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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mid-Week Moment #38

"Just living is not enough...one must have sunshine,freedom and a little flower. -Hans Christen Anderson

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Good Old French Bean Salad

     I know I have an amazing husband. He willingly gave up date night last Saturday night to help me do some canning.I knew I had to make it up to him.Fast forward to today. He had a loooong day at work and fairly trying week so far,so I knew he needed a steak dinner.

   Oh but what to serve alongside that steak? I'm thinking something green,something simple and rich,gotta be buttery and rich. I found the perfect starter for dinner and the perfect side dish all in about 20 minutes.

   Appetizer: simple caprese salad.
  Slice up some garden fresh tomatoes,fresh mozzarella and chiffonade some basil.Simple and classy.

   Side dish: Good Old French Bean Salad  
   Thank you Jamie Oliver.

   The bean salad recipe from Jamie Oliver's cookbook was a perfect side for this steak dinner and the buttery flavors of the dressing stood up nicely to one fine steak. It's also my contribution to Soups,Salads and Sammies week over at I Heart Cooking Clubs. Two for one special and I'll take it!

   Moving along,Good Old French Bean Salad.
   Get a pot of water boiling and cook 4 handfuls of French beans,aka. haricot verts.After those bean get to cooking,whisk together your dressing ingredients: onion,dijon mustard,white wine vinegar,salt,pepper,capers and olive oil.Next break out the garlic clove and microplane zester.
      Ooooh action shot.It's was the only way I knew to "grate" garlic and hey it worked. The technique of using the microplane also made for a fine garlic paste.Hooray for new ideas.
   Oooh buttery rich dressing.At this point the beans should be done cooking and draining in a colander in the sink.
    Steamy French green beans (I'll spare you my attempt at pronouncing haricots verts,it's a French pronunciation and well it was not pretty.) Now toss the beans with your dressing WHILE THE BEANS ARE STILL HOT/WARM. The beans will take on all of the flavors in the dressing and oohh it will be good.
      Yum,yum yum. (minus the crazy flash situation).
    We cooked our steaks last. The perfect,fresh rich steak dinner for me and my hubby. Perfect dinner and perfect night. ...Now to go fold laundry. It's the simple things.

Good Old French Bean Salad
adapted from Jamie Oliver
  recipe found in his cookbook Jamie's Dinners
Ingredients:
4 handfuls of French beans/haricot verts
Dressing:
2-3 tsp dijon mustard
2 TBL white wine vinegar
7 TBL olive oil
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
1 TBL capers (optional)
Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook beans for 4-5 minutes.
2. While the beans cook,whisk together in a small bowl all the dressing ingredients except the olive oil.Next while whisking,drizzle in the olive oil.
3. Drain the beans in a colander and pour into a large mixing bowl.Toss with the dressing,coating everything well.Serve warm!!! Enjoy!

 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls-Part deux.

    I would love to tell you I have been in a cinnamon roll haze since my last post. They are that amazing.
But no,I've been canning my tookus off and had some pretty great canning adventures to tell you about.I found a wonderful friend who has a pressure canner and knows how to use it. What does that mean to me? I have a vegetable soup packed with summer tomatoes,corn,lima beans, carrots,celery, potatoes and all kinds of savory seasonings! Vegetable soup is a pressure canner recipe and well...needless to say I was beyond thrilled to have five whole quarts of soup to enjoy this winter.

    My second canning adventure was a request from a dear friend's mom. My friend's mom asked me to make pickled watermelon rinds. Pickled what?!?! Ok so here goes nothing,I bought a 50-lb watermelon,bribed my husband to help me and by sunday nite we had  one quart and eight pints of pickled watermelon rind. I cooked them down in a white vinegar/sugar mixture steeped with vanilla bean,a green cardamon pod,a star anise and a little ground allspice.It smelled amazing and I just know (fingers crossed) my friend's mom will love every bite.

    Now back to the cinnamon rolls! It's assembly time folks and good heavens it was early.Let's go!

  It's early,real early.It's 7:00am early AND if it weren't for sheer will and our out-of-town guests I probably would have slept in and made these later in the afternoon. Cheerios for all!  I kid,I kid.
    So take out the large mixing bowl full of dough from the fridge.Cut half of it out of the mixing bowl and roll it out on your prepped countertop space. THIS RECIPE TAKES SOME SPACE,so think ahead of time and  make the space for it. It will pay off.
  Roll the dough on a floured workspace to 30 inches in length.
The rolled dough should be about 10 inches in width.
After you have reached the required measurements,brush the dough with melted butter.Sprinkle half of your cinnamon and 1 cup of sugar all over the melted butter.Use your fingers to smooth everything around evenly.It doesn't have to be perfect,but you don't want some fairly even coverage to ensure all the cinnamony,buttery,sugary goodness in each heavenly cinnamon roll. Duh-vine. Sent from the heavens I tell ya.
  Now start from the edge that is farthest away from you. GENTLY roll the dough tightly towards you. Using both hands work slowly and be careful to keep the roll tight.
Ta-da! Major sense of accomplishment at this point. People you are halfway there.Time to slice up those delicious rolls.
     After you have sliced the rolls,place them in a pie plate of even aluminum pie plate will work just fine.Finish up slicing the rest of the log. Each log ( I couldn't think of a better word.) will make about 20-25 rolls depending on how big you slice them.In other words you will make lots of friends with these rolls,should you choose to be sweet and give them away.
  After you have sliced up one log of cinnamon roll heaven,repeat the same steps with the other half of your dough.Once I got my rhythm down,the second half of dough moved pretty smoothly.

   Set the rolls aside to rise one last time.cover the pie plates with a clean hand towel and let rolls rise for at least 20 minutes.
  While the dough rises and the oven is a preheating  to 375 degrees,gather together your icing ingredients: powdered sugar,kosher salt,melted butter,whole milk and cold black coffee.Oh and the extract,Pioneer Woman says to use maple flavoring in the icing.Let me tell you about my creativity.Sheer luck,folks .
  I didn't have maple flavoring,so I decided to use pure vanilla extract. If you look closely you will see in the photo above a bottle of pure vanilla extract,AN EMPTY BOTTLE of pure vanilla extract. Geez. Well I gambled and went with what I had: orange and almond. I used 1/2 tsp almond extract and 1/2 tsp orange extract. Now both extracts tend to be a little strong and mixed in with that coffee I had no idea what it would taste like.
  So I whisked the powdered sugar,melted butter,black coffee,milk,and salt. Then whisked in the orange extract and the almond extract. I'll admit I had to taste it,duh-vine. I iced one pie plate full of cinnamon rolls and off they went to the oven.Baked for 13-17 minutes.
   The other pie plates of cinnamon were wrapped up with plastic wrap then a layer of aluminum foil. I poured the icing up in quarts ziploc bags. I plan to give the rest of these to friends and family so I wanted them to have icing too! I could have easily sat in the middle of my kitchen floor and enjoyed that bowl of icing with a big ol' spoon. I used restraint and to this day I feel slightly better about myself.The icing freezes well and the rolls do as well.**To enjoy a pie plate of frozen rolls,simply let them thaw and rise,cover them in icing and bake as directed.
 Cinnamon Rolls
adapted from the Pioneer Woman 
Ingredients:
DOUGH:
1 quart whole milk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 packages ( 4 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
9 c all-purpose flour
1 heaping tsp baking powder
1 scant tsp baking soda
1 TBL salt
 Directions for the DOUGH:
1. Heat the milk,vegetable oil and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat.DO NOT ALLOW THE MIXTURE TO BOIL.Set aside to cool to lukewarm,about 45 minutes.After the mixture has cooled sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit for 1 minute.
2.Add 8 cups of the flour,stir until just combined,cover with a clean kitchen towel and seat aside in fairly warm place for 1 hour.
3.Remove the towel and add the baking powder,baking soda,salt and the remaining 1 cup of flour.Stir thoroughly  to combine.**Use the dough right away or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days.If the dough rises,punch it down.
FILLING and ASSEMBLY:
FILLING-
Ingredients:
2 cups ( 2 sticks) of melted butter
1/4 cu ground cinnamon for sprinkling
2 cups sugar,plus more as needed
Directions for FILLING and ASSEMBLY:
1.Roll the dough out on a large floured surface to a rectangle that measures 10 in x 30 in.
2. Tom make the filling,pour 1 cup of the melted butter over the surface of the dough.Use your fingers to spread the butter evenly over the dough.Sprinkle half of the cinnamon and 1 cup of the sugar over the melted butter.Spread evenly to cover.
3.Starting with the edge farthest away form you,GENTLY roll the dough towards,while keeping the roll tight as you go.
4.Slice the rolls with a sharp knife,making 1 1/2 inch slices.One log will produce 20 -25 rolls.Butter the desired pie plates and place sliced rolls in each plate. Each plate should hold about 8 rolls if they you cut a little smaller,less if your slices are a little bit bigger.
5.Cover the rolls with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for at least 20 minutes.Repeat the process with the other half of your dough.
ICING!!!!:
 Ingredients:
2 lbs powdered sugar
1/2 c whole milk ( I used 2% milk,it's what I had on hand.)
6 TBL (3/4 stick) butter,melted
dash of salt
1/4 cup of strongly brewed coffee
1/2 tsp orange extract
1/2 tsp almond extract ( original recipe calls for 1 TBL maple flavoring.)
Directions for the ICING!!!:
1.Whisk together all the ingredients,but the flavoring.Next whisk in the extracts of flavoring whichever you choose.Remove the kitchen towels and ice the pie plate of cinnamon rolls.
2. Bake 13-17 minutes at 375 degrees. And enjoy every bite of these rolls,hands down my most favorite ever.Bound to be a family classic.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls,P-dub style.

 
 I know you no P-dub.

Yep I'm that cool.

    No really, I know you know Pioneer Woman or also known as Ree Drummond. Or P-dub,really it's whatever. Just get to know her site and all the wonderful blog goodness she has to offer.

   Short story,bear with me just a second.

  So back oh five years ago I pledged my life,love and utter devotion to an amazing man. He still makes my world turn 'round,but little did I know back then I would have just one more bridge to cross with him,beside that love,devotion forever business.
 
    I had to watch all six Star Wars. He didn't make me but I knew! it was important to him and a favorite of his. Big time favorite,so I caved. Over the next few weeks I watched them in order ( now don't ask me the order now,I have no clue,but then I did. I was a good student. I tried.) and I loved every bit of it.  I would watch one episode a week,bits and pieces throughout the week then on the following friday we would go to our favorite Mexican restaurant,near our apartment, to discuss the episode. I would ask a million questions,he would have the answers and I was prepared to watch the next episode. I was all studied up for the next week's installment. i passed with flying colors with that devotion thing and for the life of me now I remember about 85% of the whole saga. I'll take my B and move on with life.

    I watched of those movies because I knew it would be a part of our repertoire. We could watch all of those again or even just one movie and enjoy every second of it together. The movies were/are fundamental to him. Everyone knows the Star Wars saga. It's also a little timeless ( just like Back to the Future or Indiana Jones for me,just is.) and will always be a favorite in our house.

    For me it's food. I have a list of various food-related ideas/recipes/notions that I want to accomplish. I intend to make a list of these and post them very soon. (My list will include food-related things as well as a handful of other life-related notions.Notions,yay!) Moving on,Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls are on that list. I have read the blog post on them a thousand times. I have glanced through those specific pages in her cookbook about a dozen times and I knew,I just knew. I wanted to make them and it didn't matter how much canning I had to do in one 48 hour period (aka. the weekend) I WAS GOING TO MAKE THOSE CINNAMON ROLLS. Well I made them and they were the best cinnamon rolls I have ever had. And let me tell you about them: flaky,fresh warm,crusty-edge,covered-in-rich-creamy-icing,delicious,perfect-with-a-HUGE-cup-of-coffee cinnamon rolls. LOVED EVERY BITE. I even ate the last one and I didn't regret it for one second.
   I was just wasn't hungry for a number of hours. They are a lovely breakfast and probably my second most-favorite part of these amazing rolls: yo can share them. Now you can half the recipe and not make a million,but then you wouldn't be able to share the love that is wrapped up in these homemade rolls. You need to share the love. Listen to me,share. They will love you forever.

  On to the rolls:
      We will start with the dough: whole milk,vegetable oil,sugar,active dry yeast,all-purpose flour,baking powder,baking soda and salt.
  Heat the milk,vegetable oil and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. DO NOT ALLOW THE MILK TO BOIL. You want to scald your milk,then turn off the heat and let it cool down to lukewarm temperature. This will take 45 minutes to 1 hour.
           Next sprinkle 2 packets of dry active yeast on top of the lukewarm milk.Let it sit for 1 minute.
   Then you stir in 8 cups of the all-purpose flour and stir it in until just combined. Cover the pot with a clean kitchen towel, and set it aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour.

    Big ol' pot of yeasty,floury stuff workin' it and right next to it lots of tomatoes. Heavens that was a lot of tomatoes. We made and canned lots of salsa and some luscious Tomato Jam ! So back to the dough.
   After your hour is up,remove the towel and stir in 1 cup of all-purpose flour.Stir in the flour really well,thoroughly to combine.
  If! you are not going to use the dough right away you can refrigerate it for up to 3 days. I wanted to use it the next morning,so I found a bowl for the dough to chill in,rest nicely.
   I was making this dough in between preparing dinner for a few friends. The main dish of dinner was in the slow-cooker so the work was mostly done.I thought and planned my time wisely. I was going to make these rolls. Weeeelll in my rookie ways,little did I know how much the dough would rise in just short time.If it rises up,just punch it down.
   I found a bigger mixing bowl,the dough had more room to move around and I was ready to move on to dinner. Mmmm London Broil,yum. What?!?!? slow-cooker London Broil. Coming soon.

        Sooo here we are,we've made our cinnamon roll dough. It's resting nicely in the fridge and just hold on,wait a hot minute the assembly part is yet to come. I will post the second half of this blog post on Saturday, August 20th,2011. The assembly part might be most my valiant cooking effort to-date,thank the Lawd there was coffee there to comfort me in the early morning hours. Until then go watch some Star Wars.See you in a few.
   
 
     

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mid-Week Moment #37


“My dear young lady, there was a great deal of truth, I dare say, in what you said, and you looked very pretty while you said it, which is much more important” -Oscar Wilde

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tang Pie

        I saw those wooden spoons today. You know the wooden spoons that you got with your plastic cup of vanilla ice cream. I was leaving a gas station on my way back to work from my lunch break and there they were.They were sitting on top of an ice cream cooler next to a bag of little plastic cups of ice cream. The simple little wooden spoons that opened the cup of a childhood memory.
            The little plastic cups of ice cream that were served to us at daycare family picnics. The daycare I went to when I was a little kid used to have summer picnics. You ordered your boxed dinner,usually chicken strips or a hamburger/cheeseburger,gathered the families around sitting on blankets and enjoyed a night in the park. All of the kids quickly finished up dinner and then it was time for dessert. Oh and you had a choice of dessert,your choices were either vanilla or chocolate ice cream cup OR an orange push-up pop.You knew you had to make the right choice,but it was the toughest choice ever for a cute,little red-haired 5-year old make!!!! What was I going to choose?!?!?!

I chose wisely,the orange push-up pop.    
 
     Oh the orange push-up pop was my favorite and to this day it's still pretty high on the list. Simple,sweet,but not to sweet,creamy orange push-up pop.It was wrapped in a thin cardboard wrapper and had a plastic base that meant the end of ice cream when I'd eaten all of the orange heaven.The wrapper was covered in big,brightly covered polka dots,oh so cool. The polka dots were probably just as big a draw for me as the ice cream treat wrapped up in that polka-dotted cardboard.Take me back.

    Well last week at work a co-worker( thank you Amy!) brought a treat to work for us to enjoy,Tang Pie. Tang Pie,huh...

    It was ah-mazing!!!! It also tasted like a orange push-up pop. Flashback to 1985,Overton Park in Memphis. I mean really the same flavors,textures and even something a little different.
     The ingredients list is short: whipped topping,Tang drink mix powder,sour cream and one small can of condensed milk.

        The difference: graham crack crust. Huh,well I'll be darned... an orange push-up pop melted and poured up in a graham cracker crust. Perfect. So perfect I got the recipe for her and made it 4 days later for some dinner guests we had Saturday night.They loved it too. And you can guess what happened as we were enjoying our lovely dessert,we reminisced of days gone by and the orange push-up pops of our childhood.

   
     The Tang pie recipe is simple,easy and convenient. The pie is made,then stored in the freezer until ready to serve. I would recommend making it the night before whatever function you serve it at and it will be the perfect consistency for your guests. Let it come to room tempt them serve.Enjoy it folks,the memories and the pie.
Tang Pie
adapted from Amy C.-my co-worker
Ingredients:
1 8-ounce container of whipped topping
1/2 cup Tang powdered drink mix
1 8-ounce container of sour cream
1 small can of condensed milk
1 standard graham cracker crust
Directions: 1. Whip together the first 4 ingredients in the bowl of a stand-mixer or in a mixing bowl with a hand-mixer.Pour into the graham cracker crust. Smooth out the top and place the plastic cover back on top of the pie.Place the prepared pie in the freezer. Freeze for at least 8 hours if not overnight.Bring to room temperature when ready to serve.ENJOY!

   

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mid-Week Moment # 36

"Life itself is the proper binge." -Julia Child

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Slow-Cooker Pork Chops with Tomato Sauce and Mushrooms

        We had some amazing pork chops a few months back. I was hesitant to tell you about them weelll... be cause I used my slow-cooker. I know I thought you weren't supposed to use your slow-cooker in the summer well cause it's grilling season. And we will grill before the season is over,promise.
          We had our first dinner guests to our new house a few months back. Our dinner guests busted their behinds helping us move in and I knew I just knew I had to say thank you with one amazing meal.I was told one time, you think you find out who your real friends are after you get married and then you move.The people that help you move,now those folks are the best friends you will have for life.Funny thing is we had only known this couple for less than two months. They were just offering to help us move a few boxes in the house,little did they know a massive U-haul truck greeted them in the driveway.

   Oh and four other cars packed full.
   I'm telling you real friends.
     
        I knew they would be our first dinner guests and this meal had to rock. I work full-time and dinner was on a weeknight. Hello slow-cooker time! I got a new slow-cooker cookbook right before we moved and I poured through the pages for a recipe. I came upon a pork chop recipe and believe you me this meal was a perfect way to say thank you to some wonderful friends. So break out the slow-cooker and your red wine!
                  I forgot to mention wine,what kind of dinner party would this have been!?!?!
 
Slow-Cooker Pork Chops with Tomato Sauce and Mushrooms:
    Gather together some mushrooms ( I used portobello mushrooms,well just cause.),bell pepper,garlic and onion.
 The tomato sauce ingredients are salt,dried oregano,dried basil,fresh parsley,tomato puree and red wine vinegar.Oh and a bay leaf too.(not pictured,'cause I added it in at the end.Just 'casue.)
I decided to go for big,thick meaty boneless pork chops. The recipe calls for bone-in pork chops,either will work just fine.Pat dry your pork chops,season with salt and pepper and brown on each side.

Here comes the wine.It was the magic touch in this sauce.Magic people.
 I like the idea of deglazing the pan and I'm sure glad the thought crossed my mind. It made for such a rich,luscious sauce and really made these some fancy dancy pork chops.Duh-vine.
  This has become my red cooking wine of choice.It's a combination of zinfandel,merlot and cabernet sauvignon. It's a budget friendly wine and deglazed the pork chop wine in the bottom of that pan really well.

  ***Ok let's pause for brief moment in all of this pork chop goodness,gotta fill you in just a bit. I made all of these components the night before.I chopped up the vegetables,put them in a bowl and then in the fridge.I whisked up the tomato sauce ingredients in a small mixing bowl.covered it and put it in the fridge. Now here's where the real fancy part happened : I browned the pork chops,deglazed the pan with the red wine and poured that sauce over the browned chops. Put them in a baking dish to rest,covered those babies with plastic wrap, and put them in the fridge.***

  So here we the next morning,I assemble everything in the slow-cooker then head off to work.I just have to say,having all of that prepped made all of the difference in the world. 
   So put the chopped vegetables in the crock of the slow-cooker,then nestle the browned pork chops on top of the vegetables and then pour the tomato sauce on top of the chops.Put the lid on,grab your big ol' cup of coffee and head off to a busy day! You will come home to the most tender,falling-apart pork chops that are covered in a luscious tomato sauce. All I had to do was change into my party outfit,set up the appetizer and enjoy the night! Our dinner guests went home full,leftovers packed in a to-go bag and happy they helped us move.I mean come on,that was one heck of a dinner party.

Slow-Cooker Pork Chops with Tomato Sauce and Mushrooms
adapted from Not Your Mother's Slow-Cooker Cookbook
Ingredients:
7 boneless,thick cut pork chops
8 ounces mushrooms,sliced
1 medium yellow onion,finely chopped
1 large bell,chopped
1 garlic clove,minced
114-ounce can tomato puree
2 TBL red wine vinegar
2 TBL minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
pinch of salt
1 dried bay leaf
1/4 cup red wine
Directions:
1.Pat dry your pork chops and season with salt and pepper.In a large,heavy skillet heat a little olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown your pork chops on both sides.Remove the pork chops to a large baking dish to rest.Deglaze the skillet with the red wine and pour the red wine sauce from the pan over the pork chops.
2.In the slow-cooker put the mushrooms,onion,bell pepper and garlic.Nestle the pork chops on top of the vegetables.Add in the bay leaf.
3.In a small bowl whisk together the tomato puree,red wine vinegar,parsley,oregano,basil and salt. Pour the tomato sauce over the pork chops.
4. Cook the pork chops on low for at least 6-8 hours on LOW. When they are done cooking transfer the pork chops to a platter. Pour the tomato vegetables and tomato sauce over the pork chops.Serve immediately.
***I wound up cooking mine for 12 hours on LOW and they fell apart. It was perfect because they fell apart and it allowed me a little extra time to get other aspects of dinner ready for our guests.ENJOY!!!***

 


Friday, August 5, 2011

Drunken Fig Jam

   So I'm gonna do some quick bragging and then show you what drunk figs look like,ok ?!?!
Here goes it:
                         A few weeks back a family member that shall remain nameless ( we could call her Betty) called a certain food/home/garden section editor (we'll call her Ginna) at the newspaper. Said family member did a bit of bragging about me (little ol' me,I just cook a little,can/preserve a little and write a few blog posts some of the time) and food/home/garden section editor was so impressed she called me to set up an interview. We talked for a couple of hours,had a lovely time . Weeelll a few days later that fantastic food editor whipped up a story  about me and all my cookin', bloggin' and cannin'. It's a great article written by a pretty fantastic newspaper lady/foodie and well she was right, I did blush when I read it. And really have blushed ever since each time someone mentions the article to me. Thanks Betty and Ginna for making my year.

   Ok onto drunken figs!!!
   I was offered some free figs last week and couldn't pass up the chance at this delicious,luscious fruit. Hooray for free figs!!! I have made fig jam before. It was perfect,sweet and so simple. I thought surely this can't be true, a jam could not be this easy. Well it was for two reasons: 1. Figs are a small fruit,easy to handle. No peeling,little chopping and definitely no juice extraction. Although that would be an interesting challenge,don't know how prosperous though. (I digress.) 2. You gotta like seeds in your jam,preserve,...finished product. I ride the fence sometimes when it comes to seeds in the jam. I know it's a silly nuance,but we all have our moments. In the past I have not been a huge fan of figs,but also did not have all that much experience with them so my room to talk was not so big after all.
    I tasted a fresh,ripe fig,after that first bite it was love. I made the jam and just knew if I ever came in contact with a fig again...well it would be all she wrote. A few weeks back a friend of mine was in town visiting for the weekend. He is one my bestest friends and my best foodie friend EVER! We got up a little early to hit up the local farmers market,coffee in hand and my short,concise list in my back pocket. I was prepared to focus,get what I needed and hit the bricks. We had a long day and night ahead of us and ...it all went downhill with one glance of a fig.(must focus,must focus)

   Well dang,there they were figs in cute little green baskets on a table sitting right there at the entrance to the farmers market. Dang. Dang. Dang.
 
      I got my figs,a few other jewels and we headed for the house.( weeeelllllllll technically we headed for the grocery to pick up some fresh mozzarella. My friend bought some tasty homemade bread at the market and lunch was going to be bites of toasty bread,slices of mozzarella and these pickled jewels. People it was the best lunch ever,perfect for an afternoon of canning. He was a quick learner thank goodness.) We had a lovely  day canning,divine dinner party later that evening,caught a movie and cocktails the next day with friends. So my friend packs up,gets on the road and I go back in the house to figs. I made golden fig jam. It was delish.

    Two weeks later another foodie friend calls to say she has a lot of fresh figs on her hands and offered some of those fine figs to me !!!  I took them and ran for the border. I found a fig jam recipe that sounded too good to pass up.
Drunken Fig Jam. It sounded so dang good. Hints of lemon zest,sugar sweetness and brandy. Rich,simple brandy. Figs are in season RIGHT NOW and if you can get them make some fig jam immediately. They are a little fragile,but cook into a jam nicely. I promised drunken figs,prepare yourself.

 The ingredient list is rather short: lemons,figs,sugar,brandy and kosher salt.
  Now I didn't get the figs as wasted as I planned. I only had enough brandy to use 1/2 cup of brandy,so the figs were gonna get a little tipsy.
  Put the all of the ingredients into a large pot,stir to combine and let them sit. The sugar,citrus and brandy will break down the natural sugars of the figs and folks we will have us some fine jam-making material in an hour or two.

  Drunken figs.
The smells were so bright coming out of this pot. I mean really sweet,citrusy and all laced in brandy. Yum.
Almost there.
 Now not nearly as pretty as the whole figs, I decided to use my immersion blender just to break things up a bit. Figs make a great chunky jam as well as a smooth jam. So versatile and tasty. 
Crazy figs.
 
It looks like a few figs averted to whir of the immersion blender and thats ok by me. It will be a bonus one morning on big ol' flaky biscuit. 
Again I say YUM!
Drunken Fig Jam
adapted from epicurious.com
Ingredients:
2 lemons
4 lbs fresh figs,stemmed cut into 1/2-inch pieces ( about 9 cups)
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Directions:
1. Using vegetable peeler,remove peel from lemons (yellow part only) into longs strips.Cut peel into match strips,maybe even smaller.
2. Combine lemon peel,figs,sugar,brandy and salt in a heavy large saucepan;let stand at room temperature for 1 hour,stirring occasionally.
3. Bring fig mixture to a boil over medium-high heat,stirring until sugar dissolves.reduce heat to medium;continue to boil jam until it thickens and is reduced to 6 cups,stirring frequently and occasionally mashing the mixture with a potato masher to crush larger fig pieces,30 - 35 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Prepare canner,jars and lids. Ladle hot mixture into clean,sterilized jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace at the top of jars. Remove any air bubbles. Wipe rim,center lids and screw on rings to finger-tip tight.Process jars for 10 minutes,remove canner lid and wait 5 more minutes. Then remove jars from canner,let cool on cooling rack for at least 12 hours if possible overnight.Store in cool dark place for up to 1 year.ENJOY!