Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Food Updates

The day before we left (though it should have been the day we left, only our flight got canceled), I made my 4th or 5th small batch of jelly. I'm getting really into it. We have tons of plums for the picking in our back yard, and I hate seeing good fruit go to waste. I really don't like going to the trouble of pitting them, as they're quite small and it takes forever. So I cook them in a big pot, and strain out the skins and pits for a smoother spread than I got last year when I made jam.

As you can see, these plums are a bit on the hard and less ripe side. Now that we're back, the trees are full of purple fruit and I can do some comparison jelly-making. I didn't mind using them at the earlier stage because I love tart tasting fruit spread. I did one batch with whiskey and it has a little kick to it.

I don't follow any recipe to the T, but I sort of use the directions on the pectin box. (You can buy pectin, along with jars and lids, in any grocery store.) I've also consulted the Ball Blue Book (revered as the canning bible). Also, the Pick Your Own site is truly awesome. My mom and all the experts advise that you not cut back on sugar even though it seems outrageous to make something that has 3 - 6 cups of sugar in it. I'm having my doubts, as my 2nd batch of cherry jelly is soooo sweet thanks to my following a recipe for once. I much prefer the 1st batch I made using my own judgment on the sugar.

I don't yet own all the real deal equipment, but I want to gear up soon, ok gift-buying people... ? Instead, I use tongs I have on hand to handle hot jars, soup ladles, and funnels I already own but that are not made for jars so they kind of suck. I process the jellies in a big pot of water with canning rings at the bottom to support the jars.

Really, it's all pretty easy, and you can do a batch in 1 - 2 hours. Try it.

In other food news, we ate a few good meals on vacation. Here's a photo of Elias eating his new favorite dish, cochinita pibil -- pork flavored with chilis and orange and baked in a banana leaf. We bought some pork butt at the butcher already to try to make it at home.

Today, the LA Times ran a story on California cheeses. Mmm. Gonna get me some.

Today only, get your free slurpee at participating 7-11s.

9 Added Something:

Anonymous Juan quipped...

Welcome back! Elias has got it right on the cochinita pibil. Mi Lindo Yucatan in the Mission has a good version, though the rest of their stuff has gone slightly downhill. Are you going to cook it in the ground? We have a Rick Bayless cookbook with a goodlooking recipe if you're interested.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Kathy quipped...

Yeah Juan, I'd love to check it out. I was hoping to find a variation that allows us to do it in the crock pot, but I know Elias wants to do the banana leaf and pink onions as well.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Spleengrrl quipped...

I'm never checking your blog again on an empty stomach. :(

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 6:09:00 PM  
Blogger RV3 quipped...

In L.A. we have Chicken Itxa, near USC and in MacArthur Park, and that is where I get my dose of cochinita pibil...
Anyway I love it when you write about food...
And I don't love it when our readers get off subject in the comments section...


Wednesday, July 11, 2007 7:46:00 PM  
Anonymous anna quipped...

That pork butt looks GOOOD - I'm going to run down to Chicken Itxa (formerly Luna Sol, which I miss) to get me some (thanks for the recommendation rv3 - i need to see you, btw, it's been almost a year! are you going to the lotus festival? i'm so getting off subject because i can) (welcome back kids!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 9:44:00 PM  
Blogger hostile17 quipped...

so have you read the latest Buffy, issue #4? (getting off topic on purpose just to get RV3's goat)
seriously you should, it's good

Thursday, July 12, 2007 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Kathy quipped...

H17, I hate to admit it, but I only read issue #1 since someone was kind enough to give it to me for my birthday. I have some catching up to do before I get to #4. That said, Elias and I went to a sing along, "Once More With Feeling" show a few weeks back.

Thursday, July 12, 2007 4:13:00 PM  
Blogger lucy4 quipped...

I made jam with my kids when I had a garden outside my classroom. We grew a lot of strawberries and made jam in little containers for their families. I missed the free Slurpee day but it's alright, I'll just drop by a Kwik-E-Mart to get myself a Squishee instead.

Thursday, July 12, 2007 4:32:00 PM  
Blogger Dirty Dan Sin quipped...

Perhaps someday Elias can taste my patented 'The Dan's Dirty Chili Pibil.' I start with an oven version of the pibil and add it to my black bean chili. Yummers! It's all about having tequila and wine combined in one recipe.

Friday, July 13, 2007 12:29:00 PM  

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