Strawberry Jam with Balsamic Vinegar and Cracked Pepper

I want to eat more ice cream really really badly but instead I'm going to write a blog post and hope that by the end of the post I've completely forgotten about the delicious stuff sitting in the freezer.
Once I started canning last weekend it was hard to stop.  There is something about having the canner going and everything kind of in gear that makes you think that since it's all started.
There are quite a few reasons for my sugar 'need' at the moment.  First off, I'm trying to quit.  Ok, not quit but slow down.  I just don't like being in a position of need or desperation when it's just a substance like sugar.  Friendship.  Sex.  Champagne.  Those are things that I don't mind 'needing' but sugar... nah.  So I'm cutting back a bit.  Secondly, work has been a bit harried lately.  I'm not going into details because I think talking about work in my blog post is totally boring.  Who wants to hear dumb details about that.  Needless to say, school is back - I'm back - the kids are back - and work is back - and the hustle is back.  Lastly, I'm feeling a little giddy.
When I arrived home from work today there was an email message sitting in my 'inbox'.  It was a request from one of the websites I add my recipes to.  They were requesting the use of one of my recipes as their 'recipe of the day'.  They would post it on their facebook page and on twitter and all that stuff.  I know it's not a big thing but it's a big thing.  It's flattering and all that.  It adds to my feeling of this space being something 'legit'.  I'm not sure what to do with that though 'cause it's not like it's gonna be my job or a huge money maker or anything.  But it's still cool to feel appreciated and 'legit' and to have my stuff in demand.  Right.

So needing to veer dramatically from the sugar thing and all the reasons for my craving, I'll jump rather clumsily back into the canner.  I've been canning outside this year.  Using the burner on my bbq.  It's mostly worked beautifully save for the overfilling that I did once resulting in the whole canner of boiling water and the bbq falling over and spilling all over the back.  So once that sucker is up and running it's best to make the most of it.  I took some of the fruit that I had frozen from fresh out of the freezer and whipped up some quick blackberry/black raspberry jam.  And I made this stuff.  I picked up the strawberries from the farmer's market and learned that apparently there are 'everbearing' strawberries.

I can't wait to taste this jam.  It smelled fantastic when I was making it.  I dipped my finger in a time or two and it was divine but it's supposed to be even more 'divine' if you wait for at least a month to crack it open.  It won't be a problem since I've still got a half dozen jars of jam from last year to finish up.  I'm really excited about this one though.  The addition of balsamic vinegar and cracked peppercorns just intrigued me.  It's definitely a small batch jam so if you're really into it you might want to double it up.  I got three small jars.  But go ahead, smell up your kitchen, sterilize some jars and boil yourself up some water.

Strawberry Jam with Balsamic Vinegar and Cracked Pepper
adapted slightly from 'We Sure Can'

4 cups strawberries, hulled, washed and halved
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice (fresh only)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp cracked pepper

Day 1:
Combine the strawberries and the sugar together in a non-reactive container.  Stir and set in the fridge for about 24 hours.

Day 2:
Sterilize about 3 small jars and seal lids.
Combine the strawberry/sugar mixture with the lemon juice and balsamic vinegar in a heavy bottomed pot.
Heat over medium heat.  once the mixture begins to boil remove the strawberries and continue to let everything boil together.  I let mine boil for about 25 minutes because I didn't want a thick jam.  If you want a thicker jam let the mixture boil a little longer and test for doneness adequately (cold plate test, etc).  After the liquid has boiled down then add in the strawberries again.
Remove from the heat and ad in the little bit of cracked pepper.
Place the lids on the jars and boil in a boiling water bath for about 12 minutes.  Place the sealed jars under a warm cloth for about 12 - 24 hrs.
Stores for up to a year.  Apparently if you wait for at least a month before using then the jam is even more 'divine'.

S'mores Ice Cream

It feels like I haven't been here for a while.
I've missed you.
I'm not offering this as an excuse but only as a means of explanation: Let's just declare this out front - 3 bushels of tomatoes is a hell of a lot of tomatoes for one person to work through.  But it's done.  To be honest, I actually didn't quite do it alone.  D helped a lot when he wasn't out at a gig.  T came over and helped me with the last half of the last bushel as well... which doesn't sound like a lot but somehow feels endless (he went home with a litre of sauce for his trouble and we've already made a date to do it together next year - Hallelujah, I'm saved).  All told, I spent about 20 hours doing my tomatoes.  My tomatoes... for the whole year.  That makes me giddy.  It's like having a baby, after some time passes you kinda forget how much it hurt.  That's what it feels like when you pull out a jar in January.  You remember the good stuff and not the bad.
I spent so long doing the tomatoes that I forgot to eat.  All of a sudden it was 8 o'clock and I hadn't eaten since breakfast.  D had left for a gig.  Kid #1 was at a birthday party and Kid #2 was looking forlorn on the couch.  We took a break and got some pizza for take out because I was not cooking.  I ate almost an entire medium pizza all by myself.  The next day I was still finishing up and almost forgot to bathe.  It's pretty intense, this whole tomato thing and once your in it then you've committed until the end - no matter what.

So I also didn't get to make this ice cream.  I saw it a little while ago and thought that with the marshmallow's left from our cottage trip to Vermont that I could make the ice cream.  Then the kids ate the marshmallow's.  Then I thought that the idea of S'mores ice cream would be even better but I couldn't figure out how to get the graham cracker chocolate thing.  That 'thinking' delay pushed me back into 'Tomato Weekend'.  'Tomato Weekend' pushed the ice cream into a kicking off the school year ice cream.  It's all connected.

Whatever the reason and whatever label you put on it, you really should try this ice cream.  It's much better than I was expecting or hoping for, especially given the crazy weekend it was made after.  It came out smooth and it really did taste like toasted marshmallow's.  AND I think that I managed to solve the graham cracker/chocolate dilemma successfully.  I finished the ice cream so late last night that it was too late for the kids to eat any.  So it became their 'first day of school after school treat'.  I guess that means it became my kick off to fall ice cream.
I hope that you missed me while I was knee deep in tomatoes.  I really do.  I hope that this wonderful awesome recipe will remind you of all the great nights you had around the campfire and maybe it will remind you of me just a little too.

S'mores Ice Cream adapted from 'Clockwork Lemon'

about 30 - 35 big sized marshmallow's (half a 400g bad)
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2  - 2 cups graham crackers, crumbled
8 oz dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicon liner (this is essential).
Place the marshmallow's on the baking sheet side by side and roast for about 20 minutes or until golden brown on the top.
Remove from oven and cool.  If possible, crumble the marshmallow's or break them into smallish pieces.
Combine the egg and egg yolks and beat together until light and frothy.  Set aside.
In a heavy bottomed saucepan heat the sugar over med/low heat for about 1 minutes.  Add the cream and the milk and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Once the mixture is just about at the boil but not quite, turn the heat down.  Take a ladle full of the warm cream and slowly whisk it into the eggs.  Add one more ladle full the same way.  Then pour the egg mixture back into the rest of the cream mixture.  Stir just until the mixture is ready (the wooden spoon test is the one I use - dip the spoon into the mixture, turn the spoon over so that you can run your finger through the back of the spoon.  If the mixture remains apart for a few seconds after you've run your finger along the back then it's ready)  Remove from heat and run through a sieve.  Add the marshmallow pieces and the vanilla.  Stir until the marshmallow bits are almost dissolved and then cover with clingfilm (pressing the clingfilm right onto the top of the custard covering the whole thing) and cool in the fridge for about 3 - 4 hrs or even overnight.
To finish:
Pour the crumbled graham crackers onto a baking sheet and flatten out as much as possible.
Over a double boiler melt the chocolate until it is a pouring consistency.  Pour the chocolate over the graham cracker pieces and then stir to coat.  Set aside to cool and set.
Pour the cream mixture into an ice cream maker and churn until it's the consistency of soft serve ice cream.  Pour in the cooled graham cracker/chocolate mixture and churn just a little more to mix it in.
Pour into some reserved containers and freeze until hard.
Soften for about 10 minutes before serving.

Powered by Blogger.

Archivo del blog

About Me

My photo
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

My Favourite Cookbooks

  • Naparima Girls High School Cookbook
  • The Silver Palate Cookbook
  • More-with-Less Cookbook
  • Moosewood Cookbook

About Me

My Photo
Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
View my complete profile



Blog Archive



FBC Member