Food & Drink

Lemon Curd

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If you know me, you know that my favorite desserts come from the citrus family.  And because I love citrus things so much, when it comes to lemon curd, the more the merrier.  I like to spread lemon curd on basically anything – scones, crackers, I can even eat it by the spoonful.

But I think the thing I love the most about lemon curd is how easy and simple it is to make with ingredients you probably already have at home!  Lately, I find that a lot of my desserts that I’ve been experimenting either uses only egg whites or egg yolks.  So I end up having to shift my cooking based on what I have in my fridge.  Since I had an overage of egg yolks last week, I decided to whip up a quick batch of lemon curd.

Lemon Curd

  • Servings: 12 oz
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Ingredients

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Method

  1. In a double boiler over medium heat, combine all the ingredients.  Using a whisk, whisk the mixture gently until it thickens and can coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.
  2. Pour mixture into a heatproof container and let it come to room temperature.  Refrigerate before serving.

 

Food & Drink

3-Ingredient Strawberry Jam

I was watching Friends the other day, and in the episode, Monica had just broken up with Richard.  With her apartment taken over by the hoard of fresh berries and fruit, she said, “I’m sick and tired of being depressed about Richard. I needed a plan. A plan to get over my man! And what’s the opposite of man? Jam!”

Not going to lie, but every time I watch that episode, I get a craving … for jam.

I’ve been making my own jam for a few years now.  I like to keep jam making super simple  – one pot, three ingredients.  A lot of jam recipes out there require pectin, which is a natural natural fiber found in a lot of fruits.  It acts as a preservative and thickener for your jams and jellies.  I typically will use pectin for fruits that have a harder time jelling on their own – like peaches and apricots.  But berries have loads of pectin and can create a fabulous jam on their own.  So I typically don’t use pectin in my berry jams.

You can use canning methods to make big batch of this jam.  For me and husband, we will go through this jam in about 2 months.  I usually split the jam into two 8-oz mason jars.  I will freeze one jar and use up the other jar first.  Since I am not using the hot water bath to can these jams, they will begin to go bad after a month or so.

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Yield: 1 pint

Ingredients
– 1 lb fresh strawberries
– 1 cup sugar
– 2 tbs lemon juice

Method
1. Remove stems from strawberries, dice into small pieces.
2. In a medium saucepan, add the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice.  Bring to a gentle boil over low heat.  Then bring the heat up to medium for a rolling boil.  Cook until the jam can pass the plate test or to 220F.
3. If you prefer jams with fruit pieces, you can use a large fork and press down on the larger strawberry pieces until your desired consistency.  If you prefer a smoother jam, you can use an immersion blender and blend the mixture.

Plate test:  Before you start making the jam, put a freezer-safe plate in the freezer.  When testing the jam, spoon out a small amount on the chilled plate and wait 30 seconds.  Tilt the plate.  If the jam is moving like slow lava, it is ready.  If it is runny and thin, continue cooking.

Food & Drink

Apple Butter

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Over the holidays, I gifted all my aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. with homemade apple butter.  In my opinion, food gifts are among the best things you could give someone.  Not only will it be used (or eaten), I’m 100% that they will love the work that you put into it.  Since I live in California, and fruit season is basically every season, the apple butter turned out delicious!

This recipe is insanely easy to do.  I really recommend using a mixture of apples for the best flavor.  I went to the supermarket and bought a mix of Fuji, Washington, Gala, Jonathan, and Granny Smith apples.  But it is really up to you on which apples you want to use.  To speed things up, you could even get one of those apple corer/peeler/slicer gadgets.  And best of all, you cook it all in a slow cooker!  Try resisting not getting a taste while it is cooking!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 12 hours
Total time: 12 hours and 15 minutes
Yield: 7 – 8oz jars

Ingredients
– 15-18 large apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
– 1 cup granulated sugar
– 1 cup brown sugar
– 1 tbs cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp apple pie spice
– 1/2 tsp nutmeg
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1 tbs vanilla extract

Method
1. Put the apples in a large crock pot (I used a 5 qt one and it was filled to the brim).  In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the vanilla extract.  Sprinkle the mixture over the apples and using your hands or a spoon, make sure the apples are all well-coated.
2. Cook on low for 10 hours.  Add the vanilla extract and cook for another 2 hours. (You could give the apples a stir during the cooking process, although it is not necessary).
3. Transfer the apple butter into a blender and puree until smooth.  Transfer into glass jars and seal when it is at room temperature.  Serve immediately, or refrigerate/freeze until ready to use.

You could spread the apple butter on toast.  Or my personal favorite, with crackers & brie.  Or you could put a tablespoon in your next pork dish.  Or my cousin is going to make a bourbon pumpkin pie with apple butter!  This apple butter will keep pretty well.  In the fridge (in an airtight jar), they last up to 1 month.  If you put it in the freezer, they can last up to 3 months.  Enjoy!