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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wedding Shower Jam Favors

One of my lovely market customers is getting married up in Pennsylvania!  I am so excited to be a part of her shower.  Her Mom placed an order with me to create her favors using a Pear theme.   I took a photo of the finshed product for you to see above.  I made two batches of organic spiced pear butter and custom-labeled each jar with Jessica's Bridal Shower and the Date. 


This is a photo of the first wedding favors that I created for my fellow foodie and blogger Kasey Fleisher!  I was so honored to be a part of her special wedding in the Napa Valley.  Her blog is called Eating / SF.  She picked some wonderful flavors, the one pictured above is Black Forest Jam a mixture of fresh blackberries, callebaut chocolate and chambord.

Balsamic Fig Jam

This recipe is inspired by Christine Ferber.  When Figs are in season in Florida, I rush to can this beautiful jam for the winter months ahead.  The preparation is simple as this jam is macerated overnight to allow the figs to absorb the sugar and lemon and turn the most amazing and beautiful purple color in your bowl.


2.5 lbs fresh figs (I love mission or turkey)
1.75 lbs granulated sugar
Juice of one medium lemon (1/8 cup)
1 Vanilla Bean (split)

Added the following day:  2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
                                           1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper


Rinse the figs, slice them into smallish bite size pieces.   Place the figs in a non-reactive bowl or container and mix with sugar and lemon and vanilla bean.  Place this container in the fridge overnight or at least for 6 hours. When you take it out, you will have a beautiful purpleish mixture.

Pour this mixture into your preserving pan.  At this time you can also prepare your jars in the water bath canner.  This fruit should yield about 5 eight oz jars.  Add the balsamic vinegar and pepper to the mixture.  Bring the mixture up to the boil and cook for at least 5 minutes, probably no longer than 10 depending on the width of your preserving pan.  The mixture will get beautifully thick on your spatula and that is how you know it is ready for your jars.  If you do not feel confident, place a plate in the freezer, take a teaspoon of the jam from the preserving pot and place on the cold plate.  Put back in freezer for a moment, take the plate out and "push" the jam with your finger, if it wrinkles,  it is ready!  Remove the vanilla bean from the mixture and ladle into your sterlized jars.   Place in your waterbath and boil for 12 minutes to be on the safe side.

This jam is fabulous with sharp cheeses.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sand Pear Chutney

I was so excited to find out that my friend Kristi's Grandfather has two huge Sand Pear Trees in his yard in Lake Mary which is the next little town over from Longwood.   This is the only variety that grows in Central Florida and is similar to an Asian Pear, but has a lovely grain to it and is bursting with pear flavor.  She has brought me about 50 pounds of them so far, and I developed this recipe to make a delightful chutney that pairs beautifully with cheese, pork, fish or chicken.  This recipe was inspired by one that I found in one of my favorite books called Small-Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp & Margaret Howard. The prep time on this is about 45 minutes and the cooking time is about 60 to 75  minutes.


6 lbs Peeled and Chopped Pears (1/4 inch cubes)
2 lbs Chopped Tomatoes (I used Plum, grape would be nice too)
2 lbs Chopped Peaches
1 cup Thompson Raisins
2 lbs Brown Sugar
5  cups Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp Ground Chili Flakes
1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp fresh ground cloves
2 oz Crystallized Ginger Chopped Fine


I have a 13 qt  Le Creuset Dutch Oven that I use for this recipe.  The mixture cooks down quite a bit, but if you use a smaller pot, you will have splatters everywhere.   Chutney is so simple in that you can bung all the ingredients in the pot at one time, give it a few huge stirs and set the fire going.  Bring this up to a boil and then turn the heat down a bit for a hard simmer.  Let this cook down until nice and thick.  This should take anywhere from 60 to 75 minutes depending on how hard you let this boil.  Stir at least every 10 minutes to ensure that nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot.   You will be left with a gorgeous, sweet chutney that takes so much of its color from the tomatoes.  The yield on this is about fourteen 8 oz jars.  Plenty for your winter larder! 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Roasted Pepper Tagaliarelle & Tuna

The sun is just starting to peek out into the screenroom, the sprinklers are humming, it is going to be another beautiful, productive day in my kitchen.  I wanted to share a quick and simple recipe with you here that is perfect for these warm summer nights.  The recipe makes use of several items you will already have in your pantry.  I like to use a Tagliarelle Pasta and I have found this brand from Cipriani to be consistently delicious and it cooks in 3 minutes which is even nicer!  This recipe was inspired from a recipe in an old Willams and Sonoma catalog.


2 Tbsp Canola Oil (or Olive Oil if you prefer)
2 Shallots, peeled and chopped finely
4 Fresh Basil Leaves, folded and cut finely
1/4 cup Pickled Peppers chopped finely (see recipe further back in blog)
Zest and Juice of one large lemon
1 can high-quality solid pack tuna, broken into bite size pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper to suit your taste (sea salt is gorgeous with this)
1 8.82 oz Box of Tagliarelle (or pasta of your choice)

Get your stock pot out and begin to boil salted water for your Tagliarelle, wait until the very end to place the pasta in to boil.
In a large saute pan, add the canola oil, bring up to temperature and add the shallots, cook until they are translucent.  Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, chopped basil, tuna and your pickled peppers.  Heat this until warm and then cover and hold.  As long as the water is boiling, you can add your tagliarelle pasta, stirring gently to avoid sticking.  Cook this for 3 minutes and drain off.  Add the pasta to the saute pan and heat through.  Add salt and pepper to taste at this time.
This will make 3 servings or 4 smaller servings if you are going to add a fabulous dessert!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Southern Pickled Peaches

Stone fruits are the theme for this week's SummerFest 2010!  I have 12 lbs of strawberries to slice and macerate, two flats of raspberries to process, and 4 lbs of watermelon rind brining, but what could be better than contributing a little bit of heaven to the world wide web.....This recipe has been adapted from Linda Ziedrich's, "The Joy of Pickling".

These peaches are bestsellers at my Farmer's Market stand.  I hope you will enjoy making and eating them too.  These make a wonderful side dish, perfect for your holiday ham and condiment.  You can even use for dessert.

                                                            Pickled Peaches

6 lbs Pitted and Sliced Peaches
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1 tsp Allspice Berries
1/2 Tsp whole cloves
2 oz of fresh ginger sliced thinly
3 cups sugar
4 cups cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups water
1 tsp citric acid (optional, but helps retain color)

Sterilize nine 16 oz jars your water bath canner per your canning book directions (you might jars left over depending on how tight you pack the peaches).  In a large non-reactive dutch oven, combine the sugar, water, vinegar and all of the spices above, reserving the ginger to place inside your jars.  Bring this mixture up to the boil and then turn down the fire and simmer for 10 minutes or so.   Take out your sterlized jars and layer the sliced peaches with the fresh ginger alternately, press down to get all that you can into the jars as the fruit will shrink up after processing.  Ladle the hot vinegar mixture into each jar, working hard to evenly distribute the spices between the jars.  Process these in the water bath canner for 12 minutes.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Farm Fresh Egg Omelet, the perfect summer dinner!

The summer in central Florida is pretty toasty and humid, and after a long day at the kitchen canning and prepping, sometimes I just can't face making dinner.   Omelets just hit the spot for me.  Their ease, their lightness and pure deliciousness are so comforting.  You can combine different staple pantry items to make unique combinations that are healthy and provide the balance you need after a hard day's work.  Here is a simple idea for mid-week supper.  I have used pickled peppers to dress up this omelet and give it some zip.

Pickled Pepper Omelet

6 Farm Fresh Eggs
1 Tsp Water
Pinch Kosher Salt
1/8 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
1/2 cup Pickled Peppers

Heat a 10 inch skillet, adding 1 tsp canola oil and 1 tsp fresh butter.  Beat the eggs in a bowl adding 1 tsp water and salt and pepper.  Beat until fluffy.   Add the 1/2 cup of pickled peppers (recipe provided previously!).  Pour this into a prepared hot skillet, moving peppers around to distribute evenly.  Cook gently until the sides pull away and flip over in your skillet.  You can get two or three servings out of this recipe, depending on how hungry you are!  Serve with fresh tomato and wheat toast on the side. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ah....Pickled Peppers....

I love pickled peppers, I didn't even know how much I loved pickled peppers until I started to make them for the market.  Here they are pictured on my backyard table, all ready to be labeled and subsequently sold and eaten....YUM.    I've had a really amazing week in terms of new accounts, new business, new relationships and wonderful customers.  I am working so hard to trust in the process and my products.  I am giving you my general recipe to work with here, each time I have made this I seem to have tons of brine left over (to pickle other things with!).  I hope you will enjoy this recipe.  If you don't have anything else you want to pickle, feel free to cut the brine in half.

4 Cups Cider Vinegar
2 cups Water
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Kosher Salt
20 Large Peppers, I mix Red and Green
3 medium cloves of garlic (chopped fine)

The first thing you must do is roast the peppers.  I use a silpat and a 1/2 sheet pan.  Turn the oven on to 400, roast the peppers for 20 minutes and then turn them over and roast for an additional 20 minutes.    As soon as you take them from the oven, place them in a large bowl (or 2) and cover with foil.  Let them steam for at least 30 minutes.  Now you can go back and remove the skins easily.  After you remove the skins, open them and de-seed them.  Continue on to slice the peppers, I do them about 1/4 wide and 1 inch long.  Place these in a bowl and prepare your hot water bath canner.  You can make 8 oz or 16 oz jars--the yield is about 6 16 oz jars for this amount of peppers.  Sterlize the jars by boiling in the canner for at least 12 minutes. In the meantime, in a dutch oven, pour the vinegar, salt and sugar in and bring them up to simmer, then you can shut the flame.   Peel the garlic cloves and chop them finely.  Remove the jars from the water bath and fill with peppers and bits of garlic.  Pour the vinegar mixture over the peppers and seal each jar.  Process the jars in the canner for 15 minutes.  Take them out and listen for the lids to seal.  These taste amazing!  You should try to wait at least a day before sampling.  Enjoy!