Apple Ginger Cardamom Jam

So, my oven broke.  And since I’m living in a so-called “developing” country, and eeeevvverrrrything takes longer to get done, it might be awhile before I can post anything that requires an oven.  SADness.

Soooooooo, I decided to can, since I have a plethora of jars.

Has anyone out there made apple jam before?  With an abundance of apples in these parts, I figured why not give it a try.  I know it’s not your typical fruit to be used in jam, but it actually turned out quite delightful!  And paired with cream cheese on whole-grain, homemade bread?  You can’t beat it.

Apple Ginger Cardamom Jam

*Note: this recipe doesn’t make very much…about enough for 4-5 small mason jars.  If you wish to make more, double it!

6 cups grated, peeled apples
Juice of one lemon
2 cups sugar (or more if you prefer it more sweet)
3 tsp ginger (more if you want more kick)
15 green cardamom seeds

Place peeled, grated apples in pot with lemon juice, sugar, grated ginger and cardamom pods. Cook all on medium-high heat for about 25-30 minutes, or until you get a nice jam-ish set. The temperature should be around 240 degrees.

When slightly cooled, place in prepared, sterilized jars, and following hot water bath canning procedures.


On Cupcakes

Cuuuuuuuupcaaaaaaaaaaaakes!

Who doesn’t love them?!?!

In the past few years there has been a huge influx of cupcake-only bakeries where those delectable, trendy, perfect little servings of cake with a perfect size dollop of frosting on top are the main feature behind pretty glass cases.  It’s almost like they are works of art waiting to be devoured by serious gourmands and Betty Crocker mix lovers alike.  Google the terms ‘cupcake bakery’ and it yields nearly 12 million results of places where cupcakes are the main feature.  This place in Portland, Oregon for example serves up such flavors as malt ball, pumpkin spice, and peanut butter cookie.  In Beverly Hills flavors such as chai latte, lemon coconut, cinnamon sugar, ginger lemon, mocha, and red velvet are featured at this place.  Not only has the craze taken to cupcake-only bakeries, but also exist thousands of websites and blogs devoted just to those who are fanatic about cupcakes.  Even SIGG has picked up on this recent craze, offering this in their new product line.

I mean, how could you not love cupcakes?  They come in all flavors and different sizes, and It’s your own perfect little size piece of cake!  I’m sure wherever you live, there is a cupcake bakery somewhere close.  Look it up and go buy a cupcake.  Right now!

These are some of my latest creations (though I do not claim to be a cupcake artist nor strive to create works of art like those in the cupcake bakeries, and my seriously gourmand sister would probably claim I have no idea how to make red velvet cupcakes).


Rainy Day Kitchen Inventions

Sometimes in life there are things so unique, so wonderful, that they simply cannot be recreated and be exactly the same nor exactly as wonderful.  That’s what happened last night in my kitchen.  A very, very, rainy Saturday night and I decided to bake something (what I typically do many times with rainy days or bored days).  Lately, I have been exploring with other ways to use avocados with the abundance of them I have in my backyard.  Besides previously tried and tested recipes of avocados in cakes, avocados in smoothies, I thought I would try a bread – a quick bread.  And as I write this, I am enjoying this bread that was merely invented, created, and not noted on paper.  Nor can I even remember what I did.  I mean, I could try, and I would probably most likely succeed, but I just fear it won’t taste as darn good as it does (But, if someone really wants it, I’m pretty darn sure I could remember it to almost a T, so let me know).  But for now, better to just enjoy it thoroughly and cherish it’s uniqueness.

So this bread, is an Avocado Banana Bread with chunks of Dried Pineapple (and it’s made with whole wheat flour).  It is loosely based on my mother’s long-standing, ever-so famous, Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (which, she may disown me if I post the recipe for that), with many substitutes to make it weeeeellll..….a bit healthier.  But the good flavor isn’t compromised much at all!  The avocado is the fat used in place of melted butter and gives the bread a nice, smooth texture.  Some of the sugar is substituted with honey, giving it a hearty sort of nutty, sticky flavor, in addition, so does the whole wheat flour.  And the chunks of dried pineapple give it a little tart kick every bite you take. It is just perfect.

And so as I sit here with the rain pouring down on the tin roof above, I think how there is nothing more satisfying when I go into the kitchen, with just an idea, without a recipe, with whatever ingredients I have on hand, and the product that comes out of it all is successful.  It is just like any art, where the separate paints make an eye-catching picture, or little pieces of clay make a life-size sculpture, or individual dancers make up a ballet.  You can’t quite know how it will turn out until you just do it.  And when you do, there is nothing more satisfying.