July 31, 2012

Apple marmalade

This is one of my favorite! A great way to use up all the apples you have bought from apple picking or the farmers market.

What you need: Yields about 8 cups or 8 half-pint jars
8 cups apples diced or thinly sliced
2 whole oranges
5 cups sugar
2 Tbsp fruit pectin
1 tsp butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
8-8oz/1/2 pint glass jars to can the jam
Lids and bands to seal the jars


I do not carry any fancy canning equipment. Just use the age old method of the basics- a large heavy pot. Prepare the cans first, by simmering them in a large pot of hot water. Boil the jars and lids steadily for 3 minutes, then in a low simmer until ready for use. Place an empty metal spoon in the freezer to run the jam test.
Pour the diced apples into a large pot that is big enough to hold the apples and sugar all together. Grate the rind from the two oranges and set aside. Squeeze the juice from them and measure it. Pour 1 cup of juice into the pot along with the apples and bring it to a boil until the apples are soft and mushy. You may puree it if you like or leave it as chunks. After you gather about 8 cups of puree, pour it back and bring it to a boil. Add the orange rind and cook for another 5 minutes. Bring it to a good boil. Mix the pectin along with a few teaspoons of sugar to prevent lumping.

Add in the pectin and let it boil. Then add in the rest of the measured sugar and let it dissolve completely. Toss in a spoon of butter to prevent foaming. Get the mixture to a rolling boil that can not be stirred down. Boil hard for a minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim out any foam if necessary.

To test if it is ready to set, add a spoon of hot jam into the cold freezer spoon and place it back. If its forms a jam in a few minutes, your jam is all ready to set. If it is too runny, add some more pectin and sugar. Bring it to a boil and run the test again.



Remove the jars from the simmering water bath, place a funnel over the jars and fill them using a ladle. Leave about 1/4 inch head space. Clean the rim with a towel that is dipped in boiling water. Apply the lid and ring it down with the band to hold tight. Place all the jars back in a boiling water bath on low. Cover and let it simmer for 10 to 20 minutes depending on the altitude. Take them out and place them in a cool dark place. Over the course of 24 hours, your jar tops will pop, and that is a sure sign your jars are sealed.

Don't fret over your jam if it does not turn out right. If its runny call it jelly or preserve. If it is pure fruit liquid, just use it as a syrup to make smoothies, or pour them into molds to make frozen treats. Enjoy!

July 20, 2012

Strawberry Raspberry Jam

We had a fun expedition to the berry farm and picked a ton of strawberries and raspberries. All was well in the sun, as we grazed through the fields filling our buckets and stuffing our mouths with sweet ripe berries. Once we got home, it hit me, I had no space in the freezer! What was I going to do with all those ripe berries that were getting soggy by the minute. I decided to make some jam. I bought 2 packs of pectin, and tried to mix up a few recipes on the net to sound right. A lot of recipes called for loads of sugar to get the pectin consistency right, but I used half the amount, and it turned out just fine.

What you need: Yields 16 cups/16 - 8oz bottles
8 cups of crushed pureed strawberries (About 10 lbs)
2 cups of fresh raspberries
6 cups of sugar
1 tsp of butter
8 tsp or 2 pouches of 1.75 oz pectin
16-8oz bottles of glass jars to can the jam
Lids and bands to seal the jars


Prepare the cans first, by simmering them in a large pot of hot water. Heat jars and lids in a low simmer until ready for use. Place an empty metal spoon in the freezer to run the jam test.

Crush the strawberries and raspberries together. You may use the puree as is or filter the seeds out. Now that is one long process, I love the seeds, but my kids wont sink their teeth in them, so I had to adapt the latter. After you gather about 8 cups of puree, pour it into a a large, heavy bottom cooker and bring it to a boil. 


Add in the pectin and let it boil. Then add in the sugar and let it dissolve completely. Toss in a spoon of butter to prevent foaming. Get the mixture to a rolling boil that can not be stirred down. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim out any foam if necessary.

Add a spoon of hot jam into the cold freezer spoon and place it back. If its forms a jam in a few minutes, your jam is all ready to set. If it is too runny, add some more pectin and sugar. Bring it to a boil and run the test again. 


Place a funnel over the jars and fill them using a ladle. Leave about 1/4 inch head space. Clean the rim with a towel that is dipped in boiling water. Apply the lid and ring it down with the band to hold tight. Place all the jars back in a boiling water bath on low. Cover and let it simmer for 10 to 20 minutes depending on the altitude. Take them out and place them in a cool dark place. Over the course of 24 hours, your jar tops will pop, and that is a sure sign your jars are sealed.

Don't fret over your jam if it does not turn out right. If its runny call it jelly or preserve. If it is pure fruit liquid, just use it as a syrup to make smoothies, or pour them into molds to make frozen treats honey. Enjoy!

July 19, 2012

Royal Saffron Mango ice cream

Here is a rich, no cook mango ice cream with a hint of saffron. 

What you need: Makes 5 cups/10-12 scoops
2 large ripe mangoes – diced
1 cup / 1/2 US pint of heavy whipping cream
1 and 3/4 cups / 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp of saffron
2 tsp warm milk
A tray of ice cubes


Cut the mango cheeks by working around the stone, Dice the mangoes and scoop them out of the skin cups. Save a handful to top the ice cream later. Add the diced mangoes into a blender and puree them.

In a small cup combine saffron and warm milk. Set aside for about 5 minutes until the color dissipates.  You may also microwave it for about 15-20 seconds. Set aside. Save some saffron to garnish later.
In a large bowl pour a tray of ice cubes. Over the ice bath, place a smaller bowl and pour in the heavy whipping cream. Whip on low until it forms soft peaks.

Combine the mango pulp and condensed milk to it. Add the saffron milk.  Fold them all together on the ice bath and pour the mixture into a freezer dish. Cover it with an airtight lid for about a hour. Bring it out and combine again. Top it with the diced mango pieces.

Place a cling/plastic wrap over the ice cream and cover it with an air tight lid. Freeze the mixture for about 4 hours or until it is set.

To serve, wet an ice cream scoop in warm water and dig out the ice cream into serving bowls. Garnish it with more diced mango and saffron if you like; serve cold. Enjoy!


July 9, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Grilled Shrimp


These sweet and spicy skewers will have your mouth watering for more. Cook them on an open grill, and there you have them, juicy, flavorful shrimp!



What you need: Makes 6 full skewers or 12 mini skewers
2 lb fresh or frozen large uncooked shrimp, deveined, tail on  

For the marinade:
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp red chili/cayenne powder
1 tsp white pepper powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
4 Tbsp lime juice
Salt to taste
Bamboo skewers
Colored peppers, onions and tomatoes cut into large chunks

In a blender, make a fine paste of the marinating ingredients. Massage it into the shrimp  and let it chill for about an hour in a sealed plastic bag. If you can do this the previous night, it will taste great.

Soak the bamboo skewers in water for about an hour before they are used. This prevents them from charring on the grill. Poke the marinated shrimp into skewers. Brush some light cooking oil or spray some cooking oil on them.


Place them on a medium heated open grill. Cooked them for about 4 minutes, and flip them over to the other side, glazing them with some more of the marinade. Cook them until they turn pink. You can squeeze some fresh lime juice on them before they are served. Place them on a bed of grilled onions and serve them hot. Enjoy!

July 6, 2012

Curry and pepper chicken fry

This is an awesome appetizer that you can cook on an open grill, bake or saute in a wok. This will be a favorite for those of you who love the aroma of crisp fried curry leaves and ground pepper over their juicy chicken! Curry refers to the actual curry leaves (not curry powder) that are used in nearly every dish in Southern India.

What you need: Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer
2 lb whole chicken cut into 2 inch pieces
4 sprigs of fresh curry leaves or a handful of dried ones.
1 Tbsp pepper
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp lime juice
1 cup white onions cut into strips
Salt to taste
2 Tbsp olive/vegetable oil



In a plastic bag or container, add in the chicken pieces with turmeric, pepper, coriander, salt and lime juice. Rub them into the chicken and marinate in the fridge overnight or for a couple of hours.

You may cook the chicken on an open grill or bake it at 375 degree F for 25 minutes until the juices run and the chicken is tender. Then you temper them in a wok with curry leaves and onion.

I have cooked the recipe on the stove-top. Place a wok or saucepan on medium heat. Add oil. When it begins to shimmer, add in the curry leaves and cover for a few minutes, so the spluttering subsides.

Add the marinated chicken pieces and saute for 10 to 12 minutes until they are moist, tender and cooked. Once the water in the pan has evaporated. Add in the onions, let it cook along fir a few more minutes.

Serve it hot on a plate, with some yogurt dip to cool of the spice, and enjoy!


July 5, 2012

Minty Paneer Kebabs


These kebabs are the perfect barbeque delicacy! Grill up these along with some buttered barbecue corn, and its a feast for vegetarians and meat eaters alike.

What you need: Makes 6 skewers
2 lb Paneer / Indian cheese slab
For the marinade:
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp white pepper powder
A handful of fresh Mint leaves
6 to 8 green hot chilies, more or less as your taste buds can take
4 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp sour cream
Salt to taste
Bamboo skewers
Colored peppers, onions and tomatoes cut into large chunks


Cut the paneer slab into 1 inch cubes, place them in a large ziploc bag; set aside. In a blender, make a fine paste of the marinating ingredients. Pour the marinade into the paneer bag, and seal it. massage the marinade into the paneer cubes and store it in the fridge overnight or for a couple of hours.

Soak the bamboo skewers in water for about 30 minutes. Poke the marinated paneer cubes into skewers, alternating it with colored peppers, onions and tomatoes. Brush some light cooking oil or spray some cooking oil on them.

Place on a greased tray if you are going to use the oven. Broil them in the oven for about 12-15 minutes at 400 degree F. Turn them half way, so both sides are lightly browned .

An open grill tastes the best, place the skewers on a preheated grill for 8-10 minutes, turning frequently, until cooked through and lightly browned. Squeeze some fresh lime juice just before they are served

Prepare a platter with ketchup, ranch sauce or just plain yogurt. Enjoy!


July 4, 2012

Baby Shower Teddy Cookies and Icing

These cookies are made with the traditional sugar cookie recipe. They really turn out great, not too sweet not too bland, just right with the icing. 
Take your time and bake the cookies one day, then do the decorating another day. This way they are perfect, and you can give more time in crafting their cute faces, unlike my cookies. I got to doing it on a week night after work. Put my kids to sleep and stayed up through the night until they were finished and packed. No wonder some cookie faces have frowns, and many don't even have noses or mouths..lol. Will try doing a better job next time.

What you need: Yields about 36 medium sized cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt salt
Confectioners / Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough


Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Add in the egg and milk, beat until fluffy.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.Slowly add in small amounts of flour and beat slow, until the mixture starts to pull together to a dough consistency. Gently knead the mixture by hand to form a ball. Wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the chilled dough and roll it out on a sugar powder dusted surface. Keep the dough moving to prevent sticking. When the dough is about 1/4 inch thick, cut into teddy shapes with a cookie cutter.


Place them on wax/parchment paper sheets or a regular baking sheet, about 1 inch apart. Bake for about 7 minutes. Turn them around at half time, and as the edges start to brown, remove them quickly.

I usually cut out all the cookies, and chill them, then bake them in two to three large baking sheets, and they are done baking in two batches. It saves time and energy, and prevents the cookies from browning. 


For the icing:
2 cups confectioner sugar
2 Tbsp corn starch
2 Tbsp warm milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Desired icing colors
Small squeeze bottles or piping bags


Sift the sugar and corn starch together, to get rid of any lumps. Add a little milk and vanilla; mix thoroughly. Check the consistency, and add more milk if desired. The mixture should be smooth and thick, just a  wee bit runny.

Add the desired colors and mix well. Place the piping bags in a tall glass and pour them into the bags and seal the bag. I used the small squeeze bottle we get at the craft store for candy melts/ketchup. They are easy to use and reheat in the microwave. Fill them in with a funnel about 3/4ths full. Store them in the fridge until you are ready to ice. Warm them for 10 seconds at a time in the microwave until they are ready to use. Knead the bottle or piping bag to get the icing ready.

When the cookies are completely cooled, hold each cookie in your hand at a 75 degree angle. Pipe around the edges to give a border that will hold the icing in. Let that cool and harden. Should take about 20 minutes. Now fill in the cookie top to bottom, only 34th full.

Use a toothpick, and in a circular motion spread the icing to the edges to give it a uniform filling. Let cool completely. Repeat the step for each color you use. The cookies should be left to dry completely before they can be stored. It should take about 2 hours.

To store them, use an air tight box, if you need to stack the, use sheets of parchment paper between. They hold good for a week. The dough can be refrigerated for 2 days or frozen for up to a month if they are well wrapped and sealed.

July 1, 2012

Chocolate mug shot dessert in under 5 minutes!

Not the traditional cake recipe, but a fun and quick dessert when you dream about eating a warm chocolate desert at that moment!

What you need: Makes 2 mugs of cake
3 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp dark cocoa powder
1 Tbsp chocolate morsels/chips
1/8th tsp baking powder, about 2 pinches
Pinch of salt
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp butter or 2 Tbsp oil
2 microwaveable coffee mugs
Some ice cream, warm chocolate syrup or fresh strawberries to top


In a little bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt, Sift it. Beat the egg, oil, vanilla and milk in another bowl. Then combine it into the flour mixture and mix it well with a spoon. Prep two regular coffee mugs with butter and flour dust it. Pour the batter into them and fill both the cups equally. Drop the chocolate morsels into it.

Place it in the microwave and cook it on high for about 3 minutes or less. The cake will nearly overflow and then settle back to the rim of the cup. It tastes divine if it is slightly undercooked. Top it off with ice cream, chocolate syrup and or strawberries, for that oomph factor :-) . Use a fork and dig into some warm gooey goodness...enjoy!


  
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