Thursday, June 14, 2012

Apricot Salsa

Apricot salsa inspired by a recipe from the web. In my take I mixed:

  • 2/3 cup diced fresh apricots
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/8 tsp Duke's powder II
  • 1/2 a roasted red pepper
  • 2 roma tomatoes from a can, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh apricot-pineapple butter
I made up half of it fresh and cooked the other half. 
We'll do a tasting soon and I'll update this.
Fortunately Sharon had just made some nice Apricot-Pineapple Jam.

Update: the results of the tasting are in:

  • The uncooked salsa tasted very strongly of onion. Certainly had a "fresh" taste. Might be good for some application where you really want a "pop" of flavor, but be careful not to use too much. 
  • The cooked salsa was mild and flavorful. Not too sweet. Sharon thought it didn't taste enough of fruit. 
  • As a baseline we tasted some Trader Joe's Peach Salsa. Definitely had more "heat" from chillies. Also a little sweeter. 
Next Time: 
Looking at the ingredients for the TJ's Peach Salsa we might consider adding some: tomato paste, salt, spices, and/or sugar. 

Apricot-Pineapple Jam

This morning Jeff and I went off to storage and retrieved some of our canning supplies. We were still missing some of the tools, but we had enough to actually do some canning today. I made three batches of Apricot-Pineapple Jam.

I almost never follow recipes for making jam. I tend to reduce the sugar well below what the recipe calls for. I also never use pectin anymore, I don't feel the need. Most of the time the jam sets up without it and when it doesn't, I don't particularly care if my jam is a little runny since we tend to use it mostly on pancakes and waffles anyway. I also cook the jam for a long time to cook off the liquid so it is usually pretty thick.

The recipe I used for inspiration today was Easy Apricot Jam (No Pectin). I liked the suggestion about mixing in pineapple so I gave it a try. I can't really give an exact recipe of what I did, because I didn't actually measure the fruit. I just blended two food processor bowlfuls (it was probably about 8 cups) of apricots, a 20 oz. can of chopped pineapple (also run through the food processor) plus 3½ cups of sugar. I also stopped adding the lemon after the first batch, because I used the pineapple juice in place of it.

I also added the step of processing the jars in a hot water bath. We learned how to can fruit out of cookbooks, and they always say to process in a hot water bath so we just always do. Better safe than sorry.

The jam turned out a beautiful shade of apricot and it tastes delicious. It has just a bit of kick from the tart pineapple. (I actually had intended to make the third batch without the pineapple, but by then I had gotten so used to using the pineapple that I threw in the can without thinking about it. Oh well.)

We also tried, for the first time, reusable canning jar lids, available from Lehmans. We bought these a couple of years ago, but never got a chance to try them last year because we had no kitchen. The jars looked like they sealed, but these plastic lids didn't produce that reassuring pop that the metal lids do. But it will be nice to be able to reuse these from year to year. We'll report back if they don't work.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Signing up for a Meat CSA

I'm defrosting the freezer right now so we can stock up on the summer harvest. And so we can get some more meat.

We are soon going to get our first box from Deck Family Farms with:

  • 10lbs of Grass fed beef; 50% ground, 12% steaks, 38% everything else; ribs, roasts, stir-fry, & stew
  • 5lbs of Pasture Raised Pork; bacon, sausages, shoulder, chops, ham.
  • 2lbs of Pasture Raised Spring Lamb
  • 8lbs of Pasture Raised No Soy! Roasters
  • 1 dozen eggs
Looking forward to the variety.
Need to figure out what to do with lamb...

Friday, June 1, 2012

Strawberry-Blueberry Crepes

Experimented with some crepes tonight.

For the filling I warmed some fresh strawberries in a little sugar with a Tbs each of sour cream, plain yogurt and port. I didn't quite have enough fruit, so I added some fresh blueberries.

For the batter I used

  • 1/4 Cup each: whole wheat pastry flour, white whole wheat flour, 10-grain flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tbs port
  • 1 Tbs melted butter
  • 2 eggs
Mix dry then wet ingredients with a whisk (or a food processor). 

Salmon Blueberry Salad

Had an interesting group of ingredients on hand when making a salad. I kept wondering if it was going to be discordant but when I tried the ingredients together in my mind, it seemed like it would be worth the risk.

I'm glad I did, for it was quite a tasty salad.

  • Fresh greens
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Smoked salmon
  • Crumbled blue cheese
  • Diced carrots in balsamic vinegar
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Toasted pecans
  • Orange ginger dressing
  • Fresh ground coriander 
  • Sliced avocado 

The blueberries and avocado provide some nice sweetness, the cheese and smoked salmon some umami, the nuts and carrots add some crunch.