I think the easiest thing for me to make (and eat) is any kind of dip or spread. Homemade nibbles are such a unique thing to serve at a party, and you can tailor them to the season or meal so easily. People always remember a good homemade appetizer — it’s like a magic trick.
So it’s the end of the summer season, but somehow there is still some really lovely, fragrant berries in the stores around here. I bought two pints of local strawberries on a whim (and they were on sale) last week and I needed to do something with them. I love eating them on their own, but these, because they were the end of the season I think, were juuuust a hint on the tart side. I decided I needed to make something that would make them last a little longer and sweeten them up. Refrigerator jam!
Making a quick jam like this is perfect when you have a bit of berries (two pints or so) and you just have a little time rather then the whole day it takes to put up jam.
This jam will last probably a month in the fridge, and mine came out a little runnier than proper jam. But it has a really fresh berry flavor and wins points for being quick and easy.
I think this recipe could probably apply to any type of fruit you want to use:
Add sugar and lemon juice.
Cook for 10-15 minutes over medium-low head, until slightly thickened.
Let cool, store in a jar.
You’ll notice my strawberries stayed in tact, and my jam is a bit chunky. I like it! But if you want to make a smoother jam, I would suggest pureeing half or all the strawberries, after cooking them with sugar and lemon juice, then let cool and put in a jar.
These do take a few days to pickle once you make them, but they are quick and easy to make. I think my favorite is that they don’t need to be canned, you can just put them in a jar in the fridge. I think I will pickle more things using this method, it’s quick and easy and I can experiment with small batches to find my favorite flavors. Try it will you? Let me know how you like it! Start today and they will be perfect by this weekend.
These go really well with chicken, or in cocktails!
I got this recipe from Smoke & Pickles By Edward Lee, a crazy-awesome Southern/Korean cookbook that Joel got me for Christmas. There are a lot of inspiring recipes and ideas in this book! If you are looking to shake up your summer cooking, I highly recommend it.
I tried this recipe with both rice wine vinegar and plain white vinegar, and honestly, they are both delicious. The rice wine vinegar is a little more mellow, and I do love the idea of using that as a pickling vinegar, so if you have some sitting around, try it. If not, plain white vinegar does just fine, maybe add just a pinch of extra sugar.
Quick Pickled Cherries
Recipe Type: Condiment
Serves: 3-4 cups
2 pounds cherries, stemmed and pitted
3-4 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 cup rice vinegar or white distilled vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt (iodized or table salt is fine)
1/2 teaspoon whole black pepper corns
Put the cherries in to a large glass jar that will hold 3-4 cups, depending on the size of your cherries is good. In a small sauce pan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and peppercorns in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
Pour the vinegar mixture over the cherries and put a tight fitting lid on it. It might seal, but these still need to be stored in the fridge. They will be ready to eat in about 4 days and will keep for 1 month.
Try with chicken, or other poultry or in a cocktail. They are great as a snack too.
This DIY condiment is so easy (I always say that, but it’s true!) You just mix together some stuff and let it sit and you’ve got mustard. Mustard is one of Joel’s favorite things. We can’t make a sandwich around here without mustard. We ran out recently, and there was almost a revolt!
No crazy colors, no weird ingredients or stabilizers. It’s so tasty and so easy. And this mustard lasts basically forever because vinegar and salt are natural preservatives. This recipe is a basic one. You can swap out brown sugar for sugar or red wine vinegar for the white vinegar and make a brown sugar mustard too!
Let’s start with mustard powder, salt, white distilled vinegar and some sugar.
The hardest part is waiting. I put a label on mine that had the date I made this, and the date I guessed it would be ready. I tasted it today (a little early) and I think it’s close!
After a couple weeks (yep, WEEKS!) it is thicker, sweet, milder and still a little spicy. I love it!
Well, shoot, now I just want a hot dog.
This recipe is from Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon. This book was one of the first I purchased when I started making my own food, totally from scratch. It’s a beautiful and inspiring book.
Recipe Type: Homemade Condiments
Author: Sugar Pickles from Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It
Serves: 1 cup
1/2 cup powdered mustard
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Put all the ingredients into a small bowl and mix until combined.
Scrape into a small jar (6-8 oz works well) with a tight fitting lid. Store in a cool, dry place for two weeks.
After two weeks, taste. If it tastes too bitter or sharp, let it sit in the cool dry place for another week.
If it tastes good, store the jar in the fridge and use as needed. If the mustard has separated, just stir it back together.
This mustard will last in your fridge, for months!
This butter is crazy addictive. It will make you eat WAY more bread then you have any business eating. It is one of those things I physically have to remove from my sight to get me to stop. It’s THAT good! It’s especially good with any kind of soda bread situation for St. Patrick’s Day!
But seriously, make bread and make this butter, you won’t be sorry (okay, so your thighs might be sorry…) It’s super simple.
Chop some shallots. I have to use onion goggles because I am a wuss. My best gal pal, Aslan, got these for me. Thanks, they work!
When I was chopping these shallots I was remembering how Aslan and I would talk about dinner and cooking when we were both first married ladies. We cooked from our issues of Everyday Food Magazine (now discontinued, sniff!) and told each other about the messes and successes. That magazine was my monthly food bible for many years! Now, though I still use a lot of Martha Stewart recipes (but only the ones that work!) I try a variety of recipes, mostly from Pinterest or from my ever growing cookbook collection (latest buys were: Joy the Baker’s new book, Homemade Decadence, and Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust.)
Irish butter is so fitting here. Kerrygold is delicious!
I like to mix up most of the ingredients, then add the dill. It’s more delicate!
Put out like this to serve or in a small bowl. Slice bread or lay down some cracker action. BOOM. You are now Queen of the Butter.
Recipe from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Everyday.
Recipe Type: Homemade Condiments, Snacks
Serves: 1 cup
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup good quality mild goat cheese or soft farmers cheese
In a bowl, mix together the dill, chives, shallots and butter with a fork. Add in the dill when the mixture is mostly homogeneous. Gently mix in the cheese, in large crumbles, so that the mixture is a bit chunky.
Serve immediately with soda bread or crackers, or store in the fridge for up to a week. If you store in the fridge, bring it back to room temperature before serving.
I just want it all. I want sweet, savory, fatty and crunchy. Weekend breakfasts are the perfect way to get this all at once. I think that’s the main reason I love Saturday and Sunday mornings: opportunities for waffles.
This past weekend it was muffins and jam. I awoke Saturday morning and exclaimed: Rhubarb! Somehow I can. not. get. enough.
One might call this triple R jam! It can be made in a small batch and stored in the fridge. I made this to go on my favorite millet muffins that Heidi Swanson has in her book Super Natural Everyday. I made it while making bacon and hashbrowns for one of our weekend morning breakfast feasts.
This recipe could be improvised a hundred ways. I started with what I had, which is most likely why I love it so much.
I reached deep into our freezer and pulled out some rhubarb from last year (!) and some frozen raspberries. I had to find a way to wake them up from their long nap. BAM. Balsamic vinegar. Roasting the fruit and adding a little acid is a great way to add flavor to anything.
Add a little of whatever juice you have in the fridge (not citrus, but apple, cranberry, blueberry, pomegranate…) and some spices and you are good to go! Get your weekend breakfast on.
Roasted Rhubarb and Raspberry Quick Jam
Recipe Type: Homemade condiments, Jam
Author: Sugar Pickles
Serves: 2 1/2 cups
1 cup rhubarb, fresh or frozen, cut into 1/2” chuncks
1 10 or 12 oz bag frozen raspberries or 1 pint fresh berries
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup blueberry or apple juice
Cranberry, pomegranate or grape would also work well)
1/4-1/3 cup sugar, honey or agave syrup
1/3 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
1/4 teaspoon vanillla extract
Pinch kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 400. Spread the cut up rhubarb on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle the balsamic vinegar over the top. Roast for 15 minutes. It will get very soft. Then sprinkle the raspberries on the same sheet and return to the oven to roast for another 5-10 minutes.
When the berries and rhubarb come out of the oven, they will be very soft, and the pan will have some bits sticking to it. Deglaze the baking sheet by pouring 1/4 – 1/2 cup of juice directly on it, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any bits that are stuck to the pan. Pour everything off into a small sauce pan and add the sugar or agave, the rest of the juice, and the the spices.
Let it come to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, until it is thick. Taste and season with a sprinkle of salt if desired.
Serve immediately or store in the fridge up to 2 weeks.
*Pumpkin Pie spice is a blend of spices that are commonly used in pumpkin and other similar baked goods. My favorite is the one from Trader Joe’s, which has a blend of ground cinnamon, ginger, lemon peel, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom. You can use any pumpkin pie spice blend, it will not taste like pumpkin pie. Alternatively you can add in a pinch of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cardamom or any other similar spices you have on hand.
There is a romantic name for jam. It’s a little old English, a little Jane Austin. Can you guess what it is? Marmalade. Isn’t that such a lovely word? It brings to my mind visions of Mr. Darcy and croquet and luncheons immediately.
This marmalade is such a winner because you can make it any time of year. And if canning (because, guess what!? This is a canning recipe) is a little intimidating to you right now, you can just skip that and store your marmalade in the fridge in 3 or 4 larger jars. It’s a completely graceful way to make this elegant jam. You can still share it with your friends, just instruct them to refrigerate.
So what is marmalade? It’s a tart and sweet kind of jam that includes pieces of actual peel from the citrus fruit. The peel gets soft and is sweetened by the sugar and adds the perfect amount of structure to this jam.
This lemon ginger and mint marmalade is marvelous on scones, biscuits or toast, but other ideas have crossed my mind such as: grilled lamb or a sticky lemon chicken. Can you imagine this on charcoal grilled chicken? Shut up, right now. (oops, Jane Austin probably doesn’t say shut up. What would she say? “Surely you jest?”)
So here’s how you enter the land of marmalade:
If you are going to can this recipe, you’ll want to prepare your work area and make sure you have the following on hand:
4 – 4oz jelly jars
canning jar lids (new with an un-used seal)
a large pot or water canner
canning rack or dish towel to lay on the bottom of the canner or pot
4 lemons, plus one or two extra lemons just in case
1 (1 inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/4 cups natural cane or granulated sugar
Small handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
8 (4-oz) jars, lids and bands
Slice the lemons in half lengthwise and use a pairing knife to remove the center pith. Pick out the seeds and discard. Cut the lemon halves into thin slices, roughly 1/16 of an inch. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of lemon slices.
Place the lemon slices, ginger and 1 1/2 cups water in a small sauce pan. Bring it to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes, or until the rinds feel very soft. You can test them by piercing with a fork. Add more water if needed.
Meanwhile, prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.
Stir in the sugar and bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce the heat right after it comes to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture has thickened and it measures 220° on a candy thermometer.
To test for doneness, put a teaspoon or two on a cold saucer. Place the saucer in the freezer for 5 minutes. Take it out and drag your thumb across the marmalade. If it wrinkles, it’s done.
Let the marmalade stand in the saucepan for 5 minutes and then add the mint.
Ladle hot marmalade into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
Process filled jars in a boiling water canner for 5 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
Slightly adapted from the book Marmalade: Sweet and Savory Spreads for a Sophisticated Taste by Elizabeth Field
A fun kitchen project is precisely what a long winter break is for, right? Canning can be extremely rewarding, and starting with something like marmalade can be equally delicious.
Marmalade is basically jam, but with bits of peel from whatever fruit you are using, usually a citrus fruit. “Bits of peel? How can that be good?” Well, because we add a lot of sugar! And the peel turns into this soft, sweet and tart yummy little thing to bite down on. Marmalade is one of my favorite things to put on toast or english muffins, and is so lovely to say.
The thing about this marmalade (and lots of other canning recipes) is that you can skip the canning part and make this recipe up to the canning step and store it in jars in the fridge. It’s just as easy to give away; just advise your friends to store it in the refrigerator. I went ahead and canned this jam, so the instructions included the canning steps.
Cara cara oranges make this jam so delightful! They are juicier and have more flavor then navels, and they are in season in the winter here. You can use regular navels if you want, but do try a cara cara sometime, even if just to eat out of hand. You won’t regret it.
I love the way these are cut, it makes just the perfect size of peel in the jam. To cut, first cut off each end of the orange, then slice into quarters and cut off any pithy white part that runs down the center of the orange. Then cut each quarter into thirds, and then each third, slice crossways into little triangles.
The chili adds a little kick, but the overall tone of this jam is most definitely sweet. The chilis and oranges get cooked together and then the chili pods are taken out and the jam is canned. Then you cook the marmalade until it thickens, and the jam is at the “wrinkle stage.” The do the wrinkle test, put a teaspoon or two on a cold saucer. Place the saucer in the freezer for 5 minutes. Take it out and drag your thumb across the marmalade. If it wrinkles, it’s done.
You will see some foam after you cook it. This is fine, just skim it off before you ladle it into your prepared jars.
Some notes about canning:
You can read so much about canning and you really want to look at the resources the Ball Blue Book puts out or your local Extension office. You can also trust the National Center for Home Food Preservation. They have a lot of information here: using boiling water canners
Here’s what I do:
1. Count all your jars, rims and lids to make sure you have enough of the size you are canning (my favorite size for jam is 4oz for the two of us, which allows room for variety and is a size we can get through in a reasonable amount of time.
2. Wash all the jars, rims and lids in hot soapy water. Clear off a table or counter and line it with towels.
3. Let everything dry on clean kitchen towels while you prepare the ingredients for the recipe (cut up fruit, zest the lemon, measure out sugar, ect).
4. Prepare the water bath canner before you start the recipe. The water canner holds a large amount of water and you are going to sanitize jars in it too while you are waiting for your jam to boil/cook, so you might as well start it early. Place the canning rack in the bottom of the canner and fill the canner up halfway. Place your clean jars in the canner (empty) and let them each fill with a little water. Let the water come to a simmer until you are ready to fill the jars.
For the lids and bands: place the lids in a small pot of warm water and simmer for at least 10 minutes to soften the rubber on the lids. The rings are good to go, just make sure not to use any rusty or dented rings.
Fill a second pot full of water and get it simmering too. You’ll add this water to your canner so that the total amount of water covers the jars by at least an inch. More on that in Step 9.
5. When your jam is ready, you can dump the water out of the jar in the canner using a jar lifter (tilt it to let the water pour out in to the canner or use the handle of a wooden spoon to assist you.)
6. Place your jars on a towel lined surface- you’ll need counter space to let the jars cool anyways, so this is another thing I like to set up at the beginning of a canning session. You want to keep in mind that with canning, you don’t want any extreme changes in temperature (that’s how jars break!) so when handling hot jars, place them on the towel so they don’t come into contact with a cold counter top.
7. Fill the jars using a funnel, then be sure to wipe the rims clean. Follow directions for the amount of “headspace” to leave at the top of your jar. Headspace is the room from the top of the canning jar to where your jam starts.
8. Place the lid (from the simmering water) on top of the jar, and twist on a ring to just be “finger tight” meaning sort of loosely tightened. As you boil the jars (“process” the jars) the air inside the jar will escape, taking bacteria and other air borne critters with it, so you want to allow a little space for air bubbles to escape.
9. Use the jar lifter to take your filled and capped jars to the canner and set them in the rack. You can stack the 4oz size, one right on top of the other, or just do a single layer of larger sized jars. Fill with additional boiling water so that you cover the jars by at least one inch.
10. Process! Bring the water to a boil in the canner. You have to boil for different times depending on the recipe. For this jam recipe you process for 10 minutes. Count from the time the water comes to a full rolling boil. If at any point the water stops boiling, you have to start over. You need a CONSECUTIVE 10 minute (or what ever processing time your recipe calls for) boil.
11. After the processing time is done, remove the jars and place them on the towel lined counter. Place additional towels over the jars. This allows them to cool slowly; continuing to release air bubbles. You will start to hear little POPS as the lids invert, letting you know you have a sealed jar! It’s really a cool sound after all that hot steamy work.
If your jars don’t seal after 24 hours, store them in the fridge. You’ll know if they are sealed if the center is pulled in and doesn’t move up and down when you press on it. But don’t test that until after 24 hours, you don’t want to “press” any jar lids down either-that would create a false seal and not shelf stable food.
Canning can sound complicated at first, but don’t be intimidated. At the end of the day, no matter what happens, you’ll have tasty jam, pickles or salsa and you’ll have provided for your family and friends in a way cool old-fashioned method.
1. Set up your work area ahead of time and clean everything.
2. Don’t introduce extreme changes in temperature to your jars (hot food should be packed into hot jars, cold food into cold jars, ect)
3. When in doubt, store it in the fridge or throw it out.
If you are looking for a class on canning, check with your local extension service office. Mine offers several food preservation classes and they are usually at a very reasonable (cheap) price.
Cara Cara Orange and Chili Marmalade
Recipe Type: Canning
Author: Sugar Pickles
Serves: 8-16 jars
2 1/4 lbs cara cara oranges
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
6 cups water
3 dried Habeñero chili peppers (or 6 dried Colorado or New Mexico chili peppers)
9 cups granulated sugar
8 half pint (8oz) glass preserving jars with lids and bands or 16 4oz jars
Scrub oranges well. Slice about 1/8-inch off of stem and blossom ends (discard). Slice oranges in quarters, remove the middle, pithy seam, then slice each quarter in half (or in thirds, if very large) lengthwise. Slice each section cross-wise into thin strips, transferring fruit to a large measuring cup as you go about 6 and 1/2 cups of oranges, trying to capture the juice as you go too.
Combine oranges, lemon zest and juice and water in a large, deep stainless steel saucepan, Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes. Add chili peppers, partially cover and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until fruit is very soft, about 30 minutes. Remove and discard chili peppers.
Meanwhile, prepare boiling water canner (see instructions in post). Get your canner out and place jars in it. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.
Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Maintaining boil, gradually stir in sugar. Boil hard, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches gel stage, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and test gel. If gel stage has been reached, skim off foam.
Ladle hot marmalade into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
Process filled jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
Adapted from http://localkitchenblog.com/2011/02/09/cara-cara-chile-marmalada/[br][br]And http://www.freshpreserving.com/recipes/orange-chili-marmalade
I had a religious experience today. An eye opening moment, when I saw the possibilities of all that could be. I realized that what I’ve been settling for with store bought mayo was so far from what mayonnaise could be, it was a crime. I think Julia Child would roll over in the grave if she had what we are calling mayonnaise today.
Joel has been the mayo maker in the past, but this time I thought I would try my hand at it. This recipe from Katie on The Slice of Life looked so easy and good.
I was really surprised how the texture of the mayonnaise was so much better then when hand whisked. It was firmer and more what you would expect out of mayo, not a little runny like when we have made it before.
For the full recipe and more photos, head over to the Slice of Life blog and check it out.