My Concord grape vines are still bringing happiness with their vivid fall colors.
Making Grape Jelly was much easier than I thought. I was intimidated at first, because my experience with Apple Butter was painful. Jelly was much easier.
Probably the most difficult part was separating the grapes from the stems. I did a bunch at a time over a few days, so it wasn’t terribly tedious. Once they were free from stems, I whipped them through the VitaMix and then ran them through a fine sieve. That was enough to keep the flavor of the skins, but separate them from the seeds.
I made four batches as the grapes ripened in nice small batches. I decided to go with a low-sugar pectin (this one) because LFern had a box and gave it to me. Come to find out, it is one of the few without added sugar in the pectin itself. The grapes were sweet enough that I’m glad I did. There is only about a tablespoon of sugar per jar.
Calcium water is used to help set the jelly. It has a smoother texture than regular jelly. Also, because there is so much less sugar, the color is deeper and not as jewel toned as high sugar jelly. Turns out it’s all that sugar that gives it the vibrant, clear hues.
It only took about five minutes cooking from start to finish. Since I was freezing it instead of canning, that was it for cooking. The finished product lasts for up to a year in the freezer and about two weeks once thawed and refrigerated.
It is delicious and I cannot wait for next year’s harvest. I’m not including a recipe because it’s best to follow the one that is included with your pectin. In my research it appears each one has different ratio of ingredients to get the best texture and flavor.
Anyone else make jams and jellys this fall? How about wine? I gave way almost as many as I picked to someone who was going to make wine. Can’t wait to hear how it came out.
It was 47 degrees when I woke up this morning. I should have been suspicious when I was surrounded by furry bodies, snuggled up trying to stay warm. Who needs a down comforter?
Fall is rushing toward me, but I am not ready for pumpkin spice anything yet. In fact, I’m using up the pumpkin I have today to make puppy treats – these to be specific.
I have made more salsa, two batches of jelly and my favorite bread dough is resting in the refrigerator, waiting for me to form it into loaves. I’m still waiting for the bulk of the tomatillos to ripen so I can make a big batch of salsa verde.
I will post photos and recipes for jelly and bread later (today with luck), but first I have to go start cleaning the garage. The house is pretty much done, except I need to reorganize my office filing system…but that’s for a rainy day. And since today is scheduled to be almost in the 90s, garden and garage have priority.
The poor garage – it has a nice shelving system, yet shelves are all empty because everything destined for the garage landed in a pile to be dealt with later. Later has arrived. Time to clean, sort and shelve.
Be back soon with garden pix and yummy stuff…
Last night’s harvest. I processed the batch in the blue colander today. I’ll do the rest tomorrow and start the jelly. I should have plenty. I think I’ll give away the rest of the harvest.
No recipe exchange this week. Been very busy. Today I bought a door. I love our local salvage yard, got a great deal. I may be sacrificing a bit of energy efficiency with the window, but the living room needed the light. It is an upgrade from the plain wood door to insulated steel, so there is that. I need to touch it up a bit and then paint it before it’s installed.
The animals are settling in. Jake is back to his favorite spot:
Zander is always up for a belly rub:
And looking for a game of laser light:
He and Bixby play it together and I need to get video, but it’s tough to capture the action. Speaking of the Beast:
He happily has his own couch (for now). We’ll see what happens when I find the new sectional. But for now, he’s comfy. LOL
The yard is coming along. I had a surprise gladiola hiding in the chard that made a smashing debut yesterday:
The window box outside my office that has been host to butterflies, bees and a hummingbird:
That’s it for tonight. I hope you have a great holiday weekend. – TaMara
Sometime contributor Michael Fallai shares a lot of terrific recipes on Facebook. The only hitch is they are often in Italian. Tonight’s featured recipe was one of those. If you ever want a laugh, let Google translate a recipe for you…and don’t let dissolve cheese in a water bath, or let your wine evaporate on flame lively intimidate you.
Perusing the weekly ads, I pulled together a few recipes based on what was on sale this week and headed out to the grill.
First up, Curried Turkey Burgers, recipe here. Great served on fresh pita and grill some fresh eggplant from the garden.
Collard greens were everywhere at the farmer’s market last weekend, so Collard Greens with Bacon seems timely, click here.
JeffreyW and Mrs. J made some delicious looking Cream Horns (and to this Italian girl, seems the only difference between these and Cannoli is the filling). Purty pictures and directions can be found here.
What’s on your menu this last weekend of August? What garden fresh items are you enjoying right now? What are you grilling up?
Tonight’s featured recipe (pictured at top) became a poignant reminder of the earthquake in Italy. I had pulled it off the Italy site, translated it and put the ingredients on my shopping list just days before it hit.
Here is my version:
Pasta with Pears, Pecorino and Walnuts
- 10 oz linguine pasta
- 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 3 large pears, very ripe, cored and cubed
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano (plus extra for garnish)
- 4 oz cream cheese or Mascarpone, cut into small cubes
- dash of white wine (opt)
- salt and pepper to taste
skillet, large pot
Bring water to boil in large pot, add salt and pasta and cook to al dente. Drain but do not rinse and add back to pot, off heat.
While pasta is cooking, heat skillet on medium heat, add walnuts. Stir constantly until lightly toasted, remove and set aside.
Add butter to skillet and melt before adding pears. Stir gently until well coated with butter. Cook until softened, gently stirring occasionally (you don’t want to break up the pears).
Add both cheeses and stir in completely. Let simmer on medium heat until lightly boiling. Add wine and let simmer away (about 5 minutes). Salt and pepper to taste.
Combine pasta, pear mixture and walnuts in large pot and mix well. Serve with extra Pecorino for garnish.
That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, enjoy fading days of August – TaMara
I haven’t posted a lot of grilling recipes this summer because, well, let’s face it, I haven’t posted a lot of recipes! But this week I’ll post a few favorites. I’m still not doing much grilling because I’m saving up for a Traeger grill. Friends have one and I can’t imagine grilling or smokin’ on anything else since I’ve used it.
Until then, I’ll fry these up in my cast iron skillet. Great on the grill or in the skillet. And now that I’ve finally found a good source for tasty pita bread, a dinner favorite.
Serve with fresh corn on the cob and grilled eggplant (I have three Japanese eggplant almost ready to pick).
Curried Turkey Burgers
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 3 tbsp plain yogurt
- 1 tsp ground curry
- 1/8 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 4 pita breads
In bowl combine all ingredients except bread and mix well. Form 4 patties and grill, broil or fry to desired doneness. Serve in pita bread. Ground mustard and mayonnaise make good toppings or a little Greek salad dressing, along with lettuce & tomatoes.
After asking for and receiving some excellent advice on how to use my new convection oven, I decided to jump in and test it out. Roasting a chicken seemed like the most logical choice. If I ruined it, I could turn it into chicken salad. Sonoma Chicken Salad to be exact, found here.
This time of year, recipes seem superfluous – farm fresh corn, zucchini from my garden and sliced tomatoes need little embellishment. But I do have Tomato-Pasta Salad, here, that changes up the usual flavors.
For dessert, those plums needed to be used, so I went with a Plum Crumble (or as my cousin christened it, Plumble), recipe here. I used the convection feature, which helped the crisp brown evenly. Bonus Bixby inspecting the plums here.
I don’t have any recipes from JeffreyW this week, but that could because this guy is keeping him busy:
That’s the most adorable, Gabe, getting himself into a bit of trouble. I am looking forward to seeing how JeffreyW’s figs turn out, hopefully abundant enough for homemade fig newtons. But if not, just fresh off the tree. I love figs! Photos of his fig progression are here.
What’s on your menu this weekend as summer winds down? My grapes are starting to ripen, and of course I’m overrun with plums, so does anyone have some good plum or concord grape recipes they want to share? What else is cookin’ tonight?
Tonight’s featured recipe is pretty simple, since what I wanted was to test out how the convection oven treated my ingredients. I started with a local chicken, zucchini from my garden, potatoes from my dad’s garden and local corn.
I mixed together 2 tbsps of butter with dried, crushed rosemary and basil, along with crushed garlic and rubbed it under and over the skin of the chicken. I then rubbed more of the herbs and garlic inside the cavity.
I put the chicken and the sliced potatoes into the roasting pan. I roasted them at 425 degrees, until the breast meat registered at 165 degrees and the thighs at 170 degrees. The high temperature, combined with the convection created a crisp skin that quickly sealed in the juices. Total cooking time was one hour for a five pound bird.
I added the sliced zucchini about 15 minutes before the chicken was about to come out of the oven, so everything finished up nicely. The corn was microwaved for two minutes an ear (for a total of six minutes) with the husks on. If I had been more confident with my oven skills, I would have popped the ears into the oven just a bit before the zucchini and roasted them in the husks.
I am over the moon with what the convection feature can do – the potatoes were perfectly roasted, the chicken crisp and moist, the zucchini tender. The flavors were great and the herbs really permeated the meat.
That’s it for this week. I’m sitting here watching the welcome rainstorm drench my very thirsty yard, while contemplating my long list of things to do this weekend. Have a great weekend! – TaMara