Jul 26, 2014

Orange Peach Jam

I always thought that jam-making was an enormous deal -- something that grandmothers from another time did in their cottages on rural routes in middle America. They would pick and cut up fresh fruits, boil them on hot summer nights and then can them, processing the cans with a magic I don't understand and am afraid to master, so they and their grandchildren could enjoy the results in the middle of winter, spread onto thick slices of fresh, warm-from-the-oven homemade bread. Sounds idyllic, no? And so not me.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I successfully made jam and jelly last summer. I didn't can either of them (and I still haven't gone that far) but they were both delicious and I even used pectin when I made the jelly! Lately, there have been wonderful peaches at our greenmarkets and, being unable to walk away from such abundance, I keep bringing them home. And there's just so many I can put into my smoothies!

So I decided to make some into jam. Not wanting to go through a whole big-deal production, I found a recipe on Pure Kitchen for Spreadable Raisin Jam. This isn't cooked at all; instead raisins, orange juice and spices are put into a blender until jammy. It sounded perfect but my peaches needed to be cooked to taste more peachy! So I boiled them with spices and orange juice and then blended them for about a minute and they were delicious! The jam is entirely unsweetened and has a little kick from the spices which I love. It's great as a snack on rice cakes and also spread on gingersnap cookies. Enjoy!

Orange Peach Jam
inspired by Pure Kitchen

In a medium pot, combine all ingredients and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook 25 minutes, adding water or additional orange juice if necessary. Let come to room temperature, transfer to a blender (or nutribullet) and blend for about 1 minute, until it reaches desired consistency. Bon appetit!


Jul 16, 2014

Raspberry Lime Rickey

I was never much of a history buff but, as I get older (and possibly even wiser), I find tidbits of food history more and more fascinating. For instance, while reading Fruitful: Four Seasons of Fruit Recipes, a delightful new cookbook by the people behind Red Jacket Orchards, I discovered that Lime Rickeys, a drink I had previously associated with 1950's soda fountains and egg creams, were once an alcoholic cocktail. Suddenly, rickeys got a lot more interesting!

I admit -- I've never actually had a lime rickey so perhaps I'm not qualified to make my own version. But I was always put off by their disturbing green color and the bubbles. See, my aversion to soda is not, as one might expect, because of its processed ingredients or high sugar content but rather because it's carbonated. I never liked carbonated drinks as a child and so never had them. Of course as I've gotten older, there have been some notable exceptions: the aforementioned egg creams, Jack and Cokes for a brief period in college, champagne and, most recently, ginger beer.

So when I saw this recipe and wanted to adapt it to my palate, I knew that ginger beer would be a welcome addition. I have to admit, I have been unable to find a ginger beer without added sugar (if you know of one, please share!) so feel free to make it with soda water if that's a concern for you. The bourbon whiskey is optional as well -- with it becomes an intricate cocktail; without it's a refreshing pick-me-up. You could also make it with gin which is, apparently, the more modern rendition. And if you can get your hands on some black raspberries (they were at my greenmarket), use them. They're absolutely incredible this season. Bon appetit!

PS -- It turns out I'm on-trend! Did you know July is Rickey month?

Raspberry Lime Rickey 
adapted from Fruitful: Four Seasons of Fruit Recipes

In a small saucepan over high heat, combine raspberries and molasses. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Mash raspberries and let come to room temperature. If desired, strain (I don't mind the raspberry seeds).

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add raspberry puree, lime juice and bourbon or gin (if using). Shake and pour into glasses. Top with soda water or ginger beer.

Links (who knew this was such a popular combination!):