Friday, April 29, 2011

Violet Jelly

And the (now) 6 year old loves it and even asked for more!

The recipe comes from here although I found similar recipes all over the web. The violets are from the front yard and I spent a few peaceful moments picking them this morning. Then I washed them and steeped them for 3 hours.

We took the liquid outside so I could demonstrate to the 6 year old the coolness of it changing color with the lemon juice. It's really cool. You should try it. It's fun!

I ended up with 9 4-ounce jars of jelly and a little bit leftover which likely won't last long. Especially since the little one loves it. It's light and sweet and I guess it tastes like violets. I haven't ever eaten a violet before so how would I know?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lobster Bisque

Yesterday I had a friend (and fellow blog member) over for lunch. She brought yummy cheeses and bread and I made lobster bisque. I followed the recipe in the New England Soup Factory Cookbook except that instead of 1 cup of white wine I just added more lobster stock. First you chop up celery, carrots, onion and garlic and cook it in butter, then add 4 pints of stock (I added 5, since each jar is actually less than a pint and it likely added up to a volume equal to 4 pints of stock and 1 cup of wine), 2 cut up potatoes, and tomato paste. After simmering until the potatoes are soft, you use an immersion blender to puree it, then add the lobster (1 to 1.5 pounds), worcestershire sauce, tobasco sauce, and some brandy. I stopped here until we were almost ready to eat then added a pint of heavy cream. It made a lot of soup. After we all ate, I froze 2 quarts and there is more in the fridge for today.

While we were getting ready for lunch I showed my friend how to make mascarpone. It's just so easy! I sent her home with some to enjoy. (BTW, it's really good with honey...)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Soup...and a Hike

It has finally gotten warm enough for us to get outside with the kids for a hike. We started out with a 2 mile hike in a very large conservation area near us (I recognize that "very large" for eastern Massachusetts is probably a postage stamp to you big-state people!) and enjoyed the sunny, warm day.

This afternoon I made chicken soup again as I'd roasted a chicken a few days ago. This was just chicken, celery, carrots, onion, bay, thyme, salt and pepper. I put up 8 pints of soup. This is the first time I haven't put the chicken soup in quart jars. I wanted to be able to take them to work.

I also dumped out the rest of the fiddleheads I'd canned last spring. What seemed like a good idea at the time didn't really pan out the way I wanted. I had hoped that by canning them in the pressure canner I could just drain them and saute them quickly in butter when I wanted them. The first jar turned into mush in about 10 seconds. There was no second attempt. It's not often that I throw out something I've canned, but this one just didn't work out. Maybe that's why pickling them is better. Or freezing...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Maybe the Excitement has Worn Off?

I certainly hope not, but today's sausage making extravaganza was an exercise in tedium. I don't remember having so much trouble stuffing the casings before!

About a month ago I saw pork shoulders on sale, so bought a couple and froze them until I had a chance to work with them. Today I cut them up and seasoned them for bratwurst, then put them into the fridge for a few hours. The recipe comes from Charcuterie, a simply gorgeous book if you are into meat. Once ground, the seasoned meat was mixed with egg and cream and then stuffed into the casings. I ended up with 21 brats, much more uniform in length than the last batch, and really sore shoulders from shoving all the meat mixture into the extruder. Which was surprisingly difficult.

I have had a few bites of the sausage mixture cooked up for a snack, and the tedium is worth it.