Category Archives: Fruit

Cinnamon-Raisin Granola

In my new quest for weight loss, I’m trying to eat healthier.  No brainer, right?  Well some things I just never have had before, including granola.  I mean I’ve had the granola bars before but never had regular straight up granola and it seems to be the “it” thing to make these days.

Lucky for me when we had our Biggest Loser brunch, my friend Jennifer brought some granola and yogurt.  I gave it a try and loved it.  I loved it so much that I found myself wishing I had some more that same afternoon.  And that evening, I went to the store and got the ingredients and made it.  I think my husband thought I had lost my mind, such an immediate love for GRANOLA??  Then he ate some.  And he loves it too.  So try it, might be your new favorite thing!  Thanks for sharing, Jen!

Cinnamon-Raisin Granola

Cinnamon-Raisin Granola
Recipe from Jennifer D., originally from All Recipes

Ingredients:
4 cups old-fashioned oats (don’t use instant or quick, they won’t get as crisp)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup raisins

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Pour oats into a large bowl, set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, oil, honey and cinnamon and bring to a boil.  Once it’s boiling and the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Pour over the oats and stir in, folding untill well incorporated and no clumps are forming.
  • Spread in a large shallow low-rimmed baking pan and bake 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  When it’s golden brown, remove and stir in the raisins.
  • Store up to 3 weeks in an airtight container.

Cinnamon-Raisin Granola

Slow Cooker Pear Butter

Since my friend Tiffani brought me so many pears, I didn’t want to do them all with the one Pink Pears recipe.  Since pears are so similar to apples, I figured I’d do a pear butter, like the apple butter recipe I did a couple of years ago.

It worked out beautifully.  Not only is this a simple recipe, but it makes your house smell awesome and like Fall.  And when the temps are reaching 110, you like to have the delusion that Fall is right around the corner!

Crockpot Pear Butter
Adapted from A Year of Slow Cooking

Ingredients:
10 ripe pears
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar (I used my sugar from Cora Texas sugar mill)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 TBSP vanilla

Method:

FYI:  This is really a 2-day process!  I started in the afternoon and had it timed so that I could set the crockpot timer for the second time right before bed, so it would be done in the morning.

Peel your pears.  Quarter them and remove the core.  Place in a crockpot sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Add vanilla, cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.

When the 8 hours is up, mash with a fork (this is really easy, they’re so soft so it doesn’t take much at all!).  Stir in the sugars, cinnamon and cloves.  Cover again and cook once more on LOW for 6 hours.

If you want yours to be super smooth, you may use an immersion blender or something like it to puree.  But I thought the slightly chunky texture was nice.  You may store in the fridge or can it.  The Ball website has great information and tutorials on how to can, if you’ve never done this before.  You only need to process this in the water for 10 minutes.

Slow Cooker Pear Butter

Fig Ice Cream

Are you starting to see a trend in my posts lately?  Yeah, it’s fig season and they are plentiful!!  It’s funny because I absolutely love making sweet desserts like ice cream but I don’t really like sweets.  My hubby and daughter do though, so they eat most of it!  I had been eyeing this recipe from The Perfect Scoop (best ice cream book EVER!) for a while, mostly because the ice cream was  gorgeous purple color. 

Well mine is not a gorgeous purple color because I did not use the Black Mission Figs, I used Celeste figs, which are the main variety you will find in these parts.  Color aside, the ice cream was really good.  It definitely had a fig taste, but not overpowering if you’re not sure if you like them or not.  I didn’t follow the recipe David Lebovitz has exactly because it seemed that you are basically making preserves before the ice cream….and I have about 10 jars of preserves sitting in my laundry room!  Still with me?  Here’s how I did it…

Fig Ice Cream
Inspired by:  The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Ingredients:
15-20 figs from preserves, stems removed
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup heavy cream, plus more if needed
1/2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Method:
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth.  If it’s too thick, add some more cream and mix in well.  Empty into ice cream maker and follow instructions for freezing.  Store in the freezer for more firm ice cream.

Fig Ice Cream

Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza

Yeah, we’re some pizza eating fools over at our house!  I mean come on, you can do SO much with a pizza crust, the possibilities are endless!  I love trying new things so I was intrigued when I saw the recipe for Rustic Fig and Goat Cheese pizza on the blog Loves to Eat.  If you read this blog regularly, you will know that if I see goat cheese as an ingredient, I’m there! 

This doesn’t disappoint.  I would have loved to make a homemade crust to give it a more rustic look, but I happened to have a store-bought one on hand so why not use it?  I made a few very minor changes and it was absolutely delicious!  I actually plan on making it again tonight (hey, gotta use these tons of figs SOMEHOW!)   ;)  The only change I plan on making tonight is that I WILL make a homemade crust and I will also add chopped cooked bacon to give it a little more savory flavor to complement the sweetness of the figs.  Prosciutto would be tasty also, but hurts the wallet a little more.  You could also cook this on the grill and it would be even better!

Added Note:  Just tried this with bacon and it was AWESOME!  Definitely add that in!

Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza
Recipe from:  Loves to Eat

Ingredients:
1 pizza crust, store-bought or homemade
12 fresh ripe figs, stems removed and sliced
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/2-3/4 cup parmesan cheese
green onions, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
a couple of sprinkles of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup red onion, very thinly sliced
bacon crumbles
2 cups baby spinach
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:

Preheat oven to 425.  Combine 1 tbsp olive oil with red pepper flakes and brush over the crust.  Sprinkle evenly with parmesan cheese, then layer on the fig slices.  Sprinkle goat cheese over that, then add the red onions.  Sprinkle more parmesan and the green onions and bake about 8-10 minutes, or until the cheese melts and turns a little golden.

Combine the balsamic vinegar with the 1 tsp olive oil and toss with spinach.  Once the pizza is out of the oven, cut into slices and sprinkle the spinach over the top.

Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza

Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza with Spinach

Fig Preserves

Making fig preserves is something my parents have been doing for as long as I can remember.  They do a great job, they’re always super-tasty but unfortunately the tree they used to pick from was recently cut down.  They decided to come visit for the weekend and went to my husband’s grandfather’s house to pick some.  We then spent the day canning!  Boy did my house smell good!  This recipe has a lot of information, so I’m going to type it as my dad did so I don’t leave anything out.

Fig Preserves
Recipe from:  My dad, Gerry

Before starting, you will need the following:
1 jar canning pot with the rack and lid
1 jar funnel
1 magnetic lid wand
enough pint jars with new, unused lids (jars and rings can be re-used)
enough sugar per amount of figs
enough lemon slices per amount of figs
enough pots for figs to boil
1 small saucepan

Sugar and Jar Estimate:  (2 cups sugar = 1 lb)

Fresh Figs (in quarts)         Sugar (in cups)    Number of Jars Needed
             2                                                     1                                  2
             3                                                     2                                  3
             4                                                     3                                  4
             5                                                     4                                  5
             6                                                     5                                  6 or 7
             7                                                    6                                   8
             8                                                     7                                  9
             9                                                     8                                   10
            10                                                   9                                    11
            11                                                   10                                 14
            15                                                   13                                 20
            27                                                   22                                29  

How to make fig preserves

Pick figs.  Measure (in quarts) as you put them into a sink full of water.  Let soak 10-15 minutes, then carefully let the water out, re-plug the drain and refill with fresh water.  Let soak 10-15 minutes, drain and refill with fresh water.  Put enough water to float the figs, it makes it easier to remove them to the pot.  Let soak 10-15 more minutes, then scoop them out two-handed, letting the water drain off in your hands.  Put the figs into a measuring cup and then into a large stock or ‘gumbo” pot.  Add the required amount of sugar on top and one slice of lemon per projected jar of figs you will wind up with.  Turn the burner on medium/med-high.  As the figs begin to boil and the sugar melts to a syrup, you can turn the burner back until you have a gentle, steady boil.  Keep the pot uncovered and periodically pick the pot up and swirl it.  Do not use a spoon to stir them as that may bust the figs.  Let them cook a couple of hours until the figs are getting translucent and the syrup thickens and gets dark.  When the figs are nearing completion, place an empty jar (no lid) into the canning pot with enough water to cover the upright jar by an inch.  Remove the jar, put the pot on the stove and bring the water to a boil.

While it’s boiling, place the jars (no lids) on the rack and lower them into a water.  A regular canning pot will hold 7 jars in its’ rack.  If you will need more, you will have to work in batches.  Put the lid on, bring back to a boil and let boil for 10 minutes (you can skip boiling the empty jars if you sterilize them and keep them hot in the dishwasher).  Meanwhile, take a small saucepan half full of water and let boil for 10 minutes.  Heat it to just before boiling and put in the number of lids (not rings) you will need.  When the jars are ready, carefully take them out of the pot using the jar grabber, empty the water from it into the canning pot and place on a cutting board near your fig pot.  Place the cover back on the canning pot and make it return to a fully rolling boil.

Put the jar funnel on top of the jar and start spooning figs and syrup into the jar (put just figs in first, then the syrup when the jar is full of figs)and making sure to get one slice of lemon in each jar.  Add figs to within 1/2 inch of the rim and syrup within 1/4 inch of the rim.  Carefully wipe the rim with a wet paper towel and using the magnetic lid wand, remove a lid from the saucepan, placing it on the jar.  Place a ring on and close but don’t tighten, just till you feel a slight resistance. 

Using the jar grabber, carefully lower each filled jar into the boiling water in the canning pot, insuring the water is at least an inch over the lids when you are through.  Cover and let boil for 15 minutes.  Take each jar out with the jar grabber and place on a wooden surface (cutting board) to start cooling.  As each jar cools, it will make a ‘pop’ sound as it creates a vacuum seal.  Listen and count the pops to insure each of your jars sealed correctly.  After the jars are cooled to the touch, you can also depress the center of the lid with your finger to test the seal.  If one depresses and pops back, you don’t have a good seal and you need to refrigerate that one. 

Some pictures…

Our Bounty

Figs

Figs in the pot with sugar

Figs after being cooked down for a few hours

Canned Fig Preserves

To give you some idea…

we used three large pots to cook the figs down in and it produced roughly 20 jars (plus half of one that we stuck in the fridge).

Blueberry Cake Doughnuts

Have you ever had blueberry cake doughnuts?  I had never had them prior to moving to our current town but soon after arriving here, my husband bought some from one of the supermarkets in town.  Holy bananas those suckers were GOOD!!!  Unfortunately, they soon quit selling them.  Why is beyond me, because everyone loved them! 

I had most of a pint of blueberries remaining from my red, white and blue tart so I decided to finish it off with the doughnuts.  I have to say, it was harder than I thought it would be.  The dough never climbed the hook like the recipe said it would.  After sitting in the refrigerator, it was still very sticky, so I just kept adding flour and mixing by hand until it was no longer sticky and I could work with it.  Instead of using a rolling pin, I just pressed it out by hand.  I was unsure how it would be because it was a very unappetizing gray color batter.  However, after frying they were perfection!  Lots of work….sure….but once in a while it’s nice to have a treat :)

Blueberry Cake Doughnuts
Recipe from:  DivineRecipes.com

Ingredients:
2 tbsp solid vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 pint blueberries
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if yours is sticky!
1 pinch salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Glaze:
milk
2 cups powdered sugar

Method:
In the bowl fo a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the shortening and the sugar.  Add the eggs, one at a time.  Slowly add the buttermilk and vanilla with the machine running.  Switch to the dough hook and add the blueberries.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together.  Add 1 cup at a time to the blueberry mixture until it makes a smooth ball and climbs the hook (this never happened for me).  Place in a greased bowl, turn over once and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat fryer to 325.  Roll dough 1/2 inch thick then cut in doughnut shapes.  Fry until golden and drain well on paper towels.

For the glaze:  Mix the powdered sugar with a VERY small bit of milk at a time until it’s thin enough to dip the doughnuts in, but thick enough to coat them well.

Blueberry Cake Doughnuts

Red, White and Blue Tart

So no cooking blog is complete without the post about a red, white and blue dessert, right??  Well you won’t find that jiggly jello mold stuff here, something about my food jiggling just skeeves me out.  I’m more of a tart type of person.  And this tart definitely delivered the goods.  The custard tasted somewhat like that of a tart-a-la-bouille pie.  The crust was just perfect, even if I DID forget to add the walnuts!  This was a pretty easy recipe to make, though my abnormally large tart pan did present a challenge or two!  I think a standard size one might have to be on the wish list soon!

It was so good that there is only one slice left…and it’s got my name on it!

Red,White and Blue Tart
Sources:  Tart Dough – Williams-Sonoma, Pastry Cream – Martha Stewart

Ingredients: 

Custard/Pastry Cream:
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla

Tart Dough:
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp VERY cold water
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, cut into cubes
1 Hershey’s chocolate bar
2 tbsp nuts, ground (optional)

Fruit of your choice for topping

Method:

Custard/Pastry Cream:
Whisk together 1/4 cup sugar, yolks and salt.  Whisk in cornstarch, 1 tbsp at a time. 

Bring milk and 1/4 cup sugar to a simmer, whisk a little of the milk mixture into the egg mixture to slowly warm it up.  Slowly add in the rest, whisking the whole time.  Return to the pot and bring to a boil, whisking constantly until thickened. 

Remove from heat, whisking until very thick and cooling, about 2-3 minutes.  Pour through a fine sieve into a bowl, press plastic wrap onto the surface and refrigerate until completely chilled at least 1 hour.

Tart Dough:
Preheat oven to 400.

Stir together the egg yolk, vanilla and water – set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the flat beater, stir together the flour, sugar and salt.  Add the butter and beat on med-low speed until coarse with butter no larger than small peas.  Add the egg mix until the dough pulls together. 

Transfer to a floured work surface and roll into a ball.  Flatten with a disk and gently press into a greased tart pan.  Cover with foil, pressing the foil to mimic the shape of the tart and add rice, dry beans or baking beads on top.  Bake 20 minutes, remove the foil/rice and prick with a fork all over the surface.  Continue baking another 5-10 minutes until golden brown. 

Once cooled some, melt the chocolate bar and spread lightly over the crust.  This will prevent the crust from getting soggy once the custard is on it. 

Allow to cool completely before filling with the pastry cream and topping with the fruit.  Keep refrigerated.

Red, White & Blue Tart

Red, White & Blue Tart