Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Homemade Blueberry Preserves

Earlier this week I purchased some blueberries from the local farmer's market. I wish I could have gotten them from a blueberry farm, but suffice to say, it is too darn hot!! Anyhoo, I decided to make bleuberry preserves for fear they would go to waste before we had the chance to eat them all. This was ridiculously easy! My grandmother would make preserves this way whenever company was coming and they could eat them all up. The preserves will last about a month kept in the refrigerator. You won't even need a pen and paper for this recipe; it's that easy!

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Fresh Blueberry Preserves

8 cups fresh blueberries
4 cups sugar
2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice

That's it!

All you do is:
1. wash and de-stem the berries.
2. In a dutch oven or broiler, add all ingredients and bring to a boil over
med-high heat.
3. Stir ingredients together and mash berries. I used a potato masher.
4. Cook at a rapid boil for 10-12 minutes, stirring throughout to prevent
5. Spoon into prepared canning jars.
6. Let sit in fridge for 24 hrs. before using.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Peach Pastries in Vanilla Cream Sauce

I LOVE peaches! Their sweet yet tart flavor makes my mouth insanely happy! I bought a bunch of Chilton County (Georgia) peaches today while at the Farmer's Market. They have to best the best peaches. God gave an extra blessing when he created the peach tree! Well, long story short, when I got home I was at a lost as to what to do with the peaches. I mean it has to be good, right?! So, I thought up this recipe and truly it was delicious! Very simple I might add. This can be made fairly quickly and would be a great dessert for dinner guests. It does call for a vanilla bean, ( by now you should know how high esteem I have for the vanilla bean). You can purchase them in the spice section of your grocer.

You will need:

4 ripe peaches,pitted and sliced thinly
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup half n half
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 vanilla bean (do not skimp here- get the real thing)
1 sheet puff pastry dough
1/4 tsp. all spice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

First, thaw the puff pastry dough, then cut into three sections, vertical. I used the frozen lines from the folds already made. Once again you will cut the dough, this time horizontally, into three sections from each vertical length of dough. I hope this make sense. In other words, take one of the vertical sections and cut across it making three squares.
Spray 6 ramekins with cooking spray. Lay each square of pastry dough in ramekin. Patting all around and pricking with a fork. Bake til golden brown, but not too done. You will re-bake with the peaches in later.

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See, I forgot to prick with the fork!

Next, over medium heat, bring to a simmer the half-n-half, sugar, cornstarch and whole vanilla bean, ( do not split, yet). You will need to whisk all along. Once the vanilla bean has heated and softned, remove and split. Scrape out all the seeds and add to cream sauce, whisking in. Remember as I told in the bread pudding blog: wash the vanilla bean in the cream sauce to get all the seeds out.

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In a seperate bowl, add the sliced peaches, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon; mix well. Add the cream to the peach mixture stirring until all the peaches are coated.

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Remove the pastry from the oven. Scoop the peaches and sauce into each ramekin over the pastry. Cook about 12-15 minutes, or until bubbly. Cool slightly before eating.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

How to Fry Okra

This weekend my husband and I went to dinner with another couple we've recently come to know. We had a great time and laughed til my side hurt! There is a restaurant nearby, but kind of secluded; it is called the Tin Top. Wonderful place to eat. It is one of those "known by locals, but undiscovered by tourist" sort of restaurants. I believe they could rival ANY five star culinary restaurant. I had the Pecan-encrusted Grouper with a crawfish cream sauce. My sides, wait for it......fried green tomatoes and fried okra! Yes I did! Uh-huh! I had double fried foods AND the cream sauce! Ok, not what you would want to eat if you are on a strict diet, but as they say, "You have to live a little!" This got me thinking. I wonder how many people know how to fry vegetables? Most of us whom have grown up in the South know how to do this. We watched our grandmamas or mamas. Shameful to say, my husband taught me, and yes, I did grow up in the South! My mom shoo-ed me out of the kitchen, apparently I got in her way. Now I have to give her directions to the kitchen! She doesn't cook like she used to.
Anyhow, Summer is the prime time for eating a multitude of fresh, garden grown vegetables. We are fortunate to get most of our veggies from my father-in-law's garden. One of my favorite is okra, but it has to be fried. I can't stand the boiled kind..YUCK! And it is so slimy! Ew!
So, alas, I have below a tutorial for you on frying okra. We all do it differently down here and have our own "uniqueness" to add flavor and the perfect "crunch". I fried my okra in a dutch oven, just incase you don't have a deep fryer, (we have 3- my husband got all of them for Christmas this past yr!), you can also use a skillet.
This pic is my dinner the other night, try not to lick your computer screen!
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Your ingredients:

1 lb. fresh cut, or store bought (unbreaded) Okra
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. stone ground corn meal
2 c. buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
chili powder

The first thing to do is pour your oil, I use canola oil, about 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep in your skillet. Heat the oil over medium to med-high heat. This is crucial, and you need to know how fast your stove-top cooks on the temperature settings. You do not want to fry the okra too slowly (lower heat) because that will make it soggy. You also do not want the heat too hot, it may brown the outside of the okra, but the inside will be raw. I can't tell you how long it took me to master this, so please do not be discouraged if you fail several times before getting it right. You can even get store bought okra, in the frozen food section, just make sure it is not breaded.

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While the oil is heating, you need to prepare your coating bowls. You will need two bowls big enough to coat and toss the okra. I used some old tin pie pans. One with the buttermilk and slightly beaten egg. The other with flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper and chili powder. (I don't know why I like chili powder in my meal, but I do). I'm sure you noticed that I did not give you measurments for the salt, pepper and chili powder. This is because you should season it to your taste. Just try not to go overboard, your heart will thank you in years to come!

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First you will coat the okra in the buttermilk bath, making sure it is well saturated.
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Then you will spoon out the okra and place it into the meal mixture. Make sure to toss all of the okra, til it has an even coating.
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Next scoop the okra out of the meal mixture, shaking excess meal off, and put into the oil. (The oil should be ready, try frying just one piece of okra first). Fry the okra for about 5-8 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
Now, you probably are expecting a picture of the okra frying, right? Yea, well, seeing I am my own photographer and all, I was unable to snap a pic without risk of dropping the camera into the hot oil! So, instead, you will have to settle for a finished shot. The long fried thing you see beside the okra is a fried piece of squash. You can do it the same way as the okra.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Citrus Bread Pudding

Yes, you read the title correctly, I made Citrus Bread Pudding last night. It was good. This is not your traditional bread pudding. It has a lemony- vanilla custard. I get tired of the pies, cakes and fruit crisps; my palate needs variety! I came across this recipe over at the Foodnetwork's website. It is one of Bobby Flay's. The website did such a poor job with the recipe and made me feel as if I didn't get the EXACT ingredients, it would not be any good. Rebel that I am, I came up with my own version, making a few tweaks here and there. Did I mention it was good? Now this is not something I would have on a weekly basis, my waistline would hate me! Every now and then would be ok, your taste buds will thank you! I woulde serve it warm with some vanilla ice cream! Yum!

You will need:

1 loaf french bread (or some other bread of YOUR choice), cut into 1 in. cubes
3 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 c. sugar
zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
6 eggs, do not beat
1 vanilla bean ( if you cannot get a vanilla bean,or 1 tsp. vanilla extract will do)
juice from the lemon and orange you zested
fresh blueberries, rasberries, strawberries or blackberries for topping

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and toast the bread cubes, about 15-20 min. As you can see I toasted mine on a baking sheet with a VERY loved Silpat.I will use this thing til it tears, literally. These are wonderful! The Silpat that is. I swear, nothing burns on them and the bottom of whatever you are baking is cooked just as evenly as the top. You can find them a home stores or online.

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While the bread is toasting, zest and squeeze the juice from your lemon and orange. I use a microplane, yet another neccessity in the Malone house. I also have in the picture a lemon squeezer. You can get these for about $4 from any department store that sells cooking supplies. Absolutely worth it!


Next, since you are so good at multitasking, bring the cream, sugar,whole vanilla bean ,(just throw it in and let it heat with the mixture),or if no bean, add your extract, citrus zest and juices to a simmer over medium heat. You will need to whisk all along to make sure the cream does not get scorched.

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While the cream mixture is heating, check the bread and if it is lightly toasted go ahead and remove, letting it cool a little. Then place it in a baking dish. Once the cream mixture has thouroughly heated through, add the eggs, one at a time whisking as you go. And when two fall out together, don't fret. Happens all the time, slippery little suckers!

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Once all the eggs have been added, remove mixture from stove. Remove vanilla bean and split open, scrapping all the pulp out. Add that to your mixture. I like to dip my bean in the mixture to "wash" it off and then scrape again.

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Whisk the bean pulp in real good. Don't be surprised if you see a few egg pieces in your mixture. Mine actullay cooked a little from the heat. Product of an amateur. Ok, now add the cream mixture to your bread and let soak for 20-30 minutes.


Then, bake it for about 35 minutes. Remove and let cool, slightly. Serve with your choice of berries and ice cream.


Sorry everyone, I haven't yet figured out how to provide a printable version for you. If anyone knows how, please tell me.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Ok, I have truly been on a blog hiatus! In my defense: 1. I was called to serve for Federal jury duty,( which I managed to get out of - I pulled the Lupus card, for good reason, I am in a flare). 2. My mother was in town for the remainder of the week and 3. I have felt awful. I make for the most terrible hostess and chef during my Lupus flares. So, while the chef has been out of the kitchen, I have discovered some of the most delicious, delectable neccessities for the modern day hostess. Just because you work your fanny off preparing meals, playing Cinderella scouring your home, and give Martha Stewart a run for her money decorating for your next soiree doesn't mean you can't look devine and well put together. I hope these sweet little acsessories will satisfy any cravings, at least until I get back in the kitchen!

Now, this cute little apron would look oh so tres chic while slaving away in the kitchen:
my apron

And these darling measuring spoons would look so cute just laid out on the counter. If anyone should stop in impromptu, then they would think you had been SO busy whipping up delightful delicacies!
my spoons

Are these bowls not the cutest you've seen or what?! So nautical and cheerful.
They would be perfect filled with fresh strawberries, and a dallop of whip cream!
sailor bowls

Of course, you will need a drink of cold iced tea to wash down those strawberries. These charming juice glasses fit the bill.
island juice glass

If you are wondering where these must haves can be found, they are all from Anthropologie.

Please keep me in your prayers, that God will help to heal me and get me to feeling better very soon! Then I can get back to sharing some of my favorite recipes and parties with you all! I hope all of you are having a wonderful summer! God bless.