Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Kumquat Marmalade

Sweet kumquats
picked in December

Remove seeds and slice, place all the pulp into a cheesecloth bag and tie to a wooden spoon to suspend over the pot of thinly sliced rind and sugar mixture. The pulp will give the pectin to jell the mixture.

It's time to post this fine recipe. We've had a bumper crop on a lovely tree and I cooked up --1 dozen plus 3 extra jars of marmalade to give as Christmas gifts this year. Kumquats have pectin in the fruit itself, which is sufficient to create a soft jelled product. I like to add 1 box of powdered pectin to ensure a nice end result. This is the recipe that really works for me, give it a try-- it is fairly simple.
Christmas Kumquat Marmalade
800 grams Kumquats, sliced into thirds, seeds popped out
3 cups sugar
3 cups water
(I triple this recipe)
1 box Pectin powder (only 1 box needed even if tripled recipe)

Wash Kumquats thouroughly and slice each into thirds, pop out as many seeds as you can and place the seeds and any pulp which comes with seeds and place into a bowl, set aside.  Weigh the kumquats (800 g.) and place all the sliced kumquats into a large bowl and cover with the 3 cups of sugar.  (Keep proportions 800g to 3 c. sugar and 3 c. water) as you double or triple recipe).  Stir the fruit and sugar well, cover tightly with plastic and allow to sit overnight on counter, or for at least 12 hours. Meanwhile, p
lace the removed seed mixture into a muslin bag. Tie the muslin bag closed with string and place in a small pan of 2 cups water. Make sure the seed bag is submerged.  Simmer this bag in water for 1 to 2 hours.  Allow to cool completely.  Squeeze out all juices (loaded with pectin) from bag into water, save water for the marmalade recipe the following day.  Discard the seed bag. 

Next day, pour the sugared kumquats into a large stainless heavy bottomed stock pot.  Add the required water, and heat to simmer.  Add the pectin powder and stir to dissolve. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring every 10 minutes, to prevent scorching. You really do have to stir, or you will ruin the product flavor and appearance with scorched fruit.  Cook at simmer, stirring for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Use the old fashioned jelly test to see if it has jelled enough, or until a candy thermometer to 218 degrees. I depend on the jelly test, I don't trust thermometers for this.  Remember Marmalade is a softer jell, but thickens when refrigerated.   Ladle into sterilized jelly jars and seal with lids.

*Old Fashioned Jelly test:  Place a saucer in the freezer.  Remove the saucer and place 1 spoonful of marmalade.  If the marmalade wrinkles and appears thickened when you drag a finger through it, it is done.  This takes about 1 1/2 hours of simmering to get there. ( Or, if you trust your thermometer 218 degrees on the candy thermometer).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas ~ Fig Cuccidate Recipe

I just finished a most festive and traditional Christmas cookie and would love to offer these instructions as a Christmas gift to my friends...Sicilian Fig Cookies

Filling (Make 1 recipe of the filling):
2 cups dried figs, cut the hard stem tips off first
1 1/2 cups pitted dates, I use the fat and juicy Medjool dates
1 cup raisins
3/4 cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted, lightly chopped
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brandy
1 tsp. each orange and lemon zest
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves

Filling Instructions:
I used my food processor to finely chop my ingredients, then into a mixer bowl to finish off the filling. Cover and place in refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.

Dough (Make 2 recipes of this dough to have enough for filling):
4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks room temp. butter
1 egg
1/2 cup milk, or egg nog
1 Tbsp. vanilla

Dough Instructions:
Whisk the dry ingredients in large bowl. Add the butter and cut this into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse meal. ( pictures included) Add the egg, milk and vanilla and using hands mix to form soft dough. Turn out onto floured surface and knead a few times. Divide into 4 equal pieces and wrap with plastic. Place into refrigerator to chill before rolling out.

Follow instructions for rolling out shown in photos below:

The Figgy Filling!

Add the butter and cut into dry mixture

Should look like meal when cut in

Add the egg, milk or egg nog and vanilla

Take one piece of dough, flatten on floured surface and roll out into a rectangle which measures 12 inches long and 3 inches wide.
Cut this into 3 equal pieces each 4 by 3inches.
Place about 2 to 3 spoons of filling in center of rectangle as shown in picture above.

Roll up each side to meet at center and pinch to seal dough roll.

Turn over the seam to be on bottom, and cut into 4 pieces.

Place the 12 pieces on cookie sheet as shown above and bake at 350 for about 10 to 12 minutes. Until just golden. Remove and place on rack to cool.

Around these parts...we frost with a nice powdered sugar, egg nog, and colored sprinkles on top.
This recipe makes lots of cookies, I didn't count them yet. Wanted to get this on the blog in time for a Merry Christmas! Love and God bless you all, this season, and in the year ahead!

Follow Me on Pinterest

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Orange Rosemary Artisan Loaves

Orange and Rosemary Artisan Loaves
also called
Normandy Bread
1 cup starter
½ cup water
1 cup flour
Covered tightly with plastic wrap, left overnight.


Add to the sponge:
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon yeast
Appx. ¾ cup water (this will be adjustable due to flour dryness, and humidity of house)

Set aside about 4 tablespoons Fresh Rosemary leaves (stripped from stem of plant) and 2 tablespoons Orange zest, if you have a good culinary Orange Oil, add 1/2 teaspoon of this also. These will be added after dough rise.

Beat together the water, flour, sponge, yeast for 5 minutes.  Add the salt and and knead until a nice and smooth, elastic quality. Allow to rise in an oiled and covered bowl until doubled in size.

  Dump our onto floured surface.

Add the Rosemary leaves and the Orange Zest and culinary Orange oil if you have it. 
You will need to keep flour handy for your hands to assist with handling this moist dough.

Knead well to incorporate these ingredients into the dough.

 Divide into 2 or 4  lumps of dough.  I shape them a little bit.

Cover with a lightly floured towel and over this cover with plastic and allow to rest for 15 minutes. 

 Remove plastic and shape into baguettes or boules. Place onto baking sheet covered with baking parchment paper and has been sprinkled with cornmeal. I use a favorite baguette pan a friend gave me years ago.

I sometimes slash the loaves before rising, it's easier.
  Cover entire sheet and bread with plastic and allow to rise until about doubled. Slash surface of each loaf 3 or 4 times with razor or sharp knife, dip each time in flour before slashing so it will go through the moist dough easily.

Place pan in very hot oven, 400 to 450 degrees. Spray water mist from mister bottle over loaves in oven 3 times in the first 10 minutes of baking. This allows the loaves to rise to their fullest. Then allow to finish baking without opening the door again for about 30 minutes more. Done when golden brown.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I know what I want for my birthday!!!

...A batch of these scrumptious Rocky Road Cupcakes ala AliLilly!
Wow, seeing her cupcake picture (above) today, just made me want to throw the diabetes diet over for just one day...and what a treat to overthrow a diet for~
Check out the entire recipe entry at AliLilly! Yum!

This crafty mommy used a Devil Food cake mix, and the spectacular frosting instructions I copied from her blog, below:

1/4 c. melted butter
2 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
3 tsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 (6 oz.) pkg. semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
1 c. chopped walnuts
1 1/2 c. miniature marshmallows

Combine your melted butter, sugar, milk and vanilla in bowl. Add egg; beat well blended. I used a hand mixer to beat my mixture. I melted my chocolate in a double boiler or you can melt in a microwave. Just follow the melting instructions on your package of chocolate. Add melted chocolate; mix well. Stir in walnuts and marshmallows. The mixture was very gooey so I placed it in the fridge for about 10 minutes to let it harden up a bit. Then I spread them over my cupcakes. I added extra mini marshmallows on top for "looks". This also makes enough frosting for two layers of cake.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Laughing With Angels

Have you ever had a moment when something happened so unexpected, almost unbelievable, right before your eyes, just for you, something small, personal and given just to remind you...God is here, and cares about you intimately?
May I share one little event...?
Years ago, in California, when I was almost exclusively a Goodwill and yard-sale shopper, I came across a book at a church rummage sale. I took the book home, it was a primer for Christian living published by Campus Crusade for Christ. All the pages were clean and ready for me to begin my study. After a couple of weeks, I was reading the book and a friend who often came by for prayer and talk about life came to mind as someone who would be blessed by a study book like this one. I thought how could I possibly find another book. I called all the local bookstores, no. I did not think more on this, until one day passing the Goodwill store, it came back to mind, to go in peruse the books, just maybe...So I turned around and parked in front of Goodwill. I thought, this is a long-shot, really! ... But Lord...if it were possible, it would be great to find a copy of that book! I went in and checked the books, really looked and well...not there. Ok, I know, improbable, oh well, I tried. I turned to go, looked at a few things on the way out, then stopped before leaving... I just felt that I should go back to the book shelves again, so I did. I stood before the shelves, eyes scanning the books again, and I caught my breath...there was the book! I slid it out, opened it up, it was clean, unused, exactly the same as mine! I heard angels brush by me, I laughed out loud, and I know they were laughing, too! God put that book there for me. I was amazed at the gift, that He cares for the small things in our lives and is our provider. Now, after many years later, I am trying to listen for His voice and respond to His prompting, I remembered the story of the thrift store and the book and just have to laugh again, with the angels! Improbable, impossible, not with God! (Luke 1:37)

Monday, June 28, 2010

New Way of Eating

Mr. Goodwrench and I are doing a lifestyle diet change, to bring our blood glucose to a balanced, and lower level. I have a few pictures of the first dessert, I have made for us in over a week. We have been on this diet for a week...he has, I have only been on it for 3 days. It is good, all good!
Anyway, the torte has a graham cracker crust, layer of baked cheesecake sweetened with a Stevia product (TrueVia) topped with fruit and glazed with sugar free apricot preserves. Today is the first day of using the TrueVia, so I am still evaluating it's potential as a sweetener for us. All in all, the torte was just fine. The cheesecake could have been sweeter, I only used 3 packets of the TrueVia. Maybe 5 or 6 would have done the trick.
I know, I know, this is a lower fat and lower carb/sugar torte, and yes, tastes like it, but for those who must, and I mean must, change their way of eating, this torte will suffice. It does please the eye, too!

Fruit and Cheese Torte Recipe

1 pack low-fat graham crackers, crushed to crumbs
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 pack stevia sweetener
Mix and press into bottom of torte pan

1 8 oz. package of 1/3 fat cream cheese (this is labeled as 1/3 fat cream cheese)
4 packages stevia sweetener
2 eggs
dash of lemon juice
Blend in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour over crust and bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove and cool on rack. Top cheese layer with sliced and whole peaches and berries..
In microwave place bowl with 3 tablespoons sugarfree fruit preserves, I used apricot, and add 2 teaspoons water, stir and heat 1 minute. Stir and brush, over the fruit layer. Chill and top with fat-free whipped cream!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Farmers Market & Lunch

Stopped in at "Taste of Bavaria", check out the pastry case!

Two types of Rye Boules from the Covington Market

Covington Farmers Market
3 loaves of Bread, Goat cheese, Baba ganoush and a fat stuffed Artichoke and all for $ 32.00. A lot for fresh fare, but everything was homemade, and this is the best goat cheese I have ever eaten, no kidding...!

Covington Farmers Market

Picture by Paul Swain borrowed from CFM Website

Here's what I'm talking about...yum.
Going to visit the Covington Farmers Market today!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

AMEN to a Great Saints Football Season

Congratulations to the Superbowl Champions the New Orleans Saints. We are a happy bunch of folks down here in Louisiana and the Gulf South Region...Who Dat Nation.

I wanted to share the headline of our newspaper on Monday. A prettier one is available at this site: NOLA.com

Monday, February 1, 2010

Kumquat Harvest

What to do with the just picked Kumquats? Checked out recipes on the Kumquot Growers and found a marmalade which sounds do-able for me. I love marmalades, and this one will be unusual. Join me for the task of making marmalade click here for my recipe!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Yummy Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Downcake using Paula Deen's recipe.
My daughter Hanna wanted to try this one. It was really good, even though we used regular flour, not cake flour.