Thursday, June 12, 2008
We be jammin'
I finally managed to make the strawberries that were languishing in the fridge into jam. They hadn't gone bad, which is a good thing because they were local and cost an arm and a leg. I won't go back to that stand ever again for produce, however. The sign on the berries said "local" and the person said local three times. I had no reason to disbelieve this information. They smelled heavenly and the top layer looked the right size and colour (our local strawberries, especially at the beginning of the season - are usually June berries. They are relatively small, usually single, and a deep dark red when ripe). While I was cleaning them, I noticed that many of the strawberries under the top layer were lighter, larger, firmer, and not red all the way through. Even the seeds on the outside looked different, and many were "double" or wedge shaped rather than conical. I do believe them thar were californie strawberries, gal durnit! I don't think it was a case of a few being less ripe, either. Underhandedness is never appreciated when it comes to consumables. I jammed them anyway. I needed six cups of mashed berries and what I had came to just over four cups. So I tossed in some frozen blueberries and enough chopped apple to make up the difference. I used Certo Light pectin crystals for the first time. This jam is for my dad and I wanted a lower sugar recipe that was shelf stable and not freezer jam. I could have used Splenda but I have a thing about artifical sweeteners and a belief that they are not as helpful as we would like to think. It still tasted plenty sweet to me, overly sweet in fact. That should mean it is perfect as I tend to like my jams and jellies a bit more tart than other people. The pectin crystals worked pleasingly well. I have another box, I might try strawberry jelly next if I can get my hands on some REAL local strawberries without having to sell any organs or sexual favours to offset the cost ;). I also made chocolate chip cookies with the addition of toffee bits. Just a typical recipe subbing earth balance margarine for butter/shortening, organic cane sugar for the white sugar and sucanat for 1/3 of the brown sugar. I like the taste and performance of these things, so why not? They are okay. I am not a good judge LOL. DD has eaten six, and asked immediately what her "cookie limit per day" was - that my friends is a good sign that the cookie monsters of the house give them a passing grade LOL. Her limit was four, by the way. Methinks the cookie jar needs to go higher up. Tomorrow the baking fest continues as I make a cake ahead for Saturday, which is our Father's day celebration with my family. It was supposed to be a "Ho Ho" cake - to us Canadians a Jos Louis cake. Devils food cake with a fluffy white filling and a chocolate glaze on top. DH was bringing his mom to the grocery store so I made a small list. On that list was "One box devil's food chocolate cake mix - any brand". Somehow he saw "any brand" and thought that meant any KIND of cake mix. He came home with fudge marble. I was looking at it a little confused and he said "But you said any kind!". Um, no. I could see if he brought a different kind of chocolate cake, but fudge marble LOL? He must really want a fudge marble cake, so fudge marble it will be! I still think it will be good. Kind of like a hybrid hostess cupcake and twinkie all in one. I would make a scratch cake, but my family prefers cake mix cakes. I am not a cake eater, so I give them what they want. I am using a recipe for icing that calls for cooking a flour and milk mixture, creaming butter and sugar and vanilla, then adding the "paste". Never made this before, but hear good things about it. We'll see. It's got to be better than that shortening and icing sugar type, or the kind made with nutriwhip. And that was my day.