Canning, DIY, Recipes

Turn Up The Heat

IMG_4267My favorite jelly that my grandmother used to make was jalapeno jelly. She would dollop it on top of cream cheese and crackers. To this day, I remember it being her go-to appetizer for family gatherings and our little afternoon treat on hot summer days. I think it was then that my love of the sweet and spicy combo began. I thought I’d share with you the recipe that she used to use. Admittedly, I may have wanted to share it with you just so I could whip up some crackers with cream cheese. Either way, I hope you enjoy it!

Jalapeno Jelly

  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 14 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 1/2 cups of apple cider vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 cups of sugar
  • 1 packet of liquid pectin
  • 3-4 jalapenos, seeded and minced
  1. Coarse chop bell peppers and 14 jalapenos in a blender, pulse smooth
  2. Pour in a saucepan with the vinegar and bring to a boil for 20 minutes
  3.  Remove from heat and strain through cheesecloth or fine sieve
  4. Return pepper juice back to the saucepan and combine with salt and sugar
  5. Bring mixture to a rolling boil and stir in pectin
  6. Then add minced jalapenos and ladle the mixture into jars.

 

 

Canning, DIY, Recipes

Things Are Just Peachy

IMG_4183I hope that everyone had a happy and safe Fourth of July! Here at the homestead, we had a quiet and relaxing day. No farm work, picking out new chickens to add to our flock, feet up, delicious summer mocktails, and, ok, finally at 2 pm I had to do something and made some peach jam!

Texas peaches are here. They are big, juicy, and absolutely perfect. We snacked on them, grilled them (served with ice cream), and still had plenty to whip up some jam. We even fed a few to the chickens! I don’t share jam recipes as often as I should, but here is a great recipe for peach jam!

Peach Jam

  • 4 pounds of peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  1. Place chopped peaches into a pot and bring to a boil
  2. Use a potato masher periodicaly to mash peaches into smaller pieces
  3. Stir often so that the peaches do not burn on the bottom of the pot
  4. After 30 minutes or so add the sugar and lemon juice
  5. Return to a boil for about ten minutes or until the jam begins to gel
  6. Remove from heat and transfer the jam to jars

If you do not want to cook the jam for what seems like forever, you can add pectin to speed up the gel process. You can store this jam in the fridge in Tupperware, or use the traditional water bath canning method and store it in the cupboard up to a year. IMG_4261

 

Food, Recipes

Let Them Eat Cake…. and Fruit

I’ve never been much of a baker. I’m more of a fly by the seat of my pants, a little of this, a little of that… little more this kind of gal. This makes baking more of an experiment most of the time. Well, during my time at home the last few months I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting and picking up a cardio routine.

I’ve created this dense, spongey cake that is a delightful dessert or afternoon snack with a cup of coffee. I’ve made it with various different fruit: peaches, blueberries, strawberries, mango… you name it, they all work.

Tooty Fruity CakeIMG_3576

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup of melted butter
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup milk (regular or non-dairy)
  • 1 to 2 cups of fruit
  • Brown sugar (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Grease pie pan (or baking pan) with butter
  3. Line fruit at the bottom of the baking dish
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, eggs, vanilla, butter, flour, baking powder, and milk then add to the baking dish
  5. If using brown sugar, sprinkle on top. It caramelizes and makes a nice crust
  6. Bake for one hour, rotating halfway through.
  7. Remove, let cool… if you can, slice and enjoy!
Canning, Fermenting, Food

Fermentation Fridays

Welcome to Fermentation Fridays.  I’ve decided I have gotten so into making fermented things that I want to make this a regular Friday post for the foreseeable future.  Not to mention there seems to be some interest in it, especially after my last post.  So, you can join me in the fermenting process not to mention enjoy watching the successes and failures as I learn.

Sauerkraut

It’s not everyones favorite way to eat cabbage.  I know it took me sometime to enjoy sauerkraut after years of my West Texas German Grandmothers cooking.  I won’t go into detail but it’s been a decade and I can finally enjoy purple cabbage. In honor of the German side of my family, I’d like to introduce to you: The Zesty German.

Before getting started, I highly recommend having some sort of Fermentation Crock on hand.  Whether you buy one, this is the one I have, make one which you can find plenty of videos on YouTube, or use multiple 32 ounce Mason Jars with the Ziplock-bag method.

The Zesty German

This is not for the faint of heart.  There is enough garlic in this recipe to cure whatever ails you. If you’re scared of garlic or have a first date anytime within a week, you can definitely cut back on the garlic.

  • 5-6 pounds of green cabbage
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  • 1 TBSP caraway seeds
  • 1 TBSP red pepper chili flakes

*Important: make sure that everything is as clean as possible from the vegetables to utensils and containers*

  1. Slice cabbage in thin chunks.  How you prefer your sauerkraut is up to you. If you like it in a small diced format or perhaps long and thin strips (which is how I like mine).
  2. In small batches, mix salt and cabbage and let salt begin to draw the water out of the cabbage and transfer to the fermentation crock. Then continue to massage and mix the salt/cabbage. Juices will begin to release.
  3. If you have whey from your previous sauerkraut mixture, go ahead and add a tablespoon.  If you don’t… don’t worry!
  4. Mix in smashed/minced garlic, caraway seeds, and chili flakes making sure to massage all items together.
  5. Use weight to make sure the cabbage mix is condensed and covered fully by liquid.
  6. Cover your container and set in a cool, dark place for 7-14 days.  (I always go with ten).

Note:  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

DIY, Food, Recipes

Roasted Red Carrots & Onions

Ok, so my last post was “I’m not doing any resolutions this year” but that doesn’t mean I’m not eating healthy over here! I thought it was time to share a delightful, healthy, and easy recipe for you to try this New Year. I will keep my intro short as I am coming to find, reading a thesis in order to get to a recipe is…. Annoying! 

Roasted Red Carrots & Onions

  • 1 bunch JBG red carrots, cut lengthwise 
  • 1 red onion, sliced 
  • 1 tablespoon of oil (I use avocado oil, but olive oil works)
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (2 to roast, 1 after)
  • Salt pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons JBG parsley, minced
  • Pomegranate seeds for garnish, optional
  1. Preheat oven at 425ºF
  2. Toss carrots, onions, oil, and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar in a baking sheet
  3. Place in the oven to roast for 20-30 minutes or until onions began to caramelize, mark sure to toss halfway through 
  4. Remove from the oven and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  5. Garnish with parsley and pomegranate seeds
  6. Enjoy!

Note: I highly recommend using a high-quality balsamic vinegar.  It makes all the difference in the world as far as flavor. 

If you want to try more delicious recipes, go ahead and check out my cookbook

DIY, Food, Recipes

Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese, Pomegranate & Pistachios

A few weeks ago, I snuck up to St. Louis to spend a few days with my mom and her wonderful husband.  It was exactly what the doctor ordered.  While my folks were at work, I spent my mornings reading with the sunrise and coffee and taking walks around Historic Lafayette Park.  During the day, I would catch up on some much-needed adulting I needed to do then saunter off to my mom’s plot at the community garden to collect vegetables for dinner.  One night I whipped up this eggplant dish and accompanying main of stewed tomatoes and rainbow chard… more on that to come.  For now:

Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese, Pomegranate, & PistachiosIMG_2659 2.jpeg

  • 3-4 Japanese eggplant, sliced in half the long way
  • 1 four-ounce packet of goat cheese, crumbled
  • Pomegranate seeds, half a pomegranate
  • 1/4 cup of roasted pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon almond oil (I skimmed the oil off of an almond butter jar)
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF
  2. Place sliced eggplant facedown on a lightly oiled baking sheet, place in oven and bake until tender.  About 25 minutes
  3. Remove from the oven.  Flip eggplant cut side up and lightly glaze the cut surface with almond oil and squeeze lemon across the eggplant.
  4. Top eggplant with goat cheese, pomegranate, pistachios, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste
  5. For a little extra pizazz, you can, ever so sparingly, drizzle honey on top with a little extra sea salt.

Enjoy!

Book of the Month, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized

If You Can’t Stand the Heat

Getting a little inspiration from some of my favorite cookbooks!

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.  Well,  let me tell you, things have been heating up plenty in my kitchen lately.

As some of you may know, I completed a successful Kickstarter Campaign back in May.  I’ve now been working on the business and more importantly the incentives for all the fine folks that contributed.  One of  these items is a collection of recipes by made by laura lee.

A cookbook!  Yes!  This will be so fun!  I thought to myself.  Well…. I think I underestimated how much work would go into this bad boy.  Wowzah!  I’m still compiling a thoughtful introduction, testing and getting pictures of every recipe, etc.  Putting together a cookbook is a full time job.  My hat is off to some of my culinary creatives that have already put one out.  I appreciate all the help and pointers that I’ve received along the way.

For those of you that are waiting patiently, thank you.  Please know it’s a work in progress.

I know for cookbooks that I purchase, I love pictures!  I want a picture for every recipe!  Obviously, I rely heavy on the visual side, but is there something you like in a cookbook? What is ideal for you?Let me know, I’ll see what I can incorporate just for you.

Thanks again, ya’ll!

Food, Recipes

Something Sweet in the New

I am one of those people that if I am not learning something new on a regular basis I begin to feel stagnant.  I feel stuck.  I then become frustrated.  Usually, I don’t pay attention to the nagging in the back of my mind until it’s too late.  The last few weeks I have been overwhelmed with lengthy to do lists, custom orders, and planning some big life changes (more to come soon).  As I was rushing around yesterday, I had a iCalendar notification for an ice cream class that I had signed up for a month ago.  Signing up for this event had completely escaped me.  What a treat, an ice cream class in August! Well done! Thanks, past Me!

The co-owners of Lick Ice Cream partnered with Sustainable Food Center to host this class.  What a great opportunity for such a great cause, for more on that click here. There was a demo and then we broke off into groups to create our own fig inspired ice cream!  We were given a base, chocolate sauce, fig jam, and neufshatel (fancy cream cheese).  I, clearly, fell into the right group when the decision that all of the ingredients would have to be used!  We went with a chocolate and neufshatel base, with fig & chocolate swirls.  Heaven!  Due to the smokiness of the figs this year, it tasted like toasted marshmallow.  As a serious s’mores fan, I was completely blissed out.  In fact, I would have taken a picture of our batch, but…. we ate it all.

Who knew making ice cream was so easy.  I was always under the impression it was much more difficult.  I’m looking forward to testing out new recipes and maybe, potentially, incorporating some recipes into the upcoming cookbook!

Thanks Lick and SFC for a great learning opportunity!

Book of the Month, Food, Recipes

Book of the Month

FullSizeRenderWhile I’ve been an absolute mad woman creating gig posters, updating my blog with shows, my Etsy Shop with more of my Cards for a Cause, learning others songs (more on in an upcoming post), taking on the social media for where I work (OPA!, go ahead and give them a like on the ol’ Facebook), I have been silently sticking to my #1 New Years Resolution: READING.

January’s Book: Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson

A few years ago my cousin, Lucy, came to visit me here in Austin.  Lucy is an amazing woman, a doctor, and I’ve always looked up to her in that big sister I never had kind of way.  I hadn’t seen her since she got married and she looked fantastic.  She was in town for “some Paleo Conference.” Lucy was talking non stop about this Paleo business.  She told me that I had to read this book.  After her departure, I got home one day and there on my porch waiting for me, freshly from Amazon, was this book compliments of Lucy.

Fast forward 3 years, maybe more, to January 2015.  I still haven’t read the book, because like any book that anyone tells me to read I, of course, drag my feet.  What prompted me to pick up the Primal Blueprint, besides my New Year’s Resolution? I have a particular health condition that has been passed down through the women on my mother’s side of the family (Thanks Mom!) and I find as I have gotten older certain symptoms are rearing their ugly head.  My doctor, who is fabulous, gave me several options to help me with some of the symptoms, none of which either of us were thrilled about.

I think we can all agree, my doctor included, that a lot of what happens here in the States is we treat symptoms rather than the cause. Because of my condition, I have side effects such as a very hard time keeping stable blood sugar levels, which can be more than frustrating and turn me into a HANGRY monster in no time.  I started with two major changes immediately:

1. Butter Coffee.  I cannot give up coffee.  EVER.  I am Laura Lee and I am addicted to coffee.  The problem being, I can have my two cups in the morning (which is all I ever need) and then all of a sudden crash like nothing you have ever seen.  I have made the change to butter coffee and that crash has gone away completely.  Not to mention it tastes like drinking a latte!

2. Protein.  I have been raw, I have been vegan, I have been a vegetarian.  In recent years, I have just settled eating meat once or twice a week, nothing crazy.  This last month though, I have forced myself to eat meat once or twice a day. 

HOLY COWS AND BACON, BATMAN!  Who knew that eating a little more protein would make such a drastic difference in my life?!?!!?!?!?  The symptoms of my condition have completely dissipated, I have way more energy, I am in a much better mood, productivity has gone up, I am sleeping WAY better, and the most amazing thing… My sweet tooth has virtually disappeared! Ok, ok, and even though this next item wasn’t on my New Years to do list, I’m not going to lie and I am pleased with the results, but I have unintentionally lost 6 pounds since January 4th.  Not bad, right?

This was a great read.  Usually health stats and medical articles are daunting to read, Primal Blueprint was smooth sailing and easy to relate to.  It’s true, there are moments of discomfort when Sisson challenges everything we are taught to know and believe, but given the results, I would say there is a whole lot of truth to this, not just a diet, but lifestyle.  Enjoy!