Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cooking up a Storm

At church Sunday, I was identified as "the French teacher that cooks," so as to distinguish me from my two sister-in-laws (not "the architect with a baby" or "the lawyer with a cat"). A very fair description...but I still thought it was really funny. The proof is in the pudding! Though, and this week it was tiramisu. ;-)

After making blueberry muffins Monday, I still had 4 pints of blueberries (and some cherries), so I decided rather than make four separate recipes, to make jam. It was really, really easy, seeing as I didn't go through the actually preserving process of boiling the filled jars. I figure what I can't eat or give away will go in the freezer.

So, here, for the uninitiated, is how you make jam:

Mix 5 pints of chopped up fruit, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar and one box of pectin in a heavy saucepan. Heat to a rolling boil, and keep it at a rolling boil for one minute. Stir lots.
Then add 4 1/4 cups of sugar (I know that sounds like a lot...and that was the "reduced sugar" version!!!) Then, return to a rolling boil, and keep it at a rolling boil for another minute. Keep stirring. Can, cool, and refrigerate. Consume within two weeks, or freeze until ready. Seriously, it's that easy. And it was pretty good, but a little sweet for my taste. I would have put less in, but the directions were emphatic about exact amounts, and I figured I should follow the recipe to a T...just this one time. ;-)

Next, I prepared for a Mediterranean meal for lifegroup on Wednesday. I made lamb meatballs to go in pitas, topped with tzatziki (a yogurt cucumber sauce). To go along with it, I made baba ghanoush (roasted eggplant dip), quinoa tabbouleh (a grain, parsley, cucumber and tomato salad). Casey made hummus (chickpea dip) and we had olives, too, as no Mediterranean meal (even breakfast) would be complete without olives. My friend Leeann, came over, and we made tiramisu yesterday evening too. It's not quite a Mediterranean dessert...but the only Greek dessert I know is baklava...and I ain't doing that, so an Italian one had to do.

I think everyone liked it. I didn't realize that it was pretty exotic for our friends...a few had never had lamb before, but they were all good sports and tried my weird food! I think the tiramisu and the meatballs were the overall favorites though. The tiramisu really was, as Kenten said, like you'd get in a restaurant...if I do say so myself. (Thank you Cooks' Illustrated!)

So, I'm the French teacher that cooks. I'm down with that. :-)

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