Preserve the Season: Ginger Pear Preserves

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We have boxes of beautiful local pears in store right now, and if the thought of eating 14 pounds of pears seems a little daunting, here’s an idea to preserve the harvest. These Ginger Pear preserves are sweet and spicy and would make a beautiful gift for someone. The pears develop a delicious caramelized flavor that pear pair nicely with a sharp and salty blue cheese- lovely for fall.

To make the preserves you will need:

3 pounds pears, peeled, cored and sliced
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 candied ginger, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated

In a large pot place the pears, sugar, lemon juice and fresh ginger. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the candied ginger to the pot and stir to combine. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, until the mixture is thick coats the back of a spoon, about 45 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath. Without being processed in a hot water bath the preserves will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days.

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Let’s Toast: Peach Mojitos

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The long, warm days of summer are fading fast, but before it’s too late try making these peach mojitos, or faux-jitos if that’s more your style. Since we have delicious, juicy peaches right now, making them with fresh peach puree is the way to go. But if it ends up being the middle of winter before you get around to making these, well, shame on you… just joking– you can make these with bottled peach nectar too! We got a little fancy and finely chopped some mint and mixed it with sugar to coat the rims of our jars. And while this step isn’t necessary, it ups the wow factor.

To make these mojitos you will need:

3 cups of peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 cup lime juice
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups white rum
4 cups club soda, chilled
1/2 cup packed mint leaves
lime wedges for garnish

Place peaches in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Press peach puree through a fine sieve into a bowl and discard solids. In a large pitcher, combine zest, lime juice, sugar, and mint. Muddle the  juice mixture with the back of a long wooden spoon. Add the peach puree and rum to the pitcher, stirring until sugar dissolves. Mix in club soda. Serve over crushed ice. And garnish with lime wedges.

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Appy Hour: Nectarine Prosciutto Crostini

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Appy Hour is back! Summer is the perfect time for outdoor gatherings with friends and family. And since cooking in the heat (and lately humidity) is pretty far from our minds we came up with this simple, yet impressive recipe for a fancy appetizer. These crostini use toasted baguettes made from scratch daily in our own bakery and are topped with juicy local nectarines, local basil and goat’s milk ricotta cheese that’ll knock your socks off.
To make these delicious little bites you will need:
About 18 pieces of sliced and toasted baguette
1 container of Amaltheia Dairy goat’s milk ricotta chese
1 nectarine pitted and sliced
8-9 slices of prosciutto
5-6 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
Top bread slices with ricotta cheese. Tear prosciutto slices in have and place on top of the cheese. Place a nectarine slice on top of each and sprinkle with basil leaves.
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Let’s Toast: Blueberry Honey Lemonade

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Blueberries are becoming abundant. Our favorite place to get them besides the Saturday Farmers Market is from Dallas Sexton, one of our trusty local growers. Not only can you pick up a pint (or 10) from Dallas at our Tuesday Growers Market, you can also head out to his farm and pick them yourself. Then after you’re done sprinkling them into yogurt and granola and baking them into muffins and pies, make a delicious simple syrup with water and honey and add it to fresh squeezed lemonade. Be sure to pick up honey from Woodland Apiaries at the market too! For directions to Dallas’ farm and to learn more about harvesting opportunities click here.

To make the simple syrup you will need:
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 cups of water
2 cups of fresh blueberries (frozen will work too)
In a medium sauce pan combine honey, water and blueberries and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine sieve, pressing out as much juice as possible. Discard the solids and set mixture aside to cool.

To make the lemonade you will need:
1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
5-6 cups cold water
1 batch of blueberry simple syrup
vodka (optional)
In a large pitcher combine lemon juice, water and syrup. Stir to combine. Serve over ice with a splash of vodka. Garnish with fresh blueberries and lemon slices.
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California Chopped Salad

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Summer produce is coming on strong and this versatile, fresh salad is the perfect way to let your veggies shine. Feel free to add or subtract any ingredients to suit your tastes and what you have in your fridge or garden. A chopped salad is a great dish to bring to a backyard bash since it’s easy to whip up and easier to eat than some leafier salads.

To make this salad you will need:
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, finely minced
2 ears of corn, kernels sliced form the cob
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

For the dressing you will need:
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Place all salad ingredient in a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat.
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Let’s Toast: Watermelon Cooler

WatermelonCooler Well, it looks like it’s finally warming up outside (we won’t hold our breath, though), and this simple recipe for a Watermelon Cooler is perfect. It can easily be made non-alcoholic by omitting the vodka.
To make this cocktail you will need:
3 pounds watermelon
2 tablespoons fresh mint
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 cups ginger ale
1/4 cup vodka
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
fresh mint and lime wedges for garnish
ice cubes
Puree watermelon in a food processor or blender. Muddle mint with sugar in a large pitcher and fill with ice cubes. Stir in 2 cups puree, ginger ale, vodka, and lime juice. Garnish with fresh mint and lime wedges.

Weekend Baking: Seasonal Fruit Tart

FruitTart1Turn those delicious berries into a fabulous fruit tart using our simple and quick short dough recipe. You’ll be the hit of brunch, except for the Bloody Mary bar, of course.
To make the dough you will need:
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons half & half
In the bowl of a mixer combine flour, sugar and salt. Cut softened butter into pieces and add to flour. Mix on low until crumbly. Add egg yolk and half & half and mix until dough comes together. Scoop dough out and place in the bottom of a tart pan. Pat it down on the bottom and up the sides and prick the bottom with a fork. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and bake unfilled tart dough for 22 minutes, until barely golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.

To make the pastry cream you will need:
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup whipping cream
In a small bowl, mix half of the sugar with the egg yolks. Add flour and salt and mix until light in color, about 3 minutes. In a medium saucepan combine milk and remaining sugar in a saucepan and bring to a low boil. Remove from heat and slowly stir half of the hot milk into the egg mixture, stirring constantly, being careful not to curdle the eggs. Pour the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk. Over medium heat, stir constantly while bringing mixture back to a boil. Stir until the custard becomes very thick. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Strain mixture through a fine sieve, cover with plastic wrap and let cool. While the custard is cooling place whipped cream in the bowl of a mixer. With the whisk attachment, whip the cold cream on medium, slowly moving up to high until the cream is thick. Fold the whipped cream into the cooled custard and poor into tart shell. Spread evenly with a spatula.

To make the fruit topping:
1-2 cups of berries or sliced fruit
1/4 cup apricot preserves
In a small saucepan heat the preserves until they become liquid. Arrange berries on top of the pastry cream and brush the warm preserves over the top.