Tag Archive | Garden strawberry

Hydroponic Adventure: Day 7

SONY DSCWhat a wonderful snowy Monday!  We’re at the tail end of a winter storm warning, and I am snuggled up in front of the fire working on some digital scrapbooking.  My little guy was able to go out and play in the snow and was especially pleased that it was good “packing snow”.  After lunch he ran out to check the mailbox and returned with a gigantic envelope full of seeds I ordered from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds!  Holy moly I ordered a lot of seeds!

Our biggest surprises in the cart today included the discovery of roots growing on one of our rosemary cuttings…

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And the emergence of our first pepper plant!  Welcome to the party, Pepper!

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The rest of the seedlings as well as the cuttings still seem to be doing wonderfully.

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The first spindly looking plant is a leek.  Several of the leeks I planted have sprouted, including one I accidentally put in with the thyme.  Oops!  I may try to transplant him when he get a wee bit bigger.

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We filled the last four stations with some of the seeds that arrived today: Outredious Lettuce, Extra Dwarf Pak Choy, Mustard Habanero, and Albino Bullnose Pepper.  Here my little guy is planting the bullnose pepper seeds.  Such a good little helper!

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Couldn’t resist adding this photo.

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Or this one!

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Our first true leaves are forming on the lettuces.  This is the buttercrunch.

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And our baby romaine.

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Here’s our updated seed map.  (I feel like hanging a “No Vacancy” sign on the front of the cart!)

Cart Grid

There’s still no sign of the chives, spinach, nasturtium, parsley, or cilantro or some of the other seed stations whose “siblings” (sorry, not sure what else to call them) have already sprouted.  But I have no doubt that more are on their way up.  Now that I have my summer garden seeds, I plan to begin transplanting some of the current seedlings when they get just a bit bigger and stronger.  I hope to start the majority of my transplants in the cart.  It should be interesting to see how this makes a difference in my summer garden.

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Lime Baby Bundts With Strawberry Jalapeno Jam and Lime Buttercream Frosting

SONY DSCI am on a baby bundt baking roll!  I had an idea for a flavor combination that I couldn’t get out of my head, and although this recipe won’t make it to my parent’s 50th anniversary party, I think it might be a winner!  I need to make some minor tweaks to the recipe, but I really thought all the flavors worked together.  I think I will probably pursue a regular strawberry cake recipe for the party because my mom adores strawberries, but I can tell you I did not acquire my love for all things spicy from her.  Even though the jam really doesn’t have any heat to it (at least not that I can tell, though my heat seeking taste sensors might be dulled due to a lifetime of enjoying the spicier side of life) my dear mother would be less than thrilled to have her beloved strawberries accompanying a pepper in any form.  But alas, with so many jars of strawberry jalapeno jam left on the pantry shelf it is time to start figuring new ways to use it.

I am getting more daring with my creativity and trying to come up with my own cake recipes.  I really want to understand the science behind baking a bit more than I do.  So this recipe, good or bad, is my own.  I did have a couple missteps along the way, but in the end I think I have something I can work with.  I doubt I will get to play around much with this recipe for the foreseeable future as I need to solidify the dessert plan for my parent’s party, but hopefully I can try again and report back before too long (or maybe YOU might like to try my modified recipe and report back to me! 😉 .  I will give you the step-by-step of what I did and then I will finish with what I think the recipe should be next time.

So first I creamed 3/4 cup of unsalted, room temperature butter.

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Next, I added 1 3/4 cups of sugar and creamed the mixture again.

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Then I added 3 room temperature eggs one at a time, blending well between each addition.

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I zested a lime…

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 And I added it to the batter along with 1 tablespoon of lime juice and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

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Then I sifted together 3 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  This is where I think I made one of my missteps.  I think there is a problem with the baking soda and baking powder combinations.  I think next time I will try either 2 teaspoons of baking powder or 2 teaspoons of baking soda. (If you’re a baker and have any thoughts here I’d love to hear them!)

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Next, I mixed in the dry ingredients alternating with 1 1/2 cup of homemade plain Greek yogurt starting and finishing with the dry ingredients.  I think I should have used milk as part of my liquid ingredient here.  Next time I plan to use 1 cup of yogurt and 1/2 cup of milk.

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The batter was a bit too thick when I finished adding all the ingredients, but I went ahead with one batch anyway just to see how they turned out. Here’s what the batter looked like after I mixed in all the ingredients.

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The cakes puffed up pretty quickly.  I am not sure if that is because I overfilled the pan, or if the batter was too thick, or perhaps the baking soda and baking powder had something to do with it.  The also cooked really fast and browned around the edges more quickly that my other cakes have.  I was using my convection oven at 325, but I turned it down to 310 degrees as soon as I noticed the problem.  Here’s what they looked like while baking.

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So to try to remedy the problem with the batter, I decided to add 1/4 cup of milk.  I was pretty nervous that I was going to mess up the rest of the batter, but the first batch just didn’t have the right look or feel to them.  The outside of the cakes were a dry, crumbly texture probably due to the fact that the batter didn’t have enough moisture.  I tried to gently fold in the milk so as not to over mix the batter.

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The next batch of cakes came out much better!  I forgot to take a photo, but you can see the end result from the dressed up cake at the top and bottom of the post.

While the cakes cooled I creamed 1 stick of room temperature butter with 1 tablespoon of key lime juice and 1 tablespoon of milk.

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Then I added 2 cups of powdered sugar and just a touch of neon green food coloring (because I didn’t have any regular green on hand).  I was lax about taking photos at this point.  Sorry.  The frosting was a very pale green which was just the way I wanted it.  The flavor was okay, but I am not sure I loved the key lime juice.  I used it because I had a bottle and I thought key limes were supposed to taste better than regular limes.  I really think I am going to use Lorann lime oil the next time I make this.  I really love using Lorran oils for flavoring when I am making baked goods.  I just find the flavors to be spot on.  This frosting just wasn’t quite “perfect” for me.

Here’s my favorite little kitchen helper getting a peek into the mixing bowl as I worked.  Yes, he was rewarded with a sample… or two.  🙂  (Please don’t mind the pizza sauce on his cheek.  It was leftover from his grilled pizza sandwich he had for lunch.)

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Once the cakes were cool, I used a baby spoon to insert the homemade strawberry jalapeno jam into the cake cavity.  Then I put a little frosting in small zippy, snipped a tiny bit off one corner and piped it on top of the cake.

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So, there you have it.  That’s what I did and now here’s how I plan to make it next time.

Lime Baby Bundt Cakes with Strawberry Jalapeno Jam and Lime Buttercream Frosting (A work in process.)

Cake Ingredients: 
1 cup Greek yogurt, plain
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 Tbs lime zest
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp Lorann lime oil (or 1 tsp lime extract)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Frosting Ingredients:
1 stick of butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp Lorann lime oil (or 1 tsp lime extract)
1-2 tbls milk
2 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat convection oven to 300 (or a regular oven to 325 degrees). Grease and 
flour mini bundt pans or spray with baking spray.

2. In large bowl beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and beat at 
medium speed for about 2-3 minutes.

3. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 

4. Add lime zest and lime oil and mix well.

5. In medium bowl, combine flour and baking soda and baking powder, and salt. Sift. 

6. In a small bowl, combine yogurt and milk until well blended.

7. Gradually add dry ingredients and yogurt/milk mixture to butter mixture, beginning 
and ending with flour mixture.

4. Pour into prepared mini bundt pans, and bake for 13-14 minutes, or until a wooden
pick inserted in center comes clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from 
pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

5. While the cakes are cooling, cream the butter for the frosting. 

6. Mix lime oil, milk and powdered sugar into the butter, adding just enough milk to make 
the frosting light and fluffy.7. When the cakes are completely cool fill each cake cavity with 1 1/2 teaspoons jam and top 
with buttercream frosting.
Enjoy!

Strawberry Jalapeno Jam

Well, the Strawberry-Kiwi Jam I made earlier this summer that was my favorite strawberry jam recipe just got knocked into the #2 position!  It’s the kick the jalapenos give in this Strawberry Jalapeno Jam that gave my #1 strawberry jam recipe the boot to the #2 position.

If you’re wrinkling your nose at the notion of adding jalapeno peppers to strawberry jam then I am guessing you’ve never tried Hot Pepper Jelly.  I had the same reaction the first time I heard people raving about pepper jelly, of all things.  But as soon as that first cream cheese and pepper jelly laden cracker hit my mouth all skepticism melted away and a new pepper jelly convert was born!  So when I recently discovered this recipe for Strawberry Jalapeno Jam I just knew instinctively that I was going to love it.

And love it I do!  I love everything about this recipe!  Not only is the jam delightful and versatile, it’s super simple to make, especially if you have a food processor or mini chopper.  I made two nice sized batches in one afternoon.  The fact that I picked up the strawberries for .99 a pint and the jalapenos were free from my garden was just icing on the cake.  With a yield of 8 half pints, each jar cost less than a buck to make!  Nice!

Along with some basic canning supplies, strawberries, jalapenos, pectin, sugar, and lemon juice are all that is necessary for this recipe.

I washed and hulled the strawberries and then pureed them in the food processor.  B.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l, eh?

Using some disposable kitchen gloves I cut the stems off the jalapenos and whirled them in the food processor until they were finely chopped.  (Don’t work with hot peppers without gloves or you’ll be sorry!  I know, I did it once and boy did I pay.)

Then strawberries, peppers, lemon juice and pectin all went into the pot.

With the heat on high I rapidly brought this mixture up to a simmer and then added the sugar.  I continued cooking this on high, stirring frequently until it reached a boil and continued boiling for one minute.

Here’s what it looked like a full boil.

I skimmed off the foam and then I waited about 5 minutes before ladling the jam into the sterilized jars.  This is supposed to help keep the jam from separating and the larger fruit pieces from floating to the top.

Two batches yielded twice the amount of jam as is pictured here.  I just picked up two more pints of strawberries to make more tonight!

I served this jam at a cooking club meeting with a delicate brie-like cheese and table water crackers.  It was devoured in no time flat and the unanimous consensus was that it was spectacular and perfectly paired with the cheese and crackers.  The only thing I think was missing was a glass of champagne!  A glass of dry champagne seems like the perfect accompaniment to the sweet heat of the jam and the delicate, buttery cheese.  And when the cooler weather arrives I am going to make baked brie in a puffed pastry using this jam.  I believe it will be divine!


Strawberry Jalapeno Jam

Ingredients

 4 cups crushed strawberries

1 cup minced jalapeno peppers

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 (2 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin

7 cups white sugar

8 half pint canning jars with lids and rings

Procedure

1. Place the crushed strawberries, minced jalapeno pepper, lemon juice, and pectin into a large saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Once simmering, stir in the sugar until dissolved, return to a boil, and cook for 1 minute.

2. Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Pack the jam into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Run a knife or a thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids, and screw on rings.

3. Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 10 minutes.

4. Remove the jars from the stockpot and place onto a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart. Allow to cool overnight Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all). Store in a cool, dark area.

 

Strawberry-Kiwi Jam

I am such a sucker for a produce sale.  I eagerly scan the couponing blogs each weekend to see what’s going to be on sale the upcoming week.  I am not so fanatical in the winter, but in the summer I get almost giddy when I see the prices drop on some of my favorite fruits and veggies.

This “sickness” didn’t really begin until I acquired my dehydrator and I learned to water bath can.  Ever since then I look for new uses and recipes for these produce loss leaders.   I buy copious amounts of the sale items and then preserve them for gift-giving and our pantry stash.

Happily strawberries and kiwi, two of my favorite fruits, were on sale this week so I grabbed lots of both.  My plan was to make strawberry jam and dehydrate the kiwis, which not something I had yet tried.  More on that in another post.

I was able to make a batch of strawberry jam as well as a big Mason jar full of dehydrated kiwi (delicious!) and still had plenty of leftover fruit.  I poked around on the Internet and found a recipe for Strawberry-Kiwi Jam that looked interesting.  Since I recently made a batch of candied ginger, I was able to make the Strawberry-Kiwi Jam immediately after finishing the strawberry jam.  More bang for my mess-making buck!

The players in this recipe:

Everything but the sugar went into a large pot to boil.

Once it was at a full rolling boil I added the sugar.

Looking fabulous after returning to a boil.

I processed 7 jars of the gorgeous jam!

The jam is so utterly spectacular that I am not sure any of it will end up in a single gift basket this year.  I still have time to take advantage of the strawberry and kiwi sales so I’ll be certainly making more.  Hopefully my family and friends will miss this one blog post so they aren’t disappointed when neither the first nor the second batch of this incredible jam ends up in their Christmas gift baskets.  Shhhhh…. I won’t tell if you don’t.

Ingredients

    • 3 cups crushed strawberries
    • 3 kiwi fruits, peeled and diced
    • 1 tablespoon minced crystallized ginger
    • 1 (1 3/4 ounce) packages powdered pectin
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 5 cups sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon butter

Directions

  1. Hull the strawberries and crush them one layer at a time (I usually do this with a potato masher in an 8×8 baking dish in about 3 batches.) Peel and dice the kiwi fruits.
  2. Combine the crushed strawberries, diced kiwi, crystallized ginger, powdered pectin and lemon juice in a large stockpot.
  3. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add sugar and butter, stirring until dissolved. Return to a rolling boil and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from heat and ladle the hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps.
  5. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner (adjust for altitude).