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Monday, September 8, 2014

Lemon Curd - egg and butter free

Oh, Lemon Curd, how I love thee!

Sunny, tart, sweet, tangy, but still smooth and rich and creamy - how do you do it?

Is it butter?

All those egg yolks?

Does lemon curd have to be filled with so much saturated fat in order to taste so good?

According to the internet: yes.

Well, in the words of Adventure Time's Earl of Lemongrab, "UNACCEPTABLE!"

I worked through last week with flavors and ingredients trying to find a suitable egg and dairy free lemon curd. First came the vegan sites and blogs. Vegan cooking is a happy hobby of mine and finding healthy alternatives to traditional dished can be a great experience. But, with two vegan lemon curd recipes tried and the results not-so-stunning, I decided to try my own. 

Cornstarch didn't have the right texture, and coconut milk altered the flavor and left it a bit weak. 

Chance left me with some very large stalks of green rhubarb from a sweet family in Tacoma. When they bought the house it came with several fruit trees and a HUGE rhubarb plant. She had rhubarb stalks as thick as my wrist but she simply didn't like the taste / texture of rhubarb in general so it was all going to waste. We connected online and I ended up with a bucket of rhubarb waiting for a recipe!

So, I had all this rhubarb and I needed something tangy and flavorful to add to the lemon juice... ha! Flavor Experiment!

The rhubarb was washed, cut, cut and simmered with a little sugar, lemons, ginger, real vanilla, low sugar pectin, and lemon zest. Low heat and constant stirring as the rhubarb dissolved let the liquid evaporate without burning at the bottom of the pot. 

In the end it became a rich, thick, lemony spread - worthy of the title Lemon Curd.

Egg and Dairy free Lemon Curd!!

I have about 20 sample jars and two 9oz jars of this deliciousness. More coming soon!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Plums Have Arrived

There is a great variety of delicious local plums coming up fragrant and ready for the picking all this week and next!
I have batches of Rosemary Plum Sauce, Ginger Plum Jam, and Strawberry Plum Preserve filling shelves soon!
 Rosemary Plum Sauce - a sweet and herb infused sauce great served over grilled lamb and red potatoes. The plums come from one tree in the Interbay neighborhood. The rosemary is picked fresh from a large bush just down the block. I place the washed and crushed rosemary into a kitchen cotton-tie bag and allow it to simmer with the plums until the syrup becomes a deep garnet and carries the smell of rosemary all the way to the neighbor's.

Ginger Plum Jam - a spicy sweet reflection at the end of summer, great with a scone and a mug of Seattle Chai Tea! These plums are sourced from a large row of trees on two different properties. The neighbors who gave me permission to pick as much as I like! (- thanks guys!) The organic ginger is from a local market, it is diced and simmered along with the plums and sugar until the sauce gels, it hits 220F, and reaches a deep dark red.
Strawberry Plum Preserve - a surprisingly rich preserve filled with large pieces of fruit and chunky juicy texture. This is a favorite on an English muffin in the morning with some Irish Breakfast Tea. I'm lucky enough to grow fistfuls of fresh strawberries on my patio! The plums are from the same source as the Ginger Plum Jam, but they are simply sliced in half and pitted and then added whole to the pot. The strawberries are sliced in half and simmered with sugar and organic lemon juice. The result is a thick preserve with large bites of fruit and a satisfyingly sweet, but not too sweet, flavor. 

I leave you with two lovely quotes by the poet Mary Oliver - 
My work is the world.Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird- equal seekers of sweetness.Here the quickening yeast, there the blue plums...                -Mary Oliver
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your wild and precious life?           - Mary Oliver