Strawberry Jalapeno Jelly & Blackberry Poblano Jelly

Yesterday I posted one of my favorite biscuit recipes and I promised to share one of my most recent canning recipes.
(I'm really into canning things from my garden.
It kills me when I see something wasted on the plant.)

So recently when I had a TON of berries I decided to combine them with a few peppers to make some scrumptious jelly--perfect for serving with biscuits or cheese and crackers.
You name it really.

Sweet and spicy is one of my all-time favorite flavor combinations.
This recipe is perfect for any fruit you have laying around.
Pair it with your favorite hot pepper and you've got jelly.

Strawberry Jalapeno Jelly & Blackberry Poblano Jelly

2 1/2 cups crushed berries
1 cup minced peppers (use more or less depending on how much heat you want)
2 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cups sugar
2 tablespoon liquid pectin

4 jars with lids and rings, sterilized

Fill a large canning pot halfway full with water and bring to a boil.  

Place the crushed berries, pepper, and lemon juice in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.  Stir in the sugar and return to a boil.  Cook for 1 more minute.  Remove from heat and immediately add the liquid pectin.  

Transfer the mixture to the hot sterilized jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the top.  Use a knife or a wooden spoon to release any air bubbles in the jar.  Wipe the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food.  Top with lids and rings.

Lower the jars into the large canning pot and bring to a full boil.  Process for 10 minutes.  Remove jars from the water and place on a cloth covered surface to all to cool to room temperature.  The lids should make a "pop" and will be shelf stable for a few years.  If the lids do not seal, place in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.


Buttermilk Biscuits

I went to a very small high school.
It was one of those schools where you knew everyone, students and teachers.
I'm really glad that I had that kind of high school experience.
I'm sure that I didn't like it much back then,
but I am really grateful for it now.

The best part of attending a small school is small class size.
You really became a part of all of your classes and you were friends with everyone,
students and teachers alike.

One of all-time favorite classes in school was home-ec.
I took them all.
Yes, I took all of the college prep classes,
but home-ec was always my elective.

The two teachers who taught all of our classes were Mrs. Sweet and Mrs. Littleton.
They were awesome.
I still remember them teaching us sewing and cooking.
I think it's where I realized that I really loved to cook (and to sew).

It's been 24 years since I've been in high school,
(boy, it kind of hurts to see that number)
and every time I open my old recipe box and see one of my home-ec recipes I feel a little nostalgic for the home-ec room and all of my fellow classmates.

A school friend of mine contacted a few of us on facebook a few weeks ago requesting this recipe,
which I had totally forgotten about.
I couldn't remember the last time I made it and knew it had to be sooner rather than later.
So, Thank You Mrs. Sweet or Mrs. Littleton for your amazing buttermilk biscuit recipe.

I hope you don't mind that I shared it.
It's just too darn good to keep to myself.

Buttermilk Biscuits
(makes 18 biscuits)

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons shortening
1 cup buttermilk

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and add the shortening.  Cut the shortening in with a fork until mixed well into the dry ingredients.  Make a well and add the buttermilk.  Mix well.  Place the dough onto a floured surface.  Knead lightly.  Roll dough to a 5/8" thickness.  Cut with a biscuit cutter and place on a lightly greased pan or cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned on top and bottom.  

I served these biscuits with some homemade 
Strawberry-Jalapeno Jelly and Blackberry-Poblano Jelly
(both here tomorrow).


Thirsty Thursday--Pina Colada Snow Cones

Pina Coladas are one of my all-time favorite drinks.
They always remind me of fun summer beach vacations.

And...since the Mr. and I decided not to take vacations anymore in the summer
(only during the year when school is in session and when it's not so dang hot),
I decided to make a super cool Pina Colada
but in the form of a snow cone. 

I have lately become enamored with snow cones.
Sure I loved the heck out them as a child, 
but really haven't given them much thought since my younger days.

Now I realize that it's the perfect treat for our hot, humid days.
(I actually pick one up at a local snow cone establishment once a week for one of my sweet patients--his, however, is of the virgin variety.)

The other wonderful part of this recipe, 
is that I also used one of my all-time favorite summer beach liqueurs--Malibu.
Oh, how I love you Malibu and all of your fruity goodness.

Now be warned,
when you make this drink... your husband will make fun of you.

He will ask why didn't you just make a frozen Pina Colada???
That is when you tell him that snow cones are the ultimate summer treat and that you deserve it!!

Then you eat it in front of him, making sure to take your time and enjoy it, while he is watering the yard and sweating.
He'll be extremely jealous.
(No more making fun--problem solved.)

Pina Colada Snow Cones

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(makes 2 snow cones)
4 ounces pineapple juice
4 ounces coconut cream (I used Coco Lopez)
4 ounces Malibu Rum with Coconut Liqueur
fresh or maraschino cherry for garnish

In a blender or cocktail shaker, combine the pineapple juice, coconut cream, and Malibu Rum.  Mix well.  Fill your glasses halfway with shaved ice.  Add 1/2 of the mixture.  Add more shaved ice to fill up the glass. Add 1/4 of the mixture.  Add more shaved ice to your glasses and shape into a ball.  Top with the remaining 1/4 of the mixture.  Garnish each with a cherry.

Keep Cool and Enjoy,

Roasted Shrimp & Corn Maque Choux Enchiladas

My sister, nephew, and I were recently in New Orleans 
for a few college tours.
My nephew will be a Junior in High School in North Carolina and since they were visiting Louisiana we decided to tour Tulane and LSU.
(Really any excuse to visit NOLA is fine by me.)
Charity and Auston in front of the cathedral, Charity and I in our room, and Auston and I posing in front of Pat O's.

In between college tours and sightseeing (for my nephew) we decided to dine at one of my favorite restaurants-- Mr. B's Bistro.

Our food was amazing--I had the Soft Shell Crab over Corn Maque Choux,
and it completely inspired this recipe.

(In case you are wondering... Maque Choux, pronounced "mock-choo".)

Roasted Shrimp & Corn Maque Choux Enchiladas

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For the enchiladas:
2 tablespoons olive oil + 1/2 teaspoon, divided
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 zucchini, diced
3 ears corn, cut from cob (about 3/4 cup)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 poblano peppers, minced
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
3 cups Mexican cheese, shredded

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup sour cream
1 poblano peppers, minced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


sour cream

To make the enchiladas:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  On a large baking sheet, place the garlic, onion, zucchini, corn, cherry tomatoes, and poblano peppers.  Drizzle them with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season the salt and pepper.  Toss gently until all the vegetable are coated thoroughly.  Roast for 20 minutes or until all the vegetables are cooked.

Next, place the shrimp onto another baking sheet.  Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste, and gently toss to combine.Place into oven and roast just until pink, firm  and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool.

Combine the vegetables and shrimp in a large bowl.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a 9x13 " baking dish.

To make the sauce:
 Melt the butter in a large saucepan.  Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until translucent, do not burn.  Whisk in the flour until lightly browned, about 1-2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the chicken stock and cook, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes.  Stir in the sour cream. Add the poblanos and simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat.

To assemble the enchiladas
Heat 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil in a shallow pan.  Place the tortilla in the oil and cook until just warmed and soft.  Next, lay the tortilla on a flat surface and spoon 1-2 tablespoons of the sauce over the inside of the tortilla and then add 1-2 tablespoons of the shrimp mixture in the center, sprinkle with cheese.  Roll the tortilla and place seam side down onto the prepared baking dish.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas and shrimp mixture.

Pour the poblano cream sauce over the top of the enchiladas and top with the remaining cheese.  Place into a 375 degree oven and bake, uncovered, until lightly golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes.

Garnish with sour cream and avocado.


Thirsty Thursday--Peach & Blackberry Sangria Pops

The Mr. and I absolutely love sitting on the patio in the evening after work
(before the mosquitos take over).
He loves a glass of tea and I love a cocktail.
We sit and discuss our day, 
take a few deep breaths, 

One of my favorites for our patio enjoyment is a simple glass of sangria.
Normally I just pop a little fruit into a glass, 
add some libation and boom-Sangria.
But since it's so, so hot I thought--Sangria Pop!!

I've mentioned before how much I am loving all of the fresh berries this summer.
(I've been using them in everything.)
Also, my friend Carolyn brought me a huge bag of fresh peaches.

Two perfectly delicious fruits can only make an epic sangria.

Peach & Blackberry Sangria Pops

4 peaches, peeled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup mint simple syrup
dash cinnamon
1 pint blackberries
1/2 cup pisco brandy
1/4 cup simple syrup
Pinot Grigio wine

In a blender, add peaches, mint simple syrup, and cinnamon and puree.  Pour into popsicle molds. Insert popsicle sticks and freeze overnight.  The next day, in a blender, add the blackberries, brandy, simple syrup and puree (you might want to add more or less simple syrup depending on the sweetness of the berries). Strain mixture over a fine mesh sieve.  Add to the frozen puree popsicles. Freeze overnight.

To serve, place popsicles in a wine glass and top with Pinot Grigio wine (or your choice).


Thirsty Thursday--Triple Berry Margaritas

I just can't stop myself.
Whenever I start thinking about the week's Thirsty Thursday,
I usually always want to make some kind of margarita recipe.
I just love them so much.
They are soooo good.

This one was made due to an abundance of berries--
blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries.
Three of my absolute favorites.
I love the color of this margarita and the combination of the berries with the Grand Marnier and lime is delicious in every way.
I chose to use a crystal tequila to let the berries shine (instead of a reposado or anejo).

(I told you I had a lot of berry recipes coming your way, didn't I??)

Triple Berry Margaritas

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3 ounces triple berry juice**
3 ounces crystal tequila (I used Casa Noble--my favorite)
2 ounces Grand Marnier
1 ounce simple syrup (use more or less depending on sweetness of berries)
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1-2 cups ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until slushy.  Pour into a glass rimmed with sugar and salt.  Garnish with a lime wedge.

**To make the triple berry juice
1 cup blackberries
1 cup blueberries
2 cups strawberries

Combine berries in blender and puree. Strain and place in a bowl in the refrigerator to chill.


Cinnamon Peach Ice Cream with Cinnamon Sugared Pecans

Whenever I think of summer fun back in the day,
I always think of playing and swimming with all of my cousins-- 
and I have a lot of cousins.

One of my fondest childhood memories involves sitting on a porch cranking an old-timey ice cream churn.
Everyone had to take their turn,
because it was a ton of work and that made it a lot more fun.

We always either had my 
Aunt Marion's tutti-frutti ice cream or peach ice cream.

I haven't attempted the tutti-frutti yet,
but here is my take on homemade peach.
(I hope I don't let any of you cousins down.)

Cinnamon Peach Ice Cream with Cinnamon Sugared Pecans

5-6 medium peaches, peeled and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine the peaches, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until the peaches are soft and sugar is melted.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, add the peaches, condensed milk, cream, vanilla, and lemon juice to a blender.  Blend until just combined.  (I left a few chunks of the peaches, but you can blend until smooth if desired.) Transfer the mixture to a bowl and thoroughly chill in the refrigerator.  Once chilled, transfer to your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Garnish with chopped cinnamon-sugared pecans.


Blueberry Hand Pies

Last week I mentioned that the Mr. and I ventured out to our local 
blueberry/blackberry farm.
I bought lots and lots of berries.
It has been amazing. 

But sadly now, 
since the season closes this coming weekend,
 the remainder have been frozen so that I can peruse some of their summer goodness straight from my freezer.

So just get ready,
and hold on to your horses,
because I'm going to blow up your screen with tons of berry recipes.

I've got berry cocktails, 
berry pies,
and berry popsicles just to start.

I might even have a little blue/black tint to my mouth right now I've eaten so many
(totally worth it!!).

I made these hand pies on the 4th of July.
(No more holiday work for me at my fabulous new job, 
so I spent the morning in my favorite spot--the kitchen,
whipping up a few treats for my family.)

There is almost nothing more wonderful than berry pie,
but there is something about individual portions that make it so special and delicious.

I actually served these with some decadent homemade peach ice cream.
(Check back tomorrow for that jewel.)

Blueberry Hand Pies
(slightly adapted from Epicurious)

Makes 8-10 pies

1 package prepared pie dough or puff pastry, 2 rolls
all-purpose flour, for dusting
1 pint blueberries
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg, whisked with 1 teaspoon water
1 tablespoon raw sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll out each dough on a floured surface.  Cut into rectangles or circles. (I cut mine into circles using a bowl.  Each measured about 5-6 inches.)

Toss blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt in a medium bowl.  Brush edges of dough with water/egg mixture; mound some blueberries in the dough.

Fold dough over and press edges to seal with a fork.  Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with the egg wash.  Sprinkle with raw sugar.  Cut slits in the top.

Bake hand pies, rotating sheet halfway through, until juices are bubbling and pastry is golden brown, approximately 35 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


Thirsty Thursday--Frozen Mojitos

This is not the cocktail that I was planning on posting this week,
but I just had to share it because it is so, so good.
It's perfect for this very hot weather.
And a super cold, refreshing cocktail is definitely perfect for celebrating July 4th.

One of my friends mentioned making this delectable cocktail and described it so perfectly,
that I just couldn't get it out of my mind.
I had to make it.

I'm so glad that I did.

If you love mojitos, you are going to love this one.
Cold and refreshing with a little kick.

Frozen Mojitos
(slightly adapted from Bobby Flay-Frozen Mojito)

Makes 2 cocktails

1/4 cup simple syrup
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
12 mint leaves, plus more for garnish
6 ounces white rum
2 cups crushed ice

In the pitcher of a blender, add the simple syrup, lime juice, and mint leaves.  Blend well.  Add the rum and crushed ice.  Blend until frothy.  Pour into 2 glasses and garnish with mint.


Blackberry Cobbler

Last weekend the Mr. and I took a little drive to our local 

It was fantastic.
We really didn't know what to expect, 
but everyone had told us that it was really nice and the berries were out of this world.
They were not wrong.

The blackberries are huge.
Most of them are the size of my thumb-on steroids!!
And I can't forget--they are super sweet.

We went with every intention of picking our own, 
but then it started to rain
 so we opted to buy the picked berries instead of trudging through the rain and fields.

Completely worth it!!

The first thing the Mr. asked for was for me to make him a blackberry cobbler.
(I secretly wanted one too.)

This was one of my Nanny's recipes.
I grew up eating this cobbler topped with homemade vanilla ice cream.

Blackberry Cobbler

Printable Recipe

2 1/2 pints fresh blackberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl combine the blackberries and sugar.  Let sit for 30-45 minutes until the blackberries macerate.  (If the berries are tart, add a little more sugar.) Once the berries are macerated, preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, milk, and vanilla.  Add the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir to combine.  (This batter will be lumpy.)

Prepare a small baking pan (approximately 8x8) with a small amount of cooking spray or butter.  Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly.  Pour the berries on top and distribute evenly.

Bake for 45 minutes.

Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Bacon and Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches

There is almost nothing better in the summer than a Bacon-Tomato Sandwich on great bread with a spicy, creamy ranch dressing.
(Everything tastes better with ranch.)
I decided that I would up the ante, 
so to speak, 
and fry up a couple of my creole tomatoes for one heck of a sandwich.

I love creole tomatoes for fried green tomatoes.
They are firm and large with just a hint of spiciness.

I know that most people call this sandwich a BLT
but I am always anti-lettuce on my bacon sandwiches.

Not that I really have anything against lettuce, in a salad,
I just don't like it on my sandwiches.
Especially a sandwich with ingredients that will wilt the lettuce and turn it to mush.

But if you prefer lettuce--go ahead--be a rebel.

Bacon and Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches

(Makes 4 sandwiches)

8 slices bread (I used country sourdough)
12 slices thick cut bacon, fried
2 large tomatoes
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 c flour
1 tablespoon creole seasoning
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/3 cup milk
1 cup vegetable oil

Toast bread and prepare bacon.  Slice tomatoes approximately 1/4 inch thick.  In a shallow bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, and creole seasoning.  In another shallow bowl combine the egg and milk.

Dredge each tomato in the egg and milk mixture and then in the cornmeal mixture.  Fry in hot oil until lightly browned on both sides, about 5 minutes total.  Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.

Top each sandwich with spicy ranch dressing.