Homemade Pop Tarts with Jam

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Homemade Pop TartsI recently did a presentation at Bauman’s Farm and Garden in Gervais, Oregon on unique jam and jelly recipes.  As I was preparing for the presentation and deciding what I would talk about I started to realize that jams and jellies are not just for toast and biscuits anymore.   I use them in many different ways in my home, like blackberry pepper jam for glaze on chicken or pineapple mint jam with ham and cream cheese on grilled rustic bread.  But breakfast is still a great time to enjoy your homemade jam like my family’s favorite strawberry lemonade jam mixed with cream cheese for stuffed french toast.  Try using jam as a topping for pancakes or waffles.  You just mix 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 teaspoon powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons of your favorite jam and watch it melt down over your pancakes.  But the best way to enjoy the different flavors of jam in the morning are homemade pop tarts.  I found this is a great way to use up partial jars of jam you may have in the refrigerator.  The following recipe is easy to make using my pie dough recipe or store bought pie dough and just some jars of homemade jam.  Kids will enjoy helping you make and eat them.

Homemade Pop TartsHomemade Pop Tarts
Store bought Pie crust or
Homemade Pie Crust:
3 cups Bob Red Mill flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups shortening
1 egg
1 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar
5 Tablespoons Cold Water
Assorted jars of Jam*
To make the homemade pie crust mix flour and salt together. With pastry blender cut in shortening until it resembles small peas. In a cup, mix egg, cider vinegar and water. Mix into flour mixture until just blended. Divide dough in half and wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Can keep for two days in a refrigerator.

To make the pop tarts you first need to make an egg wash: Combine 1 egg and 2 tablespoon water, set aside. Remove one piece of dough and roll out on a floured surface about 1/8” thick.  Or  if you are using store bought crust just open up and lay flat on your counter.  Cut out 3”x4” rectangles or you can use different shaped cookie cutters like a heart or circle. Take one piece and spread about 2 tablespoons of jam, be carefully not to over fill. Spread out to about ¼ inch from the edge. With egg wash brush the edge of the dough around the jam. Place a second piece on top and crimp the sides with a fork. You will need to cut a few slits in the top dough or use a fork and poke some holes. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack and they will be ready to glaze and add some sprinkles!

Glaze:
½ cup powdered sugar
1-2 teaspoons milk
drop of vanilla extract
Mix above and glaze pop tarts after they are cool. Leave plain or sprinkle with colored sugars.

Some of my favorite jam combinations for homemade pop tarts:
~ Cherry Vanilla Jam ~ Blueberry Lemon Jam ~ Strawberry Lemonade Jam ~ Peach Red Raspberry Jam ~ Blackberry Fig Jam ~ Apple Pie Jam ~ Blueberry Cinnamon Jam

Fresh Blackberry Apple Jelly

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Blackberry Apple JellyIf the word homemade jelly makes you think wow that’s a lot of work and looks so hard to do I am here to change your mind.  I have been making my own jam for 30 years and I always thought jelly was a lot of work until I decided I was going to give it a try last year.  At first I went to the store and bought a jelly strainer with the washable cheesecloth and started to make my first batch.  It was easy to take the fruit, add some water and let it cook down for about 5 minutes.  So with my cheesecloth lined strainer I added my fruit and juices only to discover the store bought metal strainer was not as sturdy as I thought and the cheesecloth did not hold all my cooked down fruit.  I did eventually get all the juice into a bowl and made my first jelly but I needed a better way to strain my juice from the fruit.   One Saturday morning my husband and I went to an  estate sale and there in front of my eyes was a vintage jelly strainer.  For $5 I could not pass it up and had to give it a try.   After making my first batch of jelly in this vintage jelly strainer I was hooked.  I have found 2 more since at estate sales and sometimes I have 3 different batches of jelly going at one time.  With blackberries Fresh From Oregon this week it was time for me to make a batch of blackberry apply jelly.  So if you have been thinking about making homemade jelly just hit a few estate sales and come home with your own vintage strainer and get started.

Fresh Blackberry Apple Jelly
3 pounds blackberries (2 1/2 quarts)Blackberry juiceCut apples in pot2013.06.29@17.10.32._IGP0706
1 1/4 cup water
8 medium apples
Bottled apple juice (maybe)
1/4 cup lemon juice
8 cups sugar
2 pouches (3oz each) liquid fruit pectin

In large sauce pan, bring blackberries and 1 1/4 cup water to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Line a stainer with a double layer of cheesecloth and place over a bowl.  Place berry mixture in strainer and let stand for 30 minutes or until you think all the juice has strained out.  Reserve the juice and discard the pulp.

Remove and discard the stem and blossom ends of the apples (do not peel or core), cut into small pieces.  Place in large saucepan with just enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until apples are tender.  Place apples in cheesecloth lined strainer and leave for 30 minutes.  Reserve juice and discard pulp.

Measure the reserved blackberry and apple juice to 4 cups each.  If necessary, add bottled apple juice to get to the 4 cups.  Stir in lemon juice and sugar and mix until sugar is dissolved.  Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Stir in the two packets of liquid pectin; return to a full rolling boil.  Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat; skim off foam.  Ladle into hot jars, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace.  Wipe the rims of the jar and adjust the two-piece cap.  Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.  Remove jars from canner and set on a towel to cool.

Source ~ Taste of Home Canning & Preserving magazine

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Around My French Table in Oregon!

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2013.01.20@17.46.38I finished this week with my last meal from the Cook to Books Challenge from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan2013.01.20@16.23.472013.01.20@16.42.042013.01.20@16.44.292013.01.20@16.46.222013.01.20@16.48.57 I made the Short Ribs in Red Wine, Corn Pancakes and Brown-sugar Squash and Brussels Sprouts.  I enjoyed taking my family on a trip to France through my cooking from this great cookbook.  Everything I made was a combination of fresh flavors and so easy with all the things I could buy Fresh From Oregon to make everything.  I especially enjoyed the Brown Sugar Squash and Brussels Sprouts and ask my mom, I do NOT like Brussels sprouts. But I made this dish and yes mom, I ate the Brussels Sprouts and did not need two glasses of milk to get them down.  When I read this recipe so many other combinations of fresh vegetables and fruit came to mind that I can do throughout the year as different things come into season. I was very lucky that Brussels Sprouts are in season now in Oregon and got some last week at the Portland Farmers Winter Market.
Here is how you can make your own bundle of sweet vegetables Fresh From Oregon.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and cut four squares of foil about 12″ x 12″.  In large bowl combine 1 pound of butternut squash that has been peeled and cubed with 16 small Brussels Sprouts that have been cut in half.  Add 1 apple (I used a sweet one) that has been peeled and diced.  Toss with 4 teaspoons of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.  Divide the mixture between the four pieces of foil and top each with a teaspoon of brown sugar, I used a heaping teaspoon of brown sugar.  The original recipe calls for a fresh piece of sage on top of the brown sugar but since my sage plants were covered with snow I skipped adding one.  Draw up the edges of the foil and seal making a little package.  Place on baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  I am already thinking that the orange, yellow, white and purple carrots I also got at the winter market will be my next combination with some fresh thyme!

2013.01.19@11.02.42

Skillet Apple Pie

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2013.01.06@12.57.03It is the first week in January and it is time to sort the apples I bought this past fall.  If you get the right type of apple you can keep them stored in your refrigerator for 4 to 6 months.  I am coming up on the 4 month mark and need to use up some apples.  I pulled the rest of my Winesap, Empire, Granny Smith and Pinova apples out and had enough to make two apple pies.  I have been wanting to try the Skillet Apple Pie I added to my Pinterest page last October so I pulled out my 12″ cast iron skillet (10″ is a normal size).  I also made a small 8″ pie for the local fire department to enjoy.  I had just pulled two hot apple pies from the oven as my husband walked by my kitchen, I think he smells them coming out and the only words he said was that is a giant pie!  So clean out the refrigerator of your mixed apples or visit some local farm markets that still have a few apples left and make a skillet apple pie!

4 pounds of mixed baking apple2013.01.06@10.04.05s
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
pie crust for a double crusted pie
1 egg (optional)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350º. Peel apples, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Toss apples with cinnamon and 3/4 cup granulated sugar.2013.01.06@10.40.212013.01.06@10.45.302013.01.06@10.47.342013.01.06@10.54.34

Melt butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat; add brown sugar, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, and place 1 pie crust in skillet over brown sugar mixture. Spoon apple mixture over pie crust, and top with remaining pie crust. Cut 4 or 5 slits in top for steam to escape.

I am not a big fan of egg and sugar on top of my pie it makes it a little hard and sweet but if you like it that way do the following.  Whisk egg white until foamy. Brush top of pie crust with egg white; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.

Bake at 350º for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly, shielding with aluminum foil during last 10 minutes to prevent excessive browning, if necessary.  Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before serving.  Serve with ice cream.

Source:  Southern Living – September 2011 – Mrs. James Wright, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Three Best Apples for Baking this Week in Oregon

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Each week new apples are being picked in Oregon and these are my three favorite apples this week to bake with.

Honeycrisp – It is a medium to large apple with a white  flesh that is crisp and juicy with a good balance of sweet and tart flavors.  The University of Minnesota developed  this apple from a cross between Macoun and Honeygold apples.  This is a modern apple developed in the 1960′s and introduced to the market in the 1990′s.  The Honeycrisp is a great keeper you can store at 32-38 degrees for 4 months.  This is an all-purpose apple for me, I use it in cakes, pies and it makes the best dried apples.

Ginger Gold – This is the best of the early golden apples.  Its firm, crisp, juicy flesh is dripping with sweetness.  The Ginger Gold was discovered as a chance seedling growing near a Golden Delicious orchard in Viginia in the 1960′s.  The color and shape looks like a Golden Delicious but it has a much earlier season ripening 6-8 weeks earlier.  This apple is a short season apple only keeping 2 months at 32-38 degrees.  This apple is great for eating, baking, pies and applesauce.

Tsugaru –  Yellow with red blush, the Tsugaru (SOO-GA-ROO) resembles Golden Delicious, but is much more firmer.  It is a cross between a Golden Delicious and a Jonathan apple.  It is a medium size apple with a creamy white flesh, very juicy, lightly flavored, and moderately sweet with low acidity and very little browning. This apple is great for eating, baking, salads and pies.

Best Ever Apple Cake

3/4 cup pecans, chopped
3 cups Bob’s Red Mill  white flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 large baking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 tablespoon  baking powder
1 teaspoon  salt
4 large eggs
1/2 cup  vegetable oil
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Heat oven to 350°F. Spray a 10-inch removable-bottom tube pan with nonstick spray. Sprinkle pecans evenly on bottom of pan.  In a large bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and cinnamon. Add apples and toss to combine.  In another large bowl, mix remaining flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, oil, butter, orange juice, and vanilla extract. Beat until batter is smooth.  Pour half of the batter (about 2 cups) into prepared pan. Top with half of apple mixture. Spoon remaining batter over apples and top with remaining apples, placing them 1/4 inch in from the tube and the border of the cake.  Bake 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Run a paring knife around the sides and center of cake and turn cake out onto wire rack. Invert cake onto another rack to cool, pecan side up.

Apple Caramel Cake

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Apple season started weeks ago here in Oregon and after a trip to Kiyokawa Family Orchards & Fruit Stand in Hood River, Oregon my refrigerator is bursting with apples.  I left with 9 varieties of apples and have several recipes ready to share with you over the next few weeks.  The Apple Caramel Cake is a easy recipe to make, very moist and the frosting adds a great finish.  I like to use a nice sweet apple so I used Ginger Gold in this cake.

1 3/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill flour

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed

3/4 cup butter, softened

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups apples, peeled & finely chopped

1 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup golden raisins

Frosting:

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

5 tablespoons milk

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 13×9-inch baking pan, set aside.  In large bowl combine flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  In bowl of a mixer cream brown sugar and butter 2 minutes, add eggs and vanilla until combined.  Add flour mixture, mix for 3 minutes on medium speed.  By hand stir in apples, walnuts and raisins.  Pour into greased baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on rack.

Frosting:  In small bowl with whisk blend powdered sugar, cinnamon, butter, vanilla and milk.  Add more milk if need to make spreading consistency.  Spread over cool cake and sprinkle with nuts.

Apple Slab Pie

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What do you think of when you see an pan of slab pie on the table.  I think of family reunions, church suppers and picnics.  It is apple season here in Oregon and each week there are several apples coming into season.  I wanted to take some of these apples and create something that I could share with friends.  When you make a slab pie you are making two pies at once.   The flaky crust of the dough and the sweet filling of apples is a great way to start the fall apple season.

Pie Crust: Make recipe twice
3 cups Bob’s Red Mill white flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter, cold, small chunks
1 egg
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
5 tablespoons cold water
In large bowl combine the flour and salt, add shortening and butter. With a pastry blender mix together until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, do not over mix.  In a small bowl combine egg, cider vinegar and water, add to the flour mixture and combine until the dough just comes together in a ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to 1 hour to rest the dough.  Make another batch of pie dough and repeat above.  You will have two balls of dough when you are done.

Apple Filling:
8 golden Delicious apples, peeled and sliced thin
2 tart apples, peeled and sliced thin
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons flour
1 3/4 cups white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted

In large bowl combine apples, lemon juice, flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  You will need a 10×15-inch baking pan.  On a floured surface roll out one piece of the dough to fit in the bottom of the 10×15-inch baking pan.  Place apple mixture over the dough spreading out evenly.  Take the remaining dough and roll out slightly larger to place over the top of the apples.  Since the dough is so large to work with I use my large pasta rolling pin to do this.  Roll the top dough under the bottom dough and cut some small slits in the top to vent the pie as it cooks.  Bake in oven for 1 hour or until golden brown and you see the apple mixture bubbling up a little from the slits. Remove from the oven and cool on wire rack.

Icing:
2 cups confectioners sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk
Combine the confectioners sugar and milk in a small bowl and with a whisk combine until smooth and slightly thick.  Drizzle over the pie.

What’s Fresh in Washington State?

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I have a week with no cooking, yes John and I are on a weeklong business trip and we are traveling through the central and eastern part of Washington State.  So I thought I would bring you along to Washington State and share what we find along the way.  First stop Yakima, Washington in the central part of the state.  Yakima Valley is a sunny area with orchards, farms and vineyards where more than 40 commercial crops are grown.  Did you know that this area enjoys 300 days of sunshine? Or did you know there are more than 70 wineries and it is best known as one of the largest wine-producing regions in the country.  After checking into our hotel John and I headed north of Yakima about 30 miles to Ellensburg.  We wanted to travel down through the Yakima Canyon and enjoy  a drive along the Yakima river.  We passed by many people in their boats fly fishing and just as many people in large rafts just enjoying floating down the river.  As we were just coming out of the canyon and back down into Yakima a beautiful apple orchard came into sight.  We turned down a side dirt road to get a better view of these trees just hanging full of apples.  The first part of the orchard was apple trees grown on a trellis in a V-shape.  We were not sure what type of apples these were but as we turned the corner and saw the next section of the orchard with the traditional type of dwarf apple trees and I knew that bright red color and shape, the red delicious apple.  I could not believe the amount of apples that were hanging on the trees.  I knew that they were going to be picked soon all the empty wooden bins were lined up under the trees, is the fall season officially here?  Seeing all the apples that would be ready soon I decided that once I get back to Oregon I am going to devote most of my upcoming blogs to the apple and all the great pies, desserts, side dishes and anything else I can think of that you can make with apples.  Tomorrow we head north to the town of Leavenworth and more adventures in the state of Washington.  Below are a few fun facts about apples grown in Washington State and the Yakima Valley:

  • Washington State leads the nation in apple production and more than half of the fresh eating apples come from Washington.  Red delicious representing 30% of apples grown.
  • Washington has seven main production areas with Yakima Valley being the largest.
  • The Columbia basin area gives the state its famous Fuji apple.
  • Growers now use “dwarf trees” in high density plantings to bring new orchards into production faster.
  • More than 175,000 acres of apple orchards are nested in the eastern foothills of Washington.
  • The following are the top nine apples grown in Washington State.  Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Cripps Pink and Cameo.

The picture to the right shows how the apples are grown on a trellis in a V-shape.  Trees are planted 12 feet apart, with every other tree slanted in the opposite direction of its neighbor, in a V formation to meet at row center.  They want fruit produced narrow, tall fruiting walls.  The goals is for the trees to reach full height in two years.

Pork Sandwich & Apple slaw

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I woke up to a beautiful Labor Day morning in Oregon of blue skies and the wonderful sound of the river coming through my window.  This was going to be an awesome day for an afternoon hike for the first week in September here in Oregon.  I need to get the Pioneer Woman’s Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork I made last week from the freezer into the crock pot to heat up.  I made a big batch so my son Scott could take some down to the Hoodland Fire department were he is a volunteer.  After a little work around the house the pork was ready to send with Scott keeping back some for sandwiches after the hike.  If you live in the Pacific Northwest you know that the Pacific Crest Trail runs from Canada to Mexico.  We are lucky enough to live right down the road from were you can jump onto the trail.  John and I loaded Sage in the car for a small afternoon hike, with this being Sage’s first hike.  We took the trail towards the south which gave us a great view of Mt Hood and then walked 20 feet and had a view of Mt Adams, which is located in the state of Washington.  We had a great afternoon hike and found a patch of huckleberries along the way.  Check out tomorrow’s post to see what I am making John and Scott with the huckleberries we picked.

After returning from our hike we were ready to eat and instead of making the traditional coleslaw with cabbage to go with the pork I decided to make some apple slaw.  I had bought some Honey Crisp apples, that just came into season, at the farmers market on Saturday.  I hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day!

Happy 1st Wedding Anniversary to my son and daughter-in-law, Johnny & Jess!

Apple slaw
2 apples ( I used Honey Crisp)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use Miracle Whip what can I say!)
2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon white vinegar
dash salt and pepper
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoon Oregon hazelnuts, toasted & chopped

Fill a medium bowl with water and add a tablespoon of lemon juice.  Cut apples with skin on (looks prettier) into matchstick size pieces and place into lemon water to prevent browning.  In small bowl combine Miracle Whip, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper and whisk to combine.  Drain water from apples and add the cranberries and hazelnuts.

If you do not have hazelnut  (which is the state nut of Oregon) you can use pecans or walnuts. Toss with the Miracle Whip mixture until coated.  I added a side of my Bread & Butter pickles to finish off the meal.

Source: Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork ~ Pioneer Woman