Wednesday, March 28, 2012

#11 Pineapple Kiwi Jam

Hey y'all Jamsters!

Ahhh, it's not quite summer time yet but it never hurts to pretend! With one lick of the scrumptious tropical delight you will be transported to kokomo, that's where I want to goooo! Now I'm not too sure when Kiwi's are in season but Trader Joes had a good deal on them and they smelled so good!

Kiwi's are so pretty!  The contrast between the green and black seeds make them very fashionable and attractive.

Alls you need:

3 cups of chopped and peeled kiwi
1 1/2 cups of crushed pineapple
1/4 cup of water
4 TBS of dry pectin
3 cups of sugar

Remember to always have your jars sterilizing before you begin! AND it is never a bad idea to throw in an extra jar just in case your yield is a bit more then the recipe states. So place your jars into a canning pot or big mofo pot and cover with water and then bring water to a boil.  Use some of this boiling water to pour over lids and rings.

Combine the kiwi, crushed pineapple, and water into a big mofo pot.  Bring to a boil stirring well or mashing with a potato masher/fork. Once boiling add the sugar. Stir well to combine and check the consistency using the cold spoon method. Once desired gelling point has been reached remove sterilized jars from water bath and use funnel to ladle the pineapple kiwi jam into the jars.  Check for air bubbles and put a lid on it!

Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes or according to your elevation.

I have been experimenting with different photo applications on my iphone.  Yes, I use my phone to photography everything. Why?  I have a pretty old beat up digital camera that takes okay pictures but I really like that I can add funky filters on my iphone and I can automatically send them to my flicker account. I ALWAYS lose my camera cable when I have to upload pictures.

I have been using instagram which is really easy to use and a lot of fun.  Recently I am trying out Camera! which is a bit more technical but with tons more filters.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

#9 Pickled Red Onions

More and more I am thinking about canning things I see myself using a lot. These pickled red onions are a great addition to your collection of canned goods because of it versatility. Plop it on pulled pork, stir into tomato soup, or **gasp** slather it onto a grilled cheese sammie.

Having things like pickled red onions on hand really lets you create unique ("made in Sweden") combinations.

This recipe comes from Food in Jars, one of the best canning blogs I have found! She just released her first book too, which I am totally buying!

Alls you need:

3lbs of red onions (about 4 medium sized) slice thinly
2 cups of apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water (I used the water I boiled the onions in to get a pinker color)
3/4 cup of sugar
1 TBS of pickling salt (I believe you can sub regular salt as well)
2 TSP of mustard seed
1/2 TSP red chili flakes

Remember to always have your jars sterilizing before you begin!  So place your jars into a canning pot or big mofo pot and cover with water and then bring water to a boil.  Use some of this boiling water to pour over lids and rings.

Begin by slicing up your red onions very thinly, I spent about an hour sobbing over the onions, my eyes are very sensitive. Then bring a mofo pot of water to a boil and dump in those onions, boil hard for about 4-5 minutes. 

Then drain onions through a colander and reserve 1/2 cup of the water.  Pour the water, apple cider vinegar, sugar, pickling salt, mustard seed and red chili flakes back into the same pot and stir until everything dissolves.  Dump the onions into this mixture called a brine and remove from heat.  It should look something like the image below.

Now take your jars and use a funnel to ladle in the onions and brine leaving 1/2 inch headspace and packing onions down into the brine.  Once packed and lids/ring one place back into the hot water bath and boil for 10 minutes.

So had to taste test and all I have to say is "ohhhh yeeaaa" and I just ate some on a cracker!  Very nice combination of sweetness and tartness and I think this would be good paired with different types of cheeses too. The bright pink color is lovely too! If y'all have any questions/comments about canning feel free to comment below and I will answer, I promise!  Do you have a favorite thing that you have canned? A special recipe?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Real or fake?

On my way home from Trader Joe's I passed by what appeared to be a REAL horse at an antique shop.  I had to stop, turns out it was FAKE, but it was so convincing.

The place had all this Barbie stuff outside too, so I had to take a peak.  Lots of cool kick-knacks and postcards.

It pays to take the long way home sometimes:-)  I challenge everyone to pick one day next week and take a turn down a street you've never been, you never know what you will find!  I PROMISE I will post a jam this weekend!  See I've been really busy trying to put a garden together and I am super excited about the prospect of fresh basil/cilantro/chives/tomatoes/cukes/ect, ect.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Making your preserves work for you!

Hi Jamsters!

I know I am due for another jamming session, and that will most likely be done tomorrow, but today I would like the share a unique way you can incorporate your jams/jellies/marms into something more then just slathering it on toast.

I present to you Banana Dream Cake.  Inside this delicious 3 layer cake is a filling of Monkey Butter and frosting.  If you recall Monkey Butter is the delicious combination of banana butter, pineapple, and coconut.  You can find that recipe here.

The recipe for the 3 layer cake came from The Novice Chef and it is truly close your eyes and mumble to yourself good. Check out her blog, it is fantastic! I am going to include the recipe below for yall!

Alls you need:

Cake Part:

3/4 cup butter
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
4 oz applesauce
Juice from 1 lemon
1 cup mashed over ripe bananas (I used 3 small bananas)

Frosting Part:

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 (12 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
5 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Monkey Butter or any other jam.

First you want to mix the dry ingredients together (flour, baking soda, salt) in a large bowl. Next you want to smash the bananas really good and squeeze the lemon juice onto them in a separate bowl. Then cream together the sugar and butter until nice and fluffy.  Then add the eggs in 1 at a time. Add vanilla extract, sour cream, and applesauce into mixture. Now beat in flour and milk alternating between the two.  Lastly add in the smashed bananas.  Make sure everything is well incorporated (meaning skim the sides of the bowl in case the butter/sugar didn't mix together).  Pour the batter into 3 8 inch round pans that were greased and floured.

Put into 275 degree oven for about 40-50 minutes until no mushy stuff comes out on a toothpick. One done baking put directly into freezer and freeze for about an hour.

While cake rounds are freezing whip up that frosting but creaming the butter and cream cheese together.  Add a little vanilla extract.  Then start adding the confectioners sugar little by little.  I know it seems like a lot of sugar and frosting but this is a big cake and are not going to eat the whole cake yourself!

Lastly, to assemble the cake place bottom round onto a cake plate with a dollop of frosting beneath it to keep it in place.  Then layer frosting, Monkey Butter, cake, frosting, Monkey Butter, cake, frosting.  Do a crumb layer around the whole cake, stick in the freezer again and do the final frosting!

Ta-da! You can see the Monkey Butter oozing out! I actually made this for my husband and I's anniversary, he really loves Banana cake so I wanted to surprise him and since there was so much I sent him to work with some to share:-)  Well that's that for now and hopefully I'll be jamming tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

#8 Blackberry Lemon Jam

Hey y'all Jamsters!

Hoping everyone is having a fabulous week! I decided to experiment this week with blackberries, unfortunately I can't go outback and pick my own so I decided to can what was on sale at my supermarket.  I would love to learn a bit about foraging in this area, I think I found fiddle-heads on a nearby trail but am too scared to test them (remember the way Into the Wild ended?)

I got this book for Christmas from my Mom and I love it!  It is so thorough and really goes in depth about the processes.  Are there any canning books that y'all enjoy?

Alls you need:
8 cups of blackberries
3 Granny smith apples (cored) or pectin
2 cups of sugar
2 lemons (3 Tablespoons of juice and zest)

First wash your blackberries thoroughly and inspect.  Now dump all of the berries and sugar into a mofo pot and make em sweat!  Bring the pot to a medium simmer and let all the juices run out of the berries until there was enough juice to cover them.  Make sure you stir often, don't want any burnt berries!

Now get out a strainer and place over a large bowl. Dump the whole pot into the strainer and mash with a spoon.  Take the liquid from the bowl and put back into pot along with apple cores. Bring this to a simmer for about 20 minutes.  Now remove the cores and dump whatever is left in the strainer and bowl back into the pot along with the lemon juice and zest.

Bring everything to a boil (the juice/berry pulp/lemon juice/zest) and begin testing for doneness using the cold spoon method.  I wasn't getting a good gel so I added additional sugar free pectin and that helped thicken it up. Has anyone ever noticed a sheen on the jam after adding pectin?  I wonder why this happens.

Ladle while piping hot into sterilized jars making sure to keep rims clean and air bubbles out.  Process for 5 minutes (or according to your elevation) in a boiling water bath.

The purpose of the apple cores is to add natural pectin instead of the powdered stuff.  Unfortunately I think I should have added the apple skin too because my jam wouldn't set so I ended up using the powered stuff anyways, No big deal. If you wanted to forgo the whole adding apple cores/peeling and just adding pectin I think that would be fine.

I was actually able to finish before it got dark out, thank you time change!  I thought this jam would photograph beautifully in natural sunlight and it did.  Oh and I had it on a pb sandwich and it was deeeelish!

One last thing, your kitchen WILL look like a murder scene when you are done There was globs of red all over the counters on on the towels, just so you know.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Stool Redo

Hi Jamsters,

Just wanted to let you know I haven't forgotten about yall. I know you were crying in the corner thinking "when is she gonna come back?" Anywho I just wanted to let ya know that tomorrow I will be doing 2 jams to make up for lost time.

Tonight I wanted to share with you my little weekend project, reupholstering a little stool I found tossed to the street a few months ago.  Here it is before, all crummy and icky:

To be honest I liked the patchwork fabric but it was just in really bad condition.  So I ripped it all off and the foam (the foam was sooo bad) and beneath it I found 6 pennies and a Canadian coin, someone had stored their life savings inside this stool!!!  I disassembled the stool and replaced the foam and TADAAAA!

It took about 4 hours but was worth it.  I also added a welt around the bottom to cover the staples.  I'd like to learn more about reupholstering it is such an easy way to change the look of something. 

One last thing, on Saturday I was browsing craigslist and came across a garage sale that had this super cool black "leather" chair for sale.  It was nearby and I decided to see if it was still there.  The conversation with the seller went something like this:

Me: "I see you have a black leather chair for sale, how much?"

Seller: "It is $40 dollars"

Me: "okaaaay" **ferociously texts husband to see if I can get it and receives text saying I can for $30 dollars**

Me: "Mister, I really like that chair you got there but my husband says I can't have it unless it is $30 dollars, could you do that for me?" **shuffles dirt around beneath my feet**

Seller: "Yea I guess so"

Woohoo!  Lucie even approves of the new chair:-)

So tomorrow 2 jams!  Later jamsters!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

#7 This S*** is Bananas!

So Newport was quite delightful although overcast. We learned about all sorts of mushy marriage stuff.  On Saturday we made our way with a few friends down to the Newport Old Stone Mill.   I've been curious about this mill ever since I read about it in a history book.  Supposedly they thought vikings had built it and that it was proof that the vikings inhabited America before Columbus and his peeps. One of the downfalls was there were no plaques/information about the mill nearby so a friend recited wikipedia's  blub in his best tour guide voice.

Next we headed to Bruskers Irish Pub, a small place with a good beer selection and quite possibly the friggin best Reuben I've ever had.  The Corned Beef was sooo thick and juicy. I indulged in Magners Cider, I love how cider tastes like the champagne of beers, so fizzy and light!

One of the coolest places we went was the Newport Brewery.  They are known for the Newport Storm Beers, we decided to do a taste test and walk around a bit.  I liked their Blueberry Beer and the other light one...I just can't handle the ale's they make me feel super full and bogged down. We got to see where they ferment the beers and bottle em, very neato.

Enough about me, let's talk about the Jam this week!
I'm going Ape for Banana's and I am hoping to use it in a much larger treat for my hubby (I'm supposed to do nice things for him now).  Remember to follow directions closely because banana's are relatively low in acid.

Alls you need:
Adapted from Learn to Preserve

10 Bananas medium sized ripe
4 cups of pineapple diced or chunked (or 2 20oz cans)
1/2 cup of coconut
5 cups of sugar
3 fresh lemons juiced
6-7 pints of jars

First you are going to slice up those bananas to make it easier to mush em up while cooking.  Then add all ingredients into a big mofo pot.  Stir well until everything comes to a boil.  Once boiling reduced to a simmer and start mashing everything up with a potato masher or big spoon.

 Now remove your sterilized jars from the canning pot and ladle in the deliciousness called monkey butter.  Process in a boiling water bath for 15 min or according to your elevation.

The verdict: outstanding!  The bananas give a nice creamy consistency once mashed up and I love the bit of coconut.  A very tropical summery jam!  I can't wait to put this on oatmeal/pancakes/smoothies/ice cream/peanut butter sammies, woohoo!

I had to put it next to my tin toy monkey.  I have a small collection going of tin toys, they have a super interesting history!  Okay, now you know I'm a dork if you couldn't tell already.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Newport and Taste Test

 This weekend my husband and I will be doing a "marriage retreat" in Newport and I am really excited!  The main reason we are going is because it is FREE and we get to stay at this fancy hotel, it's sponsored by the company my husband works for.  

So I wanted to let yall know how the jam tasted from Florida.  The first I tried was a Orange Coconut Marmalade.  It was sweet but had a wonderful orange undertones to it.  Not very bitter, which I found sad cause I do enjoy things with a bite to them.  But it was very good!  Now I need to get to trying the rest of them!