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Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!


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Strawberry Freezer Jam

I purchased a flat of organic strawberries and had to process them before they started to spoil.  Strawberry jam is one thing my Mom made every year.  We would go pick strawberries as a family, eat them until we could eat no more, make jam and freeze it for use during the year.  It was great to wake up to breakfast with this easy to make jam.  The great thing about making your own is you can control the amount of sugar that you use – plus it tastes much fresher than the store-bought jams.

I used the Ball brand Fruit Pectin.

The instructions are easy to follow inside the box and you get plenty of recipes to follow (Berry jam- Blueberry, Blackberry, Raspberry) Cherry (Sweet or Sour), Peach, Strawberry, Strawberry Banana, Strawberry Kiwi… just pick up a box!)

Strawberry Freezer Jam

  • 1 box Ball Fruit Pectin
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Strawberries (2-1 lb boxes)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 cups sugar
  1. Clean the strawberries and remove the stem and slice the strawberries.  Place them in a large bowl, add lemon juice and stir. Mash them with a potato masher (in batches works best).  Add the 4 cups of sugar and stir to coat the strawberries.  You may want to mash them again as they soften.  It is recommended to let them sit for 10 minutes to let the sugar pull the juices out of the berries.
  2. In a small sauce pan combine 3/4 cup water and one package of the fruit pectin.  Whisk to combine and heat over high heat until it is at a brisk boil.  Boil the pectin whisking constantly for one minute.
  3. Stir the gelatin into the bowl of strawberries and stir for 3 minutes.  Ladle the strawberry jam into small containers, but be sure to leave about 1/2 inch head room for it to expand when you freeze it.  Place in the refrigerator to cool for up to 24 hours (but no more) and then freeze.  Use the strawberry jam within a year of freezing it.  It will keep in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.  Enjoy.

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Boeuf Bourguignon

Making Julia Child’s recipe of Boeuf Bourguignon has been on my “bucket list” of recipes I wanted to make for a while now.  This past weekend was to hectic to make something this involved, so it fell on a Monday – a very special Monday meal! I made it – and we ate it! YUMM!

A word of warning: It is time consuming, but Julia set the recipe out in simple steps that it is completely doable, even for the cook who has only a little experience.

I got the recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Julia Child, Lousisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck) 2009 Printing (no first edition there!)

The best choice of meat to use in this is: Rump Pot Roast, but Chuck Pot Roast (which I used) or Sirloin Tip, Top Round, Bottom Round are also acceptable cuts.

Boeuf Bourguignon (page 315 Mastering the Art of French Cooking)

Serves 6

6 oz chunk of bacon -remove rind and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long) Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water.  Drain and dry.  (I could locate bacon with a rind in my local supermarket, and I skipped directly to the next step because of it)

Preheat the oven to 450F.

Saute the bacon in 1 Tbsp cooking oil in a large enameled cast iron pot (I love my 6 1/2 quart Le Creuset it is perfect for this dish) for 2-3 minutes to brown lightly.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a large bowl.

Dry the beef (3 lbs stewing beef cut into 2 inch cubes) with paper towels.  This improves the browning of the beef.  Bring the bacon fat up to almost a smoking point and brown the meat in batches so it can get a nice crusty sear on them, turning them from time to time to brown another side.  Remove the meat cubes and add to the bacon and repeat with remaining beef.

Once the meat is browned, brown the vegetables (1 sliced carrot I love carrots I used 3 medium ones; 1 sliced onion).  Pour off the bacon grease (mine did not have any grease after browning the vegetables.

Return the browned beef and bacon to the pot.  Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and toss to coat. Then sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons of flour and toss to coat again.  Place the uncovered pot in the middle of your preheated oven and cook for 4 minutes.  Remove, stir again and cook in oven another 4 minutes.  Remove from oven and reduce oven to 325F.

Stir in 3 cups full bodied red wine (Bordeaux, Burgundy or Chianti- I used Chianti). Add enough beef stock or beef bouillon to cover the meat (2-3 cups depending on your pot).  Stir in 1 Tablespoon tomato paste, 2 mashed garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, a crumbled bay leaf and blanched bacon rind (if you had one).  Bring to a simmer (just below a boil) on the stove top and then cover with the lid and place in the oven.  Allow to braise 2 1/2-3 hours. I had to take my kids to piano lessons at this point and it was to finish during lessons, so since hubby was home I set the timer and directed him to just turn off the oven at the specified time and let it sit for the time that I was gone.  By the time I returned home it was closer to 4 hours but since it didn’t have the heat going it was just fine and not dried out.

18-24 baby onions braised in stock (pg 483): (this is to be prepared while the meat is braising, but I did it ahead of time and put them in the fridge and then added them in the end.  Turned out fine.  Same with the mushroom preparation) RECIPE:

18-24 peeled white onions (1 inch in diameter)

1 1/2 Tbsp butter

1 1/2 Tbsp oil

When the butter and oil are bubbling in the skillet, add the onions and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, turning the onions carefully so as not to damage their skins and allow them to brown.  Remove the onions to a small baking dish and add 1/2 cup of beef stock to the dish and a few springs of parsley, and thyme.  Roast them in the  350F oven for 40-50 minutes until tender but retain their shape, turning them once or twice.  Remove the herbs.

1 lb quartered fresh mushrooms sauteed in butter (pg 513):

Recipe:

2 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp oil

1 lb fresh, clean, dry mushrooms (halved or quartered depending on size)

Place skillet on high heat with the butter and oil.  As soon as you see the butter foam has begun to subside and the mushrooms in smaller batches (if they are crowded they will not brown).  Toss and shake the pan for 4-5 minutes until the mushrooms begin to brown and remove them immediately to a separate dish.  Repeat with remaining mushrooms.

When the beef is tender remove to a large bowl.  Pour the juices into a sieve over a bowl to capture the juices.  Wash out your dutch oven and return the meat and bacon to it.  Distribute your prepared baby onions and cooked mushrooms over the meat.

Skim off the fat from the reserved juices.  Simmer the sauce in a pan and skim remaining fat as it rises.  You should have 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon.  Taste carefully for seasoning and add salt if necessary.  I didn’t have to it was great!  Serve with boiled potatoes, cooked pasta or steamed rice.

My entire family enjoyed this dish.  Yes, it was time consuming, but Julia was a genius!  Thank you Julia for giving us servant less cooks something to work with! 🙂

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Blueberry Coffee Cake

Blueberry Butter Cake

This is a delicious coffee cake that uses blueberries.  I love to make it when I have fresh blueberries on hand (but frozen or even canned work with this). I have to warn you though, it is NOT diet food.  It used 3/4 of a pound of butter and is rich and creamy with the buttermilk in the mix.  It comes from the cookbook: The Black Dog Summer on the Vineyard Cookbook is a wonderful addition to my collection of cookbooks.

I have found it takes a little longer to bake in my oven.  I usually increase the cooking time by 10 minutes, but the ovens vary so check it at the 50 minute mark and decide if it needs more time (I typically turn off the oven and just let it sit in the oven the next 10 minutes and it turns out delicious)

Blueberry Butter Cake – Adapted from Black Dog Inn

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup butter, melted (2 sticks)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups fresh blueberries

Crumb Topping:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 lb cold butter, cut into bits (1 stick)
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray  a 9x13x2 baking dish with cooking spray.
Sift the dry cake ingredients together onto a large square of waxed paper, or whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl to eliminate clumps.
In a mixing bowl, mix together all the wet ingredients (not the blueberries).  Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until just blended.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with all of the fresh blueberries.
In a smaller bowl, mix the dry ingredients for the crumb topping together until combined and cut in the butter (using your hands is the best method for this)  Sprinkle the butter topping over the batter (it is okay if it is not completely mixed the butter will melt into the cake and it will still be delicious.
Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.  The cake should be moist, not dry.  After cooling, cut into big squares or rectangles.  Serve slightly warm with coffee. YUMMY!!

I find that this cake only gets better the second day and is especially good warmed up in the microwave (15-20 seconds) and best enjoyed with coffee.

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Angels on Horseback

My husband grew up with this  sandwich and now it is one of my family’s favorite sandwiches as well.  It consists of toast, topped with American  Cheese slices, sliced tomato, and cooked bacon which is then broiled  for a few minutes until  the  cheese is melted.  We made this while we were vacationing in NJ on the shore and wanted something easy to make that did not take long.  Clean up is easy if you use those convenient (all be it expensive) Microwavable bacon.

Angels on Horseback

Serves 4

  • 8 slices white bread, toasted
  • 8 slices american  cheese
  • 8 slices tomatoes
  • 8 slices bacon

Toast the bread and top with American  cheese slices, tomatoes, and bacon.  Broil under a watch full eye.  Once the cheese melts and  bacon bubbles it is ready to eat.

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