we’re jammin’

 

friendly, non-intimidating kitchen

One of my goals is to gain more confidence in the kitchen.

If you’re new to my blog, one of the first things you should know about me is that I’m not a perfectionist.

I just happen to like it when things go perfectly.

I’m not an alarmist either. So when I made tomato jam the other day, I didn’t think about botulism or accidentally poisoning my friends. My jam-filled jars weren’t going to shatter in a pot of boiling water, exploding magnificently in my face. And I never once thought about investing in a welder’s helmet. Or a beekeeper’s outfit (for deep frying: onion rings, chicken, Snickers bars, etc.).

I had to stop procrastinating. I had some beautiful tomatoes I bought at the farmers’ market and I had to do right by them.

tomatoes

So I began at the beginning. I read the “Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving”. Set out the equipment and ingredients. Started chopping.

chopping tomatoes

A few hours later, the tomatoes were cooking nicely on the stove. But wait – my jam looked more like soup! Oh, the horror!! I glanced at the recipe again and it didn’t mention covering the pot with a lid. Which I did. And I shouldn’t have. Doh!!

Another four and a half hours later, the tomatoes finally cooked down and I tried the hot water bath technique for the first time. The jars didn’t shatter. I still have my face and am not going to need plastic surgery (at least not for this reason)!!

Three and a half pounds of tomatoes and eights hours later:

the "fruits" of my labor. sorry. it's my grandpa humor. I realized later that I put pears in the photo when I really should have tomatoes. Good thing I'm not a perfectionist and this is not going to drive  me crazy.

The “fruits” of my labor. Sorry. It’s my grandpa humor. (I realized later that I put pears in the photo when I really should have tomatoes. Good thing I’m not a perfectionist and this is not going to drive me crazy.)

All that work resulted in three, almost four, half-pint jars, two of which I’m planning to give away. Tasted pretty good, if I do say so myself. Kind of sweet, savory, tomatoey, jammy, and other yummy, nonsensical words.

I really hope I don’t poison my friends. If I do, I’ll try to write from prison. They allow free-writing time in there, don’t they? Maybe I can start a canning group! We’re jammin’, jammin’, and I hope they’ll like jammin’, too…

 

The Day I Asked Butter to Marry Me

This is not a food blog.

I bake occasionally, yet have never felt moved to post anything about my clanking around in the kitchen. There are so many food bloggers out there sharing beautifully delicious information. Leave it to the professionals, right? I didn’t want to muck up the Internet with my measly offerings. Until this happened:

before

Folks, I knew I had to blog about this as soon as I started browning the butter over the stove. It totally made me grumpy. Why do I have to brown this butter? Is it browning yet?? Now? Is it brown now?? Hey, it looks like it’s going to explode and splatter, leaving me with butter-filled boils on my arms!!!

And then, the butter bitch-slapped me and started getting groovy. And then, I wanted to guzzle it like ice cold beer on a hot day.

BrownButter, will you marry me?

Look!

after

These Peach Cobbler Muffins were made from the Joy the Baker Cookbook. She doesn’t have the recipe on her blog, so BrownButter told me to type it out instead of grumping about it. BB also instructed me not to cut and paste from some other site. Respect the muffin. Anything you say, BB…sigh

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peach cobbler muffins

peach cobbler muffins
courtesy of joy wilson | joy the baker cookbook
makes 12 muffins

for the muffins:

1 ½ c all-purpose flour
½ c granulated sugar
¼ c packed brown sugar
1 ½ tsps baking powder
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
7 Tb (almost 1 stick) unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/3 c milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ c diced peaches

for the topping:

3 Tb unsalted butter, cold
½ c all-purpose flour
¼ c packed brown sugar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cinnamon

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 12-cup muffin pan and set aside. You can also use cupcake papers for this recipe. 

To make the muffins: in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Place butter in a small saucepan, and melt until browned over medium heat. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, yolk, milk, and vanilla. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the warm butter, making sure to scrape any brown bits into the egg mixture as well. Whisk until well incorporated.

Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture all at once. Fold together with a spatula. Once no flour bits remain, fold in the diced peaches. Divide the batter between the muffin cups.

To make the topping: combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and blend together with your fingers until crumbly. Butter will be the size of oats and small pebbles. Divide the topping among the muffin cups on top of the batter.

Bake muffins for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of one of the muffins comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan 20 minutes before removing. To remove, run a butter knife along the edges of the muffin pan and gently scoop out.

Muffins will last, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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Those are the instructions, verbatim, and I followed them verbatim. The muffins took longer in my oven than the recipe stated, and unfortunately, I’m not sure how long I baked them. I did one of those “three, then two, then three more minutes” until I forgot the total time in the oven. But I know you’re smarter than me because you are at one with your oven and know its temperament well enough to outsmart it.

They turned out wonderfully. I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve already had two and plan to have another, warmed, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

By the way, BrownButter turned down my proposal. After all the typing I did, it said it just wanted to be “friends”.

With a heavy heart (and tummy), I carry on.