Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Hello everyone, Ian here!
Do you like jam? I like jam, alot. Unfortunately the most common kinds involve strawberries, and as I am allergic to them, I am usually scared to eat any red jams haha. So when Aimee from Under the High Chair extended an invitation to Christie and I to attend and participate in her annual Jam Swap event, we were, to say the least, very excited. The requirements were simple enough, make Jam, bring said jam, and exchange said jam with others at a fun get together. Sounds simple enough? Yes, though quite quickly afterwards, Christie and I realized that neither of us had ever made any jam.
Our first idea was to make batches of Christies homemade chocolate & hazelnut spread, though we realized that the sterilization and jarring process was going to be 50% of the challenge of making a jam. After a nice weekend visit to the Atwater market that weekend, we decided to change the original plan once we laid our eyes on some local cranberries. Neither of us had any idea that cranberries were produced locally, and were quite happy to discover that there were abundant amounts apparently. Christie and I have been doing our best to select as many locally grown/produced food products as possible, thus using local cranberries made far more sense to us than imported chocolate and hazelnuts.
Cranberries chosen, Christie and I settled on her classic Cranberry and Port sauce, which, although technically not a jam, was acceptable as the Jams were varied from classic fruit jams, to delicious salsas, mmmmmmmmm (can you tell that I loved the salsa?). Making the sauce itself was alot of fun, as we had never made that much of it before. The jarring process seemed intimidating at first, and our first test attempt failed, though we quickly realized that this was due to a small amount of sauce being found on the rim of the jar when we screwed the lid on before the boiling process. Once we had found that out, each batch went swimmingly.
Needless to say, the jam swap went really well, there were so many absolutely delicious creations there, with my favorite easily being one of Aimee's amazing pumpkin preserves. If you ever have the chance to try this, jump on it, you wont regret it. Christie made sure to get me some, and I am hoarding the stuff.
On a side note, please take a moment to visit Aimee's wonderful website (link at the bottom of this posting), you really wont regret it.
Thank you very much again from Christie and I to you and your family Aimee for the wonderful hospitality! Hope everyone enjoys the photos as much as we all had fun at this event.
Under the Highchair
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Yay, we made crème brulee for the BB's!
It was actually really simple and fast although in the end we were a little disappointed. Our "crème" was really eggie and Ian called it sweet scrambled eggs. Not something you particularly want to hear eh!
I wasn't sure how to caramelize the sugar because we didn't have a torch For days I searched all around the web and stores for a reasonably priced one but couldn't find any. Then when I had finally given up, one went on sale at good 'ol Canadian Tire so I asked someone to pick it up for me today. The moment I step into the house I opened the box to check out my new contraption and of course it needed butane.
Sigh, so my new gadget is still in the box and we had to experiment with the broiler. There was a little more "burning" than caramelizing but I think I have figured it out. Tomorrow I get to really go nuts with the torch on the last three brulees!
Recipe is here
Monday, November 2, 2009
Happy Halloween Everyone!
For a second year running Ian and I found ourselves knee deep in 60 pounds of apples that we picked during the notorious apple season in Quebec. Lately we’ve been searching high and low for the best recipes to use up these apples, hence the past two posts! As Halloween grew nearer we figured “Hey, what else have we got in the cupboard that could accompany these apples?”
light corn syrup… check
red food dye… check
apples… double check
And within 20 minutes, these gorgeous red candy apples were born! Yes seriously, from the beginning till the time that the first one is in your tummy there is a grand total of 20 minutes spent.
Not only are they simply delicious, but they truly do bring back memories of being four feet tall and crying until someone bought you one of those large red apples. If you have any extra apples leftover and can successfully check off the above list, give them a try, they’re worth it!
Also, this being a Happy Halloween post, here are a few pictures from a truly ghoulish Halloween party put on by our friend Marc. I’m pretty sure that when he moved into his apartment he only brought boxes full of Halloween decorations because the second we walked in we were transported to another nightmarish universe! Every single inch was decorated and the details were incredible! Ian went as a 1940’s press photographer and was able to get some amazing shots; while I was a Cigarette Girl from the 1920’s who handed out Popeye candy cigarettes.
adapted from Martha Stewart
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon red food coloring
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, corn syrup, and food coloring. Bring to a boil over high heat. Insert candy thermometer and continue to boil until temperature reaches between 300 degrees and 310 degrees (hard crack stage), about 10-15 minutes.
Insert a wooden stick into the top of each apple, pushing about halfway through; set aside. When mixture reaches temperature, immediately remove from heat. Working quickly, dip apples in sugar mixture until completely coated. Transfer to prepared baking sheet; allow to cool for 5 minutes.