Sharing a seriously fun love for food

Month: July 2018

Fresh Pasta

Fresh Pasta

There are some wonderful store-bought pastas but the difference in fresh, homemade pasta and boxed is really quite remarkable.

Tender to the tooth with an almost creamy-like texture, homemade pasta is utterly luxurious. There are three steps in making fresh pasta – making the dough, rolling and cutting, then finally cooking the pasta. Made with just four ingredients, the hardest work is kneading the dough and that only requires a little “elbow grease” of sorts!

When making pasta dough you can use all-purpose flour, but if you can find “00” flour you’ll have a very delicate pasta. You can find it in most fine food markets or online. Doppio Zero – double zero – is simply flour that has been finely ground specifically for making pizza or pasta dough. Add kosher salt, eggs and extra-virgin olive oil and you’ve got the makings of some of the best pasta you’ll put in your mouth!

To roll the dough you’ll need a pasta machine. There are a number of options, most operated by the means of a hand crank. If you’re lucky enough to own a KitchenAid stand mixer you’re in luck – they make a set of pasta attachments that lock onto the mixer leaving both your hands free to handle the dough. Rolling requires nothing more than folding and feeding the dough with beautiful results.

Once you’ve rolled the pasta dough you can run the dough through the cutting attachments or hand cut a spectacular pappardelle.

When you’re ready to cook, separate and drop the strands of pasta into a pot of heavily salted, boiling water – adding a touch of olive oil if you’d like. In a few short minutes you’re ready to enjoy your efforts.

A gorgeous wide noodle, pappardelle noodle is perfect for soaking up your favorite sauce or equally wonderful tossed with olive oil and shaved Parmesan. But no matter how you cut it, fresh pasta will make you very happy!

Fresh Pasta

2-1/2 cups flour, preferably “00” flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

4 extra-large eggs

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

In a large bowl mix the flour and kosher salt together. Using your hand or a spoon, make a well in the center.

Add the eggs along with the olive oil.

Using your hands or a sturdy wooden spoon, mix the flour into the eggs and olive oil. Continue mixing until you’ve worked in as much of the flour as possible. The dough will be rough in texture.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.

Using the heel of your hands, knead the dough, folding and turning as you go. Continue kneading until the dough feels almost “silky” and has a smooth texture. This takes about five minutes.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes but no more than an hour. When you’re ready to roll, cut the dough into four pieces.

Working with one piece at a time, slightly flatten the pasta dough. (Keep the other pieces of dough covered.) Start with the widest setting and begin feeding the dough through the machine. If you’re using a KitchenAid attachment start with the “1” setting and turn the mixer on low speed.

After each pass through on the first setting, fold the pasta dough in half. Continue folding and feeding into the roller until the dough is smooth and pliable, adding a light dusting of flour as you go. Run the dough through on this setting about four to five times to finish kneading the dough.

Turn the setting to the next level and run the dough through once, changing the setting after each pass until you reach your preferred thickness. (I stop at “6” on the KitchenAid pasta maker.) About halfway through rolling cut the length of dough in half to make it easier to handle.

Once you’ve rolled the pasta to your preferred thickness you can cut it into any style or shape. If you’re making pappardelle, lightly dust the dough then fold it in half lengthwise, and in half again. Cut the pasta into strips about 1” wide.

Unfold the pieces and hang the pasta on a drying rack or spread it out in a single layer on a kitchen towel while you roll the remaining dough.

At this point you can cook the fresh pasta by dropping it into a large pot of boiling water that has been heavily salted. Gently loosen the pasta strands as you drop them into the water. Cook for 3 minutes or until the pasta is just tender; drain but do not rinse.

If you’re not planning to cook the pasta right away let it air dry for about 30 minutes. Then gently roll or fold the pasta and place it into a container or freezer bag. You can refrigerate the pasta for 24 hours or freeze it for up to 6 months.

If you freeze the pasta there’s no need to thaw it before cooking – just drop it into the boiling water and cook as normal. Makes about a pound of pasta, enough for 4 to 6 servings.

This is a basic pasta recipe – you can add your own twist with cracked pepper or other herbs and spices.

Fresh Pasta, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

July 30, 2018
: 4 to 6

Tender to the tooth with an almost creamy-like texture, homemade pasta is utterly luxurious.

By:

Ingredients
  • 2-1/2 cups flour, preferably “00” flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Directions
  • Step 1 In a large bowl mix the flour and kosher salt together and make a well in the center.
  • Step 2 Add the eggs along with the olive oil. Using your hands or a sturdy wooden spoon, mix the flour into the eggs and olive oil. Continue mixing until you’ve worked in as much of the flour as possible. The dough will be somewhat rough in texture.
  • Step 3 Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using the heel of your hands, knead the dough, folding and turning as you go. Continue kneading until the dough feels almost “silky” and has a smooth texture. This takes about five minutes.
  • Step 4 Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes but no more than an hour.
  • Step 5 When you’re ready to roll, cut the dough into four pieces. Working with one piece at a time, slightly flatten the pasta dough. (Keep the other pieces of dough covered.) Start with the widest setting and begin feeding the dough through the machine. If you’re using a KitchenAid attachment start with the “1” setting and turn the mixer on low speed.
  • Step 6 After each pass through the pasta maker fold the pasta dough in half. Continue folding and feeding into the roller until the dough is smooth and pliable, adding a light dusting of flour as you go. Run the dough through on this setting about four to five times to finish kneading the dough.
  • Step 7 Turn the setting to the next level and run the dough through once, changing the setting after each pass until you reach your preferred thickness. (I stop at “6” on the KitchenAid pasta maker.) About halfway through rolling cut the length of dough in half to make it easier to handle.
  • Step 8 Once you’ve rolled the pasta to your preferred thickness you can cut it into any style or shape. If you’re making pappardelle, lightly dust the dough then fold it in half lengthwise, and in half again. Cut the pasta into strips about 1” wide. Unfold the pieces and hang the pasta on a drying rack or spread it out in a single layer on a kitchen towel while you roll the remaining dough.
  • Step 9 At this point you can cook the fresh pasta by dropping it into a large pot of boiling water that has been heavily salted. Gently loosen the pasta strands as you drop them into the water. Cook for 3 minutes or until the pasta is just tender then drain but do not rinse.
  • Step 10 If you’re not planning to cook the pasta right away let it air dry for about 30 minutes. Then gently roll or fold the pasta and place it into a container or freezer bag. You can refrigerate the pasta for 24 hours or freeze it for up to 6 months.
  • Step 11 If you freeze the pasta there’s no need to thaw it before cooking – just drop it into the boiling water and cook as normal.
  • Step 12 This is a basic pasta recipe and you can add your own twist with cracked pepper or other herbs and spices.
Old-Fashioned Southern Biscuits

Old-Fashioned Southern Biscuits

There are just some foods and that one bite transports us to another time, another place –  bringing along a rush of feelings and memories. For me, biscuits are one of those foods.

Biscuits are a simple country food and no decent Southern cook would dare be caught without knowing how to properly bake a batch.

These are the biscuits my Mamaw made. A sturdy old-fashioned biscuit that she served piping hot, the steam still rising as my Granddad poured thick molasses over them. She would add a side of eggs fried in butter cooked in her cast iron skillet along with bacon or occasionally a pan-seared steak. Breakfast fit for ranchers to get them through another day of working cattle.

Biscuits recipes typically take two forms – a wet dough, scooped and tossed quickly in flour, nestled tightly together so that they lift their fellow biscuits up as they cook. (Check out our Buttermilk Biscuits for this recipe.) Then there’s the “pat and cut” version – a soft dough, made with shortening or lard.

As the shortening melts in a hot oven it creates layers of flakiness and steam within those layers. The steam coupled with the baking powder gives the gentle lift they need. Milk with the addition of an egg provides a subtle richness in the biscuits.

Leaving space between the biscuits while they bake in a piping hot oven allows the heat to drift around them creating a slightly crisp exterior while still remaining tender on the inside.

It only takes about ten minutes to mix these biscuits together and fifteen to bake. Get the butter and the jam ready!

Old-Fashioned Southern Biscuits

2 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup shortening

3/4 cup milk

1 extra-large egg

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and kosher salt.

Add the shortening cutting it into the flour mixture with a pastry knife until it looks like coarse meal.

Whisk the egg with the milk, blending together until it’s well combined. Pour the milk and egg into the flour mixture.

Gently stir just until the wet and dry ingredients are mixed together.

Turn the dough out into a lightly floured surface. Dust your hands with flour and gather the dough together. Pat the dough out until it is 1/2” thick.

Using a 3” biscuit cutter cut the dough. Gently reshape the scraps and finish cutting all the dough. (You can use a larger or smaller biscuit cutter if you prefer.) Place the biscuits on a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. Leave about 1″ to 2” between the biscuits.

Bake at 450-degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Makes twelve 3” biscuits.

Old-Fashioned Southern Biscuits, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

July 27, 2018
: 12

A classic Southern biscuit with a slightly crisp exterior and tender layers of flakiness tucked inside. It only takes about ten minutes to mix these biscuits together and fifteen to bake. Get the butter and the jam ready!

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 extra-large egg
Directions
  • Step 1 In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and kosher salt.
  • Step 2 Add the shortening cutting it into the flour mixture with a pastry knife until it looks like coarse meal.
  • Step 3 Whisk the egg with the milk, blending together until it’s well combined.
  • Step 4 Pour the milk and egg into the flour mixture. Gently stir just until the wet and dry ingredients are mixed together.
  • Step 5 Turn the dough out into a lightly floured surface. Dust your hands with flour and gather the dough together.
  • Step 6 Pat the dough out until it is 1/2” thick.
  • Step 7 Using a 3” biscuit cutter cut the dough. Gently reshape the scraps and finish cutting all the dough. (You can use a larger or smaller biscuit cutter if you prefer.)
  • Step 8 Place the biscuits on a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. Leave about 1” to 2” between the biscuits.
  • Step 9 Bake at 450-degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Makes twelve 3″ biscuits.
Blueberry Lemon Jam

Blueberry Lemon Jam

Fresh, plump blueberries floating in a heavenly thick syrup with the essence of lemon. A taste of the season in every bite!

Blueberries are currently in abundance and it just so happens that one of the engineer’s favorite things is blueberry jam.

Yes, I know you can buy jam at the grocery store and yes, I know there are decent options – but it really is hard to beat homemade jams and preserves. Plus, it is somewhat therapeutic to detach from the current climate and descend into the world of making jam. And this blueberry jam is worth your time and effort. Blueberries are brightened with fresh lemon zest and lemon juice turning up the flavor on this delightfully simple jam.

Buy the freshest blueberries you can find. Turn the carton over and check the bottom of the package. If there are crushed berries and any sign of mold continue the search. You can refrigerate blueberries for up to a week if they are really fresh. Rinse them just before you’re ready to use them – this goes for any fresh berry.

If you’re not planning on using them right away you can also rinse and flash freeze. Simply rinse, lay the berries out on a towel or paper towels and allow them to dry. Then spread them out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and freeze for about an hour. Once frozen transfer the blueberries to a freezer bag or container and freeze for up to a year.

This recipe doesn’t use added pectin but instead the jam is cooked to 220-degrees to thicken it, so have a reliable thermometer on hand before you start. It’s a small batch recipe and will yield enough jam to easily fill three 8-ounce jars. If you’re making this for gift-giving consider using 4-ounce jars, perfect for a friend!

Nestle this sweet jam inside a hot buttered biscuit – nothing quite like it!

Blueberry Lemon Jam

4-1/2 cups fresh blueberries

3 cups of sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice, about 1 lemon

½ teaspoon lemon zest, about 1 lemon

1 teaspoon butter (The addition of butter eliminates any foam from forming while cooking.)

Combine the fresh blueberries, along with the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and the butter in a large kettle or heavy stockpot. Stir gently to combine the sugar with the berries.

Cook over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and raise the heat to medium. Cook stirring occasionally until the temperature reaches 220-degrees and the temperature cannot be “stirred down”, about 45 minutes. If you stir the jam and the temperature drops well below the 220-degrees, cook for a bit longer. You want the jam to thicken slightly. Once chilled the jam will be thicker.

Ladle the cooked jam into three sterilized 8-ounce or six 4-ounce jars. Keep the jam refrigerated or process the jars in a water bath following the jar manufacturers directions. Ball Canning makes wonderful canning products and they have  great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.

Blueberry Lemon Jam is a spectacular addition to any breakfast or brunch!

Blueberry Lemon Jam, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

July 25, 2018
: 3 half-pint jars (8-ounces) or 6 quarter-pint jars (4-ounces)

Fresh, plump blueberries floating in a heavenly thick syrup with the essence of lemon. A taste of the season in every bite!

By:

Ingredients
  • 4-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, about 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest, about 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon butter (The addition of butter eliminates any foam from forming while cooking.)
Directions
  • Step 1 Combine the fresh blueberries, along with the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and the butter in a large kettle or heavy stockpot.Stir gently to combine the sugar with the berries.
  • Step 2 Cook over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Step 3 Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and raise the heat to medium.
  • Step 4 Cook stirring occasionally until the temperature reaches 220-degrees and the temperature cannot be “stirred down”, about 45 minutes. If you stir the jam and the temperature drops well below the 220-degrees, cook for a bit longer. You want the jam to thicken slightly. Once chilled the jam will be thicker.
  • Step 5 Ladle the cooked jam into three sterilized 8-ounce or six 4-ounce jars.
  • Step 6 Keep the jam refrigerated or process the jars in a water bath following the jar manufacturers directions. Ball Canning makes wonderful canning products and they have great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.
Cold Brew Coffee and Iced Café Latte

Cold Brew Coffee and Iced Café Latte

There was a time if you were served a cold cup of coffee you would send it back – but not now – now it’s a “hot” trend!

Cold brew – coffee if brewed properly will develop flavors that are robust, intense and smooth. There are basically two types cold coffee – that is coffee intentionally served cold! Originally, iced coffee was little more than hot coffee allowed to cool then served over ice. It has been around for years. I found a recipe in one of my Grandmother’s cookbooks for iced coffee, circa 1937.

Then there is cold brew which is coffee literally brewed in cold water. The process slowly extracts the rich essence of the ground coffee beans creating a reduction with a bold flavor.

One of the key tricks to any good cup of coffee – whether served hot or cold – is starting with freshly roasted, quality beans. (Sorry to those of you who think good coffee comes from a can or those plastic pods, nope not so!) Find a quality coffeehouse, one that roasts their own beans. If you don’t know of one, ask around.

My favorite coffeehouse is Buon Giorno, currently with three locations in the Tarrant County area. They source and roast their own beans, taking great care to create the perfect flavor from each variety. I’ve been buying coffee and tea from them for over a decade. Though I have occasionally strayed off course and purchased a bag or two from someone else, I always come back. If you’re not in North Texas you can still enjoy their wonderful products by ordering online. (https://bgcoffee.net/)

To make cold brew start by selecting your favorite coffee, I prefer a dark roast but use whatever you like. A coarser grind works best but if you have a finer grind just double the cheesecloth over the sieve. The entire process takes about 24 hours, is quite simple and definitely worth the wait.

And once you have cold brew, then you can enjoy any number of cold coffee beverages – such as a luscious iced Café Latte!

Cold Brew Concentrate

4 ounces ground coffee, preferably a coarse grind, about 1-1/2 cups

4 cups water

Place the ground coffee in an 8-cup container.

Pour the water over the grounds and stir to blend the coffee thoroughly into the water. Cover and chill for 24 hours.

After chilling for 24 hours you’re ready to pour up your cold brew concentrate. Line a fine mesh sieve with cheesecloth, doubling the cloth if your coffee is a finer grind. Slowly pour the coffee mixture into the cheesecloth. Let the coffee strain through the cloth and the sieve on its own, giving it at least 30 minutes. Do not press or stir the coffee through or you will end up with coffee grounds in the concentrate and the brew could be bitter.

Store the cold brew concentrate in a sealed container for up to two weeks.

For Cold Brew Iced Coffee:

½ cup cold brew concentrate

½ cup cold water

Ice

Sugar to suit your taste, optional

Pour the cold brew concentrate in an 8-ounce glass filled with ice.

Add the cold water and sugar then stir to blend well.

For an Iced Café Latte:

¾ cup milk

1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste, optional

½ cup cold brew concentrate

Ice

Pour the milk in a jar or other container with a lid. Add the sugar and shake vigorously for about 15 to 20 seconds, until the milk is very frothy.

Pour the cold brew concentrate in an 8-ounce glass filled with ice.

Add the milk and stir to blend well.

Cold Brew Iced Coffee and Iced Café Latte, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

July 23, 2018
: About 6 to 8 servings

Cold brew – coffee if brewed properly has a flavor that is robust, intense and smooth. And once you have cold brew, then you can enjoy any number of cold coffee beverages – such as a luscious iced latte!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the Cold Brew Concentrate:
  • 4 ounces ground coffee, preferably a coarse grind, about 1-1/2 cups
  • 4 cups water
  • For Cold Brew Iced Coffee:
  • ½ cup cold brew concentrate
  • ½ cup cold water
  • Ice
  • Sugar to suit your taste, optional
  • For an Iced Café Latte:
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste, optional
  • ½ cup cold brew concentrate
  • Ice
Directions
  • Step 1 For the Cold Brew Concentrate:
  • Step 2 Place the ground coffee in an 8-cup container. Pour the water over the grounds and stir to blend the coffee thoroughly into the water.
  • Step 3 Cover and chill for 24 hours.
  • Step 4 After 24 hours chilling, you’re ready to pour up your cold brew concentrate. Line a fine mesh sieve with cheesecloth, doubling the cloth if your coffee is a finer grind.
  • Step 5 Slowly pour the coffee mixture into the cheesecloth. Let the coffee strain through the cloth and the sieve on its own, giving it at least 30 minutes. Do not press or stir the coffee through or you will end up with coffee grounds in the concentrate and the brew could be bitter.
  • Step 6 Store the cold brew concentrate in a sealed container for up to two weeks.
  • Step 7 For Cold Brew Iced Coffee:
  • Step 8 Pour the cold brew concentrate in an 8-ounce glass filled with ice.
  • Step 9 Add the cold water and sugar then stir to blend well.
  • Step 10 For an Iced Café Latte:
  • Step 11 Pour the milk in jar or other container with a lid. Add the sugar and shake vigorously for about 15 to 20 seconds, until the milk is very frothy.
  • Step 12 Pour the cold brew concentrate in an 8-ounce glass filled with ice.
  • Step 13 Add the milk and stir to blend well.
Watermelon Feta Caprese Salad

Watermelon Feta Caprese Salad

To say it’s hot in Texas would be an understatement. But it is summer and it is July and this is Texas, so something cool and refreshing seems to be perfect for the menu. Look no further than watermelon – the quintessential summer fruit!

We typically think of watermelon as a picnic fruit, one that we simply slice and eat without the use of utensils. But add a savory, slightly salty component along with fresh herbs and you can turn this common fruit into a gorgeous side salad. Elegant but still casual and perfect for any occasion.

A true Caprese salad has layers of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil then finished with olive oil or balsamic vinegar. In this twist, watermelon is traded for the tomatoes and feta for the mozzarella. Keep the fresh basil – with its slightly peppery essence – and top everything with a rich, aged balsamic.

For the best flavor make certain you select a ripe watermelon and chill it well before serving. Use a high quality, aged balsamic vinegar. One of my favorites is Giusti Dense Balsamic Vinegar, available in fine food or culinary shops or online. It has a slightly thick consistency with a luscious sweet undertone, perfect for topping fruits and cheese. It’s a bit of an investment but one bottle will last you a while and it is well worth the price!

You can pick up a wedge of feta for slices or use crumbled feta. French feta has a milder flavor than the Greek variety – so pick your favorite. Feta’s slightly salty taste plays off the sweetness of the watermelon along with the balsamic, so no need to salt the salad– just add freshly cracked black pepper if you like.

This recipe uses a quarter-wedge of a large watermelon and easily serves 8 with leftover melon. The beauty of this simple, light salad – it can be served on a platter or assembled in individual servings. In a matter of minutes you can create a beautiful centerpiece delicious enough to eat!

Watermelon Feta Caprese Salad

1 small watermelon, or a quarter-wedge of a large watermelon

1 to 2 bunches fresh basil, about 18 – 20 large leaves

1 cup package feta – about 7-ounces

2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar, or to taste

¼ to ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste, optional

Slice the watermelon into slices about ¾” to 1” thick pieces. If you’re serving on a platter, layer the watermelon, with 3 leaves of basil on each piece.

Crumble ½ cup of the feta over the top of the melon.

Drizzle the balsamic over the salad and finish with freshly cracked black pepper if desired. Serve with extra feta.

If plating individual servings of the salad, place one slice of melon on each plate. Slice the feta into thin pieces and place on the top of the watermelon. Arrange three basil leaves over the cheese then drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. Season with freshly cracked black pepper if desired.

Watermelon Feta Caprese Salad courtesy of Preserving Good Stock,

July 20, 2018
: 8

In this twist on the classic Caprese salad, watermelon is traded for the tomatoes and feta for the mozzarella. Keep the fresh basil - with its slightly peppery essence - and top everything with a rich, aged balsamic. In a matter of minutes you can create a beautiful centerpiece delicious enough to eat!

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 small watermelon, or a quarter-wedge of a large watermelon
  • 1 to 2 bunches fresh basil, about 18 – 20 large leaves
  • 1 cup package feta – about 7-ounces
  • 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar, or to taste
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste, optional
Directions
  • Step 1 Slice the watermelon into slices about ¾” to 1” thick pieces.
  • Step 2 If you’re serving on a platter, layer the watermelon, with 3 leaves of basil on each piece.
  • Step 3 Crumble ½ cup of the feta over the top of the melon.
  • Step 4 Drizzle the balsamic over the salad and finish with freshly cracked black pepper if desired. Serve with extra feta.
  • Step 5 If plating individual servings of the salad, place one slice of melon on each plate.
  • Step 6 Slice the feta into thin pieces and place on the top of the watermelon.
  • Step 7 Arrange three basil leaves over the cheese then drizzle with the balsamic vinegar.
  • Step 8 Season with freshly cracked black pepper if desired.

 

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

If lasagna had originated in Texas it might look something like the King Ranch Chicken Casserole. Layers of Southwestern flavors in a creamy sauce blanketing roasted chicken, tucked between corn tortillas with cheese melting throughout!

Casseroles became extremely popular in the 1950s and the 1960s and King Ranch Chicken was a frequent attendee at many dinner tables. There’s no clear history of this one-dish wonder but most everyone agrees it was created in our great state. Some believe it was possibly named after the legendary King Ranch in Texas – regardless of its origin the flavors are big and bold!

Texas cuisine spans a broad range from Southern to Southwestern flavors. This dish falls squarely on the Southwestern side of the fence. The creamy sauce starts with sweet onions, red bell and smoky poblano peppers. Spice it up with chili powder and ground cumin then toss in red, ripe tomatoes, green chilies and sour cream before blending in chunks of roasted chicken and fresh cilantro.

Saddle everything between corn tortillas – each layer topped with Monterrey Jack and cheddar cheese – and you’re all set to feed your crowd!

There are three components in this casserole – roasting the chicken, crisping the corn tortillas and making the sauce. You can prep the chicken and the tortillas several hours or up to a day or so in advance of making the casserole. If you’re in a time crunch, pick up a roasted chicken at the market and use your favorite corn tortillas chips in place of the tortillas. Either way, the Southwestern flavors of this Texas classic are sure to please!

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

2 to 2-1/2 pounds boneless chicken breast

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided

18 yellow corn tortillas, 8” each

¼ cup avocado or corn oil

6 tablespoons butter

1 large sweet onion, chopped – about 1-1/2 cups

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped – about 1 cup

1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped – about 1 cup

½ teaspoon chopped garlic, about 2 cloves

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

¼ cup flour

1-3/4 cup chicken stock

1 cup chopped tomatoes, about 4-5 small tomatoes

1 small can mild green chilies, 4-ounces

1-1/2 cups sour cream

1 cup fresh cilantro or parsley, rough chopped

2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese – about 7 to 8 ounces

2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese – about 7 to 8 ounces

For the chicken:

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Brush the chicken breasts with the olive oil and sprinkle all sides with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt and ½ teaspoon of the black pepper. Roast at 350-degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165-degrees and the juices run clear. Let the chicken rest at least 20 minutes before chopping or shredding. If you roast the chicken in advance, store it with the juices to help keep the chicken moist.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Lightly brush both sides of the corn tortillas with the avocado or vegetable oil.

Cooking in batches, toast the tortillas in the hot skillet until they start to crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Stack the toasted tortillas on a plate and set aside while you make the sauce.

In a large shallow stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, bell and poblano peppers.

Cook until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the chili powder, the cumin, kosher salt and the black pepper, stirring to blend well into the vegetables.

Toss in the flour and stir to coat the vegetables. Continue cooking over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Pour the chicken stock into the pan and stir until smooth. Cook for another 5 minutes to let the sauce thicken.

Turn off the heat and add the chopped tomatoes, green chilies and the sour cream.

Chop or shred the chicken breasts. Add the chicken along with the chopped cilantro to the sauce and stir to coat the chicken and blend well.

Lightly spray a large baking dish (9” x 13”) with a cooking spray. Line the bottom of the dish with six of the corn tortillas. Spread half of the chicken mixture over the top of the tortillas then spread a third of both the cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese over the top.

Layer another six tortillas, followed by the remaining chicken mixture and another third of the Monterrey Jack and Cheddar cheese. Top the dish with the remaining six corn tortillas and sprinkle the last of the cheese over the top.

Cover with foil and bake at 350-degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until the casserole is hot and bubbly. Let the dish rest for about ten minutes before cutting and serving.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

July 18, 2018
: Easily serves 6 to 8

Layers of Southwestern flavors in a creamy sauce blanketing roasted chicken nestled between corn tortillas - with cheese melting throughout! It's a Texas classic!

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 to 2-1/2 pounds boneless chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided
  • 18 yellow corn tortillas, 8” each
  • ¼ cup avocado or corn oil
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped – about 1-1/2 cups
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped – about 1 cup
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped – about 1 cup
  • ½ teaspoon chopped garlic, about 2 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1-3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes, about 4-5 small tomatoes
  • 1 small can mild green chilies, 4-ounces
  • 1-1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro or parsley, rough chopped
  • 2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese – about 7 to 8 ounces
  • 2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese – about 7 to 8 ounces
Directions
  • Step 1 For the chicken:
  • Step 2 Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Brush the chicken breasts with the olive oil and sprinkle all sides with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt and ½ teaspoon of the black pepper.
  • Step 3 Roast at 350-degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165-degrees and the juices run clear. Let the chicken rest at least 20 minutes before shredding. If you roast the chicken in advance, store it with the juices to help keep the chicken moist.
  • Step 4 For the tortillas:
  • Step 5 Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Lightly brush both sides of the corn tortillas with the avocado or vegetable oil.
  • Step 6 Cooking in batches, toast the tortillas in the hot skillet until they start to crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Stack the toasted tortillas on a plate and set aside while you make the sauce.
  • Step 7 For the sauce:
  • Step 8 In a large shallow stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, bell and poblano peppers. Cook until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Step 9 Stir in the garlic and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Step 10 Add the chili powder, the cumin, kosher salt and the black pepper, stirring to blend well into the vegetables.
  • Step 11 Toss in the flour and stir to coat the vegetables. Continue cooking over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Step 12 Pour the chicken stock into the pan and stir until smooth. Cook for another 5 minutes to let the sauce thicken.
  • Step 13 Turn off the heat and add the chopped tomatoes, green chilies and the sour cream.
  • Step 14 Chop or shred the chicken breasts. Add the chicken along with the chopped cilantro to the sauce and stir to coat the chicken and blend well.
  • Step 15 For the casserole:
  • Step 16 Lightly spray a large baking dish (9” x 13”) with a cooking spray. Line the bottom of the dish with six of the corn tortillas.
  • Step 17 Spread half of the chicken mixture over the top of the tortillas then spread a third of both the cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese over the top.
  • Step 18 Layer another six tortillas, followed by the remaining chicken mixture and another third of the Monterrey Jack and Cheddar cheese. Top the dish with the remaining six corn tortillas and sprinkle the last of the cheese over the top.
  • Step 19 Cover with foil and bake at 350-degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until the casserole is hot and bubbly. Let the dish rest for about ten minutes before cutting and serving.
  • Step 20 If you’re crunched for time, pick up a roasted chicken at the market and sub the corn tortillas with your favorite tortillas chips.

 

Coconut Almond Muffins

Coconut Almond Muffins

The fragrance of anything baking in the oven is wonderful. But add the scent of coconut, almond with a hint of orange and the scent will simply take your breath away.

Tender muffins are loaded with flavor and texture from the inside out. Toasted almonds and coconut are tucked inside this orange scented batter. Then the muffins are topped with cinnamon and sugar plus more coconut that gently toasts to a golden crisp in the oven.

With a basic recipe you can transform muffins into a variety of scrumptious bites. This is the recipe we use for our blueberry-orange muffins. In place of the blueberries, coconut and toasted almonds are added plus a touch of pure almond extract. And in the background, the floral hint of orange remains compliments of orange oil and fresh orange zest.

A note to remember when making any quick bread – after adding the flour you only want to mix the batter just until it’s blended – otherwise the muffins will be tough. Though these muffins are best the day they’re baked they can be reheated for about 5 to 6 minutes in a 350-degree oven, or split and toasted in the oven.

Coconut almond muffins are the right touch for a light breakfast, a delicious snack or beautiful for a simple dessert. Layers of flavor and an intoxicating fragrance – they’re sure to please!

Coconut Almond Muffins

½ cup butter, room temperature

2 extra large eggs, room temperature

1-1/4 cups sugar, divided

2 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup half and half

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon pure almond extract

¼ teaspoon orange oil or ½ teaspoon orange extract

Zest of two oranges, about 2 teaspoons

¾ cup flaked coconut, divided

½ cup toasted sliced almonds

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened butter on medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add 1 cup of the sugar, beating together until light and fluffy, another 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the eggs and continue beating on medium speed until well blended, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl once or twice to make sure the mixture is well blended.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and kosher salt.

Using the low speed of the mixer, add the flour about ½ cup at a time, alternating with the half and half, beginning and ending with the flour.

Blend just until the flour is combined to prevent over mixing the batter.

Add the vanilla extract, the almond extract, orange oil, orange zest, ½ cup of the coconut and the toasted almonds. Blend the batter just until it’s combined.

Line a dozen muffin tins with paper liners. Using a large ice cream scoop, fill each tin about ¾ full. Bake the muffins for 10 minutes at 375-degrees.

While the muffins start baking, mix together the topping. In a small bowl combine the sugar, cinnamon and remaining ¼ cup coconut.

Pull the muffins out and quickly sprinkle the topping over the muffins.

Continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the muffins test done and are lightly golden. (Adding the topping the last 10 to 15 minutes keeps the coconut topping from becoming too brown.)

These are best the day they’re made but can be gently reheated in a 350-degree oven for about 5 to 6 minutes, or split and toasted in the oven.

Coconut Almond Muffins, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

July 16, 2018
: Makes 12 muffins

Coconut and almond with a hint of orange. These muffins are loaded with flavor inside and out. And the fragrance will simply take your breath away!

By:

Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 extra large eggs, room temperature
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
  • ¼ teaspoon orange oil or ½ teaspoon orange extract
  • Zest of two oranges, about 2 teaspoons
  • ¾ cup flaked coconut, divided
  • ½ cup toasted sliced almonds
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Directions
  • Step 1 In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened butter on medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes.
  • Step 2 Add 1 cup of the sugar, beating together until light and fluffy, another 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Step 3 Add the eggs and continue beating on medium speed until well blended, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl once or twice to make sure the mixture is well blended.
  • Step 4 In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and kosher salt.
  • Step 5 Using the low speed of the mixer, add the flour about ½ cup at a time, alternating with the half and half, beginning and ending with the flour. Blend just until the flour is combined to prevent over mixing the batter.
  • Step 6 Add the vanilla extract, the almond extract, orange oil, orange zest, ½ cup of the coconut and the toasted almonds. Blend the batter just until it’s combined.
  • Step 7 Line a dozen muffin tins with paper liners. Using a large ice cream scoop, fill each tin about ¾ full.
  • Step 8 Bake the muffins for 10 minutes at 375-degrees. While the muffins start baking, mix together the topping.
  • Step 9 In a small bowl combine the sugar, cinnamon and remaining ¼ cup coconut.
  • Step 10 Pull the muffins out and quickly sprinkle the topping over the muffins. Continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the muffins test done and are lightly golden. (Adding the topping the last 10 to 15 minutes keeps the coconut topping from becoming too brown.)
  • Step 11 These are best the day they’re made but can be gently reheated in a 350-degree oven for about 5 to 6 minutes, or split and toasted in the oven.
Peach Shortcake Cobbler

Peach Shortcake Cobbler

What to do when you get carried away with your peach purchase at the Farmer’s Market? You have your (short)cake and eat it too!

This is a delicious twist on cobbler and shortcake – really the best of both worlds. Sweet, tender peaches cooked until they’re warm and bubbling, hiding underneath a delightful shortcake topping.

There are two classic styles of cobbler that are most commonly made. The first, with a crust of pastry, the second with a batter poured over the fruit. This version takes tender shortcake dough and gently bakes it on top of fresh peaches – beautiful peaches with fragrant notes of almond in every bite.

The shortcake topping is made much like any standard biscuit-style shortcake – flour, baking powder, a bit of sugar with shortening cut into the dry ingredients. Then everything is blended together with a mixture of milk and egg creating a crisp, golden shortcake crust for this cobbler.

It’s a simple, comforting Southern dessert – serve it warm out of the oven or cooled. Summertime smells delicious and tastes even better!

 

Peach Shortcake Cobbler

4 cups peeled, sliced peaches, about 4 large peaches

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided

½ teaspoon pure almond extract

1 teaspoon lemon zest, about 2 lemons

1 tablespoon lemon juice, about ½ lemon

1-1/2 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup shortening

½ cup milk

1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten

Place the peaches in a small oval dish – approximately 12” x 9” x 2” deep that has been sprayed with a cooking spray. (You can also use a 9” square baking dish.)

In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup of the sugar with the almond extract, the lemon zest and lemon juice. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the top of the peaches. Place the peaches in a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, kosher salt and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in a small mixing bowl. Using a pastry cutter, work the shortening into the flour until the mixture is crumbly.

Add the milk and beaten egg, mixing  just until the dough comes together.

Drop the dough over the warm peaches and spread out as smoothly as possible. The dough will be somewhat sticky. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar over the top.

Bake in a 400-degree oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Peach Shortcake Cobbler, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

July 13, 2018
: 6 to 8 servings

Cobbler with tender shortcake dough gently baked on top of fresh peaches - beautiful peaches with fragrant notes of almond in every bite.

By:

Ingredients
  • 4 cups peeled, sliced peaches, about 4 large peaches
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, about 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, about ½ lemon
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
Directions
  • Step 1 Place the peaches in a small oval dish – approximately 12” x 9” x 2” deep that has been sprayed with a cooking spray. (You can also use a 9” square baking dish.)
  • Step 2 In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup of the sugar with the almond extract, the lemon zest and lemon juice. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the top of the peaches.
  • Step 3 Place the peaches in a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes.
  • Step 4 Whisk together the flour, baking powder, kosher salt and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in a small mixing bowl.
  • Step 5 Using a pastry cutter, work the shortening into the flour until the mixture is crumbly.
  • Step 6 Add the milk and beaten egg, mixing until just until the dough comes together.
  • Step 7 Drop the dough over the warm peaches and spread out as smoothly as possible. The dough will be somewhat sticky. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar over the top.
  • Step 8 Bake in a 400-degree oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown.
Cherry Soup

Cherry Soup

Sweet, fresh cherries are at their peak during the hot summer months, so a cold cherry soup seems a perfect match!

We love to entertain and I’m always reading cookbooks, trying new recipes or reviving old ones. This dish falls in the “old recipe” category and reportedly comes with Hungarian or Polish roots. Cold soups offer a wonderful change of pace. Cherry soup is on the sweet side making it a surprising pairing served with a cheese board, a refreshingly different twist on appetizers or a delightful dessert.

Cherry soup is pleasantly different. It provides a spicy undertone from cinnamon, a subtle boldness from red wine – the edges slightly softened with a bit of cream.

Pick your favorite cherry, for this batch I used Rainier. After one taste at the Farmer’s Market, there was no doubt this sweet, plump stone fruit would be a delicious choice for this soup. The Rainier cherries – yellow hued and kissed with a blush of red – turns an almost caramel color when cooked and pops in a background of plum.

The biggest challenge with any recipe using fresh cherries is of course removing the pits. Oxo makes a great pitter that makes quick work of the task. Well designed and well priced – it’s a small kitchen tool worth having in your kitchen.

Cherry soup is so simple to make, just plan ahead to allow time for the soup to chill well, preferably overnight.

Tell your guests to keep an open mind – they’ll thank you for it!

Cherry Soup

3 cups water

1 cup sugar

2 cinnamon sticks

4 cups pitted cherries, about 75 cherries

1 tablespoon arrowroot or 2-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

½ cup heavy cream

½ cup good red wine

Pour the water into a shallow stockpot or medium saucepan. Add the sugar and the cinnamon sticks. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 10 to 15 minutes. Raise the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil.

Stir in the pitted cherries, cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 30 minutes.

Remove the cinnamon sticks and discard. Take 2 tablespoons of the liquid and mix with the arrowroot, stirring until it is smooth. Blend it into the soup and return the heat to medium until the mixture begins to boil, stirring frequently.

Turn the heat to low and simmer, uncovered for another 30 minutes.Remove the cherry soup from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature. Stir in the cream and the wine.

Pour the soup in a container, cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Serve plain, with crème fraîche or sour cream. If serving the cherry soup for dessert, splurge and top with dollop of whipped cream!

Cherry Soup, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

July 11, 2018
: 4 to 6

Cold soups offer a wonderful change of pace. Cherry soup has a spicy undertone from cinnamon, a subtle boldness from red wine - all slightly softened with a bit of cream.

By:

Ingredients
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cups pitted cherries, about 75 cherries
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot or 2-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup good red wine
Directions
  • Step 1 Pour the water into a shallow stockpot or medium saucepan. Add the sugar and the cinnamon sticks. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 10 to 15 minutes. Raise the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Step 2 Stir in the pitted cherries, cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 30 minutes.
  • Step 3 Remove the cinnamon sticks and discard. Take 2 tablespoons of the liquid and mix with the arrowroot, stirring until it is smooth. Blend it into the soup and return the heat to medium until the mixture begins to boil, stirring frequently.
  • Step 4 Turn the heat to low and simmer for another 30 minutes.
  • Step 5 Remove the cherry soup from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature. Stir in the cream and the wine.
  • Step 6 Pour the soup in a container, cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Step 7 Serve plain, with crème fraîche or sour cream. If serving the cherry soup for dessert, splurge and top with dollop of whipped cream!
Peach Preserves – Two Ways!

Peach Preserves – Two Ways!

There is nothing quite like fresh peach preserves – the sweet, floral scent of peaches encased in a thick nectar.

My Grandparents had beautiful peach trees on their farm. As kids we would climb up into the trees and pluck these luscious pieces of fruit, warm from the Texas sun. One bite and their juice would be dripping down our chins.

I have two family recipes that I most commonly use when making peach preserves. The first version is the same basic recipe I use for strawberry preserves, which dates back to the 1930s. The preserve is considered “soft” with a loose syrup and doubles as a marvelous dessert sauce.

The second recipe is a thicker, more traditional preserve. Neither recipe has any added pectin leaving you with a softer preserve with large chunks of peaches.

Even if you’ve never made jam or preserves these are both fairly simple recipes, so don’t be afraid to give them a try. Each has only four ingredients – peaches, sugar, balsamic vinegar and a touch of butter. The butter may seem like an odd addition but it keeps any foam from building up in the preserves.

Some tips on handy tools for making preserves. Start with a heavy-duty kettle or stockpot plus a sturdy wooden spoon. Kilner makes a fabulous kettle specifically designed for making jams and preserves. My “go to” for wooden utensils – Little Deer – they are strong, sturdy and easy on the hands. A funnel comes in handy along with a ladle for pouring the preserves into your jars.

For jars, Ball Canning is a known staple in the world of canning and preserving. My Mother and Grandmothers used Ball jars. I’ve personally poured preserves, jams and jellies into hundreds of Ball jars – and had more than a few come back from friends for refills!

And a quick tip for peeling the peaches – blanch them for 45-seconds in boiling water. The skin loosens and almost slips right off the fruit.

If you’re planning to keep extra jars of preserves in your pantry you’ll need to process them to properly seal the jars. A water bath is the most common method. Follow the directions provided by the manufacturer of your jars. Ball has great step-by-step guidelines for canning safely on their website.

Peaches are at their peak, so head to your local Farmer’s Market and enjoy the best of peach season!

Soft Peach Preserves

4 packed cups peeled and sliced peaches – about 4 to 5 large peaches

4 cups sugar

2-1/4 teaspoons balsamic or red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon butter

Combine the peaches and the sugar in a large kettle or stockpot. Cook over low heat until the sugar has completely melted, about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring 3 to 4 times.

Raise the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Continue cooking at a boil for 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and butter and continue boiling for an additional 8 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the peaches from sticking to the pan.

Remove the pan from the heat and let the preserves cool completely. Transfer to a container and let them set at room temperature overnight.

Pour the peach preserves into five sterilized 8-ounce jars and refrigerate or process in a water bath. You will have a bit extra leftover.

If you’re planning to can the preserves in a water bath, follow the directions provided by the manufacturer of your jars. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and has great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.

Classic Peach Preserves

5 packed cups peeled, sliced peaches, about 5 large peaches

5 cups sugar

1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon butter

Combine the peaches, sugar, vinegar and butter in a large kettle or stockpot. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Raise the heat to medium and cook stirring frequently until the temperature reaches 220-degrees on a candy thermometer and cannot be stirred down. The temperature will reach 220-degrees periodically while cooking, but if stirred will drop back down to a lower temperature. You’re looking for the temperature to be a constant 220-degree when stirred. The preserves will be thickened slightly and be a dark amber color.

Ladle the cooked preserves into five sterilized 8-ounce jars. You will have a bit extra leftover. Keep refrigerated or process in a water bath following the jar manufacturers directions. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and has great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.

Peach Preserves - Two Ways, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

July 9, 2018
: Each batch make five 8-ounce jars

These are two great recipes for peach preserves. The first version is a basic recipe for Soft Peach Preserves, dating back to the 1930s. The preserve is considered “soft” with its loose syrup and doubles as a marvelous dessert sauce. The second recipe is a thicker, more traditional preserve. Neither recipe has any added pectin leaving you with a softer preserve - both with large chunks of fresh peaches.

By:

Ingredients
  • For Soft Peach Preserves:
  • 4 packed cups peeled and sliced peaches – about 4 to 5 large peaches
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • For Classic Peach Preserves:
  • 5 packed cups peeled, sliced peaches, about 5 large peaches
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon butter
Directions
  • Step 1 For Soft Peach Preserves:
  • Step 2 Combine the peaches and the sugar in a large kettle or stockpot. Cook over low heat until the sugar has completely melted, about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring 3 to 4 times.
  • Step 3 Raise the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Continue cooking at a boil for 3 minutes.
  • Step 4 Add the vinegar and butter and continue boiling for an additional 8 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the peaches from sticking to the pan.
  • Step 5 Remove the pan from the heat and let the preserves cool completely. Transfer to a container and let them set at room temperature overnight.
  • Step 6 Pour the peach preserves into five sterilized 8-ounce jars and refrigerate or process in a water bath. You will have a bit extra leftover.
  • Step 7 For Classic Peach Preserves:
  • Step 8 Combine the peaches, sugar, vinegar and butter in a large kettle or stockpot. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Step 9 Raise the heat to medium and cook stirring frequently until the temperature reaches 220-degrees on a candy thermometer and cannot be stirred down, about 45 minutes. The temperature will reach 220-degrees periodically while cooking, but if stirred will drop back down to a lower temperature. You’re looking for the temperature to be a constant 220-degree when stirred. The preserves will be thickened slightly and be a dark amber color.
  • Step 10 Ladle the cooked preserves into five sterilized 8-ounce jars. You will have a bit extra leftover. Keep refrigerated or process in a water bath following the jar manufacturers directions.
  • Step 11 If you’re canning the preserves in a water bath, follow the directions provided by the manufacturer of your jars. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and has great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.