There’s no need to wait until Thanksgiving to start enjoying chestnuts. The tree in my backyard is already shedding its little sea urchin-like shells. If I can beat the deer and squirrels to enough of them, I’ll be making my homemade chestnut spread to use for these crisps. Ready, set, go!
I’m a bit behind in the game of making savory waffles. One bite of these, though, and it was easy to forgive myself, using that “better late than never” excuse. My eternal thanks to Catherine McCord’s new cookbook Weelicious Lunches for inspiring me to make my own version using my All-Purpose Baking Mix.
Crazy as it may seem, I found my cupboards sans baking powder this past weekend. Not willing to give up my plan to make pancakes, I took a moment to think my regular recipe through. Baking powder acts as the leavening agent to make pancakes rise nice and fluffy. I figured I could mimic that effect if I just separated the eggs, beat my egg white until it formed stiff peaks, and gently folded it into the batter. It worked like a charm! So, if you find yourself short on baking powder, or just forgot to add it to your shopping list, all is not lost if you’re craving some fluffy, hot pancakes for breakfast.
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.
As I set out to make some brown butter fig waffles for breakfast this past weekend, it occurred to me that some of you might not realize just how easy it is to make browned butter at home. It’s a very simple trick to coax a nutty, toffee-like flavor from a plain ol’ stick of butter. In it’s basic form, you can toss it with pasta for a humble, and quite incredible tasting, meal. Taken a little further, say in a muffin, pie or those waffles I made, and you’ve got a new twist on an old favorite (see the links below!).
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.