Saturday, August 28, 2010

Something different - tomato jam!

Let me tell you, I've honestly never heard of tomato jam before, but came upon this recipe and since I had loads of kitchen ripened roma tomatoes laying around I figured it was worth a shot. Normally I just toss the tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and let them slowly caramelize or "oven dry" then store it in the fridge to make a sauce, spread for pizza or even throw in a soup for some complex tomato flavour.

Back to the jam.. it's really delicious! Sticky sweet, slightly spicy from the jalapeños and ginger with some warmth from the spices like cinnamon and clove It's a great fall recipe I think and super easy to make, just throw all the ingredients in a pot and let it boil away, stirring every now and then.

Give it a try and let me know what you come up with! Right now I'm thinking of using it as a marinade/glaze on meats, maybe throwing a bit in a "fresh" stir fry for sweetness or topping a burger, use it as a dip or just smear a little goat cheese on your favourite bread and top it with those lovely jam. Yum!

Tomato Jam
1 1/2 pounds good ripe tomatoes (Roma are best), cored and coarsely chopped

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon salt

1 jalapeño or other peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced, or red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste.

1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan, Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.

2. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, then cool and refrigerate until ready to use; this will keep at least a week.

Yield: About 1 pint.

Recipe I used, though there are many variations out there, I'm thinking a hint of tamarind would be nice in there for an indian twist.

NOTE: I blanched my tomatoes in boiled water very briefly then dunked them in cold ice water to remove the peels. Tomato and pepper peels are one of my biggest pet peeves in the world which is why I don't eat at any pizza place or order a tomato pasta dish at restaurants. I just think it's better to have a jam without peels in it because then you got those nice little candied pieces of tomato to savour.

Friday, August 27, 2010

How to clarify stock

I seem to learn something new everyday!

This morning I woke to my lovely pot of stock which was simmering on low all night long, it was beautiful, only thing was that I tend to add more water overnight just so that if any evaporates I don't end up burning my house down!

I've only lost less than a quarter of the water and needed to reduce the stock to something more concentrated, so I set it on boil and went to watch some TV.

When I returned my stock was foggy, but I thought no big deal of it and strained the bones out. I remembered this same situation last time, though the stock I normally tend to make is for my kitten to spice up her home made cat food but this time it wasn't acceptable for whatever I was going to make with it, chicken and dumplings... chicken noodle soup ..

I needed an answer, I wasn't about to let all this hard work go to waste!!

Upon some quick googling after I've remembered reading somewhere about this situation with others I found this article It sounds absolutely bizarre but I had no choice but to give it a try.

Got some egg whites, water, vinegar and whisked it then brought my stock to a simmer and added it in slowly increasing the heat to a roaring boil then simmering again for 5 mins and off the stove for another 15. All that was easy enough, crushing the egg shells into the mix was the hardest/strangest part but I hadn't realized that straining was going to be an even bigger issue.

I had no cheese cloth on hand, and I strained a bit through my wire sieve, that only made the white bits divide into smaller bits, horrible!

A towel of some sort was my only option, but then I saw the roll of paper towel, it was worth the try before looking for a clean dish cloth. I split the paper towel (sponge pockets by scotties) in half meaning I divided it, like you would peel a sticker off it's backing sort of thing.

I layered the strainer with the paper towel and poured some stock, it worked! With some patience and 5 pieces of paper I managed to strain all the stock then restrained it again just to make sure it was clear enough.

And there it is!! It's amazing I think, hope you think it's as interesting as I did ;-P

Lesson learnt: DO NOT BOIL Stock, just simmer it.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Homemade pop tarts - just because!

Recipe thanks to smitten kitchen blog, I did egg wash the tops of mine by accident which her recipe didn't say to do.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

"Turkish delights"

Some sweet, some savoury.... something for everyone.

Good stuff!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Supermarket trip

Hehe, just a whole bunch of stuff I picked up, most of it on 25-50% off clearance which is the pink stickers you'll see from the canadian loblaws superstore chain.

Some of my favourites are housewares bamboo cutlery tray $5, mandoline veggie piece $19 and entire cutlery set (Above) that didn't scan up for any price so I dragged it to the cashier to see figuring it would be expensive anyway and would tell her I didn't want it. They called the housewares who were also confused as there was no price so they came up with 29.99 and took 25% off due to the pink sticker which was on it. I took it for $22 something. The online price on their site says $100 US! What a deal or steal!!!

The mini cartoon like ceramic creamer is for my sisters.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tragic day

Today the world lost 'Mimi', the sweetest little 5 month old bengal kitten lost to one of the strangest and most confusing killer diseases - Feline Infectious Peritonitis.


Monday, August 2, 2010

labour day (Cheese stuffed Meatball Sandwich)

Update: Fast forward 2 years and it's just about labour day again in Canada... and I made theses stuffed meatballs to refresh the photos since they have been such a hit on pinterest lately.

I hope you enjoy the photos, and the recipe is the same, except I left out the green herbs (parsley) for a change and did not have an egg on hand except 2 egg whites which worked just fine!

Also I drizzled the bread with some olive oil before toasting and cooked the sauce with the meatballs in the casserole dish. Of course I fried the meatballs first to brown it up unlike last time where it browned in the oven but I find the stove top method better because you can control how much you want to brown it and then finish it for a shorter time in the oven (and hopefully you won't risk it cracking and the cheese coming out)


Original post (photos below)

Today is labour day in Canada, which means most stores are closed and I had a lot of time on my hands, so I spent it in the kitchen. It's been a while since I actually just enjoyed cooking without having to quickly whip up a meal due to having no time and being super busy lately so it was great.

In fact I managed to whip up a nice seafood curry, haddock and shrimp which would go great with the rice I made the other evening, also tandoori chicken is in the works (marinating!) for tomorrow's dinner and then I got started on my meatballs. Everything just seemed fresh and I had some mince meat on hand so I went for it.

Here you see chopped parsley which just smelled amazing, some oregano, salt, black pepper, a dollop of tomato paste, even some dijon mustard, grated smoked cheese and that's about it. I should have put an egg in at this point but I forgot !!

At this point realized I had no bread crumbs on hand, I honstly don't buy the stuff... but I had some stale refrigerated bread so I laid them on a sheet and toasted them in the oven on a low setting.
Here you see on the right my kitty sniffing the crumbs, hehe.
My hamilton beach single serving smoothie/mixer thing is my handiest gadget, it's $14 and AMAZING!
Love it! Pulse pulse pulse
Back to the meat mixture, some bread crumbs and it's all in with the "aromatics" which is my sisters favourite new word.
Hate to get my hands dirty but here I go...
Now at this point I figured why not just add some mozarella cubes inside and see how it goes, so I did. Had a little too many on hand which is what's in the red polkadot bowl to prevent contamination but they turned out great.

I toasted the rest of the crumbs again just to make sure they were nice and dry
In a bag they went for another use, meatloaf.. I don't know. They will probably come in handy.
The meatballs baked for a bit in some hot oil in a glass baking dish and here they are!
Meatball sandwiches are a great thing to do with them, I had some frozen homemade marinara so I just thawed it.

All in all it's been a very fun day!!!