Saturday, June 30, 2012

Heat in the Kitchen

On one of the hottest days of the year (been in the triple digits for 2 days), I decide to heat up the kitchen. I have never made jelly before and tried it earlier this week with some blackberries and apples. Turned out beautifully. Some leftover blackberries were crying out to be made into some more jelly this afternoon.
The recipe called for apple juice from fresh apples. I didn't have any more apples so after researching using bottled juice, I gave it a try. The end result was wonderful. 
Blackberry Apple Jelly (adapted from Taste of Home Canning magazine)
2 1/2 quarts blackberries
1 1/4 cup water
Bottled apple juice
1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
8 cups sugar
2 pouches liquid pectin

1.In large pot, bring blackberries and water to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 5 minutes. Line strainer with four layers of cheesecloth and place over a bowl. Place berry mixture in strainer and let it drain for 30 minutes. Discard the pulp.
2. Measure the blackberry juice and add enough apple juice to equal 4 cups.
3. Return juice to pot and add lemon juice and sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin and return to full rolling boil. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly.
4. Remove from heat, skim off foam and carefully ladle into hot sterilized jars leaving 1/4 headspace. Wipe rims and adjust lids. Process for 5 minutes in a water bath.

And then for supper I decide to fry some corn fritters. What was I thinking? Apparently, the heat has damaged my thinking. 


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jammin' Good Time

We be jammin' in this kitchen.

Blueberry Lime Jam (from
4 ½ cups blueberries
1 pkg dry pectin
5 cups sugar
1/3 cup lime juice

1. In a pan crush blueberries one layer at a time.
2. Add pectin and stir.
3. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
4. Add sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
5. Stir in lime juice.
6. Return to a rolling boil and boil for one minute. Stir constantly.
7. Ladle into hot jars, add rings and seals.
8. Process 15 minutes in hot water bath.

Peach Raspberry Jam (from Taste of Home Canning and Preserves Magazine)
2 2/3 cups crushed peaches
1 1/2 cups crushed raspberries
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon bottled lemon juice
1. In large pan, combine all ingredients. 
2. Cook over low heat until sugar dissolves and mixture is bubbly, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
3. Bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 15 minutes, stirring constantly.
4. Remove from the heat, skim off foam and ladle into jars. Add rings and seals.
5. Process 15 minutes in hot water bath.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Three of Many Reasons Why I Love Summer

1) Fresh veggies

2) Fresh fruits and

3) Cooking with fresh vegetables/fruit like this yummy recipe:

Summer Vegetable Skillet

2 or 3 ears corn, removed from cob
1 tomato, chopped
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
Fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 or 3 zucchini squash, chopped 
Parmesan cheese

1. Mix together corn, tomato, basil and Italian seasoning. Set aside. 
2. Sauté the onion, green pepper, mushrooms and garlic until tender.
3. Add the zucchini and cook until tender.
4. Add the corn mixture and cook until done.
5. Top with Parmesan cheese.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer Flowers

“In joy or sadness flowers are our constant friends."
Kakuzo Okakura

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Homemade Bread

There is something about making bread that makes my heart skip a beat. 

The aroma of the yeast as it forms the starter, 
the rising of the dough,
the kneading and forming of the loaves or rolls, 

the smell of the bread baking in the oven. 
It's the whole process of making the bread that I love. 
Of course, I have to admit that the bonus of baking bread is its taste, appearance and texture. fresh bread with Happy Cow butter and homemade jam!

Ciabatta Rolls (adapted from King Arthur Flour)

1 1/2 cups flour plus 3 cups flour
1 cup cool water
a pinch of yeast plus 2 teaspoons yeast
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
2/3 cup lukewarm water
3 tablespoons olive oil

1. Mix 1 1/2 cups flour, water, and pinch of yeast in a large bowl until well combined. Cover and let it rest at room temperature overnight. It will become bubbly.
2. Add the remaining ingredients to the mixture and beat at medium speed for 7 minutes. The dough will be very smooth and soft.
3. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, cover it, and let it rise for 2 hours, deflating it midway through. 
4. Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly greased work surface. Divide the dough in to 12 pieces. Roll into balls and flatten into disks. Transfer to baking sheets leaving about 3 inched apart.
5.  Cover the rolls with oiled plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2 or 3 hours.
6. Bake 425 until golden brown. 



Saturday, June 09, 2012

Interest in Pinterest

Like so many others on the Internet, I have a huge interest in pinning on Pinterest. Now that I am on summer break, I am trying some of the many recipes pinned on my "recipe" board. Must say that the first one I tried is definitely a winner especially with the cherry tomatoes ready for picking.

A little olive oil, slice onions, cherry tomatoes and sugar

gives you a wonderful topping for buttermilk chicken.

Buttermilk Chicken with Sweet Tomato Relish (adapted from Your Homebased Mom)

    Buttermilk Chicken
    4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded to about 1/2 inch thick
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 cup flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon pepper
    4 Tablespoons vegetable oil 
    1. Pound chicken breasts until about 1/2 inch thick.
    2. Marinade in buttermilk for 1 hour.
    3. Combine flour, salt and pepper into a shallow dish.
    4. Remove chicken from buttermilk and dip into flour, turning to coat both sides.
    5. Heat oil in large pan and add chicken.
    6. Cook chicken on both sides until cooked through.
    7. Top and serve with sweet tomato relish.
    Sweet Tomato Relish
    2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
    1/2 cup sweet onion, sliced 
    2 tablespoons brown sugar 
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
    2 Tablespoons olive oil 

    1. Heat olive oil in pan.
    2. Add sliced onion and cherry tomatoes. Saute for a few minutes.
    3. Add in sugar and Italian seasoning. Stir and simmer until thickened.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

It Must Be Summer!

What can I say....
Flowers are blooming!

The grill is fired up!

The Gamecocks are playing in the NCAA Baseball Super Regionals!

 The blueberries are ready to be picked!
 The tomatoes and melons are ripening!

It must be summer! And time to try a refreshing summer salad.

Mint Watermelon Salad with Feta adapted from The Shika in the Kitchen

Small seedless watermelon, chilled
½ cup olive oil
3 limes, juiced
1 ½ teaspoon salt
¾ black pepper
1 cup fresh mint, chopped
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

1. Cut watermelon into 1 inch chunks. Allow to drain in a colander as you cut up the watermelon.
2. In small bowl, combine olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper and mint.
3. Pour dressing over watermelon and gently toss.
4. Gently add feta cheese.