Peppery Strawbarb Blossom Jam Toast Topper #69

Strawberry and rhubarb jam has, I believe, become my new favourite flavour of Toast Topper. I’m not an overly sweet person when it comes to fruit (I love tart cherries and raspberries, for example), especially in the summer when it’s a billion degrees out. Luckily, our garden is bursting with rhubarb, which tempers the saccharine nature of the perfect local berries finally making it to market. 

Peppery Strawbarb Blossom Jam

Of course, it is jam we’re talking about, and when I make preserves for holiday gift giving, the sugar does play a certain role in that respect. Most pectin demands sugar to work, and while I’m always playing with low-sugar options like Pomona’s and Ball’s, but sometimes having the convenience of perfectly proportioned ingredients trumps fancy-dancy fine tooling. Since I can a lot of things at a time to conserve energy (water bath canners take forever to heat up!), by jam #4 I’m getting ready to call it a day. Not willing to toss the ingredients into the freezer for another day, thereby admitting defeat, I pulled out one of my fail-safe jamming secrets when time is short – sugar with pectin already added and mixed in. Using the bag of that set up a ton of strawberries and rhubarb, and thanks to the natural thickening properties of rhubarb, the mix gelled more than the directions say it will (meaning less sugar per serving!). 

Since it still seemed a bit too sweet for my taste, and mom loves the combination of strawberries and black pepper, I chopped up a handful of my beautiful, zippy homegrown nasturtium blossoms and tossed them in with a dash of white pepper for interest! The floral peppery-ness really amps up the fresh flavours of the berries, and is definitely something I will continue to do!

Are you a fan of savoury and sweet combinations (like pepper and strawberries)?

Peppery Strawbarb Blossom Jam
Makes 8 cups, 64 2-tbsp servings
600g (~4.2 cups) fresh or frozen whole strawberries, thawed if frozen
2 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/3 cup chopped nasturtium blossoms, plus 8 whole ones
1 full bag (1 kg / 5.218 cups) Redpath’s QuickSet for Jam (or another jelling sugar, around here it’s either Redpath or Lantic)

  1. Combine the berries, rhubarb, water, lemon juice and pepper in a large pot and bring to a simmer.
  2. Cook, mashing berries and rhubarb to a chunky pulp, for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chopped nasturtium blossoms and Quickset and bring to a full boil.
  4. Cook, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes.
  5. Ladle into sterilized jars and top each with a whole nasturtium flower.
  6. Seal and process in a waterbath for 10 minutes.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 69.2
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.2 mg
Total Carbs: 17.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.3 g
Protein: 0.1 g

Blue Raspberry Chia Jam: Toast Topper #68

Sometimes the simplest things are the most delicious. Around here, especially in the height of summer, our table sings with the bounty of both our backyard and the local farms that sell on the market days. It’s a time that flies by way too fast in my opinion, since it seems like only yesterday I was hauling my first load of rhubarb from and planting my tomato seedlings in the garden, and now we’re halfway through July!

Anyways, my latest foray into the farmer’s market netted me with two boxes of wild Ontario blueberries, which (after careful taste testing!) were carefully stashed away from prying fingers. I had picked up a bag of frozen Ontario raspberries the week before, and had been grabbing the occasional handful right out of the freezer after a few hours in the 35C heat in our backyard, and it occurred to me to combine the two fruits in a lightly sweetened, lightning-fast Toast Topper. After all, we had a fresh loaf of Pain au Levain to gild!

Blue-Raspberry Chia Jam

I’m not kidding, either, when I say this recipe is an exercise in simplicity – or frugality. It can be as easily made in the dead of winter with frozen berries as in the height of summer with fresh, and doesn’t contain any added sugar – the minimal boost in sweetness for this batch came from a boiled apple syrup I cooked down from fresh juice and tempered with added lemon juice and zest. To thicken the medley of berries, a dose of chia seeds went to work, making for a spread that is not so stiff that you have to cut through it with a knife (yech!) but thick enough not to run off your bagel in the morning. While the mixture is less alien today than a year or two ago when the chia craze first hit, I’ve still yet to find many people (outside of my Home Ec classes!) that have truly tasted it like this. Hopefully this recipe will spark another group of eager eaters!

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays

Blue Raspberry Chia Jam
Makes 2 cups, 16 (2 tbsp) servings
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
3 tbsp Boiled Apple Cider Syrup (I made my own but you can use this too)
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp raw sugar (optional, I didn’t use any)
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp chia seeds

  1. Combine berries, syrup, zest and sugar (if using) in a medium pot and bring to a simmer, mashing the berries slightly. Cook 2 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and chia seeds.
  3. Process in a waterbath for 25 minutes.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 16.8
Total Fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.4 mg
Total Carbs: 3.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.5 g
Protein: 0.4 g

Beerinara for a Father’s Day #SundaySupper

If I had any doubt that Father’s day was coming close, I’d only have to look at the tables, shelves and cubbies of our school classrooms to wipe it away. Just from Home Ec alone, 75 glass jars have floated in and out of the building, filled with everything from candied pretzels to BBQ sauce, flavoured salt and a KFC style chicken coating. The goodies, being made by kids, are of course all “child friendly” and nut-free – things like beer cozies and spiced nuts are pretty much verboten, not to mention a good chunk of our student body’s parentage does not touch a drop of alcohol.

That said, at home, my dad loves a good beer on a hot Summer day, not to mention he (like his daughter!) adores his garlic. Really, it’s a wonder that both of us have hypertension given she sheer amount we consume, but genetics does weird and wonderful things (at least I know I belong to my parents, who both have genetic hypertension!). But I digress. I found a bagful of tomatoes roasted and frozen from last year’s crop when cleaning out the deep freezer a month or so ago and knew I needed to do something with it, as well as some of the zillion tons of zucchini I had shredded and individually frozen for baking but never used. Inspired by The Beeroness, I took a quick trip to the store which netted me a lovely Quebec-made gluten free ale and some fat heads of garlic begging to be roasted. A hint of homemade, salt-free lemon pepper added just the right amount of zip without the extra salinity, and the whole works canned like a dream for enjoyment both now and down the road. In fact, I can’t wait for my July tomatoes to start coming in just so I can try this out with other beers! 

This #SundaySupper is celebrating dads! Does your dad love to cook or would he rather leave that to someone else? What is his favorite recipe he likes to make or have made for him? Is your dad the king of the grill (or not!)? Let’s share stories about dads/father figures and all the delicious foods they loved to eat or make!

Appetizers & Snacks:

Beverage:

Breakfast:

Condiments & Sauces:

Desserts:

Main Dishes:

Side Dishes:

Plus What Dad Really Wants for Father’s Day from Sunday Supper Movement

Sunday Supper Movement
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Beerinara
Makes ~ 9 cups, 36 (1/4 cup) servings
2 large heads of garlic, papery overcoat removed but unpeeled
3 lbs tomatoes (ideally plum or other meaty variety), halved
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
1 large carrot, shredded
3 cups shredded zucchini
12 ounces gluten free ale or IPA
6 oz tomato paste
¼ cup fresh basil, divided
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp salt-free lemon pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Cut a small amount of the tip off the head of the garlic heads to expose the cloves and place on two small pieces of aluminum foil. Fold the foil tightly around the garlic, place on a baking sheet.
  3. Add the tomatoes (cut side down) to the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast the tomatoes and the garlic for 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft. Allow to cool.
  5. Pass tomatoes through a food mill into a bowl, set aside.
  6. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat.
  7. Add the onion and cook until golden.
  8. Stir in the carrot and zucchini (along with any zucchini liquid) and cook until carrots begin to soften.
  9. Add the beer, tomatoes, tomato paste, half the basil, thyme and paprika.
  10. Squeeze in the roasted garlic cloves the cloves into the sauce.
  11. Reduce heat to maintain a low simmer, cover and cook 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the flavours blend.
  12. Stir in remaining basil, salt and lemon pepper.
  13. Using an immersion blender or a food processor, puree until smooth.
  14. Can in a waterbath for 35 minutes

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 27.1
Total Fat: 0.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 108.1 mg
Total Carbs: 4.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.1 g
Protein: 0.9 g

Strawberry Papaya Jam: Toast Topper #67 #thereciperedux

There’s no getting around it – our family loves jam. Whether it’s peach, lime, persimmon or bluebarb, the plethora of Toast Topper I’ve posted (and the even greater number of general condiments) should indicate that we can’t leave a piece of bread (or waffle, or pancake…) undecorated – even filled ones like the Figgy Olive Oil and Sesame Challah – untouched. No, we need a spread to crown our carbs, but by and large we find the standard jars from the store well… standard. You just don’t find flavours like the ones I mentioned at the local grocery store here, and the jams and jellies you do find are often packed with sugar or (in the case of the so-sugar-added ones) artificial sweeteners.

That said, jam doesn’t have to be like that – nor does it need to be a super-complex, multi-pot, 47-jar canning bonanza (though I have nothing against that!). Last post, I mentioned how you needed sugar to activate the pectin in standard recipes, but luckily today there are varieties of pectin requiring less (or no) sugar at all to work, as well as a couple other options like agar, gelatin and, what I partially relied on here, chia seeds. Back last June, I made No-Cook Berry Chia Jam using the incredible gelling properties of the seeds to great effect. This time, I used them as an accessory thickener – a fail-safe, if you will – since the fresh papaya in the jam can sometimes wreak havoc with the jamming process (thanks enzymes!). With the extra help, and natural sweetness from the tropical fruit, it turns out that cooking up a healthy and delicious Toast Topper with fresh fruit and coconut water is not only easy, but fast – and you won’t miss the refined sugar either – promise!

This Recipe Redux has out gang whipping up no-brainer dishes with “7 or fewer” ingredients in honour of tax season. As a lover of spice (and flour) medleys, it was tough, but yummy experimenting!

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Strawberry Papaya Jam
Makes ~2 cups, 16 (2 tbsp) servings
7 oz chopped strawberries
7 oz chopped papaya
⅓ cup coconut water
½ tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp Ball® RealFruit™ Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin
¼ cup coconut sugar (or granulated sugar)
3 tbsp chia seeds

  1. In a pot, mash together the strawberries, papaya, coconut water, lime juice and pectin.
  2. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.
  3. Add the sugar and chia seeds and return mixture to a full rolling boil.
  4. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and pour into jars.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 28.4
Total Fat: 0.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 4.8 mg
Total Carbs: 5.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.5 g
Protein: 0.7 g

Black Currant and Wine Jelly Toast Topper #66

I’ll admit that when it comes to making jam and jelly, I’m a slave to added pectin. I know there are times when I don’t need it (Backyard Grape Jam, for instance) thanks to the natural pectin in the fruit, and if I’m making a full-sugar preserve as written (like this Blood Orange and Cranberry Marmalade) I will abstain.

The problem for me is that to activate the pectin, you need sugar. And a lot of it. Since the whole point of me making jam at home (well, one of the points) is to make a healthier Toast Topper for the pantry, adding a bucket of sugar to a recipe doesn’t really compute. That said, I’m always learning! I’ve discovered agar and gelatin do a bang-up gelling job, and recently I discovered a technique in Miyoko Schinner’s book The Homemade Vegan Pantry that relies on the power of both reduction and arrowroot starch to solidify the spread.

Black Currant and Primitivo Wine Jam

Now, this isn’t a “jelly-like” condiment like what you’d normally find on the shelf, but a slightly thicker-than-apple butter spread. Regardless of what you call it though, the combination of currant juice and “Doppio Passo” wine reduces to a semi-sweet, mellow, elegantly flavoured syrup, which I added dried currants to for contrasting texture and more of a “jam like” feel.  A bit of sweet blood orange juice helped cut down the need for extra sugar and heightened the fruity notes in both wine and juice. The recipe is still somewhat high in sugar by my standards, but the tartness of the currants and the tannins in the wine need it – you want to enjoy your healthier spread, after all!

While I didn’t can my jelly (it disappeared too fast!) the cookbook says you can waterbath can it. I’m not too sure what the standards are for starch-thickened recipes, so I suggest storing this in the fridge and making small batches as needed!

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays

Black Currant and Wine Jelly
Makes ~3 cups, 48 (1 tbsp) servings
3 fl. oz red wine (I used Doppio Passo Botter Primitivo Salento IGT)
3 cups black currant juice
¼ cup orange juice (I used blood orange juice)
3 tbsp dried currants
¾ cup sugar
3 tbsp arrowroot starch
¼ cup cold water

  1. Cook the wine, juices, currants and sugar over medium heat until reduced by half and syrupy, about 45 minutes.
  2. Whisk together the arrowroot and water and add to the syrupy mixture.
  3. Simmer 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until bubbly and thick.
  4. Pour into jars and refrigerate up to 2 months.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 23.3
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.1 mg
Total Carbs: 5.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
Protein: 0.0 g

Persimmon Ketchup

Have you ever had a persimmon? I’ve occasionally enjoyed, and certainly cooked with, the nutritious fruit, but always with a sweet persuasion. I personally enjoy the vanilla persimmons, so I guess that’s why the habit (and my perception of what “fruit” should be) evolved. I knew they were delicious fresh or dried, but when I was flipping through the LCBO magazine over the holidays I came across a new twist – persimmon ketchup!

Now, I’m not a huge ketchup eater anyways, but I do have a sister who “puts ketchup on her ketchup”, so to speak. I wanted to see if this version of the condiment, made with the persimmons and pumpkin puree, would taste of anything close to Heinz – or if it was the name given to the sauce consistency (like mushroom, beet/carrot or banana ketchup. After tasting it warm right from the pot, I definitely detected a hint of fruitiness, but once it cooled down and sat overnight in the fridge it became a relatively convincing (tomato) ketchup clone – the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, tangy and thick. While the colour will tip off anyone (unless you add dye to it), it’s delicious as is – not to mention gluten, egg, dairy, refined sugar and soy free!
 
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Persimmon Ketchup

Persimmon Ketchup
Makes ~3 cups, 48 (1 tbsp) servings
3 very soft ripe Hachiya persimmons, pureed
½ cup pumpkin puree (I roasted my own)
½ tbsp onion powder
1 clove garlic, grated or pressed
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp white pepper
¼ tsp celery seeds
Pinch ground allspice
Pinch ground cloves
2 tbsp raw sugar
2 tbsp cider vinegar

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes or until it mounds on a spoon without dripping.
  3. Spoon into jars and let cool (it will thicken upon cooling).
  4. Refrigerate at least overnight, or for up to 2 weeks. You can also freeze this up to 6 months

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 11.4
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 24.5 mg
Total Carbs: 2.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.5 g
Protein: 0.1 g

Smoky Blender Salsa #SundaySupper

I’ve loved salsa almost as long as I’ve loved super-sour pickles. Regardless of the season or occasion, the combination of tomatoes, onions and spices matches the “party” atmosphere, and goes with any sort of “chip” (from traditional tortilla to pita, black bean and even thick-cut jalapeno-dusted potato). However, the dipping possibilities are more than that – I grew up on baby carrots, cucumber and celery sticks dunked in it as an afternoon snack, and today you’ll almost always be able to find me by the crudites with a smuggled jar of spicy, chunky, garlicky goodness instead of the go-to ranch or French onion dip on offer.

Smoky Blender SalsaMore than a dip, a good salsa has recipe building potential too. I’ve blended this rendition into a can of low-sodium black beans, black eyed peas or cooked lentils for an impromptu burrito filling, scooped it into chicken and rice soup, mixed it with Wild Pecan rice and roasted cauliflower for a quick dinner and even plopped a dollop into colcannon (weird, yes, but SO GOOD). To me, it’s definitely one of those perfect meal-makers, and with “big game” (and award show) watching season upon us why not take the opportunity to make your own “vintage” to keep on hand?

Obviously, making your own has nutritional advantages too – this recipe needs no preservatives or oil, has no sugar added and is made with wholesome, simple ingredients. Watching your salt intake? Use a no salt added variety of roasted canned tomatoes (or roast your own at home) and a dash of liquid smoke in place of the regular canned tomatoes and smoked salt. Fresh garlic and garlic scapes team up with the onions, chiles and tomatoes for some super flu-fighting and antioxidant goodness too! Since garlic scapes are super-short seasoned (unless you grow your own at home), when I whip this up in the winter, I use two extra garlic cloves instead. The flavour is a little more intense, but for me (and my immune system), there’s never enough garlic!

This week #SundaySupper is bringing you perfect recipes for watching the big game / awards shows as a group – if you can eat it on a paper plate balanced on your lap and/or find it on a buffet-style table at a potluck, it’s fair play! This week’s host is T.R. Crumbley of Gluten Free Crumbley – thanks T.R.!

Appetizers and Sides

Main Dishes

Desserts and Drinks

Sunday Supper Movement 
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Smoky Blender Salsa
Makes ~3 cups, 12 (¼ cup) servings

¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 clove garlic
2 garlic scapes
½ cup minced green onions or Egyptian onion bulbs
1 small yellow or red bell pepper
1 (15 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
¼ tsp chipotle chili powder
¼ tsp ancho chili powder
¼ tsp guajillo chili powder
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp oregano
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
¼ tsp smoked salt
½ tbsp lemon or lime juice

  1. Puree everything in a blender until smooth.
  2. Store in the fridge up to 1 month or freeze up to 1 year.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 16.2
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 155.5 mg
Total Carbs: 3.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 0.6 g