Monday, November 25, 2013

Onion Jam

This is another reverse engineered recipe. Last Christmas, I received a jar of onion jam from an internet stranger via a Secret Santa thing that I do every year. After I finally summoned enough courage to actually try the jam, I was delighted. I spent the next three months moderating my intake of that delicious treat. Using a couple of internet recipes, and adding a little of my own flair (aka bourbon and honey), I decided to make my own version. It didn't turn out exactly like the original, but I still think it's pretty good.

According to the internet, onion jam is great served on a burger, but I like to keep it simple and serve it with a bit of cheese on bread or a cracker.

Thank you, internet stranger, whoever you may be. I will be forever indebted to you for opening my eyes to this magnificence.

Onion Jam Recipe
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 red onions, large thinly sliced
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar (not the aged sweet stuff)
1/8 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup bourbon
1/3 cup honey
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, stems removed, leaves chopped
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet (I used a 5 quart deep sauté pan) until it just barely begins smoking, add onions and cook until soft and translucent on medium high heat.

Once softened, lower heat to medium or medium low, and continue to cook onions until brown and caramelized. This will take forever, but it is worth the wait.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer on low stirring occasionally until the jam reaches a thick, jam-like consistency.

Yields about 3 cups (or half-pints as they Ball people inexplicably refer to their 8 oz. jars)

If desired, follow standard processing procedures to preserve your jars of jam or just pop it in the refrigerator. Unprocessed, it will last about 6 weeks in the refrigerator.

Spiced Tomato Jelly with the flavors of chutney

I have been toying with making jam for the last few months.  I played with various types of fruit jams (many of which I flavored with bourbon) before making a delicious onion jam.  This experience with making a savory jam made me remember a delicious spiced tomato jelly that I had at the American Culinary Federation Northeast Conference ages ago.  I never received a copy of that recipe, so I decided to approximate something similar but equally delicious.  This is the result.  I think it would be great as a ketchup replacement or even just served on crackers with a touch of cheddar.

48 fluid ounces of tomato juice
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons Garam Masala spice mix
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ cup vinegar
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
5 tablespoons low-sugar pectin
Zest of ½ of a navel orange

Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Increase the temperature to a rolling boil.  Add the pectin and boil for at least 1 minute.  Remove from heat and add the orange zest.

Makes approximately six cups of jelly or 6 one-cup jars of jelly.

If desired, follow standard processing procedures to preserve your jars of jelly or just pop it in the refrigerator.  Unprocessed, it will last about 6 weeks in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Strawberry Rum Jam

There's nothing quite like jam made from freshly picked strawberries.  My friend Jenica and I picked the strawberries in the morning and twelve hours later I had two batches of jam made and processed.  Yum!

  • 6 cups crushed strawberries (about 1.5 quarts whole)
  • 3 tablespoons of "Low or No-Sugar" Pectin (I used Ball’s)
  • 2/3 cup rum (I used aged, non-spiced - but feel free to experiment)
  • 1 cup raw (or turbinado) sugar
In a medium stock pot, combine the crushed strawberries and pectin. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.

Add the sugar and rum. Return to a full rolling boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat.

The recipe makes enough to fill six half-pint jars.

I used these instructions preserve and seal the jars.

This recipe is based on this recipe which uses bourbon instead of rum:

Friday, May 31, 2013

Vegan Double-Chocolate Bourbon Cookies

This is a small batch of cookies that I made to give the leasing office and maintenance of my building because they are awesome.  I ran out of sugar after I made the tequila lime cake, so I created this recipe with the last of my brown sugar.  They're bourbony!

  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup vegan chocolate chips
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream together the coconut oil & brown sugar.  Add the almond milk and vanilla.
  3. Slowly sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  4. When the dry ingredients have been incorporated, knead in the chocolate chips.  (The dough is going to be a little crumbly).
  5. Roll into walnut-sized balls & place them on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Flatten them a bit with your palm. 
  6. Bake for 7-10 minutes.
Makes 15-18 cookies

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Vegan Tequila-Lime Cake with Mango Jam Filling


3/4 cup coconut oil, warmed until liquid
1 ½ cup demerara sugar (or raw sugar)
Zest of two limes (save the juice)
1 ½ tablespoon cider vinegar
2 cups rice milk (warmed to room temperature)
¼ cup tequila (plus ~2/3 cup tequila to sprinkle on the cake later)
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Mango jam:
Two mangoes, peeled, and finely chopped
1 cup demerara sugar (or raw sugar)
2 tablespoons lime juice (juice from 1/2 lime)
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
¼ cup tequila
½ cup water

1 cups demerara sugar (or raw sugar)
1/8 cup water
Juice of 1/2 lime
Zest of 1/2 lime
1/8 cup tequila
1 tablespoons Grand Marnier

(To make your shopping list a little easier: In total, you will need about 1 1/2 cups of tequila, 4 large limes, and 3 1/2 cups of sugar).


Make the cake:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.

In a stand mixer (or with handheld mixer), cream together oil, sugar, and lime zest.  Add the cider vinegar, rice milk, 1/4 cup tequila, and vanilla.  Slowly add the salt, baking powder, and flour.  Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.  Do not overmix.

Divide the batter between the three cake pans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Check for doneness at 30 minutes.

Allow to cool and remove from pans.

Make the mango jam:
While the cake layers are cooling, make the mango jam.  Put the finely chopped mango, sugar, lime juice, Grand Marnier, tequila, and water in a medium sized sauce pan and boil stirring occasionally.  Boil hard until the mixture reaches approximately 245 degrees Fahrenheit (about 30-40 minutes).  It will get quite thick and turn a dark amber color.

Assemble the cake:
Slice the top off of two of the cakes to create a flat surface to work with.

Sprinkle one of the layers that has had its top removed with 2 tablespoons of tequila and 1 tablespoon of lime juice.  (I put it in a spray bottle and just drenched it).  Spread half of the mango jam on the layer. 

Gently place the second decapitated layer on top of the jam covered first layer.  Spray (or sprinkle) the second layer with 2 tablespoons of tequila and 1 tablespoon of lime juice.  Spread remaining mango jam on the layer.

Stack the final layer on the cake.  Spray (or sprinkle) the final layer with 2 tablespoons of tequila and 1 tablespoon of lime juice. 

After the cake has been mostly assembled, prepare the glaze:
Place the sugar, water, and lime juice in a medium sauce pan. Heat on medium-high heat and gently stir to dissolve the sugar. Allow to boil until large bubbles form on the surface (230 degrees). Remove from heat and stir in lime zest. Allow to cool for 1-2 minutes.  Add the tequila and Grand Marnier (it will bubble up a lot when you add the liquor). 

Pour the glaze over the cake.

Loosely based on a recipe by Rocco DiSpirito

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Vegan Banana Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips

While on the phone with my sister the other day, she told me about this wonderful concoction that she made for breakfast.  Into her regular oatmeal, she mixed some banana and chocolate chips.  I suddenly got very quiet on my end of the phone.  After a few seconds, I proclaimed, "I can make that into a cookie!"  

The recipe has very little sugar or fat.  It is mostly held together with the bananas which keep the cookies quite moist.

3 mashed bananas (approximately 1 ¼ cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup shortening (Crisco)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cup rolled oats (old fashioned or quick oats)
1 cup vegan chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine the mashed bananas, vanilla, and water.  Incorporate the shortening to the banana mixture.
  3. Slowly incorporate the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until blended. 
  4. Stir in the oats, followed by chocolate chips.
  5. Rest the mixture for about 10 minutes to allow the rolled oats to soften.  If you are using quick oats, you can skip this step.
  6. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes.
 Makes approximately 18 medium-sized cookies.