Strawberry Balsamic Italian Crostata

March 15, 2015

IMG_3426Apple Butter

Strawberry Crostata

We are at the height of our strawberry season here in Central Florida.  I wanted to be sure to include a delightful recipe her for you that includes a jar of my Strawberry Jam.  The preparation is simple and is a classic European dessert served in the afternoon with coffee.  You can substitute many different varieties of jam as well, whatever you have in the pantry should work out for you.  I hope you enjoy this.

Recipe calls for a 10 inch Tart pan with removable bottom



Strawberry Crostata

Grilled Tequila Lime Culantro Shrimp

August 26, 2014

Tequila Lime & Culantro Shrimp garnished with lime and mango

Tequila Lime & Culantro Shrimp garnished with peppers, lime and mango


Summer screams Tequila, doesn’t it?  This month I am participating in a fabulous virtual progressive dinner just in time for Labor Day!  I made sumptuous shrimp for our appetizer and they are refreshing and light, perfect for a summer barbecue.  If you don’t have an outside grill, these can be made just as easily in your oven.  I have featured culantro in the recipe, which is an herb I happen to love.  It is  a different plant to cilantro entirely–it has a stronger flavor and is fabulous when paired with basil if you are new to this herb.  It is very popular in Latin countries and happily it will grow it year round in my patio herb garden.

Grilled Lime Tequila and Culantro Shrimp

Grilled Lime Tequila and Culantro Shrimp
Adapted from




Tequila Lime Culantro Shrimp

Tequila Lime Culantro Shrimp

 Stop by and visit all of the wonderful blogger links below to get recipes for the full summer cookout!

Main Course








Welcome to another edition of Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a progressive dinner party. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.

 We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.

This month’s theme is Summer Barbecue hosted by Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake. You’ll love all the summertime recipes that will be perfect for your next cookout or Labor Day gathering.

Mango Lime and Tequila Popsicles

July 13, 2014

Mango Lime & Tequila Popsicles

Mango Lime & Tequila Popsicle

Mango season is upon us here in Central Florida!  I have had 60 pounds of fresh, untreated Kent Mangos delivered to our kitchen to make various jams and chutneys for our Farmer’s Market tables.   One of the other things I love to do with our jams is to use them to enhance and create other easy to make dishes.   This is a simple recipe that I developed for a very light-tasting summer popsicle.  You can use any flavor jam for this, I chose to use my Mango Lime and Tequila Jam for a gorgeous tropical treat.  This recipe will make enough to fill a 4 pop mold which can be purchased inexpensively at any local market.    This is made using a 2 cup measuring cup and a blender.    

Yummy close up

Yummy close up

We Made It! The List of Simply the Best of Orlando 2014

February 23, 2014

Pineapple Tangerine Jam Wedding Favors.

Pineapple Tangerine Jam Wedding Favors.

I was thrilled when Orlando Life Magazine contacted me in late January requesting an interview for the March issue.    The feature is a list of simply the best in Orlando, from people, to places, to local restaurants, shops and artisans.    It is so incredible when a magazine contacts you through word of mouth and your reputation, for me it is the greatest compliment ever.    They were wonderful to work with and were good enough to provide me with interview questions so that I could put together my responses offline and turn around the interview quickly.   

After I sent away the interview, I realized that I don’t take the time out on my own blog to talk about my company or my progress very much.  Unfortunately, I really don’t love the entire marketing end of the business –I would much rather be the mad scientist in the kitchen focusing on the creative side or sampling products with my customers who give me the energy to continue to go on creating.  This is why the larger companies have PR and Publicists on their teams, but for the smaller companies such as mine, we juggle to do the very best that we can.  So that is why it is so great when a press opportunity comes along and especially one with such thoughtful interview questions!

I wanted to share the interview with you here so that you could learn a little more about me and Sunchowder’s Emporia and the directions we have come and gone with since December of 2008.  I hope you will enjoy reading about us!   Here we go: 

1. I know you started this business back in 2008 when you decided to pursue a passion of yours but tell me where the business is now compared to six years ago? How has Sunchowder’s Emporia grown? Is this where you pictured you business to be six years ago?

This little business of mine has grown beyond my wildest expectations!  We have had the good fortune to be featured in several national magazines and have more than tripled our sales since our humble beginnings in the middle of a recession.  Our mission to be part of and support the local food movement has not waivered and we continue to use only fresh fruits and vegetables and remain loyal to local farmers and produce whenever possible.   My stance on not using commercial pectin or artificial ingredients has remained firm, and our customers support us with their continued patronage.  Without our loyal customers, I would not be where I am today.  Each and every one of them contribute to my financial well-being and security.   In terms of how I pictured the business, each year I renew my goals and review our results and work hard to remain current and provide products that meet my customer’s needs and expectations.    Staying true to our name Emporia, we expanded our product line to include pickles and relishes back in 2011 and in 2013 we opened our Vintage Store on Etsy to complement our product line.   In 2014,  I plan to work on an outline and proposal for a cookbook with a focus on featuring recipes for my jams, pickles and relishes as the basis for your own home pantry, how to use them for appetizers, mains,  and desserts, and how to create meals with leftovers using all the gems that you have canned;  all with a touch of frugality and Florida influence.

2. You said that the changing of the seasons has been an inspiration for you throughout the creative process. Can you tell me more about that?

The seasons will always dictate what I will be processing in our kitchen.  Each season brings with it its own fruits, some harvests are sweeter, some are more tart.  It is the song of nature really.    In Florida, we move from Strawberries, to Blueberries,  to Mangos and then on to the summer berries Raspberry and Blackberry.  In the fall we have gorgeous Apples, Pears, and Pumpkins.   As I taste the fruits that we bring into the kitchen,  I will always make adjustments to the sweetness and acidity to balance each batch.   I love to experiment with different fresh herbs, spices and spirits to create unique flavor profiles.  This past summer season I was able to source over 100 pounds of outstanding fresh California apricots.  With the clock ticking on this gorgeous fruit,   I worked in the kitchen to develop a new flavor called Apricot Vanilla Bean with Tuaca.  I discovered Tuaca Liqueur which an Italian brandy infused with vanilla and citrus essences, and I  knew the moment I tasted it that it would be a perfect pairing with Apricot.  This flavor was a smash hit this past season in both the Farmer’s Markets and my online Etsy shop. 

The Blueberry season begins in March here in Florida.  I have a relationship with  Spring Valley Farms in Umatilla and I exclusively use their berries in my fresh Blueberry Jams.  Our standard “gold” flavor is our Blueberry DiSaronno, this jam uses only fresh berries and just a touch of almond DiSaronno is added to give this jam a special finish.   This season I experimented with several different herbs and introduced Blueberry Basil Jam which was another hit with our local customers.

During the Florida mango season which usually begins in May, we had a happy accident in our kitchen and created Mango Lime Tequila Jam.  My Dominican kitchen assistant misunderstood me when I asked him to grate lemon into the mixture and he grated lime zest instead and what a happy accident that was!  We went on to add fresh chili pepper from my garden to our next batch and those two flavors will remain in the recipe stack for next year.   Those jams are only made seasonally and in limited quantities.   Mango jams, both sweet and spicy pair beautifully with many different cheeses.

3. What are your most popular jams for each season

Winter:  Tangerine Ginger Rum, Jalapeno with Apricot and Wildflower Honey

Spring:   Blueberry DiSaronno

Summer:  Raspberry Cointreau, Blackberry Chambord

Fall:   Pumpkin Butter

4. Do you have specific jams that can be bought all year round, if so what are they?

Strawberry,  Blackberry Chambord,  Raspberry Cointreau,  Raspberry Pepper,  Jalapeno, Apricot and Wildflower Honey  and Pineapple Tangerine.

5. On average, how many jams do customers typically have to choose from?

I usually have a selection of about 12 to 15 different fresh fruit jams at both the Winter Park Farmer’s Market on Saturdays and the Lake Eola Farmer’s Market on Sundays.

6. Out of all the jams you make which is the one that is usually bought the most (everyone’s favorite jam) and why do you think that is?

I believe that would be strawberry!   I think this jam is familiar, comfort food for not only Floridians, but for visitors alike.  We have an amazing strawberry harvest here in Central Florida beginning in December and passing through till mid-April depending on the heat.  We are able to source Strawberries directly from the farms during our season and then I source the berries from Driscoll’s in our off season.  I only use domestic strawberries in our products, so it is either Florida strawberries or California berries in most cases.

7. Now tell which jam is your favorite, both to make and to eat, and why!

My favorite jam is to eat is my Strawberry Balsamic.   This jam is time-consuming and expensive to produce.    It is based on a recipe by Christine Ferber and combines fresh strawberries, the juice of fresh raspberries, sugar, lemon, black pepper and then is finished off with balsamic vinegar.  I love this jam because it has a richer flavor than a plain strawberry jam,  not too sweet, and tastes marvelous on a sandwich, as a cake filling, on ice cream or eaten straight from the jar!  This jam is available in limited quantities a few times during the year.

8. You said that one of your major goals is to have a creative space where you can teach. Tell me a little bit more about that and about the steps you are taking to achieve this goal.

This past March I taught my first Preserving  class at the Florida Hospital Diabetes Institute, and I  will be teaching two additional classes this year on Fermenting and another on Spices in March and October, those specific dates are to be announced.  I am also partnering with a small shop in Longwood called the Wild Hare Kitchen and Garden Emporium, and we also plan to put together some preserving classes to be held there this year.   I will announce the classes on my facebook page and at the markets as the dates are made firm.

9. I read that you use French methods of jam making. Can you explain specifically what that is to me?

None of the processes are automated in my kitchen.   The fruits are washed and cut by hand, and I use old-fashioned French Copper Pots to boil down my jams.   Many of the fruits are macerated overnight in lemon and sugar to begin the preserving process.  This method will allow the fruits to absorb the sugar slowly and also helps to maintain the shape and color of the fruit after it is cooked.  I also separate the syrup from the fruit after it has macerated for 24 hours especially in the case of my Strawberry Jam.  As I don’t use commercial pectin in any of my products, this helps me to achieve the gel in a fruit such as the low pectin Florida Strawberry.   European jams have a softer set than American Jams and I prefer this.   Many of my jams have a looser set that you will find with a store bought jam.

10.  If you had to summarize your favorite part about making these jams, and being the owner of Sunchowder’s Emporia, in just a couple sentences what would you say?

My favorite part by far is creating new flavors and experimenting in the kitchen.

My information: 







Here is the original link to Orlando Life Magazines Article:

Copper Pour Pot

Copper Pour Pot

Candied Bourbon Chili Kumquats

February 6, 2014

Kumquats on the Simmer

Kumquats on the Simmer

This year I have been able to source locally grown and pesticide free Kumquats which is always a plus.   I wanted to experiment a bit and got some inspiration from Kaela over at the Local Kitchen blog.   I modified her recipe and technique a bit, and I used Dried De Arbol Chili along with the Bourbon.  For my taste, these pack a spicy punch, but for those that love spicy, these are quite mild.   They pair beautifully with chicken, pork and duck as well as sweet/spicy toppings for cheesecake and ice cream.  

You can use the jarred syrup to make a kumquatini or two in the heat of the summer, just fabulous!  They make lovely gifts as well.  This is the recipe that I use to make the jars for my Farmer’s Market customers. It can easily be cut in half for smaller batches.   I hope that you enjoy!




Blueberry Basil Jam and Spring Valley Farms

May 14, 2013

Just as the Strawberries finish, in between the Zucchini…the Blueberry season starts in Florida.  We start to see the first glorious berries in March.  I am so lucky to have found the wonderful family that owns Spring Valley Farms in Umatilla, Florida.  Vesna and Chuck have been amazing and incredibly generous,  and I am so grateful to have them in my life.  This year I have produced Blueberry DiSaronno, Blueberry Verbena, Blueberry Basil, and Blueberry Citrus Jams along with Blueberry Syrup and sumptuous Pickled Blueberries.  We go out the farm as often as we can during the growing season.  Silvio rides in the car with me, he has worked with me for two years now, I don’ t know what I would do without his help to clean, prep and help me cook all of the wonderful products we make.

Silvio in the Blueberry Field

Silvio in the Blueberry Field


Ripened Fresh Blueberries at Spring Valley Farm.

Ripened Fresh Blueberries at Spring Valley Farm.


I wanted to post up a recipe for my Blueberry Basil Jam.  Fresh Basil gives the jam a really subtle and delightful flavor.  I make my jams without commerical pectin.  This is a bit more time consuming, but I believe it is worth it for the lose set it gives the final product.   If you give this recipe a go, I would love to hear how you like it.


Florida Citrus Salt

February 24, 2013

Here is a simple recipe for preparing a citrus salt that you can use on seafood, chicken, meats, potatoes (any vegetables really), rice, pasta and in your salad dressings.  We love it on our popcorn too!  I use so much citrus to prepare my jams, and this is a great way for me to make sure that the zest does not go to waste.  Make sure your citrus is not treated with pesticides and be sure to scrub it well and dry before zesting.  I use the microplane zester myself.   You can vary the amounts of citrus for your taste, I happen to like it heavier on the lemony side.

Florida Citrus Salt

Florida Citrus Salt


Guest Post for Cranberry & Tangerine Pecan Cinnamon Rolls featuring Tangerine Ginger Rum Jam

December 16, 2012

I get to meet some really talented and special people on twitter and facebook in the course of running my little business.   I met Stacy this fall,  and she was in the midst of creating a new blog called the   We got to talking about developing some recipes, she placed a HUGE order for some jams…and the rest is history!   She has been wonderful to work with, really passionate about baking and has created an original recipe using my very own  Tangerine Ginger Rum Jam.  She gave me two recipe options to choose from (the other a coffeecake), and I selected this one especially for you…my loyal readers and true-blue fans of my artisan jams.   Citrus season as is in full bloom here…our tangerines are starting to dwindle, but I have been taking advantage of all our Florida season as to offer.  In the midst of all of my holiday rush, I have not gotten to make these yet, but hope that you will!    Stacy promises that the fragrance in your kitchen, as these rolls bake, alone will make you swoon…

Here are some words to introduce this guest post from Stacy:

Cranberry & Tangerine Pecan Cinnamon Rolls {Non-Yeast & Overnight-Style with Gluten Free Option}

Cranberry Tangerine Pecan Cinnamon Roll


A New Spin on No-Yeast Biscuit-Style Cinnamon Rolls

Buttery. Gooey. Rich. Fruity. Tangy. Nutty. Spicy. Distinctive. Easy. All of these words aptly describe these out-of-this-world tasty and hot-from-the-oven dreamy rolls, a new spin on traditional pecan cinnamon rolls.

Wait. Did we just say the word “easy” to describe irresistible home-baked cinnamon rolls? Yes. Yes, we did. Why easy? First, the recipe is a real time saver. It is a no-yeast recipe comprised of rich biscuit dough which saves on the prep time required with yeast dough risings for cinnamon rolls. Second, this quick bread version is prepared overnight-style so that these warm and gooey babies are freshly baked in the morning with the greatest of ease. Want to know the best part? This all means that you can enjoy your steamy cup of morning coffee with a fresh, warm sticky bun without having to get up early to do all the work. The glaze is so easy to prepare, it is a breeze. In fact, it can be made the night before as well. Stress-free holiday baking is where it is at these days. And, it just doesn’t get better than this!

With the addition of Wendy’s tangerine jam to the filling, these exceptional cinnamon rolls, which are like a cross between a biscuit and sour cream coffeecake, taste like they were kissed with pure Florida sunshine. The richness in the dough comes from using real butter, dairy sour cream instead of milk or buttermilk, and only egg yolks versus a whole egg for incomparable taste and texture. Biscuit dough has never been so moist and tender! In fact, the rolls stay moist and delicious the next day—if they even last that long at your house! The buttery-rich Orange-Vanilla Glaze? It’s the cherry on top.

For those on a gluten free diet, I am happy to report that Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour performed extremely well in this recipe. Handle the dough carefully when rolling it into a cylinder to create the cinnamon rolls. As I mention in the recipe, a dough cutter, or even a pancake turner, can help you get under the dough and turn it upward as you work to start the rolling process. If the dough tears, simply pinch it closed and continue to roll. The taste and texture was stellar in the gluten free version and I bet no one will be able to tell that the rolls were made gluten free!

This past fall, when Wendy asked me if I would be interested in sharing a holiday recipe for her blog, I knew it was meant to be as her vast array of unique and naturally flavored artisan jams truly sparked my creative interests. Literally, I ordered an entire case of her exquisite jams and fruit butters to carry me through the holiday season with my baking and recipe development. The Tangerine Ginger Rum Jam by Sunchowder’s Emporia inspired me to dust off an old recipe and update it to incorporate the holiday flavors of cranberries, tangerine, brown sugar, spices and toasted pecans in a foolproof cinnamon roll recipe to share with others.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays! ~Stacy, Wicked Good Kitchen

Please hop on over to Stacy’s Blog to find the recipe!  Overnight Cranberry & Tangerine Pecan Cinnamon Rolls


Cranberry Tangerine Pecan Cinnamon Rolls fresh from the oven

A family unraveled and the cord that binds them – A grateful Thanksgiving

November 20, 2012

The ebb and flow of life and introspection.   So many beautiful memories of Thanksgiving, many that I shared with my parents and my Aunt and Uncle when we were all together in New Jersey.   We had tradition and wonderful food, and we never missed a holiday together.   My Aunt would always serve the canned jellied cranberry sauce which she sliced into circles, laid on equally perfect rounds of fresh orange..each one placed with surgical precision around the huge brown bird.   Crystal goblets, fine china–everything polished and fresh for the holiday.  The hors doeuvres were always served downstairs with adult cocktails, each year she presented chopped liver with square crackers and tiny bowls of salted peanuts.  All expected and all quite comforting.  My Aunt’s sister would have just have that one more Black Russian to put her in the mood.   Dinner was  always served upstairs in the grand dining room.   Looking back as we do and remembering…my Mom and my Dad have both passed on, my older brother lies in a psychiatic hospital and my middle brother lives in California with my sister-in-law and his wonderful twin boys.  My Aunt still lives and today is on watch in NYC while my Uncle has Open Heart Surgery.  This is just how it is this year.

For me, I left the warm arms of New Jersey in 1991 for the unknown in Florida.  At that time I was chasing a job assignment and running from the pain of loss.    I soon married and raised a blended family.  Now my stepsons have a life of their own, one will be visiting his own family– my daughter-in-law and grandson– and the other will be spending Thanksgiving in Texas with new friends.  I want to embrace all of the changes that life brings to us, some so difficult and heartbreaking and others so warm and delightful.   I am very thankful that the light of my life, my daughter, will be returning from college on Wednesday to share the Thanksgiving break with us.  She is the cord that binds us, she knows my heart.  We are a small family now, but a peaceful, tranquil one and I will enjoy the quiet still with her.  We will cook and bake together and make new memories and connections that she will pass on to her children.  For we never know how long we will be here and when we will be called away.


Rachel on her High school graduation day



Our Movie is here!

August 13, 2012

We have been working hard behind the scenes here at Sunchowder’s Emporia.  Barry Kirsch of Murder City Photography came to the house to shoot a video for our little company.  I hope you will enjoy it!  Please click on the link below.  I will have this video up in a working box to the side of my webpage at some point in the near future.

Sunchowder’s Emporia Company Story



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