Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bad Chinese

I will leave you for the night with one thought...

On the one night that you crave chinese, like really crave it to the point where you would do anything for a forkful of lo mein and a splash of soy sauce on that sticky white rice, isn't it absolutely annoying when all your high hopes of that craving are shot down by dry (and overly spicy) General Tso's, tough barbeque spare ribs, and over cooked wonton soup?

Grrrrrrrrrr. I want a do over so I can order from our usual place.

Just goes to show you that sometimes 'predictable' and 'usual' can be your best bet.

PS. I forgot to eat my fortune cookie. I am officially depressed.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene Peach Preserves

I will forever remember the first time I made Peach Preserves as the night Irene came to town. The rain, the gusting winds, the constant flickering of the lights, and the hopes that the power will stay on just a little longer so that my peaches would be fully cooked through (as well as my dinner). The price of having an electric stove.

Since I was home all day, I figured I would take a stab at crossing something off my summer to-do list (that really has yet to be touched).

Label and organize photos: started
Read The Help: 330 pages in
Read On The Road: Yeah.. Good Luck
Make a light box for when I take photos: Might help if I had a box to use...
Put all CDs in their rightful cases: Boring
Cut up Bon Appetit Magazines from '09 and '10: What if the lights go out?
Clean Out Computer: Boring
Corn Gelato: To time consuming, but sounds amazing
Go through Room: A constant project & ... boring
Freezer Jam
Peach Preserves

The last two options were neither boring or too time consuming. I decided to give them a go. While I have made freezer jam one other time this month, it did not have the right texture. I was fearful of it being too soupy and therefore it got this really strange, almost grainy texture. I am using the jam for a filling for my cousin's wedding cupcakes and I need to get it right! But that is another post, for another day.

Today is all about the Peach Preserve! I had a friends once who used to call her Grandmother 'Grandmom Peaches'. I just learned the other day that she called her Grandmom Peach because......... She made peach preserves! How did that one never process?

In the same issue of Bon Appetit where I got the recipe for the zucchini pickles, there is a fabulous recipe for 'Lord Grey's Peach Preserves.' The recipe uses Earl Grey tea bags to give some depth and floral flavor to the peaches. I however, did not have earl grey tea bags. I used good old Lipton Black Tea, and the flavor was spot on for me! I did both cut down and alter the recipe so the recipe I am giving you is my very own Peach Preserve recipe, cooked by following the directions from Bon Appetit.

Peach Preserves
5 Large, Ripe Peaches
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 T Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Black Tea bags

(also requires 2 - 12 ounce mason jars

Bring a deep pot of water to a boil. Cut a small, shallow 'x' into the bottom of each peach. Blanch the peaches until the skin loosens (about 1-3 minutes). Transfer the peaches into a large bowl full of ice water. Allow them to cool.

Peel, halve, and pit each peach. Cut them into slice about 1/3 inch thick.

Combine the peaches with sugar and lemon juice and allow them to stand for 30 minutes. (I chose to do this step in the same pot I was planning to cook them in. I saves one step and also saves a dirty dish!)

Place a small plate in the freezer (*now!* I made the mistake of waiting and the plate was not cold enough for me to test).
If you do not already have your mixture in the pot you wish to cook them in, transfer them over and add 1 tea bag to the pot.
Cut open the second and pour its contents into the mixture.

Bring to a boil, stirring gently every now and then and cook for about 15-20 minutes. To test the doneness, take the plate from the freezer and spoon some of the mixture onto the plate. If the mixture does not run, your preserves are ready!

Remove the tea bag and skim off any foam that may be on the surface. Ladle the preserves into your clean jars, wipe rims, seal, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Canning is the best way to preserve a little bit of summer for the rest of the year. I look forward to waking up one day in January, with snow on the ground, and being able to pop open my can of Jersey Fresh Peach Preserves. How can it get any better than that?

Readers - Have you canned before? What do you enjoy canning the most? And most importantly of all, once the can is popped open, how do you enjoy your preserves? As a topping for waffles or pancakes? Spooned on top of pound cake or ice cream? Straight out of the jar with a big old fork?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Great Night In

I am sitting inside the comforts of my home while Hurricane Irene passes by. I am cooking dinner on my electric stove and hoping that if the power plans to go out, it will give me another 10 minutes to allow my pasta and chicken to finish up. I've made a mish-mosh of spinach, pasta, and 'grilled' chicken. If only I had planned ahead and picked some fresh basil before the rain came!!

I have also been busy making freezer jam, peach preserves, and taking lots of photos! I am prepping for many, many blogs to come!

I'll I can say is here's to a great night in and hopes that everyone is safe and sound.

Be Safe, everyone.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WFMW - Zucchini Pickles: Pickling Tutorial P1

In the summer of 2009, I was lucky enough to complete an internship at a bakery with good values. While at school, all I was used to was low quality butter, Sweetex, and Primex. When I started at The Sweet Life Bakery, it was almost as if a whole new world was opened for me. All butter- buttercream, fresh and seasonal fruit products, and nearly everything was homemade. I was once told that everywhere you work will influence and round out what you will do in your future. Although I have worked at many other places, I must say that what I gained from The Sweet Life has had the greatest impact on my values and I am forever grateful of that.

Not long after my employment ended at the Sweet Life, I became obsessed with the ideas of all butter goods, seasonal products, local farmer's markets, and making everything from scratch. Which is why I was absolutely thrilled to see this summer's issue of Bon Appetit!

Not only does the pie on the cover look to die for, but the entire content of this issue is about using produce from your local market effectively and using produce that is in season and at it's peak taste and freshness. Also, if you are a gardener, the recipes in this issue are specifically designed to use up all that fabulous produce right in your backyard.

One of the recipes that I was most excited to try, was the "Zucchini Pickles" recipe. You might be thinking... "Zucchini... Pickles?". Yeah.. That was my first thought. Then, after a bit of consideration, I figured that cucumber and zucchini are practically cousins! They must be a hit!

Here is the recipe from Bon Appetit Magazine:

Zucchini Dill Pickles

2 lb. small zucchini
4 T coarse sea salt
12 fresh dill sprigs
2 t yellow or brown mustard seeds
1 t coriander seeds
1 t dill seeds
1/4 t saffron threads
4 garlic cloves
4 red jalapenos
2 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar

Your goal in cutting the zucchini is to make them 1. look like a pickle and 2. cut them to size so that they can properly fit in the canning jar:

Once cut, place the zucchini in a large bowl. Add 2T salt and 4 cups of ice. Add cold water to cover and top the bowl with a plate to keep each zucchini submerged:

Let the zucchini sit for two hours, drain, and rinse.

Divide your dill sprigs, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, dill seeds, saffron seeds, garlic, and jalapeno evenly between each jar. The recipe calls for 2 - 1 quart jars. I used smaller, 16oz jars so to figure out how many jars I needed, I put as much zucchini as I could in each jar. This way you know you have just the right amount of space, or if you need more.

Bring the vinegar, sugar, remaining 2T of salt, and 1 1/4 cups of water to a boil. Add your zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally until they look a 'khaki' green color. This should be about 2 minutes. Once cooked, transfer zucchini into your jars and divide the hot syrup between them. Be sure to leave about 1/2 inch of space at the top.

Place your lids on the jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Allow about a week to pickle, and enjoy! ( :

I have pickled my zucchini just this past Saturday so the wow factor is yet to be determined. I will be sure to follow up in a Part 2! Happy Pickling! ( :

P.S. I am eyeing up the pickles as they sit on my window sill. I. Can't. Wait.

(Works For Me Wednesday ( : )

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jumping Right In: Pickling Tutorial Teaser

This is both a test photo as well as a bit of a teaser of what is to come for my first official post and tutorial on my new and improved blogger location.

For all those who have followed me from my original location, thanks so much! I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you as well as getting your feedback.

For all those that have just stumbled across my blog, welcome! And thanks for joining me! Please stay a while. ( :


Why hello there blogger! It is time we meet again! Oh how I have missed you ( :