Peach Rosemary Jam

There’s no other food that screams summer to me more than peaches. When I bite into a ripe, juicy peach, at once I’m reminded of the things I love about the summer time.

Longer days. Sundresses. Cook outs (pre-covid, anyway). Ice cream at sunset. The taste of grilled meat. Random road trips. Even the heat (to a certain extent.) Peaches all can take me there.

I like to cook and bake with peaches almost as much as I like to eat them, and with this week’s recipe I got to do both.

Making jam sounds like one of those super involved projects that aren’t worth the effort, but it’s not hard, really. The most laborious part of it is prepping the fruit, and then having the patience to let it cook down to the right consistency.

Fruit and herbs is one of my favorite flavor combinations, and the peaches and rosemary make an excellent combination for jam here. I was a little concerned going into it that the rosemary would overpower the peach taste, but it doesn’t. The lemon at the end does the perfect amounting of rounding out the sweet of the peach, the herby flavor of the rosemary with a hint of tartness.

This is good stuff, y’all.

Peach Rosemary Jam

Recipe Courtesy of Fine Cooking

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. yellow peaches, pitted, peeled, and coarsely chopped (about 6 cups)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

Directions

Place the peaches in a large nonreactive skillet. Stir in the sugar and rosemary. Let sit, stirring once or twice, until the sugar begins to dissolve, 5 to 10 minutes.

Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium high, and cook, stirring frequently, until the peaches start to break down, the liquid begins to evaporate, and the mixture begins to thicken, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. If you find that the chunks of fruit are too big for your liking, use a potato masher to help break them down.

Continue to cook until the jam has thickened, 3 to 4 minutes more; it is done when you can pull a spatula through the jam and the space you clear stays open for 2 or 3 seconds. The mixture will continue to thicken as it cools, so make sure to stop a little shy of your desired thickness.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #392.

Ginger Syrup & Candied Ginger

Today’s post is 3 + years overdue.

Several years ago, I made a blog post for a curry-ginger cracker recipe that I REALLY liked, and in that post I made mention of my recently learning at the time how to make something called ginger syrup.

Ginger syrup isn’t readily available in most general grocery stores in the US. Sometimes you can find it in specialty shops like HomeGoods, Marshalls or TJ Maxx, but I had honestly never heard of it until I needed it as an ingredient for a recipe I was trying out, couldn’t find it anywhere and had to learn to make it myself.

Candied ginger I was much more familiar with, and it’s an ingredient that is much more easy to find than ginger syrup. However, depending upon the time of year that you try to buy it in, it has a tendency to be rather pricey. This is where learning how to make it for yourself comes in handy; especially when the ingredients are very inexpensive.

An obvious question to answer here is the why: WHY make your own ginger syrup and candied ginger?

The reasons for making candied ginger aren’t hard to appreciate; unlike the store version, DIY is cheaper, you can control the size of the pieces you make, and there are endless possibilities of ways to incorporate it into other sweet treats (see below at the end of this post)

Ginger in just about any form is a very effective natural anti-inflammatory remedy. There’s a particular ginger soda called Vernors that Midwesterners–specifically those from Michigan– that’s potent enough to where we believe it can cure just about anything.

If you suffer from digestive issues, such as IBS or extreme nausea, I’ve found ginger syrup to be an EXTREMELY powerful and fast remedy–to the point where we now have it on hand at all times the same way you might always have aspirin or TUMS in your medicine cabinet. A spoonful of ginger syrup does wonders for my gut–besides that, it’s absolutely delicious.

One of the best things about this recipe is that it’s actually a 2-in-1. You get a batch of both ginger syrup and candied ginger within about one hour. It’s become a staple in our home, and if you try this recipe out, I think you’ll understand why.

See below for possible recipes with which to used candied ginger that have already been posted on the blog:

Lemon Ginger Sweet Rolls

Ginger Biscotti

Ginger Pound Cake

Chewy Ginger Cookie Bars

Curried Pumpkin and Ginger Scones

Double Ginger Sugar Cookies

Curry & Ginger Crackers

Curried Ginger Scones

Ginger Syrup & Candied Ginger

Recipe By Jess @CookingisMySport

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw, peeled ginger, sliced into coins (about the thickness of a quarter)
  • 2 1/2 cups white sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Directions

Pour the water & 1 1/2 cups of the sugar together in a saucepan and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil.

Add the ginger slices and reduce heat to a low simmer and allow to cook for a further 25-30 minutes, until the ginger is tender and the ends begin to curl. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

Place the remaining cup of sugar in a shallow bowl, pan, or tupperware container.

Take the ginger (which is now candied) out of the pan and using a fork, toss in this additional white sugar. Spread it out on foil, or wax paper for a few hours to dry.

Store in a sealed container in the fridge: you now have crystallized ginger that you can use however you want; MUCH cheaper than buying it in stores.

The liquid left in the saucepan is your ginger syrup. You’ll want to refrigerate this as well.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #390.

Fool-Proof, Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions

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I can eat caramelized onions on and in just about anything. Sandwiches. Salad. Stew. Pizza. On toasted bread. A spoon (Yes. All by themselves and you will not judge me). They’re just that good. They’re such a simple ingredient that can really bump up a dish in a way that other condiments just can’t.

The thing about making caramelized onions is that the process can be both long and tricky. You have to have the time and patience to let the onions cook VERRRRRY low and slow over the stove top in the skillet. You also have to know when and how not to let them cook TOO much so that they scorch and burn.

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I won’t lie, they can be a labor of love that fortunately turns out to be well worth it. But to be sure…it can be a labor and for those that are uncomfortable in the kitchen, making caramelized onions just may not seem worth all the effort.

Until now, that is.

All of us caramelized onion lovers–both those who love to cook and those who don’t–listen up. I’m sharing a recipe today that is about to make all of our lives more easier.

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I decided to see if I could bypass all that extra-ness with hovering over a skillet of onions waiting on them to caramelize,and see if the slow cooker could do the job just as well. I was totally right. It totally could. And now I’m just left kinda wondering how and why I haven’t done this a loooong time ago.

Alright so, look. You can’t mess this recipe up, guys. Seriously. I don’t care how much of a bad/challenged/struggling cook you think you are, look me in my eyes: (ok, so you can’t do that actually , but pay attention closely.)

YOU.CAN’T.MESS.THIS.RECIPE.UP.

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This is the like The Elves and the Shoemaker fairy tale that we’ve all been waiting for. Literally, all you have to do is leave your ingredients out overnight in the slow cooker (the elves in this case), let it do its magic, then wake up in the morning and behold the wonder that it’s left for you to partake in. You sprinkle in some sugar, wait a little bit more and BAM. You’re done.

That’s….it. I’m not kidding. I almost couldn’t believe it myself. But the onions were there, finished. And soooo delicious.

A few notes: my #1 onion onion of choice will always be the sweet Vidalia. However, I do enjoy red onions too and when caramelized they take on their own sharp sweetness that goes great with pizza and sandwiches. White onions…meh. I’m not a fan of their peppery bite, but if that’s what floats your boat, have at it Charlie. I’ve also included an option in the recipe for those that prefer a more vinegary acidic flavor to their onions rather than sweetness. Either way, you’re going to be happy with these results. I guarantee it.

Happy Fiesta Friday #144, co-hosted this week by Margy @ La Petite Casserole and Suzanne @ apuginthekitchen.

Foolproof Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions

Recipe by Jess@CookingIsMySport

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Ingredients

  • 4-5 large sweet yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • About 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons of light brown sugar OR white wine, or balsamic vinegar (This really just depends on whether you want your onions sweet or acidic. It’s up to you.)

 

Directions

Spray the bottom of a 4-5 quart slow cooker with cooking spray.

Spread the onions into the slow cooker. Drizzle in the vegetable oil in between them as you layer them.

Sprinkle with an even layer of salt and pepper.

Stir together to make sure they’re all evenly coated.

Cover and cook on LOW for 10-12 hours. Towards the 8 or 10th hour, remove the lid and stir the onions. Sprinkle the brown sugar (or wine, or vinegar) evenly over them and re-cover, leaving the lid slightly cracked. Let cook for 1-2 more hours, until they’ve reached the dark color/caramelization you prefer.

Serve on sandwiches, salads, soups, etc.

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

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About 8 or 9 months ago, I bought a Ninja blender.

I don’t know about some of you, but for me, it was what I would consider a pretty big financial splurge. I can’t just go around buying up a $170+ ANYTHING, no matter how much I love my kitchen gadgets. However, there was a major discount in the department store on their kitchen appliances so I was tempted. And once I get tempted, things just typically seem to take off from there.

I reasoned to myself that it wasn’t going to be likely that this blender would ever come at this price again, or at least in the near or distant future. I reasoned that if I did actually ‘treat myself’ and buy it then I’d really and finally get into the whole ‘smoothie/shake’ thing and start taking them with me to work to give myself a nice little health boost. I reasoned that the advertisement said that the blender could actually double as a pretty good food processor as well.

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Long story short, I bought it.

And to make the story even shorter I’ll just come right out and admit: the smoothie health kick thing really didn’t work out. I just…I don’t like them. I’m not a fan of drinking much of anything besides water and coffee to be honest and the idea of drinking ‘meals’ just turns off my appetite almost completely. I probably made like, four smoothies before  I called  it quits and used all the fruit I had bought up for that purpose to just bake a pie.

But I still had the blender.

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Well, I wasn’t about to let my Ninja go to waste. I’ve been using it. Just not as a blender. Mainly it just helps me put together my pie crusts more easily and less messily than I did before by hand.

Oh yeah, and they’re not lying about the quality of that blade, guys. It’s very sharp. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious sharp. As my knicked, cut and sliced open fingers can fully attest to.

Recently, I’ve found a new efficient use for my Ninja blender that gives me new hope that just maybe I wasn’t a sucker that day in the department store when I splurged and bought it.

That new hope is Hummus.

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One thing you should all should know about me and hummus: I’m kinda obsessed with it. It’s the universal condiment; I can eat it on anything. And I do mean ANYTHING.

I’m pretty good at practicing portion control with food in general, but let me tell you something: I have little to no portion control when it comes to hummus. Nothing but the realization that if I don’t stop eating it, I will run out and have to buy more will actually make me stop and put it away.

Good thing it’s pretty healthy all things considered, huh?

Grocery store hummus is ridiculously overpriced, so every time I go to a Middle Easter or Lebanese restaurant, I will try their hummus, just to see what their ‘packing’ so to speak. If the joint has more than one flavor of hummus, that’s a pretty good sign so far as I’m concerned. It means that the owners really have their priorities in order. They know what life’s all about. The best hummus I’ve ever had comes from a Middle Eastern deli in my town called Woody’s Oasis, coming in Regular, Spicy and Garlic flavors. I could eat it every single day for  the rest of my life and never, ever get tired of it. My wallet may be lighter though.

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This is where my Ninja came in. I decided to put that baby to good use and try making hummus of my own at home with one of my favorite ingredients: roasted red pepper.

Now for those that don’t have a Ninja, don’t worry about it: I really don’t think that your hummus will suffer because of the secret weapon in my back pocket that is the KEY to super smooth, creamy hummus every time. Want to know what it is?

Water + Baking Soda. Boiling your chickpeas/garbanzo beans in a combination of the two will peel them for you, eliminating those pesky outer skins that oftentimes result in thick, pasty hummus that no one wants. So whatever you do, do not-DO NOT- skip the step of simmering the chickpeas in the water/baking soda. You’ll live to regret it, I promise you.

Now look: my hummus may not be the hummus from Woody’s Oasis, but I gotta tell you all that I was pretty impressed with myself when I took that first bite.

Because it’s still pretty friggin delicious. So much so that I turned right around and made a second batch almost immediately. Remember? I have no sense of control when it comes to this stuff. But it’s chickpeas, so that makes it okay.

Right?

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Recipe Courtesy of Vitamix.com

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Ingredients

To Peel Chickpeas

  • Water
  • A few tsp. of baking soda

For Hummus

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 ounces roasted red pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for serving
  • ½ cup tahini paste
  • 2 ½ Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 3 cups canned chickpeas, drained and peeled
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Smoked paprika, optional

 Directions

1. Pour chickpeas into a pot and submerge with water.

2. Add baking soda and bring to a rolling simmer, over medium high heat. The skins should begin to rise to the top.

3. Using a slotted spoon or spider skimmer, remove the skins from the pot and discard. When the chickpeas are just tender (but not mushy) drain them in a colander, then immediately submerge them in cold water. Use your hands and lightly rub them together; the remaining skins should slide off and either float to the bottom or rise to the top. Discard skins.

4. Place the peeled chickpeas, as well as all the other remaining ingredients into a food processor or blender and process on high until smooth and creamy. Drizzle with olive oil and smoked paprika and serve. 

Cranberry Clementine Sauce

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I’m an introvert.

I’m told that I don’t seem that way online, but it’s the truth. Just cause I’m super open and friendly with you guys doesn’t mean that translates into real life. It doesn’t. I’m actually kinda uncomfortable around strangers and my default reaction is to fall completely silent. You know one of those girls you saw inn public once that you think are ‘stuck up’ because they don’t talk to anyone and have a mean ‘resting face’? Yeah, I’ve probably been that girl you saw once or twice somewhere.

I can’t help it. And frankly, I don’t want to. 9 times out of 10, I’d rather be the person that no one ever hears from because they don’t talk rather than the person that you hear from ALL THE TIME because they just don’t know how to stop talking.

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However, starting tomorrow, all of that is going to change. I’m gonna become the super outgoing girl that always seems to have something to say and kinda sorta maybe doesn’t know how to shut up. At least online. And for the next 12 days.

Know why?

Because tomorrow will mark the start of the 12 Days of Christmas on Cooking is My Sport.

What’s the 12 Days of Christmas, you ask? It’s the series I started last year where I share 12 Christmas-themed recipes of sweet, sugary goodies to commemorate this holiday season. I’m doing it again this year, and have been working my behind off in the kitchen to try and make sure I’ll be on time for each post.

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It’s not an exaggeration, guys. I said “12 Days of Christmas”, and 12 days is what y’all are gonna get. 12 straight days of me, my rambling posts and a crap-load of high sugar cookies, cake, candy and other Christmas treats. Think you can handle it? Cause I’m not so sure.

Actually, I’m not even sure if I can handle it myself. Most of you are bloggers, so you can appreciate how…challenging it’s gonna be to bake, photograph, edit and write up posts for 12 sets of goodies. I’ve already said a prayer and knocked on wood. Hopefully I’ll be successful.

Anyway, this series basically means that for the next 12 days (by blogging standards) I’m gonna be the annoying person that never stops talking, because my goal will be to put a post a day until Christmas Eve.

Hopefully the content of  the posts will make up for me constantly popping up on your blog reader….I kinda think they will.

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Oh, that’s right. You’ve been looking at cranberry sauce for the past several paragraphs. Isn’t it pretty? It’s also friggin delicious. I first made it for our Thanksgiving dinner this year and my grandma announced that it was good enough to eat all by itself on a spoon. I concur.

In fact, I concurred so much, that I went ahead and made a second batch of it soon after (which is what you’re looking at in the pictures). That second batch gave me an idea for the first post in the 12 Days of Christmas series….

Which you guys will have to wait until tomorrow for.

For now, let’s  just sit tight and focus on the cranberry sauce itself. It’s sweet, tart and ‘citrus-y’ all at once. The addition of cinnamon and star anise cuts through both the sweetness and tartness by giving it an earthy, licorrice-y after-taste. The consistency of the sauce is also key here- it’s gotta stay on the spoon all by itself so that you can almost chew it. Anything else just isn’t acceptable.

Right now this is my favorite cranberry sauce- especially when it’s versatile enough to transform into a completely new, delicious recipe.

But like I said: that’ll have to wait til tomorrow.

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Cranberry Clementine Sauce

Recipe Courtesy of Anne Burrell

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Ingredients

  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries
  • 6 clementines, peeled and sectioned
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

 Directions

1. In a small saucepan combine fresh cranberries, clementines, orange and cranberry juices, sugar, cinnamon stick, and star anise.

2. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Add the dried cranberries and simmer for 10 to 15 more minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.

Blackberry Jam

Blackberry Jam1Tagged

Scandalous‘ Day 4

Gladiators! ONE.MORE.DAY.

We are one (just ONE) short day away from the long wait being over and FINALLY being able to get back to our favorite show. I don’t know about you guys, but I can hardly wait until tomorrow night. I know we all have our own ways to #CopewithoutPope, but there’s just nothing like the real thing.

The Olivia-Fitz relationship is undoubtedly one of the most popular aspects of the show, and for me, it is a sort of guilty pleasure. One one hand, I’m in love with Olivia and Fitz as a couple because #1, Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn have MAD chemistry with each other on camera. I have no idea how the two of them can manage to show so much emotion and raw passion within both their dialogue and even in their gazes. They’re both phenomenal actors in that respect. #2, I love the “I just can’t quit you” attitude that they have towards each other. I tend to be cynical about love/relationships/romance in real life, but watching the Olivia-Fitz relationship on Scandal frequently yanks at my more sappy side. The only thing more romantic about a man and woman who are crazy about each other is a man and a woman who are crazy about each other but can’t be together.

And last but certainly not least, #3…He.bought.her.a.HOUSE!

On the other hand, their relationship is something that my moral center just hates. Regardless of how Fitz and Olivia feel about each other, the facts remain: he’s the President  of the United States, and he’s married with 3 kids. Not only that, Mellie has sacrificed WAY too much for Fitz for him to continue to disrespect her in the way that he does with Olivia. Whether he knows the full extent of her sacrifice or not is irrelevant. She’s his wife, and he swore a vow to her. Until that changes, his affair with Olivia is wrong.

So in TV Land, I’m #TeamOlivia all the way. But in real life? I’ve gotta be #TeamMellie.

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The inspiration for this recipe should be obvious to us all. Who can forget the scene between Fitz and Olivia from the episode “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” where they begin to fantasize about what would happen if the stars would align and they would suddenly be able to have their Happily Ever After together:

Fitz: Somewhere, in another life, another reality, we are married and we have four kids, and we live in Vermont, and I’m the mayor–
Olivia: And I make jam.
Fitz: And you make jam. 

Sigh. I just caaaaaaan’t with them *wipes eyes with tissue*

This jam was the first recipe that I knew I wanted to make for the entire Scandal series before I even started. It’s not only ridiculously easy, it’s absolutely delicious as well. I decided to use blackberries because that’s the berry that my family likes best, but feel free to substitute strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or even a mix of all for this recipe. They all will work just fine.

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{Olivia’s Vermont} Blackberry Jam

Recipe Adapted from Ina Garten

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 1/2 pints fresh (or frozen) blackberries

Directions

1. Combine the sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over very low heat for 10 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Add the blackberries and continue to cook over very low heat for 20 minutes, until the blackberries release some of their juices and the mixture boils slowly. Cook until a small amount of the juice gels on a very cold plate.

3. Pour carefully into 2 pint canning jars and either seal or keep refrigerated.

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