Category Archives: fruit

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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The Curd is the word

Once upon a time, I thought that citrus curd was this mysterious, highly unstable substance that could only be made in professional kitchens by highly skilled people only wearing white- Like the food equivalent of plutonium. Then, a few weeks ago, my dear friend Megzy had a birthday coming up. No ordinary cake would do, this is the gal who helped me painstakingly can 60 4oz cans of peach lavender butter as wedding favors last fall. I contacted her “boyf”- boyfriend to begin scheming a cake. I found out that this little lady likes key lime pie..OH REALLY?! So I dreamed up a vanilla coconut cake, frosted with a toasted meringue-esque frosting, with graham cracker sprinkles on lime curd as the filling.

This was my chance, to show myself (and the world) that curd was nothing to be afraid of. Egg yolks, citrus juice, sugar, butter maybe some zest. That’s really all that goes into a citrus curd. There are fancy recipes that call for double boilers and furious whisking.. but those are for chumps. The only criteria I see is that you have arms with working hands and that you can stand near your stove for about 15 min to stir frequently. Wait, what’s that you say? You really prefer sitting?Well pull up a stool. You’re doing this. I promise, you’ll be glad you did.

Not sure if yolks are beautiful or I’m freaked out by them.

I had a game plan: Zest and juice about 5 limes (you wont use all of the zest, but its good to have on hand in the fridge), get my butter cubed and ready, ready my whisk and wooden spoon, stretch necessary hand/arm muscles (not actually necessary),  and then begin separating eggs to get the show on the road.

Lime Massacre

Recipe time..GO!

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Lime
(or just about any citrus) Curd– aka Awesome Sauce
makes between 1-3/4 cups, or a little less than 1 pint
(adapted from Food in Jars’ Meyer Lemon Curd)

6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup citrus juice- lime, or key lime (if you have a thousand key limes and a few hours to burn)
1 stick of butter (let it come to room temp at the beginning of the recipe)
1 tbsp zest- optional if you want a smooth curd

In a relatively small saucepan- 1+ qt, Over low heat whisk together egg yolks and sugar, once combined add lime juice and stir together. Reduce the heat if necessary, you want to avoid boiling this. Stir frequently, almost constantly, but in no way furiously. After about 9-10 min it should have thickened a bit, and it is done when you can take the spoon out of the mixture, the back is coated, and you can draw a line down the back of the spoon with a clean finger, and it doesn’t run back together.  When in doubt, give it another minute but keep stirring frequently. If you want to be sure, the mixture should read between 165 and 170 on a candy thermometer.

Once you have reached the temp/consistency needed, remove it from the heat, and start stirring in your cubes of butter, 2-3 at a time (if you cut the butter stick in half long way and then into table spoons). Once those have melted almost completely, add another round and keep going until the butter is completely incorporated. Work the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, to get out any cooked eggy bits. Now you can stir in the zest if you so choose. Store in tupperware with a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd, so an icky skin doesn’t form. Refrigerate overnight aaand Boom. Sauce complete.
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Zest goes in

Put on anything that needs a little zing. Biscuits, a cake, a panna cotta, berries, filling a tart, as the sauce on a dessert pizza, on top of a rice pudding, on your finger, or a spoon if you must.

Because I wasn’t sure how much I would need to fill the 4 layers of the cake, I increased the recipe by half (i.e. add- 3 yolks, add 1/2c sugar, add 1/2 stick butter, add 1/4c juice- to the recipe as is). Worst case scenario you have some left over…and if that’s your worst case scenario, you are doing pretty well my friend.

ERH MEH GERD! CURD!
-Stine

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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

Just Beet It

I volunteered, like the sucker I am, to bake dessert for a charity dinner for Youth Organics. Here was my thought process, ” The program grows vegetables,  some people like vegetables, people like desserts more, MAKE A DESSERT WITH VEGETABLES!!!” Originally I had planned to make either tiny carrot souffles with a golden raisin honey glaze, OR use JTB’s (joy the baker’s) recipe for chocolate beet cake. That turned out to be a great idea because the beets were free.  You can find her cake recipe here which I followed, but had to double because of all of the people coming.

The only thing I would recommend is to cook the beets a day before. Cook them, peel them, then chop them in the food processor and let them cool in the fridge. My beets ranged in size from two giants to tiny baby beets. You need about two-three medium beets for a cake, With my two giants and maybe one or two tiny guys, I had more than enough.

Beet Fun Fact: Beets have a greater sugar content than any other root vegetable. You’re welcome.

The frosting is where I used my voodoo. I thought, hey, what goes well with chocolate? EVERYTHING? Yes, that’s true. But what fruity, vegetably, thing goes awesome with it? Hmmmm, Raspberries? Yes. That’s happening. So a package of frozen raspberries later, and we are in business.

First for the raspberry syrup, (oh and you’re going to want to leave out the cream cheese and butter at this point so it can all soften up)

12 oz package of raspberries, frozen

½ c sugar

½ c water

Maybe a ¼ tsp of citrus zest, if you want a little freshness. Lemon zest would be great, Lime, even better for a cosmo-type flavor. Orange is also good. Get crazy and throw some pumelo zest in there, who cares, its your world.

Put all of these into a saucepan and let simmer, stirring, for about 5 or so minutes, until the raspberries break down and you have a seedy berry slurry. This step you can do now, or wait till the end, but I guarantee you will be happy you did it now. Turn off the heat on the sauce and strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove all of the seeds and other bits. Since the sauce is runny, it will pass through easier when it is thinner. Smush (technical term) all of the syrup you can out of the seed part and return it to the saucepan. Add the zest here. Turn this on medium to low, medium if you are watching it and stirring regularly, low if you want to pull a set it and forget it situation. Now once it has thickened and reduced in volume, turn off the heat, let it cool to room temp and continue with these steps.

For the frosting: (again I doubled this for the event, so with the excess raspberry syrup, you might have a more intense flavor and color. If you want it lighter and less punch-in-the-face-berry flavor, use the syrup to taste)

1 brick of cream cheese- 8oz

1 stick of butter- 4oz

Raspberry syrup, from above

Lots of powdered sugar.. lets say 4 cups at least

1tsp vanilla extract, if you want, not necessary especially if you got zesty earlier

Cream the cream cheese in your bowl, until it is smooth, add the butter, cream those together. Add the syrup, let that get incorporated, then begin to add the sugar, in ½ cup increments until smooth and the consistency you want in your frosting. Add more powdered sugar if needed, you want it to stand up in the center layers. I also refrigerated mine while I was baking the cakes.

After the cakes are baked and cooled, slap that frosting on, and refrigerate if needed. Then slice and serve

Dwight Shrute would be so proud.
Until next time, beets, bears, and battlestar galactica

-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

Dr. Jekyll/Mr Pie

PIE PIE PIE PIE PIE

Hey guys! I LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE pie. The only problem with pie, for me, is the process of making it. In fact, each time I make it, I usually cry because my dough breaks and there’s never enough and wah wah wah wah wah. This doesn’t happen when you’re baking with Crafstine! who is a mad scientist in the kitchen. The title of this post shows that. This recipe is a mixture between a very structured recipe, and something that Crafstine created IN HER MIND. ON THE SPOT.

My most favorite pie is the apple pie that my mom makes. She gave me the Good Housekeeping Step by Step Cookbook for my 20th birthday, since that holds a lot of recipes that she uses. Unfortunately, the apple pie (THE MOST IMPORTANT RECIPE) is not the same that she uses. So, I scribbled down all of the changes so I would have hers. Then Crafstine came into play. She saw the double crust factor in the book and raised it less carbs.

The bottom crust is the same as my mom’s:

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 Tablespoons of butter flavor shortening

Filling:

6 big apples

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons lemon juice

and I think Crafstine put ginger in there? probably 1/2 teaspoon, at most.

In a large bowl, mix flour and salt. With a pastry blender or two knives used in scissor fashion, cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle in 4 to 6 tablespoons of ice water, a tablespoon at a time. This will vary based upon how humid it is! Mix lightly with a fork after each addition, until the dough is juuuust moist enough to hold together. This was my problem. Crafstine saw that it came together, and I was all, “MORE WATER? IT’S STILL CRUMBLY? IT’S BARLEY STAYING TOGETHER, MORE WATER!” but I listened, and she was totally right.

Shape dough into a ball, wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, you can take the dough out and start rolling. Right before the 30 minute mark, we peeled and sliced the apples into 1/8 inch thick slices and combined everything in a bowl. Crafstine rolled out the dough RIGHT ON THE PLASTIC WRAP (BLOWING MY MIND!) and then we put it into the pie pan. Put the filling in, and then get ready to get weird. Crafstine’s genius mind came up with the idea to create a streusel-like topping with:

1/2 cup raw almonds

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 stick of butter

2 tablespoon of flour

3 tablespoons brown sugar.

We put it all in a food processor, and it was AMAZING. We crumbled it on top, and put it into a pre-heated oven of 400. After a while, we could really smell the almonds getting toasty, so we lowered the temperature to about 350. We baked it for about a 1/2 an hour, and let it cool for 30 minutes. I actually ate it for breakfast this morning (because I’m a child), and it’s a lovely (lovely!) mixture between soft, tart apples with a nice nutty crunch on top.

–megz

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Mom’s Chicken Salad

Hey there! So I know the season doesn’t really scream CHICKEN SALAD because it’s currently a nice, warm, 31 degrees. However, if, in the season of roasting, you decide to roast a chicken and then realize you don’t really like roasted chicken? Since the chicken off the bone kind of freaks you out and is kind of slimey? And you mostly ate the vegetables that you roasted (see: the occasional vegetarian’s brussel sprouts)? And now you have a lot of leftovers? You make your mom’s awesome chicken salad.

I’m not sure where she got the recipe. Each time I call her and ask her for it, she tells me it’s from Williamsburg (as in Virginia). So, I think she has a recipe of favorites from Williamsburg from one of her last trips there. Either way, here it is, and it’s delicious.

It originally calls for two meaty chicken breasts (what kind of measurement is this?). Meat off the bone freaks me out so I ate the breasts, but I just used the rest of the meat what we had left, and it was enough. I also omitted the sugar because that seemed unnecessary, and added some red pepper. I think when I read the recipe really quickly, I thought “red onion” meant red pepper, but it’s good in there. More crunch!

2 Meaty Chicken Breasts, chopped

1 cup of mayo

1 Tbsp of ranch dressing (I forgot that we didn’t have ranch, so I used creamy caesar instead, and it’s still so good)

2 Tbsp chopped red onion (I used white instead)

4 Tbsp chopped celery

1/4 cup shredded carrots

1 cup red or green seedless grapes, cut in half

1 Tbsp sugar (I left this out and didn’t miss it at all)

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (I left these out as well, because I didn’t have them. Oops.)

Look at those grapes! Ignore my feet!

Mix everything together and let refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Eat on sandwiches for the rest of the week and pretend it’s warmer outside than it really is.

–meg

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