Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Eric Doll

was only 19.

We will remember him as the smart, talented, funny, generous kid that he was and we will miss him very much.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What to do?

If you're lucky, you have friends that get you.  I am lucky.  This time last year Cayce and I foraged in the Bay Area and I fell in love with bay nuts
and feijoa.

This year, feeling sorry for myself as I recuperate from knee surgery, I was brought out of my funk when a fragrant box arrived on my doorstep.  I knew right away there were feijoa inside.

Their perfume is outstanding.  And tucked in and among the fragrant fruit were two bags of bay nuts.  Such riches.

So what do I make?

hot pepper and feijoa jelly?

feijoa ice cream and feijoa cake with feijoa syrup?

Here in the NE we can't grow feijoa, so it's not an ingredient I'm super-familiar with.  But I love it!  And I'm determined to make the most of this rare harvest.

I'd like to try something new.  Cayce's going to make wine, which is tempting...  But I'd love to hear suggestions from any feijoa lovers out there.  And if you can work bay nuts into the recipe, well, that would be the icing on the cake.  Maybe literally.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

this feels normal

The spruce has been chainsawed into almost manageable pieces.  The power is on.  We have internet access and a full tank of gas. In other words, we are pretty much back to normal.

In deference to the very long lines at local gas stations, we stayed close to home this weekend.  And that means playing in the kitchen.  At the bottom of the freezer (in which every item remained entirely frozen!), I found a large stash of blueberries, then  remembered a post on Hitchhiking to Heaven about blueberry jam made with whiskey.  I like blueberries.  I like whiskey.  Match made in heaven.

I made a few adjustments to the original recipe (less sugar, more booze) and voila! A giant batch of what I'm calling boozy blueberry jam.  Feel free to adjust the amount of alcohol, according to your love of liquor. 

Boozy Blueberry Jam (to beat the Hurricane Sandy Blues)
7 c. blueberries
5 Tbs. + 1 tsp. lime juice
1 c. scotch or bourbon (split in half)
8 Tbs. powdered pectin
5 c. sugar

Combine blueberries, lime juice, 1/2 the alcohol, and pectin in your jelly pan and bring to a boil you can't stir down, mashing the berries as the mixture warms.  Stir in the sugar, and allow the jam to return to a hard boil, stirring constantly for a minute.  Remove from the heat and add the last of the booze, then ladle into canning jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

I've been using Ball RealFruit Classic Flex Batch Pectin recently because it allows me to adjust the amount of pectin according to how much fruit I have, rather than be tied down to a specific amount of fruit, which may or may not be what's in the freezer.  You can also play around with the sugar, reducing it by as much as 30%.  I like a preserve that isn't overly sweet, which is why I usually make jams and jellies without adding commercial pectin; they require less sugar.  But I thought using a whole cup of booze in this recipe might affect the jell-ability of the final product, so I caved and used store-bought pectin.
The scotch adds a smoky, savory flavor that isn't immediately identifiable as booze.  It sneaks up on you through the not-too-sweet-but-intensely-fruity blueberry taste.  Try it with goat cheese or baked brie.  Ooo, that's an idea...