Monday, September 21, 2009

Happy Fall Y'all!

First off, Mr. Burns the black racer is getting his wardrobe ready for the impending "cold" weather here in Florida.

I found this snake skin, almost 5 ft. long, in the garden the other day. It looks like we have a naked snake slithering around here at JTRS.

No comments from the peanut gallery. Ahem.

Secondly, I have been researching and poking around about initiating, maybe even teaching (gulp), canning and preserving classes here in Central Florida! I bet you didn't know it, but there is a Canvolution going on. Yes, right at this very moment!

You see, I've been talking with the folks at local Cooperative Extension offices about offering a Master Preserving course here in Orlando. It's a no go. Not enough money, interest, politics, yadda-yadda-yadda. So, I let it sit in the back of my mind, but not forgotten. In the meantime, I've been taking the online courses at the NCHFP.

Then, a few weeks ago, a good friend of mine said, "Well, shoot Kathy, you don't need no stinkin' certification to teach people how to can." And you know something? She's right!

I believe in synchronicity, that we are all connected through the-right-time-at-the-right-place, and that our friends, lovers, aquaintences aren't coincidences. I've been reading Shauna's blog at Gluten Free Girl for years, who also happens to sponsor the Canning Across America website, which advocates local, slow food, which by the way, I BUY raw milk from the VP of Farmer Relations at our local Slow Food chapter!

Whew! All of these people have been nudging me ever so gently in their own special way over the years.

So, fall is a time to rest for many. A time to gather resources and hunker down (I hate that phrase!). But really, I hope it is a time to start anew and take on new adventures! I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Rosemary Port Fig Jam

Doesn't this sound intriguing? I spied this recipe somewhere...dunno where, and tweaked it via Christine Ferber of Mes Confitures. I started it last night and it smelled very interesting, so I'm curious to see what it turns out to be. I bet this would be great with some goast cheese. Heck, ANYTHING would be good with goat cheese!

So, now what do I do with a whole-bottle-minus-one-cup of white Port wine?

Kathy's Rosemary and Port Fig Jam
- recipe adapted from Food and Wine Magazine
- Method adapted from Christine Ferber

4 pounds green or purple figs, stemmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup white port wine
1 4-inch sprig of rosemary

Place chopped figs, sugar, lemon juice, port, and rosemary in a nonreactive jam pot and let ingredients marinate for 30 min (till sugar is mostly dissolved and figs are juicy). Bring ingredients to a simmer over med-high heat, stirring occasionally, and then set aside off heat. Cool and cover jam pot; place in the refrigerator over night to macerate.

The next day, simmer the fig jam over moderate/high heat, stirring occasionally, until reaching gel stage. Remove rosemary and discard.

Spoon the jam into 6, 1/2-pint prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at the top. Process in a BWB for 10 minutes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Deep-Dish Apple Pie

Have I mentioned how much I love Ina Garten? I have? Are you sure? Well...maybe just a little. Well then, let me get right to the point about her deep dish apple pie!

My wonderful, awesome husband gave me a food processor for my birthday last week. A 16-CUP-OMGBBQAPOCALYPSE-CUISINART!!!! This baby smokes my little, 5-cup Kitchen Aid FP into the dust. Still, there were some good memories there over the past 10 years.

Anyway, I went cah-razy and made pie crust this past weekend, cause OH, I CAN. Making pie crust in my old FB was a pain. And so, since I was making crust and all, why not make pie?

The crust was amazing; probably the best I've made. Oh, and the pie was good too!

Deep-Dish Apple Pie
Recipe Source: Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa Family Style

Pie Crust Ingredients(for 2, 10 inch crusts):

1 1/2 sticks of butter, cut into 1" cubes
1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening
3 cups APP flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 T of sugar
6-8 T of ice water (about 1/4 cup)

Place flour, salt, and sugar into FP and pulse a few times to mix. Add butter and shortening and pulse 8-10 times till butter/shortening is the size of peas. With the machine running, add water in a steady stream until dough begins to form a ball. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Pie Ingredients:

5-6 Granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
2 T of lemon juice
1 T of orange juice
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 T to sprinkle on top of crust
1/4 cup APP flour
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1 egg beaten with 1 T of water for egg wash

Preheat oven to 400°. Combine apple, zests, juice, sugar, flour, salt and spices in a large bowl. Divide pie crust into halves and roll out one half for the bottom pie crust. Don't stretch out dough. If it's too small, re-roll until it drapes into pie dish with a little hanging over the side.

Fill bottom pie crust with apple filling. Brush edges of pie crust so top crust will adhere. Roll out second half of pie dough for the top pie crust. Top the pie with the pie dough and trim to about 1 inch over the pie dish rim. Tuck top crust edge under bottom pie crust edge and crimp together with fingers or a fork. Brush entire top crush with egg wash and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sugar. Cut 5 slits into top crust for venting.

Place pie on a cookie sheet and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until crust is browned and the juices begin to bubble out. If necessary, cover pie crust edges with tin foil if they brown too quickly.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Sign of the Times

Do you know what today is? Do you? Why today, dear friends, is the day that Fourbucks starts selling their Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

Meh, you might think, but I will have you know this landmark means a non-stop, unrelenting fallhalloweenthanksgivingchristmas free-for-all till the end of the year! PREPARE FOR THE BESOTTED FRUITCAKE!!

I actually like Fourbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte and they're not bad calorie wise if you get the tall (small). It's only around 260 calories with non-fat milk and whipped cream. If you ditch the whipped cream, then it's around 200 calories. Not bad for a seasonal treat and they fill me up with all sorts of warm fuzzies and excitement for the frigid Florida winters. BAH!

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