August 5, 2010

Heirloom Recipe for Queen Anne's Lace Jelly

Heirloom recipes are based on traditional cooking which show our Mothers', Grandmothers' or Great Great Grandmothers' creativity and their subtle sense of art and science. Nothing went to waste in the garden!
We include Queen Anne's Lace Jelly on our
'High Tea' menu with scones and brandy butter.

INGREDIENTS:(makes 4 - 8 ounce jars)
18 large flower heads
4 cups water

1/4 cup lemon juice
1 box pectin

3-1/2 cups + 2 teaspoon sugar

Make 'juice' by bringing the 4 cups of water to a boil.  Add flower heads. Cover pot and let steep for 12 minutes or so. 


Strain to get rid of any little stray bits of flower.  You want a fairly clean juice.
Juice can be stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to complete the canning process.

In a large pot on high heat, stir together 3 cups of the flower juice, the lemon juice and the pectin. Stirring constantly, bring mixture to a full rolling boil.  Then add the sugar all at one time.  Stir constantly and return to a full rolling boil -- then time for 1 minute at a full boil.
Remove from heat.  You will notice that the jelly mixture has lightened in color as compared to the pre-cooked juice.  This is due to the lemon juice reacting with the other ingredients. 

Let mixture settle. Skim anything that rises to the top.
Prepare canning jars according to jar manufacturer's instructions.  I make sure that my jars and lids have been pre-heated in a hot water bath (not boiling).  Ladle into jars and seal.

Wishing you good digestion!
Chef Alan

August 4, 2010

Ahhh, the Versatile Cuke

If you check online, there are even more ways to use your foodstuffs to solve life's everyday problems.  Here are some of my favorites using cucumbers:

1. Looking for an alternative to a bottle 'energy drink'? Pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of  B vitamins and carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.

2. Are your garden plants being devoured by bugs?  Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy!

3. Trying to keep those nasty yellow jackets (bees) off your picnic table without spraying your food with bug spray?  We carve cucumbers into flower-like medallions and nestle them among the sweet foodstuffs like table decor.  This really saves us at the Farmer's Market in late summer!

4. If our staff forgets to shine up their shoes before leaving for a catering event, we rub a freshly cut cucumber on their shoes! Organic chemicals from the cucumber will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

5. At a business lunch and realize you don't have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber from your salad and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath - the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.  Works for a romantic dinner, too!!

6. Looking for a 'green' way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but is won't leave streaks ... and won't harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.

Wishing you good digestion!

Chef Alan