Category Archives: breakfast

Nectarine Gingery Jam. Small Batch.


My editor….so.bossy.

Small batch canning has intrigued me for a while. A jam is a jam no matter how small, right? Then there’s that plus of not having hours of work, what seems like endless piles of fruit to prep, sweat rolling down your back, random sticky spots on your arms …and sometimes cursing (I’m lookin’ at you cherry vanilla jam). So when I saw a triple ginger nectarine jam in this month’s Food and Wine magazine, I was all about it, but I didn’t have the 2.5 pounds they asked for. I had a trio of nectarines that surely wouldn’t last through the week. This should taste good right? After all nectarines are like peaches, who have gone bald…AND you don’t need to spend hours peeling them like their peachy relatives. Bonus! I have a family reunion coming up and I volunteered to bring jams for my cousin’s bridal brunch and anything goes well with buttermilk biscuits.

Since I had three large-ish nectarines left, I decided to go for it. I want to taste summer in a jar. and cobbler. yom.
Gather the ingredients.

Ingredients. (Sugar not pictured)

I also wanted to add a flavor that would may you say, “mmm, what else is in this” thus the Chinese 5 Spice. I figured that spice went really well with plums, why not other stone fruit?

Ch-ch-ch-choppin’ nectariiine

Before you prep the ingredients make sure you put a larger pot of water on to boil the jars that you will be filling. Here are mine..tap dancing in the water

tap tap taptap tap tap

Combine the nectarines, water, lemon juice (I added extra just to be safe), ground and grated ginger, 5 spice- or cardamom if you so choose (lemon zest would be great in the place of these), and pectin in a saucepan. As seen below:

First couple ingredients in the saucepan..that white powder is the pectin, I swear.

Bring this to a boil and mash as the fruit begins to soften. Once boiling, add the sugar and stir/mash until combined.

Cook until it looks like this

Once your jars and rings are sterilized, remove from the water, and set on a tea towel. Fill with jam.

As always, prepare more jars. Just in case.

While you are filling, drop your lids into the boiling water that the jars were in to both sterilize and activate the seal. wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel, then lid up.

Put on the rings and twist until just finger-tip tight. Put these into the boiling water bath. Process 10 minutes. Wait for the oh-so-satisfying ‘ping’ of the jar lids sealing. If you dont hear it and any do not seal within 5 minutes, take the lid off, wipe down the rim, reapply the lid and ring, process for another 10 min.
RECIPE:
Ginger-Spiced Nectarine Jam

Ingredients:
3 large Nectarines- skins washed and fruit chopped
1.5 tbsp of Lemon Juice- bottled to assure reliable acidity
1 tbsp low or no sugar pectin
1/3 c water
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp ground ginger
pinch of Chinese 5 Spice (I wasn’t really satisfied with this flavor, I think cardamom would have had a better impact)
1/2 c Sugar

Combine everything except the sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add sugar and stir until combined. Bring to a boil and mash fruit as you go. Follow the boiling water method of canning. Process for 10 min. Store in a cool, dark place for up to a year.

There you have it. Tangy, juicy, delectable. Hopefully it makes your day better when you open a jar. It sure can’t hurt!
Slather on biscuits, crackers, toast, maybe spoon into small, pre-baked pie crusts and top with whipped cream.

Just put it in your mouth.

Enjoy!
-Stine

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This is BERRY delicious!

This post was brought to you by:

Curiosity with St. Germain! Gin and Tonics! 

Disclaimer: Maybe you want to limit yourself to one of those. We’re dealing with potential botulism here. PS: These were delicious.

Crafstine and I, in a fit of frustration the other day, made Strawberry Jam! It’s BERRY DELICIOUS. Now is prime time to get your strawberries. I read online that because of the freaky weather, strawberries may have a short season. Don’t delay! These guys are amazing!

This recipe is from the book Well-Preserved, and it is dynamite! I’m looking forward to canning other recipes from this book. I took it out of my library and you should too!

8 cups of sliced strawberries

6 cups of sugar

1/3 cup of lemon juice.

5-6 8 ounce preserving jars (with lids and rings! and if you are not good with measurements/eye-balling amounts, ALWAYS prepare more jars.)

First off, place your empty  jars into a big pot filled with water- submerge those jars and put them on the stove to boil. That sanitizes the jars and enables us to fill them with molten hot lava-like jams and they won’t crack. Your lids and rings should also be sanitized, but I like to do that right before we fill the jars because of the questionable amount of jam you may have. If you have less than you sanitize, it’s not really good for the lids to be subjected to hot temperatures (in the sterilization process) because it activates the seal and may create a faulty seal the next time you use that lid.

In a heavy pot, put the sliced strawberries in and heat on medium heat. Crush the strawberries with a potato masher, to the consistency that you prefer.

Add the sugar and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Now, you may be thinking, HOLY SUGAR. THAT AMOUNT OF SUGAR WILL CREATE DIABETES. I agree, it’s a lot of sugar, however, sugar helps it set and increases volume. It also is a PH issue where you want to create an acidic environment, but not too acidic because that’s yucky, and the higher the acidity the less likely you will have bad bacteria in your jams growing and creating botulism. Usually I follow this to a T in recipes because I don’t want to get botulism. Crafstine is planning on experimenting this summer using low-sugar/no sugar needed pectin, but that kind of scares me. She’s bold.

We also added vanilla extract because vanilla and strawberry is AMAZING. It was nice little glug, probably three teaspoons?

Bring that to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce heat and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. It should thicken and be delicious looking.

Once it has thickened, you turn off the heat, stir for two-three minutes, remove the creepy foam and then you’re ready to can!

Remove your hot jars from the pot (keep the pot boiling) and place on a towel. It’s important for these jars not to hit anything or be subjected to varying temperatures because they’ll crack. You should have specific tools for this job too; jar lifter, magnetic stick to get lids and rings out, and a funnel. I’ve canned without these items, using tongs and ladles, but it’s a real pain in the neck.

This recipe calls for leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Fill your jars and leave 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles using a wooden spoon handle or chopstick.

Once you have all your jars filled, then you can sanitize your lids and rings. I typically take a small saucepan and just take water out of the boiling pot of water and throw the amount of lids in. That way, the water is already boiling! Once they’ve been sanitized (10 minutes), you can remove them with your magnetic stick and then put that water back in the pot.

You put the lids on and then put the rings on just until they are fingertip tight. Do not TIGHTEN them, just turn them until they stop turning. Then, using your jar lifter, place the jars back into the pot of boiling water and boil them for 10 minutes. Remove from the pot and put back on the towel. Soon, you’ll hear the PING of the jars, letting you know that they’ve set!

Once they’ve been sealed, it’s advised that you leave them in the same spot to cool for 24 hours. They’ve been through a lot, and you don’t want to shake ’em up too much. After that, it is suggested that you keep them on the shelf without the bands on. Label them with what it is, and when it was made. As a rule of thumb, you should eat these preserves within a year. I know I go through a lot of homemade fruity jam in the wintertime on sandwiches, crépes, pancakes, toast, in breads, in frostings, in…..well, you get the idea. These last a long time, you know what’s inside of them, and you can adjust to your own taste!

Good luck! If you’re seriously interested in canning, it’s important to know all of the proper sanitation and PH rules because you seriously do not want botulism. Seriously.  There are many different resources out there in book or internet form for you to find and learn more!

-megz

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Date Bars.

Lara makes bars that are sticky and chewy and delightful.  Now, so do I and so can you!
Instead of spending $2.50 on a bar, I thought, hey, I can do that. I thought that at 11pm last night. Sorry upstairs neighbor, hope you can’t hear my food processor.

Step 1: Choose a flavor
This is often contingent on the ingredients in your pantry/ fridge, but you can plan ahead, I guess. If you want to be all organized and stuff.
I decided to make some kind of chocolatey spiced cranberry coconut pie bars. If necessary, consult the flavor bible a la Meg’s house.

Step 2: Ingredients..ASSEMBLEEE!
I didn’t exactly measure, but here are round-a-bout measurements.
1 package of dates, pitted and ready. I think usually its about 20-25 dates in a package
2/3 cup cranberries
1/2 cup coconut
3/4 cup slivered almonds
a small sliver or two of crystallized ginger
2 tbsp honey
1/4 c mini chocolate chips
1/3 c cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon juice
1/3 cup protein powder or you could use almond meal or coconut flour
Water or applesauce…until desired consistency

This shows the final mixture in the pan and all of my spills

Step 3: Blend it!!
Put everything in the processor bowl except the water or applesauce. Blend until you get a doughy consistency similar to chunky play-dough. If it is too dry add a tablespoon of water or applesauce, if its too wet, add more almond meal, coconut flour, or protein powder, again a tablespoon at a time. The mixture should just begin to ball up but not be too sticky. If its still too sticky take it out and knead in a little more of your dry ingredient.

Step 4: Smush it.
Prep a square baking dish by tearing sheets of wax paper to fit crosswise on the bottom and sides. Wax paper is best for this because it wont stick to your bars and you wont mess with the consistency by having to spray parchment, not to mention end up with greasy fingers. Foil would be a nightmare. drop the date mixture into the baking dish and use your very lightly oiled hands or the bottom of a very lightly oiled measuring cup to flatten into the pan. Once you get it relatively flat, put another piece of wax paper on top and smooth it out.

thoroughly smushed

Step 5: Fridge it.
Now is the part where you let the flavors meld together and the bars firm up. I imagine 4 hours at the least but I let mine rest overnight.

covered and smoothed

Step 6: Prepare for everyday snacking
Once the bars have rested, take them out of the container, put on a flat surface, and cut into bars, about 2″ wide by 3-4″ long. For the square pan I halved it width-wise then cut each side into four portions. You end up with about 8. then you taste it so lets say 7. Tear off pieces of wax paper that are large enough to comfortably wrap each bar within. you can tape them closed, like little mini presents, or get fancy-schmancy and wrap them again in fancy paper and fancy yarn for a picnic time snack.


Store these in the fridge until you are ready to eat!
I had some ideas for other flavors to add to the almonds and dates, but most you can copy from lara:

Key Lime Pie: Lime juice, lime zest, crushed graham cracker (just a bit), cashews, coconut
Black forest cake: Cherries, cocoa powder, chopped dark chocolate bits, maraschino cherry juice.
Blueberry pie: dried blueberries, lemon juice, lemon zest, blueberry juice (or a few teaspoons of a juice cocktail), cashews
Peanut butter cup: Peanut butter 2 tbsp, cocoa powder, mini chocolate chips, peanuts, almond meal.
Strawberry banana smoothie: Freeze dried strawberries (found in snack aisle at Target), handful of banana chips, 1/3 ripe banana, almond meal, lemon juice
Cranberry orange white chocolate cookie: Cashews, dried cranberries, orange zest, orange juice (1-2 tbsp), white chocolate or yogurt chips, pinch of crushed graham cracker
Lemon thyme cookie: Lemon zest 1tbsp, lemon juice, vanilla extract, tsp lemon thyme, 1 scoop vanilla or cake batter protein powder
Hummingbird cake: cinnamon, ginger, dried pineapple, grated carrot, walnuts, pecans, 5 maraschino cherries
Ginger snap: 1 tsp grated ginger, 2 tsp molasses, few strips of crystallized ginger, cashews, pinch cinnamon, pecans
Pecan pie: Pecans, butterscotch chips, cinnamon, ginger, pinch of mace, orange zest

The list can go on and on..and I want to eat all of them if you have the right combinations the possibilities are endless.

omnomnom

Happy blending!
– Stine

Home-made PopTarts

Let’s make this a double whammy…

I’ve been having camera-phone issues, so this is the only picture I could salvage from my gallery of half-shots and complete darkness.

So when I get stressed, I bake, usually something complicated. Whats more complicated than individual pies painstakingly filled with just enough of a home-made fruit filling that has be labored over? Its like baking on steroids. Plus I know it will be delicious and I like giving these delicious things to people. One person, after eating my Pear Poptart, actually said “I want to be your child”.

So here goes:

Crust: Mostly any pie crust will do, I used one from a book that I have but I think the pie crust in Dr.Jekyll /Mr. Pie  would work great but instead of adding ice water, add cold milk. Refrigerate for at least 30 min but better, an hour. In the meantime, make the complicated filling

Now, any jams can be used, in fact, jam probably would have been easier, but I had some pears that were ripe all at once, and I wouldn’t eat them in time.

2 bartlett pears peeled and cored, sliced thin and halved width-wise
1/3 c brown sugar
1/3 stick of butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp bourbon
1 tsp orange zest
and a dash of clove and cinnamon

Melt the butter, add the sugar, stir till it dissolves and boils. Add the pear, bourbon, vanilla, orange zest, spices and bring to a boil again. lower the heat and simmer until pears become translucent and begin to take on the sauce’s color. Turn off the heat and let it cool down while you prep the dough.

Make eggwash- 1 egg and 1 tbsp water- beat it- set aside

Roll the dough out to about 1/8″ thick,or a little less than half the size of a pie crust. Cut into rectangles that are about 2.5″ by 4″, put about a half tablespoon or so of the filling and carefully spread out to almost the edges (jam would have been easier here) and brush or finger-paint the edges (about 1/4″ to 1/2″ perimeter) of the rectangles with eggwash. Put another rectangle on top, gently press it down on the edges, crimp edges with a fork and poke holes in the top to release steam. Repeat..until you are dead…or you run out of crust or filling. If you have filling left over and not enough dough for a whole p-tart, consider making a tiny pie! you wont regret it.

Egg wash the whole bunch and stick them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30-40 min, until they are golden brown on the edges. Let them cool and then you can either serve them plain or make a frosting..I would go with 1 c powdered sugar, a pinch of cinnamon, and 1 tsp or so of orange juice. Slather it on and let it set up. I went without.

Anyway, let cool and serve for breakfast deliciousness. Enjoy! Unless you don’t eat carbs! Then its gross and you shouldn’t eat it anyway.

-Stine

CRÊPES!

SO. You want to make crêpes, because you don’t want to go to the grocery store to get more eggs and you’re sick of pancakes. THAT IS SUCH A GOOD IDEA.

I love crêpes…but, fun fact: I’ve never had a crêpe outside of my own kitchen! So I hope this recipe is actually GOOD compared to real crêpes. I have adapted this recipe from allrecipes.com: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/vanilla-crepes/

But if you go to that link, you’ll see that it calls for A TON OF BUTTER…and EGG YOLKS? WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE WHITES? I clearly do not like egg white omelets since I usually eat sticks of butter for breakfast (kidding).

So, here’s what I do:

1 1/4 cup milk, depending on what kind of milk you have. The less fat, the more liquid-y they get, so keep that in mind.

2 eggs (whole! who wants to separate anything?)

2 tablespoons vanilla extract (OMNOMNOM)

1 1/2 cups flour

2 tablespoons sugar

pinch of salt

2-3 tablespoons of melted butter

Melt the butter! While that’s melting, mix your milk, eggs, and vanilla extract together. I then usually try and sift the flour/sugar/salt, but sometimes it’s hard in the morning. Add those ingredients to the wet and, if you didn’t sift, use a whisk to combine. Once the butter has cooled (not completely, but you don’t want to cook your eggs!) add the butter and whisk to combine.

In a large skillet (you do NOT need a crêpe pan!), spray pam/add melted butter all around it, and get it nice and hot on medium heat. This is where it gets tricky:

Measure out a 1/4 cup of batter and put it in the pan.

Pick up the pan and SWIRL the batter around, creating a thin, hopefully circular shape. These should be really thin, so they will also cook quickly. Usually the first side doesn’t get brown but you can tell that it has solidified and and the edges have started to curl and you can flip it. Keep an eye on these guys, because they really do cook quickly! I tend to put the completed crêpes on a plate and into a warm oven before we fill them. 

Once you’re ready to fill them, you can fill them with anything! These are sweet crêpes because of all the delicious vanilla, so we usually fill them with lemon curd, nutella, and any kind of jam we have floating around (usually homemade and canned from the summer!)

The rest is essentially assembling them like a burrito! Lay a delicious slather on one side and roll up. 

Before and after!

Alright. That’s all I’ve got for now!

–megz

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