Category Archives: Breakfast

Gingered Rhubarb and Honey Jam

Gingered Rhubarb and Honey Jam

Gingered Rhubarb and Honey Jam

For my birthday this past year my mother-in-law gave me The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving to further encourage my canning aspirations.  Marc and I have been making jam and applesauce for years, dabbling in the occasional fruit butter.  However, I was looking to move beyond the traditional strawberry, blueberry, and peach jam and into the world of unusual jams, marmalades, conserves, and pickles.  Unfortunately, my birthday is in January so I have been staring longingly at the book and waiting for the day when I could pick it up and start using it.

The key players

The key players

Finally, those days are here.  In anticipation of the start of u-pick fruit season and our veggie CSA I sat down with the book a few weeks ago and found myself tagging lots and lots (and lots) of recipes that I want to make.  The first one I picked was for a strawberry lemon jam made without added pectin and cooked in the microwave.  I made two pints of that yummy, deep red jam and I was hooked.

Lots of honey

Lots of honey

Next up, this rhubarb and honey jam.  I was fortunate to be able to take an armload of fresh rhubarb stalks from the many plants at my in-law’s house and immediately set about prepping and chopping.  Overall, this recipe is pretty easy to make.  The prep time is relatively low as all you have to do is clean and chop two cups of rhubarb and one tart apple (I used a Granny Smith) and zest and juice a lemon.  The fruit cooks with a little water until is is bubbling and starting to break down.  Then you add sugar, a lot of honey, lemon juice and some candied ginger.  You cook the whole thing until it forms a gel, ladle into prepared canning jars, and process for 10 minutes.  Because it is a small batch (makes 3 cups plus a little more) it cooks relatively quickly.  In fact, it only took about 6 minutes of strong boiling for my gel to form.  The finished jam is balance of tart and honey-sweet with the occasional bite of ginger.  It is a nice option for those who like their jams a little less sweet than typical commercial products.

A couple of things to consider:

  1. Make sure to follow the most recent guidelines for safe boiling water canning.  Properly preserved, this jam will last for a year in a cool, dark place.
  2. Take a few minutes to read about how to test to see if your jam is set.
Gel is almost set

Gel is almost set

Gingered Rhubarb and Honey Jam
Ingredients:
2 cups finely chopped rhubarb (fresh or frozen)
1 large tart apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
1 lemon zested and juiced (reserve 1 tbls lemon juice)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup honey
1 1/2 tbls diced candied ginger
To Make:
Prepare your jars, rings, lids, and canning vessel.  I used a small stockpot with 5 jar rings tied together to serve as a rack.  A nice thing about small batch canning is that I don’t have to bust out my large speckled canner which uses an enormous amount of water.
Combine the rhubarb, apple, and lemon zest in a stockpot or large saucepan with 1/2 cup of water.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Lower heat, cover, and simmer until fruit is tender and starting to break down, about 15 minutes.  Add the sugar, honey, lemon juice, and ginger to the pot.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Turn the heat back up and bring the contents to a rapid boil that can’t be stirred down with the spoon.  Boil, uncovered, stirring frequently until the jam starts to set, anywhere from 6-12 minutes. I recommend using the freezer test (link above) to test if your jam is gelled.  If you watch it closely, you will see when the mixture starts to thicken and change into its gelled form.
Once the jam is set, ladle into your hot jars leaving 1/4 inch of headspace.  Get rid of any bubbles, wipe the rims, top the jars with the lids, put the rings on, and tighten until they are finger tight (don’t crank them on).  Place the jars in the canning vessel, cover, and bring the water to a rapid boil.  Once the water is boiling set your timer and process for 10 minutes.  Once the 10 minutes is over, remove the canner from the heat, take the lid off, and let the jars sit for 5 more minutes.
After 5 minutes, carefully and gently remove the jars to a towel or rack set in a draft free area.  Then walk away.  Leave them alone and don’t touch them until they are sealed and cool (can take 12-24 hours).  If you are lucky, you will hear the tell-tale “pop” of the jars sealing.  If you have a jar that doesn’t seal you can either reprocess with a new lid or simply put it in the fridge and eat it first.  Once the jars are sealed and cooled, remove the rings, wipe off any wayward stickiness, and store.
Apple and lemon juice both add nice amounts of pectin so you should be able to achieve a good gel.  However, pectin levels vary by individual fruit so if you can’t get a good gel, process it anyway and use it as a delicious ice cream topping.
To Serve:
I probably don’t need to tell you how to serve jam.  This jam is delicious on toast or biscuits but would also work well in more savory applications such as on top of a piece of roasted chicken or pork chops.  Makes 3 1/2 cups.

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Filed under Add-ons, Breakfast, Gluten-Free, Recipes

Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd

Lemon curd… just the words make me start drooling.  I happen to love sour foods (read: vinegar, citrus, mustard, rhubarb, etc.) and pairing sweet and sour together makes me even more happy.   On a recent trip to London I enjoyed some lemon curd spread on scones with my afternoon tea.  The British are so darn civilized with their little sandwiches and scones in the middle of the afternoon.  When I came home, I was itching to make some curd of my own.  Lemon curd is one of those things (like custards and pie crusts) that have always intimidated me.  Turns out, I really didn’t need to fret.  Making lemon curd was surprisingly easy and the results were fantastic.

Curd ingredients

Curd ingredients

Marc helpfully picked up a sack of organic lemons from Trader Joe’s and set about juicing them over a fine mesh sieve using a lemon reamer.  On the other side of the counter I zested the spent lemon halves, measured the sugar, and cut up the butter.  Then came the stirring, and the standing in front of the stove, and more stirring.  Admittedly, the stirring part took a long time.  I kept my heat on the low side of medium because I was afraid of scrambling my eggs.  Next time, I might turn it up a bit to speed things up (keep in mind, I have an old electric stove that takes quite a while to heat up. I might not try this if I had a powerful gas version).

Spent lemons

Look at all those spent lemons

Luckily, all the stirring time was absolutely worth it. The finished curd is a thing a beauty… deep yellow color, thick, satiny-smooth texture, and the best tart/sweet lemon flavor.  I had my mother-in-law do a taste test – our curd vs. Trader Joe’s.  We did not tell her one was homemade.  She picked ours “hands down because it tasted more like lemon and less like sugar.”  Now that is a ringing endorsement if I ever heard one!

Straining the thickened curd

Straining the thickened curd

Lemon Curd

Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook

Ingredients:

1 tbls plus 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1-1/3 cups sugar

4 large eggs

14 tbls salted butter (if you use unsalted butter, make sure to add a pinch of salt to the curd)

To Make:

Choose a 2 quart, heavy-bottomed sauce pan to make the curd in.  Set the pan over medium-low heat and whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and eggs until smooth.  Adding the butter, a few tbls at a time, and whisking constantly, cook until the curd is done.

How to tell if the curd is done:

After you have been cooking for a while, the curd will start to thicken noticeably.  It is done when the curd is thick and bubbles are just starting to form on the top.  The original recipe said this take about 10 minutes.  Using medium and medium-low heat it took us closer to an hour.  So don’t be surprised if it takes longer than you think.  Just keep whisking and be patient and you will be rewarded with a rich, thick curd.

As soon as the curd is finished cooking, run it through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl.  Let it cool to room temperature on the counter, stirring occasionally.  Once it is cool, refrigerate covered until it is cold.

To Serve:

Lemon curd is a remarkably versatile condiment.  You can spread it on toast, spoon it over ice cream, or use it between the layers or on top of a cake.  You can fold it into whipped cream to make an instant “mousse”.  Spread it on a muffin, scone, or waffles.  Or just eat it with a spoon.  The original recipe says to consume within a few days and once you taste it, I assure you that won’t be a problem.

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Filed under Add-ons, Breakfast, Dessert, Eggs, Gluten-Free, Recipes

Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast Pizza

 

Breakfast pizza recipes can be found all over the internet.  They have a sort of siren song.  There is something about taking one of our favorite foods, pizza, and making it a breakfast food that feels fun and just a little rebellious.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they are completely delicious.  Cheese, bacon or sausage, and a chewy crust, all topped with an egg that is baked until it is just set… sounds like breakfast nirvana to me. 

Mmm, butter

 

You can imagine how intrigued we were when we came across a breakfast pizza recipe with a bit of a twist.  Instead of using a traditional pizza dough as the base, this recipe called for a biscuit dough to serve as the crust.  I have to admit, I was a little skeptical.  I was afraid that the biscuit would be too heavy or that the top of the pizza would be cooked before the biscuit crust was properly browned and crisp. 

Waiting crusts

 

Thankfully, Marc was not afraid and convinced me to try it.  Not only were my fears about the biscuit crust unfounded, it was actually one of the most delicious breakfast pizzas I have ever had.  The crust was superb.  Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside.  The flavor of the biscuit complemented the cheese, sausage, and of course, the egg.  I encourage you to put aside your skepticism and make these pizzas for breakfast this weekend.  You will be very glad you did. 

Who's hungry?

 

Breakfast Pizza 

Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook 

Ingredients: 

For the crust 

2 cups all-purpose flour 

2 tsp baking powder 

1 tsp salt 

1 stick (8 tbls) cold butter, cut into small pieces 

1/2 cup plus 2 tbls milk 

For the toppings 

1 tbls butter 

1 medium onion, sliced into half moons 

1/2 pound bulk sausage, bacon, or ham 

1 to 1 1/2 cups finely grated cheese (a blend of cheddar and monterey or colby jack works nicely but feel free to use whatever you have on hand) 

4 large eggs 

To Make: 

Put your oven racks in the upper and lower third of the oven.  Preheat to 450 degrees.  Butter two baking sheets. 

Cook your sausage or bacon until cooked through.  If using bacon, coarsely chop into small pieces.  Set aside. 

In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and caramelized, about 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Blend in the butter with your fingers or with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add the milk and stir just until the mixture forms a dough.  Gather the dough into a ball and gently knead it six times on a lightly floured baking sheet.  Divide the dough into 4 equal portions.  Pat each portion into a round that is between 1/4-1/2 inch thick.  Using your fingers, create a rim around the edge of each crust.  

Top each crust with onion, meat, and cheese.  Make a little well in the cheese and carefully crack an egg into the middle of each pizza. 

Bake pizzas, switching positions of the sheets half way through, until the yolks are almost set, about 12-15 minutes.  If you want firmer yolks, feel free to add another minute or two to the cooking time. 

To Serve: 

Sprinkle the egg with salt and pepper and serve immediately.  Your family will thank you.  Serves 4.

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Crispy Seltzer Waffles

Crispy Seltzer Waffles

If you are hosting Easter brunch this Sunday and are struggling with the menu, consider these waffles.  It’s true that waffles can be kind of a pain because you need to make them individually and they are best hot off the iron, but these waffles are worth it.  

A Winning Morning Combo - The Beginning of Waffle Batter and a Hot Waffle Iron

 

They are great for two reasons.  First, as far as Belgian waffles go, they are very easy to prepare (one bowl, plus something to melt the butter in), no egg whites to whip separately.  Second, they are absolutely perfectly crispy outside.  It can be difficult to get waffles that are light and fluffy but with a crisp outer shell.  This recipe manages to do both of those things.  Seltzer water provides moisture, lightness, and a crispness that rivals deep frying.  While the original recipe calls for plain seltzer, it would be delicious to use lemon flavored seltzer and toss in some lemon zest.  Then you could top your waffle with a squeeze of lemon juice and powdered sugar.  Or use raspberry seltzer and top with fresh raspberries.  The possibilities are delicious. 

Time to Make the Waffles

 

Crispy Seltzer Waffles 

Adapted from Gourmet Today 

Ingredients: 

2 cups all-purpose flour 

2 tbls sugar 

2 tsp baking powder 

slightly rounded 1/2 tsp salt 

4 tbls (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled 

2 large eggs 

1 3/4 cups (14 fl oz) seltzer or club soda (from a new bottle) 

cooking oil for brushing waffle iron 

To Make: 

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Add butter, eggs, and seltzer and whisk until smooth.  Lightly brush a very hot (preheated) Belgian waffle iron with cooking oil.  Pour in enough of the mix so that the batter just barely fills the bottom grid (the amount will vary based upon the size of your waffle iron, we used about 2/3 cup of batter).  Cook according to your manufacturer’s instructions.  You can use a regular waffle iron if that is what you have. 

To Serve: 

Serve warm topped with pure maple syrup or whatever else you desire.  Makes about 6 waffles (this will depend on the size of your waffle iron).

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Filed under Breakfast, Recipes