Tag Archives: lemon juice

Peach Poblano Jam

We switched to a different variety of poblanos in the garden this year. Last year’s would have been way too hot for this jam, although if you like a jalapeno jelly, you might like the heat. This year’s poblanos started turning red much quicker and are mild enough that you get a chance to taste the pepper. The result in the jam is that you don’t get any heat at first, but then it starts showing up as an afterthought. We kind of liked that.

If you have hotter poblanos, whether or not you like that effect or not, you might consider using fewer in your jam.

My husband says he would eat the jam on biscuits, but I’m mostly planning to serve it with pork or chicken. I think it could work in a fajita as well. Anything savory where a little sweet would complement.

I looked at a lot of recipes for peach jam to compare the amounts of sugar used. For my 3.5 lbs of peaches, I settled on 3 cups of sugar. I didn’t want to use pectin, and I found a number of recipes that didn’t, but I found their cooking directions to be way off—some said to cook it for as little as 10 minutes!! Mine cooked for about as long as my tomato jam, because I was looking for that moment when the wooden spoon dragged a clear path in the jam.

How I decided on the number of poblanos to use is still a mystery to me. I used 4, cut in a small dice. It was enough that they are well distributed throughout like little red jewels. đź‘Ť

Peach Poblano Jam

  • Servings: about 5 cups
  • Difficulty: time-consuming
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Ingredients

  • 3.5 lbs peaches (peeled and seeded weight); 16 medium peaches
  • 10 oz poblano peppers (seeded weight); 4 peppers
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Preparation

  1. Blanch peaches for 1-2 minutes and cool in ice water. Peel peaches and remove pits.
  2. You can chop the peaches by hand to your desired size or pulse them in a food processor or both. I did both, giving me enough tiny pieces to make a thick jam base, with some larger pieces for texture.
  3. Mix peaches, diced peppers, sugar, salt, and lemon juice in a large stock pot. Some recipes let the mixture sit to draw out the fruit’s juices first, some for as long as overnight. I didn’t wait, and that could have affected my cooking time.
  4. Bring to a boil over medium to medium-high heat, then lower to a simmer that keeps the mixture bubbling without a lid. On my gas burner, it’s the LOW setting.
  5. Stir occasionally until the mixture stops foaming and begins to thicken. That happened for me after 1 hour. It just clicked over like a switch.
  6. After the jam begins to thicken stir more often to prevent sticking until you can drag a wooden spoon through it and it leaves a trail in the bottom of the pan. That took another hour. It all depends on how juicy your peaches are. Just keep at it and it will thicken. I set up my thermometer, because I was curious. It hovered at about 175Âş until the end.
  7. Spoon into clean jars or containers and refrigerate for 1-2 weeks or freeze. I can’t advise you on canning.

Quick Pork and Pepper Ragout

Quick, because I’m using pork tenderloins instead of a cut that benefits from long cooking, like a pork shoulder. In fact, after browning the tenderloin cubes, You only add them to the sauce at the last minute before serving.

One of my freezer packs of tomato sauce was marked “tomato-pepper” because one day I had a bunch of bell peppers harvested on the same day as some tomatoes. So, instead of roasting the tomatoes with carrots and onion and garlic, I roasted them with the peppers and it all went into the blender. I’ve been waiting for the right recipe to use them. You will have a chunkier sauce if you are using fresh chopped peppers in your sauce. I’m also going to add two chopped red poblanos which may add a little zing (who ever really knows about poblanos?), and I’m marinating the pork cubes in smoked paprika for a smoky pepper taste. Our ripened poblanos turned a dark purplish-red; maybe you can pick those out  in the image of roasted peppers from one of my roasting days:

Quick Pork and Pepper Ragout

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 to 2 lbs pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut in half inch cubes
  • Marinade:
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 3-4 slices thick-sliced bacon, browned and crumbled, fat reserved (I cook mine in the oven)
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • about 2 cups combination of peppers of your choice: I had about 4 bell peppers in my sauce (blended) and added 2 chopped roasted red poblanos
  • 2-3 large cloves of garlic, minced, grated, or pressed
  • 2- 3 cups tomato sauce or mixture of tomato paste and stock or fresh tomatoes
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 pound penne pasta, cooked according to package directions.
Preparation
  1. Coat pork cubes in marinade and refrigerate for at least a half hour or longer. Mine sat for about 4 hours. I did not add the garlic to the marinade, because I didn’t want it to burn in the browning of the meat.
  2. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add two tablespoons reserved bacon fat and bring to sizzling. Add marinated pork and brown on all sides. You will probably need to cook the meat in 2-3 batches so the cubes don’t touch and create a gray, watery mess. Set browned pork aside.
  3. Add onion, carrots, peppers and garlic to hot pan. Stir until beginning to wilt, then add your tomato sauce. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until carrots are tender.
  4. Stir in pork cubes and heat for just a few minutes.
  5. Serve over pasta; top with crumbled bacon.

If my husband weren’t lactose intolerant, I would stir in 1/4 cup sour cream at the end. Instead, I’m serving it on the side.

Are these the “Special Potatoes”?

We were watching Sunday night’s Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown visit to the Greek islands and twice he mentioned a “special potatoes” dish, as if it always appears with Greek meals. After the second mention, we looked at each other and asked “What the heck are special potatoes?” He never said, and I still don’t know, but I’m pretending that he meant these roasted potatoes with garlic, lemon, and oregano. We’re not having lamb or fish or any meat you might find in Greece—just burgers—and it is cold and rainy, instead of sunny and beachside, but maybe these potatoes will add a little sunshine to an otherwise ordinary meal.

And, by the way, it was a really lovely episode, very relaxing and beautiful, like you expect a vacation to be, and it was nice to see Bourdain being domestic, making food for his friends.

I’m following the recipe on Epicurious without variation, even down to using fresh lemon juice and fresh oregano. I do have doubts that 3 pounds of potatoes will fit nicely in the suggested 9″ x 13″ dish without being crowded, and the roasting time seems short, but I’ll give it a chance. If you read the comments below the original recipe, you will find a few complaints, but I have advice about those:

  1. Some readers complained about the potatoes coming out mushy, but you need to use baking potatoes and you need to cut them into the suggested size of 1.5″ chunks. Don’t guess; get a ruler. These are big chunks that stand up to the cooking and all the liquids in the recipe (olive oil, chicken stock, lemon juice) without becoming mushy.
  2. Many readers thought the 1/2 cup of olive oil was too much, but I think they didn’t weigh their potatoes. Three pounds is a lot—it took 4 large bakers to reach 3 lbs—1/2 cup of oil was not too much.

Get a scale and a ruler and make sure you use baking  potatoes.

Epicurious: Roasted Potatoes with Garlic, Lemon, and Oregano

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 400°

Ingredients:

3 lbs baking potatoes, peeled and cut in 1.5″ chunks

1/2 cup olive oil (I used extra-virgin)

1.5 teaspoons dried oregano

4 cloves garlic, minced (about 1.5 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon salt

coarse ground black pepper, to cover lightly

1/2 cup chicken stock (or beef is suggested)

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, toss potatoes with oil, garlic, dried oregano, and salt. Place the potatoes in a single layer in a 13-x-9-inch baking dish and sprinkle with pepper—they were a little crowded and not quite in the single layer called for. I would use a larger dish next time for more browning.
  2. Bake the potatoes for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the stock, toss and bake for 10 minutes more.
  4. Add the lemon juice, toss and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until the potatoes are cooked through. You can achieve more browning by letting them roast for 5-10 minutes more or you can put them under a broiler. I let mine go 5 minutes longer after adding the stock and after adding the juice and they were still not mushy—baking potatoes can stand up to it.
  5. Sprinkle with the fresh oregano and serve at once.

This is a very nice potato dish that would work for a variety of meals, for friends, family or company. Glamorous and flavorful, even with burgers.

Heavenly Lemon Ricotta Muffins

I was going to make my Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Cake for the department get-together, but my husband didn’t like the look of the blueberries I picked up, so I whipped up my Sparkling Molasses Ginger Cookies. That left me with lemons and ricotta. So I merged the following two recipes into one that resulted in a muffin with a fluffy texture and a rich lemony taste:

Giada’s Lemon Ricotta Muffins

Lemon Ricotta Muffins Full of Sunshine

Heavenly Lemon Ricotta Muffins

  • Servings: 12 muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 350°; line a muffin pan with paper liners.

1 cup sugar

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature

lemon zest from 3 lemons

juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)

1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

1 large egg

2 cups all purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup almond milk (or cow’s milk or water)

decorating sugar

  1. Beat sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.
  2. Add zest, lemon juice, and ricotta and beat until combined.
  3. Beat in egg.
  4. Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until combined.
  5. Slowly pour in milk until batter thins but still remains a thick batter. I used the entire 1/3 cup of milk.
  6. Scoop batter into liners in muffin pan. Sprinkle with decorating sugar.
  7. Bake for 18 minutes. Cool in pan on rack for at least 15 minutes before removing to completely cool. Did you ever try to pick a hot muffin out of the tin and pull the top right off? Better to wait.