home meet the chef Services and Pricing Sample Menus blog

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

And Now, Raspberry Jam

I was at my local Kroger store on Monday afternoon and I guess someone had over-bought raspberries but they were selling them for 50 cents a carton. They are normally about $2.99 each so this was a real bargain. I bought 20 cartons Monday and returned yesterday and bought 20 more. At the normal price of raspberries, making jam would be expensive, almost prohibitive since each 1/2 pint jar of jam uses one carton of raspberries. But at 50 cents each, why not?

Monday afternoon I got to work making jam. I used 8 cartons per batch. I got my lids boiling, crushed the berries, added the pectin then sugar, filled and sealed the jars, and had beautiful jam.

I got about 30 jars of jam and have a few cartons of raspberries left over....today I'm going to figure out something to do with them and take to our monthly book club meeting tomorrow night. Raspberry tart anyone?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Strawberry Jam

It's that time of year again!
Last week I picked four gallons of strawberries and got busy making jam. I also made a Strawberry/Mango version that turned out great and I'm glad I decided to do.

The strawberries were delicious and we ate a lot just as they were. The flavor is very far removed from any you get at the grocery store. But since they are so ripe and just picked, I had to make sure I got them all put away the same day so they wouldn't go bad.

After picking strawberries in the morning, I worked for the rest of the afternoon and got about 35 jars of strawberry jam and 25 jars of strawberry/mango jam. But now that's done for the year and on to the next crop that comes in fresh....peaches in July?

In between I'll be shelling peas and beans and canning green beans. I don't know why it took me so long to learn this, but eating in season is the best way. We ate strawberries for a week but they were delicious because they're in season and just picked. When cantaloupes, watermelons and tomatoes are ready, we'll eat that till we've had our fill. Then we'll wait till next year and do it all again. Such a fun time of the year, when fresh food taste best.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Key Lime Pie

Last week I made a key lime pie and took it as our dessert for our monthly knitting night. I bought a bag of Key Limes at the Buford Highway Farmers market....the whole bag was only .99 Cents! I found a recipe by Emeril Lagasse and it was very easy and very delicious. I needed one cup of lime juice for the pie and I got that much from the bag and had about 4 limes left over.

You make a basic graham cracker crust and the pie filling is just lime juice, eggs and sweetened condensed milk. The most time-consuming part is squeezing all the juice but it's well worth it because the tartness of the key limes combined with the sweetness of the milk is divine.

Mix it all up, pour it in and bake.

For the topping, the recipe suggests sour cream. I had this Mexican sour cream on hand and used that. This sour cream is really, really good. It has a slightly thicker, creamier texture than regular sour cream and has great flavor.

Enjoy! Here's the full recipe:
Key Lime Pie

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup key lime or regular lime juice
2 whole eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tbsp lime zest for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press mixture into 9-inch pie pan and bake until brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees.
Combine milk, lime juice and eggs. Whisk until well blended and pour into cooled pie shell. Bake for 15 minutes, then chill in fridge for at least 2 hours. Once chilled, combine sour cream and powdered sugar and spread over top. Decorate with lime zest.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Grilled Pork Chops

Last week, I tried a Mario Batali recipe from the April issue of Bon Appetit. The flavors were really great and I used ingredients I don't use very often: cipolline onions, cherry peppers and aged balsamic.

I shopped at the Buford Highway Farmers market and found these pickled peppers and this yummy balsamic glaze. Both are quite flavorful and a good find! The peppers have a slight heat to them and the balsamic has a deep, rich taste. I find that I shop more and more at the Buford Hwy Farmers market and have been quite pleased with the huge variety of products they carry. Give it a try!

This recipe packs a huge flavor punch and gives you good vegetables too. I served it with roasted

Here's the full recipe:

Grilled Pork Chops with Cherry Peppers, Cipolline Onions and Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
(4) 8-oz pork chops with rib bone
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 bell peppers, one red, one yellow
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper
8 pickled cherry peppers, sliced thin
Aged balsamic vinegar

Brine pork chops overnight in 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup kosher salt. Grill chops till done throughout.

Blanch cipolline onions in large saucepan of boiling water, then peel. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in large heavy skillet, brown cipolline onions, 8-10 minutes. Remove.

Add bell peppers and red onion, saute till softened, about 5 minutes. Add crushed red pepper. Reduce to low and simmer til vegetables are softened. Stir in cipolline onions and sliced cherry peppers.

Place grilled pork chop on plate and top with vegetables. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.