Monday, June 30, 2008
This is a picture of the Canadian parliament. July 1st is Canada Day. July 1 marks the formation of the union of the British North America provinces in a federation under the name of Canada. This occured in 1867. Happy 141st birthday Canada! You don't look a day over 140. Actually, it sounds pretty young considering the B&B I am currently staying at in France is older than Canada.
I have several France posts in the works that I'm excited to share with you...but in the meantime, I must return to drinking wine. The rest of the post is brought to you by Giz, who's doing a great job picking up my slack this past week. Thanks Giz!
Anna Olson,one of our Canadian chefs, has two shows on Food Network Canada. Anna is not only an accomplished pastry chef with a daily show called Sugar, but has now added yet a second show called Fresh that highlights her ability to put together more than just sweet goods. Nope, this lady is not just another pretty face.
Not wanting to lose the momentum of the strawberry season,and wanting Canada Day to start with something fabulous I thought it might be fun to recreate one of Anna Olson's recipes that's been staring at me for days. Never one to just simplify my life I thought I would try making the strawberry jam two ways. I stopped at the organic market and picked up four (4) pints of organic strawberries....
and then went to the supermarket to get four (4) pints of locally grown regular strawberries.
From a price perspective, the organic strawberries were $4.99/pint while the grocery store strawberries were $2.99/pint. In terms of taste - absolutely no comparison. The organic strawberries win hands down. Having said that, the caveat is that the organic strawberries were riper than the grocery store ones. They were also smaller. Since strawberries don't ripen once they've been picked, I would pay the extra to get the completely ripened and sweeter ones.
Classic Stawberry Jam
3 lb. fresh strawberries (about 9 cups), washed and hulled
4 cups sugar (this is a common amount but I would cut the sugar in half)
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp unsalted butter (optional)
3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled
1 cup half and half cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
Classic Stawberry Jam
1. In a large saucepot, bring strawberries up to a simmer over medium-low heat, mashing roughly with a potato masher or flat spoon. Add sugar and lemon juice, stir, and bring up to a simmer for 2 minutes.
2. Add butter and bring to a vigorous boil, stirring often and cook for 10 to 20 minutes, periodically measuring the viscosity of the jam by dabbing a spoonful onto a plate and tipping the plate. Once the jam slows its drip down the plate (it should no longer run like a syrup), remove from heat and skim off foam.
3. Fill jars that have been washed, rinsed, dried and boiled in a pot of water for 3minutes to ¼ -inch from the top.
4. Fasten lids securely and boil jars in a vat of water (be sure jars are completely submerged) for 15 minutes.
5. Remove jars with tongs and let cool upright. Check for secure seals on jars (lid should not spring when touched) and store in a cool place away from light for up to a year. Any jars that do not achieve a proper seal should be refrigerated.
Note: 4 pints of strawberries yields 3 - 500 ml jars of jam. (if 250 ml is 1 cup then the jars hold 2 cups - brilliant huh?...or as we Canucks say .. brilliant eh?
Classic Strawberry Jam with Lemon Scones
1. Preheat oven to 375 °F. Place all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
2. Cut butter into dry ingredients until it resembles coarse meal. Stir together ¾ cup cream and vanilla and add to dough. Mix just until dough comes together.
3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll dough twice to an inch thick, each time folding in half (this is the secret to a flaky scone). Roll dough to ¾-1 inch thick and cut desired shapes. Place on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with remaining milk.
4. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until tops are nicely browned.
A bit more Canadian content:
It's a patriotic version of this.
The national anthem (minus words):
Click on image to enlarge: