Recipe for Cherry Pinot Grigio Jam

July 17, 2012

Cherries always means summer, don’t they?   I think of American Flag cakes and trifles and Cherry Clafoutis all rolled into one.  Just this one time a year I make my Cherry Pinot Grigio Jam, and I have modifed the recipe for you here to make it a bit easier from the original I posted last year.  When the cherries are left in half-pieces, you need to add pectin to get this jam to gel–but the benefit is that you really “preserve” the cherries in large, yummy pieces.  I realize that making the pectin from Granny Smith apples is an extra step (extra work), and I set out to create one that will work without the added apple pectin.

I would love to know if you decide to make this!  Please leave a comment and let me know how it turns out for you.


Cherry Pinot Grigio Jam

Fresh Cherry Pinot Grigio Jam slathered on challah.


Cherry Pinot Grigio Jam

Breakfast on a Sunday morning, Challah with Cherry Pinot Grigio Jam.





On losing an account

June 29, 2012

I start the day catching up on Facebook, twitter, now Pinterest—my networking groups, all in an effort to stay human, connected, promote, and not get lost in the repetitive production of my business.  The seasons produce this ever-changing array of fresh fruits and vegetables, all begging to get into the jars at their peak.   After just three years, the pressure wears on me at times.  I get tired.

I have my live markets where I can recharge and get feedback from loyal and wonderful customers, my “emotional “ filling station so to speak.   Being a perfectionist,  pushing hard to make such a fresh and beautiful product, driving to farms to physically pick and/or pick up local produce..personally delivering product to my local customers—it is difficult not to get attached to the the bottom line.  I have wonderful, loyal customers, and I cherish every one of them in that they support my physical and financial well-being.  All I really want to do is focus on those that appreciate and I do have so many.

So why is it that it is so traumatic when I lose an account?

Some of my accounts go out of business without a word.  It is so sad.   They just disappear, most times with no forwarding information.  It was as if the relationship never existed.   For others, I watch the new competitive products appear on their facebook feeds, and it always feels like they have taken on a new girlfriend.   Lots of times I think not as pretty as the old one.    If I was assured it was an “open relationship”, I would feel so much better, but when they don’t respond to my communication, it feels like the charm has worn off, so fickle, so onto the new, best thing, or the local thing, or the politically correct thing—sometimes the “thing” having nothing to do with my product at all…… And I know in my heart that all I need to focus on are my wonderful, loyal customers.

Of course I know.


Peach Ginger Cardamom Pie for Pie Day!

June 20, 2012

Cardamon Ginger Peach Pie

Here is a recipe for a lovely pie I baked today to particpate in Pie Party 2012  across the country!  I have combined fresh peaches with cardamom, crystallized ginger and a few scrapes of nutmeg to make a luscious fruit filling.   The crust comes from one of my standard go to books, The Joy of Cooking.



Peach Cardamom Ginger Pie with Lattice Crust


Peach and Raspberry Tartlettes for #Baketogether with Abby Dodge

June 11, 2012

So here it is, a month has gone by and we are smack in the middle of glorious peach season.  The blueberries and blackberries are just finishing up here in Florida, and the peaches are coming down from South Carolina.  Dripping with juice, tart and sweet, peaches are so delightful, really I do look forward to this time of the year–for fruit that is, not for the change in our weather 🙂   I just completed a batch of Peach Bourbon Jam, nothing but peaches, sugar, lemon and bourbon–some added before cooking and some added at the very end to finish off the jam.  When I saw Abby’s new baketogether challenge for very berry mini pies, I knew I wanted to use fresh peaches and a slathering of my Peach Bourbon Jam as the base for the tartlettes.  This month Abby put up a badge at the one year anniversary of baketogether, there you can read all about the monthly challenge and join in if you would like to bake with us!  These tartlettes were unbelieveably delicious, these will be another kitchen staple here at my home.  I was able to use fresh harvested pecans from a farm up in Georgia which I incorporated into the topping.  Please visit Abby’s Site so that you can view the original recipe and look at all of the wonderful adaptations from talented bakers across the country.    Here is my spin on Abby’s original recipe for Very Berry Mini Pies.

Lovely Peach and Raspberry Tartlettes with Peach Bourbon Jam





Peach Rhubarb Ginger Jam

May 18, 2012

My life is closely attuned to the seasons now that I am making my living preserving the harvest.   The first beautiful peaches of the season arrived at our kitchen two weeks ago.    Peach season always collides with rhubarb season, one of my other favorites.  I can remember my mother picking wild rhubarb in our old neighborhood in New Jersey.  She would walk up the side of our mountain donning her apron and pruners–I can see her just as if it was yesterday.   I didn’t usually go with her on her walks in the woods.   I was always amazed that she could identify a wild plant and bring it home to prepare a dessert for us, sometimes exposing herself to poison ivy along the way.  All it took was a simple brush by the dreaded, shiny, three-leaf plant and two days later her arms would be covered in oozy, itchy blisters.   I seemed to be immune thank God.   The wild rhubarb was never bright red, mostly green and incredibly tart.   She would fix us a strawberry rhubarb pie or cobbler or sometimes simply stew it with berries and serve with cream.

Peach Rhubarb Ginger Jam

It is best to prepare the ingredients for this jam the day before cooking.  Allowing this to macerate overnight allows the peaches and rhubarb to absorb the sugar.  This recipe should yield 8 eight oz jars.  If your peaches are really sweet, you can reduce the amount of sugar without hurting the texture of this jam.  This jam should keep its beautiful texture and color for up to 12 months in a sealed jar.



Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

May 11, 2012

This recipe is for one of my all time favorite cookies, Oatmeal Chocolate Chippers as my Mom used to call them.   I have adapted her recipe over the years to tweek it and make it just a bit more healthy (not much considering it calls for 2 huge sticks of butter).   I don’ t know where the recipe originated, it is hand-written on an index card covered in crunchy cellophane (always the ones that are so sentimental to me).  She always used Crisco shortening and I have exchanged that for butter.  I have also used some White Whole Wheat Flour and Bread Flour in this recipe to give the cookies a little more “chew”.   My Mom would have used Nestle Chocolate Chips, my Grandmother would have insisted on raisins, but I love bittersweet chocolate.   Ghirardelli makes a large bittersweet chip that is just a little more dear than Nestle and oh so much better tasting.   You can chill the dough before scooping if you have time, if not, they will not suffer one bit!  My mom would sometimes add a cup of chopped walnuts or pecans to these too…I have chosen to leave them off the ingredients list.


Oatmeal Chocolate Chippers


Peach Lavender Cornmeal Buttermilk Muffins #Baketogether

May 10, 2012

The Baketogether with Abby Dodge this month featured a fabulous recipe for Cornmeal Buttermilk Muffins , a sweet or savory version.   As the first juicy peaches are now coming in from South Georgia, I wanted to incorporate peaches into the recipe.   Here I have used my Peach Lavender jam to create a sweet version of the original muffin recipe.   So…instead of fresh fruit, I added 5 oz of my Peach Lavender jam to the egg mixture.  The baked muffins are marbled with the jam and they burst with bits of peach flavor, really pleased with the results!  I also decided to put a little sweet topping on these and used my trusty Vita Mix to blend sugar and dried organic lavender flowers to elevate these muffins.    You will note I reduced the sugar in the muffins ever so slightly as I was using jam, plus adding a sweet topping.  Taken directly from Abby, if you are new or would like to join the #Baketogether, please know that  we are a very inclusive  group of happy bakers.  You can  Subscribe to Abby’s rss feed so you are always  in-the-know and check out this post for some info on how we #baketogether.


Marbled Peach Lavender Muffins


Creamy Plantain Pudding

April 29, 2012


Plantains are so widely available here in Central Florida, and I have really gotten accustomed to eating them a few times a week.  They can be baked, fried, boiled, or steamed.  I did a little research on them and Wiki says that plantains, like bananas, are believed to have originated in southeast Asia, having been cultivated in south India by 500 BC.   From there, ancient trade routes distributed it to Africa through Madagascar. By 1000 AD, plantains had spread eastward to Japan and Samoa.  They arrived in the Caribbean and Latin America by 1500 AD. Since then, they have spread widely throughout the tropics.  Each country adds something unique in terms of spice and combination. Plantains contain beta carotene, vitamins C, B1, B3, B6, B12, K, and folate. Minerals include iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iodine, phosphorus, chloride and selenium.

I had three tremendous and terribly ripe plantains in the kitchen today, and I really wanted to do something different with them!  I did a bit of research on the web and I decided on a sweet pudding.  This recipe was inspired by one that on found online by Melissa’s World Variety Produce.




Baked Plantain Pudding


Savory Gruyere and Corn Relish Bread Pudding

April 19, 2012

This recipe was developed with my Farmer’s Market customers in mind.  So many will ask me, well what do you do with this?  How can I incorporate this into my meals?   I researched some recipes on line and found a fabulous one that was written up in the LA Times which I have linked for you below.   I eliminated the ham entirely to keep this meatless, used the herbs I had here in my garden, and substituted a jar of my corn relish for the called-for carrots in the original.   This makes a hearty, sturdy bread pudding which makes a delightful side dish served with green salad or placed alongside a beautiful cut of beef.  The recipe called for using a bain-marie which is an age-old process for cooking with a gentle, steady heat and adds a smoothness to the end product.

The jarred corn relish gives this pudding a slight tang of vinegar, I just love it and hope that you will too!






Mom’s Custard Rice Pudding circa 1950

April 15, 2012

Rice Pudding

Mom used to make this rice pudding for us when we were kids, and I would love to eat it warm for breakfast.   She had a special pink pyrex casserole she used to bake this in,  and one year at a family gathering it was smashed to pieces…I mourned over it.   These objects take on a life of their own especially after a loved one’s death.  They seem irreplacable, but the healing is in the making.  So her recipe lives on through me and hopefully my daughter will someday make this same pudding and feel as gushy as I do about my “vintage” pyrex.   These past few months have been difficult for me, my brother has been horribly ill and is thankfully on his way back up.   He lost his swallow relflex and has been in a skilled nursing home working hard with a speech therapist to regain his ability to swallow and have his stomach tube removed.   I visited him this week, and he had been taken to the hospital to have the “official” swallow test done and he passed!  For now it is on to soft foods for him and he does not have to be tethered to a bottle of chocolate protein…and I am hopeful that he will continue to get stronger.    I asked him if he would like to have a bit of “mom’s” rice pudding, can you guess what he said?



Digging in to a Rice Pudding Casserole


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