Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

strawberry pickers

Strawberry season signifies the beginning of summer here in New Hampshire.  This year we opened the Cedar Circle Farm at 7am, jammin’ with their background music of The Grateful Dead, and within one hour my pickers were finished and we had 26 pounds of strawberries!  We made strawberry mouse, strawberry jam, strawberry rhubarb jam and froze 10 pounds for smoothies.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Recipe type: Condiment
Serves: 6½ pints
 
Recipe from The Ball Blue Book
Ingredients
  • 4 cups crushed strawberries
  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb (about 4 stalks)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 package powdered pectin
  • 5½ cups sugar
Instructions
  1. Combine strawberries, rhubarb, lemon juice and pectin in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved and return to a rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat, skim foam if needed.
  4. Laddle jam into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace.
  5. Adjust two-piece caps.
  6. Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

 

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Roasted Pumpkin Laksa

Ok, so I’ve now become obsessed with finding and/or making the perfect laksa.  It is my new go to comfort food and I just can’t get enough.  I’ve eaten it out at 4 different restaurants in Manly and plan to try one in Sydney next week after my half-marathon.  This recipe combination is my favorite so far!  I tried laksa the paste made by Ayam  – Malaysian Laksa Paste – and was right on with both taste and spice (it has two chili peppers).  Laksa is very easy to make and can be on the table in 30-40 minutes depending on the meat or vegetables you add.

Roasted Pumpkin Laksa

 

Serves 4.

  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 pound roasted pumpkin, sliced in 1 inch thickness
  • 1 jar Ayam Laksa Paste (185 grams)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup (250 ml) coconut milk
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 200 grams dried vermicelli rice noodles
  • 2 cups bok choy, washed and cut coarsely
  • 1/2 cup Thai basil
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • fried asian shallots, garnish
  • red chili, sliced, garnish
  1. Heat oven to 190c or 375f.
  2. Place pumpkin on rimmed baking sheet and coat with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil (or sesame oil). Roast covered with foil 30-40 minutes.
  3. Heat oil in wok.
  4. Add laksa paste and sauce about a minute until fragrant.
  5. Add chicken, stock, coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Stir in sugar, fish sauce and lime juice. Simmer 5 minutes.
  7. Add pumpkin and bok choy, simmer 2 minutes more.
  8. Cook noodles according to package directions, drain and rinse.
  9. Divide noodles among the bowls, ladle laksa over noodles.
  10. Top with sprouts, basil, cilantro, dried shallots and red chili (if using).
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Roasted Vegetable and Chickpea Spinach Salad

I saw this recipe in the New York Times this week and had to try it! First it is a salad that can be served as a main course and second I’ve never made roasted chickpeas and really have wanted to so here was my opportunity!!  The recipe came together easily and my daughter even pitched in and made the dressing!  Any combo of vegetables works, just be sure to keep an eye on the chickpeas – I charred a few of mine 😉

Roasted Vegetable and Chickpea Spinach Salad

Recipe adapted from Melissa Clark’s recipe in the New York Times.

Serves 4.

  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/4 pounds pumpkin (or sweet potato), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper, as needed
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 5 ounces spinach (6 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons shallots thinly sliced
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash chickpeas, drain and dry them on paper towels.
  3. Toss veggies with 2 tablespoons oil and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread on rimmed baking sheet and top with thyme. Roast until golden brown and tender 40- 50 minutes.
  4. Toss chickpeas with 2 tablespoons oil, chili powder, cumin and salt. Spread on another rimmed backing sheet and place in the oven about 10 minutes after the veggies. Roast until golden brown, 30-40 minutes.
  5. Mash garlic to a paste with a large pinch of salt.  Whisk garlic, yogurt and lemon juice in small bowl. Slowly whisk in 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Place spinach in a large bowl, toss with dressing and add roasted vegetables and chickpeas.
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Curry Laksa

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the huge influence that Asia has on modern day Australian food.  I’ve learned a few new dishes and new names for old favorites.  (For example, ‘Dim Sum’ is called ‘Yum Cha’.)  With all of the new opportunities for Asian dining I’ve decided to try a bunch of the soups that I’ve only seen others eat, my current favorite being Curry Laksa (before moving here I hadn’t even heard of ‘laksa’ 😉 ). As I’m writing this, I’ve discovered that laksa is  combination of influences from China and Malaysia.  And that curry laksa is a combination of curry soup and noodles (either laksa or vermicelli noodles).

I ended up finally making a curry laksa tonight because I made a cauliflower soup and knew the kids would gobble all of it up, so we needed 2 soups.  I guess having 2 soups is sort of a family tradition –  my Dad quite often can be found ordering 2 soups when we are out to dinner, one for the appetizer and one for the main.

Thai Laksa

Adapted from www.taste.com.au

Serves 4.

  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 pound chicken thigh fillets, sliced
  • 1/3 cup (100 grams) laksa paste
  • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup (250 ml) coconut milk
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 200 grams dried vermicelli rice noodles
  • 2 cups bean sprouts, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup Thai basil
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • fried asian shallots, garnish
  • red chili, sliced, garnish
  1. Heat oil in wok. Add chicken and brown in batches 3-4 minutes, set aside.
  2. Add laksa paste and sauce about a minute until fragrant.
  3. Add chicken, stock, coconut milk, water and kaffir lime leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in sugar, fish sauce and lime juice.
  5. Cook noodles according to package directions, drain and rinse.
  6. Divide noodles among the bowls, ladle laksa over noodles.
  7. Top with sprouts, basil, cilantro, dried shallots and red chili (if using).
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Cauliflower Soup

We started making this recipe about a year ago and it is a family favorite.  The kids absolutely love it with crackers or garlic soldiers.  My husband and I put a swirl of truffle oil and pepper on top – yummy!  So simple and delicious.  The recipe says serves 8, but there is never enough for a main for my family of 5!

Cauliflower Soup

Recipe from Paul Bertolli at Chez Panisse via Food52.com.

Serves 8.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (6 ounces), sliced thin
  • 1 head cauliflower (~ 1 1/2 pounds), cut into florets
  • salt to taste
  • 5 1/2 cups water, divided
  • Extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  1. Warm the olive oil in a heavy pan over low heat. Add sliced onion and ‘sweat’ the onion for about 15 minutes (do not brown).
  2. Add cauliflower, 1/2 cup water and salt to taste. Raise heat slightly and cover, stewing the cauliflower for about 15 minutes.
  3. Add additional 4 1/2 cups water and raise the heat to a simmer for 20 minutes uncovered.
  4. Blend soup with a hand blender or work in batches with a conventional blender. Let the soup stand for 20 minutes so it can thicken (if you have the time).
  5. Return to pan and thin soup with remaining 1/2 cup water to desired consistency.
  6. Drizzle with olive oil and add freshly ground black pepper.
Posted in Appetizer, Kids Dig It, Main | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Thai Chili Dipping Sauce

When visiting Thailand, my Mom and I ate fried rice every chance we had, and it was always served with Chili Dipping Sauce.

Makes about 1/2 cup. Keeps for 3 weeks in the frig.  Recipe from The Best of Vietnamese and Thai Cooking.

  • 6-8 Thai chilies, or 4 jalapeños, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  1. Combine all and serve at the table with rice or noodles.
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Bars

It’s about time I put this recipe up, we make them every week.  My interpretation of the crazy maze of what is ok and not for food is everything in moderation and homemade it better than prepackaged, especially for kids lunches.  So I make these often because since it is a bar recipe, they can be made in very little time.  But be warned, they are so quick that you can actually make them in the morning and have them ready for the kids lunches – and if they smell the yummy bars in the morning, they might just want dessert after breakfast – and that’s ok by me 😉

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Bars

Recipe from Cooks Illustrated.

Makes 24 (2 inch) square cookies.

  • 2 1/8 cups flour (10 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks or 6 ounces), melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (7 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees f (163 degrees c). Adjust rack to lower middle position. Line 13×9 inch pan with foil (pushing it to the corners and the sides of the pan).  Spray foil lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Mix flour, salt and baking soda in medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Mix butter and sugars together until combined. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Smooth batter in prepared pan.
  5. Cook for 25-30 minutes and golden brown.  The sides will start to pull away from the pan. Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove from the pan by lifting up on the foil overhang on the sides. Slice into bars.
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Poached Egg & Salsa on Turkish Toast

This is our latest twist on poached eggs, and it is definitely worth trying.  The salsa is made first and adds a really fresh flavor to the poached eggs.  I’m not sure if Turkish Toast is readily available in the US, as I only just discovered it here in Australia, but it is delicious!

Poached Egg and Salsa on Turkish Toast

Recipe adapted from Taste.com.au

Serves 4.

  • 3 tomates, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 loaf turkish bread, or 8 slices of your fav
  1. Combine first 5 ingredients and set aside for about 30 minutes.
  2. Bring large saucepan to a boil. Add about a tablespoon vinegar, and a teaspoon salt and reduce to a simmer.  Swirl the water with a whisk and gently put and egg in the water. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Remove from water with slotted spoon and cover to keep warm. Repeat for remaining eggs.
  3. Toast the bread, top with salsa then egg.
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Thai Fried Rice

This has slowly crept in and is now a an official member of our rotation – I only say official since my not spicy 8 year old ate a huge bowl! I’ve made it a habit of always making too much rice since this recipe is so darn easy to make later in the week, it takes about 20 minutes start to finish.  Also, I highly recommend making a batch of Thai Chili Dipping Sauce to be served on the side at the table, in my opinion it is what makes the dish authentic.  This recipe was combines several variations of fried rice from one of my favorite chefs, Mark Bittman – he is a runner too!  It is found on his app ‘How to Cook Everything’ under variations for Simple Fried Rice (which is very tasty too).  Here is a link to a video Bittman did on the Today Show featuring Impromptu Fried Rice – showing how fried rice is both versatile and economical!

Thai Fried Rice

Serves 6.

  • 3-4 cups cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed or corn oil (something neutral)
  • 2 medium red bell peppers
  • 3 cups chinese/napa cabbage sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar snap peas chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons Red Curry Paste
  1. Heat oil in wok or deep fry pan.
  2. Add peppers and sauté for 10 minutes over high heat.
  3. Add rice (break it up as you add), cabbage, peas and curry paste.
  4. Sauté stirring frequently for 10 minutes.
  5. Garnish with cilantro and Thai Chili Dipping Sauce.
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Sick Soup

Well it happened, 6 months after being here in Australia, we have one down (fever 102)!  Never fear though, sick soup is here.  This is our tried and true soup that my Mom always made us when we were sick, and now my kids ask for it by name, even when they are not sick and just want some comfort food.  It is a Vietnamese style chicken and rice soup with just the right amounts of ginger and garlic.

SickSoup

Adapted from The Best of Vietnamese and Thai Cooking.

Serves 6.

  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup rice (jasmine if you have it)
  • 6 cups chicken stock/broth
  • 1/3 pound diced chicken
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (maybe more depending on your stock)
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger
  • cilantro for garnish
  1. Heat oil and garlic until fragrant.  
  2. Add rice and sauté until opaque (2-3 minutes).
  3. Add stock and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add chicken, salt and ginger and cook 10 minutes more.
  5. Garnish with cilantro.
Posted in Chicken, Kids Dig It, Main | Tagged | Leave a comment