Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What to do with a whole case of peaches.....

So last week I picked up my CSA from Bell Organic Farms...

Then I waited around another hour to pick up another box of produce and a huge crate of peaches from Muir Fresh Harvest. Why......because I think I have more time on my hands than I really do and because I must think that my husband and I can eat more than we do!! There are just so many recipes I want to try but not enough days and mostly stomachs...I mean people to eat them. So with this new goal to try to not let things go bad or to waste, I spent this past weekend turning my kitchen into a huge mess. Tonight I'm still cleaning up from this weekend........But it was so worth it!!!

Starting with a huge case of peaches......

Vanilla Peach Bourbon Jam 
*adapted slightly 
from Beantown Baker
- Makes about 18 4-oz jars or 7 8-oz jars
Before you begin this recipe either wash jars in the dishwasher on the extra hot water cycle, leaving them on dry until you need them for your jam. This sterilizes the jar and lengthens the shelf life of your jam. 

1 package low sugar pectin 
3.5 pounds peaches (about 9 med. sized peaches)
3 cups sugar 
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 vanilla bean, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (use 1 whole vanilla bean, cut in 1/2 lengthwise and cut into 1 inch pieces)
1/4 cup bourbon (Makers Mark, of course)
1 teaspoon almond extract

Blanch the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds, then submerse in an ice-bath, remove from water and slip off the skins. Chop the peaches into 1/4 inch dice, removing the pits.

Put the peaches, sugar, lime juice, and vanilla bean into a large non-reactive pot (stainless is good). Mash the peaches with a potato masher, until they are your desired consistency. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Over medium-high heat bring the peach mixture to a rolling boil, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Boil for 1 minute, then add the pectin. Bring the jam to a rolling boil once more, stirring constantly, and boil exactly 1 minute.

Remove the jam from heat. Stir in the bourbon and extract, remove vanilla pods, ladle the hot jam into jars, and screw on the lids. Then set the jars on a rack in a large pot of boiling water--the water should be 1 inch above the jar tops. 

Bring the water to a gentle boil and boil the jars for 10 minutes. Then remove the jars from the hot water and set aside to cool.

When the jam is cold, check the seals on the jars by pressing on the centers of the lids. If the lids do not spring back, they are vacuum sealed and the jam can be stored at room temperature. If the lid flexes, there is no seal, so store the jar in the freezer or refrigerator instead.

Another Peachy idea......

Amaretto Vanilla Peach 
Crumb Bars

*adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Makes: 24 bars

For the Dough:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold

1 egg, lightly beaten

For the Filling:

5 cups diced or sliced peaches (about 7 peaches) 

1 vanilla bean pod (scraped)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Amaretto
½ cup all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

2. For the Dough: In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Use a pastry blender (or two butter knives) to cut in the butter, and then the egg. The dough will be crumbly. Pat half of the dough into the prepared pan. Place the pan and the remainder of the dough in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

3. For the Filling: Place the diced (or sliced) peaches in a large bowl, add amaretto and sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix gently. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour over the peaches and mix gently.
4. Spread the peach mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble the remaining dough over the peach layer.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Well, that's all for now....I have to go do more dishes.....

Oh, and I still have like nine peaches left so they'll probably be one more peach recipe coming, or a bunch of smoothies in my near future.

I loved making the jam and forgot how fun it is to make your own. 

Question of the day:  Do any of you can or have favorite jam/canning recipes?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Smoky Baby Portobello Mushroom Sliders: Trust me, you won't miss the meat!

ENJOY THIS ONE: (I had to write my text after the recipe so keep scrolling!)


Ingredient List
Serves 4
  • 8 baby portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 2 Tbs. Classic BBQ Rub (Recipe below)
  • 2 medium yellow or white onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. herbs de Provence
  • 1/2 cup prepared barbecue sauce (I used Bourbon BBQ)
  • 2 oz. shredded smoked Gouda (3/4 cup)
  • 8 mini rolls or dinner rolls


1. Toss mushrooms in bowl with 1 Tbs. olive oil and Classic BBQ Rub. Set aside.
2. Heat remaining 2 Tbs. oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and herbs de Provence, and cook 30 minutes, or until golden, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.
3. Heat grill or grill topper over medium-high heat. Rub grate or grill topper with vegetable oil. Place mushrooms stem-side down on grill. Brush mushroom tops with barbecue sauce, and grill 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft and charred around the edges. Flip, and grill 3 minutes more. Divide cheese among mushrooms, placing in center of each stem side. Grill 1 minute more, or until cheese is melted.
4. Meanwhile, warm buns on grill. Spread barbecue sauce on bottom buns, then top each with 1 mushroom, sautéed onions, and top bun.

Nutritional Information

Per serving (2 sliders): Calories: 355, Protein: 10g, Total fat: 17g, Saturated fat: 5g, Carbs: 43g, Cholesterol: 34mg, Sodium: 1mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 16g

Classic BBQ Rub

This basic spice blend can be added to marinades or sprinkled directly on grilled vegetables. The recipe makes enough for about four uses as a rub, marinade, or sprinkle. Store in an airtight container for use all through the summer.
Ingredient List
Makes 3/4 cup
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 3 Tbs. ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbs. kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper


Combine all ingredients in small airtight container. Shake well to blend. Store in refrigerator. 

Okay, so it's Sunday night again and I should be doing laundry and cleaning but instead I spent most of the day in the kitchen! I made some really tasty recipes trying to use up a lot of the produce I got from the CSA. I stopped at Costco yesterday and bought a big expensive bag of pine nuts which I never buy but thought it would be a nice treat. I made some fresh pesto, homemade granola bars, amaretto peach crumble bars, vanilla peach bourbon jam, and a 15 clove garlic pesto!!! Yes, I know I'm crazy! I made a huge mess of the kitchen but loved every minute of it! I'll post some of these great recipes later this I'm going to start a new weekly posting of TILT (Things I'm Loving Thursdays). Stay tuned....

For now, enjoy this recipe from Vegetarian Times Magazine for Smoky Portobello Mushrooms Sliders. These were extremely delicious and extremely messy but when something tastes this good it doesn't really matter if it's messy right! Just have some extra napkins ready! The mushrooms with the BBQ rub are so juicy and flavorful, I really don't think you'll miss the meat. Plus, how can you go wrong with caramelized onions seasoned with herbs de Provence. You can use any small dinner rolls for the buns. I found some whole wheat slider buns at Whole Foods that worked pretty well. 

I'll try to post some more recipes tomorrow. I cook so much more than I blog! I need to get faster at uploading my pictures and writing these posts. My husband and I finished Season 3 of True Blood tonight so I think this means I'll have more time in the evenings to do some posts! That show was is so addicting! Good thing we don't have HBO because now we have to wait until Season 4 comes out on DVD! 

Ciao for now! 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Swiss Chard Two Ways

 Happy Sunday! Another week has gone by again and I didn't do a blog update last week at all because I have a new addiction..... My husband and I have been hooked on watching HBO's True Blood! I watched the pilot episode on my long flight back from Paris and made my husband re-watch it once I got home. We borrowed the first season on DVD from my co-worker Jo and have been making daily trips to Blockbuster to rent the $.99 DVD's of Season 2. We just got disc one of Season 3 for tonight!

Anyways, aside from the small TV detour, I am excited because I was able to sign up for a mid-season summer CSA from a local farm! The last two years I have been getting a CSA produce box that usually starts in June. However, since I was out of the country for May and June, I was bummed that I missed the deadline to sign-up. Have no fear, someone at Bell Organic Farms had a good idea for people like me! I picked up my mid-season box last Tuesday and was happy with the all organic selection: Swiss chard, cucumbers, tomatoes, garlic, and peppers. There was not as much produce as my last CSA but that's good because last year I had a hard time using everything up before things went bad. My goal for the next 9 weeks is to use up all of the produce before it starts heading to veggie heaven!

So starting with a huge bag of Swiss chard.....

Pasta with Swiss Chard
*adapted from 365 Vegetarian Meals
*makes 4 servings

1 box penne pasta
6 ounces Swiss chard or spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup light ricotta cheese
6 tablespoons fat-free milk
4 tablespoons snipped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dash of ground nutmeg
1 medium tomato, chopped
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese


1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and return to hot saucepan to keep warm.

2. Meanwhile, cut and and save center ribs (for the other recipe!) from Swiss chard. Coarsely chop       greens and set aside. 

3. In a large nonstick skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 15 seconds. Add Swiss chard and cook over medium-low heat about 3 minutes or until greens are wilted and tender; stir frequently. Stir in ricotta cheese, milk, basil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook and stir for 3-5 minutes or until heated through. 

4. Add the ricotta mixture and tomato to cooked pasta and toss gently. Divide into four bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. 

Breakfast Burrito with Swiss Chard Stems

7 small yellow potatoes
6 eggs
1 cup Swiss chard stems 
2-3 gloves of garlic
1 cup Cheddar cheese
Butter, butter substitute, or olive oil
4 whole wheat tortillas

1. Boil potatoes in large saucepan of water until tender. Remove from heat, drain and set aside. 

2. Meanwhile, add butter to nonstick skillet and melt. Add in Swiss chard stems and saute until tender, 5-10 minutes. Stir in garlic and sausage and let brown for 5 minutes, stirring and breaking up sausage.

3. In another nonstick skillet add oil or butter and add chopped potatoes. Saute until browned about 5-10 minutes. Turn heat to low.

4. Next, add eggs to sausage and scramble until cooked and set. Add sauteed potatoes to eggs and stir gently.

5. Heat tortillas in the former potato skillet on low heat until slightly browned.

6. Divide mixture up between the tortillas add 1/4 cup cheese to each burrito and roll to close. Add salsa to taste!!

Remember that cool KODAK GALLERY photo book I talked about in my last post??

This fun package arrived at my door last week....

A fancy black envelope held....

My photo book: A Foodie in France  !!!!

It turned out so cool!

All the beautiful food pics I took on tour!

Such an easy and fast way to keep memories alive!

You still have time to make your own photo book at KODAK GALLERY and get 40% off of your book! The coupon code expires on August 31. So get your photos organized and make a book for yourself today!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Meatless Monday: Arugula Pesto and Kodak Gallery!

It's Monday again and since I'm loving the Meatless Monday campaign sweeping the nation, here is a recipe that is one of my favorites for pesto. It's a recipe from one of my three Giada De Laurentiis cookbooks! The secret ingredient is a jalapeno pepper. Mixed with spicy arugula it's a mouthwatering treat!

Spicy Pesto

*adapted from Food Network 
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 (2-inch long) green jalapeno pepper, stemmed, coarsely chopped and seeded
  • 2 cups grated (4 ounces) Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces baby spinach
  • 3 ounces arugula
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded


For the pesto: In a food processor, combine the walnuts, garlic, jalapeno, cheese, salt and pepper. Process until the mixture is smooth. Add the spinach and arugula and process until blended. With the machine running, gradually add the olive oil.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. Place the cooked pasta and pesto in a large serving bowl. Toss well and thin out the sauce with a little pasta water, if needed.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with cheese and serve.

On another note I have some exciting news! As part of being part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with KODAK Gallery, I was recently selected to make a Quickstart Photo Book using some new Photo Book features on their site. These new features allow you to play around with the layout of your page and pictures by letting you quickly resize, move, rotate, and overlay photo images and text!

 I love to scrapbook but rarely find the time to actually get everything organized. However, with photo books you can quickly get organized and make a great lasting memento of a fun trip or occasion. I decided to use my millions of pictures from my France tour. However, I took so many photos of the delicious food in France that I though I would base my book on that. So, my photo book A Foodie in France was born. I had great fun putting the pages together and one awesome feature with KODAK Gallery is you can use photos from Facebook! How cool is that!

This is the cover of my photo book: A Foodie in France
The book hasn't arrived in the mail yet but you can bet I'll be checking the mailbox religiously until it does! I'm so excited! I will post some pictures of the final product when it arrives. Until then you can see a preview of the book below. Take a look and then go unleash your creativity by creating your own book!

More exciting news! KODAK has offered to give my readers 40% off a medium hardcover or large photo book of your own through the end of August! Go to until 8/31/11 to redeem this special offer. 

*By creating this post, I received a free photobook with Kodak gallery through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program.


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