Archive for the 'Condiments' Category

Pipe Dream #335: To Resuscitate – Blackberry Citrus Chia Jam

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This recipe is part of a new category of recipes on tha blog called “Boiling Mini Batches of Sugar At Night On Lauren’s Poorly-Lit Stove.” Also in this category are this rhubarb syrup and the bitters rock candy. Breaking all the food blogger best practices of natural lighting and sharp focus and DSLR-only because who has time for that unless you quit your day job.

meyer lemontini 2


Here. Throwback sharply-focused photo from when I was like, an intern at a non-profit or something.

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This recipe is kind of magic because you get fruit fiber jam in five minutes flat without all the hassle of the gellings and the other whatnots whathaveyous canning nonsense and annoyances of life with which you normally have to deal. It is also a nice use of any summer berries that may or may not be starting to mold because they are just so ripe and full of life that they were overwhelmed in their little berry beings and started to shut down. It’s not their fault.

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Spread on toast, stir into yogurt, eat with a spoon. It’s all good.



Blackberry Citrus Chia Jam

Adapted from The Kitchn

2 cups blackberries

splash orange juice

juice of 1/2 a lemon

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons chia seeds

Combine the blackberries, orange juice and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Mash the berries with a fork and simmer for three minutes or so until the berries break down. Remove from the heat, and stir in the honey. Add the chia seeds and stir once until combined. Let stand for five minutes to thicken, then transfer to a jar to cool completely. This will keep in the fridge for about two weeks.

Bittersweet Rhubarb Simple Syrup Experiment, A Metaphor

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Isn’t our whole life just one bittersweet series of experiments?

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This syrup is timely, because rhubarb is having a moment with cocktails right now. I mean, it was this spring, and this syrup lasts in the fridge until summer so you can still have your off-season cocktail.

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Here’s to the day when all bitter things are made sweet,


P.S. Happy Sparklers Day in two!

Rhubarb Simple Syrup

From The Kitchn

4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Combine the rhubarb, sugar, and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft and the liquid has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes.

Set a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl. Pour the rhubarb through the strainer until most of the liquid is in the bowl. Press the solids a little with the back of a spoon to extract more syrup.

Pour the syrup into a jar. Cover or cork the bottle and refrigerate.

The leftover rhubarb solids also make a great jam!

Random Tuesdays: Roasted Garlic + Roasted Garlic Butter

Oh, garlic. How we love you. How you make any and every dish sing. How you beguile us with your charms, seeping out of our pores like some noxious gas, all the while making us believe that we do, in fact, smell attractive to those in our immediate vicinity. We choose to believe it.

Here’s the thing. When you infest my fridge in droves, like, in 600,000 cloves? I can’t seem to use you fast enough. You start…sprouting. And you become less than you were meant to be.

It is my hope that by roasting you, mashing you and spreading you, I can make you presentable and delectable once again. Please do understand.

I hope things can be right between us.

Always and ever yours,


Roasted Garlic + (Butter)

2 heads garlic

olive oil

4 tablespoons butter

1/8 cup grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Peel the garlic heads, stripping away all the flaky stuff and leaving the hard skin. Place cloves in the cups of a muffin tin and drizzle oil over the top, using your fingers to coat the cloves. Cover tightly with foil, and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft. Let cool.

Eat ’em straight, or mash with butter and parmesan. A food processor or Magic Bullet might also be a useful option.

Pipe Dream #79: To Be Gellin’ – Crabapple Jelly

So I told you already about the masterpiece wild grape jelly. But I’ve been holding out on you. There was another, equally as divine, equally as Amish-ish.

I picked five pounds of crabapples one autumn night. It was kind of a last-minute picking—the apples had just turned, and I was leaving the area in just two days. But staying up late to make it was so worth it.

In fact, it would have been worth it even if I had only got the above picture out of the deal. Because let’s face it, neither you nor I have ever seen a prettier picture of crabapples in a bucket.

Crabapples are pretty bitter on their own, but never you mind; I added a million grains of sugar to the jelly. I have ceased being offended by the amount of sugar that is in jelly because my mom told me that if you don’t add enough sugar, the jelly won’t gel (jell?) correctly. Me mum is smart.

I was actually significantly worried that this jelly wouldn’t turn out anyway. The recipe called for five pounds of apples and said that it would make 7 cups of juice. That was false. It made about 4 cups of juice. But I had an exhaustion-induced brain slip and ended up halving the sugar and pectin in the recipe. So there I was stirring away frantically for exactly one minute as the recipe says (whatever, no big deal if you go over by five seconds), when I realized I needed to add more sugar and pectin. It wasn’t the right time to add it, but I just threw it all in and prayed that things would work out.

And it did work out. I wasn’t expecting the jelly to be so red (I thought it would be more browny-yellow), but apparently it can range anywhere from deep red to coral. And it tastes like candy apples. So lovely. There were a ton more crabapples that I didn’t pick—even one tree would make gallons of jelly, so I’m sad I didn’t have time to make more.

Get thee picking! (You know, like 8 months from now. Sorry. I’ll be better.)

Gellin’ like Magellan,


Crabapple Jelly

Adapted from

5 pounds crabapples (or more if you want 7 cups of juice)


1 3/4 ounces dry pectin

9 cups sugar

Rinse the apples, and remove the stems and bad spots. Put the apples in a stock pot, add water until just covered, and cook until soft. Some recipes suggested crushing the apples with a potato masher to check for softness. I did it because I thought it would make the juice more potent, but that is kind of one of my unfounded theories.

Strain the apples and juicy water through a jelly bag to make 7 cups of juice. Some folks say let it strain for a couple of hours, others say overnight. I was foolish and tried to squeeze the apples so I didn’t have to wait for it to strain. This might account for the missing juice, and it definitely accounts for my scalded fingers.

Combine juice and pectin in a large kettle. Bring to a full boil over high heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture is at a full boil, stir in the sugar completely, and return to a full boil, stirring constantly. Boil for exactly one minute (or 65 seconds, or 55), still stirring.

Remove the pot from the heat and skim the foam from the surface of the juice, then pour into hot, sterilized jars. Seal and process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.


I Got It Right: Wild Grape Jelly

After the main part of my summer job was over, I had a bit more time to pursue other interests. It was kind of weird working 9 to 5 and then getting real free time; I pretty much did not know what to do with myself.

I did make wild grape jelly, though. After discovering a jackpot of wild grapes growing near the creek, I had spent weeks picking them off and spitting the seeds out as I walked. Wild grapes are one part juice, three parts seed. It was fun, but I wanted something more out of the experience. After floating around a few ideas, grape jelly seemed like the most prudent. So I made it.

I picked a heaping ice cream pail full of grapes at first, which gave me about three cups of juice. If you pick your own, you might want to go with a couple pails full. Acutally, you will want to go with a couple of pails full. Late August through the late September is the best time to pick wild grapes. Perfect timing.

To get the juice out of the grapes and into a jelly, I put on some gloves and squished them into a pulp. Despite the gloves, my hands were still stained and burning after about ten minutes. Good thing I didn’t smash the grapes with my feet like I wanted to, yes? That would have been so romantic for about thirty seconds.





I found a neat website all about wild grapes to help with making the jelly. WildFoods suggests putting the pulp in a cheesecloth to get the rest of the juice out, but I hate dealing with cheesecloth to the point of avoiding recipes that include it. However, in this case, I was pretty committed by the time I read about the cheesecloth, so I decided to MacGyver a cheesecloth out of a really fine strainer. It worked pretty well; I just had to keep squishing the pulp into the strainer. WildFoods also cautions not to break the seeds in the grapes or boil the skins to get the juice. Keeps away the bitterness, so they say.

I’ve never canned anything in my life. It sounds intimidating and involves a lot of boiling water and hot glass. I can be kind of a sissy about getting burned. If you’re a-feared in a small way, here is the link to the USDA’s definitive jelly-canning guide. Who even knew the government published things like this?Additionally, Ball Jars has a pretty, simple website that is all about making it easy to can. They’re probably just trying to sell product by  making canning less intimidating, but I did enjoy the site. And! I didn’t fail! The jelly jelled! Up from the ashes of disaster grew the roses of success! (The ashes of disaster being, in this case, severe boredom.)

The flavor is so excellent; every other jelly I have tried seems watered down in comparison. P.S. I should have skimmed that foam off the top, I found out later. Ah well, it makes for a cool picture.

I am thinking that these will make lovely gifts, don’t you?

Go crazy,


Wild Grape Jelly

Adapted from

Take four cups of undiluted wild grape juice and mix in one package of Sure-Jell and bring it to a boil. Add five and a half cups of sugar all at once and stir constantly until it returns to a vigorous rolling boil. Let it boil briefly for a minute or two (still stirring) until it seems to want to foam up over the top. Then remove it from the heat, pour into sterilized jars, and seal in a boiling water bath for about five minutes.

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