Thinking Outside the Jar: Tangy Plum Vanilla Ice Cream

Tangy-Yellow-Plum-Vanilla-B

Tangy Plum Vanilla Ice Cream

This ice cream was inspired from two sources. Firstly, mom friends were discussing their plans during the major winter storm that just passed (Juno, they call it. Not sure why we ended up naming winter storms?!) A friend was making homemade blizzards to celebrate the storm and I remembered our long forgotten ice cream machine that four small kid stuck inside might just find interesting and entertaining. The other inspiration and the base of this recipe came from The Preserved Life ‘s post about a roast chicken cooked in whey.

No Whey!

No Whey!

Whey is this incredible liquid that remains when you’ve strained fresh cheese (think paneer or ricotta) or yogurt. Since we make our own yogurt and strain it for Greek yogurt, I tend to have lots of whey on the go. In the past, I threw it out, not sure how to put it to good use, but lately, I’ve been adding it to shakes and pancake batter and there’s good reason to use it – it’s full of protein and has a great tang.

I make ice creams a couple different ways: a decadent egg/cream custard that makes a divine ice cream and is best for a special occasion or an ice cream that’s less indulgent, super delicious and a bit easier on the waistline. Since I’m still atoning for holiday overindulgence, this recipe is clearly the later.

 

Tangy Plum Ice Cream

Lightly Adapted from Cornstarch Ice Cream from the New York Times

Active Time: 20 minutes

Inactive Time: 90 minutes

Servings: 4

 

1 cups whey

1 cup 3% milk

.5 cup 10% cram

1/3 cup sugar

pinch of salt

3 tablespoons corn starch

Splash of vanilla (optional)

 

1. Combine whey and 3% milk, sugar, pinch of salt and combine in small pot. Bring to a light simmer over medium heat, about 5 minutes. While waiting for milk mixture to heat up, combine corn starch and cream in a small bowl and mix well. When milk mixture comes to a simmer, add in corn starch slurry. Stir frequently over medium heat for about 2 minutes until slightly thickened. Turn down heat to minimum and continue to stir until thick, about 3 more minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Once off the heat, add in 1/2 cup of your favourite jam. I happened to use Yellow Plum with Rosemary and Vanilla Bean, with about 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract, but let taste be your guide according to the type of jam and complimentary seasoning used.

3. Let custard cool to room temperature or in the fridge for 90 minutes (or, make use of Mother Nature’s blast chiller and keep it outside with a lid on for about an hour). Add cooled custard to ice cream machine and follow your machine’s instructions. Be sure to have a very chilled machine that’s been frozen 8+ hours. It took my machine about 10 minutes to make perfectly soft and spoonable ice cream.

Enjoy!

 

Ice-Cream-Boy

Irresistible Ice Cream

 

High Bush Cranberry and Jalapeno Jelly

 

High Bush Cranberry and Jalapeno Jelly

High Bush cranberries, or Virburnum trilobum, grow wild in New Brunswick and while aren’t actually a part of the cranberry family, their bright red berries create a stunning jelly like their buddy the low bush cranberry. I was lucky enough to harvest some ripe and ready berries from my friend April‘s country home. While one baby played in the grass, two kids chased ducks and chickens and with one baby on my back, we yanked and pulled and snipped those berries off the tree!

Thanks to some very helpful blogs and websites, I was able to put it all together to create a superb sweet and spicy jelly. Akin to a pepper jelly, it’s is incredible on a cracker with cheese, slathered on your grilled cheese or melted and used as a glaze for meat.

While this recipe is a bit time consuming with two different straining mixtures, the results and delicious and you have plenty of jars to show for your effort. The juice yield from your cranberries will vary on the ripeness of your berries. Any extra juice can be stored in your freezer or added to another fruit for a multi-fruit jam. Or, if you’d love to give this jelly a try but aren’t in a high bush cranberry growing zone, stop by our Etsy shop where this and other preserves are available for purchase.

Etsy---High-Bush-Cranberrie

High Bush Cranberry and Jalapeno Jelly

Yields: 6x250mL jars

Recipe inspired by: The Kitchen Magpie and Taste of Home

8 cups high bush cranberries, picked over and cleaned

3 cups water

3 chopped jalapenos, seeded and ribs removed (or not, if you like it really spicy)

1 cup vinegar

7 cups sugar

2 pouches liquid pectin

 

1. In a large pot, gently boil cranberries and water together for about 15 minutes, crushing with a potato masher to release the juice. Pour mixture in a jelly bag and measure out 3 cups of juice. Clean out your large pot.

2. In your clean pot, pour your 3 cups of juice and diced jalapenos. Bring to a gentle simmer until jalapenos have softened. Pour through cleaned out jelly bag or through a double-lined cheesecloth in a colander and measure out 3 cups of juice.

3. In your pot (no need to clean it out), add cranberry-jalapeno mixture, vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add in two pouches of pectin and return to heat, giving it a hard boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into sterilized jars with 1/4″ headspace and process for 10 minutes in a hot water bath.

Enjoy!

 

 

High Bush Cranberry and Jalapeno Jelly on Punk Domestics

Haskap Maple Whiskey Jam

Haskap Berries

Haskap Berries

I read about haskap berries from the now defunct Harrowsmith Country Life and I was both intrigued and excited that a fruit that originated in Siberia proved viable for our Canadian climate, was hardy and had a taste that was a cross between a raspberry and blueberry.

We’ve been growing haskaps for more than 5 years now and rarely have I had more than a few berries. Between the destructive winters and our crow overpopulation, we’ve only enjoyed them this year. This year, my two little bushes were abundant and the crows distracted long enough for me to harvest over a cup and I was determined to make my first ever haskap jam.

Haskap Maple Whiskey Jam

Haskap Maple Whiskey Jam

Haskaps are tart with a unique flavour, but similar enough to blueberries to share in some flavour overlaps. I love blueberry and maple together, so I knew some maple whiskey would be the perfect companion to haskaps. I was gifted with Sortilège, a liqueur using both Canadian whiskey and maple syrup and a splash was all this jam needed to hit all the right notes. If you don’t have haskaps, try this liqueur with your next batch of blueberry jam.

 

Delicious in yogurt.

Delicious in yogurt.

Haskap Maple Whiskey Jam

Yield: 1/2 cup

1 cup haskap berries

1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar (depends on the sweetness of your berries)

1 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. Maple Whiskey Liqueur

 

Combine all ingredients but the liqueur and bring to a soft boil until the gel point is reached, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add liqueur, ladle into jars and boil for 10 minutes. (Click here if you need a refresher on safe water bath canning.)

Enjoy!

 

Haskap Maple Whiskey Jam on Punk   Domestics

Mother’s Day/Half-Birthday Boy Cake

Vanilla Grapefruit Curd Cake a.k.a. Half-Birthday Boy Cake

Vanilla Grapefruit Curd Cake a.k.a. Half-Birthday Boy Cake

It’s been a while; 10 months to be exact. 7 days after my last post, I welcomed (more like roared) our identical twin daughters A and M into the world to join their big sister and brother. Since then, it’s been almost 10 months of whirlwind with barely any time to catch our breath. For many months, we were in the trenches, never able to anticipate what the next day would bring, let alone look forward to another canning season.

Somewhat miraculously and seemingly overnight, things changed. Life has found a groove. Sympatico nap and bed times are finally happening, leaving me with time to dream about the upcoming season. The “bigs” are big enough to help me with the garden and we look forward to sharing our joy of gardening with the kids. I have visions for uncanny and I’m excited to see where it will go this season.

In celebration of life, of spring, of parenting and of our kids, I wanted to create something special for our son who turned 2.5. While we don’t normally celebrate half-birthdays, this guy has had to share his Mama, his time, his toys and endure constant hair-pulling from the twins and know-it-all-ness from his older sister and was in dire need of a celebration to honour the immense strides of the past six months. It just so happened to coincide with Mother’s Day and since I need no excuse for cake, I present you: The Half-Birthday Boy Cake (or Mother’s Day cake…or really any excuse cake). It’s not fancy and I fully disclose I used a gluten-free boxed cake mix given my son’s intolerances and my time constants, but I encourage you to go all-out and make the cakes from scratch.

Vanilla Grapefruit Curd Cake

Irresistible.

 

Half-Birthday Boy Cake

2×8″ yellow cakes (I used President’s Choice yellow cake mix and added some homemade bourbon vanilla, but homemade cakes are preferred.)

1/2 to 3/4 cup Grapefruit Curd between the layers. I used 1/2 cup of curd I made over the winter and froze. I wished I had about 1/4 more.

Cover with 7 Minute Frosting. It’s so old school and wonderful and if you’re like me and have run out of confectioners sugar and can’t slip away to the grocery store, it’s even more perfect for frosting a cake.

**

It’s easy and basic, but the grapefruit adds such a great tang and punch of flavour. Any curd would be marvelous and very soon you could keep it seasonal with a rhubarb curd. As usual, this recipe is wonderful to do this with kids and watching the frosting increase in volume is a tasty science lesson. Enjoy!

Sampling

You’ve got something on your nose!

 

 

 

Gooseberry Coffee Cake

IMG_8637

Gooseberry Coffee Cake

It’s been a while.

This blog and uncanny itself are never far from my mind and I continue to be inspired by the beautiful, local and seasonal dishes that show up on various news feeds. I want to immediately react, I want to try them and I want them to inspire in me a new spinoff recipe. It has been a humbling experience to watch as elements of your life that you have passion for slowly recede and make way for more pressing concerns, like two small children and two more on the way. I lumber and huff and waddle my way through the day and I count my blessings when it reaches 7 p.m. and I can collapse on the couch and not move an inch.

Sometimes though, you can find a way to combine function with creativity. Over the summer, I diligently froze strawberries, black currants, raspberries, rhubarb and gooseberries with the helpful advice from Hitchhiking to Heaven served us well throughout the winter, but there is still more that needs used up. I work hard at preparing freezer meals for when the twins arrive and life gets chaotic, but when my freezer is already stuffed with fruit, it’s time to take action.

This recipe is simple and completely not my own. It’s a recipe that is handed down and floating around everywhere and I’m not sure who to credit. My recipe is from my mother in law and is called Lunar Rhubarb Cake. Actually out of rhubarb, gooseberries are a wonderful replacement since they maintain that tart/sweet balance and it’s easy to use frozen fruit and easy enough an almost 4-year old can help!

My Sous Chef

Gooseberry Coffee Cake

Unknown credit, but here’s a great recipe from Canadian Living .

1/2 cup softened butter

1 1/2  cups sugar (I used 1 cup)

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups flour (I used a GF blend)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup butter milk

2 cups fresh or frozen gooseberries (tips and tails snipped)

Topping:

1 cup brown sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup softened butter

1. Grease a 9×13 pan and preheat oven to 350.

2. Cream butter and sugar together. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.

3. Combining your dry ingredients. Stir in your dry ingredients into your creamed sugar/butter mixture, alternating with the butter milk until combined.

4. Fold in your frozen gooseberries and pour into the pan and bake.

5. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon and butter until crumbly and dollop over the top of the cake. Bake for 45 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Thinking Outside the Jar: Strawberry Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

Disclaimer: I feel like this recipe was obvious to everyone but me. If that’s the case, smile and shake your head at me. If not, read on!

This recipe was born out of necessity (yes!) for a piece of frozen crumbly gluten-free birthday chocolate cake that was screaming for a side kick. The obvious pairing of ice cream wasn’t available and I wasn’t about to make buttercream frosting for one, but this is where whipped cream came in handy.

It’s really, really simple:

1. Cool your whipping cream, your bowl and your beaters then whip it, whip it good.

2. Fold in your jam. Any kind of loose set jam, really. I’ve been eating my Strawberry Vanilla Bean with and on everything and it was perfect with chocolate cake. It has a really soft set and blended perfectly, but avoid the stiff jam/jelly and opt for something that will fold nicely into the cream and help it retain it’s airiness. Start with about 2:1 ratio of cream to jam and if you want more jam, add more, just remember that the more jam you add, the looser the cream will get.

I know it’s obvious, but think of the possibilities! Tomorrow, when our American friends are gobbling up their pumpkin pie, what about a big dollop of Spiced Apple Butter Whipped Cream? Heaven.

Let me know if you give this a try.

Peach Vanilla Prosecco Jelly (Canning as a Love Song)

Peach Prosecco Jelly

It’s peach season, one of my favourite seasons and while peaches aren’t local to our region, I can at least be kept in good supply of beautiful peaches from the Niagara region.  Mr. Uncanny and I would visit many of those orchards when we were young and early married, living as students in Toronto and vacationing in the wine region, drunk on love and a few too many wine samples.

Peaches bring back fond memories for us but even more so about our daughter. I don’t post a lot about our family. I respect their privacy and their inability to approve of the pictures or stories I’d post. It doesn’t make me any less proud of them though and I often wish I could crow their accomplishments all day long. Honey Bear and her brother are my heart’s delight and being able to stay home with them, while balancing my creative passion through uncanny is a gift that I know many parents would love to enjoy.

Honey Bear’s birthday falls in the height of peach season and in fact, I was in early labour with her when making a big batch of peach conserve. I was 5 days overdue and determined to have a real gritty early labour experience, complete with laundry and jam making. I’d stir through each 2 minute contraction, clutching my back and trying to concentrate getting the conserve to the perfect setting point. It did. I called it my Pre-Game Jam and gave it out to the nurses and doctor at the hospital, but one jar remains in my pantry and I can’t bring myself to open it.

To me, that is the essence of canning. You bottle a moment, a season, a feeling, a wish. Everything I dreamed about our first encounter, all my hopes about her childhood, all my best wishes for her as she grew into an adult. All of it, as I stirred and stirred in the morning before we’d meet.

So this jelly is a love song to our girl. She turns 3 and like this jelly, she continues to sparkle and shine with sweetness.

Peach Vanilla Prosecco Jelly

Yield: 3x250ml

3.5 lbs peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped (reserve the peach skins)

2 vanilla beans, split and caviar removed

Juice of 1 lemon

2 cups sugar

1 cup prosecco

1 pouch of Certo liquid pectin

Directions:

1. Add vanilla beans and peach mixture to a slow simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, until softened, mashing with a potato masher.

2. Strain mixture in a jelly bag and measure out 1 cup of juice. (Save the pulp and the skin. I’ll tell you why in a minute.)

3. In a clean pot, add peach juice. prosecco and sugar. Stir and bring to a boil for a couple of minutes until all sugar has dissolved.

4. Add in liquid pectin and boil hard for one minute. Remove from heat and ladle into jars. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Voila!

** One of my favourite things to do with the peach pulp and skin is to turn it into a peach syrup, which I learned about from Homemade Trade. What a fantastic way to make those peaches stretch even further. There is still lots of flavour in the pulp and that vanilla bean still has ways to go. **

Cheers!

Peach Vanilla Prosecco Jelly on Punk   Domestics