Archive for ◊ July, 2010 ◊

31 Jul 2010 Fresh Strawberry Jam (3 ingredients, no pectin)

Has it been a week since I posted a recipe? Argghhhhh. I hate, hate, hate being laid up. I want to walk! When I get up from this chair, things are going to change. I will swim, I will work out, I will walk…and I will cook and post and maybe(!) start cleaning again. Having a broken ankle is soooo NOT fun. My heart goes out to all of you who have had to go through stuff like this before. I’m in a relatively minor pickle and have a lot of help and just listen to me whine…

Thank goodness I have a lot of recipes and a daughter willing to cook her way through them all while I sit on the sidelines. She’s even turned out to be good little food photographer! She decided it was time to make strawberry jam.

We have a strawberry delivery person in our neighborhood. He first knocked on my door pulling strawberries in a rickety Red Flyer wagon. Now he drives a fancy van. He used to just bring strawberries. Now he brings strawberries, mangoes and oranges. The only problem is…, he brings flats of strawberries and mangoes and 25 lb bags of oranges. I always buy what he has and then I have to start cooking. He knocked early last week so we’ve had Strawberry Volcanoes, Strawberry Cake, Chocolate-Strawberry Pie (not yet posted) and, with the leftover less-than-perfect strawberries, Fresh Strawberry Jam.

I found this recipe in a Cooking Light magazine. I am not sure of the date or the year, but it was probably about 4 or 5 years ago. I usually make a double batch of this, and then store 1/2 cup portions in the freezer. I just loooove hot buttered toast with Fresh Strawberry Jam. By making this when strawberries are at their tastiest, juiciest best, I can enjoy the taste of the best strawberries all winter long!

Fresh Strawberry Jam

4 cups sliced strawberries
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Combine strawberries and sugar in a medium saucepan, and bring to simmer over medium high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 1 hour or until thick (if you are doubling the batch, this step may take an additional 30 to 45 minutes), stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, and let cool to room temperature. Makes approx. 2 cups. Can be stored in a covered container in refrigerator for up to one month. For longer storage, freeze.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Stop by again in January for some hot buttered toast with Fresh Strawberry Jam (I’ve put some away in the freezer just for us)!

27 Jul 2010 Strawberry Volcanoes

Everyone is making chocolate covered strawberries now. Everyone. Sooooo…, it’s time for us to move onto Strawberry Volcanoes! Just look at that picture! Am I right, or am I right?! I saw a picture of Strawberry Volcanoes on TasteSpotting a few weeks ago and knew then this was the direction in which to move. Their picture was one of strawberries filled with freshly whipped cream, but I wanted something that would hold up longer on a dessert buffet. I decided to fill the strawberries with a cream cheese dip that I have made and served with strawberries for, hmmm…, at least a few decades. I loved the name “Strawberry Volcanoes”, so I am keeping THAT. The recipe below is just a guide. Dip your strawberries in a favorite chocolate and then fill with a favorite filling. Go for it! Create your own, “signature” Strawberry Volcanoes! You can start with my version or just make them like this all the time (like I am going to do)!

Strawberry Volcanoes

Adjust the quantities to fit the number of volcanoes you want to make. Don’t worry, though, leftovers of any component should not be a problem! ( Leftover chocolate? Stir in toasted coconut, raisins and/or nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Let chocolate harden and snack! Leftover dip? Get more strawberries and dip them in it, or use as a filling for a cake or cupcakes. Leftover strawberries? Just eat, or freeze for a smoothie later.)

About 48 very large, very ripe strawberries
1 12 oz. package chocolate chips or a favorite large chocolate bar (you’ll need at least 6 oz.) Any kind of chocolate will work … milk, dark or white.

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla

Wash strawberries and remove the green stem and leaves. If necessary, slightly slice the strawberry so it has a nice flat bottom and sits nicely on a platter. Let dry on paper towels.

While strawberries are drying, make the filling. With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the sugar, sour cream, and vanilla until smooth and creamy (no lumps). Transfer the mixture to a large Ziploc bag or a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Line a tray big enough to hold all strawberries with wax paper and set aside.

A few hours before serving time, melt chocolate or chocolate bar in the microwave on 50% power. (You might only need 1/2 the bag of the chips, you can start with that if you want and then melt more as you go, or melt the whole bag, up to you.) First, set the microwave oven for two minutes on 50% power, stir, and return chocolate to microwave for an additional minute and an additional stir. Repeat as necessary until the chocolate is completely melted. Dip the wide top end of the dry strawberry into melted chocolate. Place on the wax paper covered tray and let sit on it’s chocolate “bottom” (stem end, really) until hard (place tray in refrigerator to speed up this process).

With sharp knife, cut an X into the pointed (non-chocolate covered) end of the strawberry. Make the cut go about halfway down the strawberry. Fill the X with the filling, letting a  little “erupt” out of the top (remember you are making strawberry volcanoes!). If using the Ziploc bag method, push all the filling to one bottom corner of the bag. Snip the corner off, and squirt the filling out of the hole in the bag. If you have a piping bag and a star tip, you know the drill!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Come back again tomorrow!

24 Jul 2010 S’mores Bars II

You know I am crying my eyes out about our canceled family and friends camping trip, right? My daughter, Abby, thought these might cheer me up. They did! The are ooey-gooey-sticky-messy-yummy, just like the real thing–and she used the extra thick chocolate option, so they were extra chocolatey, too.

Abby found a picture on Foodgawker that linked to RealMomKitchen which mentioned a new product, a HUGE marshmallow to fit into a s’more (most of us toast two marshmallows to fit into one s’more, right?) who got it from Cooking with My Kid who has a step-by-step picture tutorial for the s’mores bars. With me pointing you to all these good sites on the web it won’t be long before you don’t need me any longer..,.sniff, sniff… [sigh] As my eternally pessimistic ex-husband always used to say, in a comforting voice no less, “Life is hard. Then you die”… ROFLMAO 😀

S’Mores Bars

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 king-sized milk chocolate bars (Abby used the really big extra thick ones…)
1 large egg
1 7 oz jar (1/2 cups) marshmallow creme/fluff
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 7  full-sized graham crackers, processed or pounded until fine)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan. Use an electric mixer to cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Set aside. Meanwhile,whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture until combined. Divide dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan.Place chocolate bars over dough–2 king-sized Hershey’s bars should fit perfectly side by side. Spread chocolate with marshmallow creme or fluff. Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the fluff (most easily achieved by flattening the dough into small shingles and laying them together). Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned. Be sure to cool completely before cutting into bars. Makes 16 squares. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  I always enjoy your company 🙂
22 Jul 2010 Fresh Blueberry White Chocolate Pie

I make two no-bake pies in the summer, a Fresh Strawberry Chocolate Pie and this Fresh Blueberry White Chocolate Pie. Fresh pies are quick to pull together, don’t heat up the kitchen, and are real crowd pleasers. Just remember to start early in the day to allow a few hours for the filing to set before serving. This pie usually doesn’t keep well, but maybe I say that because I never have any left over! And my daughter Abby made this pie 3 days ago, which still looks good enough to eat tonight.

The white chocolate graham cracker crust aspect is my own idea (got it from my Strawberry Chocolate Pie) but the blueberry filling part came from Epicurious a few years ago. I haven’t mastered crumb crusts yet (mine are always too hard) so while I am still working on getting the right recipe and the right technique, I use a pre-made crust.

Fresh Blueberry White Chocolate Pie

4 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup water plus 2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
grated zest, to taste (one lemon, or half of a lemon)
pinch of salt
1 or 2 tablespoons butter

1 graham cracker or shortbread crust (I prefer shortbread)
Approx. 1/2 bag white chocolate chips (Ghiradelli or Guittard–don’t use Nestle or a store brand they don’t taste right)
1 – 2 teaspoons Crisco (optional, just helps with melting and spreading-sometimes I use, sometimes I don’t)

whipped cream (make fresh if at all possible)

Prepare the crust first. Melt the white chocolate with the optional shortening in the MW on 50% power for about 2 minutes. Stir well after every 30 seconds. Do not overhead. Carefully spread a THIN layer of white chocolate onto the sides and bottom of the pie crust. You need to cover all the crust, so the filing can’t seep through and make the crust soggy, but you need to keep the chocolate covering thin enough to not make the pie too sweet! So…, as THIN as you possibly can while covering the crumbs completely! Put prepared crust in refrigerator to set (pssst…, if you have any melted white chocolate left, drizzle it on some pretzels and then put them into refridgerator to harden… Yummeeeeee.  White chocolate covered pretzels will keep, covered, in the fridge for, well, probably longer than they will last!).

Measure out 1 cup of the blueberries, choose the softest most imperfect ones. Put these berries in a medium saucepan with 1/2 cup water. Cover the pan and bring mixture to a boil. After the mixture comes to a boil, remove the lid, lower the heat, and simmer, stirring constantly, for 3 – 4 minutes.

In a small bowl mix the additional 2 tablespoons water with 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Add this cornstarch mixture plus the sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and salt. Simmer mixture for a minute, or until the blueberry mixture becomes translucent. When the mixture becomes translucent immediately remove from heat and stir in remaining 3 cups fresh blueberries, lemon zest and 1 – 2 tablespoons butter.

Spoon blueberry mixture into white chocolate covered crumb crust and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours before serving. When set, the blueberries will remain very juicy, but will not flow out of crust.

Just before serving pipe or spread whipped cream around the sides of the pie, leaving the center unadorned and brilliantly glistening.

According to the original recipe, the pie can be kept at room temperature (minus the whipped cream) for two days. (I keep mine in the RF though)

22 Jul 2010 Grilled Orange Glazed Shrimp

I’m STILL immobile, thanks to this *&#$%! broken ankle (and still MAD about it, can you tell?), and my 19 year olds are cooking for me. Fortunately I have had plenty of time to cruise the food blogs (so there HAS been some good in this predicament). I found this recipe on Culinary Covers (from the cover of Everyday Food, June 2010)… Perfect! Three ingredients, with a bit of salt and pepper, then quickly grilled on a skewer! So it’s a fun-to-make recipe, too! My son used store-bought marmalade, but perhaps next time I’ll have him make my microwave marmalade recipe, too. He served this on a bed of white rice (all he knows how to make right now), but any kind of grain would work. Green beans or any other veg would have been nice on the side–but he was in a hurry to see a movie! The 19 year olds who came over to pick him up were very impressed with his culinary skills. I wish all nineteen year olds knew how easy it is to cook impressive food…

Note to parents of 19 year olds moving into their first apartment: add a Hibachi to that growing list of “nice-to-have” items.

Grilled Orange Glazed Shrimp

32 large-sized shrimp (with tails on)
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
8 wooden or metal skewers

If using wooden skewers, soak in cold water for at least 30 minutes. Drain before using, and freeze leftover drained skewers for next time. Place 4 shrimp onto each of the 8 skewers (or 2 shrimp onto 16 skewers if serving as appetizers). Season shrimp with salt and pepper, to taste (use red pepper if you are into the sweet-spicy thing). In a small bowl, stir together orange marmalade and mustard. Brush glaze on all sides of the shrimp. Grill shrimp on a preheated, oiled grill for 2 minutes, flip, brush on more sauce, grill for 2 more minutes. Brush any remaining sauce on shrimp. Serve immediately.

Serves: 4 (2 skewers per person)

14 Jul 2010 Roasted Crab
 |  Category: Main Dish, Seafood, Seasonal  | Tags: , , , ,  | One Comment

Crabs! After two years of miserable harvests, they are abundant this year. I’ve seen ads for crab for $4.99 lb, $3.99 lb, and Buy One Get One Free (but they hike the price up to $6.99 lb.to get a free one). Here’s a fabulous, easy, finger-licking good recipe which takes about 20 minutes to pull together after arriving home with a few cracked and cleaned crabs. You have to eat the crab with your fingers, and you have to lick your fingers. It’s required. Eaten this way, this crab is DELICIOUS. The only side needed is a loaf of fresh sourdough bread to mop up a bit of the sauce in the bottom of the pan. For dessert, my daughter shared her Terry’s Chocolate Orange. Simple, quick and what a memorable meal!

NOTE #1: I made my first three batches of this crab in glass 13 x 9 inch pans. On the fourth batch, I took one pan out of the oven, placed it on a cutting board, stepped away…, and then the glass dish EXPLODED! Glass EVERYWHERE, including all over the 2 crabs in the dish. (Second glass dish, cooked in same oven, was fine.) Because of this potentially dangerous–and obviously very messy– situation I would caution against using a glass (Pyrex, Anchor Hocking) pan to roast the crab.

NOTE #2: Don’t underestimate how HOT a pan gets in a 450 degree oven. Be careful, very, very careful when transferring the HOT pans . Use your thickest oven mitts, on both hands, to move this pan.  I have had painful burns from not protecting my hands enough. A burnt hand can really interfere with your enjoyment of a good meal.

I found this recipe on Epicurious.com, LOVE that website!

Roasted Crab

For each pair of cracked and cleaned crabs:

Salt and pepper, to taste
1 T. chopped parsley or cilantro
1 T. chopped fresh thyme
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. olive oil
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 minced shallot
1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 c. freshly squeezed orange juice
grated peel of 1 lemon
grated peel of 1/2 orange

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place pieces of each pair of crabs in a 9 by 13 inch baking dish, sprinkle with salt, pepper, parsley/cilantro, and thyme. Melt butter and olive oil in a skillet. Stir in garlic, shallot and red pepper flakes. Cook for 2 minutes. Pour sauce over crabs. Place in hot oven for 6 minutes. Stir, shake, turn crab and then return to oven to roast for another 6 minutes. Remove crab to a serving platter. Pour drippings back into skillet. Add 1/4 c fresh orange juice and 1/4 c fresh lemon juice, grated orange and lemon peel. Boil for 5 minutes and then pour sauce over crabs. Serve. Definitely finger food. Must lick fingers. Have towels on hand for wiping. Mop up sauce with bits of sourdough bread.

This was a really GOOD day to stop by my kitchen!