Saturday, May 31, 2008

Homemade Strawberry Jam


strawbery jam title

I believe that I have waxed sentimental about my enduring affection for jam before… Needless to say, I still loves me some jam and would like to share my recipe for an easy, quick strawberry preserve.

Lemon Ginger Strawberry Jam Recipe
2 pints of fresh strawberries
1 to 1.5 Cups sugar depending on the sweetness of the berries
1 teaspoon fresh, grated ginger
Zest and juice of one lemon
½ teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt

Wash, hull (remove the stem) and place strawberries in a large nonreactive pot and mash with a potato masher.
mashing berries

Add the sugar to the strawberries, place the pot on burner over medium high heat and bring the berries to a boil, stirring frequently.

Add the ginger, lemon, vanilla and salt to the boiling berries and allow the mixture to continue to boil for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

During this time, place a spoon in the freezer. After 20 minutes has passed, place the cold spoon into the mix to see if it has set. The Jam should adhere to the spoon and be fairly thick at this point.

When the jam has thickened, remove from heat and allow it to cool for ten minutes. When the jam has cooled, transfer it to a sterile container, or you know, clean, whatever... this is jam to get us through the next week or so, not the winter.
Additional Thoughts
The vibrancy of homemade jam can’t be matched by a prepackaged version and I think that the addition of lemon and ginger make this recipe just a little bit special.

strawberry Jam on bread

Friday, May 9, 2008

Spicy Asian Pickle Salad

Spicy asian pickle salad

I love homemade pickles but rarely have the patience to wait the full amount of time required for complete pickling. I’ve found that things like thinly sliced cucumbers, sugar snap peas, and bell peppers actually pickle fairly fast and offer a quick fix to my cravings for tangy, vinegary delights.

Quickly pickling thinly sliced vegetables offers instant gratification and my Asian pickle salad is a refreshing treat on a warm summer night.

Spicy Asian Pickle Salad Recipe

Pickling Liquid
¾ Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
¼ Cup Soy Sauce
3 Tablespoons Sugar

1 large shallot sliced thin
2 Carrots, sliced thin
1 English cucumber, seeded, split in two and sliced into ¼” half circles
5 mini sweet peppers, sliced into 1/8” rounds
1 jalapeƱo finely diced

sliced veggies

Combine vinegar, soy sauce and sugar into a small sauce pot and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, combine all of the chopped veggies into a large metal or glass (heat resistant) bowl. When the vinegar solution reaches a boil, reduce the heat until it is lightly simmering and then pour the contents over the sliced veggies.

Cover the veggies in the vinegar solution with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerators for 3 hours. That’s it, you now have a delightfully spicy pickle salad that is great on its own or can be combined with some baby spinach and tossed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Yum!

chopped veggies