Friday, January 28, 2011

Stalking the Wild Current

I walk by you every day and dream about your delicious fruit. I am determined that this year I will make more than 2 minuscule jars of jam.

Will the birds get to you first when you just become ripe? They probably will but I have found a couple of your cousins.

Miner's Lettuce - A tasty, bountiful treat.

One thing I love about January in California is that my world has turned green. The golden hills and the foggy weather of the summer is several months away and now I have sunny days and green hills.

The other thing I like about January is the salad fixings growing wild out my front door. Huzzah to the return of miner’s lettuce. Miner’s lettuce is fairly mild in flavor. I find it similar to spinach. It can be eaten raw or cooked and has loads of vitamin C. I have been known to snack on this delicious plant while I am hiking along with my friends. I often get a strange look but when the brave few try it they agree how delicious it is.

As I was sitting at my desk I thought, tonight, I would treat myself to a miner’s lettuce soup and salad dinner.

My salad was simple. Some miner’s lettuce, cranberry, walnuts, goat cheese and a vinaigrette. (I think anything that adds a bit of acid, a bit of crunch and a bit of tart would be delicious)

The soup was made in my typical pattern. Throw a bunch of stuff in a sauce pan and hope for the best. This was my approximate recipe.

Fry up in olive oil until translucent

- ¼ cup diced onion

Add and cook for a minute or two

- Garlic cloves to taste (for me about 3)

- Couple pinches of thyme

- A fist sized potato – diced

- Handful of sliced cabbage


- Broth

Just before done cooking add

- A couple handfuls of miner’s lettuce

When miner’s lettuce is just wilted blend soup with an immersion blender and serve

( this made one bowl)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Clementine Marmalade

I look forward every winter to the boxes of clementines showing up in all the stores. This thin skinned super sweet citrus brings sunshine to the dark winter days. This year I was feeling a bit of a desire to add a little bite to my sunshine by making a marmalade.

There are people who may avoid marmalade because of an edge of bitter to the flavor but I found the clementine version to be less bitter because there is very little of the white pith.

The process I like to use takes two days. I like it better because it lessens the cooking time.

Day 1

15 Clementines

  • Sliced in half
  • Then sliced matchstick thin

2 small lemons

  • Sliced in half
  • Remove seeds
  • Do not throw out seeds. They have lots of natural pectin that will help gel your marmalade. There are several options for how to use the seeds without them being left in the jam

1. Tie them in a couple layers of cheese cloth

2. Put them in a sturdy tea ball

3. Pull apart a tea bag, remove the tea and tie the end up.

  • Squeeze juice
  • Dice skin small
4 cups water
  • Place all ingredients in a non reactive pot
  • Bring to a boil
  • Simmer for 5 minute
  • Cover and let sit over night or about 15 hours

Day 2

4 ½ cups sugar ( more if you like it sweeter)

  • Bring to a boil
  • Set on simmer for 2 - 3 hours
  • Stir every once and awhile( you can do it at a higher temperature for a quicker cooking time but you will need to watch it closely)
  • Check for gel with the frozen plate test, I started checking when the mixture started getting thick.

Pour into sterilized jars.

Now you can throw a pretty label on it and find out which of your friends flock to your side.