The other morning I woke up fully intending to just have some baguette with butter and jam for breakfast. Then I spied the apricots I bought at a farmstand sitting on the counter. My intention was to make preserves with them the night before, only to realize I was running low on sugar. I know, that sounds hard to believe, but all my summer vacationing has left my home pantry in need of restocking.
After an indulgent summer, and a few rounds of fried food between the OC Fair and the fish shacks along Route 6 in Cape Cod, this smoothie is the perfect energy booster. I can’t think of an easier, or tastier way, to get two cups of kale into my body in record time. Frozen blueberries are the trick to keeping this smoothie icy cold without watering it down, which is what plain old ice cubes would do. It does need a little liquid to help puree everything. I used some fresh squeezed OJ in an effort to keep it dairy-free, but you can use yogurt or milk if you want to add a protein punch to it. A spoonful of flaxseeds would be great too; I just didn’t have any in my vacation pantry.
If you want to make a vegan version, just swap in agave nectar for the honey. I’m thinking maple syrup might be nice too, but I haven’t tried that yet. I do recommend using some sort of sweetener, though, to temper the tartness of the berries and earthy taste of the kale. As-is, this blueberry kale smoothie was a homerun with my five-year old.
One last note—you don’t need a fancy high-powered blender to whip up this smoothie (though that’ll make the job faster, no doubt). I made this using a 350 watt Black & Decker blender I found in the vacation cottage we rented. No crazy motors, or bells and whistles. I did have to stop every minute or so, and push the ingredients down with a wooden spoon, but that didn’t discourage me in the least.
All you need are three ingredients to make this easy peach jam—peaches, sugar and lemon juice. A bit of patience is necessary too, but I’m taking that ingredient as a freebie, and not adding it to my count. A note about selecting your peaches—try to get freestone peaches, as the pits release easily with minimal coaxing from the tip of your thumbnail. Cling peaches work absolutely fine, but you’ll lose a little of the meat cutting the flesh from the pit. At this late point in the game, I say go with whatever peaches you’ve got, but thought I’d add that tidbit if you do have a choice when you’re at the market.
As for peeling the peaches, a very ripe peach usually sheds it’s skin easily. I get it started with the tip of a paring knife, and pull it away from there. If your skins are persistent, you can score them (cut an “X” in the bottom), and add them to a pot of boiling water for one minute, until the skins loosen. You’ll need to let them cool enough so you can handle them, before slipping the skins off. This means you’ll need more prep time for making your jam, but it’s not at all difficult—just plan accordingly.
The jams I’ve been making this summer, this one included, remind me a lot of Christine Ferber’s, in that they’re a little on the runny side when first made. They set up more, and thicken further once opened and chilled. I wanted to create a jam with a pure peach flavor, but feel free to experiment if you want to dress it up a bit. I can see vanilla bean, lemon thyme, mint, or a hint of cinnamon working very well.
Makes a scant 1 cup / 95 grams
1/4 cup / 26 grams ground cardamom
1/4 cup / 34 grams ground cinnamon
1/4 cup / 18 grams ground ginger
1 tablespoon / 9 grams ground cloves
1 whole nutmeg, freshly grated
1 tablespoon / 8 grams freshly ground black pepper
Add all of the ingredients to a small bowl. Whisk well to combine. Transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store in a cool dry place for up to two months. Shake well before using.
We don’t eat out very often, and that surprises many people I know. They figure since I’m a food editor and recipe developer, I dine out frequently. I often use Virginia’s terrible two’s as an excuse, but really my mind works overtime, calculating the cost of a restaurant meal compared to what I could make it for at home.
That’s not to say that we don’t go out to eat. It just means when we do, it’s with careful thought and intention. I don’t need a four-star restaurant to be wowed or inspired. I just need reliably good food and service.
It turns out sometimes the most simple items on a plate leave the most lasting impression too. Enough to make you want to run home and recreate it, as I did with this salted molasses butter I had recently when out with friends for a birthday celebration.
It’s essentially a compound butter, and made with just three ingredients—two of which I guarantee you have in the pantry. And if you don’t already keep molasses on hand, then consider yet another reason you need it (this French Onion Soup is the other).
I love compound butters for their ease in preparation and ability to add layers of flavors with little effort. Dara just so happened to post about them on her blog Cookin’ Canuck too, which lit the fire under my butt to share this recipe with you I created for Cuisinart. In all honestly, it’s so easy to make, I told my friend Maggy it seems silly to even call it a recipe.
I’ll send you on your way to my Cuisinart blog to get the details on the ingredients and ratios, but in case you don’t have a food processor, I wanted to assure you this butter can easily be made with a whisk and a bowl too. Just make sure the butter is ultra soft—enough so that you can use your finger to swipe off a chunk. Then add the ingredients to a deep bowl and whisk until well mixed, like below.
Get the recipe for the salted molasses butter at my Cuisinart blog.
New at In Jennie’s Kitchen: homemade whole grain mustard.
Finding a way to navigate life in these ever-changing times can be paralyzing. The advent of technology and explosion of 24/7 media means we have more information at our disposal than we can ever really hope to digest.
A simple trip to the supermarket requires the stealth research of a journalist, armed with credible sources.
But what is credible in this day and age, since news—be it in print, online or television is not objective? You know where someone stands immediately whether they watch Fox News or CNN, reads the New York Post or New York Times.
The best advice I can offer is to take a moment and consider the effect our collective purchasing power has on what makes it to supermarket shelves. Perhaps if we truly pondered the big picture—the world beyond our borders, the planet we are leaving to our children, then there would be only one real convenient way of eating.
I find my curiosity piqued as my eyes wander over the ingredients strewn across the conveyor belt just ahead of my own items. Is it fair to cast judgement based solely on one’s grocery purchases? I know deep down the answer is no. Food is a complicated ingredient in all of our lives. The decision of what to buy is often compromised by budget and time available.
I sometimes question if I’m over-thinking my own approach to feeding my family. Then as I peruse labels, I realize cooking from scratch is the only way I can peacefully co-exist with the planet.
This article from NPR’s Public Radio Kitchen is a glimpse of what is inherently wrong with today’s food system. Then I read this piece in the New York Time’s and it reminded me I’m not alone in my struggles with decisions when it comes to politics of the plate. I find myself raising many of the same questions as Yoon does in her article.
As those moments creep into my daily life, I stop myself and take a long, deep breath. Rather than feel overcome with helplessness, I retreat to the kitchen and go on with life the only way I know how.
Purists may want to take a seat. I’ve done a lot of tampering with this seemingly classic Italian dish.
Some of the changes were from necessity, and others pure whim. I’ve made a pork version of this a few times, the sweetness of the marsala wine being a natural compliment to the flavors of the pork from Flying Pigs Farm. Yes, you read correctly—I used marsala wine in this bolognese sauce, casting aside the requisite red wine.
Oatmeal seems simple enough, but it’s a divisive breakfast in our house. I love the nutty, toothsome texture of steel cut oats, as does my youngest daughter. The Mr. and my 7-year-old prefer old fashioned oats. Luckily, steel cut oats are forgiving, provided you don’t overcook them, so I can make a pot on Mondays and heat portions as the week goes on.