I've been doing more cooking as we approach the end of the school year. Last weekend, I bought two flats of strawberries and tried making jam. That didn't turn out so well and now we have a lot of third-rate strawberry jam taking up space in our freezer.
Then on Tuesday inflicted some new ideas on my in-laws (they're very patient and encouraging of my cooking efforts). And finally, last night, I didn't want to tackle my pile of grading so I dove into some cooking projects instead.
The first jam recipe I used was the one on the back of the box of pectin. Yikes! Far too much sugar and far too little strawberry, plus the sugar never fully dissolved so now I have four jars of crunchy pink spread that kind of tastes like strawberries.
The second jam recipe I used tastes good, but despite cooking it for longer than required the pectin from the green apple never fully took hold, so it's much more like overcooked strawberry spread than actual jam.
Oh - and I also figured out that my candy thermometer is set about 8 degrees too low. Dang it! This is why I overcook things: the thermometer never thinks that I've quite reached the target temperature.
Blue Apocalypse is one of my new faves in food blogging. Her recipes are pretty open-ended so it takes some independence on my part to get through them, but the results have been A+ thus far. I've previously blogged about her fabulous Prawn-Stuffed Mushrooms, which I modified this time with a large handful of cilantro ground up with the shrimp. They were oh-so-yummy and next time I might serve them without the sauce, because the one I snitched from the pan (pre-sauce) was terrific on its own. I also tried her Fried Spaghetti on Tuesday and despite a little confusion about what a "paprika" is when it isn't a spice, I think it came out really well. I had some fresh mozzarella in the fridge so I served that alongside everything else.
As we head into summer I've been collecting salad recipes, and so I made this Sweet Potato Salad to accompany the two dishes from Blue Apocalypse. I couldn't find my walnuts so I had to sub pine nuts, but the salad was still delicious and different. Planning to make it again this weekend, this time with the walnuts.
I think I'll wait to report on my efforts from last night after everyone eats them for lunch.
New recipe count: 21