Category: lime

Retro-style Indian “lime pickles.”

Indian pickled limes.

Retro-style? Salad oil? Lime pickles? What the hell is this?” That’s probably what you’re thinking reading this recipe. And I don’t blame you, really. But you should get the backstory before you think I’m totally insane.

Because lime pickles are totally a thing, and this is indeed a vintage- or “retro”- recipe.

A few months ago on a really rainy, chilly, gross Friday night, Jay & I stopped in to one of my favorite thrift stores. There wasn’t much to get. I was a little disappointed. Until he found a stack of 1960’s/1970’s McCall’s magazine cookbook supplements! SCORE!

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Easy to make citrus “finishing” salt.

DIY citrus salt.

Well, if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been seeing this all over the place: citrus salt!

I think every blog out there has made it. Or some version of it. Or at least raved about it. Which is partially why I’ve avoided it for so long. I hate jumping on bandwagons, even if they’re damn good bandwagons. Like the cupcake craze. I love me some cupcakes, so what can I say.

But we’re coming into the season of cook outs, and fishing, and bright summery food. It was a rainy day, and I was sitting on the couch daydreaming. And I thought lemon salt would be amazing with grilled fish. Or wait, what about grapefruit salt rimming a glass? Or lime salt with chips & guac? And so then I deigned to make some citrus salt despite it’s popularity.

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Saying goodbye to summer with tomato jam.

Wow. Hey there, end of summer.

You snuck up on me, as you usually do. But this time I feel like I really haven’t been expecting you at all. By this time in years’ past I have already thought about you once or twice, usually around my birthday. I have perhaps even dwelled upon you, sadly, as I acknowledge the days already getting a smidgen shorter, & the cicadas song plays the finale. But this year? You got me good. Suddenly, it’s the unofficial end of summer: Labor Day.

A delicious tomato jam; try it with goat cheese on toasted bread for a different spin on bruschetta!

I feel like I haven’t made a whole lot of things I wanted to this summer. Having a blog makes you a bit crazy, see. I wanted to make all these awesome things over the summer & then blog about them. I wanted to take some tomato canning classes at The Brooklyn Kitchen. I had big plans for recipes- Miemo’s mama’s eggrolls, paella. Things like that. Things that were new to me (kitchen-wise), things that I never made before. I did make one-pan pasta & homemade butter, though, both of which are things I’d never done. But the other, more complicated things? Nope. I got caught up in the enjoyment of summer… the corn on the cob, the cookouts, the lazy sticky days & humid starry nights roasting marshmallows, drinking frozen alcoholic drinks, the soaking in of the sun, eating fresh fish after a day at the beach, the making of pickles & jams, the cutting of herbs, the inhaling of said herbs (frequently heard around here: “OH MY GOD that fresh basil/cilantro/oregano/rosemary smells AMAZING!”). Then I was tricked by the unseasonably cool weather (not a day over 90 degrees in August) & I was lulled into having the windows open with cool air blowing in. But I still forgot all about the end of summer. Basically, I got distracted living life.

There are worse things.

Stepping away from the internet is a good thing. Anyway… I got distracted & forgot that summer was about to end. Summer is weird that way; it starts to end the minute it begins and before you know it you’re catching up, trying to squeeze in the last bits of it any way you can. Now, suddenly, it’s tomato time.

Fresh grape tomatoes... about to be turned into tomato jam.

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Enter the Tiki Room- a Sourpuss giveaway!

************ COMMENTS CLOSED! GIVEAWAY IS OVER 5/28/13! ************

*** Thanks so much to everyone who entered! I hope to do tons more of these! ***

*** AND THE WINNER IS… ***

tikimugwinner

tikimugwinner2

______________________________________________

When I say that I’ve been excited to post this, I’m not kidding. I really have been. Crazy excited. And I know, it’s not quite warm enough yet to imagine yourself lying on a beach sipping a cocktail, but try. Because today I’m giving away a set of TWO limited edition Sourpuss Clothing Tiki mugs, and giving you a recipe for banana daquiri’s to put in those mugs.

See those mugs? Yep. That’s what one lucky winner will get. TWO OF THOSE MUGS! Namely, the two on the left. Sold separately, they’re $26.00 each. YOU COULD WIN THEM. FOR FREE. If you win, you’ll get one mug each of the first two shown in the photo above (listed from left to right as shown): one May I Be Frank tiki mug & one Aloha Zombie tiki mug.

Sourpuss Clothing LIMITED EDITION Tiki mugs! Enter the giveaway now... ends May 27th 2013.
Sourpuss Clothing LIMITED EDITION Tiki mugs! Enter the giveaway now... ends May 27th 2013.(Shown in my photos are the Headhunter tiki mug & the Tai One On tiki mug; you’ll be entering to win the other two)

Do you have an outdoor Tiki bar in the summer? Do you love Polynesian masks? Are you big into 1950’s & 1960’s Tiki culture? Do you have a wicked sense of humor? Do you love horror movies & zombies as much as the beach & the sun? Is your dream guy a weird conglomeration of Don Draper going to Hawaii with Johnny Cash & ending up with bolts in his neck à la Frankenstein? Well then, my friend, you’ve hit the jackpot today. Because you could possibly win these totally awesome mugs. Even if you aren’t into those things, you could win. But I’d hope that whoever enters actually likes the mugs, and doesn’t just like getting free shit. ‘Cause that’d suck.

See, I happen to have very weird & eclectic tastes. For example, I have a skull/sugar skull obsession (as you probably noticed back during my last Sourpuss giveaway in October). I have skulls on everything from oven mitts to plates. But then I go and buy pretty pastel pink striped tea towels, polka dot cake stands & vintage flowered tea cups. I don’t know, I’ve given up on trying to label myself. I love both vintage horror movie posters and vintage enamelware, both early 1900’s vintage mason jars and retro 1950’s kitchen stuff. It can’t be explained.

But either way, I’m totally in love with these tiki mugs!

Enter the Sourpuss Clothing & Cupcake Rehab tiki mug giveaway! Ends May 27th.

They’re awesome quality, beautifully painted & they hold almost 20 ounces of liquor drink! Specifically… banana daiquiris!

TIKI ZOMBIE BANANA DAQUIRI

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. dark rum (I use Myer’s)
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 oz. banana liqueur
  • 2 oz. coconut milk
  • 2 very ripe bananas, peeled

Directions:

  1. Put rum, sugar, lime juice, banana liqueur, water, bananas, and plenty of ice into an electric blender, then purée until smooth and thick.
  2. Pour into two tall Tiki mugs, add a pineapple slice, a straw & umbrella, and sit in the sun.

Sourpuss Clothing tiki mug giveaway! Enter now... ends May 27th.

So at this point, you’re wondering what you’ve gotta do to win. Well, it’s pretty easy: there’s only ONE mandatory entry. All the others are purely bonus entries. Here’s what you’ve gotta do:

  • First, and most important, for the one mandatory entry you have to tell me something: if you were to win, what cocktail (or “mocktail”) would you drink out of them? Polynesian or Tiki cocktails would be the most obvious, but any and all ideas are welcome! And virgin cocktails are fine, too. Hell, frozen hot chocolate or Coke is fine. Whatever YOU like… tell me!
  • Secondly (the first optional entry), follow @CupcakeRehab & @SourpussBrand on Twitter. Then come on back here & comment again letting me know (giving me your Twitter name helps, but isn’t mandatory)
  • Third, pin one of these pictures from this entry on Pinterest! Any one you want, as long as you write about the giveaway in the caption. Then come on back here & tell me (again, your Pinterest names will help)
  • Finally (the last optional entry)… tell everyone in your social network about this giveaway! Copy and paste the following into a tweet or post about it on your Facebook page for an extra entry (then come back & let me know, in a separate comment)-

Aloha! I just entered to win a set of TWO limited edition tiki mugs from @SourpussBrand at @CupcakeRehab. You can too: http://cupcakerehab.com/2013/05/enter-the-tiki-room-a-sourpuss-tiki-mug-giveaway

Each comment is an entry, so obviously the more comments you have, the more entries you have, and the more chances of winning you have.

But there’s only one that’s 100% mandatory, so you’re under no obligation to complete the other three. The giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on May 27th, which is exactly one week from today. At 12:00 a.m. EST on May 28th, the comments will be closed & I’ll choose a winner randomly (thanks to random.org). I’ll e-mail the winner right away, and if I don’t hear back within 24 hours, the prize goes to another randomly chosen person. Anyone & everyone is open to entering!

I’m off to go sit & sip my daiquiri while imagining that summer isn’t too far away… let the commenting begin!

Sourpuss Clothing tiki mugs: The Headhunter & Tai One On.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

And if you’re interested (or maybe if you win), Sourpuss has a ton of awesome Tiki-related stuff. Bottle openersmagnetstoothpick holdervotive candles & candle setsvalancesmini-candlesbeach towels… you can transform your entire house or patio into an island getaway. They even have dresses & heels with a Tiki theme. You can go tiki crazy!

It was a dark & stormy All Hallows Eve….

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Happy Halloween my little zombies! No, it isn’t quite Halloween yet, but it’s close enough. And I thought a cocktail called a “dark ‘n’ stormy” would be a perfect treat for sharing with you on Halloween. Come on. Is there a better named drink than that for Wednesday night? No. Not only for Wednesday night, but tonight- since the ridiculous Hurricane Sandy is barreling her way up here to NY today. And what could be better than a delicious spooky sounding cocktail made with homemade ingredients for a pre-Halloween storm dubbed “Frankenstorm”?

Ugh, I know. It sucks. I really hate hurricanes. Down in NOLA or other hurricane-prone places, people have “hurricane parties“; they’re so used to it. But see, here in New York we don’t get them often. we aren’t used to it at all, and they can be terrifying. And the shitty thing about it is not only do we never get ‘em, but when we do… they’re usually a doozy. Especially these “once in a lifetime” ones that combine with Nor’Easters or cold fronts to make a monster of a storm. They’re historic storms that end up not only knocking out power & screwing everyone else’s life up for days if not weeks, but sadly killing people on a grand scale. But what is there to do about it? Nothing. Nothing but sit & wait it out. Mother Nature does what she wants. It’s her world, we all just live in it. Respect your mother, right?

It seems I’ve been posting tons of drinks & alcohol infusions & such lately; pumpkin spice latte mix, candy corn vodka, now this. But I can’t help it. Once you start with this stuff you can’t stop. And this particular post all started when I made my own ginger ale… or ginger beer, actually.

The original recipe requires only ginger, sugar, water, lemon juice and a fungal-bacteria symbiote[4] known as a ginger beer plant. Fermentation over a few days turns the mixture into ginger beer.

Forms of live culture other than the ginger beer plant can produce a fermented ginger beer. Cultures used include brewers or baker’s yeast, lactic acid bacteria, kefir grains, and tibicos. Brewing ginger beer generates carbon dioxide as in beer. The alcohol content, when produced by the traditional process can be high, up to 11 %,[2] although ginger beer is usually brewed with much less alcohol.

Brewed ginger beer often includes other flavorings, prominently lemon or lime juice. These juices are not merely ornamental, however, as they establish an acidic pH balance for the solution; this helps in both protecting the ginger beer from other cultures, as well as facilitating sugar inversion to increase the availability of the more readily metabolised fructose and glucose. Other, more strictly flavoring-specific, elements have often included: citrus zests; cayenne pepper and other hot spices; and admixtures from other brews such as nettle or dandelion beers.

-Wikipedia

I had wanted to do it for a long time, but I kept putting it off & putting it off. I don’t really know why- maybe because I just kept thinking it would be more complicated than it is? Or maybe ’cause I can be kinda lazy. Whatever. But at any rate, I finally got to a point where I decided I was going to do it. And I did. Complete with a scary little bat flying around…

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I found two awesome recipes here and I figured I’d try them both. The first one I made was the “fermented” version; made with yeast. It was super easy to make and even though it took almost 3 days to get to sip on, it was more than worth it. I used lime juice instead of lemon and it was fine. Of course with that homemade yeasty-ness too. Not too shabby. But the thing I really wanted to do was make a dark ‘n’ stormy cocktail with it for Halloween. And boy, did I ever!

A Dark and Stormy (or Dark ‘n’ Stormy) is an alcoholic highball style cocktail popular in many British Commonwealth countries, such as Bermuda and Australia. It consists of dark rum and ginger beer over ice. It is optionally accompanied by a slice of lime.

While the Dark ‘n’ Stormy is traditionally made with dark or black rum, one variation nicknamed the Light ‘n’ Stormy uses 10 Cane, a light rum, and Blenheim Old #3 Hot ginger ale.[7][8] Another variation on the Dark ‘n’ Stormy, called the Ginger Bush, swaps Rum for Bourbon.[citation needed]

For several years, Gosling’s has been a sponsor of the annual yachting regatta Chester Race Week in Chester, Nova Scotia. The Dark ‘n’ Stormy is the special drink of the night each year, made with ginger beer brewed by local Halifax, NS brewery Propeller Brewery.

Rum mixed with ginger wine is a particularly strong combination, known as a Turbo Dark N’ Stormy, and is a favourite tipple of Pembroke College Boat Club (Oxford).[citation needed]

-Wikipedia

Alright. So the drink really doesn’t have anything to do with Halloween or even this time of year. But the name, people… the name! And while I’m no expert on this drink, I find the homemade ginger beer really made all the difference. And as a matter of fact, I liked the process so much, I made brewed up a vanilla cream soda version the next night. And I’m planning on a root beer version. But you don’t care about all that. You wanna get drunk. I understand.

I actually found that this ginger beer was much better in the cocktail than it was alone.

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DARK ‘N’ STORMY

Ingredients:

  • 1 shot (or 2 ounces) of dark rum (preferably Gosling’s Black Seal, but anything dark will do- I used Myers’s myself)
  • 1 cup homemade ginger beer (recipe below)
  • One quarter of a lime
  • 1 sprig fresh mint

Directions:

  1. In a glass filled with ice, pour rum, then pour ginger beer. Stir.
  2. Squeeze the lime in, and if you like, toss the lime right on in the glass.
  3. Top with mint, candied ginger, or lime if you’re fancy, or you can spear a lime slice on a fancy pick like my Halloween bat.
  4. Drink up.

HOMEMADE FERMENTED GINGER BEER (adapted a teensy bit from monikakotus.com)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2-2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger root
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon baker’s yeast
  • cold fresh spring or filtered water (yeast does not like chlorine, so make sure you don’t use fresh tap water unless you let it sit overnight first)

Directions:

  1. Through a funnel add sugar and yeast to a 2-liter plastic bottle. Mix grated ginger root and lime juice and then transfer it to a bottle, add water to fill it half way and shake well to mix all ingredients.
  2. Add more water, leaving about an inch head space, screw the cap on and shake again. You can also mix all the ingredients in a jar and then transfer to a plastic bottle.
  3. Leave in a warm place for about two days and then transfer to refrigerator, to stop fermentation process. Refrigerate overnight.
  4. Pour it through a strainer and enjoy!
My fancy French glass bottle was so tall it never fully made it into any of the shots! GRR…

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Okay, now, technically the only rum you should use in a dark ‘n’ stormy is Gosling’s. They apparently patented it. But I don’t really see why you can’t, in the privacy of your own home, use whatever dark or spiced rum you have: Kraken, Sailor Jerry, Captain Morgan, Myers’s, Bacardi, etc. And also, technically, you can use ginger ale instead of ginger beer in a dark ‘n’ stormy. Nobody’s going to kill you. However traditionally, ginger beer is what’s used. So if you’re not going to make your own, then at least buy one. There are a huge variety of brands, from Goya, Reeds, Barritt’s & Regatta to those fancy small batch micro-brewed ones you can get at a natural market or beer distributor. And if you do make your own, and you find it too yeasty or too earthy for your taste, try using Champagne yeast instead of supermarket baker’s yeast in the next batch. I thought it was amazing, myself, but of course everyone has a different idea of what kind of ginger ale they like. Tweak it the way you want it. More sugar, less sugar, more ginger, lemon juice instead of lime juice, different yeast, etc.

Also just a small note of massive importance: you cannot use a sugar substitute. Yeast needs sugar to work it’s magic, so you could try lessening the amount of real sugar, and subbing Stevia or something for the rest… but you absolutely MUST use real sugar in some amount in order to get the yeast going. Also, because of this, there’s a minute amount of alcohol in the finished product. Nowhere near enough to matter, really, unless you’re restricted by health or religious factors. It probably amounts to the same percentage in chewing gum or something.

And now for something (not so) completely different…

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The second one was a syrup that you mix with sparkling water or club soda to make an “instant” ginger ale. It’s sweeter, doesn’t have that ‘yeasty’ flavor of the other one and it’s very, very easy. Way easier than the fermented stuff, and that stuff is crazy easy in and of itself. Basically: one cup thinly sliced fresh ginger + one cup sugar + two cups water = ginger syrup. Put it all in a medium saucepan, bring to a light boil then lower the heat & simmer for ten minutes. It makes about 2 cups (mine filled a 16-ounce/pint jar almost to the top). Pop it in a jar or bottle, put it in the fridge and use it as you see fit. The website I got it from says one part syrup + three parts club soda (or sparkling water) makes a great instant (and fresh) ginger ale. Delicious. You can have it alone, but if you like you can just squeeze a little fresh lime juice and/and crush some mint in it and you’re on your way. DIY or Die! It’s a crisp, drier version of store-bought ginger ale. Probably cheaper too. Just keep the syrup in the fridge.

It definitely has a more “user friendly” taste than the fermented ginger beer. If you want to ease into making your own sodas, this would be the one to start with.

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It’s not as dark as a store-bought ginger ale, but if you like more gingery flavor & add more syrup, it’ll get darker. And yes, you could use the ginger syrup/club soda mix in a Dark ‘n’ Stormy, too. And as an added plus, my mother informs me the ginger syrup is excellent in tea as well. Another plus? Ginger is soothing for stomach problems, and the fresher the better, so this syrup can act as a tummy soother if you’re nauseous or have other ailments of that sort. Which you just might on November 1st, after all that Halloween candy is eaten.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, guys. This storm is supposed to be a wicked one. Everyone else in Sandy’s path, be careful. And if you’re not in her path, be careful out there on Halloween. You never know who… or what… you’ll encounter. Even if it is dark, but not stormy. Bwahahahaha…

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Blackberry jam cupcakes with lime.

A couple of months ago, I made some blackberry lime jam. And then (true to form), in all the summer hubbub, I genuinely forgot all about it. I say “true to form” because I do that a lot. I make something that I’m dying to use, and then I forget about it. Months later, I end up finding it in the cupboard and thinking, “OH CRAP!” But it’s okay, because isn’t that why we make shelf-stable jams & jellies? So we can use them months & months & months after we make them?

So the idea I had for the jam was originally a form of thumbprint cookies. But that fell by the wayside when I imagined vanilla cupcakes with a blackberry lime jam filling, topped with some vanilla-lime buttercream. I’ve been in a cupcake-y mood again lately, it seems. And this jam is really beautiful. Pardon my photography skills (and the possible overload of photos in this post), these shots were taken on my birthday gift, a.k.a. my new camera, so I’m still playing around with settings.

While I’m on the subject of cupcakes, I’d like to introduce you all to my new “blog adoptee” for lack of a better term. Meet Cathy, everyone! Her blog is new, it’s called Legalized Frostitution, and she’s asked me to help her navigate the sometimes stormy seas of the blog world. She joins the ranks of the lovely Amanda, my first blog adoptee whom I will love for always & forever stalk on Instagram. Cathy is awesome- she said some really sweet things about me (flattery will get you everywhere, take note *wink*) and you should all bookmark her blog or whatever it is you crazy kids do nowadays. Like Amanda, she’s about to realize I really have no idea what the hell I’m talking about; I just like to read my own writing & take pretty pictures. Heh. Welcome to the fold, Cathy. I wish you much blogging success!

Anyway, I adapted a cupcake recipe to make about a half-dozen (it made 8, actually) so I didn’t have a surplus of cupcakes. Plus, I didn’t want to use up ALL the jam. I was originally going to swirl the jam into the batter, but then I ended up just “filling” the batter with a teaspoon/teaspoon and a half of jam. You can’t see it from the outside, but it’s there. You could swirl it if you wanted to create a nice visual effect (or if you’re not using frosting), but I figured the frosting would just cover it so it was a waste.

Anyway, because the recipe is quartered, you can double/triple/quadruple it with excellent results.

BLACKBERRY JAM CUPCAKES WITH LIME

Makes about 6-8 cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I used Rodelle, my new favorite)
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • Blackberry lime jam

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into large bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and oil in a separate medium bowl. Add eggs; blend.
  3. Whisk in buttermilk, milk, & vanilla extract. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients; whisk just to blend.
  4. Divide batter among liners, adding about 2-3 teaspoons of batter, then 1-2 teaspoons of jam, then 2-3 more teaspoons of batter on top.
  5. Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to racks; cool.

VANILLA-LIME BUTTERCREAM

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable shortening (preferably Crisco)
  • 1 lb. confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • the zest of one lime; half finely grated, half left on the larger side (for topping)

Directions:

  1. Beat butter & shortening until light and fluffy.
  2. With mixer on low speed, gradually add powdered sugar. Add milk & vanilla and mix until very smooth. Adjust depending on preference- add more sugar to thicken, more milk to soften.
  3. Add the finely grated lime zest, beat until incorporated. Frost cupcakes & top with the rest of the lime zest.

So I just frosted the cooled cupcakes with a large closed star tip, leaving an opening in the middle. I filled the opening with a dollop (isn’t that a great word- DOLLOP) of jam, and then grated some more lime zest on top. My jam happened to have some larger almost-whole blackberry chunks, which was perfect.

Look at this sweet little sunset-bathed blackberry lime cupcake.

Okay so here’s the deal. If you don’t want to make the jam, you can 100% use fresh blackberries; just plop a berry in the middle of each cupcake where the jam would go. Then plop another one on top, after it’s frosted, also where the jam would go. And then just grate the lime zest over it. You can actually use any kind of jam or berry you want, in theory. Lemon zest goes well with blueberry & strawberry, orange goes nicely with raspberry. Even marmalade would be nice, like a creamsicle cupcake. I’ve made lemon marmalade cupcakes before, but not orange. Hm.

Say hello to He Who Must Not Be Named (Harry Potter reference!). He’s fairly new- he just got here in February & he hasn’t gotten a lot of face-time, unlike Lola, who is basically the dominatrix/queen of everything around here. But he’s mega spiffy with his skull & crossbones sticker. And he wanted to say hi. So hi. Also, he’s a KitchenAid 9-Speed digital Architect model. Just in case you were wondering.

And that’s that. Now… on to the 600 other jars of jam I have in here.

Sources & credits: Ikea black bowl, Ikea cupcake tea towel, vintage silverware, Ball® 8-oz. crystal quilted jars can be purchased at freshpreserving.com.

Raspberry-jalapeño-cilantro jam, or “rasp-jalantro.”

“One must maintain a little bittle of summer, even in the middle of winter.”
-Henry David Thoreau

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I saw that quote the other day and it struck me, probably because I related it to the blog. How could I not, really? In a few ways…one, canning & preserving. Aren’t the two of those things doing exactly what that quote says- keeping a ‘little bittle’ of summer with us, all through fall & winter? Is that not how canning & preserving & pickling originated? Of course. And two, the very fact that I run a blog means I have an internet-based, HTML & CSS created cookbook & diary at my fingertips, 24/7/52/365. Even if my old pictures make me cringe (they’re all taken with FLASH!What the hell was I thinking?), I can look back at my summer posts on the coldest day in winter, when the snow is coming down and my toes freeze just walking to the car, just the same way I can look at those wintery posts about Shepherd’s Pie when it’s 100º outside and I sweat just thinking about having the oven on. But I digress.

The idea behind my coming up with this jam is pretty simple. I’d been thinking of a sweet/savory jam for a while now, after the success of last year’s habanero rosemary jelly & after hearing that my friend Chrisie made a blueberry-basil jam, but I just wasn’t sure what kind I wanted to make. Like most things I make, it ended up being carefully thought out, totally obsessed over and then in the end, made differently than I thought. Right away, I decided I’d do something raspberry-based. My initial idea was a raspberry-chipotle jam. I’m hugely into Mexican food, all things Mexican actually, and so chipotle just popped out at me.

One of my most prized possessions is this handpainted skull Jay got me in San Antonio, TX when he was there playing a show back in November.


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He actually got me a TON of sugar skull stuff down there, all imported from Mexico: a handscreened oven mitt, a painted terracotta tile, etc, etc… and I love it all. But she’s by far my favorite. Jay got a matching more masculine one, too. We’re cheesy like that. Basically anything sugar skull themed is sure to make me smile.

Anyway, I wanted to make a spicy, savory yet still sweet jam. I was inspired by Chrisie’s blueberry-basil concoction, Mexico & it’s food/culture, and then… I saw some raspberry-chipotle sauces & salad dressings for sale. I’m out of the loop with that stuff, I’m more of a classic salad dressing & marinade girl, myself. No fruity or fancy stuff. I use Jack Daniel’s or Guinness barbecue sauce & blue cheese dressing, for goodness sake. But I figured if it makes a good sauce, it’ll probably make a damn good jam. However true to form, I had trouble finding chipotle peppers. Can I get a WTF? As a matter of fact, I couldn’t find them at all. Not in any ethnic, natural or gourmet market. I had to settle for using jalapeños, and threw a bit of cilantro in there for an added Southwestern flavor. Not that there’s anything wrong with jalapeños. I love them. They just have a very different kind of heat & flavor than chipotles, which are actually just smoked & dried red jalapeños. But the smoke was the thing I originally wanted for this jam. And yes I could’ve made my own, blah blah… but I wasn’t really in the mood to smoke & dry/dehydrate ONE jalapeño pepper myself to make 12 ounces of experimental jam. I had the berries, I needed to make the jam ASAP. So I used half of a green jalapeño I had already.

I also decided to make a very, very small batch just to test it out. How small? About three 4-oz. jars.


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Yep. Super small batch! But number one, I wasn’t at all 100% confident in it’s deliciousness and two, how much raspberry-jalapeño-cilantro jam does one person need? Not that much really. Even if you do love it, you can only eat so much of it. And that’s another reason I like having the 4-ounce jars around, because they’re excellent for experimental jams & jellies (and also for overflow; a.k.a. the bit left over after you fill your jars up that isn’t quite enough for a full jar). You don’t have to feel horrible about tossing it (if it’s crappy) when it’s only one or two tiny jars worth. Unfortunately, the 4-ounce jars are insanely hard to find. At least around here. My dad managed to pick me up a case at a Walmart recently, but I’ve only found them ONE other time in a store and it was around Christmas.

The ingredients are pretty easy to remember: raspberries, sugar, freshly squeezed lime juice, one half of a jalapeño, and fresh cut cilantro. I adapted a basic raspberry jam recipe to suit my needs and just added the pepper. I tossed in some roughly chopped cilantro at the end, right before removing it from the heat. I’m giving you my recipe, but of course it can be changed slightly to adapt it to you. If you prefer more heat, add the entire pepper… for less heat, use a pepper that isn’t so hot. You can also use a Serrano or Anaheim pepper. If you like more cilantro, add more. If you don’t like cilantro, take it out altogether. Because it’s such a small recipe, you can also double and even triple it with good results. You don’t need any added pectin. I’m not really sure why people use commercial pectin with blackberries, raspberries & blueberries. You don’t need it. If you dislike the seeds, you can remove them. I find they add a nice texture, plus they’re healthy. But if you really hate ‘em, this blog has a recipe for seedless raspberry jam that you can get some seed-removal tips from.

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RASPBERRY-JALAPEÑO-CILANTRO JAM

Makes about three 4-ounce jars

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces fresh raspberries, washed
  • 8 ounces granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • half of one jalapeño pepper (or more or less, depending on taste), chopped or diced
  • a tablespoon or two roughly chopped cilantro leaves

Directions:

  1. Place the raspberries in a medium saucepan. Using the back of a wooden spoon, crush them as best you can. Add the sugar and lime juice, then stir.
  2. Turn the heat on medium and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the chopped jalapeño. Keep cooking it until it reaches the desired thickness (or “set”; this can be different times for different people/ovens/pots). Turn off the heat and add the cilantro, stirring until it’s combined.
  3. Ladle the jam into your hot, sterilized jars. Wipe rims, place lids, and process for 10 minutes.

If you can find chipotles, or you have them already, feel free to use some finely diced chipotle in this. The smokiness would be fantastic, and you can use a little more of them than jalapeños without burning someone’s mouth off with the holy-crap-I-was-unprepared-for-the-hotness-in-a-raspberry-jam stuff going on in this. I actually might just have to do another version of this after I find some chipotle.

You can also add a little more lime juice if you want, or take it out altogether. I liked the tartness it added.


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It looks pretty delish, doesn’t it? And it WAS. Quelle surprise. I was genuinely surprised, seriously. I didn’t have high hopes for this one for some reason, but it was definitely successful.

It’s great on a cracker- the ones above are some kind of Wheat Thins herb-y flatbread cracker thing- but it’s also good whisked with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar) and made into a salad dressing. And of course, it’d probably be excellent melted down and used as a sauce for chicken or even chicken wings. You could probably find a couple of different ways to use it. I bet it would be good with certain cheeses, too. Ooh! And on cornbread! Ohhh, the possibilities. Just endless.

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I’m sure you’ve got the eating part covered. So make it. Worse comes to worse, if you don’t wildly love it- sharing is caring. Everyone loves a jar of something homemade, right? Just be sure to let them know there are hot peppers in there, or else they might get a nasty surprise & also might not want to eat much of your canned foods after that.

And for those of you thinking “Where the F&%! are the cupcakes?!” they’re coming! This week! It’s been really hot here, and I haven’t been in much of a mood for tackling frosting & things more complicated than cobblers. But have no fear. The cupcakes are coming.

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Raspberry-jalapeño-cilantro jam. on Punk Domestics