Tag Archives: Kevin West

Cranberry Time

cranberryjam

Cranberry Sauce in a beautiful Weck jar. Too bad that the Weck trademark strawberry doesn’t show. But it’s there!

My favorite cranberry sauce has almost no sugar at all. I like it sour like the fruit. But, in my obsession with canning and with Kevin West’s Saving the Season, I have made room in my heart and my cupboard for his Chunky Cranberry Jam with Nuts and Ginger. My own version (no nuts, much less sugar) follows below. It makes four or five pints. It can be used as a sauce with turkey dinner or as a jam on an English Muffin. It’s great added to plain yogurt. According to Mr. Darcy, it’s delicious all by itself, by the spoonful!

Important:  The recipe below is not for canning; the sauce must be refrigerated.

Cranberry Sauce with Apples, Orange Zest, Cinnamon and Two Kinds of Ginger

mincingginger

Zesting the oranges and mincing the gingers.

Ingredients

2 pounds fresh cranberries
2 cups water
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 ” pieces
Zest of 2 navel oranges
1 1/2 tablespoons each crystalized and fresh ginger, minced (or 2 tablespoons fresh alone)
1 4″ cinnamon stick
1/2 to 4 cups sugar

everybodyintothepot

All ingredients, except sugar, in a large dutch oven.

Instructions

  • Rinse and pick over cranberries to remove stems.
  • Place cranberries, water, apples, orange zest, ginger or ginger combination, and cinnamon stick in a large, low sided pot (to make constant stirring easier).
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook until the berries pop. This will happen very quickly.
  • Return the mixture to a low boil and begin to add the sugar a little at a time. If you like a less sweet sauce, start with 1/2 cup or even 1/4 cup, and keep adding in 1/4 or 1/2 cup increments until you have reached the level of sweetness desired.  Stir constantly when adding the sugar:  You don’t want your sauce to burn. Again, this step goes very quickly.
  • Remove the pot from the stovetop.
  • Remove the cinnamon stick, and allow the sauce to cool.
  • The cranberry sauce can be frozen for future use, or kept in the refrigerator if used within a couple of weeks.
  • Serve warm, cold or at room temperature.
berriesapoppin

Cranberries are popping.

I love the view through the top of the jar. What beautiful jewel-like colors!

throughthetopofthebeautifulweckjar

*DISCLAIMER: This recipe is not for canning.* 

Pickled Watermelon Rind: “I Don’ Wanna Say Goodbye to the Summer” and Summer Food

Rind_2

Pickled Watermelon Rind

Paraphrasing one of the great teenage beach songs of my “yoot” (My Cousin Vinny) that PBS has been playing relentlessly all week long, I don’t want summer to end. I love t-shirts and sandals, watermelon, tomato and corn. But let’s face it, I absolutely cannot wait for the end of the heat and humidity . . .  sometime in October? I am comforting myself with the thought of veggies to come:  parsnips, turnips, beets and the unbeatably scrumptious Delicata squash.

FallVeg

If the vegetables look wrinkled, they are, having just been steamed in the microwave!

In order to take advantage of the very last of the watermelon, Mr. Darcy and I spent two days making watermelon rind. Yes, that’s Vivian Howard’s pickled watermelon rind to you! The whole melon was too heavy for me to lift, so I bought three very large pieces and we proceeded from there.

MRDpeelingsandia-1

Mr. Darcy hard at work peeling off the green.

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Show-off!

The flesh is then separated from the rind, and the rind is cut into 1″ x 3″ pieces.

CuttingSandia

The rind is then submerged in a water and salt brine overnight.

Rindggoinginbrine

Does anyone else remember those pretty Lilly Pulitzer summer dresses? P.S. The pink should not be there, but it was the best I could do!

The rind is rinsed and then placed in a vinegar and spice brine and cooked for 40 minutes. Some goes straight to the refrigerator and some to a hot water bath to be canned for mementos of summer during the cold and the slush of winter.

rindcomingoutofbrine

The rind takes on a slightly orange cast coming out of the salt and water brine. Reason not to leave any pink!

Digression:  What to do with all that leftover watermelon? Well, if watermelons are getting less and less “cherse” (Pat and Mike) as we approach Labor Day, so are tomatoes. Put watermelon and tomatoes together with some feta cheese, and add olive oil and white balsamic vinegar for a refreshing end of summer salad.

SandiaTomatoFeta

As a farewell to corn on the cob, I made a Blue Apron corn side dish, modified with tzatziki instead of crème fraîche, gojuchang instead of shishito peppers, plus lots of lime juice and lime zest. Grazie 1000 to La Bellezza for bringing this recipe and so many other great recipes to DishnDat’s attention!

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Back on track:  Vivian says you don’t want the spice and vinegar brine to cook down to a syrup, but Kevin West says you do. I’m kind of with Kevin on that one, but I will let you know when I’ve waited the requisite one to two weeks before eating.  In any event, most likely neither will compare to BFF’s Great-Aunt Florence’s pickled watermelon rind. GAF, or as I like to think of her, “Great Aunt Hortense” from Tom Lehrer’s Smut (“As the judge remarked the day that he acquitted Great Aunt Hortense, ‘to be smut it must be UT-terly without redeeming social importance!'”), who allowed NONE of the pink watermelon flesh and declared that “other people are sloppy about this.” <erp> Guilty as charged, GAF. Guilty as charged.

Rind-!

And now to clean up my sticky counters. Labor Day awaits. Hurricane Hermine lurks, and the heat and humidity are due to return with a vengeance by the end of the week. Happy Holiday!

P.S. If words are sticking together in recent posts, it is not for failure to proofread; I am trying to fix a glitch in the code. Sigh. It’s not going too well!

When life hands you limes, make lime marmalade . . .

Limes are the most acidic citrus fruit[.] To make lime marmalade requires special handling and copious sugar, but the results are spectacular.

Saving the Season:  A Cook’s Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving.  Kevin West

jarwithlabel

Well, mes amis, I had it all planned out:  the two long holiday weekends bringing 2015 to an end, Christmas and New Year’s,  were going to be spent in the comfort of my own home, devoted to canning from Kevin West’s Saving the Season. (Special thanks to my sister-in-law who gave me this wonderful book.) West is a graceful and unpretentious writer who evokes the ideal, unhurried life of connecting with the earth’s bounty. You will love reading this book even if you have no interest in canning, pickling or preserving.  If you are interested in putting food “up” or “by,” his recipes are mouth-watering and his gentle, unhurried prose are all the more appealing.

Being a novice canner, it was a difficult decision, but finally I chose to begin my exploration of this volume with lime marmalade, something I had made previously from another recipe.  The familiarity should be helpful, I reasoned, and give me some grounds for comparison.  Now, when I refer to his style as unhurried, let me tell you that this recipe takes three days plus the following morning!  Perfect for a quiet and carefree three-day weekend devoted to home and hearth.

But, as my friend Bunny says:  We plan and God laughs.

The irony of all of this gentility is that the context of this attempt lime marmalade was anything but unhurried, relaxing, or graceful.  And yes, I will not spare you any of the drama in which 2015 is ending for me, because far be it from me not to complain, much less about the worst year I can remember.

  1. My poor Mr. Darcy.  He threw out his back at Thanksgiving, and it’s been downhill ever since.  An evening in the ER produced a DX of sciatica, an RX for Percocet, and a recommendation to see his PCP ASAP.  Once he finally got an appointment to see the PCP, he was given no definitive DX, a recommendation for heat, and a referral to PT. After the first PT session, he could have thrown away the cane, but it’s a good thing that he didn’t, because within three days he could no longer walk without bending over. Back to the PCP ASAP, who gave him RXs for Vicodin and a muscle relaxant, and a referral to an orthopod.  The orthopod  was leaving his practice and not taking more patients.  A call to the PCP’s office for another referral resulted in a referral to an orthpod who doesn’t do the lower back. Still asleep at the wheel! But that  office was nice enough to recommend two others, one of whom he could have seen on January 14th, and the other who could see him on January 7th.  Only 2 1/2 weeks more! Meanwhile, we are living a life of total disruption.  Everything is organized around getting on his shoes and socks, getting to MD and PT appointments, getting to his office and then home again. We fall asleep standing up the minute the front door closes behind us.  He has no appetite.  Yes, you heard me:  our Mr. Darcy who normally eats for a family of four at every meal!  I have to coax [trick] him into eating and drinking enough fluids. For the past four weeks, he’s been getting better, then worse, then better, then worse, and now he is no longer getting better. And neither one of us can be accused of grace under pressure.  So, he is an angry and stubborn patient, and I am and angry and impatient caregiver.
  2. The Vicodin was doing no good until I Googled it and realized that the pharmacy’s instructions were for someone else’s RX entirely. Talk about asleep at the wheel. Now it works. Sometimes.  Maybe.
  3. And as if this weren’t frustrating enough, I’m dealing with electronic frustration in the form of servers — at home and in the office — that won’t serve. The idea was to use WD My Cloud devices as back-up drives, and as a means for me to work at home more.  I should be able to get both accounts on any device.  HA HA HA.  Only I’m not laughing. My tech dude spent hours fiddling to no avail — oh wait — he made a lot of money fiddling around to no avail.  I think he’s no longer my tech dude.  Western Digital, Verizon, Actiontec.  Everyone has tech support. They all promise call-backs that don’t materialize, and they all seem to know you-know-what from Shinola.  Western Digital tech support has been unreliable, but I did find someone there who may be able to help. WD says the fault is with Verizon’s Actiontec router.  Verizon says this “issue” will “resolved” if I “upgrade,”  that is to say, spend even more money on Verizon than I already do. Tech support at Actiontec says that it’s a “known issue,”  and a tech dude recommended by a neighbor says I should never have tried to use WD MyCloud in this manner (in the way it was meant to be used — say what?), and that I should purchase his proprietary cloud storage service instead — at a hefty monthly fee.  This has been going on for weeks.  Tech support after tech support.  And tech support is always somewhere other than stateside — in a country where they speak with their tongues down their throats or stuck to the rooves of their mouths. Reading from a script. Impossible to understand.  With a poor telephone connection. So that you will get frustrated and hang up.  Deliberately.

But I digress. Back to Kevin West and the best lime marmalade ever.  Day One is the most time-consuming, and if God is laughing, it can be quite frustrating. Prepping the limes involves washing them, peeling them, chopping the peel, slice them thin and putting them in water and leaving them overnight.  For me, it was a Keystone Kop succession of trying out several vegetable peelers, the mandoline, and a bunch of knives.  And why didn’t the mandoline work?  Because [head smack] I failed to remove one of the blade inserts.  Life’s  been like that lately.  Full of stupid errors.

Limes

 

The limes are washed, rinsed and ready for peeling.

 

 

 

 

 

PeelinglimesAfter a while, I got the pressure to resistance ratio and was able to remove large swaths of peel.

Without removing too much flesh. <g>

 

 

 

 

 

Limesneedingfinalcleanup

Clean up on Aisle Five. Save those bits of green!

preppingthepeels

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chop, chop, chop.

limepeelslivers

 

 

 

 

Not too bad.

slicinglimes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, slice the limes into thin slices.

limesslices

 

 

 

Cover peels and fruit slices with water an leave overnight.

 

 

 

 

Day Two:  Boil the fruit and water.  Let sit overnight.

Day Three:  Boil, add sugar, and boil again.  Grated fresh ginger is added at this point. The ginger is integral to the fullness of the flavor without tasting like “oh, there’s ginger in that there marmalade!”  Genius.

limesboilingWhen cooked, the mixture is ladled into prepped mason jars and left for the following morning when the jars are tested.  And here comes the final blow.  I used the wrong size jar and the pretty labels that I bought from Felix Doolittle for mucha plata are too big.

 

The reward is definitely worth the effort. Homemade multi-grain toast from Cook’s Illustrated with lime marmalade. Tomato sauce and tomato jam are next, and as soon as the forsythia bloom, pickled ramps!  2016 can’t some soon enough. Happy New Year to you all. And, as we head into our fourth year, thank you for supporting DishnDat.

Toastwithlimemarmalade

“Spectacular” indeed.