to make grilled cheese but the resulting sandwich seems more special than one fried in a pan. The trick to a good panini is making sure you have at least some cheese touch the bread. The cheese will act like a "glue" to hold the sandwich together. There is nothing worse than biting into a panino only to have it slide apart! Fontina is a great choice because it melts well . Its nutty flavor complemented both meats and kept the jam from being too overpowering or sweet.

Note: I received a few emails asking which panini press I have. I love my Breville and highly recommend it.

April 11, 2011

Ham & Vegetable Bean Soup

2- 2 1/2 quarts ham stock*
1 1/2 cup diced ham
1 lb dried northern beans
2 ham hocks or 1 ham bone (wrap hocks securely in cheesecloth)
3 stalks celery, chopped (with greens)
3 small turnips, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 large onion, chopped
1 parsnip, chopped
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves


The night before you want to serve: Place the beans in the insert of a round 6 quart slow cooker and fill with water until the beans are under about 4 inches of water. The next day drain the beans and pour them back into the slow cooker. Add all of the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the cubed ham and parsley. Cook on low 8-10 hrs. 20 minutes before you could like to eat, brown the ham on all sides in a nonstick pan. Meanwhile, remove the ham bone/hock and add any meat back to the slow cooker. Discard the bone(s). Add the ham and parsley to the slow cooker. Stir. Cook for the remaining 15 or so minutes.

*Your slow cooker should be 3/4 full to start. If 2 quarts isn't enough, use up to 2 1/2 quarts.

My thoughts:

I don't cook a lot with dried beans because I am impatient but they work really well in slow cooker soups. This one was a great reason to use up the ham stock I made eariler in the the year before making another batch. I know taking the time to wrap the ham hocks in cheesecloth seems fussy but it keeps them from breaking apart in the soup leaving behind bits of bone. They really, really fall apart when you cook them like this. They also don't give off much meat, so I always add extra.

April 08, 2011

Crab Strudel

1 egg
1 tablespoon water
8 oz lump blue crab
4 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup finely shredded smoked Gouda cheese
2 tablespoons reduced fat sour cream
2 teaspoons Old Bay seafood seasoning
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
1 sheet puff pastry Sheets, thawed
juice and zest of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 375. Beat the egg and water in a small bowl. Stir the crabmeat, cream cheese, onions, Gouda cheese, sour cream, seafood seasoning, celery seed and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Spread the crab mixture on the pastry to within 1 1/2 inches of the edge. Starting at a short side, roll up like a jelly roll. Place the pastry, seam-side down, onto a baking sheet. Tuck the ends under to seal. Brush the pastry with the egg mixture.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Let the pastry cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

My thoughts:
Way back in August Pepperidge Farm approached me about developing a new recipe incorporating regional ingredients and their puff pastry. I happily agreed and came up with this creamy crab dip inspired appetizer. It is currently on the Puff Pastry website in a special blogger recipe section but bizarrely, they did not feel the need to mention that my blog is Coconut & Lime or to link to it. They didn't reveal this little detail until the recipe was on the site and months after I submitted it. Honestly, that bothers me even more than the fact that they "improved" on this recipe and turned it from a cute crab dip filled spiral to a "strudel" but I guess there isn't anything I can do about it. But! That aside, it really is a tasty treat that would be welcome at any party.

April 06, 2011

Little Neck Clams with Ramps & Asparagus

2 lb little neck clams (about 50)
1 lb asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 1/4 cup chopped wild ramps
1 cup dry white wine or stock
3 tablespoon minced Italian parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil

April 04, 2011

Tropical Mango Coconut Granola

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
5 oz dried mango, chopped
2/3 cup "fancy grade" coconut flakes*
2/3 cup black walnuts
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup chopped candied ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
thinly sliced peel of about 1/2 an orange**

April 01, 2011

Chinese Inspired Brisket

for the brisket
3 1/2 lb brisket
1 quart chicken or beef stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
6 whole cloves garlic
5 whole star anise
2 tablespoons fennel seeds

for the sauce
1 cup braising liquid
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 tablespoon chile-garlic sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch or potato flour

Place all of the brisket ingredients into a large pot with a tight fitting lid. The brisket should be totally submerged. If not, add water until the brisket is covered. Cook over medium-low heat for about 3 hours or until the brisket is easily flaked with a fork and very tender.

for the sauce:
Add all ingredients to pot. Whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil than continue to cook about 2 minutes over high heat. Pour over sliced meat prior to serving.
My thoughts:
I am not quite sure why but right around this time of years is the best time to pick up brisket. Is is because of St Patrick's Day? Passover? Do people eat brisket for Easter? I have no idea but I do enjoy making it at least a few times. This time I raided my stash of Chinese condiments and ended up with a East Meets West brisket that was tender, easy and flavorful.