Monday, August 3, 2009

raspberry jam and a bake-off

Here's a picture of the raspberry jam that I made last week. I took a jam making class about a month ago at The Brooklyn Kitchen, my awesome neighborhood kitchen store that also offers classes like cake decorating, ice cream making, knife skills, butchering, and, of course, jam making and other types of preserving, throughout the year.

After making delicious strawberry jam in the class I'd really wanted to make some more, but the peak season for strawberries came and went, and no jam was made. Instead, having been told that it's almost impossible to mess up raspberry jam, I decided to switch berries and hope for the best. The jam turned out great - it's a little seedy, but still very delicious. Now that I have a ton of raspberry jam, I'm hoping to make at least one more batch, I'm thinking maybe blueberry next time, while there's still lots of fruit available at the farmer's markets, and maybe trying marmalade this winter, once all of the citrus is in season again. I also really want to make pickles again this year, as last year's batch was such a success.

Besides the great jam experiment, our friends Kunur and Dan hosted a bake-off Saturday night. Everyone was supposed to make one sweet and one savory dish, and then we all tasted everything and rated the food based on appearance, taste, difficulty, texture, and presentation. Ellie's sausage and feta hand pies won were the savory winner and Dan's key lime pie took the win for the sweet category. Not that there were any prizes other than getting to eat everything, but all of it was delicious.

Kunur's asparagus and tomato tart.

Ellie's sausage and feta hand pies in front, a piece of Paul's sun dried tomato foccacia to the right, and Patrick's mini leek tarts in the back. We also had Ryan's onion quiche and David's contribution of some delicious mint juleps (since he admittedly can't cook, but does make great drinks).

And then there was dessert. I made chocolate bread pudding, which is one of my favorite recipies from my mom. There was also Ellie's cheesecake, Dan's key lime pie, Paul's biscotti, and Angel's chocolate peanut butter cookies, which weren't a part of the competition, but were a nice contribution anyway.

Sound like a lot of food? Oh yeah. When planning this thing, we didn't really consider just how filling all of these baked goods would be. I think there ended up being something like 7 sticks of butter that went into all of the savory foods alone. Next time, I think we need to do a salad-off instead.

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