About Andrew Stone
Posts by Andrew Stone:
As I write this post there are 13 jars of apricot jam boiling away in water bath. It is the last of many batches of apricot jam (thanks to buckets of fruit gifted by neighbors) that I made this year and it is a very special batch. You see, I learned it was National Tequila Day today and in honor of this day I did what anyone would do and I threw two shots of top shelf tequila in my jam and then 2 more shots of Grand Marnier. Purely on a whim and no recipe in site. Well, no recipe, until now.
What I can tell you about this jam is that it is AMAZING. Seriously amazing. I had no idea how amazing it would be. If you can still get apricots in your area, then you need to try this.
- 6 cups halved and pitted apricots with the skin on
- 4½ cups sugar
- ¾ cup lemon juice
- 2 shots white tequila
- 2 shots Grand Marnier
- Place your apricots in a non reactive, heavy pan or suitable jam pan.
- add the 4½ cups sugar
- Bring the jam to a boil on medium high heat and then reduce the heat to medium and stir for 20-30 minutes to keep from burning.
- Add the two shots of tequila and 2 shots Grand Marnier and stir to combine.
- continue the boil on Medium heat for about 10 more minutes and then add the lemon juice and continue to stir for about 20 more minutes or until your jam passes the drop test on a cold plate.
- When the jam is ready it should fill about 12 sterilized jars, then cap and process them in a boiling water bath using USDA guidelines for your altitude.
Nothing quite signals the start of canning season like strawberry jam. Many may argue that rhubarb is the start, but I typically just freeze it for use later, so it is strawberries for me. To top it off, strawberry jam is easy to make, a great beginner canning project and nothing quite tastes like a jar of homemade strawberry jam. I love always having it available in the larder.
So I wait for that magical sale every year, the one where you can buy a few flats for a few bucks and this year the magical price was $5.88 for four pounds of berries. I left with 16 pounds and the canning commenced.
In the end I finished up with 34 jars of luscious, slightly runny, delicious and RED strawberry jam. Two were gifted and two were immediately eaten.
- 4 lbs strawberries
- 3 cups sugar
- ½cup lemon juice
- Wash and hull the strawberries then halve them and place into a large bowl.
- Pour three cups of sugar over the berries and stir gently to evenly disperse the sugar.
- Allow berries to macerate in the bowl for 2½ hours.
- Place your berries in a large, non reactive metal pot, pour in the lemon juice, and turn heat to medium high.
- Bring your berries to a boil and then lower the heat to medium and stir constantly for 20 minutes, or longer if you want a thicker more gelled jam. I prefer syrupy.
- Ladle the hot jam into sterilized canning jars and cap them for a water bath.
- Place your jars into already boiling water and ensure they are covered by water 1 inch deeper than your jars are tall and boil for 25 minutes, or for however long is recommended for your altitude as determined by the USDA.
So, I had a large amount of blue corn flour in the pantry and I have been procrastinating on using it. It’s just not something you think regularly about using, so I had forgotten about it. Fast forward to today and I found myself thinking about that flour again and then googling blue corn cookie recipes. I saw several variations for chocolate chip cookies and after viewing several I modified the recipes into one that sounded good for me. What I came up with is what you see pictured. Chocolatey goodness with a bit of texture and a definite corny back taste. It marries nicely. So here you go; try the recipe and then let me know in the comments how you liked it!
- Blue Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup butter (room temperature)
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- 1 cup blue cornmeal
- 1 cup white flour, unbleached
- 1⅓ cup chocolate chips (I prefer a minimum 60% cocoa)
- Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
- Line a cookie sheet with a sil-pat or use an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Cream butter and sugar together in a mixer using your flat paddle.
- Add vanilla and egg and mix for about 3 more minutes.
- Add the blue cornmeal and flour and baking powder; mix well for about 2 minutes more.
- Fold in your chocolate chips.
- Roll the dough into balls using about a tabelspoon worth of the doughand flatten slightly onto the cookie sheet.
- Bake 8-10 minutes.
A few weeks ago I came across a great deal on some mustard seed at Williams-Sonoma and just the day before I had been thumbing through Home Made by Yvette Van Boven where she had a recipe for making mustard. So I grabbed the jars and took the seed home to try my hand at making my own mustard.
It was easy, cheap and seriously made me wonder why I had never done it before. In fact I will NEVER buy mustard in the store again! It is expensive and no where near as good as what you can make yourself. You can customize your ingredients any number of ways with vinegar, herbs, spices, beers and whatever else you can dream up. Just remember that whatever you make will need to rest for at least 24 hours before you eat it. Mustard is very bitter for the first few hours after making it and needs this time to rest and mellow it’s flavor.
The first step is to soak your seeds in the vinegar, beer or both. Two hours is good, 24 hours are better.
The seeds should look plump and happy after the beer soak.
Then you throw them into the food processor with all the other ingredients. I didn’t add more liquid, but you can. Just depends on how viscous you want your mustard to be.
Crank up the processor and then stop it occasionally to scrape down the mustard seeds.
When you are done you should have a nice coarse and delicious mustard that will keep for a very long time in the fridge!
- 4 oz mustard seed
- ¾ cup of a beer of your choosing
- ¾ apple cider vinegar
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tbs demerara sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Soak your mustard seed for at least two hours or overnight in the beer and vinegar.
- After soaking add the seeds and liquid (add more liquid later if you want a runnier mustard) along with all the other ingredients to a food processor and run it for about 5 minutes. Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides.
- When you reach your desired consistency move your mustard to storage jars and let it rest at least 24 hours before consuming. For the first 30 minutes to an hour it will be quite bitter.
- You can store your refrigerated mustard for a very long time. Just don't let it dry out.
A month or so ago I came across a book that had a recipe for Salt Cured Peppers. I was intrigued at the idea of an option other than pickling or drying, so I decided to give it a go. The result was amazing! The flavor of the pepper is well preserved along with the heat. In fact, I find it very much like eating them fresh. Well, with a salty bite on the tongue.
The great thing about these peppers is that you can save them a year or more and when you find yourself needing to make a salsa in February or wanting a touch of hot pepper oil you need to only chop them or puree them with the accompanying ingredients to fulfill the needs of your recipe. No more store bought peppers for you!
The process is easy. You need only cut your peppers into 1/2 inch segments, salt them and then cover and refrigerate them for 5 days, stirring them once each day. At the end of five days you bottle them in one or two quart jars and you are on your way.
- 2 pounds fresh hot peppers
- ½ cup salt
- Wash, dry and chop the peppers into ½ inch segments.
- Put them in a ceramic or non reactive bowl and pour the salt over the peppers. Mix the salt throughout the peppers, and let them sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours cover and refrigerate.
- After placing them in the fridge you will need to stir them once each day for 5 days, skim off any scum that may form at the top.
- After 5 days have passed, Pack them in a jar and keep in the fridge for a year or more. Every time you need peppers your supply is at hand.