Monday, May 17, 2010

coconut macaroons

this is the quickest and easiest recipe ever. it's from the pillsbury complete cookbook. i always keep coconut on hand, just so i can whip these out at the last minute if i need something quick to bring somewhere. you can always doctor this recipe a little bit by drizzling or dipping half of them in chocolate. or i've added lime juice a few times for a little something extra. these are by far my favorite macaroon recipe i've tried.

(this only makes enough for 12 cookies, so i usually double it)

2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
dash salt
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups coconut

heat the oven to 325°F. grease and slightly flour cookie sheet. in medium bowl, beat egg whites until frothy. add sugar, flour, salt, and almond extract; mix well. stir in coconut. drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on to prepared cookie sheet.

bake for 13 - 17 minutes or until set and light golden brown. immediately remove from cookie sheet.

Monday, May 10, 2010

strawberry jam

lately, i've been really into jam. so basically, jam is my jam. am i wrong? i had extra strawberries from a brunch and i was thinking of all the things i could make with them. i was looking in nigella lawson's "how to be a domestic goddess" cookbook and i saw this really simple recipe for cooked strawberry jam. and it had basalmic vinegar in the recipe. sold! basalmic is pretty much a magic ingredient and makes most things infinitely better. it's supposed to bring out the flavor of the strawberries. and there is no pectin! the recipe calls for preserving sugar, but i just used granulated and it worked out just fine. while cooking, she doesn't use a thermometer and cook it to a certain temperature, she uses a method where she puts a saucer into the freezer before she starts, and while cooking, she takes the pan off the heat and drips a teaspoon or so of jam onto the saucer. then if the jam wrinkles when she pushes at it with a finger, then she knows it's ready. i did this as well, but i was looking for a bigger wrinkle than i needed, so i overcooked it a tiny bit. it's still delicious, just a tiny bit stickier than it should be.

3 - 3 1/2 cups strawberries, chopped to desired size
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
4 8oz. jars or equivalent

stick a saucer into the freezer.

put all the ingredients into a wide saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon to make sure all the fruit is coated.

put the pan on a low heat and, stirring every now and again, bring to a boil. let boil for about 5-8 minutes, depending on the size of your pan, and start testing for setting point from 4 minutes, taking the pan off the heat and putting a scant teaspoon onto the saucer. leave it to cool for about 10 seconds or so and then poke at it to see if it's ready (look for a slight wrinkle).

when you've reached this point, leave the pan to cool for 20 minutes before decanting into the cleaned, prepared jars.

makes about 3 1/4 cups.