No-Sweat Fresh Blueberry Jam
July 6, 2010

 

Doesn't get any better than this....and no sweat...

Let me say up front….I’m not a jam or jelly maker. Sure, I enjoy cooking and occasionally baking, but the standing and stirring and pectin and water baths and  boiling of  jars…just, no, ok? So this recipe I can present to you as something that is guaranteed easy, guaranteed no-sweat and even the pickiest jam lover will think you’re a genius. 

Two ingredients...that's it...

The ingredients: 

1. one pint of fresh, washed blueberries  

2. one jar Bonne Maman Wild Blueberry Preserves. That’s it.  

Mix the preserves with the berries, stir, put it in a pretty bowl, Grab the butter the biscuitsand hey, it’s time for breakfast on the back porch….you’re done.  

Add a warm biscuit...it's blueberry heaven....

 

You’re now in blueberry heaven. Seriously, this is so good, with a few variations it could even be a gourmet fruit topping for ice cream…almost like a compote. Add a little brandy or liquer that you like, maybe a squeeze of lemon, warm slightly(not too much or you’ll pop the berries and the freshness is gone), top with a few more blueberries and a sprig of fresh green mint….gourmet dessert. Enjoy, my fellow shortcut lovers. And let me know if you have other simple things you do to make something special out of a couple of simple ingredients….I’ll share with everyone. 

 

A pulled pork weekend….
June 29, 2009

All you need is a bun or a piece of cornbread!

All you need is a bun or a piece of cornbread!

OK, here’s something I’ve made for the past two weekends in a row….it’s that good(and that easy).  You may remember that I had the caterer make pulled pork barbecue for the Friday night party in New York at my son’s wedding. It was just lovely, and got me to thinking….hey, why can’t I do that? So I looked over a few recipes, and kind of put together several,  for a slow-cooker-weekend-surefire-hit. Oh, and did I mention it’s easy on the budget? Well it is, baby, it is.

First, get a pork shoulder….my slow cooker will take about a 4 pounder, and you can find them at the supermarket for $1.99 a pound or less if they’re on sale.  I cut off any excess fat…though a little is good, let’s be honest. Dice an onion, put half in the bottom of your oiled cooker, plop the pork on top, salt and pepper, the rest of the onion…and maybe a cup or so of your favorite barbeque sauce( I like Baby Ray’s)…and a tiny bit (may a quarter cup) of water. Cook on low for 8 hours or until tender, OR on the high setting for about 5 hours. When the pork is tender, use two forks to pull it into shreds, drain some of the liquid, add more barbeque sauce. Dig in.

Simple, fabulous, thanks Callie...

Simple, fabulous, thanks Callie...

And for dessert, I made a super-easy cobbler recipe that I found on Callie’s Biscuits website….it’s called  A Cup, A Cup, A Cobbler.  And the title fits…it is pretty much a cup of this and a cup of that, extremely quick to throw together, and in this, the fresh fruit season where my beloved blueberries are yes, cheap, you can even make several and freeze them. And for those of you who who’ve never heard of Callie’s biscuits…I discovered them when I first went to Charleston a few  years back. These pricey, pretty delicacies are soooooo good. They only retailer that carries them in Maryland is Graul’s in Annapolis and St. Michaels. The benefit of not getting them mail order is avoiding the high shipping charges….and the price is high anyway…around $20 a dozen(little)biscuits…yikes….so I put this in the special treat category….that said, they are fabulous. 

Bonus recipe: this recipe from Apartment Therapy for slow cooked pork cooked on top of the stove also looks great…you might want to try it.

Hanna’s coming over…want to join us for chicken and dumplings?
September 5, 2008

Simple, delish chicken and dumplings!

Simple, delishchicken and dumplings!

Sure, it may be a little muggy this weekend for good ole Southern chicken an dumplings, but for a simple comfort dish when a big storm named Hanna is headed in for Saturday night dinner….you can’t beat it. And if you’ve never had homemade C&D, you ain’t had the full experience. My Grandmother Clifford….yes, Clifford, used to make them quite often, and passed the tradition on to my Mom, who passed it on to me and my sisters. And really, the recipe couldn’t be simpler. And there are a couple of variations to make it even shorter.

First, you take a whole chicken and poach it in just enough water to cover, in a Dutch Oven or big stew pot with salt and pepper to taste. When the chicken is done, in about an hour or so, remove the chicken from the chicken broth (you just made broth!)…no onion or  carrots or celery or other frippery…though I suppose you could add some…but then you wouldn’t be making my recipe, would you?  As the chicken cools, make your dumplings.

Easiest variation: Buy a can of biscuits, roll in flour and snip each biscuit into the gently simmering broth, about three to a biscuit.

Next easiest (and better) variation:Get biscuit mix…like Bisquick…and stir up a batch. Roll out the dough on a floured board or counter and cut it into strips. Let the strips cure for a half hour or so…don’t shake the flour off..drop into broth.

Hardest variation (and the one I never do): Make biscuit dough from scratch, then as variation 2 above.

Now they will look a little funny as they cook, and for Pete’s sake don’t stir them a lot…just occasionally push them under the surface of the broth. For more tips and better pictures  of what to expect, go to Southern Plate….They have a lot of pictures and do some things I don’t do, like adding cream of chicken soup, thought I may try it. If, at the end your C&D are too soupy, you may need to make a little roux of flour and butter and stir it in, but the flour on the dumplings usually take care of this problem. One more tip. I did everything as asked on my first dumpling outing, and they just weren’t quite right, so I called my Mom. She said, “Add a little sugar.” So, I did, and she was right, which I’ve learned it’s an ingredient that can make quite a few dishes perfect, just a smidge of sugar.

I hope your basement and mine stay dry this weekend, and your gutters and mine don’t clog….and Sunday brings some much needed sunshine, to all of us. Have a great weekend, be nice and come home safe….’cause we miss you.