Saturday, September 25, 2010

Apple Jalapeno Salsa

Apple Jalapeno Salsa

This salsa is an explosion of bright flavors. It's crisp and tart, sweet and sour and has a little kick from the jalapeno peppers too. Serve it over grilled sausages or chicken breasts, or even with chips as an appetizer.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
Yield: about 1 cup


1 medium tart, green apple, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded if desired and diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons light olive oil
pinch of salt
2 pinches of raw sugar


1. Mix apple, jalapeno, bell pepper, green onion and cilantro in a medium bowl.

2. Add the lime juice, vinegar, oil, salt and sugar and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately, or refrigerate and use within one day.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fig Jam

Fig Jam
Adapted from Put "Em Up

This sexy concoction is sticky, sweet and tangy--and definitely not child's play. Sure your kids can eat it if they want, but I'm willing to bet you won't want to share it! Spread it on a sandwich with smoked turkey and goat cheese, or spoon it over a hunk of aged farmhouse cheddar. Make extra to give as a gift....

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: Just over an hour
Yield: about 4 cups


2 pounds fresh figs
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar


1. Sterilize 4 half pint jars in a pot of boiling water (or in a 200 degree oven) for 10 minutes, turn the heat to low and add the lids (it should no longer be boiling). Keep warm while you prepare the jam. Just before filling with jam, remove jars from the water and invert on a clean dishcloth to drain. Fill your canner (or pasta pot with insert) with water and bring to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, stem and quarter figs and place in a medium non-reactive stockpot with the water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes to soften fruit.

3. Mash the figs using a potato masher, then add the sugar, lemon juice and vinegar. Return to boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes, or until thick and glossy. If you want to test to make sure it has gelled, place a plate in the freezer for 10 minutes and then drizzle some of the jam across it. It should set quickly.

4. When jam is ready, carefully ladle it into the hot sterilized jars using a canning funnel leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Wipe rims clean, top with lids and loosely tighten bands.

5. Process in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let jars rest in the hot water for 5 minutes more. Remove from pot, using jar tongs and let sit on the counter for 24 hours. You will probably hear the "ping" from the lids much before this. Jars that are sealed properly (the lids will fit tightly and you won't be able to indent the top) can be stored in a cool pantry for a year or so. Any that did not seal, must be refrigerated and used within 3 weeks.

6. If you do not wish to process the jam, cool to room temperature and freeze or refrigerate and use within 3 weeks.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips

Roasted Sugar Pumpkins

Roasting pumpkins is much like roasting any other winter squash. Just make sure they are sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins first (not carving pumpkins which lack flavor). Cut them in half, scoop out those seeds (which I recommend roasting after tossing with a little salt and melted butter), and place them face down on a baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Scoop out the flesh, discard the skin, and mash the flesh until it is smooth. Sometimes pumpkin puree can be a bit watery. If it is, try draining it in a cheesecloth lined sieve for awhile.

Marion Cunningham's Pumpkin Bread
Adapted from Fanny Farmer Cookbook

This loaf is spicy and dense, but not overly sweet. It's a wonderful snack with hot coffee or tea, but would also be a fantastic dessert if topped with cream cheese frosting (or a dollop of sweetened whipped cream).

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Yield: 1 loaf


1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice (or 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon allspice, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, baking soda and spices in a large bowl.
3. Mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs and water in another medium bowl.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk only until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
5. Pour into a greased standard-sized loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
6. Turn out of the pan and cool on a rack.