Saturday, April 23, 2011

Meyer Lemon and Mineola Orange Marmalade

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I'm pretty excited about this marmalade for a couple reasons.  Why?
  • It's an awesome combination of sweet and bitter
  • We've got an abundance of Meyer lemons
  • Sarah made this before, and this time, Kirsty and I did it on our own
  • I learned how to extract the pectin from the fruit
 I looked at a bunch of recipes, and found some helpful tips on a few of them.  Most of the recipes were looking for a much lighter amount of fruit.  Somehow, it just didn't seem right, so I went above and beyond.  When Sarah made this recipe, she added a couple Clementine oranges, which added some complexity to the flavor, and I really like how it offsets the color of the lemon.  I just got some organic Mineola Oranges from our CSA.  They've got a thicker skin, a very dark orange rind, giving it a stronger bitter bite, and the deep color contrast.

What's good about this marmalade over others?
  •  We used a lot of fruit.  About twice most other recipes.  It's rich.
  • We combined lemon and orange, adding flavor and color.
I've been intrigued with the idea of canning, or making jams.  We've made a few berry jams, with berries from the farmer's market, so this was kinda cool, essentially the ingredients came from our harvest, and of course, the sugar.  We even extracted the pectin from the fruit, which is doubly cool.

You really don't need anything special to make this recipe, although a couple tools are handy.
  • Cheescloth
  • Candy or instant thermometer
  • Jar funnel
  • A couple large pots, 1 for sterilizing, 1 for cooking
  • 7-8 canning jars with 2 part lids (8 oz jars)
  • Tongs - there are special jar tongs.  I don't use them, but might be nice to have.
3 pounds Meyer lemons
2 each Mineola oranges
4 cups sugar
5 cups water
1 cup meyer lemon juice
Sterilize the jars and lids in a large pot full of water, enough to cover the jars.  I put both parts of the lid in the pot to boil.  I've noticed some say it's hard on the rubber seal.  I haven't had a problem, but I haven't made that many batches.  Boil about 10 minutes, then dry on a clean towel.  Use tongs so you don't get anything on the sterile jars and lids.

Chop the Lemons
While the jars are boiling, start cutting up the fruit.  For the marmalade, we cut 1/8-1/4 inch slices, then cut out the membrane from the center, and cut into wedges.  We also cut off both ends of the lemon, and removed all the seeds. Keep all the trimmings, especially the seeds in a pile on the cheesecloth.  

Lemons boiling on left.  Sterilized jars, lids and holders on towel.
Combine the fruit, juice and water in a big pot.  Tie up the seeds and membrane in the cheesecloth, like a teabag.  Add to the water.  Bring to a boil and cook until the rinds are soft, and not chewy.  About 20 minutes.  Keep stirring.  If it seems like it's sticking to the bottom, add another cup of water.  I had to.  In fact, I didn't stir enough and had some rinds burn or at least brown on the bottom of the pan.  Oops.  
Boiling the fruit and 'teabag'.  Keep stirring!
Remove the 'teabag' of seeds and so on.  Let it cool.  That's got your pectin you'll squeeze back into the pot, once it's cool enough to handle.
Wrip up the seeds and membranes to make the pectin "teabag".

Add sugar
Add the sugar and return to a boil.  Once the teabag is cool, squeeze the cheesecloth bag into the boil.  I got about 2-3 Tbsp of really thick white juice from the bag.  You want to keep boiling until the temperature increases by 8 degrees (F).  If you don't have a thermometer, there are other ways you can tell if you're done.  One cool method I read about and used, put a plate in the freezer.  Drip some sauce on it.  If it gels enough to see it hold up when you push your finger in it, it's done.  If it just drips, it's not done.  Keep stirring the whole time with a wooden spoon.

Pour into jars
Use a ladle, and fill jars wthin a 1/4 of the top.  I got 7 jars from my batch.  Make sure the rims are clean, as well as the jar threads.  Put the lid on, then screw the lid holder down.  If you still have the other pot full of hot water, put the filled jars in the hot water, and return to a boil for 10 minutes.  This kills any bacteria.  Let cool and store in the fridge or in a cool dark place.  It should store for a year, I've heard.

Enjoy, especially on toast.

Saturday workout PCC

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This was the 3rd Saturday morning workout at PCC Master's.  I swam the one prior, at 7:15am in lane 6, the farthest right.  It's my least favorite due to the wall, along over half our lane.  It's not forgiving, if you drift in your lane a bit.

It was a fast fun day.  I even kept up in the 2:50 200M  and the 100 M at the end of the workout, I held a good 1:20 pace, without draft.  A nice workout!  And, great to see Damon and Bill in the pool.  Damon's not been swimming much, but still had good speed, at least compared to me.

Jib Jab
I have been missing the Saturday workouts.  Mostly 'letting myself off' instead of having something else going on.  Bill said he's working on improving his speed too, and said adding 5000M on Saturday is helping.  I'm going to give it a try, although I got in about 3300M today.

PCC new landscaping
Finally, we are re-landscaping our backyard, so I've been trying to notice gardens I like.  This one is subtle, but nice.  I like it.  Why?  I am not totally sure.  It's simple.  Nice vegetation.  Not over filled or sparse.  Contrasting colors.  I like the spiky guys, and the little variegated bush.  It's got a little purple flower on it now.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Part of the April harvest
Jib Jab styled click here
The picture is the latest harvest from the garden.  I am at the point where, Spring is here, but I've only got my trees in, and a couple summer squash and cucumbers in the ground.  The irrigation system is still not working, so I am hand watering.  It's a race to get some plants in the ground, and get those roots started.

Coming Soon!
I get so many lemons from this tiny tree.  These are the incredibly flavorful Meyer lemons.  I have a goose laying golden lemons.  They just keep coming and coming and coming!  So, I gave some out at work, and to my sister, and last weekend I put some to good use:  I made:

  • Limoncello
  • Preserved Lemons
  • Lemonade
  • Grilled chicken with dijon mustard, lemon, rosemary, pepper flakes marinade

The Limoncello and preserved lemons take like 80 days until they are ready.  Okay, at least a few weeks.  The point is, I will be posting, and the recipes are coming.  My goal is 1 recipe a day.

Jib Jab
I've been feeling a lack of JibJab. At the top of my mind are:

Mexico mission trip
Patrick is building houses on a Mexico mission trip.  I'm pretty excited for him.  It was a moving experience for his sister, and me when we went a couple years ago. 

I've been thinking a lot about blogging, and writing, and photography and small businesses.  I'm not sure where it's all going, but I'm enjoying and thinking.

It's Spring!
I feel this tremendous energy developing as the days get longer, more sunny days, so much is in bloom.  It's time to plant! And plan. And yeah.

I've been setting personal best times.  It's really kind of exciting.  I don't think I'm peaking yet either, from the new techniques I've been using.  I'm trying some new things, and it's paying off.  It's still raw, but it's working!!  I've hit some good (for me) times in 25 M, 50M, 100M, and 300M.  I do want to work on the longer distances.  Stay tuned.

Finally, the Giants!!
Wow, here we go with another season.  This isn't going to be a slam-dunk season for the Giants, even at this early stage of the season, they've shown some weakness.  Yes, these guys are World Series Champions.  Yet, they have struggles and challenges every day.  Every day!  It's been impressive to see them win more games lately, and come back from deficits to win.  They came so close to sweeping the Diamondbacks.  So so close.  It would have been incredible.  And, not the Giants.  They are earning their 'Torture' stripes again this year.  This is a big week.  Playing the Rockies, in Denver, and the Rocks are red red hot.  Already 4 games up, and have won 12 of their first 15 games.  WOW!

Try this link I keep popping in here and there.  It's a fun little feature of blogspot.  It takes my content and formats it in interesting ways.   Try the different options on the top right.  Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Kohlrabi Fritters

This is an extra big one, because I wanted to finish off the batter.  You can see, I am still using up my dill on these.  It's a much better combination here, than with the mashers I made.  Anyways, these turned out great.  The recipe is adapted from something I found on another blog, A Hungry Bear.  Is it impolite if I don't hyperlink that? hungry bear.  Okay, I feel better now.  Essentially, the recipe is grated kohlrabi, and onions, then egg and breadcrumbs plus spices, so here we go.

Serves 4.

3 small kohlrabi peeled and grated
1 small onion, peeled and grated
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
3 eggs
3-4 Tbsp Olive Oil
Fresh dill
 greek yogurt and applesauce (optional)

Topping options
Kirsty topped hers with a dollop of Greek yogurt and applesauce.  It looked good!

Drain the kohlrabi.  Use a paper towel.  I grated mine a couple days before, so they were pretty excess- water free.You want it fairly dry so your fritters hold together.  Combine with the onion.  Beat the eggs.  Add the panko to the eggs and mix.  Add to the veggies.  Mix thoroughly.  Add the dill and mix.
Heat a pretty good amount of oil in a pan, say 3 Tbsp.  Drop a heaping tablespoon into pan and flatten into fritter.  Brown on each side.  I added a bit more oil, each batch.  The final batch was about 2-3 frittters worth, into one.  :-)

Jib Jab
These are really tasty!!  Do not skimp on the oil, the crispy edge tastes really good.  Get the oil hot to start, to give it that crispy edge of deliciousness.

Mashed Kohlrabi and Carrots

I made this recipe before, or something like it and it was delicious.  The kohlrabi has a really full flavor, and the carrots add a sweetness to the whole thing.  In this recipe I used fresh dill because I had it.  In hindsight, I think I would go with a sweeter herb next time.  Other than the dill, which is tasty, it's pretty sweet tasting!  To be honest, I really didn't want to cook, but I had already peeled and diced the kohlrabi a couple days ago. I didn't want them to not get used, so, I boiled them in water, and threw in some carrots, about 4 small ones diced.  Did you notice the background?  It was getting later and I wanted natural light, so I took the picture on my ipe I call it.  It's my patio with a wood river/bridge.  Anyway, here's the recipe.

Makes about 6 servings

6 small kohlrabi, peeled and diced (I used organic, from my CSA, not sure what others taste like.)
4 small carrots, cleaned and diced (I used organic.  Makes a huge difference.)
4 Tbsp butter
Dill, fresh, chopped, or maybe try cardamom or nutmeg or something (I used dill, but next time I am going the sweet direction)
Salt and Pepper

I boiled the veggies for 14 minutes, drained, then added the butter, and mashed.  You don't have to mash all the way.  I sprinkled the dill in, and then garnished on top.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Jib Jab
So, I had a huge amount of kohlrabis, turns out it filled a whole large yogurt container, I think that's a quart, for your reference.  It's probably about 3 to 1 kohlrabi to carrots.  Anyway, I also made a kohlrabi fritter, which was really good.  Another kind of inspired and seat of the pants recipe.