Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Corncakes with Local Huckleberries and Lime Curd for Two

The temperature is sitting at 43 degrees with a predicted high of 51. The ski run is socked in with fog...fall is definitely in the air this morning.   I closed all the windows from being open all night (brrrr!) and had the urge to be in the kitchen and make some comfort food for breakfast.
I had huckleberries in the fridge from our time spent picking in the mountains.  They needed to be utilized so I decided upon huckleberry corncakes and lime curd.  I made a latte to go along with my breakfast.

Lemon and lime both pair well with blueberries. Wild huckleberries are similiar in flavor profile to blueberries, and I had limes on hand so I settled for making lime curd.  The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dorenenburg is a great book to reach for when unsure about food profiles and pairing "what with what".  I made this first and allowed it to cool slightly while I made the corncakes.  I followed a Gourmet January 2001 lemon curd recipe that I found on Epicurious, substituting lime for the lemon.

Lime Curd

makes approximately 1 cup

1/2 cup lime juice
2 tsp lime zest (~ zest from one lime)
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
3 large egg yolks
6 tbsp unsalted butter

Whisk ingredients together in a small saucepan.  Cook over moderately low heat until thick. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least an hour.

I used a basic pancake recipe from Michael Ruhlman's "Ratio" book...2 parts liquid: 1 part egg: 1/2 part butter: 2 parts flour

Huckleberry Corncakes

makes approx 6-3" dia cakes

Wet Ingredients:
2 oz organic skim milk
2 oz full fat yogurt (I used Brown Cow)
1 large egg
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients:
1 oz brown rice flour
1 oz cornmeal
2 oz ap flour (I used Wheat Montana)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 cup wild huckleberries

Mix wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls. Add wet to dry and stir until just mixed.  Grease a griddle with butter or bacon grease...yep, I used the latter.  This creates crisp outer edges.  Spoon batter onto hot griddle and sprinkle tops of corncakes with huckleberries. Cook till golden, flip and continue cooking until done.  Serve immediately.

I like a thicker cake, so these turned out nice and puffy. If you prefer a thinner cake, add 1-2 oz of milk.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Summer Solstice Preserves

Ohhh, I'm soooo far behind on blog far in fact recently I have even stopped opening the blogger website and reading other blogs that I follow. If you don't see it, it doesn't exist, right?
If the truth be known, that last batch of strawberry-rhubarb jam with jalapenos that over set really kinda put a damper on my blogging. I had planned on opening the jars & re-batching it with additional fruit. That is, until I read Food In Jars post about jam set testing methods. Ok, idea was nixed. Marisa from Food In Jars recommends calling it Pate de Fruit...slice it up and serve with breads, cheeses and charcuterie. But honestly, how fun is it to blog about failures though? I do believe I may be over the hump now...I purchased a waterproof digital thermometer and sat down and actually calculated what the correct temperature for jam set point is in our little mountain town.

So here's a little math for your morning. At sea level, water boils @ 212 degrees. As the elevations increase, the boiling point decreases...yeah, I know, what?? Kinda confusing, but it has something to do with atmospheric pressure, blah, blah, blah. Yes, I've read the scientific reasoning behind this MANY times, and no, it does not stick in my brain...maybe because I don't really care? Okay, I have digressed...back to math. For every 1,000 ft increase in elevation, you should subtract 2 degrees to find out the degrees at which water boils.  We're at 5,500 ft, so I subtracted 11 degrees from 212. Boiling point here is 201 degrees. Now the jam set point...jam sets 8 degrees above boiling point, so for our area its 209 degrees...bam...done....take your jammie's temp & your golden. Well, golden to a point...I have still noticed set variations with the last three fruits I have put up. The summer solstice preserves made with tart cherries and blueberries is a solid movement from the jam when the jars are tilted.  The sweet cherry jam is thick, but there's a sultry luxurious "ness" to the way it sways when the jar is tilted. I also put up four batches of peach jam (I told you I was behind in my blogging!!) and there appear to be slight variances in the thickness of each batch.

So, back to the subject of Summer Solstice Preserves. I found this recipe in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. The only modification I made was throwing in a few extra blueberries because I had them on hand. Should affect the jam consistency right? I thought so, but so far it looks fine in the jar.  The recipe calls for tart pie cherries. I was fortunate enough to get local cherries from Bonnie @ Boja Farms out of Bridger.  Pitting these tiny buggers was an exercise in patience though. That's all I will say about that task!!

Summer Solstice Preserves

Makes about 5 8oz jars

3 cups halved pitted red tart cherries*
1 cup blueberries (I added 1 3/4cups)
4 1/2 cups granulated sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 pouch (3oz) liquid pectin
2 tbsp Kirsch or cherry flavored Brandy (I used Kirsch)

*I know this post is not very timely, in the fact that we are way past cherry season. I imagine you could use frozen tart cherries if you put them up this summer.

The picture below shows the size of Kirsch bottle I found at the Liquor Store. You can also see how much I used. Looks like I'll have to find another use for Cherry Liqueur.

  1. In a large, deep stainless steel stockpot, combine cherries, blueberries, sugar and lemon juice. Stir to mix well. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  2. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
  3. Over high heat, stirring constantly, bring fruit mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.  Stir in pectin. Boil hard, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Test jam set point temperature. Boil longer if needed. When jam is at correct set point, remove from heat and add Kirsch. Skim foam.
  4. Ladle hot preserves into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Remove air bubbles and adjust head space, if necessary by adding hot preserves/  Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
  5. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. (I added 5 minutes for our increased elevation) Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool & store.

Jars in particular are a ♥ of mine. The jar pictured 2nd from the left is a vintage Ball jar. The left most jar is my latest fave. It's a squatty half pint from the Ball Elite collection ...!