Jams, Jellies, Preserves ,Marmalades & Fruit Syrups are not just for breakfast !

This time of year all of us are looking for a different method of marinating meat for grilling.  These suggestions come from my own experience  so I am not always going to give you a complete recipe. This is a teaser to help you move out of your cooking comfort zone.

lemony blueberry lavender marmalade
lemony blueberry lavender marmalade

1. This Marinade will make your lamb taste fabulous! Marinate covered in the fridge for 2-3hrs before grilling.

-Use a Jelly with mint  or rosemary(1/2 cup) ,  mix with a red wine vinegar & red wine(1/4c each),add some Dijon mustard and fresh chopped rosemary(2 Tbsp each) .

2. Use this Sesame Plum Sauce for glazing chicken or pork. Serve it warm and use as a dipping sauce for meatballs,

dipping sauce
dipping sauce

won tons or spring rolls. -Use red plum jam,damson plum preserves,Spiced Plum syrup or sweet Red Plum Sauce(1Cup), mix with Soy sauce ,lime juice, Chile paste(2 Tbsp each), Minced fresh ginger(1 tsp) and sesame oil(1/2 tsp). Mix in a small saucepan,heat gently over low heat(to prevent burning) just till the sauce bubbles.

Meat loaf my Dad would love!
Meat loaf my Dad would love!

3. Meatloaf can be boring, but if you add 1/2 c of  Sweet tomato chutney to the mix, you can make your meatloaf moist and fabulous. I have always used the Fanny Farmer Cookbook (twelfth edition) recipe for meatloaf but I use rolled oats instead of bread crumbs and I don’t use Worcestershire  sauce. I usually double the recipe and put one cook meatloaf in the freezer for later!

4. Make sweet potato fries and serve with Sweet tomato chutney.

5. For a tasty dessert, especially before the local fruit comes into season. You can make a plain cheesecake(ricotta or cream cheese based) and before you put it in the oven ,swirl warmed jam , jelly  or fruit syrup through the cheese cake in the pan. You can warm  jam or marmalade and spread it on the top of the cooked cheesecake.

recipe from the 1999 edition of Family circle favorite recipes
recipe from the 1999 edition of Family circle favorite recipes

6. Take a plain cake and add warmed jam or preserves to a butter cream or whipped cream filling. Spread the mixture between the layers or spread the warmed jam between the layers.  Take a “Cake Pan”cake (mix cake right in the pan) baked,but still warm and use a toothpick and to put holes all over the cake. Take the warmed jelly ,jam or fruit syrup and pour it over the cake.

Well it snowed over 14 inches and some drifts are 4ft……

recipe from the 1999 edition of Family circle favorite recipes
recipe from the 1999 edition of Family circle favorite recipes

We went last night to our neighbors for a dinner of lamb shanks,mashed potatoes and broccoli. I brought a sweet cream cake with whipped cream filling mixed with our latest creation “chocolate cherry preserves”. Our neighbors have been kind enough to lend us their snow blower so we can get our parking pad clean this morning ,this is a god send,we are so lucky to have such awesome neighbors!

I need your help with my experiement….

Cocktail Tomatoes from Backyard Farms  in Maine
Cocktail Tomatoes from Backyard Farms in Maine

I am conducting an experiment to utilize the frozen local tomatoes in my freezer during the bleak mid winter.
If you liked the Bruchetta in a jar please taste:
– Winter Salsa- Bruchetta style
– Winter Bruchetta in a jar
These products are slightly different as they are not made from summer local tomatoes and have some different ingredients.
Please let us know what you think!

At the Weare & Contoocook Farmers Markets 4oz jars are available for many of the jellies,jams & marmalades. Come on down to the farmers markets and taste what we have to offer!

What to do with a pork shoulder for New Years Eve or anytime-updated

posolePosole is the answer! It is a pork stew with hominy and can be hot or not. My husband and I first had Posole in Albuquerque New Mexico while visiting my best friend at Christmas time  close to 20 years ago. It can be soupy or more like a stew. You can use turkey,beef or lamb when making Posole and it can be made with red chili or green chili/Tomatillo.

It is best to braise the meat a day before and then put together the rest of the soup or stew. I have found a variety of recipes and they are all different. The condiments we serve with the Posole are cilantro,sour cream,red onion and lime wedges ,but you can add anything you want. Since it was New Years Eve we had Pomegranate-Ginger champagne cocktails using Fre Brut (alcohol removed Champagne) producing a slightly sweet and tart drink that went well with the Posole. Try it sometime I think you’ll like it!

 

Grapes,Grapes and more Grapes!

Grapes everywhere!

I discovered my farmer neighbor had a wonderful patch of Wild Concord Grapes. I stopped and asked her if I could pick them, if she wasn’t going to be using them. She told me to go ahead and pick all of them. By the time I was done I had picked 13lbs of wild grapes. Now I have more than a gallon 1/2 of grape juice to process into grape jelly ! One thing that is different with processing grapes is that after you drip the grape pulp you need to let the juice sit overnight to prevent formation of tartrate crystals in the jelly. I want to get as much out of the juice as possible so I am cutting the grape juice in half with home made apple pectin. Cutting the juice in half has two advantages: 1. It still tastes like grape jelly  2. I will be able to make more jars of jelly!

Tried a new technique to keep peeled apples from browning!

I don’t remember where I saw the story or read about it, but what it comes down to is a bowl of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to keep the apples from browning. I was lucky enough to have another farmer(Warner River Organics) give me some of the not so perfect/saleable  apples, they were Macoun apples that had been in cold storage since the fall. I peeled,cored and cut them into thin slices and placed them in the large bowl of cold water with 2 tablespoons  of kosher salt mixed  in. After I finished prepping all the apples I drained the apples and rinsed them once and drained them again and spread them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper . I placed the trays in the freezer and 2 hrs later I took the perfectly frozen apple slices and put them in pint freezer bags ,marked them and put them back in the freezer.

Now I will say that Macouns take along time to brown once they have been cut, But 2 weeks later the frozen apples still look great. What impressed me was their great texture in a Apple Kuchen I made on Sunday to take to a Farmers’ Market Pot luck dinner/meeting. I think the next time I use this process I will cut the apple sliced a bit thicker,especially if the slices will be used in a pie. The Kuchen recipe I used was from the Tassajara Bread Book,1970 edition.  I did use frozen fruit and raw sugar, and I put the bowl with the fruit and the sugar into the microwave at a low power for 3 minutes then mixed the apples and sugar, I found after the first three minutes the apples were still too frozen to be coated with sugar, so I kept the power low and put the bowl in the microwave for another 3 minutes and that seemed to be enough to thaw the apples and then they took to the sugar quite nicely.

It will be interesting to see how other varieties of apples react to this process and I will let you know how I fair. I plan to try the process with our own Bosc pears as well, who knows what will happen!

Lamb Polenta “Lasagne”-Pick up ground lamb at the Weare winter market or at the farm!

lplasagne
end view of the Lamb Polenta “Lasagne”

*Please note: Sorry for the inconvenience but we will not be at the Contoocook market 4/26 & 5/3-But I will be at The Weare Winter Market 4/25 & 5/2 or you can arrange to pick up at the farm- I will have eggs with me on 4/25 & 5/2 at the Weare Market!

We have  lean ground lamb and if you are looking for a rich tasting and filling main dish you need to try Lamb Polenta “lasagne”. This recipe is a great chance to use the stew tomatoes you put up on the shelf or in the freezer last fall. The recipe says not to use lean lamb,but I found that it tasted great,I just didn’t drain the cooked lamb before I added the tomatoes. I don’t use ready-made polenta ,but make it fresh the day before(or earlier in the day I plan to use it) and put it in a 13x9x2 pan ,which is larger than the pan I plan to use for the “lasagne”.  By using a larger pan to make the polenta, it guarantees that you will be able to overlap the layers in a smaller pan.

added some Mexican cheese ,since the Mozzarella was a bit skimpy.
added some Mexican cheese ,since the Mozzarella was a bit skimpy.

Polenta

1 cup instant polenta, 3-3 1/2 cups (a mix of) stock or water & Milk+ 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional but adds zip to the polenta), 1/2 c  grated Parmesan, 1/2 tsp salt(optional,especially if you are using stock)

Bring the liquid to a boil , slowly stir in polenta , whisk constantly for 2-6minutes till the polenta pulls away from the sides of the pan. Take off heat and add cheese, mix and pour into greased pan -cover with plastic wrap or greased parchment paper pressed lightly against the surface of the hot polenta,chill 3-4 hrs.

When you are ready to make the “lasagne” take the polenta  out of the fridge and release the polenta from the pan and cut it through the middle like you would with a cake  to put in filling. Then cut it into equal squares/rectangle to place in your pan and follow the directions in the Epicurious recipe for assembling the “lasagne”.  ENJOY!

 

 

 

 

We had more than a foot of snow…………. Time to make Pork Ragout with polenta!

It isn’t that cold,but working outside makes me hungry! I am using a recipe from the Williams-Sonoma  cookbook called ” Cooking At Home”(pg.293) and  I used pork Kabobs  from our freezer . I used White Balsamic vinegar  instead of Balsamic vinegar and didn’t add the dried tomatoes ,as I don’t have any. The recipe I am putting in this blog is from Food.com and it is the same recipe as in the Williams-Sonoma cookbook. For some reason Williams-Sonoma website does not like my web browser and complains , it makes it very difficult to give you the recipe directly from them. I made a marmalade cake and of course I didn’t follow the directions, but it looks good,we will see how it tastes…………. The recipe is from the New York times and made my Melissa Clark. I should have watched the video while I was making the cake, but I was too busy with the stew……….oh well, I’ll let you know how it turned out!

Update 2/18 :The cake was pretty good, maybe next time I can follow the directions!  The Pork Ragout was very tasty but I wouldn’t cut the pieces as small the next time and cook longer till it falls apart.

Looking outside our front window
Looking outside our front window

As I write, it is snowing again and we expect to get 6-8 inches. The difference between this storm and  the one last Thursday is  the heaviest snow  will fall over a 6-8 hr period(1pm-7pm) . I am still helping my former bottle baby with her lamb Snow. The lamb is getting some milk but not enough to make her fat. I really don’t want to bottle feed her,but we may still have to supplement her once or twice a day for a while.

What do you do with 1/4 jar of marmalade?

Ricotta Pie with my own Clementine Marmalade
Ricotta Pie with my own Clementine Marmalade

At the Weare Farmers market one of our customers said ” that she couldn’t buy anymore marmalade till she used up what’s left in the two jars in her fridge”. After the  market I  found a recipe for Muffins using 1/4 cup of Marmalade. I have used marmalade to top my favorite Ricotta Pie.You can add leftover marmalade to plain yogurt,hot cereal or sour cream for a sweet condiment for fish (fried or broiled).

It will be a White Christmas……but no light fluffy snow………

Her name is Salsa and I love her serene expression!
Her name is Salsa and I love her serene expression!

We had a lovely snow last weekend and now we have freezing rain. But we still have snow cover  and this ensures a White Christmas! Food seems to be  the main theme this year…….what are we having for Christmas Eve,Christmas day,New Years eve and New years day?

We share all of those meals with our Neighbors and everybody supplies a part of the meal! Christmas eve we will having cheese fondue and I will supply pickles, pickled pumpkin and make bread . Christmas Day we are having Roast Beast(Beef) and we are cooking the beast , making gravy and popovers. On New years eve we are planning to make Vietnamese Spring rolls

Celebrate the New Year
Celebrate the New Year

 

and everyone will bring an ingredient.The recipe we still use is from the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine and is around 20 years old (and I couldn’t find a link to it online so I wrote it down in the bottom of this blog!).  On New years day we are having a large roasted Salmon and we will bring a starch(most likely potatoes) and probably a salad.

As you can tell no desserts have been mentioned ,since  all of us have been making cookies and we have a neighbor who has designated herself the dessert maker. This division of labor is awesome and means I don’t have to clean my house and only have to worry about cooking ! I love my neighbors!!!!!!! Have a happy holiday one and all!

 

Boston Globe Spring Roll Recipe –Modified by Webster Ridge Farm-

The spring roll recipe is flexible and really delicious,but I feel you need to have bean sprouts (steamed) & mushrooms (sauteed) to really make them tasty!

We let everyone roll their own spring rolls and If you have never made spring rolls  go to the link in the above article for a step by step help.

Ingredients

  •  rice papers (we use the wrappers with the rose on the container) take out enough so each person can have 3 to 4 spring rolls
  • Shrimp (clean & cook in shell in pan and remove shells and cut in half)
  • -OR-
  • Beef/ Chicken (cut in strips and marinate in a little soy sauce,grated ginger,finely chopped garlic,lime or lemon juice and a dribble of oil-marinate for 1/2 -2hrs) cook quickly in a wok or hot pan with just a little oil
  • 1/2 cucumber or 2 Pickling cucumbers (peeled and Julienne take out seeds if they are too big)
  •  1 or  2  carrots (peeled and shredded)
  • 1-2 cups thinly sliced & steamed Napa Cabbage (you can use chopped baby kale or chopped watercress fresh,no cooking needed)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (roughly chopped)
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves (roughly chopped)
  • 1/4 cup mint (leaf roughly chopped)
  • 2-5  green onions (thinly sliced on bias)
  • 1 med onion (sliced fairly thin, quickly sauteed or steamed)
  • a large handful of Snow peas (1 or 2 snow peas per spring roll, steamed,but still crisp)
  • 5-7  brown or white mushrooms (chopped thinly & quickly sauteed )
  • a large handful fresh bean sprouts (steamed)
  • Sauce (all of these ingredients are added according to taste)
  • Soy sauce
  • Fish sauce
  • Lime juice (juice from 1 or 2 limes)
  • Ginger (peel then grate or finely chopped )
  • Garlic (1 or 2 cloves finely chopped )
  • Mix all together (refrigerate any remaining sauce and use as part of an oriental dressing (add a little vegetable oil to make the dressing) to put on a salad made with leftover  spring roll ingredients)