Sunday, September 18, 2011

Making Scuppernong and Muscadine Jelly

Even though I don't have "baking" pictures to share with you today  (I could have taken pictures of the bread that I made to go WITH the jelly)...but we ate it....before I could think. Which means I have no picture to post.  Oh, well....  Maybe I need to make some more?

Now, I'm getting off track...back to jelly.  Where do you begin?
Scuppernongs!Bronze colored ... a few Muscadines (purple)
Find a REALLY good friend
who planted scuppernongs
and wants to share
and go pick some
like these
you could plant your own???

take out leaves and stems

 place in large pot and just barely cover the grapes with cool water

 bring to a boil and continue boiling until they are somewhat tender
this is a good time to go fold clothes
or load the dishwasher
or just stare at the pot

 take out any daily frustrations with a masher
and just keep breathing in that AWESOME aroma!!!

 cool and then drain in large colander
not too pretty

place in cheesecloth and SQUEEZE
REALLY not pretty

strain juice in a fine strainer at least twice
to remove any seed escapees or skins and pulp

place some type of ascorbic acid like Fruit Fresh to keep the color
(especially if you stop here and are going to make juice to drink or to freeze for jelly making later

have everything ready...this next part goes pretty fast
You will need cleaned, sterilized jars, lids, rings, jar funnel, lifter, sugar, Sure Jell, measuring cup, spoon and dipper

measure juice and  pour in 'Sure Jell' or like product according to package directions for cooked jellies (I followed Concord grapes)
heat to boiling, stir often

 heat lids and keep warm
(yes, these are not your typical lids)
I feel the need to explain...
I buy jars of mixed fruit that come in these CUTE little jars
The fruit gets eaten
The jars get cleaned
And I get to use them again

OKay!  Confession time.  I REALLY use these jars to put my curd in to freeze...cause they are SOoO cute...I forgot to get new lids for my jelly jars.
NOW, that felt better.  These lids have the rubber type rings inside...see?
And they will seal...but if you do this, check and make sure they seal!

 When juice comes to a boil add the pre-measured sugar all at once, stirring constantly and bring back to boil

 reduce heat, cover  and simmer for 10 minutes~

I won't put the old directions on...just so I don't confuse you
andyour jelly doesn't turn out
and you have to pour it on your toast
and that makes you mad.
I want you to be my just know the boxes have changed.

Well, suffice it to say, I don't know where these "new" boxes of Sure-Jell went; but every box since then has been like the ones I've always used in the past.  Makes me want to go to the land fill and pull out those boxes just to make sure I am not going insANE....pROMISE....i AM ABsolutely normal!
At any rate

This is a lesson
ALWAYS READ the Directions on the box
for times and amounts! 
But I really did like the "new" one.
And if I ever find it again, I will let you know!

I will tell you that the "old" type says cook one minute and FOR ME that is never enough...It has to jell slightly when dripping off the spoon.

SIGH...Ok I've been meaning to edit this and NOW it's done.
I hope I have not led too many astray.

Now back to directions.....
remove from heat, ladle into jars, add lids (or lids and rings)
use firm-tight, but don't exert extreme pressure
leave to cool undisturbed until the lids make a popping noise and seal.

phew!  I think it took longer to post than to actually make...


(I just love the color the muscadines added to the normally champagne color of scuppernong jelly)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Guy Cake

Birthday cakes produce mental pictures of delicate roses and soothing pastels on pristine white icing with swirls...........NOT. Not today!    Guy...roses, swirls, pastels--just not seeing it.  Well, maybe a few swirls.

I asked my husband (the man who lets me play with food and doesn't bat an eye when the icing takes over the fridge) what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday.  I think I meant, white, yellow, chocolate....I'm not exactly sure, because then I followed up with "pick anything you want".  And...

HE DID!  Italian Cream....

Now Italian Cream is a good cake.  Moist and very tasty.  But I was thinking of using my newly found love for decorating...I really don't know what I was thinking.  I mean I've already made him a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream roses, beautiful shells and...maybe you may have seen a previous post of mine at about the time I finished my Wilton Classes.  He was SO complimentary of his "delicate" cake.   What can I make with Italian cream? It's bumpy!   I haven't taken class III yet.  Fondant?  wha?  No to self.  Not yet.  But I did come up with an idea.  Take a look.....

 He was an All-American back in the day...

Uh huh, I'm thinking football, aren't you?

Cut a wedge of yellow cake and make a partial stadium.  Buttercream!  Yes!
And somewhere, one of the fantabulous bloggers I follow posted a a picture of a "crowd" with sprinkles.  All right!  I have sprinkles!

 Field, field?   I know!   Tinted coconut...and that's a main ingredient in IC cake.  OKAY!  On a roll!!!!  And we need yard markers---royal icing and food pens.  Sure!  Royal icing on floral wire...will that work?  It did!  Age.....I got it...those yards to go markers on TV!  And of course Happy Birthday on top of the stadium.  Phew! 

The Happy Birthday Boy!
GoOoOo Dawgs!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

My Little Tarts

This is not a how-to but rather a "share".  I still can't believe that adding just a bit of lard can make such a difference with crust...but it REALLY can.  Try it and see.  I substituted 1/2 of the shortening called for with lard.  I'm telling you...REALLY GREAT STUFF!

Here's the pictures of our desert tonight!

Lime Tarts!

with real whipped cream...mmmm!

Check out this recipe for crusts like mine at COOKS.  EXCEPT...hint... remember I half the fat with Crisco and lard....yes, my friend...L..A..R..D.  Try it and see.