Friday, August 24, 2012

Mixed Melon Bellini With Basil Syrup

Some people look at fresh summer melon, like this watermelon from Blooming Glen Farm
Or this cantaloupe from Shady Brook Farm
And have a vision of a refreshing fruit salad with a sprig or two of fresh mint, and a sprinkling of feta....while dining al fresco.

Not me.  It has been a long summer.  My boys are restless.  They have turned our home into a giant wrestling ring with enough drama to make the WWE take notice.

My train of thought is considerably different during the final phase of summer break.

My melon vision involves a blender and a chilled bottle of Prosecco;

And basil from Blooming Glen Farm.
Which I steeped in hot sugar syrup......then chilled.
I tossed the watermelon, cantaloupe, and a good squeeze of lemon juice in a blender, along with the chilled basil syrup.  In a few minutes it was a delicious smoothie worthy of my children's approval and one adult guest who wanted a virgin drink.
I filled champagne glasses half way up with the puree, then topped it off with the Prosecco.

Cheers!

Mixed Melon Bellini With Basil Syrup
Print This Recipe!
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
½ cup basil leaves
1 ½ cups watermelon
1 ½ cups cantaloupe
a squeeze of lemon juice (about 2 teaspoons)
1 bottle chilled Prosecco 
  • Place sugar and water in a small saucepan.Stir. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.Reduce heat to simmer.
  • Add basil leaves. Cover.Simmer for 10 minutes.Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes.
  • Strain basil leaves and chill syrup.
  • Place watermelon, cantaloupe, lemon juice, and basil syrup in a blender. Puree until smooth.
  • Place melon puree in champagne or wine glasses filling a quarter to one half of each glass, depending on the sweetness of the drink you want to achieve.
  • Top it off with Prosecco.
Makes 6-8 drinks, depending on the size of the glasses and the amount of puree used.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Lazy Summer Peach Jam

My jam making does not involve sterilized jars,
Or store bought pectin,
Or a lot of time.

My peach jam is ridiculously easy to make.  It's embarrassing really, especially since I am heading to the Middletown Grange Fair this week where the locals put up a mean jam with names like heirloom tomato or plum ginger.

I picked up peaches at Bobwhite Acres in Coopersburg. This is an old school farm.  No website.  They have a variety of fruits, vegetables, honey and fruit butters at the farmstand, as well as pick your own produce.  This year's sweet corn is beyond delicious.
The peaches are sweet and juicy and half did not survive the trip home as evidenced by the peach pit debris in the back of my car.
Let's get jammin'....

Cut an 'x' at the bottom of each peach.  I am only using 6 peaches as that is all that I have left.  Place them in a pot of boiling water for 1 minute.
Have a bowl of icy cold water waiting and dunk the peaches to stop the cooking process. 
The peels are already starting to fall off.
Chop the peeled peaches and toss them in a large skillet with some sugar, a grated apple, lemon juice, lemon zest and a few peels from the apple.  The apple and lemon are naturally high in pectin and will thicken the jam without the use of commercial pectin.
Cook over medium/high heat, covered, for 15 minutes.  Now remove the lid.  See the little glob of pectin on the spoon?  It's already starting to gel.
Crank the heat to medium/high and let the jam thicken for another 10 minutes.  Remove the apple peels and start breaking up the peaches with a spoon or give it a few pulses with a stick blender......or leave it chunky if that's your thing.
Cook for another 5 minutes and your jam is done!

The jam will keep in the fridge for a few weeks, not that it will last that long.  

Sometimes I put my jam in jars and wrap the lid in fabric and ribbon and give the illusion that I spent all day putting up jam;

But not today,

I am just going to kick back and enjoy the fruits of my labor (insert eye roll here).

    Lazy Summer Peach Jam

    6 peaches, peeled and chopped (about 2 1/2 pounds)
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 Granny Smith apple, grated (reserve some peel)
    2 or 3 pieces of apple peel
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1 teaspoon lemon zest
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)


    1. Place all ingredients, except butter, in a large skillet with 3 inch sides. Cover and cook over medium/high heat for 15 minutes. 
    2. Remove lid. Reduce heat to medium/low. Cook stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Jam will start to thicken. 
    3. Remove apple peels.
    4. Continue to cook, breaking up an large chunks of peach with a spoon or stick blender. Cook for approximately 5 minutes longer or until desired thickness.
    5. Add butter. Stir until incorporated.
    6. Let jam cool then cover and refrigerate for 2-3 weeks.
    Makes 1 1/2 pints of jam.

     
     
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