Preserved lemons are still a favorite of mine and especially this time of year when fragrant, floral Meyer lemons are available. I preserve a bunch over the winter and then use them as little bursts of flavor in salads and sauces all summer long on the Riggin. Not wanting to wait until the summer to have these beauties, this recipe with red potatoes and baby kale was born.
Preserved Meyer Lemons
The remaining oil is also be lovely in salads or for dipping bread.
5 to 6 Meyer lemons
1/2 cup coarse sea salt
4 sticks of cinnamon
8 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 quart-sized Ball jar with lid
extra virgin olive oil
Make sure the jar you are using are very clean and sterile – as you would for jams and jellies. The salt is a preservative as well, but it’s better to be safe. Cut all of the lemons into 8 wedges each or slice them cross‐wise. Toss the lemons with the salt and place them in the jar. Add the cinnamon sticks, cloves and bay leaves and cover with the lid. Shake once daily for 10 days to coat the lemons with the salt. You don’t need to refrigerate them at this point. After 10 days, cover the lemons with extra virgin olive oil and refrigerate for up to one year.
Red Potatoes, Baby Kale, and Preserved Lemons
If you don’t have preserved lemons in your pantry, salty, umami-rich black olives are a good substitute.
2 pounds small red potatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups sliced onions; about 1 large onion
8 ounces baby kale
1/4 teaspoon salt
several grinds of fresh black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup preserved lemons
In a large stock pot, cover the potatoes with 1-inch of salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are just tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and return the empty stock pot to the stove over medium-high heat while the potatoes remain in the strainer. Add the olive oil and onions and sauté for 12 minutes or so or until the onions begin to brown. Add the potatoes back to the pot and combine gently with a wooden spoon the rest of the ingredients. Serve immediately.
Serves 6 to 8
Have a bright, sunny day
It’s a cranberry time of year when the brilliant burgundy globes garnish plates and glasses galore. This cocktail was inspired by a delicious cranberry syrup made with leftover cranberries from Thanksgiving.
And then the box of citrus came from Florida filled with juicy, plump grapefruits, and well, Capt. “needed” a cocktail after a long day down at the boat and… Now we all have a wonderful recipe to share with friends.
Fresh Sea Breeze
1 1/2 ounces Cold River Vodka
3 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
1 1/2 ounces cranberry syrup (see recipe below)
ice for serving
3 cranberries in syrup as garnish
ice for serving
1 candied grapefruit peel as garnish
Add ice to an old-fashioned glass. Pour vodka and grapefruit juice over the ice and stir. Add the cranberry syrup and let it fall to the bottom of the glass. Garnish with cranberries and lime wheel.
Makes 1 cocktail
2 cups fresh cranberries
2 cups sugar
3 cups water
Bring all ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the cranberries all “pop” and release their juices. Cool and store in a covered jar in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Makes 4 cups
The house is smelling of honey, vanilla, and oats as the batches of granola become gifts for your family and friends. Monday, the aroma of coffee will greet us as we package up the famous and fabulous Rock City Coffee to the far reaches of the United States.
But there’s more! All kinds of jams and preserves, mugs and photos from the ship store, and classy nautical jewelry.
For more details and prices, click on over to the Ship Store Page. Below are just a few of the items available.
One of the many questions I get from folks in the cooking realm is what to do with all the veggies that come for their CSAs. Now that Community Supported Agriculture has taken parts of our country by storm, the questions keep coming. Among them are… What else can I do with my kale? How do I use up that ugly kohlrabi that keeps turning up in my box? Is there a way to combine all of these veggies in a meal or dish?
On our Maine Gourmet Food Cruises we talk about how to combine veggies, what to do to make them interesting, and how to preserve them if you just have too darn much to use in a week’s time.
Vegetable Tip: To keep lettuce and greens longer in the refrigerator, wash the lettuce and remove every bit of water that you can and then layer the leaves with a dish towel or paper towel. Store in a large tub with a lid or in a resealable plastic bag. I’ve used this technique on long, at sea adventures, on the Riggin and in my home kitchen to great effect. Another way to preserve hearty greens is to clean and dry them, ribs removed. Once they are dry, coat them in a thin layer of olive oil. They will last for at least a week and a half in the refrigerator.
Thinking about greens galore and our next Maine Food Cruise, July 6 to 9!
This Easter, it being chilly and complete with a tiny dusting of snow, we set the menu accordingly and served lamb and several hearty accompaniments such as homemade baguette, rosemary roasted red and purple potatoes and roasted asparagus. As has become the new norm, I offered all comers to our Easter dinner a cocktail. This time, I had on hand fresh grapefruit juice, pear nectar and mango syrup. At first, people were sort of quizzical about a cocktail made with pear nectar, but by the end of the afternoon, as one person followed another, everyone, to a person, choose the pear nectar. Even my friend, who loves red wine, put the wine down for a while to sip on her own pear nectar cocktail.
This cocktail is technically a shrub, a cocktail made with vinegar-ed syrup, due to the white balsamic. With Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. aromatic bitters, a Cranberry and Pear White Balsamic Vinegar from Fiore and home made pear nectar I created what we called The Baggywrinkle – a cocktail with a wonderful balance of sweet and spirit, sour and bitter.
For those who are not boat people, baggywrinkles are handmade chafe gear that look a little bit like furry logs. They are affixed to the topping lifts (You might not know what this is either, but it’s the wire that holds up the boom. If you don’t know what a boom is, might as well skip to the cocktail instead.) and prevent sharp bits of wire from creating a hole in the sails. This shrub is about the same manila or natural color as most baggywrinkles and because of the pear nectar, is actually has a little textural feel to it that could perhaps be described as, well, furry, if you wanted to stretch it, which I do because I’ve been wanting to call a cocktail The Baggywrinkle for some time now.
1 1/2 ounces Jim Beam Bourbon
3 ounces pear nectar
1/2 teaspoon Fiore Cranberry and Pear White Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 a dropper of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. aromatic bitters
ice for shaking and for the glass
slice of pear
Chill an Old-Fashioned glass with ice cubes. Combine the bourbon, pear nectar, vinegar, and bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into the chilled Old-Fashioned glass, garnish with pear slice and serve.
Makes 1 cocktail
Cocktails for Easter!
This fall, I was the surprised recipient of a beautiful bushel of pears from what we think is a Seckle Pear tree. That gift, however, did not come co-bundled with an abundance of time. I was determined that this gift would not sit too long while I put it off until the pears were passed perfectly ripe and had moved into “uh oh.”
To hustle along, I decided to not can them as whole pears, but as nectar. Making nectar is a much easier process than canning whole fruit, as it does not require peeling. It begins with making a loose pear sauce much the same way one would apple sauce by bringing to a simmer pear quarters and water and cooking until the pears are either tender or falling apart. Pear varieties will differ in whether they stay together once they are fully cooked or fall apart – just like apples.
With the addition of lemon juice and sugar plus a hot pack canning process, pear nectar emerges. I’ll use it all winter long in smoothies instead of honey, as a juice for brunch, a foundation for mixed drinks, combined with ginger ale for a special drink for the girls and, well, I let you know what else I come up with!
Thank you, friend Glen. I’m glad we are both good at sharing.
Citrus season is almost over, but as I write, the last (or I’m hoping the last!) big winter storm is raging outside and any sort of canning seems like just the thing to keep the house toasty warm. I know when summer rolls around I’ll be so happy to have these gem-like jars of coral-colored goodness for our guests to slather on biscuits or muffins in the morning or for an afternoon snack.
This recipe for blood orange marmalade is a combination of Alton Brown’s and Margaret Yardley Potter’s and is as easy as pie. The initial inspiration came when cozied up last night with At Home on the Range a cookbook presented by Elizabeth Gilbert and written by her great-grandmother Margaret Yardley Potter.
I’m in love with this no-nonsense woman who is far before her time when it comes to honoring ingredients and the flavor of the food she creates. The recipes are more of a guide and written as my grandmother wrote her recipes rather than the exacting format more popular today. It’s how I cook and it’s a book that I’m loving spending time with. (Buy your local copy here at Hello, Hello Books!)
And for the more exacting formula:
Blood Orange Marmalade
1 3/4 pound blood oranges; about 5 medium oranges
1 lemon, zested and juiced
6 cups water
3 pounds pounds plus 12 ounces sugar
10, 8-ounce canning jars with lids
Wash thoroughly and slice the oranges into very thin slivers with either a sharp knife or a mandoline removing the seeds along the way. Quarter the slices and transfer to a large stock pot. Add the lemon zest, juice and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a strong simmer and cook for about 40 minutes or until the fruit is very soft. Stop here and refrigerate the oranges and continue the next day OR continue on with the rest of the recipe right off.
Place a small plate into the freezer.
While the oranges are cooking, prepare a large water bath with either a canning basket or a cake rack on the bottom. Add the jars and lids to the water and make sure they are covered with at least 1 inch of water. Cover with a lid. Bring the pot to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, and let sit until you are ready to fill the jars.
When the oranges are soft, add the sugar and return to a full boil for 15 to 20 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads 222 to 223 degrees. To make sure, place 1 teaspoon of marmalade on the plate in the freezer and wait 30 seconds. If the marmalade still runs when you tip the plate sideways, it’s not done.
Remove the jars and lids carefully from the water bath and set upright on a towel. Place a funnel over the jars and ladle marmalade filling the jars with 1/2-inch clearance at the top. Wipe any remaining marmalade off the edge, cover with lid to just hand tight and return to the water bath in either the canning basket or on top of the cake rack. Boil for 10 minutes and remove from water onto a towel.
Now comes the fun part. Wait for each lid to pop. This is your reward for a job well done. (Well, and eating the goodness you just created.)
Orange you glad I shared this recipe?
While there isn’t much time for anything in between trips, I do try to squeeze in a smidge to process jam that we make on the boat. I’ll make a big batch there and then bring it home to process in a water bath. While it’s an effort to do it, I’m always so grateful in the middle of the winter that I was able to eek out the time.
This batch came from a bunch of Champagne that was open but left behind by a family celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary. It happened to coincide with the rhubarb coming into full swing. The combination is a lovely one with the tang of the rhubarb softened slightly by the fruity Champagne. In any case, I love the color of it and it’s pretty special on our biscuits.
Rhubarb Champagne Jam
4 1/2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup champagne
1 box SureJell
1/2 teaspoon butter
6 1/2 cups sugar
Have all canning equipment and jars ready, sterilized and waiting in hot water.
In a medium stock pot bring the rhubarb and champagne to a boil. Add SureJell and bring to a boil again. Add the butter and the sugar and bring to a full rolling boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and transfer to the hot canning jars. Screw the lids on hand tight and process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Remove the jars carefully from the hot water and set on a towel spread out over the counter top. Let cool. Make sure the lids all ‘pop’ before storing for the winter.
Makes 7 or 8, 8-ounce jars
We be jammin’
I woke up this morning to my car cloaked in a glow of pink. The sun had not yet broken the horizon and my snow-covered car received it’s kiss as it rose to greet the day.
Fitting that today should also be Biscuit Contract Day on our office calendar. This contract was agreed upon and signed 7 months ago to the day. The contract follows:
July 20, 2013 – Annie returned to shore after a 4-day cruise and proceeded to heat the entire downstairs with steam as she made batches of jam in 84 degree/humid weather. THEN she wanted to open the windows to “cool down.” Ha. E made Annie promise that 7 months from now, February 20th, that we would have jam & biscuits to make up for it. Annie agreed. Annie hereby agrees to make biscuits with Strawberry or Rhubarb Champagne Jam as she has promised. Signed by both parties.
And here they are, E. As promised and as delicious.
Baking Powder Biscuits
This is a recipe my grandma passed on to me through my mom. Thank you, Grandma, for being so good at making both biscuits and pie dough. I think of you every time I make either.
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. This is an important step because you want to add air to the mixture so the biscuits are as fluffy as possible. Cut the butter in with a pastry knife until the mixture is the texture of coarse meal. Stir in any additional dry ingredients here. Add milk and any additional wet ingredients, stirring until a soft dough forms. Do not overmix. This is very important; if you overmix you will probably get hard tack instead of fluffy biscuits. Great for sailors of old, but not so delicious in present time. Turn out onto a floured board and knead 5 to 10 times, then stop. Roll or pat out the dough until it is 1/2-inch thick. Cut with a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter. Bake on ungreased cookie pan for 12 to 15 minutes.
Makes 12 biscuits
Keepin’ E happy. It’s a good thing.