Blackberry Basil Jam

Blackberry Jam 3

When Kroger has blackberries on super cheap sale, you buy all of them and figure out what to do later. Here’s what I did …

Blackberry Jam 6

I am mildly obsessed with combining fruit and herbs, so when I decided to make jam I naturally had to think about what herb would go well with it.

Blackberry Jam 4

I was torn between basil and thyme, and don’t think I could have gone wrong either way, but basil turned out to be just perfect.

Blackberry Jam 5

Toast with salted peanut butter and blackberry-basil jam. :::drool:::

I found a good Giada recipe, but cut the sugar down because I enjoy the tartness of blackberries. This jam is perfect with peanut butter, on a cheese platter, with a spoon or on crackers, a la Joey Tribbiani style (:45).

Blackberry Basil Jam 

Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients:

  • 3-6 oz. cartons of fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 oz. basil leaves (or as much or as little as you like)
  • Juice from 1 large orange
  • Juice from 1 medium lemon

Preparation:

Place fresh blackberries in a medium saucepan and turn to medium heat. As the blackberries warm and soften, mash them lightly (and carefully) with a fork. In a food processor, combine the basil, sugar, orange and lemon juices. Blend until smooth. Stir the mixture into the blackberries and bring to a slow boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until the mixture is thick, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat and allow the jam to cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week. Serve on bread, with cheeses, on top of peanut butter, layered in desserts … the opportunities are endless.

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Zucchini Bread with Chocolate Chips

Zucchini bread

The whole food internet world is lamenting over their excess of zucchinis. Every other day I see a post that tells you what to do when you’re fed up with zucchini, or how to control your squash population problem. It’s a serious crisis. Everyone needs to just calm down and take a breather. Stop making ribbons, stuffing, and pureeing. Just get back to the basics and make a damn cake. That’s basically what zucchini bread is anyway. Who gets tired of cake?

Zucchini bread is so welcoming, fragrant and charming; how can I say no when my zuke is just begging to be made it into a bread? This one is not quite as healthy as my last, but it’s still mostly healthy! It’s hard for me to abandon my health-nut nature entirely, so I simply lowered the sugar content by swapping in naturally sweet applesauce in lieu of more sugar, and used whole wheat flour and olive oil. I threw in dark chocolate chips for good measure, without measuring.

Although I studied other recipes in making this one, I’m proud to say this recipe is entirely my own!

One trick I find helpful, that I haven’t seen in other zucchini bread recipes, is to add the salt for the bread directly onto the grated zucchini. This draws out excess moisture.

While the zucchini is draining, get all of your other ingredients ready.

Zucchini Bread 1

Mix all of the wet ingredients.

Zucchini Bread 2

Then mix all of the dry ingredients.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix well. Then distribute between loaf pans, muffins tins, or whatever else you might be using.

Zucchini Bread 4

Zucchini Bread 3

Bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees. It could be more or less time, depending on your oven.

Zucchini Bread with Dark Chocolate Chips

Yield: 2 loaves, or; 1 large loaf and 6 large muffins, or; 24 small muffins 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups grated zucchini (1 large or 2 medium)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (more or less to your liking)
  • Optional: chopped walnuts or pecans

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8×4 inch loaf pans. Or if, like me, you only have 1 loaf pan; grease 1 loaf pan and a muffin tin.

First things first, wash your zucchini and then grate on a box grater into a strainer. I mix the salt with the zucchini at this point, because it helps draw out some of the moisture. Let the zucchini sit and drain for about 10 minutes, then take a thin kitchen towel or cheese cloth and squeeze the excess water out.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Mix in the applesauce, oil, sugar, and vanilla. Then stir in the grated and drained zucchini.

Combine the flour, spices, baking soda, and baking powder. Add in the chocolate chips at this point too so the chips get some flour all up on them and don’t sink to the bottom when they bake.

Stir the dry mix into the wet mixture. Divide the batter into the 2 prepared loaf pans, or into 1 loaf pan and a muffin tin. You can also make ALL muffins if your heart so desires!

Bake loaves for about 50 minutes. It might need more or less time, but at this point test and see if a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Muffins will only take about 20 minutes, but test them the same way to ensure they are done.

Zucchini Bread 2

Zucchini Bread 3

Zucchini bread open

Zucchini bread open 2

Nom nom

Zucchini Bread 5

Peach Crisp

Peach Crisp 2

As was said in James and the Giant Peach: [when cooking with peaches], “marvelous things will happen!”

I love Ree Drummond. She has some pretty great recipes and this Peach Crisp is one of my absolute favorites. It’s silly how easy this crisp is to make and even sillier how delicious it is. Ladle some hot peach crisp into a bowl, pour the cold maple cream sauce over top and then ask someone to pinch you because you’ll be seriously concerned that you’re dreaming. Then maybe take a straight shot of the cream sauce and call it a day.

Peach Crisp with Maple Cream Sauce

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman 

Ingredients:

  • 5 to 6 whole fresh peaches from Eckerts!
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 whole lemon
  • 7 tbsp real maple syrup, divided
  • 1-1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp light corn syrup

Preparation:

In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, light brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt using a fork or pastry cutter. Cut butter into small pieces and gradually add to flour mixture until evenly mixed.

Peel peaches into a bowl. Add the zest from half a lemon. Squeeze juice from lemon half and stir in with peaches and zest. Add 2 tablespoons real maple syrup to peaches, stir well.

Pour peach mixture into a small pan (8” or 9” square) and cover evenly with crumb topping. Cover with foil and bake at 350ºF for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until crisp and brown on top.

Maple Cream Sauce:

Pour whipping cream into a saucepan. Add 5 tablespoons real maple syrup, 3 tablespoons corn syrup and stir over moderate heat until thickened and reduced by about one-third, approximately 15 minutes. Refrigerate mixture until it is cold and thick, or set the saucepan into a small bowl of ice (the ice will melt and turn into ice water). Stirring your mixture, it will cool and thicken in about 15 minutes. Drizzle sauce over peach crisp. Serve warm.

Peach Crisp 3

I savored this crisp with my family over several cups of lovely Teavana Earl Grey Vanilla Creme tea 🙂

Earl Grey Vanilla Creme Tea

 

Oh, aaaand I may have Snapchatted the crisp bubbling …

gifboom peach

 

Zucchini Bread

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Zucchini’s are a staple of summer. I love them in all kinds of ways, but one of my absolute favorites has to be baked inside of a healthy bread.

This recipe was adapted from one I found via Whole Foods, but I made it even better by swapping in honey for sugar, and olive oil for canola oil. I also had some pure pumpkin puree leftover from the scones I shared with you in my last post, so I used that instead of yogurt. This bread is dense but healthy and delicious. It’s a totally guilt-free breakfast, snack, or dessert. This bread is not very sweet, so it’s good with jam or honey on top. If you would like a sweeter version, you can click on the Whole Foods link below for a recipe with sugar in it.

Zucchini Bread

Recipe adapted from Whole Foods

Ingredients:

  • Natural cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt (or pumpkin puree)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup honey (to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch loaf pan with natural cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, oil, applesauce, yogurt/pumpkin puree, honey, and vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir until well combined. Fold in zucchini and walnuts then transfer batter to prepared pan and bake until risen, deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.

Note: As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I don’t like to lose the crunchiness of nuts by baking them inside the bread, so I just toasted the walnuts and sprinkled them on top. You can do either or both, if you would prefer!

Cool in pan on rack for 30 minutes then remove bread from pan and continue cooling on rack.

 

Strawberry-Peach Jam

Jam 1

This past weekend I made jam. I love everything about jam: its simplicity, its seasonality, its versatility. Even just saying the word is fun. “Jam,” “jammy,” “jammin.”

Jam can be part of literally any meal – you can top toast or pancakes with it for breakfast, spread it on some fresh, crusty bread for a sandwich, include it as part of a bread and cheese platter, or give ice cream a jammy top hat for dessert. Seriously, is there anything you CAN’T do with jam?

We had some farm-fresh peaches that I wanted to do something special with. Something that would last. So I decided to make jam! Strawberry-Peach Jam, to be specific. I based my jam off of an Ina Garten’s recipe, but did not stick to the amount of fruit (I added more), or cooking time (I cooked longer). It was incredibly delicious dolloped atop a pretzel baguette with goat cheese. :::swoon:::

Strawberry-Peach Jam

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s, “Fresh Strawberry Jam”

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • Lemon, zest and juice
  • 5 fresh peaches, peeled and chopped
  • Quart of strawberries, tops removed and chopped

Preparation:

  • The first thing to do is to get the skin off your peaches. This might seem a daunting task to some, but I’ve learned a handy trick. Bring a pot of water to boil. While waiting for water to boil, fill a bowl with cold water and ice cubes. Drop peaches into boiling water for 30 seconds to a minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into icy water immediately. When you remove them from the ice bath, the skin should practically remove itself!
  • Combine fruit, sugar, and lemon juice and zest into a medium-sized pot.
  • Cook over low heat until sugar dissolves and the fruit releases some of their delicious juices.
  • After cooking for awhile, I used a potato masher to carefully break the fruit down a bit more.
  • Continue to cook, until mixture is bubbling slightly. I let my jam cook for over an hour. It really depends how long it takes to set up.
  • To know when your jam is properly set, you should place a plate in the freezer. Once the jam looks, well, jammy, test its doneness by spooning a small amount onto the cold plate and if the juice gels, it’s done. If it’s still pretty runny, let it cook longer.
  • When done, pour into jars and consume as soon as possible without burning your mouth. Note: I did not follow my own advice.
  • I did not properly can my jars, because I knew the jam would be eaten within a couple of weeks, but if you would like to do so, the freezer canning method, or traditional canning method would both work (see link above).

Jam 3 Jam 6