Friday, August 28, 2009

Fig figs figs!

Figs are my favorite fruit, partly because of their sweet mild flavor, but mostly because they are so pretty inside! I love to eat fig jam with goat cheese and crackers, so I thought I would try to make my own. Today was my last summer Friday at work, so I decided to take advantage of my afternoon and make another batch of jam. There were two steps I changed in the process today:

1. I bought a funnel, which REALLY helped to eliminate a mess when I poured the hot jam into the jars. (I fear I may have temporarily died my wooden countertops hot pink from a few strawberry incidents last night.)
2. I "processed", or boiled the jars for 10 minutes after closing the lids. Apparently this helps to extend the shelf life.

5 cups figs (cut in half and stems removed)
1/2 cup water
1/4 c lemon juice
generous sprinkle cinnamon
1 1.75 ounce box pectin
7 cups sugar

I followed the same instructions that I outlined in my strawberry rhubarb jam recipe, adding the final processing step.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Last night I made jam for the first time. The recipe below yields 1 batch, which is six 8 ounce jars of jam. I had plenty of fruit so I ended up making 2 batches. It only took one frantic phone call to my Mom!

2 cups smashed strawberries
2 cups finely chopped rhubarb
1/4 cup lemon juice
5 1/2 cups sugar
1 package pectin (1.75 ounces)

1. Sterilize the jars, lids, and rims by boiling them all in a large saucepan. Keep the heat on low as you make your jam. It helps if the jars are warm when you fill them with warm jam.

2. Chop and smash the fruit, then mix with lemon juice in a saucepan over high heat. Slowly mix in the pectin, stirring constantly. Once the fruit has come to a boil pour all of the sugar in, and bring it back to a boil for 1 minute. Dont stop stirring...

3. Remove jam from heat, and fill the jars leaving only 1/4 inch at the top. Take a warm wet towel and wipe off the rims of the jars. Place the lids on top, then screw on the lids. Turn the jars over and leave upside down for at least a half hour.

Here comes the fun part....

I bought a bunch of fabric scraps at my favorite fabric store, Purl. After cutting the fabric into 5x5 inch squares I topped the jars and tied them tightly with bakers string. Then I simply labeled the jars. Now I cant wait to enjoy it on my PB&J today!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mini Fruit Tarts

On Saturday I had family over for brunch. In addition to serving bagels, lox, and a green salad I decided to make these little fruit tarts for dessert (alongside black and whites purchased at our neighborhood bagel shop...yum!). They were a total experiment but turned out to be a big hit!

Fruit Tarts (serves 6)

6 pre-made puff pastry shells
9 blackberries
1 peach, peeled and sliced
2 extra large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2/3 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Place the pastry shells face up on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake according to package instructions. Cool on a wire rack then pluck out the centers of the shells. To prepare the custard filling, start by beating the egg yolks and sugar for about 3 minutes. Beat in the cornstarch. Boil the milk in a saucepan, then slowly pour it into the egg mixture. Now pour it all back into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is thick. This should only take a few minutes. Remove from heat and mix in the butter, vanilla, and cream. Refrigerate the custard until cold. Once it has been chilled, spoon it into the pastry shells and arrange fruit on top.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Breakfast Smoothie

1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 frozen banana
3/4 cup fat free milk

Blend all and enjoy!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Dirty Secret = Vintage Recipe Boxes

I recently went on a bidding spree on ebay for these vintage recipe boxes. It started with one, and then one turned into two and suddenly I was in a bidding war on five different boxes! (Sadly, I lost one.) I found myself compulsively checking my auctions at random times throughout the day. My competitive streak started to rear its ugly head, and I couldn't be outdone. If I was outbid I would up the ante by 50 cents, a dollar....whatever it took! I finally had to fess up to my husband who was slightly mortified. But they are so cute I just couldn't resist! I think I will fill them with my favorite recipes and give them out to friends.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


I just returned from visiting my grandmother in Copenhagen. The Danes' love and ingenuity for design in the most unexpected places never fails to inspire and amaze me. Below are a few of my favorite sights from last week......

Old ship yards are now used as art galleries and design spaces. Imagine going to work here every day.

I couldn't resist buying this chocolate milk for my nephew. I am such a sucker for cute packaging (and chocolate)!

Someday I too will live in a charcoal house with a bright orange door....

Stack of dish towels that I picked up at Bungalow, my new obsession in life. The textiles and fabric covered boxes sold here are a perfect fusion of stunning Indian prints and modern Scandinavian design.

Arne Jacobson gas station in my grandmother's neighborhood. It also functions as an ice-cream shop!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Pretty Little Palmiers

Inspired by my friend at 337 Greenwich, I decided to bake Palmiers recently. It turns out they are so easy to make! I served them over ice-cream and berries for dessert. They're so dainty, I love them. Someday when I am feeling extra ambitious I will attempt Cannelle et Vanille's creative take on them.....

1 sheet puff pastry
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg white

Defrost puff pastry overnight in the fridge. Preheat oven to 425. Whip egg white and brush one side of unfolded puff pastry. Sprinkle sugar evenly over the egg white. Here comes the fun part...roll each side of the sheet towards the middle. Wrap with parchment paper and freeze for about 10 minutes. Slice roll into 1/4 inch slices. Bake for 15 minutes. Enjoy!