Apricot and Peach Jam

apricot and peach jam - trust in kim

In the middle of winter it’s a little reminder of summer when I open a jar of jam and spread it with some butter on a crispy piece of toast. I usually make apricot jam, but this year I decided to go crazy and add some peaches to my usual. I’m happy with the results, and look forward to eating this as the weather turns colder.

I found this award-winning jam recipe on this site. I used fewer peaches than the recipe called for, partly because I didn’t have enough, but also because I really love apricots and wanted to make sure their flavour came through.

What you need:

  • 300 grams peaches, cut into small pieces
  • 600 grams apricots, quartered
  • 785 grams sugar
  • 100 mL water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • zest from half a lemon
  • about 1 tablespoon butter
  • about 12- 125mL canning jars, or 6 – 250mL
  • rings and new lids for the jars

What you do:

  1. Place a few metal spoons in the freezer for use later with testing to see if the jam has set.
  2. Prepare the jam jars by boiling them or running through the dishwasher.
  3. Put all the ingredients except the butter in a large pot and stir it together. Heat on low, then bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes..
  4. Turn the heat off and put a few drops of jam on one of the frozen spoons to check if it has set. Let it cool for a few minutes, and then push your finger through it. If the jam crinkles a bit, it is ready. If it is not ready, put it back on to boil for 2 minutes. Test again, and repeat until it has set. Mine took almost 20 minutes to set.
  5. Off the heat, stir in the butter to remove any surface bubbles.
  6. Heat the lids in hot water and have the jars ready for filling on the counter.
  7. Fill each jar so it has just about 2mm of space at the top. Wipe the rims of the jars if they have any jam on them. Place the heated lids on the jars and fasten them with the rings.
  8. Place the jars on a towel on the counter in a place they can stay until they have sealed. Place another towel on top of the jars. You will begin to hear a series of ‘pings’ that will let you know that the jar has sealed. You will also be able to see that the lid has indented. Any jars that do not indent (seal) properly can be refrigerated. The rest are fine in a cool storage place. Some say they are only good for a few months, but I’ve kept mine for up a year, and they are great still.

 

How to Make a Veggie Burger Even More Awesome

veggie burger - trust in kim

 

On Vancouver’s Granville Island there used to be a restaurant called Isadora’s. One of the many delicious foods they served was a walnut-based Go-Nuts burger. Most veggie burgers are soggy and unappealing, but I love this one because it is crispy on the outside, and it has a great nutty flavour. Of course it is nothing like a beef burger, but delicious nonetheless. Isadora’s restaurant has been closed for years, but they are still producing these burger patties on Saturna Island. They can be found in the freezer section of some grocery stores; in Vancouver they are at Whole Foods and Famous Foods.

I like to toast the hamburger bun, then just add a little mayo and Dijon mustard, and then top it off with the awesomeness of fried onions and homemade pickles. Fried mushrooms are great too.

Of course these toppings work on any burger, veggie or beef.

If you’d like to try making the patties yourself, here is a recipe. If you try it, please let me know how it turns out.

What you need:

  • sweet onion
  • butter or olive oil for frying the onion
  • (mushrooms are awesome on here too)
  • walnut Dijon (or regular Dijon) mustard
  • mayonnaise
  • dill pickles
  • burger patties
  • whole-grain hamburger buns

What you do:

  1. Slice some of the onion. Heat a frying pan to medium-high and add a little olive oil or butter. Fry the onions. lowering the heat as needed, until browned. Keep them warm in the pan until you need them.
  2. I fry the Go-Nuts burgers in a frying pan using a little butter instead of on the barbecue because they tend to fall apart, but you can bbq yours if you are a different kind of patty. While the patties are cooking slice the pickle and toast the buns.
  3. Spread a little mayonnaise and Dijon on the buns, then place the burger on it. Top with pickles and onions.

Enjoy!

Margherita Pizza

margherita pizza - trust in kim

 

A Margherita pizza is the true test of good ingredients and a great pizza crust recipe. It is so simple, but everything has to be just right to make it taste delicious. I like to use the A16 Restaurant dough, which requires planning ahead a day or two. It has a perfect chewiness, with a crispness on the edges that bubble up and blister. The tomato sauce is simple; just some canned San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand.

This pizza isn’t like one from a take-out place, with a crust thick enough to hold up a ton of soggy toppings and cheese. This one is light, with a crispy crust, and you can taste each ingredient. Delizioso!

What you need:

  • 1/4 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 & 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups “oo” flour or all-purpose (I used all-purpose)
  • one 28-ounce can of tomatoes (San Marzano if you can find them)
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • fresh mozzarella
  • freshly grated parmesan
  • fresh basil (optional)

What you do:

  1. Begin preparing the dough a day or two before you want to make the pizza. You can do this by hand, but it’s a bit more work than using a machine. Pour the warm (not hot – just body temperature) water into a mixer fitted with a dough hook, and then sprinkle the yeast on top.  Leave it for about 10 minutes and it should dissolve and become foamy – if it doesn’t your water was the wrong temperature, or the yeast is dead, so you need to try again with new yeast.
  2. Stir in the olive oil and salt.  Add most of the flour and mix on low for 2 minutes.  Knead on medium-low for about 10 minutes – it will pull away from the bowl and begin to look smoother.
  3. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it rest for 5 minutes. Knead once more on medium-low for 10 minutes – it will be smooth and quite soft.  If it seems much too sticky you can add a little more flour.  Coat a bowl with a little olive oil and then coat both sides of the dough with olive oil, placing the dough in the bowl.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge over night (or two or three nights).
  4. In the morning remove the  dough from the fridge and punch it down.  Fold the sides of the dough under and put it back in the bowl.  Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it sit in a warm (not hot) place until about 2 hours before you are going to use it.
  5. Punch the dough down and divide it into 4 pieces.  Form each piece into balls and cover them with a damp towel for about 2 hours.  By this time the dough should have doubled in volume.  If it starts to get a skin on it you can spray it with a little water.
  6. To prepare the sauce, just put the tomatoes and their juice into a bowl and squish them into little bits with your hands.  Add the salt.
  7. Preheat the oven to 500-550 F. I used a brick oven, which had to be lit a few hours before to heat it sufficiently. This makes the Best Pizza, but understandably, most people will be baking in a conventional oven.
  8. To form the crusts, shape the dough into a disk with your hands.  Push down in the centre with your palm and pull the dough out gently with your other hand, rotating slightly until you have a crust that is about 10-12 inches/25-30 cm in diameter with a slightly raised edge. Dust your baking pan generously with flour and place the crust on it.  I don’t have a proper pizza stone or pan, and the baking tray I used worked just fine.
  9. Spread some tomato sauce onto the crust, then add the mozzarella and a light sprinkling of parmesan. You want to go light on the toppings or the crust will become soggy.
  10. Bake for 6-7 minutes, until the crust is crisp, golden, with some dark blistering, and the top is bubbling.
  11. Add a little fresh basil to the top if you are using it.

Buon Appetito!

 

making pizza crust - trust in kim

forming the crust by hand

 

baking in a brick oven - trust in kim

My dad had the job of baking in the brick oven.

Super Creamy Hummus, Ottolenghi Style

hummus - trust in kim

This hummus recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi is so much better than anything you can buy. It is light and creamy, and I like that I can control what goes into it – a little more lemon, a little more tahini. This recipe doesn’t have contain any olive oil, unless you pour some on top before serving.  A lot of the store-bought varieties don’t use olive oil either, often using canola oil or other substitutions. I like to drizzle olive oil on the top to add flavour, make it richer, and make it seems more Mediterranean.

It’s really not that difficult to make an awesome hummus, and there are different lengths you can go to, like starting with dry chickpeas, and peeling the skins off them. For me it’s worth the extra effort to have such a great tasting and smooth hummus, when I have a little bit of time to do it.

When I made mine I did cheat a little and use canned chickpeas, so the recipe below shows how to work with dry or canned chickpeas. One day soon I will use the method in the cookbook, cooking my own chickpeas while quickening the process by adding baking soda. But for now, because I used the canned chickpeas I had to remove the skins – this is one of the things that makes this hummus so creamy, and it only took about ten minutes.

I like to serve hummus with homemade pita crackers, and some veggie sticks.

What you need:

  • 1 & ¼ cups dried chickpeas (or one 540mL can)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup tahini 
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  •  Salt to taste
  • 6 & ½ tablespoons ice-cold water 

What you do:

  1. Place the chickpeas in a large pot and cover them with at least double their volume of cold water; let them soak overnight. If you are using canned chickpeas you will instead remove the skins. This is a bit of work. Here’s what I do. I drain them and put them in a large bowl with water. Then I rub some of them between my hands, and a lot of the skins come off that way. Then I go through them and pull off any skins that are remaining.
  2. If you are using dried chickpeas, drain them the next day and put them in a pot with the baking soda over high heat; cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. This will help them cook faster. Add 6 & 1/2 cups of water to the pot and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer, skimming off any foam and skins. Cook for 20-40 minutes until they are tender; they should break easily when squeezed, but not be mushy.
  3. Drain the chickpeas and place in them a food processor or blender. Process until you have a thick paste. Add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of salt; blend this. With the machine still running drizzle in most of the ice water and let it mix for about 5 minutes. You will get a very creamy paste. Add more water if you think it needs it, and taste to adjust seasonings.
  4. Put the hummus in a bowl and cover it. Let it rest for at least half an hour. Refrigerate if you are not using it right away, but remove from the fridge at least half an hour before you use it.

Enjoy!

 

Red Wine Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting and Cream Cheese Filling

chocolate birthday cake - trust in kim

This birthday cake is a combination of three recipes, put together to become my friend John’s dream cake. The cake is rich and chocolatey, and the red wine and cinnamon give it a subtle flavouring that people thought was coconut. Attempting to make it more of a red velvet cake, I added beet powder. I didn’t find that it added much redness to the cake, so it is totally optional. For me the best part of this cake is the icing – you can’t go wrong with butter and chocolate!

The recipe called for 2 cups of red wine, but I changed that to one cup of buttermilk and one of wine; feel free to use just red wine, just buttermilk, or a combination like I did.

In the photo you will see that there is only a thin strip of the cream cheese filling, and there are only two layers of cake. Because I only had two round pans that were the same size, I only had two layers in the completed cake. (There is an extra layer in my freezer, in a different size). I quadrupled the amount of cream cheese frosting when I typed up this recipe, so if you make this, yours will have more of the white filling, and enough to make a triple layer cake.

The cake recipe comes from Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. The chocolate buttercream frosting is from addapinch.com – I didn’t add the espresso powder she used in her recipe. The cream cheese frosting is an alteration of Deb Perelman’s mascarpone filling.

I recommend keeping the cake in the fridge until you serve it. I like it when the icing is cold, making it more solid when it is sliced.

What you need for the cake:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
  • 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup red wine (I used a malbec, but anything will work)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 & 1/3 cups Dutch cocoa powder
  • 2 & 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons beet powder (very optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

What you do for the cake:

  1. Line the bottoms of three 9-inch round cake pans with parchment. Butter the parchment lightly.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  3. In a very large bowl cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat for about 3 minutes, or until they are fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Beat in the red wine, buttermilk and vanilla; the batter will look a little odd, but it is fine.
  5. Sift the flour, cocoa, beet powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt on top of the batter. Mix until it is about 3/4 incorporated, then continue by folding it with a rubber spatula.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the three pans, evening out the tops with the spatula. Give the cake a small tap on the counter to remove any air bubbles (something my mom taught me), and place them in the oven. The recipe says to bake for 25 minutes, but mine wasn’t ready yet, so test with a toothpick to see if it is done, and return to the oven for a few minutes before testing again.
  7. When you take the cakes out of the oven, let them rest on cooling trays for about 10 minutes. Then run a sharp knife around the edge before inverting them onto the cooling trays. Let the cakes cool completely before beginning to frost them.

What you need for the cream cheese filling:

  • 460 grams cream cheese (not light, not spreadable) at room temperature
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (clear if you have it)
  • a pinch of salt

What you do for the cream cheese filling:

  1. Beat the cream cheese until it is fluffy, then beat in the vanilla and salt.
  2. Add half a cup of icing sugar at a time and beat until it is incorporated and fluffy.
  3. Spread half of the filling on top of one layer of the cake, and place the second layer on top. Repeat with the second layer of filling and third layer of cake.
  4. Refrigerate the cake until the filling has firmed up a bit before moving on to the chocolate frosting.

What you need for the chocolate buttercream frosting:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks), softened
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 3 & 1/3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 80 mL milk
  • 1 & 1/2  teaspoons vanilla extract

What you do for the chocolate buttercream frosting:

  1. Cream the butter, then sift in the cocoa and continue to cream that. Sift and then beat in a cup of the icing sugar, then beat in about half of the milk. Add another cup of icing sugar, then some more milk and the vanilla. You might not use all the icing sugar or milk. Test as you go to see when you think it is perfect.
  2. Frost the cake. I have little patience for this sort of thing these days, so my frosting didn’t look amazing. Here’s a tutorial if you want to do it better than I did.

Enjoy! Bon anniversaire, John!

birthday boy - trust in kimcake - trust in kimeating cake - trust in kim

Gazpacho

gazpacho - trust in kim

Oh summer, I love you for so many reasons! One of them is homegrown, flavourful tomatoes. Also the gazpacho that I can make with them.

This is the taste of summer. This is one of the recipes that makes me do a happy dance.

I fell in love with gazpacho on a trip to Spain a few years ago, and managed to eat it almost every day of my two-week stay there. It is refreshing and full of flavour. There are many different types; here are some: green gazpacho, watermelon gazpacho, and another tomato gazpacho that is very similar to this one. All are awesome, but this one is the easiest, I think.

This is so easy to make, and quite healthy too. I made a batch and kept it in the fridge for a few days. The amounts are estimates; do what seems right to you. It’s hard to go wrong. You can always add more of something if you need to.

What you need:

  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 medium red onion
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large sweet red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 2-3 tablespoons good quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 slice of white bread (I used a whole wheat French bread)
  • salt to taste

What you do:

  1. Soak the bread in water for a few minutes, then squeeze the water out.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and add whatever you think you need.
  3. Refrigerate for at least and hour before serving.
  4. Serve topped with some chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, or a drizzle of olive oil.

Walnut Vinaigrette

walnut vinaigrette - trust in kim

When I was in France last summer I picked up a tube of walnut Dijon mustard. It isn’t something that is easy to find at home; in fact, I’ve never seen it, even in specialty stores, in Vancouver. Soon I will devise a recipe for it, so we won’t have to search for it anymore.

Here I’ve also used a walnut oil, just to bring out the nutty flavour. I love a combination of garlic and walnut, so I put in a clove of garlic. It needs to sit for a while, so you’ll need to make this a few hours in advance or the day before if you want to get that garlicky flavour in there.

What you need:

  • 1 tablespoon walnut Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 clove garlic

What you do:

  1. In a bowl or jar combine the mustard, sugar, and a little salt and pepper.
  2. Add a little bit of the vinegar to mix into the mustard, then add the rest, beating with a fork until combined.
  3. Add the walnut oil slowly, whisking in with the fork.
  4. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Peel the skin off the garlic clove, cut it in half and place it in the dressing. Let it sit for a few hours to allow the garlic flavour to be released. You can leave the garlic clove in the dressing for a week or two, or as long as it takes you to use it up.
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