Canning: Strawberry Rhubarb Jam


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Remember those 7 lbs of strawberries? Ice cream and cake wasn't enough to use them all up, for that matter making jam didn't finish them up either. However, this jam did make a big dent in the remaining berries.

I've been wanting to make jam for awhile, and when Heather suggested Strawberry Rhubarb Jam it was perfect since I had some rhubarb in the freezer. My sister declared this the best jam she has ever eaten (homemade or store bought). If that isn't enough to convince you to try it, I'm not sure what would.

Here's what you'll need:
  • 2 cups whole strawberries, crushed
  • 2 cups rhubarb
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 6 Tbsp classic pectin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 1/2 cups granulated sugar
To prep jars for canning, heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.

In a large stainless steel pot, combine strawberries, rhubarb and lemon juice. Whisk in pectin until dissolved.

Bring to a boil over high heat stirring often. Add sugar and cinnamon, and return to a full boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 1 minute while stirring.

Remove from heat and skim foam if necessary.

To Can:

Remove hot jars from water. Ladle hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles by running a sterile knife around the inside of the jar. Wipe rim clean. Center lid on jar. Apply band and tighten until just tight (do not force).

Place jars in boiling water bath making sure water covers jars by at least 1 inch. Process jars in the boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove jars from water and set aside to cool.

After 24 hours, remove bands and check lids for seal. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed and lids should stay intact when lifting jar by the lid. Store on a cool, dark shelf.

Makes ~ 6 half-pints.
Source: Ball's Blue Book Guide to Preserving as seen on Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks

Strawberry Summer Cake


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Cake or pie? Given the choice, I always choose pie and pie is what I was looking to make with our strawberries. That was until JR caught wind of my plans. Cake is his preference, and since I knew he'd more than likely be eating the majority of this treat, I went ahead and fulfilled his request.

I was pretty sold on this cake after reading the reviews. It was described as  having a "jammy" top and well, I do love anything strawberry jam! Plus, this was super simple to make which is a bonus in my book!

I'm rethinking my always choose pie decision. We gobbled this cake up at a very fast pace and I'm willing to bet you will too when you make it. It's already on my list of things to make when our short late strawberry season comes around in a few weeks.

Here is what you'll need:
  •  6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup strawberries, stemmed and halved 
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 8x8 glass baking dish and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream butter and 1 cup sugar until fluffy, approx. 3 minutes. Add the egg, milk and almond extract and beat until well combined.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add dry mixture to wet mixture and beat until well incorporated.

Pour batter into greased baking dish. Place strawberries cut side down on top of batter. Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp sugar.

Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 325F and continue baking for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick insert comes out clean (it may have some strawberry on it, but no wet batter should be visible). Cool on a wire rack before serving. Serves ~ 9.

Source: Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart as seen on Smitten Kitchen

Sweet Cream Strawberry Ice Cream (Lactose Free)


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JR and I went strawberry picking this year for the first time together. There is a very popular place around, and since I imagined it would be packed with people I sought out a smaller local farm that was actually closer to home. I loved driving up and seeing the little hand painted wooden strawberry sign hanging on the side of the road.

Remember I said JR and I went, well, he sort of just directed me while I picked. It was funny when a lady a row over from us asked if he was actually helping or not. I think his idea of helping is the eating part after. This is fine by me because there would be a lot of eating after picking 7 lbs of berries!

I sought out recipes from my cooking board friends because I knew they'd have the best recipes to share. It's funny, one of the ice cream recipes I read stated they were making it for milkshakes, and that is exactly what JR asked for. Besides cake, which will come in another post.

This recipe was an experiment in the sense that I was trying to make it lactose free. I know some people will turn their nose up at using coffee creamer, so go ahead and use real cream instead (as long as you don't care about it being lactose free). Since JR can be a "picky pants", I was going more for flavor over healthy here. Who am I kidding, ice cream isn't exactly healthy to begin with!

My experiment worked for the most part. Why for the most part? Like it's name suggests, this ice cream is sweet, so adding milk for a milkshake helped subdue the sweetness, and the texture lends better to milkshakes vs. eating. While I'd prefer my ice cream straight up, a milkshake works too!

Here is what you'll need:
  • 3 3/4 cups whole strawberries
  • 3 Tbsp agave
  • 1 cup 2% reduced fat lactose free milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 3/4 cup Italian Sweet Cream coffee creamer
  • 2 tsp Kirsch, optional
Place strawberries and agave in a medium pot and cook over medium heat until strawberries are softened and begin to break down. Allow to cool and puree in blender. Set aside.

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, warm milk, sugar and vanilla bean with scrapings. Once warmed, remove from heat.

Whisk egg yolks in another mixing bowl. Slowly add warm milk mixture to egg yolks, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan. Heat saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

Pour coffee creamer into a large mixing bowl. Place a mesh strainer over bowl. Pour custard through the strainer.

Make an ice bath of ice and water in another large mixing bowl. Place bowl of custard into the ice bath. Stir custard over ice bath until cooled. Place custard in the refrigerator to chill completely.

Remove custard from refrigerator and stir in Kirsch. Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Freeze in an airtight container with a piece of plastic wrap pressed against the ice cream to keep ice crystals from forming.

Source: Adapted from David Lebovitz

Zucchini Recipe Round-up


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It's zucchini-palooza around here these days! It seems like every other day I find a monster. You know the ones I'm talking about, somehow it wasn't visible yesterday and today it's the size of a baseball bat! I've been searching my yellow squash plant for the monsters as well, but it's funny how things work out sometimes. We have so many zucchini and haven't picked any yellow squash, yet my sister is the complete opposite with a lot of yellow squash and a dying zucchini plant.

For ease, we generally eat the zucchini grilled, roasted or stuffed, but that can only happen so many times before it becomes boring. Have no fear, since I haven't posted anything new in months, I figured I'd at least share with you my favorite savory and sweet zucchini/summer squash recipes to keep things far from boring!

Zucchini Cornbread
Shaved Summer Squash with Prosciutto and Goat Cheese
Zucchini Corn Fritters
Turkey Burger Pitas with Tzatziki
Harvest Muffins
Foil Packet Summer Squash
Here are some friends' recipes that I've made and recommend as well:

Chocolate Zucchini Bread from Alida's Kitchen

Pineapple Zucchini Bread from Sweet Beginnings

Pasta with Zucchini Cream Sauce from The Way the Cookie Crumbles

Black Bean Roasted Zucchini Goat Cheese Enchiladas from The Way the Cookie Crumbles

If you don't get around to making these now, shred that zucchini and freeze it so you can make these yummy treats in the dead of winter!