Friends-with-Figs, Lemon Grass and Orange Marmalade

It’s great to have “friends-with-figs” I always say. Friends who go away on vacation leaving a tree laden with figs and share are even better. Having a friend who bakes great bread is “icing on the cake”.

Finishing a photo shoot and having lots of fresh oranges left over is another good thing.

 

Very ripe figs, juicy oranges and lemon grass paste cooked down with sugar and lemon juice makes a mighty tasty batch of marmalade.

Yes, it is hot work. The kitchen gets all steamy, as do I, but as I’m stirring I think of my Grandmother Kenny Mae, who canned all summer with hardly a window fan to cool her down and she managed without complaint. She loved the process more than the discomfort I suppose. Jars of jam and preserves made in the summer were all the more tasty during the winter months.

Random glass jars with new lids and rings gathered from my stash. Everything sterilized…jars filled…lids on. This marmalade can be refrigerated or even frozen. I can a few jars and give most away to friends who don’t have figs, some who do, some who just love marmalade like I do, and I save a few jars for later. This is such as easy recipe that I make it often throughout the year.

With so much citric acid I also oven-canned some jars. For a how-to on this method check out an earlier marmalade post here.

Friends-with-Figs, Lemon Grass and Orange Marmalade

Ingredients:

  • 6 oranges, thinly sliced, cut into quarters, seeded
  • 2 tablespoon lemon grass paste
  • 24 small figs, or 12 larger ones – stemmed & cut in half
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients into a stainless steel or enamel stockpot. Place over medium low heat and stir to combine ingredients until sugar begins to melt. Turn heat to medium high, stirring every so often, cooking for about 30 minutes. You want the mixture to bubble and reduce and thicken, but not get scorched on the bottom.
  2. Turn heat to medium low while you get jars and lids ready. Again stir often.
  3. Wash jars and rims in hot soapy water, rinse well and let drain on a clean dish towel. Use new lids whenever you can so the rubbery rim seals well.
  4. Fill clean jars to within about 1/2 inch of the top edge. Wipe edges clean of any spills. Place new lids on top of each jar.  If giving away, or refrigerating, then tighten lids and leave to cool on a rack. This marmalade will keeps chilled for up to 2 months just fine.
  5. Oven canning method: Turn oven to 250 degrees. Spoon hot marmalade into sterilized glass jars leaving a 1/2 inch at top of each one unfilled. Wipe jar mouths clean and top with new lids.  Place filled jars, not touching, in a baking pan and put in oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven to cool on a wire rack. Listen for the “ping” or suction sound as the lids seal tightly to the jars. Lids will go from being a bit convex to concave. Store in a cool place for up to 12 months. If any jars do not seal, then you can refrigerate for up to 2 months.

Teresa Blackburn    http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

Rabbits-Love-Rainbow Carrots with Maple-Balsamic-Orange Glaze….Don’t They? E.A.T #28

I think I might be part rabbit…my ears are kinda pointy….I twitch my nose at good and bad smells…I have been accused of hopping around all over the place…not to mention my affinity for carrots. I like them shredded, cut into coins, added to soups and salads, fresh from the ground with a little bit of dirt still clinging to them and roasted lightly glazed with a quick maple syrup, balsamic vinegar and fresh orange juice concoction. Spring carrots tender and sweet lend themselves to such a simple, easy-as-this, recipe. A very appropriate addition to an Easter dinner.

One bag each of large and/or small, easy to find and trendy rainbow carrots sliced down the middle from top to bottom, tossed in olive oil and sprinkled with Flower Pepper from Food Sheriff and flakey Maldon sea salt…..a great finger food or side dish. Roasted, glazed and served garnished with toasted, chopped pecans. It’s as easy-as-this.

Happy Easter, Happy Spring, Happy Life.

Rainbow Carrots with a Maple-Balsamic-Orange Glaze

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 2 bags of rainbow carrots, any size, tops trimmed and peeled, cut in half lengthwise
  • olive oil, a few tablespoons
  • Flower Pepper or any other good freshly ground pepper
  • flakey sea salt such as Maldon
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • the juice from one small orange
  • Garnish – toasted and chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. Turn oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss prepped carrots in olive oil and spread out on one or two baking sheets.  Season with pepper and salt to taste.
  3. Roast for 10 minutes.
  4. While carrots are roasting mix together the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and orange juice.
  5. After 10 minutes remove baking sheet with carrots from the oven and drizzle with half the glaze. Return pan to oven to roast carrots just until “fork-tender”. Remove pan from oven.
  6. Serve carrots with remaining glaze and pecans.

Teresa Blackburn    http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

 

Killer Orca Bean Salad with Mangoes, Oranges & Avocados

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A few weeks ago Wouter was working in Los Angeles and I had the week at home to myself. Busy with photo shoots and faced with all the craft services tables and lunches every day on set, I decided to make sure I ate cleaner and healthier when at home,

My friend Terry is always referring to her “bean diet”…I am not sure what that is exactly..but she swears by it.  With this bag of “Orca Beans”, also known as Calypso or Yin Yang Beans,  and the recipe on the back of the package as my guide, I made a killer salad and went on my own version of the “bean diet”.

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As you probably know from lots of past blog posts I am a big fan of Bob’s Red Mill products and these Orca Heritage Beans are no exception. I had not seen this particular type of bean before, but the black and white random patterning…much like an Orca Whale….

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…appealed to me very much. These particular beans came from Washington state, but they can be found in Mexico as well.

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Wonderous dried beans deliver lots of flavor, protein and are easy to cook. Blended with mangoes, oranges and avocados, lime juice and jalapeno peppers they become even tastier.

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Rinsed and cooked in water with salt and pepper….drained and cooled down…..

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…tossed with fresh ingredients….

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…this salad gets better each day.

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A killer Orca Bean salad….Bon Appetit!

Killer Orca Bean Salad with Mangoes, Oranges & Avocados

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Print

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Orca Beans, rinsed & drained
  • 4-6 cups water
  • salt & black pepper for cooking beans
  • 2 cups chopped fresh mango (peeled)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh orange (peeled, de-seeded) with juices
  • 2 Tbsp minced jalapeno pepper
  • juice of one lime
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin powder
  • 1 to 2 fresh avocados chopped (peeled & seeded)

Directions:

  1. Place beans in a pot with the water and season with salt & black pepper. Bring to a boil, turn to simmer and cook just until beans are softened (but not mushy).  Drain cooked beans in a colander and rinse with cool water. Let drain for a few minutes.
  2. Put cooked, cooled & drained beans in a large bowl along with the chopped mango, orange and jalapeno pepper.
  3. Add lime juice, salt & black pepper to taste and cumin powder and toss gently. Add chopped avocado if serving immediately, otherwise cover and chill salad and add avocado right before serving. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. This salad keeps chilled for 3 to 4 days. It just gets better and better!

Adios sweet, cool April and Hello warm May.

https://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

 

“Easy-to-Make Simple Syrups” Holiday Gifts, E.A.T. #15

cocktails with simple syrups

Time fleets….gift-giving season is here…just a perusal of Etsy or Scoutmob makes it very clear that home-made, hand-made and diy gifts are the “thing”. With that in mind here is a final, very easy-as-this gift idea for all your food friends. Make one or make them all, it only takes an afternoon in your kitchen, and it really will put you in a holiday mood. I promise!

“Beet Juice & Ginger Simple Syrup” chilled with a splash of white rum or drizzled over vanilla ice cream with a sugar cookie? “Cranberry & Orange” with white wine anyone? “Lemon & Thyme Simple Syrup” added to a cup of relaxing hot tea with a slice of lime? Or maybe an “Apple, Habanero & Mint” with Seltzer & fruit ice cubes for a non-alcoholic pick-me-up?

Simple syrups

From Top Left clockwise: “Fresh Beet & Ginger”, “Gala Apple, Habanero & Mint”, “Cranberry Orange” and “Very Lemon Thyme” simple syrups.

The process of each syrup is the same. It is as “easy-as-this”.

Basic Simple Syrup Recipe

1 cup water (liquid) + 1 cup sugar, a 1-1 ratio

“Cranberry & Orange Simple Syrup” – 1 lb fresh cranberries, the peel & juice from one orange, 2 cups water + 2 cups sugar. Bring to a boil, turn to simmer, stirring often until mixture thickens & sugar has melted. Cook for 20 minutes on low heat. Remove from heat. Let cool completely.

Cranberry Orange Simple SyrupCranberry & Orange Simple Syrup

“Apple, Habanero & Mint Simple Syrup” – Using same process as above just add 2 chopped apples,  1/2 tsp. finely chopped Habanero pepper (wear gloves!) & 1/2 cup mint leaves to pan.

Apple, Habanero & mint simple syrupApple, Habanero & Mint Simple Syrup

“Fresh Beet Juice & Ginger Root Simple Syrup” – (I had cooked some fresh beets in water for another recipe..the color was just fantastic, I tasted it and it was really sweet and delicious…a simple syrup came of this happy accident.)  2 cups fresh beet juice + 1/4 cup peeled & sliced fresh ginger + 1 tbsp lemon peel simmered with 2 cups sugar made one really great syrup!

Beet Juice & Ginger Simple SyrupBeet Juice & Ginger Simple Syrup

“Very Lemon & Thyme Simple Syrup” – the peel of 2 lemons, 1 tsp lemon extract or syrup + a handful of fresh thyme. Same process, subtle flavors.

Lemon & Thyme Simple SyrupLemon Thyme Simple Syrup

How to Bottle or Jar:

After syrups have cooled completely strain each through a fine sieve. Wash & dry bottles or jars with lids.

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strained simple syrup

Pour strained liquids into prepared bottles or jars. I, once again, got out my stash of bottles, caps & bottle capper (all from All Seasons here in Nashville) to decant my simple syrups into.

bottles of simple syrups

The apple has a hint of pink, the beet a deep red-burgundy, the lemon light & yellow, and the cranberry a clear red.

It is as “easy-as-that”.

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have fun! life is not perfect.

Travels in the Yucatan – La Flor de Santiago Salsa

 

Yucatan & Quintana Roo 2011
Merida, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Progreso, Campeche, Muna, Chetemal, Mahuahual, Xpuha….
In the heart of Merida near the Mercado, is one of my favorite restaurants, La Flor de Santiago.
Steaming cups of cafe au lait, freshly made pastries, huevos, frijoles negros, mango, papaya, pina…all make this a favorite of local residents.  Stepping  from the morning already warm street into the darkly cool interior of La Flor de Santiago was the perfect start to what turned out to be a perfect day.
Radish Salsa from La Flor de Santiago

There is always something memorable to eat and this visit was no exception. Along with abundant choices for breakfast there was a really unusual and delicious salsa made with radishes. It was a bit sweet, salty, crunchy with a hint of oranges & limes. I had it with my eggs and went back for more. I keep a little notebook with me when I travel to jot down recipe ideas or recipes that I find and want to try at home. I call my version, “La Flor de Santiago Salsa”.
Ingredients you will need:
12 Radishes, washed and trimmed & diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Juice from one orange
Juice from one/half lime
1 tsp raw or brown sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
1. Put orange & lime juice in a mixing bowl. Add diced radishes.
2. Add chopped cilantro, 1 tsp raw sugar & 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper.
3. Stir ingredients together, cover & chill for at least 1 hour before eating.
Serve as a side for grilled or baked fish or chicken, or eat with crispy tortilla chips.
I coated a piece of fresh tuna with herbs de Provence and pan-seared it in a bit of olive oil, adding some fresh mango slices along with my radish salsa.