Monday, May 31, 2010

Rhubarb Blueberry Jam

I was gifted quite a bit of rhubarb recently, enough to make a few desserts and a double batch of this delicious jam. My son, Nick, just loves it, and he’s the pickiest eater we have.

jam 004

Since it’s a freezer jam, there’s no pectin or hot water bath. Just follow the directions for cooking, pour into the jars, put on a lid, let cool, and pop into the freezer. We love it on toasted English muffins.

I don’t have my original recipe, but a quick internet search gave me several versions. This one is the closest to what I remember mine being. The only change I made is to use strawberry jello – I don’t care for raspberries.

Printed from COOKS.COM
5 c. rhubarb, cut fine
1 c. water
5 c. sugar
1 c. blueberry pie filling
2 (3 oz.) pkgs. raspberry gelatin (I used strawberry)
Cook rhubarb in water until tender; add sugar and cook five more minutes.
Add pie filling and cook eight minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from
heat and stir gelatin in until completely dissolved. Pour into jars and
seal. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

**I used about med-high heat. The jars will cool on the counter for a few hours, then go into the frig, then the freezer. BE CAREFUL when you freeze glass. Freezing makes glass brittle and it should be handled with care.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Chicken Kebab Salad

One afternoon in March I was watching Food Network while rocking the baby to sleep, and Tyler Florence was making these yummy-looking chicken kebabs.  I’ve had this recipe on my menu plan a couple of times, but couldn’t buy the fresh bay leaves until we were in Lincoln a few weeks ago. Then I needed a good grilling day when the wind wasn’t blowing 300 mph. Finally it happened last week. These were a snap to put together. Here’s the recipe as I took it from the Food Network web site, then I have some notes on what I actually did after that:

Chicken Kebab Salad
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence, 2007
  Prep Time: 15 min
  Inactive Prep Time: 30 min
  Cook Time: 35 min
  Level: Easy
  Serves: 4 servings
For the kebabs:
  a.. 8 links sweet Italian pork sausage
  b.. 1 crusty baguette
  c.. 2 to 3 medium, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  d.. 12 fresh bay leaves
  e.. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  f.. 2 lemons
  g.. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad and dressing:
  a.. 2 anchovies
  b.. 2 cloves garlic
  c.. 1/2 lemon, juiced
  d.. 2 egg yolks*
  e.. 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus shavings for garnish
  f.. 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  g.. 2 tablespoons water
  h.. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  i.. 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
  j.. Flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
  k.. 2 lemons, cut into wedges, for garnish
Special equipment: 4 large foot-long skewers, metal or thick bamboo work05-30-10 038
best, soaked in water for half an hour if using bamboo or wood.
Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
For the kebabs:
Slice chicken thinly, cut the baguette into 1/2-inch rounds, and cut the
sausage links up into chunks, alternating cuts at 45 degree angles for nice
triangular shapes.
Now prepare the kebabs. Take the skewers 1 at a time and begin threading the components alternately. Start with a piece of bread, then chicken, bay leaf, sausage, and bread; repeat this 3 times to fill the skewers, ending with bread.
Lay the prepared kebabs out on your board and drizzle liberally with
extra-virgin olive oil. Squeeze the lemon juice all over and season well
with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the prepared kebabs onto
preheated grill and cook for about 7 to 10 minutes per side, or until cooked
05-30-10 046 While kebabs are roasting you can prepare the salad. In a blender combine
the anchovies, garlic, lemon juice, egg yolks and grated Parmesan. Pulse a
couple of times to combine, then add the water and blend again. With the
motor running, gradually pour the oil through the feed tube and continue to
blend until emulsified. Season, to taste, with salt and some freshly ground
black pepper.
In a large mixing bowl add the chopped romaine. When the kebabs are done, remove from the oven and slide the kebab components off the skewers directly into the bowl. Add some dressing and gently toss to combine.05-30-10 049
To plate, garnish with parsley leaves, shaved Parmesan and fresh lemon

**My notes: For the salad portion of this recipe, I cut up a couple of heads of Romaine, then just used Cardini’s Caesar Salad dressing.

For the kebabs, I added half mushrooms to the skewers after each sausage piece. I think my grill was a little too hot since some of the bread was burned. I did cook them for 7 minutes on each side, though, to make sure the chicken was fully cooked.

This was a light but flavorful supper. I think it could be made without the fresh bay leaves and still taste great. The bread chunks made for large croutons.

This is one I’ll make again when the weather is hot and no one wants a heavy meal.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Coconut Pecan Frosting

Today is Greg’s birthday and he always likes to have German chocolate cake with caramel pecan frosting as his birthday cake. Jess baked the cake this afternoon (from a mix) and I whipped up some homemade frosting tonight after supper. Many years ago my friend Cindy gave me her recipe for homemade coconut pecan frosting and I’ve used it since. The tub frosting is thicker, but the homemade tastes so much better.

Coconut Pecan Frosting

1 C evaporated milk*

1 C sugar

3 egg yolks

1/2 (1 stick) butter

1 tsp vanilla

Combine and cook until thickened (about 12 minutes).**

coconut pecan frosting (1)

1 1/3 C coconut

1 C chopped pecans

coconut pecan frosting (2)

Beat until thick enough to spread.

coconut pecan frosting (3)

*I had no cans of evaporated milk in my cupboard, but a quick Google search had me mixing up 2/3 C dry milk w/ 3/4 C water to equal 1 C evaporated milk.

**It’s thicker than it started, but not frosting thickness. After 12 minutes it wasn’t getting any thicker, so I went ahead and took it off the heat to add the coconut and pecans. I let that cool a bit before beating.

coconut pecan frosting (4)

It was still a little thin when I poured it over the cake, but I’m letting it sit awhile to cool a little more. It should thicken some more as it cools.

I love the way it seeps down to cover the sides of the cake.

coconut pecan frosting

It’s rich and sweet and oh-so-easy to make from scratch. You’ll never want to buy your frosting again.