Peach Brandy Jam


I chose AppleJack brandy for this recipe.  If you haven’t heard of AppleJack it is America’s original brandy.  George Washington’s favorite drink of choice and it makes these peaches delicious.

4 to 5 cups peaches
5 1.2  cups raw sugar
Juice of one lemon
Zest of lemon
1/3 cup AppleJack Brandy
Spices to taste Cinnamon, cloves, allspice
1 (3-oz.) package liquid pectin

1. Sterilize jars, and prepare lids as described on below.


2. While jars are sterilizing start blanching your ripe peaches.  You will do this by placing a cross cut on the bottom of your peach and placing it in boiling water for about a minute.


3. One you do this throw your peaches in ice water and the peel comes right off.


4. Dice your peaches and set out your ingredients above.


5. Place peaches, zest, juice and applejack, spices and pectin into a pan and take it to a roaring boil.


6. Now add your sugar all at once and take it to another roaring boil. Make sure your sugar dissolves.


7. Ladle ingredients into your clean jars and water bath for 15 minutes.


8. Remove jars from water, and let stand, undisturbed, at room temperature 24 hours. To check seals, remove the bands, and press down on the center of each lid. If the lid doesn’t move, the jar is sealed. If the lid depresses and pops up again, the jar is not sealed.


Store properly sealed jars in a cool, dark place up to 1 year. Refrigerate after opening.




Peach and Cilantro Chutney

fontcandy-5My sister loves Chutney any and all Chutney.  Here is a great Peach Chutney recipe that can be served along side rice or as a side dish.


2 1/2 pounds firm-but-ripe peaches
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 cup dried black currants
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 lemongrass stalk
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
ground curry powder to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground pink peppercorns
salt to taste


Set a metal rack in another large pot. Fill the pot with water, cover and bring to a boil. Add the peaches and boil until the skins loosen, about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peaches to a large rimmed baking sheet and let cool. Peel the peaches, then halve and pit them and cut into 1/2-inch dice.


Fill a large pot with water, cover and bring to a boil. Add the canning jars, lids and rings along with a set of tongs and a ladle and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes to sterilize. Cover the pot and turn off the heat.


In a large skillet, combine the cider vinegar with the granulated and brown sugars and bring to a boil to dissolve the sugars. Add the shallot, currants, ginger, cumin seeds, lemongrass, coriander seeds, and curry powder, simmer over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add the peaches and simmer over moderate heat until tender, about 4 minutes. Discard the lemongrass.  Stir in the cilantro and peppercorn and season with salt.

Using the sterilized tongs, remove the jars from the hot water and transfer them to a large rimmed baking sheet. Ladle the chutney into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Using the tongs, place the lids on the jars followed by the rings. Screw on the lids securely but not too tightly.

Using canning tongs, lower the jars onto the rack in the pot of boiling water, making sure they are covered by at least 1 inch of water. Boil the jarred chutney over high heat for 15 minutes.Store the chutney in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months; if the chutney separates, stir to combine before serving.

Canned Peaches from my Nectarine tree

fontcandy-5Oh peaches, you kill me!  I really don’t appreciate the work that goes into peeling peaches.  However my speciality pigmy nectarine tree turned out to be a peach tree and I was forced to embrace the peach.

Canning Peaches is not difficult once you learn the basics.

What you will need:

Sterilized canning jars and lids
Large Pot
Canning Tongs
Ice Water
Paring Knife
Large Bowl
Raw Sugar


Once you’ve gathered your equipment start boiling your water for the peaches.  You will want to make a cross cut on the bottom of your peach and drop into the boiling water for 60 to 90 seconds.



This method also will depend on how ripe your peaches are, once the time has went by plunge them into ice water.


They should start to peel what doesn’t peel off with your hands you will need to remove with paring knife.


This is the easiest method I have found.



IMG_5636Here’s your peeled peaches.  From here you will cut them in halves or quarters.


Mine appear like a blind lady went after them with a  knife.


Now you will boil down 2 parts water to 1 part sugar.  Once you sugar has dissolved you will pour this over your peaches.  It wouldn’t hurt to have your syrup ready ahead of time to avoid your peaches turning brown.


Pour just enough syrup to cover your peaches but don’t go above your rim.  Wipe all your rims clean with wet napkin and place lids and rims on.  I live at 3400 ft and boiled mine for 20 minutes.  Please check your elevation for proper water bath time.  If your cans don’t seal place them back in the water and water bath them again.

Now I will set them on a shelf and during winter we will have wonderful peaches to eat out of the can or place in cobblers.




Prickly Pear Syrup



I live in Southern Arizona and we have an abundance of Prickly Pear Cactus.  Here is the easiest way I have found to make Prickly Pear Syrup.

You will need the following items

Covered shoes…… Once you drop a piece of fruit onto your barefoot you will understand the importance of keeping the “NO See Ums” of you.  That’s what we call the tiny stickers that are not visible.  Trust me they exist.

Large metal pot
Cheese cloth, tshirt or flour sack

As long as you aren’t on State or Private land you are welcome to pick Prickly Pear cactus for home use.  We were able to pick two 5 gallon buckets of fruit in 10 minutes.


Once you have picked the fruit you will place them in a large metal pot with water and boil for 15 minutes.  Your water will turn bright pink.  Once you have boiled your fruit simply drain in sink.  Make sure you don’t pick any fruit up with your hands.  Although some NO See Um’s have come off during cooking there are still plenty.  TRUST ME!

Now you will take a few at a time and run through your juicer.  Just drop them in and the juicer will do the work for you.  Now you will take your juice and run it through a a cheese cloth or flour bag.  DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!  I can  tell you many horror stories where people thought the stickers were out only to wake up the following day with sores in their mouths.


This should be your finished result once you squeeze all of your juice through a cheesecloth or flour sack.  The color is gorgeous!

Now you will take equal parts of sugar and prickly pear juice and place in a pot. I ended up with 3 3/4 cup of juice so I added the same amount of raw sugar.


Bring to boil and boil for 10 minutes.



Your sugar will begin to dissolve



It’s normal to see a film develop on the top.



It will also build volume wise, don’t be alarmed. Remove from stove and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.



Now you can start pouring your syrup into your sterilized canning jars and add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per jar to ensure your acid level is ok for canning.


Place your sealed jars into a water bath for 10 to 15 minutes and your done.



Now you can store your prickly pear syrup and pull out for lemonade, margarita’s, drizzle it over ice cream or pancakes and enjoy!

Old Fashion Milk Rolls


Last night my camera lens dropped:-(  Sadly there are some missing shots of this recipe.

3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons  Bread Flour
2 1/2 cups  Bread Flour
2 tablespoons  powdered milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1/2 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) melted unsalted butter

1) To make the roux : Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain.

2) Place the saucepan over low heat, and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until thick and the whisk leaves lines on the bottom of the pan, about 3  minutes.

3) Transfer the mixture to a small mixing bowl or measuring cup and let it cool to room temperature.

4) To make the dough: Combine the roux  with the remaining dough ingredients, then mix and knead —in a mixer— until a smooth, elastic dough forms.  This is where I add in herbs if I choose to.


5) Shape the dough into a ball, and let it rest in a lightly greased, covered bowl for 90 minutes, until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk.


6) Gently deflate the dough, divide it into 8 equal pieces, and shape each piece into a ball.

7) Place the rolls into a lightly greased round bun pan. Cover the pan, and let the rolls rest for 40 to 50 minutes, until puffy.


8) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the rolls with milk or egg wash (1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water),


9)bake for 32 minutes, until golden brown on top and a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the middle roll reads at least 190°F.

10) Allow the rolls to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Yours should look like this minus mission rolls:-)




Peach and Blueberry Crisp

I love nectarines!  I actually went to five nurseries a few years back to find the perfect disease free one for our climate.  Paid five times what it was worth and two years later it gave me PEACHES….Did I mention I don’t like peaches… Yes my God is a humerous God.  Since then I have been forced to embrace the PEACH.



4 to 5 cups sliced peaches, fresh
1 to 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/3 cup  All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 cups raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon almond extract, to taste


3/4 cup brown sugar ( make your own brown sugar by mixing 1 cup sugar to 1 tablespoon molasses)
3/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup softened butter

1) Preheat your oven to 350°F. Heavily grease or butter a 9″ x 9″ pan or similar-sized casserole dish.


I always like to set out and measure my ingredients.  I’ve made too many mistakes early on where you get distracted and then 30 minutes into your dish think “did I add that milk?”


Since I am using fresh peaches off my NECTARINE TREE..  I slit a x on top of each peach and boiled them for 60 to 90 seconds to remove the skins.


2) Whisk the flour flower with the sugar and salt.


3) Toss the dry mixture with the peaches and lemon juice, and spoon into the prepared pan.


4) Sprinkle the berries on top.


5) Make the topping by combining the brown sugar, flour, oats, nuts, and spices, then mixing in the soft butter until the mixture is crumbly.


6) Sprinkle the topping over the fruit mixture, shaking the pan to distribute it evenly.

7.) Sprinkle with sugar


7) Bake the crisp for 40 to 50 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Remove from the oven, and cool briefly before serving.






Rosemary Infused Honey


My herbs are on fire this year.  I have more basil, rosemary, dill and lemongrass than I can process.  Here’s a very simple way to infuse some honey with your rosemary.

What you will need:

1 1/2 cups honey
1 cup rosemary leaves, loosely packed and chopped
Zest of one lemon
double boiler
candy thermometer
jars and lids


Zest your lemon and loosely chop your rosemary.  Don’t chop it too fine or it will be difficult to strain.



Place honey, zest of lemon and rosemary in the top of your double boiler once it begins to boil.  Boil and maintain temperature of 180 for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and strain into your jars.


You shouldn’t have any spoilage issues as long as your jars and rims are dry prior to placing your lids on your jars. Water can change the balance in your infused honey so make sure your jars and lids aren’t wet.

This honey is wonderful on warm rolls, grilled meats, drizzled over fruits or salads.  There really is no limit to what you can do with infused honey.

Lemongrass Ginger Cake with Hazelnuts


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
½ cup vegetable shortening
3 cups raw sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cake four
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup whole milk, room temperature
½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 teaspoons lemongrass  extract ( see directions in frosting area below on how to make ginger and lemongrass extract)

Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare three 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray or coated well with shortening or butter and floured, taking care to remove all excess flour.

Cream together butter and shortening until light and fluffy with an electric mixer.


Slowly add sugar one cup at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each cup before adding another. Add eggs and extract  one at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding another.



Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour milks and vanilla into measuring cup and whisk together with a fork. Add to butter and shortening mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.


Gently stir all ingredients until well combined. Stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, making sure to have all ingredients mixed well.


Evenly distribute cake batter between cake pans and place pans into oven.


Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool slightly in cake pans for about 5 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.



For the frosting:

1½- to 2-inch length of fresh ginger

5-6 stalks of lemongrass

1 tablespoon vodka

1 cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

¼ cup water

¼ cup light corn syrup

2 egg whites

1 cup toasted hazelnuts

1. If you can find ready-puréed ginger and lemon grass, press them through fine sieves to get ¼ to ½ teaspoon juice each. If you can’t find the ready-puréed kind, follow this procedure using the first three ingredients: Place chunk of peeled ginger and bottom stalks of ginger in  food processor (checking the blades from time to time to make sure that they haven’t gotten fouled and are still running free) until it looks like lawnmower clippings with no solid chunks, about 3-4 minutes.


Add the vodka and process a few seconds longer, then strain out asmuch liquid as you can.

DSC_0071 2

Set the juices aside.

DSC_00812. Place the sugar, salt, cream of tartar, water, corn syrup and egg in top portion of double boiler.


3. Pour 3 or 4 cups of water in the bottom of the double boiler and bring it to a boil over high heat. When it is at full boil, set the top of the double boiler over it and beat continuously with a hand-held mixer at top speed (about 12 minutes) until the beaters form deep sculptural folds in the frosting, the sheen has begun to fade, and the frosting forms firm peaks when the beaters are removed.DSC_0097

4. Remove the top of the double boiler and beat the frosting at high speed off heat for 1 minute. Beat in the ginger and lemongrass juices to taste.

5. Layer and frost your cake



6. I torched the icing to add to the color of the hazelnuts



7. Toast hazelnuts for 8 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cool and place on cake.



This cake has a subtle lemongrass flavor and is nice and moist.


Basil infused Honey


I fear next week you may see a post regarding me building a sustainable house made of Basil.  My Basil plant has been outgrowing the needs of my neighbors, local school, friends and strangers passing.  This morning I decided to infuse some honey and it’s delicious.

What you will need:

2 cups honey
1 cup basil leaves, loosely packed and chopped
double boiler
candy thermometer
jars and lids


Chop Basil


Place honey and basil  in a double boiler with water in bottom.


Bring water to a boil, and bring honey to 185°F and keep at 185°F for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Strain while still warm.

Place in sterilized jars and cap after it cools.


You shouldn’t have any spoilage issues as long as your jars and rims are dry prior to placing your lids on your jars.  Water can change the balance in your infused honey so make sure your jars and lids aren’t wet.