Fig Jam

September 1st, 2017

Figs

It is fig season.  When figs are ripe they must be used quickly as they do not have a long shelf life after picking.  One of my neighbors here in Lake Lure has a fig tree and she generously shares with several people.  I am glad to be one of them.  Last year I made a Fig and Almond Cake and a Fig and Goat’s Cheese Tart.  This year I had little time so I decided to turn my bounty into fig jam.  It couldn’t be easier.

Figs in pot

It is just a matter of chopping up the washed figs and adding them to a pot with sugar and lemon juice and cooking until thickened.  Stir occasionally while you are occupied elsewhere.  Jam making is such a virtuous pursuit.

Figs in Jars

Looking at the jewel-like contents of the jars makes me feel like I have accomplished something worthwhile.

Orange, Date, and Pecan Muffins

To thank Donna for all of the figs, I made her these Orange, Date, and Pecan Muffins from Jamie Schler’s new cookbook Orange Appeal. The orange flavor is intense in these muffins due to the addition of puréed orange pulp. I am enjoying all of Jamie’s recipes so much.  Orange Appeal is a worthy addition to your culinary collection.

FIG JAM

2 pounds of figs, stemmed and cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup water

Place the figs and sugar in a large pot.  Stir and let sit for about 15 minutes until sugar is dissolved.  Add lemon juice and water and bring to a boil while stirring to combine.

Turn burner to medium heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 20 to 25 minutes until fruit is soft and the sauce has thickened.

Place jam in sterilized canning jars with lids.  Jam will keep in the refrigerator for at least 3 months.

Printable Recipe

Sugared Rosemary-Lemon Scones – {the} Lost Kitchen

May 11th, 2017

Sugared Lemon Rosemary Scones

These are not ordinary scones.  First of all the flavor; lots of lemon flavor from grated lemon zest and a subtle undertone of finely chopped rosemary.  The texture is both crumbly and crisp.  Secondly the method of preparation; the dough is rolled into a long log, stored in the refrigerator and sliced and baked when you are ready.  This is perfect to have on hand for fresh scones for breakfast without the prep and clean-up.

Sugared Lemon Rosemary Scones

The recipe came from a source new to me.  There is a small 40 seat restaurant in Freedom, Maine named {the} Lost Kitchen run by an intrepid strong woman named Erin French.  She had previously run a Secret Supper Club from her apartment.  These “pop-up” dining places have become popular.  Witness the seasonal pop-up that Mimi Thorisson established in her rural home in France.  Erin’s Pop-up restaurant and cooking garnered such enthusiasm that she eventually opened a restaurant in Belfast, Maine.  But after two years and much soul searching, plus a divorce, she eventually lost the restaurant.  Erin worked her way back, first by outfitting an Airstream trailer for cooking (bought in my neighborhood of Bat Cave by the way), and then by finding an old mill that she turned into a restaurant in her hometown of Freedom, Maine.

The Lost Kitchen

I would love to eat there some day.  The restaurant is opened from May 1st until New Years Eve.  Reservations open on April 1st of each year.  This year on April 1st the phone rang so often that 10,000 people called for reservations. Needless to say, the staff was overwhelmed and the waiting list is long for a 40 seat establishment.  You can hear Erin’s story in this  James Beard Award Winning Video.

 

Sugared Lemon Rosemary Scones

All I can say about Erin’s recipe for scones is that I will be making them again and using her idea of forming a log from the dough so that I can bake them in my own time.  The flavor of these scones is amazing, but be sure to use lots of lemon zest.  I tried to hide them so I could keep them to myself, but David was not to be outdone. Even though bread is not in his diet, he managed to eat several.  They are delicious. Just imagine how many combinations you can come up with. I am planning another batch. Erin French is my new hero.  If I were younger I would want to be her.  I wish her the best.Lost Kitchen You will not be sorry to own this beautiful cookbook.  Buy it on Amazon.

SUGARED ROSEMARY-LEMON SCONES ( Erin French from Food & Wine Magazine )

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon ( Use a large lemon or two small ones)
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

    1. In a food processor, pulse the flour with the 1/3 cup of sugar, the rosemary, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with some pea-size pieces of butter still visible. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the 3/4 cup of cream until a shaggy dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead just until it comes together. Gently roll the dough into a 14-inch log, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees; and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the log into 8 rounds and transfer to the baking sheet. I sliced them into 10 rounds.  Brush the scones with cream and sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until the scones are golden. Let cool slightly before serving.

Printable Recipe

Two Pumpkin Breads; Savory and Sweet

October 28th, 2016

Savory and Sweet Pumpkin Bread

We spent last weekend with good friends in Richlands, Virginia.  The occasion was an Apple Butter Festival to raise money for service dogs for wounded warriors.  Our friends Barbara and Jim are totally committed to their community and serving others.  Barbara’s insurance company hosts a fundraiser every year to make a difference.

Apple Butter

Apple butter is a highly concentrated  form of apple sauce. Making apple butter requires a whole day of stirring huge pots of bubbling apples over a wood fire.  All of the people attending the festival take their turns at stirring.  It was a cold blustery day but everyone had a good time.

Trust Point Insurance Apple Butter

This is John Marco, Barbara’s son and one of the officers of the company.  It is also his land and his brainchild.  Great job John Marco!

Apple Cider 2

Not only did this caring community make apple butter, but they also made apple cider.  When heated,we all grabbed cups of this warming brew.  Our lunch was pork barbecue and sides.  The pork was started the night before the event over glowing coals while the volunteers were still peeling apples for the cider and apple butter.  A community coming together for a worthy cause is a beautiful thing.

Pumpkin-Parmesan Bread

My pictures are not the best because I only had my phone.  But Barbara made this beautiful savory pumpkin bread as a side for our dinner after the festival.  It was slightly sweet but had a savory taste of Parmesan and sage.  It is something I would make again.

Pumpkin Streusal Bread

Our friend Jackie made this sweet Streusel Pumpkin Bread.  We served it the next morning for breakfast. It is another winner as far as I am concerned.  Friends coming together with food and outreach makes everyone feel good.

PUMPKIN-PARMESAN BREAD

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon pepper
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cup canola oil
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup chopped sage (Barbara used less)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray 2 (8″x4″) loaf pans with baking spray with flour.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, ginger and pepper.  Add eggs and oil, beating well.  Stir in pumpkin, 3/4 cup Parmesan and sage.  Divide batter between prepared pans; Sprinkle tops with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.

Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Barbara’s took 55 minutes.

PRALINE PUMPKIN DATE BREAD

1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup chopped dates

Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven.  Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans, 8 1/2″x4 1/2″x2 1/2″ or 1 loaf pan, 9″x 5″x 3″, with shortening.  Make Praline Topping; set aside.

Mix sugar, oil, vanilla, eggs and pumpkin in large bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients except dates until well blended.  Stir in dates.  Pour batter into pans.  Sprinkle with topping.

Bake 8-inch loaves 50 to 60 minutes, 9-inch 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes.  Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans to wire rack.  Cool completely, about 1 hour, before slicing.

PRALINE TOPPING

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon butter, softened

Mix all ingredients until crumbly.

Printable Recipe Pumpkin-Parmesan Bread

Printable recipe Praline Pumpkin Date Bread

Tomato Gravy and Biscuits

September 12th, 2016

Tomato Gravy 4

We had the family here over the Labor Day Weekend.  It was a marathon of good food, excellent wine, swimming, boating and games.  There is a special vibe to a multi-generational get together.  The grandparents, grown kids and the littles all contribute to the fun.  And all day long someone was always hungry!  The cookie container was emptied by the third day.

One morning David made this tomato gravy to go with our biscuits.  Of course we all love sausage gravy with biscuits, but this tomato gravy is also a winner.

Tomato Gravy 2V

The recipe came from my friend Barbara who lives in Virginia.  It  has been in her family for years and relies on the home canned tomatoes that her family puts by every year.  If you don’t have home canned tomatoes you can use whole canned tomatoes from the supermarket.

Tomato Gravy 3

Everyone loved the combination.  One of the Grands came back for seconds and thirds.  David made the tomato gravy.  I cheated and used frozen biscuits and fried up some sausage patties to go with everything.

Cassoulet Kit

As a hostess gift, I was given this fabulous D’artagnan Cassoulet Kit.  We enjoyed the wonderful duck confit and sausage casserole one evening on the porch.  It is beginning to cool down in the evenings so this was a perfect meal that was not too difficult to assemble.

This tomato gravy recipe is written in Barbara’s own words.  David guessed on some of the amounts.

BARABARA’S TOMATO GRAVY

This is all adjusted to taste and subject to trial and error!

2 28 ounce can of tomatoes – I prefer the ones we can fresh from the garden but the whole peeled tomatoes work just fine.  I would not buy the petite chopped tomatoes but coarsely chop the whole peeled ones.

Add salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of sugar ( D used 1 tablespoon ) to cut down on the acid.  Naturally, I add butter to flavor the gravy.  Adjust to your taste or diet. ( D used 1 tablespoon).

Cook the tomatoes down until about half the liquid is gone.  Mix about a cup of milk and flour ( I cheat and use the wondra flour about 1 to 2 tablespoons) and pour into tomatoes.

Stir until desired consistency and pour over biscuits!

Printable Recipe

Fig and Almond Cake

August 11th, 2016

 

Fig and Almond Cake 1

To continue with the fig bounty, I made this almond and fig cake.  I always keep some almond flour in the freezer for Financiers, those dainty French cakes in the shape of  gold bars.  I love almond flour and this cake has both the flour and almond extract.  I went easy with the extract because I find it very strong.

Fig and Almond Cake 2V

The cake was moist and studded with the halved figs.  It was perfect for an afternoon tea or with coffee for breakfast.  You could sprinkle it with powdered sugar or top it with a dollop of whipped cream.

Fig and Almond Cake 3

Now that all of my figs are gone, I am wishing for more.  I have heard from a local acquaintance who has a fig tree in her yard.  Hopefully she will share!  Talking about you Donna.

FIG AND ALMOND CAKE (Adapted from The New York Times)

4 Tablespoons butter, melted, plus butter for greasing pan
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons Demerara sugar for sprinkling
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
12 to 14 rip figs

Heat oven to 375 degrees F/  Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan or pie pan; set aside.  Put almond flour, 1/4 cup sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and stir to combine.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, melted butter, honey and almond and vanilla extracts.  Add almond mixture and beat for a minute until batter is just mixed.  Pour batter into pan.

Remove stem from each fig and cut in half.  Arrange fig halves cut-side up over the batter.  Sprinkle figs with Demerara sugar and bake for 30 minutes, until golden outside and dry at center when probed with a cake tester.  Cool before serving.

Printable Recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.