Nahhh... Just got preoccupied is all. Saturday night, we went out to dinner where I ordered a steak I couldn't finish and we shared a Diabetic-Coma-Inducing slice of chocolate cake, a la mode, which we couldn't finish!!
(but we brought 'em home!)
And yesterday, we had "fair winds and (thankfully NOT) following seas" (I *hate* following seas!), and we spent the day out on SF Bay. Sailed south in the early morning, with light breezes and a flood tide. Motored back in the late morning and made it back to our slip *just* as the Small Craft Advisories were kicking in!
So yeah. Another good day. But I was Plum Tuckered Out - so no blogging, and *certainly* no gardening!
Wellllll today... Today! Freaking June 4! We awoke to clouds and - Dubya-Tee-Eff?! - droplets of WATER falling from the sky! And we're not talkin' bout a little pissy drizzle. We're talking bona fide rain-drops! Lots of 'em!!!
Now THAT ain't right! No Sirree!!!
Well, it's Monday. Had to work anyway. But STILL! JEEEZUS!!!
It goes without saying that I didn't drag my li'l Tractor Scoot out to the far side of the yard to tackle any weeding chores.
Nope. Instead, I stayed inside and worked. Then when my workday was done, I cooked. Made a So-So Asian Veggie Soup (another one of my "Clean-Out-The-Fridge" Frenzies). It wasn't noteworthy enough to post (Hubs didn't even finish his bowl :::gasp:::), but I got some ideas of how to tweak it next time...
Okay, so TODAY'S Culinary Masterpiece (well, kinda/sorta) is a recipe I stole from a blogger called Canadian Crafter. I honestly don't even recall how I stumbled onto this recipe, but I pinned it to my Pinterest Board and I've been all "Oh my GAWD I have *got* to try this!" ever since...
Today was the day!
I *almost* followed Canadian Crafter's recipe to-the-letter, but - of course - I had to do a Splenda* Substitution and... To be honest, the mere thought of 6-1/2 cups of sugar was making my brain buzz! So I did 3+3** and, *when* I make it again, I am SURE that I'll cut the sweetener back even further. This stuff is SWEET! (Too sweet for my palate, honestly. I was dumping salt in, towards the end, trying to "cut" the sweetness)
*Side note: My experiments with Stevia-sweetened jams, thus far, really have been less-than-satisfactory. They do seem to "set" when you first make the jam, but then they get loose and goozy, later on. So I'm sticking with Splenda from now on.
**Secondary side note: Splenda-only *also* is not too satisfying. The jams don't really have the right "mouth-feel" to them (hard to describe), so they really do need at least *some* sugar...
Okay then... Enough blathering, post the recipe already!
QT's Low-Sugar Carrot Cake Jam
Adapted from Canadian Crafter
Yield 6 @ 1/2 pint jars
- 1-1/2 cups finely grated carrots (this is appx 4 "good-sized" carrots).
- 1-1/2 cups peeled chopped pears (this is appx 2 medium-sized pears). She didn't specify how small to chop them, but I was going for appx 1/4" chunks (having learned from past apple-jamming experiences!)
- 1 can (~14 oz) crushed pineapple, undrained (I used *most* of a 20 oz can - not all of it)
- 3 TBS bottled lemon juice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon (
I might bump this up to 1-1/2 tsp) (No I won't)
- 1/2 tsp each of ground cloves and ground nutmeg (
again, might bump it up, next time) (Nope!)
- 3 TBS Ball brand Low/No-Sugar Pectin (I'll report back, tomorrow, whether or not that was enough). CC posted "1 package Bernardin original fruit pectin" - but I think that's a Canuck thing ;-)
- 3+3 cups granulated sugar and granulated Splenda. Next time, I will try 2 cups Sugar + 3 cups Splenda (or maybe even 2+2, and add "to taste" later on)
- 1 cup toasted chopped pecans (optional)
- Toast your pecans. Spray a cookie sheet (or whatever) with oil and cook @ 350*F appx 5-7 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they do not scorch. Set the pecans aside
- Grate your carrots. Use the "fine" section of your cheese grater (you want teeny shreds.)
(PSA #1: If the carrots have green tops, keep about 4" worth of carrot-toppers attached - to use as a handle - so you don't shred your hand!)
(PSA #2: This might be a good occasion to drag your food processor out - if you have one!)
- Chop your pears into tiny chunks (I might go even tinier, next time). Drizzle them with 1TBS lemon juice, as you go (to keep 'em from browning).
- Measure out your Sugar+Splenda+Pectin in a separate dry bowl. Mix with a fork and set aside.
- Dump the carrots, pears, pineapple and the rest of the lemon juice into a large (deep) pot. Heat on the stove on high, stirring constantly, 'til it boils.
- Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and let it cook appx 20 minutes (stirring occasionally - just so it doesn't stick/burn).
- Dump the sugar/splenda/pectin mixture into the carrot/fruity pot. Increase heat to high and bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Let it boil hard for one full minute - stir-stir-stir!
- Once the minute is up, stir in the pecans.
- Remove from heat. Skim foam, if there is any (Personally, I just stir it back in!)
- Ladle into hot, sterilized jars to within 1/4" of top rim.
- Remove any gooze around the rim with a wet paper towel.
- Cap and pop into a hot water bath for 10 minutes
I'm still stuck with a Steam Canner (haven't killed anyone yet!). Thankfully, all of my jar lids "popped" immediately after coming out of the canner...
I'm letting them set-up, overnight, and I'll sample one of 'em tomorrow morning.
I'm thinking of serving this jam with this recipe (of course, I'll tweak it to cut-back on the sugar content), along with a generous shmear of cream cheese. I suspect it will be orgasmically delicious!
Pictures (Yep, crappy Droid pics!)
Carrots, Pears and Pineapple cooking...
Pop! Pop! Pop! Yayyyyy!!!
P.S. - June 5: Jam has had a chance to "mellow" overnight.
- The Cinnamon/Cloves/Nutmeg are "just right" (subtle and nice).
- It's still a wee bit sweeter than I like, so I'd definitely cut-back on the sweetener (2+2, then add if needed).
- Lastly, it seems to have set-up "okay." It's a teeny bit runny (if you tilt the jar and hold it, there is definitely some movement!). Long-term, I fear it will get even runnier - but I doubt that this jam is gonna last very long (it is DAYUM tasty)!!! Next time, I'll either increase the pectin by 1/2 TBS, or maybe cook it down a bit further...
Freaking awesome jam and can't wait to try it out on Carrot-Bran Muffins with a shmear of cream cheese (this weekend - when my college buddy is here!)