Posts Tagged ‘peaches’

So I called out sick from work on Friday. Yeah. It was lovely.

Basically, I had a food blogger potluck, no food, and performance anxiety. And a plethora of sick days available.

Plan A for food: Pita chips and tzatziki.
I’ve started taking that to almost every pot luck type thing, and I wasn’t feeling it this time. I drained the yogurt, but I didn’t even work up to buying the pita.

Plan B for food: Salsa
I’ve got a butt load of tomatoes from my garden, but, again, I didn’t work up enthusiasm. (It’s okay – I think I’ll work up to it next week or so and then can/jar some)

Plan E for food: So I had a two-week old plan to use up eggplants in my fridge in imam bayildi… and two week old eggplants, which ended up in the compost because they were a little fuzzy. But it was a good plan – and one that would help me with my tomato backlog. So I drove off to one of the big Asian supermarkets in south philly to acquire eggplants (of the variety often found near me, but not when I’m looking for them).

food bloggers potluck
Okay, so let me tell you the genius of using Asian (long, skinny) eggplants for this Mediterranean dish: bite-sized imam bayildi!

Not a big pile of mush! No, these were 4-5cm long segments, each one with it’s own little pocket-forming slit and awesome deliciousness. It turned out just as well as I had planned (and better than I’d feared, the big pile of resulting mush would still have been delicious, though, so no worries). And I got the portion right (about 30 pieces) for the gathering, so there was just enough let over at the end of the evening for a lunch-sized portion for me.

And what do you know – someone else had brought chips and homemade salsas and another person has pitas and dip. No one else had mysteriously delicious eggplant with tomatoes and onions and parsley.

Oh, and I also took a fruit salad which I loved

Fruit Salad

watermelon, hand-picked blackberries, and banana slices that had been dosed in lime juice and ginger juice.

I loved it and thought it needed more of the sauce throughout! Those bananas were yummy.

What else was there?

Teagan brought a pasta salad with mint pesto and an indian string bean and carrot dish with mustard seeds. Oh, and she also had a pumpkin and coconut pudding.

Marisa brought a big jar of pickles with delicious onions.

Someone had a plate of traditional pimento cheese sandwiches. Up here, that is an exotic gourmet treat. Yum!

Messy & Picky brought a tasty and simple corn salad.

North Port Fishington Vegan Cookie Factory brought donuts

Someone made little caprese salads on a stick with grape tomato halves framing little mozzarella lumps and basil

someone brought carnitas

There was a fruit tart.

And the host made tasty peanut butter cookies.

There was socializing.

And then I left.

farmers market! – where I achieved my primary goal of acquiring a lot of dubious peaches.
looking at potential houses…

Meeting up with friends for a game night
I took some more of the same fruit salad (but with a slightly higher ratio of lime/ginger to fruit that for the potluck), but the people trying it this time thought it tasted a bit wonky.

then dinner
a failed quest for ice cream
and home

first there was kick ass yoga.
then I went on an emergency quest for pectin (only to be found in solid form at the whole foods)
and did laundry

and then I made jam
and then I made a tonne of peach jam.

I started cutting up and sugaring peaches while I boiled the jars.

first project was re-cooking the white peach with lime and ginger from last time that did not set up properly. I just cooked it down more and added some more pectin from the last packet of liquid pectin. I think it turned out better, but I haven’t tried. it. (yield: 4 – 4oz jars)

second project – was making a non-spicy jam for geeksdoitbetter, but I think the 2 parts fruit to 1 part sugar recipe is a bit too sweet for me, and I like spicy to balance that. Also, I’m actually not a bit jelly person, and I quite like jam from the supermarket. I’m not trying to make something I will enjoy from any ole source, so I might as well get wacky. So a simpler recipe was hard. I ended up adding about 1/4 cup of the cherries we’d picked together and that she’d dried with quite a lot of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and possible allspice. When those cherries were finished, she was quite sure they were way too heavily seasoned, so I only used that many for about 6 cups of fruit and 3 cups of sugar – and then I added cranberries when I decided it was a little too sparsely populated with fruit (if you are going to have random dried fruit chewy bits, then there should be enough to pop up reliably, instead of as surprise chewy). No other seasoning. For this one, I added 3 teaspoons of dried pectin, and it seemed like it was going to set up rather solidly. (yield: 3 – 4oz jars; 3 – 8oz jars)

third project – so then I went looking for savourier options, and started with 5 Spice Powder. A lot of 5 spice powder. And then some ginger juice. And a wee little bit of black pepper sauce. Stir cook stir. And then it didn’t seem to have a distinctive enough flavor, so things went a bit wacky. I added a little rice vinegar and some soy sauce, and then I added some sambal oelek for kick, and the hot version finally tasted right. (yield: 5 – 4oz jars; 3 – 8oz jars)

Fourth project – So I have a coconut, and I was thinking of adding shredded unsweetened coconut meat to one, but at 10pm it was a little much work to start on. So I went for a peach masala theory. I added a lot of Penzey’s garam masala. And I wanted a few more savory notes, so I added a shake or two of Penzey’s Rogan Josh. Oh, and this one got just 1 teaspoon of solid pectin for about 6 cups (maybe more) of peaches. Cook cook stir cook. And then when it was near thick enough, I melted some coconut fat in another pan and fried up a generous quantity of mustard seeds and nigella seeds (and added three drops of mustard oil when the coconut fat seemed to be toasting more quickly than the seeds). Add to jam. This one tasted awesome hot, and I have high hopes for it being my favorite. yield: 6 – 4oz jars; 2 – 8oz jars; and 2 wee tiny jelly jars because I couldn’t bear to leave the little scrapings in the pot to be washed down the drain)

Fifth project – And I liked the peach chipotle jam I made in the first experiment so much, that I tried to replicate that batch. By this point my tastebuds were so blown with sticky peach that I suspect I made it spicier, but hey. Same ingredients at least. (yield: 6 – 4oz jars; 1 – 16oz jar)

project 4.5 and while I had just started cooking down the peaches for batch 5, I threw my Green Tomato Salsa in a pint jar and boiled it for the entire length of the cooking process and all because I couldn’t bear a 6th round of heating stuff before canning it. I’m storing it in the fridge in case that wouldn’t be sufficient to make it shelf stable, but it should at least slow down the aging process. (yes, there’s lots of vinegar in the salsa)

Oh, and I went out to dinner
Oh, and I went out to dinner. With a boy. Yeah, it’s my co-worker on whom I have a vague crush, but I’m pretty sure it’s doomed.

So we tried out the new Tampopo near me. The dumplings were exceptional – with a light skin and filling with flavor. Pan fried to deliciousness. He ordered the hot, spicy tofu – which was tasty. The tofu had nice crispy edges. I ordered hot, spicy squid, and my tentacles were not too chewy. Same sauce really was used for both. And the portions were small, but it was a full meal’s worth and sized right for the price. No service and free water.

And the place was chock full of the most stereotypical west philly people, and I kept getting distracted from my barely coworker level of intimacy conversation by the wacky west philly people discussing their accupuncture and tattoos.

a little more house shopping before work…

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I had Jury Duty. Only I called the night before and was told they didn’t need me. So did I go to work like a responsible citizen? No! Of course not! I took today off work. Whee!

Plan a: wake up at 6:30am, get on the road by 7:15; get to a pick your own farm in New Jersey by 8am; pick stuff; drive to a pick your own farm in Pennsylvania; pick more stuff (they have late season strawberries!); have lunch with my parents; drive home; pick up two yoga classes that I usually am working during and have never tried these teachers.

How did that work?

Well, I got out of the house more like 8am. Still pretty darn perky.

Got to the PYO farm in New Jersey. I really like this place; it has a huge variety of things to pick. I started off with slips to pick blackberries and blueberries.

blackberries I love blackberries more than any other fruit-type thing. When I was little, we had blackberries growing in our backyard: tight, little fruits full of flavor. And I’m always a bit disappointed by these lush, overflowing things that have been selected as the ideal blackberry. Well, it looks like the breeding of grafting or whatever you need to do to make the big berries, isn’t 100% because I could find more compact berries on the same brambles as the juicier ones. \o/! So I went down a row and back up and had filled my two containers-worth of blackberries. (and then there was a moment of ick, when my feet, wet with the lingering dew of the humid summer morning, hit the sandy driveway… and there was unexpected sandiness of unpleasantness.)

blueberries I caught the trailing end of the blueberry crop, but I’ve always had a fondness for smaller berries, here, too. So it just took a bit more patience to pull a berry here and there until … well, the container wasn’t full, but I was done.

(side note: that’s twice now this week that I have seemed to be overheated without feeling hot at all. I’m a little worried by this development, but I figure summer won’t last too much longer and my body can figure out its issues if I give it time)

So I decided not to pick peaches or white grapes or anything else on offer, but I did buy some peach and nectarine seconds. (and, yes, a doughnut – they were making them on site)

And then I drove straight to my parents’. We went out for lunch. I suggested the little Mexican shack that had opening up fairly close to their place, but my mother said there was a place in town that was better… turned out to be Qdoba (WTF parents?). Apparently, they’ve started doing their regularly because it is right next to the social security office. (awww… old parents) But they were paying, so I only hassled them a little about it.

Gave them some blackberries and drove home and took a nap.

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Jam update

   Posted by: Livia    in experiments, Food, Recipe, sauces, vegan, vegetarian

Peach Chipotle Jam

Ended up including:
4 cups of cut up yellow peaches
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 lemons (zest and juice)
pinch of salt
1/8 tsp (dipping the spoon in gently twice) adobo sauce with chipotle peppers
1/4 tsp (2 generous shakes, really) ground chipotle
8 whole allspice berries
once boiling – 1/2 packet of liquid pectin

Directions: Cook cook cook. Stir. Stir. Cook Cook Cook. Remove allspice.

Take sanitized jars, fill with jam, clean rim, add lid, return to boiling water for 30 minutes, remove and let cool.

Jam of awesome!

yield: 4 – 8oz jars

result: Has a loose consistency, but still holds together enough to be called preserves. Tastes delicious! Tingles my tongue without burning – must remember, however, not to offer to my more heat-sensitive friends.

Ginger Peach Jam with lime

Ended up including:
4 generous cups cut up white peaches
2 cups white sugar
4 limes (zest and juice)
pinch of salt
2 healthy glugs of ginger juice (1-2 Tablespoons?)
3/4 inch of fresh ginger, minced
4 – 2″ stalks of lemongrass (for cooking, and then stood up in each jar)
1/2 packet of pectin

Directions: Cook cook cook. Stir. Stir. Cook Cook Cook.

Take sanitized jars, fetch out a lemongrass stalk and put it in the jar, fill with jam, clean rim, add lid, return to boiling water for 30 minutes, remove and let cool.

yield: 5 – 8oz jars (yes, I was 1 lemongrass short)

result: Didn’t jell at all. It makes a very tasty sauce/syrup, but it’s not jam. I am considering popping these back open and recooking them – possibly even turning them into chutney.

Plum and Nectarine Jam

Ended up including:
1.5 cups of assorted plums and nectarines (and one white peach that was in disguise as a nectarine)
3/4 cup of sugar
juice of half a lemon
pinch of salt
10 black cardamom seeds, ground
the last squeezings from the pectin packet

Directions: Cook cook cook. Stir. Cook Cook Cook. Go, “Oh shit! It’s burning to the bottom! Best can it right away!”

Take sanitized jar, gently fill with jam without scraping the bottom, clean rim, add lid, return to boiling water for 30 minutes, remove and let cool.

yield: 1 – 8oz jars (and just a wee bit extra)

result: Firm and solid like real jam (like you can buy in stores). Managed to take it up without getting any burned bits in – so it still has a nice, clear flavor. The cardamom, which I was expecting to be nigh overwhelming, it only faintly noticeable if you are looking for it. I think this is the one I’m giving to my parents because they like a fairly traditional (i.e. simple flavors) jam.

The two people who kept me company and loaned me a big pot each took home a jar of jam. One opted for the chipotle one, and the other wanted the ginger peach one even though it was loose: she plans to put it over ice cream.

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Windfall of peaches – prep for jam

   Posted by: Livia    in experiments, Food

Canning! (as inspired by all of the lovely posts by Food in Jars)

Yesterday, I had a bit of a windfall in peaches, with the adorable berry boys, who sell orchard products at the farmers market across the street and are objectified by half of my co-workers, looking all befuddled when I asked to buy their defective fruit – and instead giving me the lot for free.

So this morning I cleaned away the bad spots and chopped up the good parts, and ended up with a decent haul:

  • 4 cups of yellow peaches, which I have packed up with 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup white sugar as well as both the zest and juice from two lemons and a pinch of salt. I am thinking of adding allspice and chipotle when I go to cook this into jam – what do you think?
  • 4 cups of white peaches, which I have packed up with 2 cups of white sugar, the zest and juice of 4 limes, and a pinch of salt. For this one, I am thinking of lots of ginger and some lemon grass (because I happen to have a bunch in my fridge right now). And then if I am doing that, then maybe a wee little stir in of my thai green curry paste.
  • 1.5 cups of assorted plums and nectarines (and one white peach that was in disguise as a nectarine), which I have packed up with 3/4 cup of sugar and the juice of half a lemon (and a pinch of sugar). And I have no fancy ideas for this one.

And then I had to wash up and go to work.

I think I won’t have time to cook the jam until Sunday, but that should be okay. I’m planning to spend the time in between looking for a wide-mouthed funnel.

Oh, yeah, I also quested for canning jars at both of my local supermarkets and two of the small grocers with no success, but I did luck out at the local hardware store, and he’s going to order some of the wee, cute 4oz jars for me. They won’t be in for a week or so, and by then I’ll know whether or not the jam thing works for me. If not, they are still cute, versatile jars.

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It has been a while since a food list

   Posted by: Livia    in Food, lists

food I have
1/2 pt fermented peaches soon to die of oxidation
3 wintery roma tomatoes
butternut squash
2 jalepeno peppers
1 yellow bell pepper
4 roasted red & yellow peppers

I need to buy milk and/or heavy cream
cream cheese
sour cream
goat cheese

a little bit of leftover roast chicken (1 sandwich worth)
2 chicken breasts marinating in onion, fermented peaches, white balsamic, and cowboy rub

So I need to go ahead and make the chicken, but I haven’t decided whether I’m just popping it in the oven, or whether I want to cut it up and saute it and turn it into real food (maybe fajitas, and that would use up the bell pepper, too. Oh, and a tomato.).

I also need to go ahead and make the butternut squash. I think I want a soup, and I have thousands (slight exaggeration) of butternut squash soup recipes, but I’m not feeling inspired about it yet. I think it’s that I’ve been wanting food I can chew, lately.

I’d been looking for something to do with the bits of fermented peach after I’d strained the liquor off… I thought of making little tarts with peaches and goat cheese, but if I don’t make it either tonight or tomorrow morning, I think the peaches will end up in the compost, instead. I’m wondering whether a little dab of tamarind sauce would make those tarts even better, but I won’t know unless I get off my ass and try.

I’ve been eating a lot of mexican (inspired) food lately. I had tasty carnitas quesadillas (and I still have half the pork left in my freezer), mexican corn soup, a few trips to the mexican restaurant, and I’ve also been making some of my sleazy cheezy dip.

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It’s the end of the season, and I have an abundance of food.

food I have

Not frozen meat
8 or so assorted pieces of Kentucky Fried Chicken
leftover filet mignon (with sauteed peppers and mushrooms on the side)
bacon (this usually is just assumed, but I thought I’d throw it on the list today)

Frozen Meat *means should be used soonish
ground beef
hamburger patties
taco seasoned ground beef
london broil marinated for stir fry*
chicken breast
diced roast pork* (only 1 meal’s worth)
chicken backs for stock

sorely tempting meat on sale this week
ground beef $1.69/lb
skinless boneless chicken breast $1.99/lb

I have a bread machine!!!
1/2 pound of bread leftover from a loaf

10 peaches of dubious virtue (these are the least ripe ones from the $5 of peach seconds I got at the farmers’ market and put up and sugared and put in the back of the fridge to ferment. Now my container is full, and I need to think up something different for these last few)
10 pounds of potatoes
5 bell peppers
2 zucchinis
3 long skinny eggplants
jalepeno peppers
2 apples
garlic (whole and peeled)

sour cream
cheddar cheese
2% milk
heavy cream
and end of a blue cheese that should be finished soonish
cream cheese

OMG food!

I looked through all my cookbooks for stuff for peaches and potatoes (separately)

One of my favorite cookbooks, Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen, had a recipe for a frittata that not only included potatoes, but also bell peppers and day old bread! Score. I had that last night, but I put all the stuff on the list, anyway, just so I could brag about finding the perfect recipe. I wonder how well the potato frittata will reheat? I’ll find out eventually, I guess.

Cooking With the Seasons had an exceptionally tasty-looking peach dessert, but I’ll need people over to try that. Hint. Hint.
ETA: I lied. The recipe is in Winterthur’s Cullinary Collection, which also has an interesting recipe for a pie with dates and sesame seeds that I might like to have help trying to create some moot.

Otherwise, it looks like I’ll make a coriander and peach chutney/salsa thing and find a good meat to put it with… my choice would be lamb, but it’s looking like chicken is the available option.

I have separated the chicken into meat, crunchy bits, and refuse. I can’t quite bring myself to toss the crunchy bits. They are so tasty – there must be a way to use them without the hideous gluttony of a meal of chicken skin. Crumb topping for casserole?

I’d been planning to put the filet mignon with peppers and mushrooms either in tortillas or over rice all mexican-y with maybe the zucchini and perhaps a can of beans. I think the starch shall, instead, be diced potatoes. Lots of diced potatoes. And I could probably grill down at least one additional bell pepper. I might be able to put away five or six lunches from that dinner.

Ummmm… eggplant. That could go with potatoes in a curry. With jarred tomatoes (from [redacted]’s mother!). And… ummm… lots of jalepenos. Yeah.

So what else is urgent? I should have a bell pepper left, unless it self destructs before I get to it. More potatoes. Some pork for a small dish. Beef for a stir fry. Wherewithal to make hella tasty mashed potatoes to feed a large army. Bother – peaches still, I can’t imagine the chicken using up more than half what I have. Oh, and cooked chicken. Right.

So I need salad greens. I think a chicken, peach, grilled onion salad with stilton would be kinda tasty. Maybe some toasted almonds in that. But way too early to buy the greens yet.

roasted pork with potatoes and carrots and gravy. *yawn* Boring, but it’ll still be tasty.

And then I thaw the meat for stir fry again and make it right quick. Probably by this time I will need to buy more bell peppers. There can be potatoes in stir fry. Totally.

Ooh, and the Better Homes and Gardens has a recipe for bread machine potato bread that starts from a real potato.

Yeah. That should feed me into next month. And I think I’lll still need brilliant ideas to eat everything.

And I have a hankering to make lots of bread… only no room to eat it.

ARGH! I forgot about the three pounds of dates I bought to stuff for an SCA event and never got around to doing anything with… and the container of feta cheese and the bag of walnuts. Is anyone throwing a party any time soon who wants to join me in making a tasty little finger desserts?

Meanwhile, I am feeling both antisocial and lonely… and not quite sure what to do with that.

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farmers’ markets

   Posted by: Livia    in dubious, Food, lists, Uncategorized

Wow! The weekday farmers’ market is way different from the weekend one.

There was nowhere to get eggs, but there were different produce vendors than usual, and they were all willing to haggle to get rid of their produce!

I got a quart of peach seconds – so now I need to layer them with sugar and set them to ferment.

I got 7 rolls for $2 – so now I need to eat massive quantities of bread – I did my part by eating 3 with garlic butter and pot roast – Mmmmm.

Two wee little baby melons for half price!

a bunch of bell peppers for a dollar!

and some yummy cheeses – not discounted. Often farmers’ market cheddars taste a bit bitter to me, but not these – so great find.

*rolls about in the glory of good food*

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