rhubarb-jam

Jam Session: Rhubarb

So recently, I decided that I simply don’t spend enough time in the kitchen. Ever. What?

My new hobby/favorite thing to do when I have a minute is…. make JAM! It’s ridiculously easy, totally satisfying and fits hand in hand with my 2012 resolution to stop buying bread and start making it myself (update on that: I’ve purchased a total of 3 loaves since new year–2 baguettes and a loaf of roasted garlic ciabatta. not bad.)

rhubarb

Of course, my grandmother was a prolific canner (preserver? putter-upper? I don’t know…) This is evidenced by the fact that we have a root cellar here with jars full of amazing things that are probably half as old as I am. She put up much more than she got around to eating.

Personally though, canning was news to me until a few weeks ago. Of course, last summer I had grand plans to put up (see that? I’m already using fancy canning lingo!) tons of veggies from our garden. I got myself a copy of Canning and Preserving by Ashley English and proceeded to process gallons of sauce from our tomato crop and freeze it. And then, we promptly lost it all without electricity for a week after the hurricane passed by us. Fail.

This year, I will not be thwarted by strong winds and fallen trees. I will can jams and veggies fearlessly and we will eat well throughout the cold months. That is, assuming that we finish planting the garden… it’s going to be a busy weekend.

blue-chair-jam

This book is totally tricksy. Since it entered my house I can’t look at a plump, dewy, berry without thoughts of tossing it into a boiling vat of sugar and lemon juice in my le creuset, and sealing it up into a widemouth Mason jar to await its fate of being slathered on a homemade slice of bread.

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So, this was the fate of much of my rhubarb patch (as well as some of the rhubarb from a neighbor’s yard as well.)

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This weekend will likely include trips to opening day of both the NL FoG market (today!) and the CRFM on Sunday. I’m excited to check out opening day at these markets (Lucky Girl is a guest vendor at both of them so we won’t be working them until later this month), say hello to friends who will be working them, and hopefully bring home some fruit so I can start working on a new batch of jam.

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Internet Fail Fixed

It appears that the Lucky Girl Bakery website is down. Unfortunately this coincides with the Mother’s Day Gift Box order deadline for orders that need to be shipped.

Problem Fixed!

If you need to place an order, you can order online or you can contact me via email: hello(at)luckygirlbakery(dot)com

Test Kitchen: Pop Tarts

pop tart 1

My earliest memories of baking are with my grandmother. I can’t recall how small I was, but that hardly matters because we baked the same things time after time. I know that I had to climb up on the high-backed bar stool at the end of the island (peninsula is more accurate, I suppose) in her kitchen, and that I knelt on the chair while we worked on the counter top. Just like Violet does in our kitchen at home.

I don’t know where my own mother was… maybe out for a run? She could have been in the other room, but I wouldn’t have noticed because it was grandma time. We made little hand pies. Lots and lots of them throughout my childhood. We’d mix pie dough up in an old Cool Whip container with a fork. Flour, cold butter, ice water–ready to roll with her heavy wood rolling pin. She’d hand me a juice glass and I’d flip it over and press it into the dough, cutting out perfect, petite circles. We’d drop tiny spoonfuls of strawberry and grape jelly onto the discs of dough and then cover them with a perfectly matched top. Grandma would help me carefully crimp the edges together with a fork and press steam holes in the tops with the tines, and then we’d dust them with cinnamon and sugar.

They were delicious and perfect. Best of all, they were totally fun to make!

pop tart 2

Today, Violet helped me bake something similar to those tasty little pies I used to bake with my grandmother. Pop Tarts. But not like the sad, chalky excuses for breakfast food you may have coveted during your childhood because they were rarely in your house. These are special, in that they are delicious.

Last summer, while I was pregnant with Scarlet, I had the deluded idea that I remembered Pop Tarts being super delicious. This was dangerous. And tragically, incorrect. A fuzzy childhood memory of strawberry “pastry” with sprinkles, paired with crazy pregnant lady cravings led me to buy a box and be painfully let down with each dry, artificially sweet bite. Blech.

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We’re in test baking mode for farmers market planning, and I thought that tasty Pop Tarts (perhaps I should call them something else… Kellogs might not like this kind of talk) might be great for snacking on while piling produce from local farms into your market bag. And you know what? The farmers market is all these buttery little hand pies will ever see, because they aren’t making it to your house. Probably not even to your car. Too tasty.

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They’re a simple, flaky pâte brisée filled with raspberry jam, and topped of course, with a vanilla glaze with sprinkles! These are going to be the perfect way to share the homemade jams I plan on whipping up as the berries come into season.

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