Oranges, limes, and procrastination

January 25, 2010 at 5:28 pm (Uncategorized) ()

I’ve been wanting to write up some sort of grand post about where we are now, where we’d like to be years down the road, and all the inspirations for me to be writing this out. However, I’ve rather been lacking in introspection time to write such a post, and I realized that I was missing important (for some definition thereof) things in the meantime.

So, then, I suppose my penchant for drama and grand statements will simply have to wait, while the day to day tidbits of life take precedence. Yes, I’m fully aware that the whole reason I started this blog was to keep track of the day-to-day.  Apparently being fully aware of something and enacting it are two different things. Go figure.

At any rate, as is typical when I have a weekend ‘off’, I’ve been at the non-apartment home (I’ll explain this later, really), being domestic. This weekend’s stated project, aside from laundry and house-cleaning? Marmalade. ‘Tis the season when it is possible to get organic citrus at a price affordable to us, and I’ve been wanting a good excuse to do more canning.

There are now 3 1/2 pints of traditional marmalade in the canning cabinet, and 1 pint of kiwi-lime marmalade, as well. I suspect the kiwi lime, at the least, will be produced in larger quantities shortly, and as the recipe (though loosely based on a microwave recipe readily available on the ‘net) would only otherwise exist in my head, here it is:

Kiwi-Lime Marmalade

2 limes

5 kiwis

3/4 – 1 cup sugar

partial package of pectin (optional, of course)

Zest limes, chopping zest into fine shreds. Juice the limes. Peel kiwis, and dice.  Put fruit, juice, and sugar into non-reactive saucepan, and bring to a gentle boil. Cook to desired state of doneness (10-15 minutes, in this case), stir in pectin, and bring back to a boil for 1 minute, then put in hot, clean jars, and seal.

I plan to try a couple of variations on this soon, including cooking to jelly stage so I don’t have to use packaged pectin, and seeing if that improves or degrades the flavours. I generally have a strong preference for fresher, brighter notes in my preserves and jams, so I do tend to do reduced sugar, shortened cooking times, and use pectin to achieve a consistency other than ‘syrup’.  I also plan to puree and strain a batch to make soda syrup, possibly with additions such as ginger.

The other recipe worth noting was today’s invention, due to a misfire in the kitchen last night. This is not in its final form as of yet, but I’m fairly pleased for a first try. This came out of once again attempting Alton Brown’s overnight oatmeal recipe (in this case with dried cranberries, cherries, and peaches), and once again being rather unhappy with the overwhelming sour fruit notes it produced. I couldn’t bring myself to dispose of the entire pot without making some attempt to salvage it, so I threw this together off the cuff:

Oatmeal Fruit Scones/Biscuits

1 cup ‘overnight oatmeal’ (this is rather soupy, or generally turns out that way for me, anyway)

2-3 tbsp honey

2 cups wheat flour (I happened to have the ‘high fiber white’ on hand, but a blend of white and fresh whole wheat would probably have been better)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

5 tbsp unsalted butter

Mix honey into oatmeal, and allow to cool if it hasn’t already. Add leavenings to flour, then work in cold butter with fingertips.  Stir in oatmeal mixture. Work dough just until it all comes together. Pat out on floured board, cut, and bake at 425F for ~15 minutes. Makes 8 large biscuits.

This gave me a chance to use our ‘new’ cast iron biscuit pan, which was found in Saturday’s antique store hunt and re-seasoned yesterday evening, along with several other cast iron acquisitions we’ve made in the last few weeks/months.  (I’m sure I’ll be talking about the lovely cast iron we’ve rescued at a later date.)

As for the scones, they’re pretty decent. I need to add some extra salt – there was some in the oatmeal, but not enough to manage the whole recipe – or switch to salted butter, but I usually bake with unsalted. More honey wouldn’t hurt, if you’re in a sweet-tooth mood, but not necessary. I suspect more baking soda would have helped, though I’m also about to go check and see if it’s just that my baking powder has finally given up on me.

Goal for the next 2 weeks: manage that ‘where we are now’ post, and figure out a good way to take pictures of some of my projects along the way. Also, use up the rest of the abudance of citrus currently residing in the kitchen.

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