June 26, 2016

Strawberry Balsamic Jam

We planted strawberries last year, and we fortunately have plants loaded with fruit this summer. Since I've been a single parent for the week while my husband is gallivanting around Europe for work (I'm sure you can't sense my jealousy), I kept tucking my berries in the fridge with sugar to keep them until I got around to doing something with them. My mother-in-law kindly kept the kiddos for a night, so I could get some things done including making deliciousness out of my berries.

I made a batch of strawberry vanilla jam, which ended up as strawberry vanilla sauce. I'm cool with that. I'd much rather have a jam that doesn't set versus a jam that is like eating glue, if you can scrape it out of the jar. (I've had a few batches like that, so I tend to err on the side of a looser jam). I also tried this jam recipe from Food in Jars.

This is like a grown-up version of strawberry jam, one that would play well with savory foods. It only makes a small batch, so I used mostly 1/4 pint jars for mine. And this one turned out with a perfect consistency.

Strawberry Balsamic Jam
1 1/2 pounds strawberries (about 4 cups chopped berries)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Prepare a boiling water bath canner and 3 half pint jars. Chop the strawberries. Place them in a non-reactive 12 inch skillet, and add the sugar. Stir to combine, and let the berries sit until the sugar looks damp the fruit has started to weep liquid. Place the pan over high heat, and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring regularly, until the berries soften and the liquid bubbles and thickens. It should take between 15 and 20 minutes of cooking.

Towards the end of cooking, stir in the balsamic vinegar. The jam is done when you can pull a spatula through it, and it doesn't rush as quickly to fill the space. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the black pepper.

Funnel the finished jam into the prepared jars leaving a half-inch head space. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process them in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. When the time is up, remove the jars from the canner, and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. Makes 1 1/2 pints.

June 15, 2016

Smores French Toast

This weekend we made French toast based off a video the boys and I watched on Facebook. There's not a precise recipe, but if you've made French toast before, you can make this. After you dip the bread in the egg mixture, dip it into graham cracker crumbs, coating both sides. Cook as normal in a hot skillet. After flipping the French toast to cook the second side, spread a layer of marshmallow fluff on one piece of bread and a layer of melted chocolate on another. Press the two pieces of bread together, and voila, smores French toast!

In case you can't tell, this is incredibly rich for breakfast. You might want to consider it as a dessert. Or consider splitting one French toast between two people. Or eat this and then spend all morning hauling rocks and dirt. (That last option worked well for us.)