Blog Posts

Grilled Strawberry-Avocado Toasts with Burrata

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Total: 45 mins, Yield: 4

Ingredients:

  • 6 scallions

  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered

  • 1 Hass avocado—peeled, pitted, and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • Kosher salt

  • Black pepper

  • Four 1-inch-thick slices of rustic bread

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing and drizzling

  • 1 garlic clove

  • 1/2 cup Strawberry Margarita Preserves

  • 8 ounces burrata, cut into bite-size pieces

  • Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling

  • Flaky sea salt and torn basil, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Light a grill. Grill the scallions over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred, 3 minutes. Transfer to a work surface and let cool, then cut into 1-inch lengths. Leave the grill on.

  2. In a medium bowl, mix the scallions with the strawberries, avocado, lemon juice, and crushed red pepper. Season with kosher salt and black pepper and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, brush the bread with olive oil and grill over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a platter and rub with the garlic clove. Top with the Strawberry Margarita Preserves, burrata, and the strawberry salad. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Garnish with flaky sea salt and torn basil; serve.

Spicy Cherry Cordial

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Active: 30 mins, Total: 1 hr, Yield: 4 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 ½ teaspoons cardamom pods, smashed

  • 1 ½ teaspoons grated orange zest, plus 1/2 cup fresh juice (from 1 orange), divided

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 1 (2-inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

Directions:

  1. Stir together Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly, water, cardamom pods, orange zest, cinnamon sticks, and ginger in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

  2. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large heatproof bowl. Pour the  Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly mixture through the strainer into a bowl. Discard solids. Stir orange juice into strained  Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly mixture. Let stand at room temperature, uncovered, until cooled to room temperature, about 30 minutes. To enjoy, pour a ¼-cup serving over an ice-filled cocktail glass and top up with tonic water, or add a splash to a glass of chilled sparkling white wine.

Tips: Cherry cordial may be stored in resealable glass jars in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Orange Marmalade Martini

Monday, June 13, 2022

2 Servings

Ingredients

  • 100ml London Dry gin

  • 30ml Cointreau

  • 30ml fresh lemon juice

  • 2 tbsp. Orange Whiskey Marmalade

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a Boston cocktail shaker. Shake with ice for 30 seconds. Strain into martini glasses to serve.

  2. Serve with warmed croissants for an indulgent breakfast.

Red, Hot, & Cool Raspberries

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Active: 25 mins, Total: 50 mins, Yield: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Raspberry Chipotle Preserves

  • 2/3 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

  • 2/3 cup cream cheese, softened

  • Fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Whisk together yogurt and cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

  2. Divide the yogurt mixture among 4 bowls, and top evenly with Raspberry Chipotle Preserves. Garnish with mint leaves, and serve.

Frozen Strawberry Custard with Lemon Curd Swirl

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Active: 1 hr 20 mins, Total: 4 hrs 30 mins, Yield: Makes 2 quarts

Ingredient:

  • 1 cup Strawberry Margarita Preserves

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 4 large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1 cup Lemon Curd

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, combine the heavy cream and milk and bring just to a simmer. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the eggs at medium speed until frothy. Add the vanilla, salt, and the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar. Beat at high speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. With the machine on, very gradually whisk in 1 cup of the hot cream mixture, then whisk in the rest. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until thickened, about 15 minutes. (The custard should be thick enough to coat the back of the spatula.)

  2. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large stainless-steel bowl set in an ice-water bath. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until well chilled, about 20 minutes. Stir in the Strawberry Margarita Preserves, then refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.

  3. In two batches, freeze the custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions; when the custard is thick but not firm, scrape it into a medium bowl, and using a rubber spatula, gently fold in 1/2 cup of the lemon curd per batch. Freeze the strawberry custard in airtight containers until firm, about 2 hours.

Make-Ahead: The custard can be frozen for up to 1 week.

Tartiflette

Friday, May 20, 2022

Active: 45 mins, Total: 2 hrs. 5 mins, Yield: 8

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium russet potatoes (about 2 1/4 pounds), peeled

  • 1 cup of Sweet and Spicy Double Onion Marmalade

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons thinly sliced fresh sage

  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche

  • 1 (1-pound) Fromager d’Affinois round, at room temperature, halved crosswise, rind left on

Directions:

  1. Place potatoes in a large pot, and add water to cover. Add 2 teaspoons salt, and bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and let potatoes cool for 30 minutes. Cut potatoes crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and set aside.

  2. Arrange half of the potato slices in an even layer in a 1 1/2-quart oval soufflé dish or 10- x 7- x 1 1/2-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Top with half of the Sweet and Spicy Double Onion Marmalade. Layer with remaining potatoes and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Top with remaining Sweet and Spicy Double Onion Marmalade. Dot casserole with spoonfuls of crème fraîche, and arrange Fromager d’Affinois cheese halves (with rind) on top. Place soufflé dish on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven until bubbly and lightly browned, 20 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Suggested Pairing: Dry, powerful Chablis.

Meyer Lemons

Monday, May 16, 2022

<2 Minutes Reading Time

Tree.com & I thought you might be interested in the resources we created to recognize a tree that has the best of both worlds thanks to its hybrid fruit, health benefits, & ornamental features: the Meyer lemon tree!

Here are a few fun facts to celebrate this unique source of citrus sweetness & encourage people to plant one on their own:

  1. The Meyer lemon tree originated in China and was primarily known as a decorative plant for almost 100 years until it was brought to the US, where it became a food item.

  2. Many grocery stores don’t carry Meyer lemons, so you may need a tree of your own to access this fruit.

  3. In the 1960s, a virus nearly wiped out all Meyer lemon trees growing in California.

  4. One stock that was found to be virus-free was saved and used to develop the virus-free cultivar “Improved Meyer Lemon” tree, which is what we consume today.

You can learn more here: https://www.trees.com/meyer-lemon-tree#fun-facts

https://www.trees.com/meyer-lemon-tree-organic#fun-facts

🍋 Don't forget to pick up some of our Meyer Lemon and Vanilla Marmalade to easily enjoy any time of the year.

🌞 It's tart Sunshine in a Jar! A lemon lover's paradise, intensely lemony & sweet. https://store.jpsdelights.com/products?store-page=Meyer-Lemon-and-Vanilla-Marmalade-p293530134

Smoked Cherry Bounce

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Active: 35 mins, Total: 2 hrs 40 mins, Yield: 26

Ingredient:

  • Cherry wood chunks

  • 1 cup fresh Bing cherries (about 4 1/2 ounces), stemmed and pitted

  • 2 cups Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly

  • 1 quart (32 ounces) brandy or rye whiskey

Directions:

  1. Prepare smoker with cherry wood chunks according to manufacturer’s instructions, bringing the internal temperature to about 225°F; maintain temperature 15 to 20 minutes. Place 1 cup (about 4 1/2 ounces) of cherries in an even layer in an 8-inch square disposable aluminum pan, and place on smoker grates. Close lid. Smoke cherries, maintaining the temperature inside the smoker around 225°F, until cherries are infused with the desired degree of smoky flavor, 30 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally.

  2. Combine smoked cherries and 2 cups of Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until soft. Remove from heat, and let cool for 1 hour.

  3. Pour cherry mixture into a large, clean lidded jar, and top with brandy. Screw lid on tightly, and store in a cool, dark place for 3 months.

Notes: Don’t rush this cordial; our testers found it drinkable after 2 months but exponentially smoother after 3 months.

Chocolate Part 6 of 6

Sunday, May 8, 2022

<3 Minutes Reading Time

131. Darker chocolates contain a higher percentage of cacao, whereas ones with lower percentages contain more milk products and sweeteners. The average milk chocolate bar can have as little as 10 percent of actual cocoa bean products, which is the minimum requirement for the FDA to consider a food a chocolate product.

132. For one of the most popular episodes of the series, titled "Job Switching," which is when Lucy works in a chocolate factory and things start running amuck on the conveyer belt, Lucille Ball heavily prepared for the episode before filming. She recruited a professional chocolate dipper, Amanda Milligan, to play the chocolatier beside her in the episode and taught her how to actually dip chocolate before filming came.

133. According to Smithsonian.com, M&M's are a common treat for astronauts to pack during their space endeavors. This is mainly because they are small, edible, but also fun for the astronauts to use as entertainment in zero gravity, according to the Smithsonian's reports.

134. The average chocolate bar contains insect fragments. The U.S Food and Drug Administration says “Anything more than 60 insect pieces per 100 grams of chocolate is rejected.”

135. A thief took $28 million worth of gems in 2007 after gaining the guard's trust at an Antwerp Bank by repeatedly offering them chocolate.

136. 1 in every 200 workers, or around 17,000 people in Belgium work in the production and promotion of chocolate.

137. One chocolate chip gives an adult enough food energy to walk 150 feet. Around 35 chocolate chips are enough for a mile or 875,000 chips would take them around the world.

138. The biggest chocolate sculpture ever made was a 10-foot-high Easter egg weighing 4,484 lbs (2,034 kg) in Melbourne, Australia.

139. In 1991, a chocolate model ship was made in Barcelona measuring approximately 42.5ft long, 28ft tall, and 8ft wide.

140. The largest chocolate ever made was in the Netherlands; the chocolate marzipan took 3 days and weighed 4,078 lbs (1,850 kg).

141. The largest cuckoo clock made of chocolate can be found in Germany

142. Japanese women give chocolate hearts to their loved ones on February 14th. The men a month later return the gesture on “Howaito” white day.

143. In the original Psycho film, the blood in the famous shower scene was actually chocolate syrup.

144. Blue packaged chocolate doesn’t sell in Shanghai or Hong Kong, as the Chinese relate blue with death.

145. Chocolate and chili is a well-known combination, but Firebox took it a step further producing the “instant regret chili chocolate” infused with 6.4 million Scoville chili extract.

146. Napoleon always had chocolate with him; he ate it whenever he needed an energy boost.

147. When chocolate is covered in a white speckled layer, it has “bloomed”. This is caused by the fat (cocoa butter) molecules inside the chocolate over time rising to the surface and recrystallizing. Bloomed chocolate is still edible but will be dry and less flavorful.

148. More than 7 billion chocolate chips are eaten annually.

149. American author Robert Cormier wrote a novel called The Chocolate War, due to its nature the book appeared in the American Library Association's “Top 100 banned/challenged books in 2000-2009”.

150. Global production of cocoa is currently forecast to decrease for the third year in a row, 2015/16 production is expected at 4.1 million tons vs. 2014/15 production of 4.2 million tons. 2013/14 production was 4.3 million tons.

151. Chocolate producers worldwide use around 20% of the world’s peanut crops and 40% of all almonds grown.

152. Chocolate actually inspired the Microwave. Percy Spence, a scientist working on WWII radar loved chocolate. When near a magnetron, he noticed a chocolate bar in his pocket had melted. He realized magnetrons could be used to heat food quickly and discovered the microwave oven.

153. Gorging on sugar-free chocolate acts as a severe laxative. At one producer’s factory, there are buckets of defective chocolates. Each bucket has a sign warning employees of the ramifications of over-consumption.

154. Approximately 70% of the nearly $500 million spent on candy during the week leading up to Easter is for chocolate. Approximately 71 million pounds of chocolate candy are sold during the week leading up to Easter.

155. Only 48 million pounds of chocolate are sold during Valentine’s week.

156. In contrast, over 90 million pounds of chocolate candy are sold in the last week of October leading up to Halloween.

Grilled Short Ribs with Smoky Blackberry Barbecue Sauce

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Active: 45 mins, Total: 1 hr 30 mins, Yield: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound blackberries

  • 2 teaspoons sweet pimentón de la Vera (sweet smoked paprika)

  • 1 ½ cups of Blackberry Jam

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for brushing

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped, plus 1/4 cup minced

  • ¼ cup tomato paste

  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar

  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar

  • ¼ cup soy sauce

  • 3 tablespoons seeded and minced chipotles in adobo sauce

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped oregano, plus more for garnish

  • 4 ½ pounds flanken-cut beef short ribs (1/3-inch thick)

  • Thinly sliced radishes, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Light a grill. In a large bowl, toss the blackberries with the pimentón. Spread the berries in a perforated grill pan or in a foil pan with holes poked in it. Grill over moderately high heat, tossing, until the berries just start to burst, 3 to 5 minutes.

  2. In a saucepan, heat the 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until just golden. Add the chopped onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened and just starting to brown, about 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until glossy, about 2 minutes. Add the blackberries, Blackberry Jam, vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, chipotles, mustard, and cumin, and bring just to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring, until slightly thickened and the berries are very tender, about 20 minutes.

  3. Transfer the sauce to a blender and let cool slightly, then puree until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl, discarding the solids. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and let cool completely. Spoon 1 cup of the sauce into a bowl and stir in the minced onion, the olive oil, and the 2 tablespoons of oregano. Reserve the remaining sauce for grilled chicken or pork.

  4. Light the grill and oil the grate. Season the ribs with salt and pepper and brush with the Blackberry Jam sauce. Grill over high heat, turning once, until nicely charred, 3 minutes. Continue to grill for 2 minutes more, turning and basting with more sauce, until glazed. Garnish the ribs with radishes and chopped oregano; serve hot.

Make-Ahead: The Blackberry Jam sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Suggested Pairing: Peppery, blackberry-rich Petite Sirah from California was practically made for sticky barbecue.

Chocolate Part 5 of 6

Saturday, April 23, 2022

~3.5 Minutes Reading Time

105. Spanish royalty gave cakes of cacao in their dowries.

106. On December 6th during the feast of St. Nicholas, children in Holland put their clogs outside at night so Santa can fill them with chocolate money.

107. July 7th is National Chocolate Day in the UK, the day marks when chocolate was first brought to Europe on July 7, 1550. Some credit Christopher Columbus with this feat in 1504.

108. International Chocolate Day is celebrated on September 13th, & some celebrate National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day on November 7th.

109. In November, Germans celebrate St. Martin (a knight who shared his cloak with a beggar) with a lantern-lit parade, sweets, & steaming hot chocolate.

110. German chocolate cake was named for Sam German, who developed a sweet bar for Baker’s Chocolate–and was not from Germany.

111. April Fool's Day in France is called "Poisson d'Avril." The word "poisson" in French translates to fish, so children enjoy a piece of fish-shaped chocolate on this day while playing pranks on one another.

112. According to the artisan chocolatiers at Amano, the process of making chocolate from cocoa beans takes about a week. Larger companies like Hershey's can make a chocolate bar in two to four days due to their larger chocolate-producing machines.

113. Chocolate contains two doses of cocoa butter—the natural amount from the bean, plus an extra dollop to bump up creaminess.

114. Cacao percentage determines the amount of cocoa bean products by weight in a chocolate.

115. “Cacao” is how you say “cocoa” in Spanish.

116. Champagne & sparkling wines are too acidic to pair well with milk or dark chocolate. Try pairing a sweet bubbly with white chocolate & red wine with dark. In general, you want to match the sweetness level of the wine with the sweetness level of the chocolate.

117. Some cocoa certification programs are modeled on success with a similar product–coffee.

118. Chocolate can make dogs & cats ill–meaning no tastings for your furry friend, & more for you.

119. According to the BBC, research found that chocolate can actually stimulate your brain & releases more endorphins in the brain than kissing does. It was also shown to increase your heart rate faster than kissing as well. Researchers believe that this is caused by chocolate's concentration of phenylethylamine, a compound that increases endorphin production in the brain.

120. The man who created the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup was a farmer, by the name of Harry Burnett Reese, who was a former shipping foreman & dairy farmer for Milton S. Hershey, the founder of Hershey’s chocolate.

121. Terry’s produce over 350 million chocolate orange segments per year. 5 tons of chocolate is enough to make 28,000 Terry’s Chocolate Oranges.

122. America's favorite chocolate brand produces millions of those bite-sized chocolates we all love daily. They are all made by machine at Hershey's factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It actually got its name from the sound that the chocolate makes when coming out of a machine during the manufacturing process.

123. Cadbury Creme Eggs are one of the most popular chocolate candies in the world. According to the Cadbury website, the chocolate company produces up to 1.5 million of their famous creme eggs daily, & over 500 million made per year.

124. Three Musketeers bars used to have three individually flavored bars: chocolate, vanilla, & strawberry. But they decided to drop the strawberry one when prices began to rise for the fruit & eventually turned into one large chocolate bar.

125. Andes Candies were originally called 'Andy's Candys.' The creator of the now-famous chocolate, Andrew Kanelos, was going to name them after himself originally, but changed it for a funny reason: he realized that men did not like giving their wives & girlfriends boxes of candies with another man's name on them, according to the book Chicago's Sweet Candy History by Leslie Goddard.

126. The most valuable chocolate bar in the world sold for $687. This Cadbury chocolate bar had a much pricier tag than usual, & for good reason. At the time of being sold in 2001, this bar of chocolate was 100 years old & went on Captain Robert Scott's first Discovery expedition to the Antarctic, according to Guinness World Records.

127. In a small study at Indiana University, cyclists who drank chocolate milk after a workout had less fatigue & scored higher on endurance tests than those who had a sports drink. A study published by Medicine & Sports Science found that chocolate milk can actually help athletes recover faster after exercise. The study noted that this could be due to the drink's high protein & carb ratio.

128. According to the BBC the survey conducted for the Infosecurity Europe trade show in London in 2004 found that 79 percent of people were willing to give out personal information that could be useful for identity thieves, such as birthdays & mother's maiden names, for chocolate. 70% of people would give their passwords for a chocolate bar.

129. According to the History Channel, the U.S. Census Bureau noted that during the week of Valentine's Day, more than 58 million pounds of chocolate are sold, & makes up a large percentage of yearly chocolate sold in the US.

130. The Brussels Airport is the biggest chocolate seller in the world. They sell about 800 tons of Belgian chocolate per year.

Huevos Rancheros with Raspberry Chipotle

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Serving Size: 1

FOR THE SALSA

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 2 tomatoes, chopped

  • 1 jalapeño pepper

  • 1 small white or yellow onion

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

FOR THE HUEVOS

  • Flour tortillas

  • 1 cup cooked black beans

  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic

  • Feta or cotija cheese

  • 1 large egg

  • Olive oil

  • ½ avocado and Chopped cilantro to garnish

  • Raspberry Chipotle Jam

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. MAKING THE SALSA: In a food processor or blender add tomatoes, onions, jalapeño, cumin, and garlic. Pulse a few times until ingredients are cut into small pieces (be careful not to over blend as it will turn the mix into a paste)

  2. Transfer mix into a bowl and stir in Raspberry Chipotle Jam and set aside

  3. In a small saucepan, add 2 Tbsp olive oil and minced garlic and stir occasionally on medium heat then add black beans, ¼ cup water, reduce to a low heat, and simmer for 10-15 minutes then set aside

  4. Place a sauté or frying pan over high heat, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and cook the tortillas – one at a time – until slightly golden

  5. Using the same pan, add a tsp of olive oil or butter, crack in a fresh egg and cook over medium-low heat until egg white is fully opaque and the yolk is golden for a perfect sunnyside up finish

  6. To assemble: place the tortillas on a plate and top with black beans. Add 2 spoonfuls of salsa and sliced avocado. Crumble your choice of feta or cotija cheese and top with the sunnyside egg.

  7. For a delicious smokey, spicy finish, drizzle Raspberry Chipotle Jam over your Huevos Rancheros and sprinkle with chopped cilantro

  8. Serve immediately and Enjoy!

Chocolate Part 4 of 6

Friday, April 22, 2022

~2.5 Minutes Reading Time

79. Red M&Ms are among the most popular today, but in the 1970’s, they were replaced with orange pieces for almost ten years. This was the result of a study which stated that red food dye was linked to cancers.

80. Ben & Jerry's made the first cookie dough ice cream. According to Ben & Jerry's website, the ice cream aficionados created the flavor after an anonymous suggestion was sent into their shop in 1984. They spent six years perfecting the ice cream before finally releasing it, and it became the massive hit it is today.

81. In 2008, Thorntons in London created the world’s largest box of chocolates at 16.5 feet tall and 11.5 feet wide. The box contained over 220,000 chocolates and weighed 4,805 pounds. Previously, the record was held by Marshall Field’s in Chicago with a box containing 90,090 Frango mint chocolates and weighing a whopping 3,326 pounds.

82. In 2013, Belgium issued a limited edition of chocolate flavored stamps.

83. Rudolph Lindt designed the first conching machine, its bed curved like a conch shell.

84. Contrary to popular belief, mice actually prefer chocolate over cheese every time! Mice love sweet smelling food so they would be more tempted by a piece of chocolate than a chunk of cheddar.

85. The History Channel noted that the chocolate industry bloomed into one of the most successful businesses in the world. Each year, the chocolate industry makes over $110 billion in sales around the world.

86. Chocolate has evolved into such a massive industry that between 40 and 50 million people depend on cacao for their livelihood. Over 3.8 million tons of cacao beans are produced per year.

87. Each cacao tree produces approximately 2,500 beans.

88. Because cacao trees are so delicate, farmers lose, on average, 30 percent of their crop each year.

89. There are an estimated 1.5 million cocoa farms in West Africa.

90. Most cocoa–70 percent–hails from West Africa.

91. Cocoa is raised by hand, on small, family-owned farms.

Assorted mixed chocolates. Chocolate bars, cocoa nibs, powdered cocoa, spreads, bon bons, truffles,

92. Cacao leaves can move 90 degrees, from horizontal to vertical, to get sun and to protect younger leaves.

93. Some cacao trees are more than 200 years old, but most give marketable cocoa beans for only the first 25 years.

94. Nearly all cacao trees grow within 20 degrees of the equator, and 75% grow within 8 degrees of either side of it. Cacao trees grow in three main regions: West Africa, South and Central America, and Southeast Asia/Oceania

95. The average size of a cocoa farm in West Africa is 7 to 10 acres.

96. Cote d’Ivoire is the single largest producer of cocoa, providing roughly 40 percent of the world’s supply.

97. Through some programs supported by industry and partners including foundations and governments, farmers are now earning between 20 percent and 55 percent more from their crops.

98. Most cocoa farms are not owned by the companies that make chocolate.

99. The price of cocoa can fluctuate daily–affecting farmers’ incomes.

100. The average West African cocoa family has eight members.

101. A farmer must wait four to five years for a cacao tree to produce its first beans.

102. In addition to tending cacao trees, family members may harvest bananas or other fruit crops.

103. Worldwide, 40 million to 50 million people depend upon cocoa for their livelihood.

104. An Indonesian cocoa farming community built a giant statue of hands holding a cocoa pod.

Pimento Cheeseburgers with Bacon Jam

Monday, April 18, 2022

Total: 45 mins, Yield: 4

A heavenly bacon cheeseburger. The pimento cheese and sweet Bacon Jam both melt into one dreamy, messy bite—this is not a burger for the faint of palate.

PIMENTO CHEESE:

  • 6 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded (1 1/2 cups)

  • 1-ounce cream cheese (2 tablespoons), at room temperature

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/4 cup drained and chopped jarred pimientos

  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated

  • 1 tablespoon Habanero Jelly

  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

BURGERS:

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck, preferably 20% fat

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

  • 4 potato rolls, split and toasted

  • Sliced dill pickles and thinly sliced scallions, for serving

  • Bacon Jam

Directions:

  1. Make the pimento cheese. In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients.

  2. Make the burgers. Form the beef into four ¾-inch-thick patties and season with salt and pepper. In a large cast-iron skillet set on the grate of a preheated grill or on the stovetop, heat the oil. Cook the burgers over moderate heat until browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook, covered, until browned and medium-rare, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a work surface and let rest for 5 minutes.

  3. Place a burger on each roll's bottom. Top with some of the pimento cheese, Bacon Jam, sliced pickles, and scallions. Close the burgers and serve.

Chocolate Part 3 of 6

Thursday, April 14, 2022

~3.5 Minutes Reading Time

53. The spread of chocolate from Spain throughout Europe began in the sixteenth century with the expulsion of Jews from Spain and Portugal during the Inquisition. Some Jews who left Spain brought with them Spain’s secrets of processing chocolate.

54. From 1500 to 1900, Europeans documented 100-plus medical uses for chocolate, including treatment of dysentery, gout, fever, seizures, anemia, vision difficulties, urinary problems, and intimacy issues.

55. In 17th century Mexico someone suffered death by chocolate. Poison was injected into chocolate, killing a Spanish Bishop who banned the consumption of chocolate during church services. The Catholic Church once associated chocolate with heretical behavior, including blasphemy, extortion, witchcraft, seduction, as well as being an observant Jew.

56. The Natural History Museum found that chocolate milk was invented in the early 1700s in Jamaica by Irish botanist Sir Hans Sloane. The natives of the land gave him straight cocoa to drink, but could only stomach it when he mixed it with milk, according to the museum's research.

57. In 1730s Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin’s legendary print shop sold bibles, stationary tools, writing implements, handmade parchment, and one consumable — a drinkable chocolate. In Franklin’s colonial America, liquid cacao was nearly as popular as coffee and tea, but this drink was not your grandma’s hot chocolate — it was thick, strong, quite bitter, and contained no sugar.

58. Thirty-one years later, Franklin, writing under the alias Richard Saunders, touted chocolate as a cure for smallpox in his Poor Richard’s Almanac, colonial America’s most popular publication. He was not proven correct, however, as no sure cure for smallpox was ever found. (Twentieth-century vaccines did manage to eradicate the disease by 1980.)

59. Cornell University reports that in 1753 Swedish physician Carl Linnaeus gave the cacao tree its botanical name, Theobroma cacao, which is Greek for “cacao, food of the gods.” Linnaeus, who originated taxonomy — the manner of naming and classifying all organisms — did not reference the divine this plainly in any other species names he dreamt up.

60. The first machine-made chocolate was produced in Barcelona, Spain, in 1780.

61. When English Buccaneers overran a Spanish ship loaded with cacao beans, they set it on fire, thinking the beans were sheep dung.

62. Some scholars link the growing popularity of chocolate houses in Europe, such as the Cocoa-Tree Chocolate House on St. James Street in London, with the beginnings of the Enlightenment. That was the drink on the table when 18th-century thinkers started to question long-held verities: the supremacy of the Church, the rights of kings, and potential for improvement in the common man and woman.

63. The English chocolate company Cadbury made the first chocolate bar in the world in 1842.

64. Until 1847, chocolate was a delicacy enjoyed in bitter liquid form. The British chocolate company Fry and Sons introduced the concept of “eating chocolate” after combining cocoa butter, sugar, and chocolate liquor. This concoction was more grainy than smooth but was still enjoyed by many. Nearly 20 years later, Fry revolutionized the world of sweets, releasing humankind’s first mass-produced chocolate bar.

65. Richard Cadbury, the son of Cadbury founder John Cadbury, made the first heart-shaped box of chocolates in 1861 for Valentine’s Day.

66. Nestlé, one of the biggest food companies in the world, was founded in 1866 by Henri Nestlé in Vevey, Switzerland. It did not start as a chocolate company, but actually as an instant milk product, according to the company's website.

67. Daniel Peter, a Swiss chocolatier and entrepreneur, spent eight long years trying to figure out a recipe for milk chocolate that would work. It wasn’t until 1875 that he realized that condensed milk was the answer to all his troubles.

68. The Cadbury Easter Egg is over 140 years old, according to the Cadbury website. The first egg was made in 1875 with dark chocolate and was filled with sugar-coated chocolate drops.

69. The famous chocolate maven didn't actually start making chocolate with his famous Hershey company. Milton Hershey actually started making caramels under the Lancaster Caramel Company in 1886, and began to sell chocolate in 1900.

70. William Cadbury (Grandson of Richard Cadbury, the founder of Cadbury) commissioned the design of the Cadbury logo in Paris 1905 by French designer George Auriol.

71. Hershey’s Kisses were first produced in 1907 and were shaped like a square. A new machine in 1921 gave them their current shape.

72. The Mars family, which founded the famous Mars candy company, named the popular candy bar after their beloved horse, Snickers, in 1930.

73. Chocolate chip cookies were discovered totally by accident. In 1938, a woman named Ruth Wakefield thought that adding chocolate chunks to her cookie batter would result in chocolate cookies. Instead, she stumbled upon the recipe for what would become the (world’s favorite cookie). Wakefield eventually sold the recipe to Nestle Toll House in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolate.

74. M&Ms were created in 1941 as a means for soldiers to enjoy chocolate without it melting.

75. Nutella was invented during WWII, when an Italian pastry maker mixed hazelnuts into chocolate to extend his cocoa supply.

76. In 1947, hundreds of Canadian kids went on strike and boycotted chocolate after the price of a chocolate bar jumped from 5 to 8 cents.

77. The original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie from 1971 was actually used as an advertisement for Quaker Oats. The film was funded by the food company in order to promote their new Wonka chocolate bar, which is why the film is named Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory instead of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory like the original book.

78. The famous chocolate river from the original Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory film was made with 15,000 gallons of water mixed with chocolate and cream. The river spoiled fairly

Oatmeal with Strawberries, Toasted Walnuts, and Skyr

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Total: 15 mins Yield: 2

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup walnuts

  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats (about 5 ounces)

  • 1 ½ cups milk

  • 1 ½ cups water

  • Pinch of kosher salt

  • Strawberry Margarita Preserves

  • 6 strawberries, hulled and sliced

  • 2 tablespoons skyr (Icelandic yogurt) or Greek yogurt

Directions:

  1. Heat a medium saucepan. Add the walnuts and cook over moderately high heat, tossing, until toasted and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and coarsely chop. Wipe out the saucepan.

  2. Combine the oats, milk, water, and salt in the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, 7 to 8 minutes.

  3. Spoon the oatmeal into bowls, top with Strawberry Margarita Preserves, and sprinkle with the chopped walnuts. Top with the sliced strawberries and skyr and serve.

Chocolate Part 2 of 6

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

~3.5 Minutes Reading Time

27. Dark chocolate improves several important risk factors for disease. It lowers the susceptibility of LDL to oxidative damage while increasing HDL and improving insulin sensitivity.

28. Observational studies show a drastic reduction in heart disease risk among those who consume the most chocolate. Harvard University noted that chocolate can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. The university stated that middle-aged and older adults that ate 3.5 ounces of chocolate daily were less likely to suffer from heart disease in comparison to those who had less.

29. Studies have demonstrated that one of the major saturated fats in chocolate does not raise cholesterol like other hard fats–meaning chocolate can be enjoyed in moderation.

30. Research to date supports that chocolate can be enjoyed as part of a balanced, heart-healthy diet and lifestyle.

31. The average serving of milk chocolate has about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of decaf coffee.

32. Studies show that the flavanols from cocoa can improve blood flow to the skin and protect it from sun damage. Researchers have found no link between acne and chocolate. In fact, German researchers suggest that flavonoids in chocolate absorb UV light, which help protect and increase blood flow to the skin, ultimately improving its appearance.

33. Chocolate has an antibacterial effect on the mouth, as eating pure cocoa has been shown to prevent tooth decay.

34. Chocolate is known to have extremely soothing properties. A study by Essex University found that people were more relaxed and actually paid attention and retained more information when just the smell of chocolate was around.

35. Cocoa or dark chocolate may improve brain function by increasing blood flow. It also contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine.

36. Theobromine, the compound in chocolate that makes it poisonous to dogs, can kill a human as well.

37. A lethal dose of chocolate for a human being is about 10 kilograms (22 lbs), which is about 40 Hershey bars.

38. The first cacao trees were found in the Amazon River basin and the Venezuelan and Colombian Andes

39. The earliest known human consumption of cacao beans (the source of chocolate) took place in the highlands of Ecuador amongst the Mayo-Chinchipe people. As early as 3300 B.C., beans were toasted, ground, and blended with water, chili powder, and other zesty spices to produce a foamy drink.

40. The word “chocolate” comes from the Aztec word “xocoatl,” which referred to the bitter, spicy drink the Aztecs made from cacao beans.

41. Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin (Montezuma II), the 9th emperor of the Aztecs, was one of the most wealthy and powerful men in the world. He was also known as The Chocolate King. At the height of his power, he had a stash of nearly a billion cacao beans.

42. Aztec emperor Montezuma, infamously known today for having an illness named after him, is perhaps the world’s first “chocoholic” — he is said to have consumed a whopping 50 cups of this cacao drink daily. Coincidentally, he lived to be 54 years old at a time when the life expectancy in his country was a mere 40. His royal court considered cacao more valuable than gold and also used it as a form of money.

43. Montezuma’s generals fed chocolate to their soldiers to increase energy and focus, a practice that colonists adopted during the Revolutionary War. In the U.S. Civil War, chocolate was fed to the injured to increase energy and hunger. Some in the military even chose to be paid in chocolate for their service.

44. During the Aztec reign, a slave could be bought for 100 cocoa beans.

45. According to Aztec legend, the god Quetzalcoatl brought cacao to earth but was cast out of heaven for giving it to humans. As he fled, he vowed to return one day as a “fair-skinned bearded man to save the earth.”

46. The ancient Maya are believed to be the first people to regularly grow cacao trees and drink chocolate.

47. In Mayan times the cocoa bean was used as currency as it was considered to be worth more than gold dust. Cultivation of the beans was restricted so the value of cocoa beans as money would not go down.

48. Mayans used chocolate in baptisms and in marriage ceremonies. It was also sometimes used in the place of blood during ceremonies. A drawing from the Mayan Madrid Codex shows gods piercing their ears and sprinkling their blood over the cacao harvest, indicating a strong association between blood and cacao in Meso-American tradition Mayan emperors were often buried with jars of chocolate by their side.

49. In the ancient Mayan civilization, humans were often sacrificed to guarantee a good cacao harvest. First, the prisoner was forced to drink a cup of chocolate, which sometimes was spiked with blood because the Maya believed it would convert the victim’s heart into a cacao pod

50. In Mayan civilization, cacao beans were the currency, and counterfeiting cacao beans out of painted clay had become a thriving industry. Goods could be priced in units of cacao: a slave cost 100 beans, the services of a prostitute cost 10 beans, and a turkey cost 20 beans. While the Spanish conquistadors horded gold, the Mesoamericans horded cacao beans. In some parts of Latin America, the beans were used as a currency as late as the 19th century.

51. Columbus’s son Ferdinand recorded that when the Mayans dropped some cacao beans, “they all stopped to pick it up, as though an eye had fallen.” Columbus, who was searching for a route to India, did not see the potential of the cacao market and mistook them for shriveled almonds

52. Chocolate first arrived in Europe during the 16th century in the form of Mesoamerica’s spicy cacao drink. It was brought back from Spain by explorer Hernán Cortés, who called it “the divine drink which builds up resistance and fights fatigue…it permits a man to walk for a whole day without food.”

Brewsky Sangria

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Makes 8 drinks

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces of Sirop de Liège

  • 1 cup of fresh lemon juice

  • Four 12-ounce bottles lager, chilled

  • 1 cup triple sec

  • Ice

  • 2 Bosc pears, sliced, for garnish

Directions:

Slowly pour the beer into a pitcher. Stir in 1 cup of lemon juice, the triple sec, and the Sirop de Liège. Fill pint glasses halfway with ice. Add the sangria and garnish with the Bosc pear slices.

Chocolate Part 1 of 6

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

~3.5 Minutes Reading Time

  1. The scientific name for the tree that chocolate comes from, Theobroma cacao, means “food of the gods.”

  2. The smell of chocolate increases theta brain waves, which triggers relaxation. The mere smell of chocolate increases theta brain waves, which trigger relaxation. In fact, a 2013 study conducted at Hasselt University in Belgium showed that when the scent of chocolate was diffused in bookstores, sales of books increased by 22% of any genre and a whopping 40% more likely to buy cookbooks or romance novels.

  3. Chocolate also contains tryptophan, which the brain uses to produce serotonin, a hormone that causes generalized euphoria. So, eating chocolate really does make you happier!

  4. Chocolate has over 600 flavor compounds, while red wine has 200.

  5. It takes approximately 400 cacao beans to make one pound (450 gr.) of chocolate. Each cacao tree produces around 30 to 60 pods per year. Each pod contains around 40 beans. So, each tree only produces 2 to 3 pounds of chocolate per year. Add to that the fact that cacao pods are harvested by hand, and you’ll start to understand why good chocolate is expensive.

  6. According to the book And Then God Made Chocolate! by Sherry-Marie Perguson, each cacao tree only produces enough beans to make 10 regular-sized Hershey's bars a year.

  7. Chocolate is the only edible substance to melt around 32°C (90°F), just below human body temperature. That’s why chocolate melts in your mouth.

  8. Candy bars generally have less than 10 milligrams of caffeine, but the darker the chocolate, the higher the caffeine content.

  9. America consumes almost 50% of the world’s chocolate.

  10. According to the International Cocoa Organization, European’s account for almost half the world’s chocolate consumption. They estimate the average Brit, Swiss, or German eat 11 kilograms (24 pounds) of chocolate a year.

  11. The country whose people eat the most chocolate is Switzerland, with 22 pounds eaten per person each year. Australia and Ireland follow with 20 pounds and 19 pounds per person, respectively. The United States comes in at 11th place, with approximately 12 pounds of chocolate eaten by each person every year.

  12. The amount of chocolate a country eats on average is linked to the number of Nobel Laureates that country has produced.

  13. In celebration of its 100th birthday, Thorntons created the world’s largest chocolate bar – weighing a record breaking 5,792.50 kilograms (12,770 pounds).

  14. So many Toblerone bars are sold each year that, if they were to be laid end to end, they would go on for 62,000 kilometers (38,525 miles) which longer than the circumference of the Earth.

  15. Milky Way candy bars are not named after the galaxy. The name came from the malted milkshakes whose flavor they originally intended to mimic.

  16. Known as “The World’s Most Expensive Chocolate Bar,” the Wispa Gold Wrapped Bar is offered by Cadbury. It was designed as a marketing campaign to relaunch their brand of caramel chocolate bars, Wispa Gold. But this expensive version is actually wrapped in an edible gold leaf. It cost $1,430 per bar.

  17. To’Ak chocolate is one of the most expensive chocolates in the world, Each 50 gram (1.7 oz) bar is in a handcrafted Spanish Elm wood box individually engraved with the bar number.

  18. There are 2 types of cacao tree. Most chocolate comes from Forastero beans, which are said to be easier to grow but the Crillo bean makes much tastier chocolate.

  19. There is a rare fourth kind of chocolate in addition to the classic milk, dark, and white varieties: blond chocolate. Blond chocolate, named after its striking color, was actually made by accident by pastry chef Frédéric Bau, according to the chocolate's founding company, Valrhona.

  20. White Chocolate isn’t technically Chocolate, as it contains no cocoa solids or cocoa liquor. White “chocolate” contains cocoa butter instead. Since cocoa butter doesn't actually taste good on its own, it's mixed with milk fat, vanilla, and sugar for a sweeter flavor.

  21. Cocoa butter is a by-product made from crushing roasted cacao beans. As well as in chocolate it’s also used in cosmetic products including massage oils and skin cosmetics. It’s one of the most stable, highly concentrated natural fats and as it melts at just below average body temperature it’s easily dissolved into the skin, perfect for moisturizing creams and other products.

  22. Quality dark chocolate is rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and a few other minerals. For dark chocolate to be beneficial, cacao or chocolate liquor should be the first ingredient listed, not sugar.

  23. Research suggests that dark chocolate boosts memory, attention span, reaction time, and problem-solving skills by increasing blood flow to the brain. Studies have also found that dark chocolate can improve the ability to see in low-contrast situations (such as poor weather) and promote lower blood pressure, which has positive effects on cholesterol levels, platelet function, and insulin sensitivity

  24. Eating dark chocolate every day reduces the risk of heart disease by one-third.

  25. The bioactive compounds in cocoa may improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but statistically significant decrease in blood pressure. Dark chocolate is actually beneficial for your heart health. A study conducted by Walden University's School of Nursing shows that blood pressure significantly decreased in participants, mainly due to the chocolate's heavy concentration of flavonoid and polyphenol antioxidants.

  26. Cocoa and dark chocolate have a wide variety of powerful antioxidants. In fact, they have way more than most other foods.

Ham-Jam Sandwiches

Friday, March 25, 202

~ Total: 10 mins, Yield: 4 to 6

No picnic is complete without these effortless sandwiches from 2007 Best New Chef Gabriel Rucker, the genius behind Portland knockouts Le Pigeon, Canard, and Little Bird Bistro. Best-quality baguettes get a thick slather of butter and goat cheese, dollops of jewel-toned Blueberry Preserves, and ribbons of salty prosciutto. Wrap these sandwiches in plastic wrap and stash them in the top of your cooler for a perfect lunch on a sunny Saturday.

Ingredient:

  • 3 ounces goat cheese

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (2 ounces), softened

  • 1 (20-inch) good-quality baguette

  • 5 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto

  • 1/3 cup Blueberry Preserves mixed with 1 tablespoon of Mulled Red Wine Jelly

Directions:

  1. Combine cheese and butter in a bowl of a food processor; pulse until smooth. (Goat cheese butter may be covered & set aside at room temperature until ready to assemble sandwiches, up to 2 hours.)

  2. Cut the baguette in half lengthwise; spread 1 cut side with goat cheese butter, and top with a layer of prosciutto. Spread the second cut side with the Blueberry Wine Preserves, and place on top of the other half. Cut the baguette into even pieces, and serve.

Suggested Pairing: Light-bodied cru Beaujolais.

Dragon Fruit

Monday, March 21, 2022

~2.5 Minutes Reading Time

  • Dragon fruit is the fruit of several cactus species indigenous to the Americas. While the fruit is commonly known in English as dragon fruit, reflecting its vernacular Asian names; it also goes by the name pitaya or pitahaya.

  • The names “pitahaya” & “pitaya” come from Mexico, & “pitaya roja” in Central America & northern South America, possibly relating to pitahaya for names of tall cacti species with flowering fruit.

  • Pitahaya producing cacti of the genus Hlyocereus are originally native to Mexico. They were transplanted to Central America, probably by Europeans.

  • Dragon fruit is cultivated in Southeast Asia, the United States, Israel, Australia, Cyprus & the Canary Islands. Vietnam is its top producer.

  • Sweet dragon fruit comes from the genus Hylocereus, of the Cactaceae family, while sour dragon fruit is from the Stenocerus genus.

  • French missionaries were the first to export the fruit from central America to southeast Asia, where it was called dragon fruit. This name is supposed to derive from a legend, according to which, the fruit was the last breath exhaled by a dragon defeated in battle.

  • Dragon fruit grows on a climbing cactus plant that can grow from 15-20 feet high & can live for as long as two decades.

  • The flower buds of the fruit are edible when cooked.

  • The skin of the dragon fruit is usually pink, red, or yellow in color, with spiky leaf-like appendages generally tipped with green, & a red or white-colored flesh that has many small, black, edible seeds.

  • Dragon fruit has a mild flavor & is often compared to passionfruit, watermelon, raspberries & other fruit, depending on the species, & are usually sweet.

  • The large dragon fruit flowers require pollination during the night as they generally whither in the day & only last up to 24 hours, after which the fruit develops & is ready for picking from 30 to 50 days. Mature fruits that are not harvested will continue to grow larger but not sweeter. During the night, the dragon fruit flowers are pollinated by moths & bats. August & September are their peak months.

  • Dragon fruit seeds also contribute to their nutritional benefit. They contain protein as well as omega-3 & omega-6 fatty acids that can help prevent cardiovascular diseases. The seeds also have a mild laxative effect.

  • Dragon fruit is low in calories but rich in vitamins, minerals & beneficial plant compounds such as polyphenols, carotenoids & betacyanins.

  • One-cup serving (227 grams):

    • Calories: 136

    • Protein: 3 grams

    • Fat: 0 grams

    • Carbohydrates: 29 grams

    • Fiber: 7 grams

    • Iron: 8% of the RDI

    • Magnesium: 18% of the RDI

    • Vitamin C: 9% of the RDI

    • Vitamin E: 4% of the RDI

  • Dragon fruit contains the antioxidants vitamin C, beta-carotene, lycopene & betalain. Studies have linked diets high in antioxidants to a reduced risk of chronic disease.

  • Dragon fruit offers 7 grams of fiber per serving, making it an excellent choice for meeting your daily fiber needs.

  • Dragon fruit may promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut, which is associated with a healthy gastrointestinal tract.

  • Dragon fruit’s high supply of vitamin C & carotenoids may offer immune-boosting properties.

  • Dragon fruit supplies iron along with vitamin C, a combination that may improve your body’s absorption of this important mineral.

  • Dragon fruit is a great source of magnesium, a nutrient needed for over 600 biochemical reactions in your body.

  • Look for one that is bright red. Some spots are normal, but too many bruise-like splotches can indicate that it’s overripe. Like avocado & kiwi, a ripe dragon fruit should be soft but not mushy.

  • Commonly, dragon fruit is eaten fresh or is accompanied by ice cream or other desserts. It can also be frozen or used in drinks, jams & jelly. To enjoy, add it to salads, smoothies & yogurt, or simply snack on it by itself.

Jerk-Smoked Duck with Peach Barbecue Sauce

Thursday, March 18, 2022

~ Active: 1 hr 30 mins, Total: overnight plus 3 hrs., Yield: 4 to 6

The combination of jerk seasoning and peach-sweetened barbecue sauce is also a great match for grilled chicken halves.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (5-pound) whole duck, giblets removed

  • 1/3 cup Caribbean jerk seasoning (such as McCormick)

  • 1 cup Peach Preserves

  • 4 medium peaches (21 ounces total), halved and pitted

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 1/3 cup yellow mustard

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

Directions:

  1. Pat duck dry, and place on a cutting board, breast side down. Using kitchen shears, cut down each side of the backbone. Remove and discard backbone (or reserve for stock). Open duck up to expose breastbone; trim and discard excess fat. Using a sharp knife, cut lengthwise through the center of the breastbone. Continue cutting lengthwise to separate duck into 2 halves. Using your fingers, loosen skin from the duck, being careful not to tear the skin. Using a metal or wooden skewer, prick the skin all over at a 45-degree angle, making sure not to pierce meat. Rub both sides of duck halves with jerk seasoning, and place, skin sides up, in a large pan. Chill, uncovered, 8 hours or overnight.

  2. Let duck stand at room temperature while preheating the charcoal grill, about 30 minutes. Open vents of grill completely. Fill an 8-inch-square disposable aluminum pan with 1 inch of water. Place the water pan on one side of the bottom grill grate. Light charcoal chimney starter filled halfway with briquettes. When briquettes are covered with gray ash, pour onto the empty side of the bottom grate. Place a few pecan or cherry wood chunks on top of hot coals; insert top grate. Cover grill, and adjust the bottom and top vents to bring internal temperature to 225°F to 250°F. Place duck halves, skin sides up, on the grate over the water pan. Cover and smoke, maintaining an internal grill temperature of 225°F to 250°F, 30 minutes.

  3. Line 2 sheets of aluminum foil with parchment paper. Transfer each duck half to a prepared foil sheet; wrap foil sheets tightly to seal and create packets. Place duck packets on the grate over the water pan, and continue smoking, covered, at a grill temperature of 225°F to 250°F, until a meat thermometer inserted in thighs and thickest portions of breast registers 135°F, about 45 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Transfer duck packets to a small insulated bag or cooler, and let rest for 30 minutes.

  4. While the duck rests, light a charcoal chimney starter filled halfway with briquettes. When briquettes are covered with gray ash, remove the top grate of the grill, and pour briquettes over the remaining coals on the bottom grate. Replace top grill grate. Open bottom vent completely to increase internal grill temperature to medium (350°F to 400°F) with the lid removed.

  5. Unwrap duck, and discard foil packets. Place duck halves, skin sides down, over the side of the grill with coals. Grill, uncovered, turning often, until the skin is browned and crispy and a meat thermometer inserted in thighs and thickest parts of breast registers 155°F, about 10 minutes. Remove duck halves from the grill, and let rest for 10 minutes

  6. Season cut sides of peach halves with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place peaches, cut sides down, on oiled grill grates over the side with coals, and grill, uncovered, until charred and softened, 4 to 8 minutes.

  7. In a blender add Peach Preserves, mustard, honey, brown sugar, vinegar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Process until smooth, about 20 seconds. Serve duck with peach barbecue sauce and grilled peach halves.

Suggested Pairing: Smoky, savory Rioja.

Spondias Dulcis / June Plum / Ambarella

Sunday, March 13, 2022

~ 3.5 Minutes Reading Time

  • Ambarella (Spondias dulcis) is a tropical tree with edible fruit. The plant grows on all types of soil, including acidic soils and oolitic limestone in Florida, as long as they are well-drained. The tree originated in Southeast Asia. It is widely cultivated in Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, and some parts of Africa for its leaves and fruits. Ambarella is a vigorous deciduous tree that grows about 10–25 m high or may grow to 45 m. The plant flourishes in humid and wet tropical areas. It is rather common in lowland primary forests, sometimes in secondary forests. The tree bears fruits abundantly from September to mid of January. Ambarella fruits grow in clusters of up to a dozen.

  • It is commonly called:

    • kedondong (Indonesia),

    • buah long long (Singapore),

    • pomme cythere (Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Martinique),

    • June plum (Bermuda and Jamaica),

    • mangotín (Panama),

    • juplon (Costa Rica),

    • golden apple (Barbados and Guyana),

    • jobo indio (Venezuela), and

    • cajarana, caja-manga (Brazil)

  • It’s vaguely sweet, with a hint of tart acidity. The fruit is oval in shape, green in color with a tough skin. The flesh of the fruit is hard and contains a fibrous pit. The fruit turns golden-yellow when it ripens. It has flavors of pineapple and mango. The hard crunchy flesh is sour and thus, it is often eaten with salt, chili powder, sugar, or shrimp paste. Although the fruit can be eaten raw, the ripened fruit tastes the best.

  • The leaves and the bark of ambarella are widely used as a therapeutic agent as it contains flavonoids, saponin, and tannins. The fruit is dense in nutrients and improves overall health. One serving of ambarella fruit provides 48Kcal of energy, 1 gram of protein, 12 grams of carbohydrate, 233 IU of vitamin A, 30mg of vitamin C, 15 mg of calcium, 3 mg of iron, and 22 grams of phosphorus. The fruit also contains dietary fiber and Vitamin B complex constituents like thiamine and riboflavin.

  • The plant is grown as a living fence.

  • Wood is light-brown and buoyant and in the Society Islands has been used for canoes.

  • Bark yields a resinous gum.

  • Fruit is fed to the pigs and the leaves are given to cattle.

  • Ambarella fruit is used to make jams, jellies, and preserves. The fruit is added to soups, sauces, and stews as flavorings. In certain places, ambarella is used in a fruit salad or dried and made into a spicy paste to prepare certain dishes. The fruit can also be candied or processed into drinks.

  • Boosts Immune System – Golden apple fruit is rich in vitamin C. It improves the function of the immune system. It also improves the formation of collagen and accelerates the wound healing process. The fruit also contains antioxidants and helps prevent free radical damage.

  • Improves Skin Health – The vitamin C content of the fruit helps in tissue repair and nourishes the skin. It increases the production of collagen and improves the beauty of the skin. It is also used to treat skin diseases. The leaves of the tree are boiled and the extract is used as a substitute for body lotion and moisturizers. Traditionally, the root of the tree is used to treat itchy skin.

  • Helps Treat Cough – The leaf extract is used to treat cough. About 3 or 4 fresh leaves of the tree are boiled in two cups of water and allowed to stand for a few minutes. The concoction is strained and usually taken with honey. The fruit can also be used to treat cough. Two or three pieces of the fruit are shredded and the water is squeezed. A pinch of salt can be added to the extract and consumed thrice a day to relieve cough.

  • Helps Treat Digestive Problems – It is high in dietary fiber, which facilitates digestion and helps clear the bowel. The pulp of the fruit is recommended for those who suffer from constipation and dyspepsia (indigestion). The high water content of the fruit prevents dehydration. The bark of the tree is used as a remedy to cure dysentery. People suffering from diarrhea, dysentery, can take a herbal concoction of the tree bark to ease discomfort. The herbal concoction is prepared using 5 grams of bark. The clean bark is boiled in two cups of water until the water is reduced to half. The strained concoction can be consumed to provide instant relief for dysentery.

  • Improves Vision – The fruit is a good source of vitamin A. It plays an important role in visual perception. The compound of vitamin A known as retinol helps distribute images that are received by the retina of the eye. The decoction of the leaves is used as a wash for sore eyes.

  • Provides Energy – The fruit is high in sugar mainly in the form of sucrose, which provides instant energy. It is a natural and wholesome way to boost vitality and endurance.

  • Helps in Weight Loss – The fruit is low in fat, carbohydrate and high in dietary fiber. Though the fruit is low in calories, it provides the required nutrients to the body. Thus, it is an ideal fruit for weight loss. The water content of the fruit provides a feeling of fullness and also prevents overeating.

Peach & Rosemary Fizz with Peach & Prosecco Preserve

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Makes 2

Ingredients

  • 250ml dry sparkling wine, such as Cava or Prosecco

  • 50ml rosemary simple syrup

  • 2 tbsp Peach Preserves

  • Rosemary sprig to garnish

Rosemary Simple Syrup Ingredients

  • 125ml water

  • 100g sugar

  • a few sprigs of rosemary

Directions

  1. Combine water, sugar, and rosemary leaves in a small saucepan.

  2. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer for 1 minute.

  3. Remove from heat and let syrup steep, about 30 minutes.

  4. Pour the syrup into a sterilized glass jar through a sieve to remove the rosemary leaves.

  5. Leave to cool before using.

  6. Add one tablespoon of Peach Preserves and 25ml of rosemary simple syrup to a Champagne flute.

  7. Carefully top up with sparkling wine, and gently stir with a bar spoon to mix.

  8. Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary.

Mangosteen

Saturday, March 5, 2022

~ 2.5 Minutes Reading Time

  • Mangosteen is a small, purple fruit from Southeast Asia. It has a hard outer skin & sweet, white, juicy flesh. This exotic, tropical fruit with a slightly sweet & sour flavor. People have described its taste as a mix of lychee, peach, strawberry, & pineapple.

  • Mangosteen produces dark-purple or red-purple fruit with a soft, thick rind on the surface. The flesh consists of 4 to 8 juicy, triangular segments that are white-colored. Each segment contains 1 to 4 seeds. Rind & seed are not edible.

  • Farmers tend to grow mangosteen in Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, & Thailand. In these countries, people consume it as fruit, juice, traditional medicine, ice-creams, sorbets, mousses, yogurts, smoothies, cocktails & salad dressings.

  • The rind of mangosteen is used for leather tanning in China.

  • Mangosteen is often labeled as "superfruit" due to its high content of antioxidants (substances that prevent cell damage) & because of its high nutritional value.

  • The dried rind of mangosteen can be used in the treatment of dysentery, diarrhea, ulcers, pain, infected wounds, fever, & skin disorders such as eczema.

  • Mangosteen is the national fruit of Thailand.

  • Mangosteen is a perennial plant that can survive more than 100 years in the wild.

  • Fresh mangosteen is hard to find in the United States for two reasons.

  • First, mangosteen trees need a fully tropical climate & lots of time to grow. Small farms in Hawaii & Puerto Rico, which started in the 1990s, are only now starting to bear fruit.

  • Mangosteen produces pinkish-white flowers that grow solitary or arranged in pairs. Male & female flowers develop on separate trees (dioecious plants). Mangosteen is an apomictic plant, which means that female trees produce fruit without pollination.

  • Mangosteen tree starts to bear fruit 7 to 10 years after planting. It produces fruit two times per year. Depending on the age of the tree, mangosteen can produce from 200 to 3.000 fruit per season (older trees produce more fruit). Mangosteen is available from June to October.

  • Second, fresh mangosteen can harbor quarantine pests or non-U.S. native bugs that could threaten the ecosystem. It means mangosteen importers must sterilize the fruit before it enters the country. This sometimes affects the quality, taste, or shelf life.

  • Most fruits, including mangosteen, are low in fat, sodium, & calories, helping people maintain a moderate weight. They are also free from cholesterol.

  • The fruit, fruit juice, rind, twig, & bark are used as medicine.

  • Mangosteen provides a variety of essential vitamins, minerals, & fiber while being low in calories. These nutrients are important for maintaining many functions in your body.

  • A 1-cup (196-gram) serving of canned, drained mangosteen offers:

    • Calories: 143

    • Carbs: 35 grams

    • Fiber: 3.5 grams

    • Fat: 1 gram

    • Protein: 1 gram

    • Vitamin C: 9% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)

    • Vitamin B9 (folate): 15% of the RDI

    • Vitamin B1 (thiamine): 7% of the RDI

    • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 6% of the RDI

    • Manganese: 10% of the RDI

    • Copper: 7% of the RDI

    • Magnesium: 6% of the RDI

  • The vitamins & minerals in mangosteen are important for maintaining many bodily functions, including DNA production, muscle contraction, wound healing, immunity, & nerve signaling.

  • Moreover, a single cup (196 grams) of this fruit provides almost 14% of the RDI for fiber — a nutrient often lacking in people’s diets. Plant compounds & fiber in mangosteen may have anti-inflammatory effects according to animal research. More studies are needed to understand how this fruit may reduce inflammation in humans.

  • Mangosteen contains vitamins with antioxidant capacity, as well as a unique class of antioxidant compounds known as xanthones. Test-tube & animal research indicates that xanthones in mangosteen may protect against cancer. However, high-quality human research on this topic is lacking.

  • Some animal & human research suggests that mangosteen may play a role in weight loss & obesity prevention. Still, more studies are needed.

  • Plant compounds & fiber in mangosteen may contribute to reduced blood sugar. Still, current research is insufficient.

  • Research suggests that mangosteen may increase your number of immune cells & reduce inflammation — potentially boosting immune health.

  • Research suggests that antioxidants & anti-inflammatory compounds in mangosteen may protect skin cells from damage associated with sun exposure & aging.

  • Research suggests that nutrients & other plant compounds in mangosteen may support optimal digestive, heart, & brain function.

Agnolotti Pasta with Oma Cheese & Stone Fruit

Tuesday, March 1. 2022

~ Serving Size: 3-4

FOR THE PASTA

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 5 egg yolks

  • 2 large eggs

FOR THE PASTA FILLING

  • 1 cup Oma cheese

  • ½ cup Mascarpone cheese

  • 2 Tbsp Arrowroot powder

  • Stone Fruit Jam

FOR THE APRICOT WINE SAUCE

  • 1 cup white wine

  • 7 Tbsp butter

  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

  • Stone Fruit Jam

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. FOR PASTA DOUGH: Create a flour mound, place eggs & yolks into a center cavity, whisk while incorporating flour, then knead until smooth. Shape dough into a ball and rest in a cloth-covered bowl at room temperature for 1 hour

  2. FOR JAM FILLING: Mix 3/4 jar Stone Fruit Jam with Mascarpone and arrowroot powder, then place jam mixture in a pastry bag

  3. FOR PASTA SHEETS: divide the dough into 6 equal pieces & shape it into rectangles. At the largest width setting of the pasta machine, feed a rectangle through, then fold the rectangle's long sides into its center, feed through the machine again, and repeat 5 times until pasta is smooth. Then reduce the width of the pasta sheet by feeding into incrementally smaller width adjustments until reach option number 4- 5

  4. FOR PASTA POUCHES: Trim pasta sheets to 24" long. Pipe a line of Stone Fruit Jam filling down the middle of each sheet then add pieces of Oma cheese on top. Dampen pasta edges with water then fold over filling and gently press pasta to seal. Using your index finger and thumb of both hands, gently pinch-filled pasta rectangle into 1-inch pouches, creating a firm seal. Using a fluted pastry wheel cutter, trim the long pasta edge of the rectangle, then cut between each pouch, place on a parchment paper-lined tray, and dry for 15 minutes

  5. FOR APRICOT SAUCE: Reduce wine in pan on low heat for 15 minutes. Whisking until smooth, gradually add butter, then flour, remaining Stone Fruit Jam , and season with salt and pepper

  6. TO FINISH: Boil pasta pouches for 3 minutes, drain well, plate, dress with a little sauce, and top with a slice of Oma Cheese ~ and Enjoy!

Wood Apple / Aegle Marmelos / Bael

Friday, February 25, 2022

<3 Minutes Reading Time

  • Wood Apple or Bael fruit is a sweet, aromatic fruit that grows on the bael tree (Aegle marmelos), native to India and Southeast Asia. It's typically eaten fresh, dried, or in juice form. The fruit provides vitamins like vitamin A and vitamin C and has been found to act as an antioxidant.

  • It takes about 11 months to ripen on the tree and can reach the size of a large grapefruit or pomelo, and some are even larger. The shell is so hard it must be cracked with a hammer or machete. The fibrous yellow pulp is very aromatic. It has been described as tasting of marmalade and smelling of roses. The flavor is "sweet, aromatic and pleasant, although tangy and slightly astringent in some varieties". It resembles a marmalade made, in part, with citrus and, in part, with tamarind. Numerous hairy seeds are encapsulated in a slimy mucilage.

  • Bael fruit can be eaten fresh like other fruits. Its juice is used to make drinks and squashes, especially in the summer season because of its sweet and pleasant nature. In India, a drink called sherbert is made by adding milk and sugar to seeded bael fruit pulp. Bael fruits doesn’t split open even after getting ripened. Choose a pale-yellow, sweet-smelling fruit and try breaking the shell with a hard object. Scoop out the pulp to make this easy sherbet. Another popular drink is made by combining bael fruit pulp with tamarind. Take bael fruit, wash it and break the hard shell from all around. Once it broke, remove the pulp in a bowl. Mash the pulp till it softens and strain the mixture to remove any solid particles or impurities. You can add chilled milk, cardamom powder, jaggery, and black salt to the bael.

  • To make jam, pulp from mature, unripe bael fruit is mixed with citric acid and sometimes combined with guava for added sweetness. In Thailand, young shoots and leaves from the bael fruit plant are used as a seasoning. It is used in the preparation of candy, squash, toffee, and pulp powder. Bael tender leaves are used as salads.

  • There are several varieties of bael fruit. Smaller, hard-shelled varieties grown in Florida are used for medicinal purposes rather than fruit consumption. Larger and softer varieties with thinner rinds, higher sugar content, and fewer seeds are more suited for commercial growth. These include Kaghzi, Darogaji, Rampuri, Ojha, Khamaria, and Azamati.

  • Bael fruit is native to India and Southeast Asia and harvested between March and April. It is also found throughout the year in Florida. Bael fruit is picked when it's still yellowish-green. Let it sit until the stem separates from the fruit and the green tint disappears. Avoid fruit that is bruised or showing signs of mold.

  • Although bael fruit is not a proven cancer treatment, it may help reduce some of the cumulative damage that increases cancer risk over time.

  • Bael is used for constipation, diarrhea, diabetes, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

  • The unripe fruit, root, leaf, trunk, and branch are used to make medicine. Extensive experimental and clinical studies prove that Aegle marmelos possesses antidiarrheal, antimicrobial, antiviral, radioprotective, anticancer, chemo preventive, antipyretic, ulcer healing, antigenotoxic, diuretic, antifertility, and anti-inflammatory properties, which help it to play role in prevention and treatment of many diseases.

  • Bael contains chemicals called tannins, flavonoids, and coumarins. These chemicals help to reduce swelling (inflammation). This might help treat asthma, diarrhea, and other conditions. Also, some of these chemicals help to reduce blood sugar.

  • Preliminary studies on bael fruit suggest that it is fiber-rich, low-calorie fruit that provides some protein and very little fat. Bael fruit is an excellent source of riboflavin, 91.5% DV, and also provides vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium.

  • In different regions, it is known by varied names:

    • English name: Wood apple

    • Arabic: Safarjale

    • Bengali: Belpatthar ka paid

    • Hindi: Bael

    • Marathi: Belaache zaad

    • Tamil: Vilvamaran

    • Sinhala: Beli

    • Gujarati: Billu

    • Kannada: Belladi hannu

    • Konkani: Gorakamili

    • Malyalam: Koolam

    • Marathi: Bel

    • Odia: Baela

    • Urdu: Bael

    • Indonesia: Maja

    • Thai: Matum

Breakfast Tea Gin Cup

Monday, February 21. 2022

Makes 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp Plum & Gin Preserves

  • 150ml Special Blend Breakfast Tea

  • 70ml London Dry style gin

  • 50ml fresh lemon juice

  • lemon twist to garnish

  • ice cubes

Recipe:

Brew a small pot of tea & then cool down the liquid by adding a handful of ice cubes. Add the tea, gin, lemon juice, & Plum & Gin Preserves to a large ice-filled cocktail shaker. If you have a small shaker, divide the above into two. Strain into ice-filled china teacups or coupe glasses before garnishing with a lemon twist.

Ginger

Thursday, February 17, 2022

~3 Minutes Reading Time

  • Ginger is not a root, actually, it is a rhizome. A rhizome is an underground stem. Ginger can be grown from rhizomes, available at grocery stores.

  • The mature ginger rhizomes can be harvested after 10-12 months. A ginger plant can grow as high as 4 feet.

  • The ginger plant is an herb.

  • Ginger is a part of the Zingiberaceae family. Turmeric & Cardamom are included in this family.

  • Ginger is native to southeastern Asia. Ginger is popularly grown in warmer regions & the tropics. India ranks number one in World’s production, & also amongst the top 10 global exporters.

  • Cultivation of Ginger can be during an entire year but the best time to plant them is at the end of winter & early spring.

  • Ginger was a common trade product from the East to Europe by the 11th century CE.

  • Ginger was introduced to the West Indies & Mexico by the Spanish after their conquest of these two countries, & by 1547 ginger was being exported from Santiago to Spain.

  • Presently, natural ginger ales made with fresh ginger are available as a digestive tonic. Years back Jamaicans & early American settlers used to make beer from ginger.

  • The generic name of this spice is “Zingiber” which is derived from the Greek zingiberis. This word in turn comes from the Sanskrit name of the spice, singabera.

  • The English nomenclature i.e. “ginger”, comes from the mid-14th century, from Old English gingifer; also from Medieval Latin gingiber. It is also derived from Greek name zingiberis, & from Prakrit (Middle Indic) singabera.

  • Ginger rhizomes are often used to flavor breads, sauces, curry dishes, confections, pickles, ginger ale & ginger beer.

  • Chinese & Ayurvedic practitioners have relied on ginger for at least 3,000 years for its anti-inflammatory properties, & have used it as a “carrier” herb, one that enables other herbs to be more effective in the body.

  • Ginger is high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory & antioxidant properties. In a recent study, taking 5 grams of ginger a day for 3 months lowered people’s LDL cholesterol by an average of 30 points.

  • Gingerol appears to have protective effects against cancer. However, more studies are needed. Gingerols keep oral bacteria from growing. These bacteria are the same ones that can cause periodontal disease, a serious gum infection.

  • Just 1–1.5 grams of ginger can help prevent various types of nausea, including chemotherapy-related nausea, nausea after surgery, & morning sickness.

  • According to studies in animals & humans, ginger may help improve weight-related measurements. These include body weight & the waist-hip ratio.

  • There are some studies showing ginger to be effective at reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis, especially osteoarthritis of the knee. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory, which means it reduces swelling. You might get relief from pain & swelling either by taking ginger by mouth or by using a ginger compress or patch on your skin.

  • Ginger has been shown to lower blood sugar levels & improve various heart disease risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes. One recent small study suggested that ginger may help your body use insulin better. Larger studies are needed to see if ginger could help improve blood sugar levels.

  • Ginger appears to speed up the emptying of the stomach, which can be beneficial for people with indigestion & related stomach discomfort. If you live with chronic indigestion, also called dyspepsia, ginger could bring some relief. Ginger before meals may make your system empty faster, leaving less time for food to sit & cause problems.

  • Ginger appears to be very effective against menstrual pain when taken at the beginning of the menstrual period. In studies, women who took 1,500 milligrams of ginger powder once a day for 3 days during their cycle felt less pain than women who didn’t.

  • There’s some evidence, in both humans & animals, that ginger can lead to significant reductions in LDL (bad) cholesterol, total cholesterol, & blood triglyceride levels. In a recent study, taking 5 grams of ginger a day for 3 months lowered people’s LDL cholesterol by an average of 30 points.

  • Animal studies suggest that ginger can protect against age-related damage to the brain. It can also help improve brain function in middle-aged women.

  • Ginger may help fight harmful bacteria & viruses, which could reduce your risk for infections. They’re especially good at halting the growth of bacteria like E.coli & shigella, & they may also keep viruses like RSV at bay.

  • Ginger won’t whisk away muscle pain on the spot, but it may tame soreness over time. In some studies, people with muscle aches from exercise who took ginger had less pain the next day than those who didn’t.

  • Some studies show that bioactive molecules in ginger may slow down the growth of some cancers like colorectal, gastric, ovarian, liver, skin, breast, & prostate cancer. But much more research is needed to see if this is true.

British Bubble & Squeak with Tomato Marmalade

Sunday, February 13. 2022

Serving Size: Serves 2

  • 2 -3 cups diced or sliced, pre-cooked potatoes and assorted green veggies - cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and peas are especially tasty in this dish

  • 1 large egg

  • 4 oz of Curried Tomato Marmalade

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In saute pan, drizzle olive oil and cook all veggies with 2 Tbsp of Curried Tomato Marmalade

  2. Squeeze all veggies down with a spatula, flip in the pan, and continue cooking until nice and crispy on both sides - great crispiness is what makes this dish memorably delicious!

  3. Remove from heat and plate your Bubble & Squeak

  4. In a smaller skillet, cook a sunny-side-up egg and place on top of bubble & Squeak with more Curried Tomato Marmalade

  5. Serve hot for a great start to the day ~ and Enjoy

For a delicious crunch, top Bubble & Squeak with slices of Bread & Butter Pickles or Candied Jalapenos

Lychee

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

~4 Minutes Reading Time

  • Lychee is the sole member of the genus Litchi in the soapberry family, Sapindaceae. Other popular fruits in this family include rambutan & longan. It’s a tropical tree native to the Guangdong & Fujian provinces of China, where cultivation is documented from 1059 AD.

  • China is the main producer of lychees, followed by India, other countries in Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, South Africa, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, & the United States.

  • Unofficial records in China refer to the lychee as far back as 2000 BC.

  • Wild lychee trees still grow in parts of southern China & on Hainan Island.

  • There are many stories in the Chinese tradition of lychee being used as a delicacy in the Chinese Imperial Court. In the 1st century, fresh lychees were in such demand at the Chinese Imperial Court that a special courier service with fast horses would bring the fresh fruit from Guangdong.

  • It was the favorite fruit of Emperor Li Longji’s favored concubine Yang Yuhuan. The emperor had the fruit delivered at great expense to the capital.

  • The lychee attracted the attention of European travelers, such as Juan Gonzalez de Mendoza, based on the reports of Spanish friars who had visited China in the 1570s giving the fruit high praise.

  • Lychee was first described & introduced to the West in 1656 by Michael Boym, a Polish Jesuit missionary, who was at the time part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

  • The lychee was scientifically described by Pierre Sonnerat on a return from his travels to China & Southeast Asia.

  • Lychee requires cold weather during the winter for the successful development of flower buds & warm, moist weather with high temperatures during the summer for the production of fruit.

  • Lychee is a medium-sized tree that can reach 40 to 50 feet in height.

  • It has a short trunk covered with smooth, grey or black bark & low spreading, brownish-red branches.

  • Lychee develops evergreen, shiny, leathery, green leaves composed of 2 to 4 thin leaflets arranged in pairs.

  • It produces individual male & female flowers, meaning it’s a monoecious plant, gathered in long terminal clusters composed of up to 3,000 flowers.

  • It blooms from November to February in the northern hemisphere & from April to August in the southern hemisphere. The flowers are fragrant & they attract bees, who are the main pollinators of lychee.

  • Lychee looks like a bumpy strawberry with roundish, sharp protuberances. Botanically speaking, lychee is a drupe. The fruit grows arranged in dense clusters of 3 to 50; it ripens 100 to 120 days after pollination. Lychee is known as the “Chinese strawberry” because it comes from China & looks like a strawberry. The fruit is a symbol of love & romance in China.

  • Lychee has rough skin on the surface that can be pink or reddish-brown colored. The edible flesh is succulent, white & translucent. Each lychee fruit has one large, shiny brown seed.

  • Lychee has a floral aroma & a sweet taste that resembles a mix of grape & pear. The flesh has a texture similar to that of a grape.

  • Lychee seeds contain toxic compounds that can induce unpleasant side effects in the digestive system after consumption.

  • It’s a natural diuretic. It alleviates pain associated with kidney stones & reduces the formation of blood clots.

  • Lychee is a perennial plant that can survive around 1,000 years in the wild.

  • It can be eaten fresh, in the form of fruit salads, or it can be used in ice cream, juice, jelly, jam, syrup, & various beverages.

  • Lychee is a rich source of dietary fibers, vitamins C, B1, B3, B9 & minerals such as copper, potassium, calcium & magnesium. 100g of the fruit contains 66 calories.

  • Lychees are primarily composed of water & carbs, most of which are sugars. Compared to many other fruits, they’re low in fiber. They’re also high in vitamin C & offer decent amounts of copper & potassium.

  • The health effects of lychees have not been studied directly. However, they contain several nutrients & antioxidants that are important for health.

  • Like most fruits & vegetables, lychees are a good source of antioxidants & other healthy plant compounds. These include epicatechin & rutin. Fresh lychees don’t contain any Oligonol, as is often claimed.

  • A 2015 study indicates that lychee flesh is a rich source of plant compounds called proanthocyanidins. According to the study, proanthocyanidins may have the following health benefits:

    • antioxidant

    • anti-diabetic

    • anti-angiogenic

    • anti-carcinogenic

    • anti-inflammatory

    • cardioprotective

    • Proanthocyanidins are also present in other fruits such as apples, blueberries, & grapes.

  • Lychee is quite low in calories; 100 grams contains only 66 calories. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol & is rich in dietary fiber, thus making it an ideal option for those who are trying to shed some pounds.

  • Lychee has a significant amount of water content & fiber, which has a soothing effect on the stomach. The fiber regulates bowel movements by ensuring its smooth passage through the digestive tract. It also adds bulk to the stool & increases your digestive health.

  • Lychee proves to be a good antioxidant as it contains a high amount of Vitamin C that improves the immune function of the body.

  • Lychee contains good amounts of flavanol, which is known to treat inflammation & tissue damage caused by inflammation.

  • Lychee is loaded with essential nutrients like magnesium, phosphorus, iron, manganese & copper. These minerals are known to increase calcium absorption in the bones & improve the health of the bones.

  • Lychee carries balanced potassium & sodium levels, which help the blood vessels to relax & maintain proper blood pressure.

  • According to several researchers, lychees are loaded with antioxidants which help in promoting cardiovascular health.

  • You can find fresh lychee in some grocery stores. Asian supermarkets often sell canned & dried lychees. Canned lychees often have sugar added. Check the label to see if they’re in sugar-sweetened syrup or their own juice.

  • In the US, lychee season begins in May & runs through the summer. You can refrigerate fresh lychee fruit for 5 to 10 days. It can also be frozen whole with the peel on. Dried lychee can be stored for up to 1 year at room temperature.‌

  • Some ways to use fresh or canned lychee include:

    • Using lychee juice (from a can of lychee fruit) to make a cocktail

    • Stir-frying it with pork, chicken, or shrimp

    • Chopping up lychee & mixing it with avocado, lime juice, cilantro, & onion to make a salsa

    • Make a fruit salad with lychee fruit, pineapple chunks, melon, & other favorite fruits.

Habanero Jelly & Tofu Stir Fry

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Serving Size: Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1lb firm tofu, dried

  • 1 ¼ cup soy sauce

  • 1 tsp non-GMO canola oil

  • 2 - 3 ounces scallions, chopped

  • 1 - 2 ounces sesame seeds for garnish

  • 5 Tbsp Habanero Jelly

Instruction:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F, line sheet tray with parchment paper, & brush with oil

  2. Cut tofu into 1' cubes & marinate in 1 cup soy sauce

  3. Place tofu on a lined sheet tray & bake for 15 minutes

  4. Create sauce by mixing the remaining soy sauce with 5 Tbsp Habanero Jelly & gently warm in a small pan

  5. Toss baked tofu in Habanero Jelly sauce

  6. Serve over steamed Jasmine rice, garnish with scallions & sesame seeds ~ & Enjoy!

For extra crunch texture & spicy heat, dice Candied Jalapeno & toss it into the Habanero Jelly sauce

Jam Bellini

Friday, January 28, 2022

Makes 6

Ingredients:

  • 150 mls Prosecco, or champagne

  • 1 tbsp jam, any flavor you like, we used Strawberry Margarita Preserves

Recipe:

  1. Add jam to the bottom of a champagne flute or Champagne Coupe glass.

  2. Fill the glass with Prosecco, stir, & serve.

Escargot in Wine

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Ingredients:

  • 1 (4 oz.) can escargot, drained

  • 1/4 c. Red Wine Jelly or Moscato Jelly

  • 1 tbsp. Garlic Jelly

  • 1/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

  • 1/2 c. butter

  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

  • 1 tsp. tarragon

  • 2 tbsp. chives

Directions:

  1. Marinate escargot in the melted Red Wine Jelly, Garlic Jelly, and seasonings - at least 2-3 hours.

  2. Place escargot in shells. Spoon in wine mixture. Marinate.

  3. Press 1 teaspoon butter (softened) over the opening of the shell. (This seals in the escargot.)

  4. Place in baking pan. Bake in 425°F oven for 10-15 minutes until bubbly.

Agnolotti Pasta with Oma, Stone Fruit, & Honey

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Serving Size: Serves 3-4

FOR THE PASTA

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 5 egg yolks

  • 2 large eggs

FOR THE PASTA FILLING

  • 1 cup Oma cheese by Jasper Hill

  • ½ cup Mascarpone cheese (we used Vermont Creamery)

  • 2 Tbsp Arrowroot powder

  • 6 oz of Stone Fruit Jelly

  • 1 Tbsp Honey

FOR THE STONE FRUIT WINE SAUCE

  • 1 cup white wine

  • 7 Tbsp butter

  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

  • 2 oz of Stone Fruit Jelly

  • 1 Tbsp Honey

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. FOR PASTA DOUGH: Create flour mound, place eggs & yolks into a center cavity, whisk while incorporating flour, then knead until smooth. Shape dough into a ball and rest in a cloth-covered bowl at room temperature for 1 hour.

  2. FOR JAM FILLING: Mix 3/4 jar Stone Fruit Jelly with Mascarpone, arrowroot powder, and honey, then place jam mixture in a pastry bag.

  3. FOR PASTA SHEETS: divide the dough into 6 equal pieces & shape it into rectangles. At the largest width setting of the pasta machine, feed a rectangle through, then fold the rectangle's long sides into its center, feed through the machine again, and repeat 5 times until pasta is smooth. Then reduce the width of the pasta sheet by feeding into incrementally smaller width adjustments until reach option number 4- 5.

  4. FOR PASTA POUCHES: Trim pasta sheets to 24" long. Pipe a line of Stone Fruit Jelly filling down the middle of each sheet then add pieces of Oma cheese on top. Dampen pasta edges with water then fold over filling and gently press pasta to seal. Using your index finger and thumb of both hands, gently pinch-filled pasta rectangle into 1-inch pouches, creating a firm seal. Using a fluted pastry wheel cutter, trim the long pasta edge of the rectangle, then cut between each pouch, place on a parchment paper-lined tray, and dry for 15 minutes.

  5. FOR STONE FRUIT SAUCE: Reduce wine in pan on low heat for 15 minutes. Whisking until smooth, gradually add butter, then flour, remaining Stone Fruit Jelly, and season with salt and pepper.

  6. TO FINISH: Boil pasta pouches for 3 minutes, drain well, plate, dress with a little sauce, and top with a slice of Oma Cheese ~ and Enjoy!

Moqueca Brazilian Fish Stew with Spicy Tomato Marmalade

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Serving Size: Serves 2-3

  • 3 Cod or Halibut fillets cut into approx. 6-ounce pieces

  • 4 Tomatoes, diced

  • cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 Yellow bell pepper, sliced

  • 1 Green bell pepper, sliced

  • 9 ounces coconut milk

  • Juice ½ lime

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • Cilantro, chopped

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

  • 4 oz Curried Tomato Marmalade

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and add minced garlic, stirring for 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes, occasionally stirring

  2. Add bell peppers, paprika, coconut milk, and a jar of Curried Tomato Marmalade and stir

  3. Lay your fish into the stew liquid, cover, and let it cook for 20 minutes on low heat

  4. Add lime juice and salt to taste, stir and garnish with fresh cilantro

Plating tip: place a piece of fish on a plate, add the stew over fish to keep moist, then garnish with 1 tsp Curried Tomato Marmalade accompanied by cilantro or microgreens on top.

Frosty Strawberry-and-Cream Milk Shakes

Monday, December 27, 2021

Yield: 4 shakes

Ingredients:

  • 1-pint vanilla ice cream, softened

  • 1/2 cup whole milk

  • 1 cup Strawberry Margarita Preserves

Directions:

In a blender, puree all ingredients until smooth. Pour into 4 glasses. Top the milkshakes with some of the Strawberry Margarita Preserves and serve.

Juniper-Rubbed Roast Duck with Cherry Jus

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Active: 1 hr 10 mins, Total: 21 hrs 45 mins, Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 (5- to 5 1/2-pound) Pekin duck (aka Long Island duck), with giblets and neck

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar, divided

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 1 tablespoon juniper berries, finely crushed

  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, quartered

  • 1 small carrot, peeled and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces

  • 1 celery stalk, cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

  • 4 cups cold water, divided

  • 4 bunches of fresh thyme, divided

  • 2 tablespoons kirsch (cherry brandy)

  • 3/4 cup Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly

  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Directions

  1. Using a sharp knife or poultry shears, cut off the last 2 joints of duck wings; set aside for broth. Trim and discard excess skin around the neck cavity. Remove neck and giblets from cavity; reserve for broth. Reach into the cavity; pull away any fat deposits, and discard. Using a metal or wooden skewer, prick the skin of the duck all over at a 45-degree angle, taking care not to pierce the meat.

  2. Stir together 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of salt, and juniper berries in a small bowl. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon brown sugar mixture inside the cavity of the duck, and rub the remaining mixture over the skin. Place duck on a nonreactive wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet, and chill, uncovered, 18 to 24 hours.

  3. While duck chills, preheat oven to 375°F. Chop reserved wing tips and neck into 2-inch pieces. Place on a rimmed baking sheet with onion, carrot, and celery; add oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and toss to coat. Spread in a single layer, and roast in a preheated oven, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 55 minutes. Add 1 cup cold water to the baking sheet, stirring and scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Transfer mixture to a large saucepan; add reserved heart and gizzards. (Save liver for another use.) Stir in the remaining 3 cups cold water and 2 thyme sprigs from 1 bunch. Bring mixture just to a simmer over medium-low. Partially cover, and simmer very gently (do not boil) until reduced to 11/2 cups, 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours, skimming and discarding any foam that accumulates on the surface. Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer over a bowl; discard solids. Chill broth until ready to use.

  4. Preheat oven to 250°F with oven racks in lowest and middle positions. Let duck stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Pour water to a depth of 3/4 inch in a large baking pan, and place on the lowest oven rack. Transfer duck, breast side up, to a roasting rack set inside a deep, aluminum foil-lined roasting pan; insert 2 bunches of thyme into the main cavity. Prick skin all over once again with a skewer to ensure rendering. Place roasting pan on middle oven rack, and roast at 250°F until a meat thermometer inserted in thigh and thickest part of breast registers 145°F, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. (Breast may take longer to register 145°F.) Remove roasting pan; drain and discard cavity juices and drippings in pan. Remove the water pan from the oven, and increase oven temperature to 450°F.

  5. Once the oven has preheated to 450°F, return the duck in the drained roasting pan to the middle oven rack. Roast until skin is dark and crisp, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, skim the fat off the surface of chilled duck broth, and discard. Transfer skimmed broth to a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon brown sugar. Cook until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 20 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside, and keep warm.

  6. Remove the roasting rack with duck from the roasting pan. Drain and discard foil and drippings from the pan; wipe pan clean. Return roasting rack with duck to roasting pan; set on a heatproof surface, and let rest 15 minutes. Remove and discard thyme in the cavity. Quickly run the remaining 2 bunches of thyme under water to dampen; stuff the damp thyme into the cavity.

  7. Place kirsch in a heatproof measuring cup with a spout. Heat a small saucepan over medium until warm, about 30 seconds. Remove saucepan from heat, turn off the burner, and pour in kirsch. Using a utility lighter, carefully ignite fumes just above the surface of the kirsch. Slowly and carefully pour the flaming liquid over the duck. Once flames extinguish, transfer duck to a cutting board. Pour residual kirsch from the roasting pan into the reduced broth. Add Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly and cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Swirl in butter until emulsified. Carve duck, and serve with sauce.

JP's Delights Snow Globe Instructions Jar Hack

December 15, 2021

Spread cheer this holiday season by upcycling your JP's Delights jars & making these festive snow globes. They’re perfect for gifting to your loved ones or for using as festive centerpieces!

  • Empty JP's Delights Jars any size works

  • Figurine selections

  • Permanent and waterproof glue

  • Fake snow

  • Ribbon

Optional

  • Distilled water

  • Glycerin

Begin by cleaning out your JP's Delights jars. Take selected figurines and glue them to the lid and let dry thoroughly. Once they are dry put fake snow into the jar upright. Next, apply a layer of glue around the lid and fasten the lid to the jar. After the glue dries you can flip the jar and add a ribbon around it. To create a water snow globe add distilled water and 1/2 teaspoon of glycerin per jar.

TORTILLA DE PATATAS (SPANISH OMELETTE)

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Serving Size: Serves 6

Ingredients:

-5 large potatoes, diced into 1” cubes (Yukon Gold or Russet)

-⅓ cup olive oil

-8 large eggs

-4 Tbsp Sweet & Spicy Double Onion Marmalade

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Bring a skillet to medium heat, add olive oil, potatoes, & stew until softened

2. Strain potatoes into a bowl & save half the oil

3. Beat eggs with 2 Tbsp Sweet & Spicy Double Onion Marmalade, pour over potatoes, season with salt & pepper

4. Add saved oil back to the skillet, add potato mix & - with a spatula - gently shape omelet & cook 5 to 7 minutes

5. Place a flat plate over the skillet, invert - placing omelet on the plate - & then ease back into the skillet to cook another side until golden

6. Remove from skillet, serve with a little extra Sweet & Spicy Double Onion Marmalade on the side ~ & Enjoy!

For a deliciously spicy, textured finish to your tortilla, dice candied Jalapenos & add to potato mix just before cooking

This tortilla is also phenomenal made with our Curried Tomato Marmalade for a light, bright flavor ~ So Good!

Z

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

~1 Minute Reading Time

  • Zhe fruit tree's scientific name is Maclura tricuspidata. Zhe is a fruit tree native to East Asia like China and Nepal and has been naturalized in Japan.

  • Zhe tree can grow up to 6 meters.

  • When the trees are young they have thorns, but when they have a mature age, they will disappear.

  • Although zhe fruits look like mulberry, but they are not classified the same as mulberry.

  • When ripe, zhe fruit color is red or maroon and contains rich red flesh inside them with 3-6 seeds per fruit.

  • Other names are : che, cudrang, silkworm thorn, Chinese mulberry, and mandarin melon berry.

  • Ziziphus fruits also called jujube fruit have been a staple in Asian fare for hundreds of years. The Chinese use them for their medicinal properties and they’re reputed to have a soothing effect on the nerves.

  • There are three main varieties of Ziziphus fruit, and all are edible. You can eat them raw as long as you catch them before they get too ripe. Once they fully ripen, they dry out. At that point, they taste better if you dehydrate them.

  • Zigzag vine fruit, melodorum leichhardtii, is a fruit native to eastern Australia that is orange in color and has a pleasant piquant orange-sherbet flavor.

  • Zig-zag vine trees can grow well in the rainforest, monsoon forests, vine thickets, and gallery forests.

  • This fruit is generally used to make sauces in gourmet dishes and is not eaten raw.

  • Zig-Zag vine is also called: wild banana, merangara, and acid drop vine.

  • Zalzalak fruits are native to Iran, and they look like red persimmons or red versions of the black sapote. They’re shaped more like an oval than a circle.

  • They taste both sweet and sour.

  • They have numerous health benefits. People eat them to prevent heart disease and they are also high in antioxidants.

Cranberry & Cherry Punch

Friday, December 3, 2021

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 150ml vodka

  • 200ml cranberry juice

  • 200ml cherry juice

  • soda water top-up

  • 3 tsp Cranberry Orange Jelly

  • 3 tsp Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly

  • fresh mint & orange zest twists to garnish

  • ice

Instructions

  1. Add the Cranberry Orange Jelly, Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly, vodka, cherry juice, & cranberry juice into a large pitcher.

  2. Stir well with a bar spoon to mix together. Fill with a generous handful of ice cubes & top up with soda water.

  3. Garnish with fresh mint leaves & fresh orange peel.

Yubari

Monday, November 29, 2021

>20 seconds reading time

  • The Japanese Yubari cantaloupe melon (also known as Yubari king) is one of the most expensive fruits on the planet.

  • At an auction, two of these melons sold for the sum of $23,500 per pair! In Japan, paying exorbitant prices for luxury fruit is a huge trend and a common gift in business relationships.

Eggplant & Pumpkin Seed Bruschetta

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Ingredients

  • French bread

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Salt & Pepper

  • Cream cheese

  • Goat cheese- at least 4 oz.

  • 2 tea Honey

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Eggplant Cinnamon Jam

Directions

1. Mix equal parts of cream & goat cheeses. Leave the cream cheese on the counter for an hour to get soft. Add honey & mix.

2. Slice your French bread, coat with EVOO, salt, & pepper. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

3. Layer on the cheese mixture, Eggplant Cinnamon Jam, and pumpkin seeds

Ximenia

Sunday, November 21, 2021

>30 seconds reading time

  • Ximenia is an African tree that produces a small fruit sometimes referred to as yellow/tallow plum or sea lemon

  • The small fruit is less than 2 inches long and contains one seed. Depending on the variety, the ximenia is yellow, orange, or red with white spots when ripe. An Ethiopian variety goes yellow. There will be 1 seed in each fruit.

  • The fruit tastes tart and bitter and is a favorite of birds.

  • The tree grows up to 20 feet (6 meters) tall and has rough, dark-grey bark. It has long, green shiny leaves and thorny branches. The tree can reproduce itself by seed (it grows true to seed), or via root suckers. It flowers from August to October.

Cranberry Spritz

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

  • 1 1/2 ounces gin

  • 1 tablespoon of Cranberry Orange Jelly

  • 3 ounces of sparkling wine

Combine Cranberry Orange Jelly and gin in a shaker filled with ice and shake until the shaker becomes uncomfortably cold. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with frozen cranberries if you have any lying around.

Watermelons

Saturday, November 13, 2021

~1 minute reading time

  • Watermelons are aptly named: 92% of a watermelon is water, and 6% is sugar.

  • Square watermelons are watermelons grown into the shape of a cube for easier stack and store. The Japanese created them to fit more compactly in fridges and be able to be cut more easily (without rolling). They were invented by graphic designer Tomoyuki Ono in 1978. They are very expensive, with prices as high as $100. Since the advent of the square watermelon, other watermelon shapes have been introduced, such as hearts and pyramids.

  • Many years ago, explorers used hollowed-out watermelons to carry water on board their ships. Watermelons aren’t just giant and nutritious but they can also play a key role in keeping you hydrated. In the days before modern plumbing when water became plentiful, people used to carry around watermelons on long trips to stay hydrated. Due to its thick skin and the fact that it’s 92% water, explorers and desert-faring folks carried the fruit around so they had something to drink. This is why watermelons make great food for picnics, beach visits, or other outdoor activities that take place predominately when it is hot outside. Bring it along, it can keep you from getting dehydrated!

  • "Check the bottom of the watermelon for a creamy yellow spot -- if this spot is white or greenish, your melon may have been picked before it was fully ripe," Lindhe told HuffPost Australia.

  • "Additionally, ripe watermelons should be dark green in color overall. Also, since the ripest watermelons have the most water, melons that are relatively heavy for their size should be riper."

Pasta with Pumpkin Brown Butter Sauce

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Total: 15 mins, Yield: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh pasta, or any preferred fresh or dried pasta

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons minced shallots

  • 12 sage leaves, roughly chopped

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin butter

  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a large, deep skillet of simmering salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking water.

  2. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the crushed red pepper flakes, minced shallots, sage leaves, salt, and pepper. Whisk until butter begins to bubble and brown. Stir in the pumpkin butter, a splash of pasta water, and whisk to combine until saucy. Toss with cooked pasta. Garnish with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

V

Friday, November 5, 2021

<1 minute reading time

  • Voavanga fruit is a round fruit that is green in color with white dots.

  • is a popular fruit in some African countries. It is also called the Spanish tamarind.

  • Velvet apple fruit tree is an exotic tropical fruit tree native to the Philippines. They are found wild in primary and secondary forests and also cultivated in the yard.

  • They are protected by law. It is illegal to export velvet apple timber from the country without special permission from the Bureau of Forestry.

  • Velvet apple fruit has a skin covered in a fine, velvety fur which is usually reddish-brown, and soft, creamy, pink flesh, with a taste and aroma comparable to fruit cream cheese. Just like a peach, it’s covered in a fine down that makes it feel like velvet. If you were to eat it, you’d find that it also tastes like a peach.

  • They are also found in tropical countries like Indonesia, India, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka.

  • They are also known as: peach bloom, velvet persimmon, mabolo, mabola, sagalat, bisbul, kamagong, and talang.

Pumpkin Mousse

Monday, November 1, 2021

Total: 10 mins, Yield: 4

Ingredients:

-1/2 cup pumpkin butter

-1/4 cup crème Fraiche

-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk the pumpkin butter into the crème Fraiche. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Gently fold the pumpkin mixture into the freshly whipped cream until combined. Spoon into ramekins & refrigerate for 30 minutes.

U Part 2

Thursday, October 28, 2021

1.5 minutes reading time

  • Ububese fruit is native to Africa and can be found in Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.

  • It’s a rich source of fiber

  • Ububese fruits have creamy flesh that is somewhat of a cross between papayas, cantaloupe, and custard.

  • The shape of Ububese fruit is round or oval with a diameter of 1.7 to 3 centimeters and it can grow up to 4 centimeters long. These fruits are dark yellow or reddish with a network patterned on their outer surface. The pulp of the ripe Ububese fruit is not only nutritious but also sweet and delightful. These fruits have several flat, brown, and oval-shaped seeds in them that have a caruncle at one end.

  • It is a yellow-colored fruit with a luscious sugary taste. You can eat them preserved, cooked, or raw.

  • Umbu fruit grows in the Caatinga, a chaparral shrub.

  • Umbu fruit is also known as Brazil plum, and it is native to northeast Brazil. It is light yellow to red in color, and is round and small, 2-4 cm in size, with a rugged and hardened outer skin. There are many varieties of umbu, some the size of cherries and others as big as lemons.

  • The fruit can be eaten fresh or made into juice. They can also be made into jams or sweetened preserves. Another delicacy made from umbu is umbuzada, a rich beverage that can substitute a full meal.

  • Urava fruit grows on tropical tree called mangrove apple tree or gedabu.

  • It is very sour in taste.

  • Urava, also known as mangrove apple or perepat, is a curious-looking fruit. Small and spherical, they look like a tiny hat. The outer skin is thick and green in color. They are quite widespread and are found mostly in mangroves.

  • Just like the urava fruit, the leaves of the urava tree are also edible. In Sri Lanka, the pulp of the fruit is mixed with coconut milk and made into a milkshake.

  • Usuma fruit is a small orange to red fruit that is similar to peanut butter, therefore, also known as peanut butter fruit.

  • Because of its unique and pleasant taste, it’s great for milkshakes, smoothies, jams, and juices, or just eaten fresh!

  • Originated from the Andean region, usuma fruit is native to South America.

  • Umbrella fruit is a sour fruit, grown in tropical regions all over the world – especially in Asia and Africa. It is green and yellow in color, crisp in texture, and mildly acidic — with hints of pineapple and mango

Sour Cherry–Glazed Ribs

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Active: 1 hr, Total: 3 hrs 30 mins, Yield: 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • Two 2-pound racks baby back ribs, membrane removed from the underside of each rack

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 small shallots, minced

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2.5 cups of Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly

  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 275°. Set a rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Season the ribs with salt and pepper and set the meat side up on the rack. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the shallots and half of the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 1.5 cups of Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly and cook until melted. Let the barbecue sauce cool, then season with salt and pepper.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk 1 cup of Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly with the stock and the remaining garlic. Stack four 18-inch-long sheets of heavy-duty foil in 2 piles on a work surface. Set 1 rack of ribs meat side down in the center of each. Fold up the foil to form 4 sides and pour half of the stock mixture on each rack. Wrap the ribs tightly in the foil, then transfer the packets to the rack and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, until the ribs are very tender. Remove from the oven and open the packets. Let stand for 5 minutes, then discard the cooking liquid and foil. Return the ribs to the rack meat side up.

  4. Increase the oven temperature to 450°. Brush the ribs liberally with the Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly barbecue sauce and bake, turning and brushing occasionally with the sauce, for 10 to 12 minutes, until nicely glazed. Let rest for 5 minutes, then cut in between the bones and serve.

Make-Ahead: The barbecue sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

U

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

<3 minutes reading time

  • Ube is also often called the purple yam. It’s a type of tuber that’s known for its deep purple color, but you can also find it in white.

  • You’ll usually find ube in Asian countries, where it is cooked into many desserts, including cakes & pastries. It has recently started to appear in the United States.

  • They are starchy root vegetables that are rich in carbs, potassium, vitamins A & C, anthocyanins, & phytonutrients, all of which are important for maintaining good health. They have been shown to protect against cell damage & cancer. They may help promote blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes. They also have a low glycemic index, which can help prevent blood sugar spikes.

  • The resistant starch in ube helps increase the growth of Bifidobacteria, which are healthy bacteria that play a vital role in maintaining your gut health.

  • Ulluco is native to Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, & to a lesser extent in Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, & Chile. It is one of the most economically important & widely grown plants in the Andean region of South America.

  • Most people eat only the tuber, although you can eat the leaf, which has a taste like spinach. The leaves & tubers of this plant are found to contain high levels of nutrients like carotene, calcium, & protein.

  • One of the most striking features of this vegetable is that its tubers are varying in color which includes yellow, pink, purple, & red colors. Some are even candy-striped with waxy & shiny skins.

  • Health benefits: Removes skin spots, consists of a good amount of Vitamin C, Eliminates acne problems, Prevents & protects us against rheumatism, Eliminates stretch marks, Removes the scars, Delays cell aging, Anti-inflammatory, & antibacterial food, Relieves & cures digestive problems, Fights Alzheimer’s, contains B complex, Good for growing children & pregnant women, high content of Zinc & Calcium

  • With a slightly sweet taste, ulluco is a great source of protein, carbs, & vitamin C, especially to the people living at high altitudes in the mountainous regions of South America. It also has less than 2% fat content.

  • In Bolivia, ullucos are a traditional food in Catholic Holy Week celebrations. They are not suitable for baking or frying but they can be cooked in many other ways. One of the more popular forms is pickled ullucos.

  • An ugli fruit is a cross between a grapefruit & a mandarin orange. It's about the size of a grapefruit but tastes a bit sweeter & has wrinkly skin that peels easily. This fruit comes from Jamaica & is also grown in the US. Despite its name, it's not that ugly although it can look strange because its yellowy-green skin is thick, rough & puffy, & sometimes a bit blotchy. It is also known as Jamaican tangelo.

  • It was developed by Trout Hall Ltd in 1924 in Jamaica.

  • Ugli fruit has a fragrant rind & the flesh is very juicy that contains 70% vitamin C, 2% iron, & 8% dietary fiber, & is low in calories.

  • Ugli fruit taste is sourer than an orange & less bitter than a grapefruit. It is slightly larger than grapefruit & doesn’t have a lot of seeds. It is rich in vitamin C.

  • The polyphenol & anti-inflammatory antioxidants flavonoid compounds in Ugli fruit may help us to protect against viral infections, allergies, & fungal conditions.

  • Ugni fruit is a very fragrant, purplish-red fruit that looks like berries. They are very small, only growing up to about 1/2 inch wide. Each fruit grows on a 1-inch stalk.

  • The fruit has a very delicate flavor, somewhat like strawberries, but with a bit of tartness to it. The seeds are very small.

  • Some of the commercial strawberry flavors are actually made from ugni berries, not strawberries.

  • It grows on an evergreen shrub related to myrtle, which grows up to 15 feet tall. It can be grown from seed or cuttings. It has glossy, dark-green leaves, & small, white or pink, bell-shaped flowers in the spring. -The fruit appears in the autumn. There is not much fruit before the third year. By its third year, each Ugni bush will bear about 2 pounds of fruit. After that, each year, fruit production will increase by another 2 pounds per year.

  • Australian growers have coined & trademarked the name “Tazziberries” for the fruit. They are being grown in Australia in Victoria & Tasmania. New Zealand growers are marketing it as “NZ Cranberries.”

  • Ugni is native to Chile & Bolivia. It was identified in 1844. Part of its scientific name is in honor of Juan Ignacio Molina (1737-1829.)


Spicy Pizza Portuguesa with Eggs, Ham, & Olives

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Serving Size: 12-inch pizza

  • 1 pre-made pizza dough

  • 3 boiled eggs, peeled

  • 7-8 green or black olives

  • ½ white or yellow onion, thinly sliced

  • 8 ounces shredded ham

  • 4-5 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

  • Fresh mozzarella, sliced

  • Chopped fresh oregano (optional)

  • Apple Hot Pepper Jelly

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F and hold at this temperature for 30 - 40 minutes. If a pizza stone is available, place it on the middle rack and heat with the oven

  2. Place cherry tomatoes on parchment paper-lined sheet tray, roast for 7 minutes then remove from oven and set aside

  3. Stretch pizza dough to approximately 12” on a floured surface

  4. Spread 3-4 Tbsp Apple Hot Pepper Jelly on your dough

  5. Add ham, onion, and olives, then slice hard-boiled eggs into 3-4 slices and place around the pizza

  6. Add cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and finish with a sprinkle of chopped fresh oregano (optional)

  7. Bake pizza for 15-18 minutes on the middle rack, or stone, of your oven, then slice and Enjoy!

Tomatoes

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

<1.5 minutes reading time

  • Tomatoes are not a veggie but a fruit. They are regarded as the world’s most popular fruit and have more genes than humans.

  • Tomatoes are actually fruits and are made of 94.5% water. The tomato plant originates from the

  • nightshade family (which includes eggplant, potato, capsicum, and chilli) from Central America.

  • A farmer in Oregon managed to successfully grow a ‘tomacco’ plant. This is a hybrid of a tobacco and tomato plant. This fascinating endeavor, straight out of a Simpsons episode, managed to bear fruit for a year and a half! Now the question is, does it get smoked or eaten?

  • Fruits and vegetables are defined differently, depending on whether you’re a gardener or a chef. The word ‘fruit’ is a botanical term, and ‘vegetable’ is a culinary term. The Oxford Dictionary defines fruit as being developed from the ovary of a flowering plant, containing the seed of the flower. The term ‘vegetable’ refers to the edible parts of plants, such as the roots, stems, and leaves (think potatoes, celery, and lettuce) and which are not strictly the fruit of the plant from which they come. So, a tomato can be considered a fruit and a vegetable. These common veggies are actually fruit: Zucchini, Eggplant, Olives, Peapods, Cucumber, Pumpkin, Butternut Pumpkin, Avocado, Peppers

  • In the extreme case of Nix vs. Hedden in 1893, a Supreme Court in the United States had to settle a case between a food importer and tax collector, who contested whether the tomato was a fruit or vegetable. The importer wanted to label the tomato a fruit (which had a lower import tax) but the tax collector demanded that it be recognized as a vegetable. Verdict: The court ruled that the tomato was most commonly known as a vegetable and should therefore be treated as such when imported.

Cheesy French Onion Tartiflette

Friday, October 8, 2021

Serving Size: 4

Ingredient

  • 2.5 lbs Russet potatoes, cut into 1/8 inch thin slices

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter

  • 1/3 cup white wine

  • 14 ounces cheese, half aged cheddar, and half-soft cheese

  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose or gluten-free flour

  • Sweet & Spicy Double Onion Marmalade

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F

2. Stack potato slices vertically then spread out horizontally in a casserole dish and drizzle with a dash of olive oil

3. Melt butter in a medium-heat saucepan, add flour, and stir constantly for 2 - 3 minutes to make a roux

4. Add milk and wine to your roux, simmer until thickens, then add 1/4 jar Sweet & Spicy Double Onion Marmalade and melt in cheddar

5. Pour sauce over potatoes, top with soft cheese slices, and finish with dollops of Sweet & Spicy Double Onion Marmalade

6. Cover with foil, bake 1 hour, remove foil, then bake further 40 minutes until potatoes are cooked and golden

7. Garnish with parsley ~ and Enjoy!

We also love Tartiflette with Curried Tomato Marmalade and cheddar, and our Garlic Jelly with a creamy blue ~ So Good!

Tangerines

Monday, October 4, 2021

~2.5 minutes reading time

  • Tangerines protect against heart disease blood clots and can lower your cholesterol. A fabulous little fruit, isn’t it? It is low in carbs, fats, proteins, and calories,. Also known as mandarin oranges, tangerines are a tasty and refreshing citrus fruit packed with nutrition, including vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, folate, fiber, and potassium to name a few. One tangerine has half the vitamin C you need for the whole day!

  • Tangerines are named after the place from where they were first shipped to Europe – Tangier in Morocco.

  • they are the second-most produced citrus fruit in the world, after the sweet orange. Around 21 million metric tons are harvested from two million hectares around the globe.

  • China sells and produces more tangerines than any other country, providing almost half of the global supply. Spain, Brazil, and Turkey are also large producers of tangerines.

  • Tangerines have been cultivated for over three thousand years in counties like Japan and China.

  • However, this amazing fruit did not arrive in the US until the mid-nineteenth century. The first batch of tangerines was brought to America when the Italian consul in New Orleans decided to plant it on the grounds surrounding the consulate. From New Orleans, the tangerine was taken to Palatka, Florida and it became a commercial crop like other citrus fruits. Florida has become famous for its production of oranges as well as tangerines. Most of the tangerines produced in the United States come from Florida and California.

  • A tangerine tree is much smaller than most of the other citrus fruit trees. A mature tree is usually between 15 and 20 feet tall.

  • Tangerines are easier to peel than other citrus fruits and are sometimes known as ‘easy peelers’.

  • Tangerines used to be nicknamed the ‘Christmas Orange’ because they were often stuffed in children’s Christmas stockings.

  • Tangerines are typically in their prime from late October through January.

  • Because tangerines are easily crossed with other types of citrus, about 200 different types of tangerines have been created.

  • Tangerine essential oil can be used to help soothe anxious feelings and manage stress.

  • The peel contains a super-flavonoid, or antioxidant, called tangeretin. Super-flavonoids have shown promise in studies as an effective way to lower cholesterol.

  • When selecting tangerines you should look for the ones that do not have any blemishes and are slightly heavy for their size and are firm to slightly soft. Also when choosing any type of citrus fruit, including tangerine and grapefruit, choose the ones that have thinner skins. This means that they are really juicy and should be very sweet. You will want to avoid tangerines that feature soft spots, dents, cuts, or mold.

  • The color of a tangerine is generally not a good indication of sweetness, so do not be fooled into thinking the brightest orange tangerines are the sweetest.

  • Tangerine trees grow best in subtropical environments where the nights are cool

  • The secret to storing them is to make sure they stay chilled but not necessarily cold.

  • Tangelos are a cross between tangerine and grapefruit. They are generally very juicy and have a mild sweet flavor.

  • If you enjoy your fruit being really sweet, you will want to try honeybell tangerines. These honey tangerines are known for their sweet, honey flavor and are the sweetest tangerines produced. If you don’t like seedy fruit, this seedless tangerine is a great option.

  • Citrus fruits are actually a kind of berry with a tough, leathery rind, known as a hesperidium.

  • A single citrus plant can have as many as 60,000 flowers, but only 1 percent of those flowers will turn into fruit.

  • Citrus fruits that are grown in tropical climates without a proper winter will stay green on the outside. That’s because citrus fruit needs to get cold to turn orange or yellow.

Almond Rice Pudding with Spicy Cherry Sauce and Caramel Cream

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Active: 50 mins, Total: 2 hrs, Yield: 8

Ingredient

  • 1 cup arborio rice

  • 5 cups whole milk

  • 1 vanilla bean (split lengthwise, seeds scraped and pods reserved)

  • 6 tablespoons sugar

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 cups Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

  • ¼ cup water (boiling)

  • 2 ¼ cups heavy cream

  • 1 ¼ cups almonds (7 ounces whole blanched)

Directions

  1. Bring 1 1/4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in the milk and one of the vanilla bean pods and its seeds and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Immediately stir in 6 tablespoons of the sugar and 2 pinches of salt. Let cool, then discard the vanilla bean pod. Cover the rice pudding and refrigerate overnight.

  2. In a medium saucepan, keep the Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly warm.

  3. In another medium saucepan, cook the remaining 1 cup of sugar over moderate heat, stirring, until a golden caramel forms, about 9 minutes; brush down the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush if crystals form. While whisking, slowly and carefully pour the boiling water into the caramel. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.

  4. In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer, beat 1 1/4 cups of the cream until soft peaks form. Using a spatula, fold the caramel into the whipped cream.

  5. Stir the almonds into the chilled rice pudding. In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the remaining 1 cup of cream until firm peaks form, about 3 minutes. Fold the cream into the pudding and serve with the Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly and caramel sauce.

Make-Ahead: The recipe can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight.

Strawberries

Sunday, September 26, 2021

~1 minutes reading time

  • Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside. The average strawberry—which, by the way, isn’t technically a berry—contains about 200 seeds.

  • Unlike some other fruits, strawberries don’t continue to ripen after being picked, so if they don’t look ripe, they never will be.

  • Strawberries and cream is a popular dessert during the British summer, famously consumed at the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

  • There is a museum in Belgium dedicated to strawberries. In the gift shop at Le Musée de la Fraise (The Strawberry Museum), you can buy everything from strawberry jam to strawberry beer.

  • Strawberries are actually flowering plants that belong to the rose family. When strawberries first became commercial products, the plants were cultivated in straw. Many think that's where they got their name.

  • Strawberries are not really berries at all. They are the enlarged receptacle of a flower.

  • If you bite into an apple you would expect to find the "seeds" inside. With the strawberry, the "seeds" are on the outside. Actually, strawberry seeds aren't really seeds. They are 'achenes', which are actually tiny fruits that contain seeds.

  • The strawberry was first cultivated in Brittany, France almost 300 years ago, however ancient herbiaries list strawberries as a medicinal cure as early as the 13th century.

  • Strawberries are not berries or even a fruit, technically. Berries are defined as having their seeds on the inside. The plant produces a fleshy "false fruit" aka pseudocarp from its flower, and what we think of as the seeds on the outside are the "true" fruits.

  • Wild strawberries can be yellow

  • Strawberries have more Vitamin C than oranges.

Grilled Strawberry-Rhubarb Sangria

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Total: 30 mins, Yield: 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Moscato Wine Jelly

  • 1/2 cup Strawberry Margarita Preserves

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

  • 2 pints strawberries, hulled

  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped rhubarb (2 large stalks), plus six 4-inch grilled stalks for garnish (optional)

  • One 2-inch piece of vanilla bean split lengthwise

  • 1 sprig of lemon verbena or lemon thyme, plus more for garnish