Posts Tagged With: Cooking

A Weekly Round-up

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My favorite red sheets bit it this week.  I probably shouldn’t be surprised.  They were a gift for Brian and my first Christmas together, and that means they’re about 14 years old; well used and very washed.  My whale-like pregnant flailings to get myself out of bed to pee in the middle of the night is what did them in.  I split them down the middle.

I bought a replacement set this weekend.  They are VERY red.  And the cotton has a kind of sheen to it that the other set didn’t have.  They aren’t satin, but I feel like maybe I made a mistake.  “Bordello” is not the style I was going for…  Still, they’re comfy.

This kid has started to push on my stomach to see if he can get himself more room.  I can feel his feet pressing slowly outward beneath my belly button.  I looked down the other day when I was getting dressed to find that I have a lovely new set of stretch marks exactly where he’s been pushing on me.  And just about the right width apart to fit a baby foot in between.

I started following Williams Sonoma on Instagram this week, and it’s been torture.  I now want to make all the things, and I’m realizing that cooking is one of the hobbies I miss the most.  I really don’t have the energy to be on my feet that long these days, though.  I settled for buying one of the delicious lumpy pumpkins from Trader Joe’s this weekend.  Last year we kept one through Thanksgiving for decoration, and then I made it into the best pumpkin butter to give for Christmas gifts.  This one is butter-bound too, though right now it looks excellent on my hearth.

Brian bought an electric lawn mower this weekend, and mowed the lawn.  Our previous mower has been broken for a while.  We aren’t sporting a jungle anymore, which is cause for a big “hooray!” I haven’t had the gumption (or ability to bend over) to weed at all, so the yard doesn’t look as nice as I’d like it to.  But it looks a million times better than it used to.  Brian and I might have it sort-of together after all.

That’s mostly it for this week.  We’re at 41 days and counting until this whole motherhood thing becomes real.  I’m already ready.  Too bad this kid isn’t fully baked yet.

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A Week of Education

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I’m just gonna do a general roundup today, because it seems like that sort of a week.

It’s the National Park Service’s 100th birthday today, and admission is free all weekend.  It makes me want to road trip SO BAD.  Joshua Tree is only an hour from us.  It’s supposed to be 93 degrees out, though.  I don’t know.  At this point, temperatures have been over 100 for so much of the summer that 93 seems doable.  We’ll see.

I had a spate of work that was all mindless adding things to the database, and so I was doing it while listening to the On Being podcast.  They’re all amazing, but I want to particularly recommend this one by Ellen Langer.  Mindfulness without meditation?  Amazing.  And her advice on “can we?” vs “how can we?” is also mind-blowing.  This podcast maybe has changed my life.

I made both Apple Lemon Lavender Jam last weekend and Watermelon Jelly.  The apple lemon is a bit tart, and the watermelon didn’t set up correctly, despite all the pectin I added.  But both are tasty, so there’s that.  I’ve made the Apple Lemon before, only with lemon balm instead of lavender, and it’s one of my favorite flavors EVER.  I just think that I should have either soaked the lemon peel or picked a different herb to put it all with.  Or maybe just added more sugar.  Next time.  And I’ve officially invented watermelon syrup – good on ice cream of all kinds. Just don’t try to spread it on any bread (it doesn’t spread, it oozes.  I may also have a B movie in my refrigerator, only time will tell).

The students come back to school in a couple of weeks.  I’m not ready.  Mostly because I haven’t even started my seasonal reading list, and that’s no small task.  I’d better get on it.  Amid all the novel writing and dissecting of my favorite books, of course.  I’m ½ way through the dissection of A Ring of Endless Light by Madeline L’Engle and I feel like it’s so full of stuff I never fully realized yet still felt. I’m in love with all the quotes she uses.

I guess the point of this post (if it has one) is that it’s been a very educational week.  That’s all I have to say on the subject for now.  Have a good weekend.  I’m going to.  How do I know this?  Ellen Langer told me so.

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Colonial Cooking

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I found the Colonial Williamsburg Foodways blog, I think via Pinterest (although I can’t remember now where I found the link through a link).  It’s spurred my thirst for everything historical food.  Which, to be honest, wasn’t that far off to begin with.  I like cooking.  I’m a history major.  It seems like the perfect marriage of hobbies.  I’ve been looking at all sorts of historical food sites, and everything is SO different from our modern recipes.  I mean, I’ve known that food goes through phases of popularity, but I have never seen anyone use heavy spice without adding sugar (for instance), or dealt with that much game. There are savory puddings, oysters in everything, and a penchant for white vegetables, for some reason.

I bought a little pamphlet version of a revolutionary recipes cookbook at the Yorktown Victory Center for the Wassail recipe a few years ago.  Yesterday I tried some of the other recipes in the book.  After that, I’m definitely going to go for some of those Williamsburg recipes.

Martha Washington knew what was up, guys.

I made her Chicken Fricassee, and it’s maybe the best thing I’ve ever cooked ever.  And that’s saying something, since my rack of lamb with sour cherry sauce is something Brian’s still talking about 6 months later.  The chicken here is heavily spiced with nutmeg and cloves in a gravy that’s light, salty, and sweet all at the same time.  Brian took one spoonful of the gravy and told me I was making that for Christmas next year, whether I liked it or not.  I’m seriously dreaming of sailing in to it tonight.

I also made a Sally Lunn bread, which is really half cake, half bread because it has eggs and milk and sugar in it as well as yeast.  It turned out to be this buttery, crusty thing with a soft cakey center, almost not sweet at all.  It was a lot of work – I had to hand-beat it for over 10 minutes – but worth it for special occasions, certainly.  I took a small sliver to taste how it would come out, and then took another small sliver, and then another…

I learned also that the more people who came, the more types of dishes you were supposed to have – up to 18 different items for 15 people dining at your house.  Yikes!  Chicken Fricassee and Sally Lunn are 100% hits, but there are a million others that I’m dying to try.  In the recipe-testing column, are these:

For desert, Syllabub (from the cook book).  But definitely Martha Washington’s spice cake and marzipan hedgehogs.  Those hedgehogs are my FAVORITE thing so far. So cute that I don’t even care if they taste bad.

So, no kitchen disasters yet. And if the best happens, I’ll have a whole slew of fun recipes under my belt for special occasions.  My stomach is looking forward to it, as are my fancy history vibes (don’t ask me what those actually are, I couldn’t tell you).

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Olympic TV Watching

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On our way in to work (yes, we’re sharing a car again… the Cavalier once again bites the dust), I asked Brian what I should write about for the blog entry today.

He told me that I should write about what an awesome husband I have, who picked up and vacuumed the entire downstairs, deep-cleaned the kitchen, and made all the meals for the week.  Which is a true story.  I have a pretty awesome husband.

And then he told me that I should probably just write about the Olympics instead.  So here I (sorta) go:

The Olympics are one of my favorite things.  Mostly because there’s weird sports that you never get to see on TV otherwise, like archery, table tennis, and synchronized diving.  Brian likes it too, although not as much as I do.  We also have a love/hate relationship with TV which makes my love of the Olympics tough to indulge.

13 years ago, Brian and I decided that we wouldn’t get a TV when we moved in with each other.  He felt like the constant din of TV was distracting and the ads annoying, and I felt like my mother had limited TV so much for us growing up that living without it wouldn’t be hard.  That was in the dark ages before Netflix and online streaming, and it turned out to be awful until we expanded our movie collection enough that there was entertainment in the house.  But we did it.  And Netflix then felt like the decadent version of having that vast movie collection.  There are only 3 shows I HAVE to watch, and they are all available via online streaming: Project Runway, This Old House, and The Great British Bake Off.  We have an antenna that used to work well in Claremont but is optimistically sketchy in the new place and really only gets channel 4.  But that’s enough for State Of The Union addresses and Rose Parades.  We make it work.

Why is this better than just shelling out for cable you ask?  Well, it’s cheaper.  But mostly it forces us to be deliberate about what we’re watching.  There isn’t any more horrible family drama on Judge Judy after Heraldo because that’s what’s on the channel and no one changed it.  We consume, yes.  But we consume deliberately.  And wasn’t that what the message of Walden was all about?  Living deliberately?  I’m sure that’s what Thoreau meant…

But I digress.

My point is this: the way NBC has the Olympics locked down is insanity.  There is almost no way to watch the coverage from my place without shelling out for cable.  You can’t even stream it online without a cable account!! Brian and I went on an epic journey on Friday night to buy a Roku, then went back to the store for the HDMI cable we forgot, then set up the thing and realized that even the places that said you could get all public channels in the US for free weren’t offering NBC unless you paid.  So we caved.

It was a frustrating night, to say the least.  But it ended with the two of us on the living room floor in a blanket nest watching the opening ceremonies, so that was alright.  In fact, it was nice.

The thing that tickles me most about this weekend is that I have a wonderful domestic husband who did all the chores while I laid on the couch and watched sports.  We have become the traditional American family, in reverse.  It will all go back to normal in a few weeks, I’m sure.  But in the meantime, I intend to enjoy the irony.  And the Gymnastics.

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Jam, Bread, and RPGs

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I realized I’ve been binge-reading romance novels as comfort books because the news from the Republican Convention has been so depressing.  You know, among other things.

In times of trouble I have to turn to something.  Romance novels and kitchen exploits are my favorite thing to turn to.  The Roger’s Red grape vine has gone crazy on me, and I have a TON of grapes that are dark purple and that right kind of sour.  I’m planning on making grape jam this weekend before the birds can eat all of them, and possibly I’ll try my hand at a loaf or two of wheat bread.  I may even have enough grapes for a REAL, full batch of jam.

I made the tastiest Irish Blaas from scratch last weekend, and my bread-making confidence is all up in the lofty heights of amazingness right now.  It was easy, I just had to wait for rising.  Wheat bread now seems surmountable, even without a stand mixer with a dough attachment.  Kneading for 8-10 minutes?  Good exercise.  We’ll see if I continue to say that after my arms fall off this weekend.  Wheat bread is supposed to be the hard one.  It’s reputably dense if not done right, though I wouldn’t know.

It is 10 days from the end of the month, and I have already spent all of my allotted book budget.  Which means I will have to subsist on rereading like I used to do in the dark ages before there were e-readers.  Can I do it?  I can totally do it.  If nothing else, I have plenty of Kipling on the shelves.  The last time we moved, I was happy for almost a month on a book of his stories.

In other news, we’re starting a new Rippers game on Friday… which means new characters.  Which means new character backgrounds.  I didn’t have the gumption or the time to make it as much of a short story as the last character, but I felt like the one I came up with was fairly clever.  I’m working on all the short stories, but I don’t think anything is good enough to share currently.  So in its stead, you can read a few paragraphs about Meg Hews.

She’s got a signature weapon that I’ve named “Carrie” after Carrie Nation – the gal that used to go into saloons with an axe and break stuff (including people).  She was very anti-liquor and a little bit insane.  Badass women for the win.

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Photo by Caelkriss on Deviant Art – click picture to link.

Meg Hews:

There is an old assumption that men whose wives die in childbed visit their grief on their children, but Margaret Hews never found that to be the case.  Her father was a jolly man with a quick smile, a firm sense of duty, and a black-and-white view of the word.  He was never sad.  When her mother died he just raised her at the Pinkerton office, and when Uncle Charlie complained, Dad said it was Meg or him. Charlie knew Dad was too good an agent to lose.

Dad let her scramble around his desk and crumple up old newspapers, teaching her to shoot a BB gun at the tender age of 5, and leaving her with Uncle Charlie whenever he had to go out on a job.  Uncle Charlie voiced his dismay, but eventually he shrugged it off and taught Meg to play poker with licorice pipes for winnings.

Dad was against her taking the badge, of course.  But she wasn’t fit for anything else when she grew up. She wasn’t demure enough for the boys who wanted a gentlewoman and her housekeeping skills were atrocious.  She refused to learn to type.  The only thing she could do was shoot straight and spy a lie from a mile off.  Pinkerton Agent it was.

It would be easiest to make her way in an office where everyone didn’t call her Meggie or remember that one year where she executed all her dolls for murder and subsequently burned them at the stake in the metal office trash cans.  Embarrassing.

So when a spot opened up at the St. Louis office, Meg made Uncle Charlie pull strings to get her in.

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Adventures in Canning

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I did a bunch of canning yesterday, and I am feeling right now like it was mostly a bust.  I had intended to make Harlequin Conserve, Tomato Sauce, and Tomato soup.  I was hoping to get, oh… 3 quart-sized jars of spaghetti sauce, 6 pints of tomato soup, and a bunch of conserve.  What I ended up with was NOT worth the time it all took.

Because that was the thing… I bought 10 lbs of tomatoes and ended up with 2 pints of tomato soup and 2 ½ pints  of tomato sauce.  It also took all day.  I started at 11:00 am and didn’t finish until about 9:00 pm.  After all of that, I still have to water bath the tomato sauce tonight.  I’m a very tired kid this morning.  The entire kitchen would have been sticky if Brian hadn’t been the best husband ever and cleaned up for me.

I got a ton of Harlequin Conserve though… (which is oranges, orange peel, plenty of pineapple, some slivered almonds and plenty of sugar all boiled until it jelled just a bit.  It’s like a pulpy thick syrup.  Best thing ever).  And that tomato soup is damn good.  Sweet like the Campbell’s version but so much more robust in flavor.

So, the ultimate results are this: I don’t think I would make the tomato sauce again.  It’s time (and tomato) consuming, it wasn’t much better than the stuff you buy at the store, and it was more expensive.  We just don’t use enough tomato sauce in this house for it to be worth all that effort.  I would definitely consider doing the tomato soup again, but only in a gigantic batch to balance the time/enjoyment of soup ratio a little more.  The harlequin conserve is my new obsession.  It wasn’t any harder than jam is, and it’s SO GOOD.

Brian looked at me at the end of the night and said “I now get why people don’t do this anymore.”

I mean, I do too.  But I also had a good time.  There will be further canning in my future.  Tonight, as a matter of fact (smh).

PS – One of the things that fascinates me as a Historian is the sounds and smells that we, as modern people, just don’t experience anymore.  The stuff that was familiar that is no longer familiar.  I felt a little gleeful every time a jar sealed properly with a metallic pop.

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Just Birthday Things

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I feel like I have not had a break in ages, although all the things I’m not getting a break from are fun and/or relaxing.  My birthday adventure turned out to be a trip to Big Bear (!!!).  It was hot up there, but not nearly as hot as it was in Redlands (which reached 103, I believe).  SUCH a good idea.  Brian and I wore ourselves out hiking in the morning, and then decided that we did not want to venture out for dinner.  Instead, I cooked ribs and artichokes on the grill in our little condo, and they turned out AMAZING.  Brian made me a Funfetti cake, which is my favorite, and we rented a movie.  On day 2, we visited the Big Bear Museum – best thing EVER! – and then loafed around until it was probably time to come home and get ready for the week.

I am now frantically trying to get all the laundry done before I have to pack for Massachusetts.  I ran all the errands for Dramamine and gum last night, the turmeric cooking stain has come out of my white pants, and I have an official packing list.  So I’m feeling pretty accomplished.  I mostly just have to put things in suitcases at this point.  We’re going to take the train into LAX on Friday morning, which will make our trip out an epic journey.  But by some miracle, our flight is direct.  Crazy, right?

I am so thrilled to be going.  I don’t get to see that side of the family nearly enough.  Plus Plimoth Plantation.  My love for that place is embarrassing in its effulgence, so I try to keep it cool.  Which, of course, never works.

I am excited for a fairly free weekend upon returning, too.  At Brian’s grandfather’s 90th birthday, a cousin of his brought a large manila envelope filled with canning books.

“Does anyone can?” she asked.

“Casey does!” said Brian.

I tried to protest that, because I wasn’t officially a blood member of the family, if anyone else wanted them they had first dibs.  But it seemed no one else did.  When I opened the envelope later, it was this treasure trove of amazingness.  There are instructions from the 1970s on how to make a home fruit dryer.  There is a cookbook from the 1950s that is full of how to can meats and vegetables, complete with revolting recipes in the back telling you what to do with all that canned meat.  There are clippings from the newspaper with recipes for lye soaps.  But my favorite is the cookbook from the 1940s.  It extolls the virtues of canning for Victory (yes, with a capital V), and informs you that the wide-mouth jars best for fruit preparations are unavailable in wartime, but that you should look out for them afterward.

Minted pears, fruit leather, chutneys made from oranges and pineapple, tomato sauce, chicken soup, olives… it’s all in there.  Anything you can think of wanting, and several things you never would have thought of but must have immediately.  I got SO excited.

The only problem? I didn’t really have the equipment.  The pot I have is smallish, fine for ½ pint jars, but no good for the big ones.  The water wouldn’t cover them all the way.  I also didn’t own a jar lifter to grab them out of the boiling water.  I sighed, and figured I would buy a jar lifter and some small jars and see what I could do with what I had.

Brian fixed all of that with my birthday gift.  I now have ALL THE THINGS, a nice big pot with a rack that fits perfectly in the bottom, a small spatula with a ruler on the end so I can measure headspace easily, a magnetic lid placer, a lid tightener, a jar lifter, a super wide mouthed funnel… even extra jars.  There is nothing I’m wanting.  There will be no “making due,” because I have it all.

The only problem I see now is what to do with all the copious quarts of yummy things I’m going to have in jars around the house.  That is, however, a problem I’m willing to tackle.  With a spoon.

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All Things Easter

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I always commit to do too many things on Easter.  Why Easter and no other holidays I’m not entirely sure, but I think it’s because of that extra day when I know I’ll be off.  I keep thinking that I will be able to churn out food in epic proportions. I inevitably fall short.  Except that this year, I didn’t.  Much thanks to Brian, who was willing to chop strawberries, cover cookie sheets in tinfoil, and do all of my dishes multiple times so I never ran out of clean measuring cups.

I made 1 tried and true recipe and 2 new kinds of pie.

The Lemon Meringue is a recipe of Brian’s Grandma Tess, and the filling is divine, tart, and lemony.  I am still working out the meringue on top.  It wants either to sweat, or have a weird layer of candy-flavored water in between the eggs and the filling.  I’m told that Grandma Tess was also never completely happy with the meringue, so I know the struggle is real.  But it’s never not tasty, and taste is all that matters when you’re feeding people who have to love you because you’re related.

Which is why I also experimented with a couple of new pies.  I’ve been looking for a good berry pie recipe for a VERY long time now.  The family could not believe I made this one with frozen berries, and insisted that everyone try it despite whether they wanted pie or not.  Definitely a keeper and worth perfecting.  The third pie I made (I know…) was a fresh strawberry.  That one also turned out to be a hit, though I’m not sure how much I can claim credit for that.  Mother Nature made me some REALLY good strawberries.

As if that wasn’t enough, I also made molasses ginger cookies for Brian’s Grandpa (who requested them), and deviled eggs.

We never got to eat the Lemon Meringue.  I usually hold it in my lap for any drives, to keep the pretty caramelized top from getting mussed.  A slow driver pulled out in front of Brian.  He slammed on the breaks.  The slippery glass pie pan slid out of my hands, hit the dashboard, then the floor, and the filling flew out of its pan and onto the dirty carpet.  When we scooped as much of it as we could back into the dish, it was not only a travesty of a jumble of crumb crust and gelled filling, it was also speckled with little bits of black dirt all through.  Ugh.

I have found, though, that there is nothing like determination in making sure you have a good day.  My dad donated us the ½ of his Mud Pie that his side the family didn’t eat, which I took to my mom’s as a (super-yummy) substitute. I made copious fun of my busted pie, and then I felt alright about it all.  Besides, it wasn’t for nothing.  I learned that cold pie + room temperature egg whites = weird candy water layer between. That will be useful next year, despite not having tasted any of it.  I also learned that I had cooked the mixture right – it all set up to the perfect consistency.  Another tidbit for next time.

In other totally non-related news, I have been going on with the Steering The Craft exercises, and have written an Easter one, which I’m going to post below.  This one was supposed to be a story where the 1st part repeated the 2nd part, and it’s not actually historically accurate at all, so please forgive me.

Easter:

Aradegi took the reed basket down from the niche in the corner of her mud-walled home.  She laid some leaves in the bottom of it, and on top of that she put the eggs she had climbed the trees to get.  One of the birds had swooped down and pecked, but she had managed to put them in her pockets and shimmy back down the rough branches with all of them still intact.  There were six, speckled and green, in her hands when she took them out.  One for each month Eostre would spend in their world.  Perfect.

She kissed the eggs and laid them on the wide green leaves.  She filled the gaps of the basket with flowers. She laid the fresh offering near her door.  Tomorrow, Aradegi would take her basket to the standing stones and watch the dawn rise over the foothills to greet them.  She would offer her basket and Eostre would come and melt the snow.

#

Jane took the baskets down from the top shelf of the hall closet, trying not to trip on the haphazard pile of shoes beneath.  In the back, behind the coats, were the plastic shopping bags of pipe cleaner chickens, paper grass, and plastic eggs.  One by one, she cracked the eggs open and filled them with green speckled candies made of malt.

She arranged the things in the bright baskets so that the children would see the toys first thing.  She laid the offering on the coffee table downstairs.  Tomorrow the children would be up at dawn, waking Jane with a jump into her bed, squealing.  They would all go into the living room to see what the Easter Bunny had brought them, and then they would drive to Grandma’s in the snow.

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Jams:

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I have been in a reading slump (since I finished The Oregon Trail last weekend), and things have otherwise not been very exciting around here.  I have, however, been cranking out the word count.  I’ve started editing my second novel so that when I get so annoyed with the first one that I could spit, I have something totally different to turn to.  Both have been progressing nicely, although the almost finished novel is going better than the other.  Mostly because I don’t know where I’m taking the other yet (it seems to be totally different than the first draft indicated it would be).

Brian and I ran around all weekend in LA.  He had a work thing, and we had a party that night, and in the mean time we hung out at Gamehaus Café, ate pear/honey paninis, and played board games.  It was quite lovely, actually.  I was worried about driving around in LA because it was supposedly the weekend of the “Slow Jam,” meaning that tons of things were shut down and traffic was supposed to be horrible.

It wasn’t that bad, at all.  But speaking of jams…

The thing I’m most proud of this week is my latest round of fruit jam.  Brian and I have been looking into saving money via the food we’re buying and eating each week, and $5.00 for a jar of jam seems so steep when I can make 5 jars for about $10 or less.  I spent about $10 on things this time, but probably will spend less next time, as there’s plenty of pectin left over in the cupboard.  The bonus of making my own stuff is that I get to go with funky flavors.  The Persimmon Cinnamon jam I made at Christmas time turned out great, although it was my first round at jam and too runny.  It’s all gone now, so I needed to make something else.

When I left Scripps, they gifted me a lovely jar of jam that was Apple Lemon Verbena flavored.  But it was bad for PBJs because the apples were cut into large chunks and you couldn’t spread it.  It was great on vanilla ice cream, though, and amazing alone with a spoon (don’t judge me).  So that meant I was going to rip it off for my latest jam.  Bonus points because I had about a TON of small apples that Brian and I didn’t get to in time that were looking a little wrinkly.  Not so appetizing.  But mushed up with a ton of sugar?  Yum!

I also looked everywhere for Verbena, but didn’t find any.  Home Depot did have some Lemon Balm, though, that I thought might be as good.  It certainly smelled excellent.  So my jam is Apple Lemon Balm.  Here’s the recipe.

Apple Lemon Balm Jam:

  • 1 large bag of tiny apples – any kind, but sweet is better
  • 2 large lemons
  • 3/4 tablespoons of lemon balm, chopped (or any herb you think goes well with lemon and apple)
  • 4 tablespoons Powdered Pectin
  • 4 cups sugar

Core, peel, and chop the apples into fairly large chunks.  Put in a saucepan and cook at medium/low heat until some juices release and apples are soft.  While the apples are stewing, juice the 2 lemons and set aside.  Throw lemon peels into a food processor and pulse until the peel is in small pieces/pulpy.  Reserve 1 cup of this mixture.

Once the apples are soft, toss those into the food processor and pulse until they are also pulpy – just slightly chunkier than applesauce.  Reserve 3 cups of apples.  You can do the fruit in any quantity, as long as you end up having 4 cups of it.  So if you’re a little shy on the apples, throw in some more lemon peel…

Put the apples, the lemon rind, the lemon balm, and the lemon juice back into the saucepan you stewed the apples in.  Add pectin and bring the mixture to a boil.  Boil for about 1 minute, and then add the sugar in slowly.  Boil another minute or 2, until mixture is thick and glossy. Don’t forget to taste it and add more sugar as needed.

If you’re unsure how thick your jam is just by stirring it, feel free to dip a spoon in it and let the jam cool on the spoon for a few seconds.  It should give you a heavy coating that reminds me of glue.  I think a little more solid is better than a little runny, so I err on the side of too firm.  You’ll know once you’ve done this a few times, but trust your gut and know that it will be tasty no matter what you do.  Once you’ve reached your desired consistency, pour that jam into jars and seal them up.

At this point, you have 2 choices.  You can put it all through a water canning bath and your jam will be good for a year or so.  Or you can just pop them in the fridge and make sure to use them within the month.  I go with option 2 because I’m lazy.  And because we eat a lot of jam in this house.

So there you go.  That’s my weekly accomplishment, and now it can be yours.  If you’re willing to wash sticky dishes, that is.  I promise it’s worth it.

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Turkeys On Time

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My father is the cook in the family. We force him into making his supernaturally fluffy omelets whenever we get the chance. With cheese, bacon, and avocado please. It’s ruined me for diner omelets. His creamed corn recipe is well renowned and a staple at all the fancy dinner occasions (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter…). He wears a white chef coat, brandishes a spatula, and yells bloody murder at everyone to get out of my grandfather’s small kitchen. Except me, because I stuff myself into a tiny corner and hand him things he needs. It’s a good arrangement. I don’t mind being yelled at when it’s all in fun.

For Christmas, my father has a perfect Turkey recipe and prides himself on getting it to the table ON TIME.

Brian and I did the turkey for Christmas dinner this year at our new place. And by “Brian and I,” I mean Brian. I assisted by giving good moral support, not looking too close at the dead bird on the counter, ignoring the neck completely, and deciding on the times to put things in the oven. Turkeys creep me out, and Brian is a champ.

The bird was an hour and a half late. It took just a little extra time than I expected to cook, but I forgot things like resting and carving when I told Brian when it absolutely had to go in.

It was a lovely day, it really was. And the bird was delicious. Everyone kept patting me on the back and telling me how they weren’t too hungry anyway as breakfast had been such a big meal. But I brandished my new wooden spoon in my fancy Christmas apron and felt that sinking feeling when the time stretched forward and still the bird wasn’t done. I had violated the ON TIME stipulation. I was my own pet-peeve.

In other news, who knew that cooking Christmas dinner could be so exhausting? Brian did the Turkey, but I did the potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and 2 kinds of cranberry sauce. And I expedited. I spent a weary Friday wondering if I would do it all again, but by Saturday I knew I gladly would. We are still eating (tasty, tasty) leftovers. The house feels infinitely more like home now that we have some good Christmas memories in it. It was a good holiday. But next year, I will get that turkey to the table when I SAY it will be on the table.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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