August: Potlucks!

August Theme: Potlucks. What do you take with you?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Old-Fashioned Raspberry Jam (

I made this jam a couple weeks ago with some fresh raspberries I picked. It was AMAZING! The key is taking the time to make the jam WITHOUT added pectin.

Old-Fashioned Raspberry Jam (
by Eleanor Topp and Margaret Howard
The Complete Book of Year-Round Small-Batch Preserving

6 cups raspberries
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1. Place berries in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Bring to a full boil or high heat, mashing berries with a potato masher as they heat. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

2. Add sugar, return to a rolling boil, and boil until mixture will form a gel, about 5 minutes. (To determine when the mixture will form a gel, dip a cool metal spoon into the hot fruit. Immediately lift it out and away from the steam and turn it horizontally. At the beginning of the cooking process, the liquid will drip off in light, syrupy drops. Try again a minute or two later- the drops will be heavier. The jam is done when the drops are very thick and two run together before falling of the spoon)

3. Ladle into sterilized jars and process in hot water canner (with boiling water) for 5 minutes. Allow jars to sit in the canner for approximately 15 minutes prior to removing them. Once removed, place jars in a draft free location to cool completely.

August: Potlucks!

For August, I'm thinking we share our Potluck favorites.  It doesn't have to be fancy or complicated.  If you pick up cookies on the way, tell us what you get.  We just want to know what your favorite things to take with you are.

And I'm running out of ideas, so if you have any for future months, post them in the comments.

Gummi Beary Juice (for July)

My niece got this recipe from the Gummi Bears cartoon.  They altered it a little, but it gives you power!

1 package of red berries
1/2 package of blue berries
4 T orange juice concentrate
1 can grape juice concentrate
1 can water (add more if you need to dilute it more)

According to the Gummi bears you put it all together and stir slowly to the right, stir slowly to the left and BANG!  (But we put it all in a blender and blend until it's smooth.)  Enjoy!

Macaroni & Cheese (for June)

My dad got me this cookbook a while back, but I haven't tried any of the recipes because  . . . well . . . cheese is expensive.  Especially specialty cheese.  But I decided to bite the bullet, buy the cheese, and try one.  And because they all looked so good, I just went with the very first recipe.  

Macaroni with Wisconsin Asiago

7 tb butter, plus extra for buttering dishes
1 lb cavatelli (which I couldn't find so I used the mini-bowtie pasta)
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs flour
1 qt whole milk
2 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
dash of Tabasco
1 tbs Worchestershire sauce
Kosher salt
freshly ground pepper 
2 cups (1/2 lb) grated aged Wisconsin Asiago cheese (I couldn't find genuine Wisconsin, but I found some good Asiago from a less "authentic" brand)
1 cup (1/4 lb) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1 1/3 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3/4 cup coarsly chopped flat-leaf parsley (I forgot to buy this and used dried)
1/3 cup minced fresh chives (forgot this too, I used some chopped green onions)
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

Preheat oven to 350*.  Butter six individual gratin dishes (I used a 9x13 pan)

Cook pasta to al dente.  Drain and cool.

In a medium saucepan over moderately low heat, melt 6 tbs butter.  Add the flour and cook, stirring, 3 minutes.  Whisk in the milk and raise the heat to high.  When the milk begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium and ocok, whisking occasionally, until thickened.  Add the seasonings.

In a large bowl, toss together the pasta, sauce, asiago, cheddar, 1 cup of parm-regg, parsley and chives.  Spoon into buttered dishes.  Mix the breadcrumbs and remaining parm-regg cheese and sprinkle over the pasta.  Dot lightly with remaining butter and bake on the middle shelf until crumbs are lightly browned and sauce is bubbling,  25-30 minutes

The Verdict:  Mike and I LOVED it!  It was so creamy and wonderful with just a little kick.  The boys were indifferent.  I think they would have been just as happy with the Kraft stuff.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Strawberry Bruchetta

This is an old Pampered Chef recipe, and it is great for brunches or bite-sized dessert parties.

1 loaf thinly sliced french baguette
2 T melted butter
Place bread slices on cookie sheet and brush with melted butter. Bake at 350 until golden brown (about 5 min or so)
In a mixing bowl, combine the following:
4 oz cream cheese
1 Meyer lemon, zested and juiced
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In another bowl, slice or chop 1 lb washed and hulled strawberries.

In a non-stick skillet, lightly toast 1 small package blanched slivered almonds.

To assemble, place thin layer of cream cheese mixture on toasted bread, add strawberries, and sprinkle almonds. To garnish, grate white, milk, or dark chocolate over top and dust with powdered sugar.

Berry Punch

This is my favorite frozen drink in the summer. It needs two days for the mixture to freeze, but well worth the advance preparation!

In a large pitcher, mix together 2 cups sugar and 8 cups water. Add 1 can raspberry lemonade concentrate and add the amount of water it says to add (usually around 3 cans). Mix well. Pour into quart freezer bags and freeze at least 24 hours.

To serve, place in large punch bowl, chunk with a fork, and add sprite or ginger ale. Mix until slushy consistency. Add 1 pint fresh raspberries.

*In the winter, I use regular lemonade concentrate and instead of sprite or ginger ale, I use the cranberry splash Sierra Mist and it is delicious!

"Cakey" Cobbler

Yeah, I'm a day late, but this recipe is totally worth it!

I love berry and peach season because it also means COBBLER season!!! My friend, Kirstin, got this recipe from her friend, Julie. It is cakey and just the ratio of fruit to cake.

1/3 cup butter
melt in 8x8 pan in the oven at 350
In a bowl, mix together:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
when butter is melted, pour over butter in pan and DO NOT MIX!
In separate bowl, toss 1 quart berries with a little bit of sugar and spoon over the top of the batter and again, DO NOT MIX!
Sprinkle with sugar (if you like the sugary crust) and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Some of our favorite fruit combinations include:
peaches and raspberries
blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries
peaches and blackberries

*If you are using peaches, remove the skins and cut them into slices or used canned and drain the juice first. I also like to toss peaches with brown sugar and cinnamon instead of white sugar.

Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.



My mom makes this a lot during huckleberry season, and I don't know where she got the original recipe. I have done it with blueberries and it works like a charm, so my next try will involve raspberries or blackberries. As is the rule in my house, serve it warm with vanilla ice cream!

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
cream together in a bowl, then add:
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
spread in an 8x8 square pan

In a separate bowl, combine:
2 1/2 cups huckleberries
3/4 cup sugar
pour on top of batter

Mix together 1/2 cup boiling water and 1 Tbsp butter and pour over berries. DO NOT MIX!

Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes. Serves about 6.