Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bounty in the Willamette Valley

What a glorious Sunday. Scot put together a jambalaya recipe from America's Test Kitchen. He made some alterations; we skipped the clam juice, and added okra. What jambalaya doesn't have okra!? ;) It was a simple and flavorful dish, and in the future we'll add a few more tweaks to kick it up a notch. A good dose of hot sauce on top and a little piece of cornbread on the side... magnifico!

We've been fans of the Test Kitchen since Tivo picked up their show on PBS last summer, and Scot made his first large roast beef on the grill. I've got a few new favorite recipes from them, and through the shows and making new recipes (often of hearty old favorites) I've really expanded my okay cooking skills with simple but effective techniques and a better understanding of kitchen chemistry. (Their baked ziti is heavenly, chicken tagine was simple and delish... I could go on.) Their heavy use of the Dutch oven and one-pot productions is awesome. Thank you, America's Test Kitchen!

And it's strawberry season here! A friend has given us a tub of freezer jam and it was gone in just over a week -- we'd used it as topping on angel food cake for dessert, toast, just about anything we could put it on. So today I got a flat of berries from Neneman Farms on Silverton Road, and made two batches using Mrs. Wage's freezer jam pectin; it only required 1.5 cups of sugar for 4 cups of fruit. The results were flavorful and sweet, without tasting like candy. Freezer jams, with their uncooked fresh fruit bright pop are my favorite. Can't wait for raspberries to come on! There's going to be lots of raspberry chipotle made this year!

We'll finish off the strawberries tomorrow, making a batch of Strawberry Maple Smooch, and on the maple angle we found a maple walnut topping we're going to try too. Small batches canned; if they are good we can make more.

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