Monday, June 30, 2014

Not-So-Sweet Blueberry Lemon Jam

To me, fruit and berry picking is a big part of summertime.  It's something my father did with my sisters and I when we were children and I am happy to keep the tradition with my child.  I was thrilled the other morning when I asked my daughter if she thought we should go blueberry picking that day and she replied, "Yeah!" without hesitation.  When we got home, I made her a blue monkey smoothie, which includes blueberry, banana and yogurt.  She didn't like it.  But thankfully, instead of throwing it on the floor, she gave it back to me.

What did I do with the other pounds of berries?  I froze a bunch for future smoothies that she may or may not like, made some jam and of course enjoyed many fresh berries on their own because that is my favorite.

This is another less sugar recipe with a lemony twist.  The added salt does not make the jam taste salty, it just enhances the flavor.

Not-So-Sweet Blueberry Lemon Jam
Makes about 9 cups to fill 9-8 ounce jars

4 1/4 pounds Blueberries, 8 cups mashed
1/2 cup bottled Lemon Juice
Zest from one Lemon that has been thoroughly scrubbed
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt, optional
4 teaspoons Calcium Water*
1 1/2 cups Sugar
4 teaspoons Pectin

*To make the calcium water, combine 1/2 teaspoon of the calcium powder included in the box of Pomona's Pectin with 1/2 cup water.  Mix very well.  The mixed calcium water can be stored in the refrigerator.

Prepare for Boiling Water Bath Canning

1. Fill water bath canner or large stock pot with tap water and place over high heat.
2. Wash and sterilize 9 8 ounce mason jars.  You can sterilize the jars by placing them in the canner while the water heats up, boiling for a minimum of 15 minutes.
3. Wash 9 regular mouth dome lids and place in a heat proof bowl.  Once the jam is cooked, you will cover the lids with warm water before placing on jars to seal.  Have 9 regular mouth bands handy.
4. Once the water is at a rolling boil, you are ready to can.

Prepare the Fruit

1. Wash, drain and remove any stems from the berries.
2. Lightly mash the berries as you measure your 8 cups.

Not exactly beautiful, but a good picture to judge the mashed fruit consistency.

3. Transfer the fruit to a large dutch oven or stockpot along with the calcium water, lemon juice and zest and salt.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
4. Meanwhile, combine the pectin with the sugar in a medium bowl and stir until well combined.
5. Once the fruit mixture reaches a boil, slowly add the sugar and pectin mixture, stirring constantly to avoid clumps.
6. Stir until well combined and return mixture to a boil.  Remove from heat.
7. Skim any foam that has risen to the top of the jam, if desired.  This foam is nothing more than air bubbles moving through a viscous solution, it is fine to eat but you can skim it if you want a clearer jam.

Get Ready to Can

1. Take the lids you washed previously and ladle some of the hot water from your canning pot to cover.
2. Ladle fruit into prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace, the space between the surface of the fruit and the top of the jar.
3. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel, center lid on each jar and tighten band around each lid.
4. Using tongs, pick up each jar individually, keeping it as straight (perpendicular) as possible and place in water bath canner.  Repeat until all of the jars are in the water.
5. Place the lid on the canner and process for 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat and remove the canner lid.  Allow jars to sit in the hot water for an additional five minutes.
6. Remove each jar individually, once again keeping the jar as straight as possible, to a cloth towel or napkin lined counter.
7. Allow the jars to rest undisturbed for 24 hours.  Check the seals, the dome should be sucked into the jar, clean the jars and label.  Enjoy!

Because jars of jam look pretty in a cloth lined basket.

Shared at Clever Chicks Blog Hop.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Oat, Pea, Bean and Barley Veggie Patties

Oats, peas, beans and barley grow
Oats, peas, beans and barley grow
Do you or I or anyone know
How oats, peas, beans and barley grow

Funny how all those kids' songs get stuck in your head and refuse to leave.  I'd love to be like one of those parents who say, "Oh, my child doesn't listen to kids' music", but we do, especially in the car.  If I try to listen to "grown up music" my daughter complains until I put on something she likes.  Thankfully, when we're home, we can listen to anything without protest.

This song was stuck in my head while I pondered new dinner items.  Wouldn't it be fun to make an Oat, Pea, Bean and Barley Veggie Patty?

Pictured with a slice of swiss and some salad greens.

This veggie patty is one with recognizable ingredients, you can still see the ingredients in the finished patty rather than a big mush of stuff.  If you prefer a big mush of stuff, I bet blending the ingredients would work fine.

This make a big batch, perfect for serving a large crowd or stocking up your freezer for quick lunches.  The recipe can be halved easily if you prefer to skip the extra leftovers.

Oat, Pea, Bean and Barley Veggie Patties
Makes 16 patties

1 medium Onion, 8 ounces
2 Tablespoons Refined Coconut Oil
1 large Carrot, 3-4 ounces
1 small Fennel bulb or stalk of Celery, 2 ounces
1 cup Rolled Oats
2 cups cooked Barley
1 cup Peas, fresh or frozen*
1 cup Beans of choice, cooked or canned (Technically, I used purple hull peas, but Oat, Pea, Pea and Barley Veggie Patties does not sound very appetizing)
2 teaspoons Magic Mushroom Powder from Nom Nom Paleo (you won't regret having this spice blend in your pantry) or seasoning blend of choice
3 large Eggs

*If frozen, rinse under hot water before adding to the ingredients to remove any ice crystals.

Preheat oven to 400 and move racks to upper middle and lower middle positions.

1. Peel the onion and shred using a food processor or the large holes of a box grater.
2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven.  Add the onion and cook until translucent and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
3. Shred the carrot and fennel using your food processor or box grater.  Add to the dutch oven and continue to cook until tender, 3-4 minutes.
4. Add the uncooked oats and simmer for a few minutes (3-4) to let the oats soak up the veggie juice.

Veggies and Oats

5. Add the cooked barley, peas and beans and stir to combine.  Add your spices, taste and adjust seasoning as you prefer.

Everything mixed in.

6. Remove from heat and add your eggs, stir to combine well.
7. Line two baking sheets with a Silpat or parchment paper.  Use a 1/4 cup measure to dish out the patties leaving about two inches between each patty.  Use your hands to form into nice patty shape.  Continue with remaining batter.

Ready for the oven.

8. Bake for 20 minutes, flip patties, rotate trays and continue to bake for 10 minutes more, until patties are light golden brown.
Serve on buns or with a green salad.  Freeze extra on a baking sheet in a single layer, transfer to a freezer bag once frozen.  To cook straight from the freezer, preheat a skillet over medium low heat, add a bit of oil and pan fry patty for about 5 minutes on each side.  Enjoy!

Topped with pickled green tomatoes, swiss, green and spicy mustard.

On a hand-knotted whole wheat kaiser roll!  With dilly beans.

Shared at Clever Chicks Blog Hop.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Bulgar and Red Lentil Pilaf with Kale

May has been a busy month.  I've spent every spare minute in the garden, moving beds, transplanting seedlings, weeding, staking and watering.  Once the weather warms up, I find that I'd much rather spend time in the garden then in the kitchen.

Little Garden in the Big Woods

Cukes and squash

Looking forward to sharing many tomato centered recipes.

So much growth in only ten days!  

Since we still have to eat, I just turn to quick, simple meals for summer. This pilaf is a one pot dinner that comes together quickly.  It also happens to be something healthy that my daughter will actually eat, even the kale!


This recipe comes from The Complete Vegan Cookbook by
Susann Geiskopf-Hadler & Mindy Toomay.  This is a great, comprehensive cookbook for anyone looking to move to a more plant based diet. I adapted the recipe slightly to suite our tastes.

Bulgar and Red Lentil Pilaf with Kale
Make 4 main servings or 6 side dish servings

1/2 cup Dried Red Lentils
2 Tablespoons Refined Coconut Oil or Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, diced fine
1 teaspoon Whole Cumin Seed
1 teaspoon Yellow Mustard Seed
1 teaspoon Coriander Seed
2 cloves Garlic, peeled
1 cup Bulgar Wheat
3 ounces Kale, stemmed and torn or chopped into small pieces
2 cups Vegetable Stock
1/2 teaspoon Salt

1. Sort and rinse lentils well, drain.
2. Place whole spices in a spice grinder.  Mill until finely ground. Add the peeled garlic cloves and continue to process until minced.  Set spices aside.
3. Heat the oil in a dutch oven or heavy bottoned saucepan over medium heat.   Add onion and sautee until translucent and lightly browned.
4. Add garlic and spices and sautee until fragrant, about 1 more minute.
5. Add bulgar and lentils and cook for about a 2-3 minutes until lightly toasted
6. Add stock, salt and kale.  Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
7. Cover pot tightly and reduce heat to very low.  Cook for 25 minutes.  Turn off heat and allow pilaf to rest for another 15 minutes with the lid on.
8. Fluff with fork, and serve with a fresh lemon wedge.  Enjoy!

Looks a bit boring, but tastes delicious.

Shared at the Clever Chicks Blog Hop