Sometimes, all you seek is good ol' vanilla ice cream... or strawberry jam over toast.
My other half is convinced that I'm on the path to make my five year old into a chef... he already is a foodie with a sharp sense of taste and aroma. Last friday, he was a very happy boy when I made him this fabulous Feta, pine nut & mint pesto by coffeefoodwritergirl that was posted on Food52. with a little necessary tweaking , (the Pine nuts that I got were labeled 'chilgoza' from the Indian store, were probably harvested last century, they tasted quite old!, so) necessity being the mother of invention, and my teensy greed for a spectacularly green pesto, I made do with some handy pistachio.
& yes, my pepper grinder was nowhere to be seen either (I suspect, it will surface under the entertainment cabinet tomorrow, courtesy my 2 year old, who seems to be on a mission to transfer the entire contents of my kitchen to the 'green pillow' room (a.k.a the family room), So.. in went a half a spike of pickled green peppercorns fresh out of brine... (more of the color to satisfy my greed for green)
Less than the length of a Beyonce song later, I had this wonderful condiment:
"It really IS Pesto" ...came the delighted squeal that only five year olds can get away with, & he promptly proceeded to polish it off for supper with french bread.
...it has been awarded the 'can we have this pesto for ever & ever status'. which means, I'm going to have to regularly stock feta @ home and make it on demand, But seriously folks, this is one of those dishes you absolutely HAVE to try out. You won't regret it!
Back to the jam before I forget,
I've always been a bit weary of making jam, maybe a fear of burning it up or getting spatter burns in the process. I've always assumed that it HAD to be made in huge batches in a BIG pot..and basically spend half a day sterilizing dozens of glass jars, & .. you get the picture... WRONG: its as easy to make in a small batch..My techniques may not conform to the standards of purists, but it worked well enough.
For the Strawberry jam you need:
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries (chopped into pieces)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 packet liquid pectin
2 cups sugar
4 8oz wide mouth canning jars (available in your local grocery stores at this time of year)
In a large wide saucepan, bring a lot of water to a rolling boil, drop the jars and the canning lids and sterilize for about 5 minuted. Carefully remove, wipe dry & set aside on clean kitchen towels.
Place a small clean stainless steel plate in the freezer to chill. (you'll see why)
Combine the strawberries and the lemon and cook down till the fruit is completely cooked and is ready to fall apart. Measure the amount of cooked pulp, it should be about 2 cups. The proportions are basically equal amounts of sugar & pulp.
Add the liquid pectin and stir well (Using a wooden spoon, no metal spoons as far as possible) to combine. with the heat set on high bring to a rolling boil for about 5-10 min. Add the sugar & stir well to dissolve. continue boiling on high for about 2 minutes. To check if the jam is ready to gel,drop some of the hot fruit onto the chilled plate & check if it remains gelled instead of dripping. At the same time, you will notice that the fruit starts dripping in sheets from the wooden spoon).
Skim the foam from the top, remove from fire and allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Stir well and ladle into the sterilized jars. cover with the lid & close tightly. This can be kept in the refrigerator for upto a month. If planning to store for a long time at room temperature, you will need to can the jars.
The precursor to the strawberry jam was 2 bottles of jam made with greengage plums that I found at my local Farmers market. Yummy as they were fresh they make for an AWESOME jam. Being high in Pectin, no extra pectin required.
The process is the same... boil the plums with the juice of 1 lemon,
....well, here's the link to the recipe that I shared on Food52
The Plum pairs well with the ginger & clove making for a more adult friendly jam..