Sunday, August 15, 2010

can all you can!

the summer of 2010 is the summer of jamming.

jam. jam. jam. it's what i do. pretty much all the time.

for the last several years i have given jam as christmas gifts but i never really paid attention to the seasonality of the fruit. so, in december i'd go up to the market and load up on strawberries, raspberries and blackberries never even considering that they were shipped in from who knows where. and since the jam tasted good and people liked it i never gave it a second thought.

but jam made with seasonal, delicious ohio oh man!
what a difference! i feel better getting fruit from farmers, friends and family close by and the taste is really off the charts.

the only problem - there is a small window of time for each fruit so you gotta get a lot of it and can, can, can all you can while the window is open.

i bought 10 pounds of blueberries. two of these boxes.

i made blueberry jam, blueberry lemon jam and blueberry syrup. i also froze a bunch and we ate them in cobblers, pancakes and by the handful.


i bought a ten pound bucket of sour cherries in their own juice. i made cherry sauce (soooo good on ice cream!) and cherry jelly. i also made a clafoutis, a cobbler and i froze some for later.

we got blackberries from mike's folks. i made blackberry jam, blackberry syrup and peach blackberry sauce. more cobblers.

here's some blackberry jam from start to finish.

the latest fruit is peaches. mmm! sweet, juicy ohio peaches.

look at these beauties!

this is after i quickly blanched, shocked and peeled them.

the first project i attempted was a peach blackberry jam. i came across a recipe for blackberry apricot on my favorite new blog so i thought i'd adapt it a bit and use some peaches.

first i pureed the peaches.

then i squished some blackberries through a sieve to get rid of some of the seeds.

i cooked the fruit with some pectin and sugar...

...and then into the jars it went.

this was pretty delicious but it still hasn't set up so the tag reads, "peach blackberry sauce" not "peach blackberry jam." i did read (after making this) that you shouldn't puree fruit cuz it messes with their natural pectin. hmm...

i also canned some quartered peaches in a lil' simple syrup.

and i made peach jam.

and of course - more cobbler. peach blackberry...mmm!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

confit de canard

duck fest 2010 continued with a dish i've read about and eaten a zillion times but never tried myself - duck confit !

it's old school. and delicious!!

i made a rub of salt, pepper, fresh thyme and a couple of bay leaves. i rubbed down the duck legs and wings, wrapped 'em up tight and put in the fridge.

they sat in the "salt cure" for two days and then on the third i rinsed 'em, dried 'em and seared 'em.

mmm! nice, brown and crispy!

then the duck went into my single woman's dutch oven -
nice and snug.

and now for the best part - the fat! i added all that wonderful fat i rendered earlier - enough to cover the duck - and put it in the oven.

and here it is after a couple of hours.

after the duck confit cooled i covered the pot and stuck it in the fridge. the duck, submerged in the fat, will last for quite some time. like months!

we couldn't wait that long but we did manage to wait a whole week!

i took the dutch oven outta the fridge as soon as i got home from work and let it sit on the counter for several hours. once the fat melted enough i removed the duck and rubbed off the salty, fatty goop before roasting it on a rack in the oven for about 20 minutes. this made the skin nice and crispy. mmm.

i served the duck confit straight up with a side of baby potatoes (roasted in duck fat of course!) and a swiss chard gratin.

practice makes perfect so i'll have to give this one another go. it was pretty salty. too salty. my salt cure was either too potent or it sat on the duck for too long. next time - less salt.
another lesson learned.

good thing i have another duck in the freezer!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


fat! it's delicious!

especially duck fat. mmm!

and since i had fat from a whole duck...

...i hacked it up...

...threw it in a pan with a lil' water...

...and rendered it down on super low heat for several hours.

up confit!