Breakfast Pr0n

Friday Recipe Exchange: Sweet and Spicy from the Garden

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Photo by JeffreyW

It’s that time of year again when fresh, local peaches are everywhere and are a part of every meal at my house, so that had to be half of tonight’s exchange. The other half was inspired by JeffreyW once again tempting my taste buds with his pepper jellies. It’s been a crazy week here, between my birthday, work and getting the house puppy proofed there hasn’t been a lot of time for cooking, but tonight’s featured recipe is quick, easy and full of seasonal flavors. And peaches, lots of peaches.

Speaking of the puppy, I have no new pictures for you, but he’ll be here next week, so I’m pretty sure, mostly positive, even fairly certain, there will be puppy pictures by week’s end. On to the recipes…

If peaches are not your thing, JeffreyW has been busy making some of my favorite jelly. I love pepper jelly with cream cheese on crackers. Yum. And I envy his gardening and canning skills.

First his Red Ripe Jalapeno Jelly, recipe here.

And for his latest, Five Pepper Jelly, click here.

And of course he’s got terrific, mouth-watering photos for each.

Peaches don’t have to sweet to be delicious, they can be spicy, too. You can make a nice Peach Salsa (recipe here) or a tasty Peach Chutney to use with Grilled Pork Chops (complete dinner menu and recipes here).

Peaches are tasty with fish and Kirk Spencer has a great Peach Tilapia recipe here.

How about you, what’s on the menu this weekend? Anyone going to hangout and watch the meteor shower? Hit the comments with recipes and whatever.

The featured recipe tonight is Spinach Chicken Salad with Spicy Peach Dressing and it can be prepped ahead of time and makes a perfect dinner on one of those  late summer nights when it’s still too hot to cook.  The dressing will easily last a week in the refrigerator. And you can grill then refrigerate the chicken a night or two before when grilling another meal.

Spicy Peach Dressing

  • 2 large peaches, peeled, pitted and quartered
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (or Italian parsley)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 jalapeño or other hot pepper, halved and seeded
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Purée all of the ingredients, except oil, in a blender or food processor until smooth. Continue to blend, on low, while adding oil slowly. Mix until well blended. Refrigerate. Shake well before serving.

Spinach Chicken Salad

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 small sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb cleaned baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
  • 1 peach, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 3 ounces crumbled bleu cheese or chevre

Place the chicken in a plastic zipper bag with ½ cup of dressing. Marinate 2 hours in refrigerator. Remove chicken, discard marinade and grill until cooked through (170 degrees at center).

Toss the spinach, onion, walnuts and cheese with the remaining 3/4 cup dressing. Slice the grilled chicken and arrange on top of the salad.

Serving: 4 to 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red and Green Jalapeno Jelly

DSC_6993 (1600x1060)Playing around with strobes this evening.  There are two behind the jars of jelly.  I made the green this morning and got it too stiff, fearing a replay of the red jelly that turned out too syrupy.  I redid some of the red with a new batch of pectin and managed to get it too thick as well,  Sigh.  Weather permitting I will get one more chance to get it right with jalapenos.  Almost did a batch with red ripe Anaheims but went with the green jalapenos in the end.

Red Ripe Jalapeno Jelly

DSC_4234 (1600x1060)I debated what to do with the jalapenos growing in the container garden out front on the patio.  I have tons of these pickled or frozen and the jelly option finally won me over.  Most of the recipes feature green jalapenos but I think the red ones are better looking.  I needed to use them before they softened.  I caught these at the firm and juicy stage.DSC_4235 (1600x1060)I followed this recipe closely, using cane sugar and the “no sugar” pectin hoping to get a nice firm jelly.  Too soon yet to say how it will look tomorrow.  DSC_6950 (1600x1060)The little bit I had leftover is still a bit runny, albeit still warm.  It can take overnight before jellies set properly so I have hopes that these will firm up.  It has a great flavor but more of a bite than Mrs J will abide so I will eat some of these myself and give a few away.DSC_4237 (1600x1060)I ended up with six half pint jars rather than the five the recipe mentions as the expected yield.  That may impact the pectin ratio enough to deny me my hoped for jell-o jiggle.

Grapes!

I’ve had a few grape vines for years but I never did much with them, never sprayed or fertilized or anything much aside from pruning them back now and again before they went completely feral on me.  The number of actual ripe grapes they have yielded to me could be carried in two cupped hands.  With the drought this summer I had no notion that this year would prove any different.  I wasn’t expecting this:I picked and poked around under the leaves for more for a good while, eating as I went.  The more I looked the more I uncovered and soon I had a milk crate better than half full.  I had no idea what to do with them all, I knew we would never eat enough of them to stay ahead of the fruit flies.  Mrs J expressed amazement when she got back from town and mentioned jelly.

I gave this recipe a go, running the grapes through my Breville juicer.  After straining the juice through cheesecloth to remove what solids I could I set the juice to boiling with a no or low sugar pectin product since  I went with half cane sugar and half Splenda.  I roughly doubled this recipe, ending with 6 pints of jelly.  The green table grapes won’t make as pretty a jelly as purple grapes, nor will it be as flavorful, but it is perfectly serviceable.