I live to eat and love to cook. Welcome to my life!

June 30, 2011

I be jammin'

I love this time of year. all of a sudden there is an abundance of produce to be had. A few weeks ago I went to my grandpa's house and his Saturn peach tree was heavy with fruit so ripe you had to eat it over the sink so as not to make a mess of yourself. The ones we salvaged and brought home were made in to a peach tart tatin. The plum tree was next and what we didn't eat raw was converted in to a plum crisp by my "I don't bake" Mommy.

Everywhere I turn it seems that someone has an overabundance of something and I just can't bring myself to see it wasted. I used to process and freeze things but last year I invested in some canning equipment and a book on "how to". My first couple experiments were small, but successful. Tomatoes, fig preserves, marinara and blueberry preserves. This year I am attempting to do it in bulk and so far, so good!

From my lovely bestie Clover came about 10# of uber ripe apricots which I decided to make into jam (duh). As usual I get these brainstorms late at night and end up finishing my project after 11:00 at which point I am bleary eyed with sleep and wine. Fortunately for me the cooking goddess likes me and generally blesses my forays in to territory unknown.

This batch was the first I made with pectin, which fortunately for me shortens the cooking time substantially and also results in a shiny beautiful jam. It was extremely easy and only requires a little patience in the canning process. I also bought the pectin that enables you to use less sugar or artificial sugar as my recipe called for an insane amount of sugar in ratio to the apricots, over double what the recipe below calls for. I could feel my teeth rotting just reading it. The fruit was so ripe there was no need to go overboard on the sugar.

Apricot Jam
5# Ripe Apricots, seeded and chopped
4 T Lemon Juice
1 Package (49g) Pectin
3 C Sugar

6-7 Eight oz jars with lids

Sterilize your jars and lids and set aside.

In a heavy bottomed pan, mix your fruit, lemon juice and pectin together well and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the sugar all at once (best if you measure in to a bowl as opposed to cup by cup) and keep stirring. Bring to a good boil, it should turn shiny and thick. If there is any foam on top, skim that off with a spoon and discard.

Pour in to jars, leaving a 1/4" gap between the jam and the lid. Screw on the lids tight and put in a canner or a large pot of water (covering lids). Boil for 10 minutes and remove.

There is a great canning kit that I got from Bed Bath & Beyond, it is cheap, but has all the essentials for picking up the cans, grabbing lids and pouring your goodies in to the jars without making a total mess of your kitchen. You can find it here . 


June 23, 2011

What it takes to get me back......Guilt!

It's been a while....two and a half months to be precise, but who's counting? Apparently  you as I have gotten comments from all 5 of my faithful readers in regard to my lack of posts in the past couple months and for that I am sorry.

My only "excuse" is that I truly have not cooked much over the last month and before that very little....along with that have had little time to post anything due to crazy work schedule and social schedule.

A quick photo montage with bits and pieces to fill you in since you've last heard from me. Please know that I took these photos thinking that I was going to share with you way sooner than this. :)

First bite of summer.
My Addy chomping on her watermelon at Joey & Charlies Birthday Party.

Cooking lesson with Nate.
Teaching my cousins buddy how to bone and cook a chicken. Comedy.

My Moms 2nd Surprise 60th Birthday Party
Complete with a whole roasted pig in Baja. We dressed the pig up, not the caterers.

Camp meat baby!
Dorado courtesy of yours truly. Ceviche only an hour later.

Yes, that is guacamole served with chicharrones. At a restaurant know affectionately as the "Pork Palace"
Holy crap. My own personal heaven. Could have made a meal or twelve out of this but powered up and realized that a new wardrobe would be in order.

Wine tasting Vay Cay with the bestie in Paso Robles
Wine, Cheese, Meat and other goodies for lunch, our favorite!

A week and dinner with my ladies, we always eat sooooooo well together!

"Blue" Salad
Blueberries from Clovers Family (biggest & best!), Blue Cheese, Almonds, Greens, Balsamic & EVOO

Clams and Bacon (you knew it was coming)
A little onion, tomato and white wine....perfect dippin' sauce!

Pacific Oysters on the half shell
Cocktail Sauce & Meyer Lemons

It feels good to be back...more to come, I am going to go make something else for you now.

Much love and happy cooking!