Strawberry Jam

Long-time followers of this blog know, my love of strawberries is no secret. So when strawberry season rolls around here in North Carolina, I over-indulge big time (I even finally dug up 40 sq ft for a strawberry garden in the backyard). So what to do when even I find I can’t consume these plentiful strawberries quickly enough? Prepare for the dark days ahead and preserve them by making strawberry jam! Its pretty hard to beat the flavor of good, home-made jam, and if you’ve never made your own, its incredibly easy.

yields approximately 6 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars

  • 3 and 1/3 pints strawberries (about 2.5 lbs)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 box pectin
  • 3.5 cups granulated sugar

As with all home preserve-making endeavors, be sure to follow safe canning practices. That means a few things:

  • Wash the jar(s) in warm soapy water and then submerge in boiling water until you’re

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Blackberry Glazed Doughnuts

For the better part of my life, I had never really considered how simple and straightforward it would be to make doughnuts at home. Until making paczkis, I had come to accept that the likes of Dunkin Donuts were as good as it got. Oh how wrong I was.

Not only can you indulge for breakfast–you should. Saying its like having deep-fried cake for breakfast might make it sound like a not-so-healthy idea, but everyone should enjoy a good doughnut now and then…and this is a good doughnut. Tender inside, crisp and golden on the outside–just what a good doughnut should be.

I was largely by this recipe for cake doughnuts. This recipe is a solid base recipe to play around with flavor-wise. I went with a light touch of spice (cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla) and a sweet, tangy, purply blackberry glaze. I’ve also played with a coating of cinnamon-sugar, a dusting of powdered sugar,… click to read more…

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Strawberry Bundt Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

This post is a little later than I’d like it to be seeing how strawberry season has come and gone by me. My love of strawberries is no secret. When they’re at their peak, I’ve packed away several pounds (maybe four or five? Seriously. I love strawberries) a week just for snacking (forget the baking). So this is one of those tasty desserts you can go to when you need a break from inhaling strawberries by the pound: a berry scented bundt cake topped with a rich, strawberry cream cheese frosting.

This was delicious and very strawberry-ish. I would be happy just eating the frosting (and shamelessly licked the bowl clean. Very clean). My only disappointment was that the cake was a little denser than I would have liked–I’d consider lessening the amount of strawberry puree (e.g. by half a cup) in the cake so that it might rise more and take on a lighter texture. As… click to read more…

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Lamb Steak over Israeli Cous Cous with Cranberry Sherry Mint Sauce

When I found myself with a cut of lamb known for having an incredibly tender texture (the top round roast–it comes from the upper hind leg), for some reason, steak was on my mind rather than the usual roast. I’d never had lamb steak before, so I thought that this could be a fun change–I’d just give them a quick, buttery pan sear (since its not grilling weather at the moment) and top it off with a simple sauce. Being autumn and all, cranberry seemed like a great thing to focus on sauce-wise–and like pork, lamb with fruit always makes me happy.

Lamb Steak over Israeli Cous Cous with Cranberry Sherry Mint Sauce

The lamb was indeed very tender. The resulting steaks had a crisp, buttery, exterior with a juicy and just-a-little-pink interior (random aside: why aren’t lamb steaks more common?!)–very tasty. The cranberry sauce I made to go with this was very similar in style to one I’ve made for the past few Thanksgivings. Aside from the… click to read more…

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Brioche French Toast with Strawberry Compote

After having made sticky buns recenly, I found myself with brioche dough handy. I’ve finally come to terms with a fundamental part of the breakfast food pyramid missing from my repetoire of go-to day-starters: the morning-time cousin of bread pudding, yes, French Toast.

Brioche French Toast with Strawberry Compote

French Toast, like many “common” breakfast items, might seem less than exciting to many given how many sad, sorry versions are so readily available out there. This is meant to change that in a big way. Heck, this borders on dessert given how incredibly rich this is.

The secret here is simple: the key behind a good French toast is good bread. For this, I baked a loaf of brioche–a dense, rich, buttery bread that is delicious in it’s own right (which is why I had to eat some just with a dab of jam). You want a bread that can absorb a respectable amount of custard, has… click to read more…

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Strawberry Cream Pie in a Thyme Scented Almond Crust

Strawberries were in season when I made this pie, but even more important than my strawberry obsession, I had a need to make a pie crust so I could get a photo of it (more on that a little further down). Given that rhubarb wasn’t gracing the grocery store shelves just yet and I couldn’t make my absolute favorite pie, strawberry cream pie seemed like a natural alternate choice.

Strawberry Cream Pie in a Thyme Scented Almond Crust

Not wanting to be too boring, I had a few ideas to dress things up a bit. For instance, I’d recently read of an odd flavor combo that I was eager to try: strawberries and thyme. So I decided to incorporate both thyme and almonds into the pie crust and I’m very glad I did. The flavor was fantastic–buttery, rich, almondy, and the thyme was very distinct. I was honestly surprised by how nicely the almond and thyme enhanced one another and made… click to read more…

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