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Muscadine Jam

muscadine jam 4

 

All summer long I had this song stuck in my head, particularly the lyric “she’s got me high as a Georgia pine, wild as a muscadine (pronounced musky-dine, naturally) vine…” It was on continuous play in my mind, over and over and over again, only occasionally alternating with useful things like thoughts. Don’t worry, since we started the school year it’s been replaced by the old favorite, Froggy Went a Courtin which is infinitely more obnoxious to sing around fellow adults better.

 

muscadine jam 2

 

When I saw local muscadines in the market, I scooped up a pound. The state fruit of North Carolina is the scuppernog, a variety of muscadine, something I knew I’d be returning to it sometime soon for Tasting North CarolinaI couldn’t resist the opportunity to make a quick jam, something to add to my list of preserves I’ll be gifting this holiday season.

 

muscadine jam 3

 

The jam is fresh muscadines, cane sugar, a squeeze of meyer lemon, and a bit of salt. Muscadines are a sweet, robust grape, so this jam doesn’t need much to enhance the flavor. I opted to strain it for a smoother finish, but left chunky it would be the perfect pair for a pork roast or glaze for a ham. As it is, wrapped up with a wedge of brie and an assortment of crackers this jam will be the perfect something to slide into a stocking or present as a hostess gift.

 

muscadine jam 1

Muscadine Jam

makes 4 half pint jars

2 pounds muscadine grapes

2 cups raw cane sugar

Juice of 2 meyer lemons

1 tsp salt

3 tbsp classic pectin

In a saucepan combine grapes, sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Simmer for 30-45 minutes until thick. Stir in pectin and simmer an additional 10 minutes.

In a waterbath boil jars and lids.

Push jam mixture through a mesh strainer to create a smooth jam, or leave the grapes in tact for a chunky preserve.

Use a spoon to fill the jars, leaving 1/4″ of room at the top.  Use a spoon to make sure there are no bubbles in the jar, and adjust the headspace (space between the jam and the top of the jar) as needed.  Wipe the rim with a sterile cloth and fish a lid out of the pot.  Place the lid onto the jar and screw the band on tightly.  Set aside and repeat with all of your jars.

Take the rack from the other pot and place the jars onto it.  Lower the rack into the pot (whose water should be boiling) and process the jars for 10 minutes.  Remove them from the water and (here’s the hardest part) wait for the ping.  When they first come out of the water the jar should pop up and down, but when the jars seals you won’t be able to pop the jar any more.  Some jars will seal immediately, some will take a little longer, and some may not at all.  If jars fail to seal, store them in the fridge for up to two weeks.  The jars that do seal, however, are good in a cool dark space for up to a year.  Enjoy!

**As with any preservation process, there are risks.  If you notice anything abnormal, discard the jam immediately.  Botulism is no fun.**

 

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Sugar Pie Pumpkin Pie

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This time of year, everything is pumpkin. Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin soup, pumpkin beer. And while I occasionally indulge (especially in the pumpkin beer category), I tend to stay true to the classic- pumpkin pie.

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The first time I tried my hand at making a pumpkin pie from a pumpkin and not a can of Libby’s it was a complete disaster. A fiasco, if you will. I’m not sure if it had more to do with the fact that I forgot to add spices to the pie or sugar to the whipped cream, but the pie was a bust. It made matters worse that it was the first time that I cooked dinner for the Turcottes, so the failure was amplified. Let’s just say that I was mortified and Meredith cried.

sugar pie pumpkin 3

This time around it was slightly less dramatic. I opted for a filling that included buttermilk, Greek yogurt, brown sugar, and a lot of spices and the result was a fresh and tangy pie that was a different take on the classic. Traditional enough to earn a place on your holiday table but unique enough to make it stand out from the crowds.

sugar pie pumpkin 2 Sugar Pie Pumpkin Pie

1 sugar pie pumpkin

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup Greek yogurt

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tbsp powedered ginger

1/2 tbsp cloves

1/2 tbsp nutmeg

2 eggs

Pie dough (halve recipe)

Heat oven to 350F. Halve and gut pumpkin. Roast pumpkin, skin side up, for 35 minutes or until tender. Let cool.

Heat oven to 425F. Mix together pumpkin puree, buttermilk, yogurt, sugar, eggs, and spices. Roll dough out and press into pie dish. Transfer filling into dough and sprinkle with ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Bake at 425F for 15 minutes and then drop heat to 350F. Bake for an additional 35-40 minutes or until mostly firm (it’s okay if the center jiggles a bit).

Let cool and serve with spiced whipped cream.

 

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Lovely Internet 11.8.13

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1. An argument for measuring cups (THANK YOU).

2. Antique police mugshots.

3. I’m still coming off the high of celebrating Megan’s golden birthday in Charleston last weekend, so this list of promises best friends make to each other hit home.

4. I should clearly name my daughter Roger.

5. This woman is maybe definitely my hero.

6. Warm Sweet Potato Salad. Yum.

7. I always love Emily’s work (which is why we’re in the middle of working together on something special), but this really spoke to me.

8. I normally think dressing dogs is ridiculous, but watching my short haired pups shiver breaks my heart, so maybe just a sweater.

9. You Got This.

10. I really do hate that expression.

For more tidbits from Elena the person, follow me on twitterinstagrampinterest or facebook. Follow along with MissElenaeous for thoughts on everything other than Southern food.

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