On the move…

30 11 2009

Those of you who’ve been reading Kitchen Jam since I launched it in August might have been wondering when the next recipes will be posted. Soon, gang – soon – and I promise you’re going to enjoy what I’ve got in mind for December!

But this weekend instead of writing posts, I was building websites – one at patsteer.com that will be the new home of my survivorship blog Life Out Loud and my freelance writing projects; one for Kitchen Jam in development here; and one for Dog Trainer’s Log, evolving here.

None of these sites is ready for prime time yet – although I’m aiming to launch all of them officially later this week. When all of the transitioning is complete, your links, bookmarks and RSS feeds to the WP.com sites will direct you automatically to their new domains. Until then, wish me luck as I work to make 30 years of writing and 10 years of tech training pay off.

I’ll update this site with the final addresses. Meanwhile, feel free to drop by and check out the construction. Look for my special December blog-warming project at the new and improved Kitchen Jam: The 12 Jams of Christmas, featuring 12 new and easy jam recipes perfect for quick holiday gifts. I’ve also got special things planned after the New Year for both Dog Trainer’s Log and for the same old me (working under my real name now!) at Life Out Loud. Stay tuned!

Shared Jam: Bounty in a recipe exchange

27 11 2009
71370-Jars of Jams

Image by SeattleRay via Flickr

I didn’t find out about Under the High Chair’s Virtual Jam Swap in a straight-line kinda way. I was reading my latest Foodbuzz headlines, and saw a new post called Jam Swap from Coco Bean, a blog from the Montreal food improv team of Ian and Christie. Seems they’d discovered that canning – at first intimidating – could pay off just like a cookie exchange at their friend Aimee’s real-life Jam Swap. I followed their link to Aimee’s Under the High Chair blog (don’t you love the way links are the internet’s version of a bread crumb trail?) At UtHC, I discovered that in addition to her live jam swap, about which Ian had written, Aimee had just posted a round-up of her virtual (blogging) jam swap. Her post includes the links to the adventures (and misadventures) and 25 recipes from jammers who personify the improvisational approach to preserving flavor.

Julie Powell cooked her way through Julia Child‘s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I want to cook my way through all 25 recipes in Aimee’s Virtual Jam Swap. Always on the lookout for unique and new jam recipes, several of the VJS entries caught my eye, and fit right in to the kinds of fruit available at this time of year in central New York:

Apple Pie Jam from Kim at Flavorista (lower sugar, with pectin)
Grapefruit Cranberry Marmalade from Cheri at Kitchen Simplicity (no added pectin)
Coconut Jam (Kaya) from Cheryl at Backseat Gourmet (no added pectin)

UtHC’s jam swap also collected recipes for jams, butters, marmalades and spreads made with plums, rhubarb, apricots, peaches, blueberries, cherries, mint, peppers, berries and apples.

I’ve got a lot of reading and recipe-sorting to do; I definitely need to put some of these recipes into my jam repertoire. Thanks, Aimee, for sending out the call for your Virtual Jam Swap, and then sharing all of the bounty with the world.

What jams will you be making next – for holiday gifts, or when the fresh fruits in your area come back into season? Will you share your jam plans?

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Improv: How to jerky a turkey

24 11 2009

This is what happens when you overcook a 12-lb. turkey

This was not the post I intended for today.

However, the picture of my poor 12-lb. turkey, left to roast in its 325 deg. F. oven for two hours too long was too priceless to ignore.

I put my properly thawed turkey into its roaster, filled with sage and lemon halves.

I woke to Alton Brown in my head, opining on The Next Iron Chef that “Good chefs sometimes have bad days in the kitchen.” Yep — and some days they have bad nights, too.

I will at the very least be able to make some dog treats – Madison and Casey, true to their English cocker stomachs, love my homemade liver cookies. Maybe I can enrich them by substituting pulverized completely dried out roasted turkey for some of the flour. They have far less discriminating palates than my own.

And the moral of the story?

Do NOT put your turkey in the oven to roast after working a 12-hour day.

Kitchen Disaster Dog Treats

You’ll need a crispity over-roasted turkey, or parts from one that has met this unfortunate fate. The bird should be seriously over-roasted, with all of the moisture (or most of it) roasted out – but it shouldn’t be charred; I have standards. You will know that your turkey qualifies if you can remove the entire breastbone without disturbing any of what used to be meat, and if the parts that you would normally have sliced would dull a normal blade and will break off the carcass. The stuff that used to be meat should resemble the heavy bark on a well-smoked brisket.

You’ll also need a food processor with heavy-duty chopping blade, or an industrial food grinder. I prefer a food processor (yes, this has happened to me more than once.)

  • Remove all visible skin, fat and anything that looks like it might be edible meat (you might be able to salvage that by re-hydrating it in a brothy soup or with a long soak in some turkey gravy.)
  • Break apart the sections which were over-roasted if they are too large to fit into your food processor. You think I’m kidding, don’t you? I’m not. I love my dogs, but I love my Cuisinart, too. If the sections you try to process are too large they will burn out the motor. I’m not gonna break my Cuisinart trying to salvage dog treats out of a badly roasted turkey. A Chinese meat cleaver may be helpful if the ‘bark’ (read: overdone parts) are really far gone.
  • Pulse the sections briefly until they are either bite-size (no larger than 1/2 inch square) or pulverized if you intend to use the overdone bird as ‘flour’ to make dog cookies.
  • Refrigerate the bite-size treats; use within two weeks.
  • If using the pulverized bark in dog cookies, you can substitute the turkey ‘meal’ for flour 1:1 (dog cookies don’t need gluten to rise.) Dry the baked treats in the oven until they are crispity hard, and use within a month. You may want to keep treats made from a pulverized overdone bird under refrigeration – just in case.

Happy poultry roasting adventures, everyone!

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