Jelly, Marmalade & Jam

StrawberriesEach of these recipes gives a dif­ferent spin on deli­cious spread­able treats. Lavender and Lemon Jelly is a classic recipe with a fla­vorful twist, Red Onion Mar­malade goes with savories, and finally, Fresh Straw­berry Chia Jam can be pre­pared in min­utes and left to set while you are making breakfast.

Read more…

Never-​​Fail Biscuits and Strawberry Freezer Jam

Biscuits with Strawberry JamJammin’ Bis­cuits

My grand­mother was a canner. Growing up, I remember every summer she would can her toma­toes and the fresh peaches that she picked her­self in Brent­wood. She also made an incred­ible black­berry jam from the bramble I once fell into as a child. (No es bueno.) Alas, that recipe has been lost. I’ve looked for it every­where, but I am starting to think that she didn’t have it written down—and made it from memory. Gam did it the old school way, too, with melted wax on top of the jam. So good…

I started can­ning about 8 years ago, mainly because the apricot tree in the back yard of our old house pro­duced so many apri­cots one year that I had to do some­thing. I just couldn’t bring myself to throw them out. I brought some here to the store to share, but even that didn’t put a dent in the quan­tity. So I made jam. Lots of it. I was hooked on canning.

In the fol­lowing years I kept making jam, but I also started making pickles and chut­neys and also can­ning the toma­toes from my garden. When those crops were excep­tion­ally big I, made salsas and tomato sauces. It was work, but tasting the flavor of my summer toma­toes in Jan­uary made the hard, hot work worth it.

This year, sadly, I won’t be doing much can­ning or pre­serving— at least not as much as in pre­vious sum­mers for two rea­sons. The first is I don’t have a garden. With the water restric­tions I decided it just wasn’t worth planting a big garden and fighting that battle. The second reason is I just don’t have time. For the next five weeks there is some­thing going on every weekend, some­times more than one event. I barely know what day it is most of the time.

I can’t just not do any­thing, so I’m going the quick and easy route. Freezer jam is great and you can do it if you find a free hour. (For me, that’s mid­night). We are crazy for straw­berry jam in my house—especially when you spoon it on warm, fresh (and really quick!  )bis­cuits. Yum…

Straw­berry Freezer Jam
Makes about 5 (8 oz) half pints
Adapted from FreshPreserving.com, the Ball web­site Read more…

Black and Tan Sundae

Black and Tan SundaeLunch Lady

My daughter came to work with me yes­terday. We had a child­care gap this week, so she had no choice. We put her to work sorting invoices and oper­ating the mailing machine—learning vital life skills (ha ha ha). She had a blast, and is looking for­ward to doing it again. As she puts it “Working is awe­some!”. She’s nine…so yes, to her, working is awesome.

I’m pretty sure that yesterday’s awe­some­ness had more to do with having lunch with Papa Dave up at Fenton’s, and less with the mailing machine but I could be wrong. She was pretty excited about that mailing machine…

My kids all know that if they have to come in to the office with me for any reason they stand a pretty good chance of going to Fenton’s with their grand­fa­ther. It’s tra­di­tion. When I came into the store as a kid I got the same lunchtime treat­ment. To them the hours of sit­ting in the chair in Mom’s office is worth it for a crab sand­wich and a Black and Tan. Enduring any­thing tedious and mind numbing is always worth it if there is a Black and Tan at the end.

The Black and Tan is the sundae of choice for all my family when we go to Fenton’s, and I don’t see that changing. Those not lucky enough to live near Pied­mont Avenue think that a black and tan should be made with both Toasted Almond and Vanilla ice cream. They’re wrong. 100% Toasted Almond ice cream is the way to go which is how Fenton’s has made it since my grand­mother worked there as a teenager in the orig­inal loca­tion. (Which is now the Post Office on 41st Street.) Our love of Fenton’s has a history.

Unfor­tu­nately (or for­tu­nately ‘cause it makes it that much more of a treat), Fenton’s does not sell it’s ice cream out­side of their stores. If you want their Toasted Almond you have to go there and order a sundae or get a half gallon packed to go. There are other Toasted Almond Ice creams out there, and we rec­om­mend Mitchell’s. You can also go the all Vanilla route. (It’s ice cream. There is really very little that can go wrong with ice cream.)

Add some fudge sauce for the black and some caramel for the tan and you are good to go with a little whipped cream and a cherry. Though I am sure if you ask my daughter it still wouldn’t be as good as it is at lunch with Papa Dave…or the mailing machine.

Black and Tan Sundae According to Amy Read more…

Spinach Cobb Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese, Avocado & Derby Dressing

Cobb SaladSalad Daze

I make no excuses for the fact that I am not a salad kind of chick. It is more accu­rate to say that salads are gen­er­ally not my first choice. I like veg­gies. I like let­tuce. My issues are not flavor driven—they are calorie driven. I don’t want to be hungry twenty min­utes after I eat. I will eat a salad. I just have to have some­thing else to go with it…preferably a double cheeseburger…and some onion rings. (See what I did there? Vegetables!)

If I do make a meal out of just salad, a Cobb Salad is per­fect. You have your let­tuce and toma­toes, a little avo­cado, plus some bacon (always a good idea), add eggs, and so on, and so on. The bonus is that Cobb Salad is not only a family favorite, but a per­fect hot weather Wednesday night dinner. Simply pile every­thing on a platter and serve it up family style. Or, even more fun, do a make your own Cobb Salad Bar. (This is best when I’ve reached my I Lit­er­ally Can’t Even… stage.)

This recipe stopped me in my tracks while skim­ming through a mag­a­zine called Fresh from the Farm in the checkout line. My mind told me that I need to make that. Like, now. Maybe it was one of those right place, right time, right mar­keting strategy things, but I bought the mag­a­zine and this is what’s for dinner tonight.

Spinach Cobb Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese, Avo­cado & Derby Dressing
Adapted from Susie Mid­dleton in
Fresh From the Farm Mag­a­zine pub­lished by Fine Cooking Read more…