Man Catching Peach Pie

On the 4th of July, I made this delicious peach pie to bring to a barbecue NOT KNOWING that I would be eating it as a new fiancée.  It was a really good pie… maybe I’ll go so far as to call it “man catching” although I can not make any guarantees for you.

The filling is just peaches, sugar, tapioca and a little cinnamon. If any pie recipe calls for cornstarch or flour, SKIP IT and try my trick. Blend 2 Tbs of instant tapioca in a spice grinder until powdery and use that instead. It’ll bind the pie wonderfully and you won’t get any runny filling oozing out after you take the first slice.

This picture is awkward because I had to twist my whole hand around to get the ring in the picture with the pie.

I’ll post my pie crust recipe here since the filling was basically just the most delicious peaches ever. You can use it with any sort of filling… it is hands down the yummiest crust recipe I’ve ever tried and I’m not even really a crust kinda girl. There’s vodka in it, so that’s exciting. Apparently the vodka evaporates in the oven which leaves little pockets of flakiness.

Perfect Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) very cold butter, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 cup very cold shortening, cubed
1/4 cup very cold vodka
1/4 cup very cold water

To prepare, I like to slice up the butter and shortening, measure the liquids, and pop everything into the freezer. Ice cold ingredients make a better pie.

In a food processor, process 1 1/2 cups of flour, salt, and sugar until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until dough begins to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and add the remaining cup of flour. Process until combined, 4-6 quick pulses. Transfer mixture to a bowl.

Sprinkle vodka and water over the dough and mix using a rubber spatula in a folding motion, pressing down on the dough until slightly tacky and it sticks together. Divide dough into two balls, flatten into discs and wrap. Refrigerate for 45 minutes, or up to 2 days, and then use according to pie directions.

I used a star shaped cookie cutter to cut the top crust for a festive 4th of July pie, but honestly it was a lot of work and I’ll probably never do that again. But hey! Like I said, it caught me a husband so maybe it was worth the effort after all!


Strawberry Vanilla Bean Jam

Happy 4th of July! This is my most favorite holiday because it involves nothing more than barbecues, fireworks, and eating cherries on a blanket with friends.

I dragged my boyfriend strawberry picking with me a few weeks back. It was nearing the end of strawberry picking season, and we just managed to eke out enough berries from the plants to cook up into jam. I went ahead and bought some extra berries from the store, but I kept our just-picked berries separate and made them into a batch of strawberry jam with vanilla beans. The recipe is from Food in Jars and can be found here, as well as in the cookbook I have on my table. Note: there is no mustard in this recipe. I just use the bottle as a weight to hold open my book. Resourceful, eh?

Marissa suggests cooking the jam with the bean, and then removing the bean and blending some of the jam. I’ve never blended my jam before, so I tried it but I obviously can’t follow directions and I forgot to remove the bean. Not only did I f-up my immersion blender, but I spent a long time picking little woody pieces of bean out of my jam. NOTE TO SELF: READ AND FOLLOW DIRECTIONS.

 

This jam is a delicious way to use berries that are just on the edge of overripe. The recipe is easy to follow, but this jam bubbles up like no joke when it’s cooking so make sure you put it in a pot high enough to handle the foam.

I got 6 of these jars at a garage sale for $1.25. Aren’t they so stinking cute?

Now go! Barbecue! Eat cherries! Watch fireworks! Sit on blankets with friends! Happy 4th of July!


A first post of pesto

Welcome to my blog, God Jam It! The title was created because “God damn it!” is usually the first thing out of my mouth when I get upset, and my boyfriend loves a good pun. Anyway, to introduce myself to the universe, I made some pesto which I realize is not jam, but let’s just go with it.

Every summer I plant basil. I spent most of last summer battling the squirrels that kept digging up my seedlings. This year I planted some fully grown basil and watered it with Miracle Grow and hoped the squirrels would give me some peace. Well, they did, and the Miracle Grow lived up to its name, and my basil was growing like wild in mid-June. I had to cut it all back and make a huge batch of pesto for the freezer, which is something I never do until the end of July.

I don’t use a recipe for my pesto, and neither should you. It’s no fun that way. Throw the following items into a food processor and pulse it a few times:
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
A generous dash of salt and pepper
The zest and juice of one lemon
A healthy handful of walnuts (I don’t use pine nuts because they’re expensive)

Then add your basil, turn on the machine and let it run while you drizzle in enough olive oil to get to the consistency you want. I like mine more pasty, because you can always thin it out later depending on what you’re making.

Don’t you love my food processor? It was a wedding gift for my parents in 1969.

After it’s all blended, dump in about 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, pulse again, and then taste it. Adjust your seasonings, add more of any ingredient to get the balance that you like. Keep in mind that the cheese is salty, so watch how much salt you add.

 

 

I freeze the pesto in a mini-muffin tray that has been well sprayed with cooking spray. When it’s frozen solid, you can pop the pesto pucks out with a fork and wrap them up individually, re freeze them in a baggie and then just take out what you need when you need it. It’s so easy to throw a pesto puck into sauce or pasta, dip or hummus, soup or salad dressing. Basically anything that needs some oomph. Some people say that you should add the Parmesan cheese AFTER defrosting it, because cheese doesn’t freeze well, but I’ve never had an issue and frankly, I usually forget to add it in after the fact.

Notice those jars in the top corner? That’s strawberry jam for another post!

Because I’m slightly obsessive compulsive, and I hate freezer burned stuff, I wrap my pesto pucks like this. Lay down a sheet of aluminum foil, and then lay a sheet of plastic wrap on top of it. Cut it into small squares and then wrap each puck with the plastic touching the pesto. Then bag them all up in a freezer bag.  Don’t forget they ‘re in there! It’s like little chunks of green gold.

 

xoxo

Rachel


Welcome to God Jam It!

Hello internet! My name is Rachel and I love to make jam.