Thursday, March 31, 2016

Homemade Spring Goodness: "Zesty Orange Cardamom Marmalade"

  1. This Easter, I made this zesty orange cardamom marmalade for friends, neighbors and loved ones, pairing the citrus flavor of orange with the spicy flavor of cardamom. I think it makes a wonderful edible gift. I enjoy it spread on toast, a roll and paired with goat cheese on a toasted English muffin. It also makes a delightful cake filling for an upcoming recipe you will find here this spring and you will also see this flavor combination returning over the next few months. 
  2. "Zesty Orange Cardamom Marmalade"
  3. Makes 6 (1/2-pint) jars
  4. 1 1/3 lb. oranges
  5. 1/3 lb. lemons
  6. 3 1/3 cups water
  7. 12 green cardamom seeds
  8. 4 1/3 cups granulated sugar 
  9. Prepare the fruit 12 to 24 hours before you plan to cook and preserve the marmalade. Wash and pat dry all the fruit. Trim and discard the stem ends. Cut the oranges and lemons into quarters and poke out all the seeds with the tip of a paring knife. Reserve the seeds in a small covered container. Using a chef's knife, cut all the citrus, including the rinds, into 1/16-inch-thick slices. Put the sliced fruit in a large pot, including any juices left on the cutting board. Add 3 1/3 cups of water. Gently press down on the fruit to make sure it is submerged. Cover the pot and set aside at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. This process softens the rinds and releases pectin for the gelling process. 
  10. The next day, bring the pot of sliced fruit and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Adjust the heat so the mixture boils steadily without splattering, and cook for 30 minutes. Wrap the crushed cardamom pods and the reserved lemon and orange seeds in a cheesecloth bag and tie securely with twine.
  11. While the fruit is cooking, prepare the preserving jars by sterilizing the jars and lids.
  12. Add sugar to the fruit mixture and stir until dissolved. Add cheesecloth bag containing cardamom and seeds. Continue to cook marmalade at a steady boil 30-40 minutes, until it reaches the gel stage or reaches 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove cheesecloth bag from the marmalade, pressing any liquids back into the pan. Remove marmalade from heat. Using a wide-mouth funnel, ladle the marmalade into hot, sterilized jars, filling one jar at a time and leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles by running a long wooden utensil, such as a chopstick or wooden skewer, between the jar and the marmalade. Wipe the rims clean. Seal according to the manufacturer’s directions. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, and then turn off the heat. Wait 5 minutes, and then lift the canning rack and, using a canning jar lifter, transfer the jars to a towel-lined, sturdy rimmed baking sheet and let them rest. Check the seals and wipe the jars. Makes 6 (1/2-pint) jars. Add the "Made on" date to label or jar lid. Store jars in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Once opened, keep refrigerated for up to 6 months.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Leftover Magic: Cheesy Corned Beef Quiche

Are you looking for a way to change up your leftover St. Patrick's Day corned beef? I make an easy quiche recipe that makes use of several traditional St. Patrick's Day meal leftovers such as corned beef, cabbage and rice, made into a tasty quiche using a refrigerated pie crust to shave even more time off meal preparation. This recipe can be eaten immediately and does not have to be refrigerated overnight. It is great for lunch, brunch or a fun spin on dinner. It tastes great straight from the oven to the dinner table.

"Cheesy Corned Beef Quiche"

1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust 

3 eggs

1 egg white

1 cup corned beef, cooked and chopped

1/2 cup cooked rice ( I used brown rice)

                                    1/2 cup cabbage, cooked and chopped

   1/4 cup shredded cheese (I use a shredded mix of Monterey Jack, Colby and Cheddar Cheeses)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake pie crust according to package directions. Line rim of crust with aluminum foil to avoid burnt crust edges. Remove baked pie crust from oven and place on cooling rack. In large bowl, whisk eggs until well beaten. Stir in corned beef, rice and cabbage. Add cheese. Mix enough to combine. Pour into prepared pie crust. Bake 40-45 minutes or until quiche is golden brown. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Ready for St. Patrick's Day and "Angela's Irish Soda Bread"

Here is a favorite tradition for the St. Patrick's Day holiday in our home. 

Irish Soda Bread is Ireland's version of a classic quick bread. Baking soda was introduced to the country in the 1840s and was used as a leavening agent in this bread made from staple ingredients. A tradition in the preparation of this bread, carried on by many to this day, including me, is to cut a cross shape into the dough with a knife before baking the bread to ward off the devil and protect the household. Many families have treasured recipes abounding with favorite variations of this beloved bread, including my Grandma Cleva's recipe. She loved buttermilk in her soda bread and I carry on her buttermilk tradition in my own recipe.

In the United States, this bread has come to be known by many as a dessert bread, but in Ireland, as with many traditional Irish families in the US, it is to this day enjoyed served with the main course meal rather than as a dessert bread. My recipe includes raisins, a favorite ingredient addition of mine for pairing with this bread's tangy flavor and tender texture topped with a hard crust.

"Easy Irish Soda Bread"

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine, softened
2 cups raisins
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray and dusting of flour. In large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, margarine and raisins. Add egg and 1 cup of buttermilk. Stir until mixture is combined. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round shape and place on baking sheet. In small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk. Brush buttermilk mixture over bread. Use a sharp knife to cut a cross shape or an 'X' into the top of the loaf. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on wire cooling rack. Enjoy!