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Archive for August, 2010

I’ve spent the last few weeks creating a website, and I’m happy to say that stephcooksfood.com is ready to go! From here on out, I’ll be posting over there, so please update your bookmarks. If you are subscribed to this blog by e-mail or RSS, you can update your subscription by rolling over the “Subscribe to this blog” widget on the left sidebar. Hope you like the new site!

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I got a bunch of local grapes last week from Greenling, but they weren’t very sweet and were full of seeds. So, I had to find a way to cook them, and fast, before they went bad.

This jam is not only quick and easy (it took less than 25 minutes to make), but has some wonderful fall flavors from a bit of nutmeg, ground ginger, allspice, and cloves. In the picture above it was still warm and fresh from the stovetop, but as it cools it thickens to a more jam-like texture. I think I’m going to use it as a glaze over pork chops.

I adapted this recipe from the Wild Grape Butter recipe that came in the Greenling box ingredient list last week – I just made some tweaks based on my own tastes.

Quick Spiced Grape Jam

About 1.5 cups grapes, pulled from their stems
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3-inch piece of orange peel
Dash each of ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, and ground cloves

Combine grapes and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook 10 minutes. Pour grapes and juice into a strainer over a large bowl. Using the back of a large spoon, press grapes through strainer. The pulp will go through and the peel and seeds will stay behind.

Pour pulp and juice back into saucepan. Add peel and spices. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook 7-10 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens to a syrupy consistency. It’ll bubble a lot at the end. Use warm as a glaze, or cool to spread on toast.

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I have a sick toddler at home right now, so this weekend I took a stab at creating my own version of chicken noodle soup. I used whole-wheat orzo pasta for easy scooping (I hate it when the noodles are so long they fall off of the spoon), and added several vegetables I had in the fridge, including a big bunch of Greenling arugula – an unusual choice, but it blended right in, and it never hurts to work in extra veggies.

I like a high stuff-to-broth ratio in my soup, so this one is pretty thick. Feel free to add more liquid if you like your soup more brothy.

Chicken-Orzo Soup

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion (about half a large onion)
1 carrot, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 bunch arugula leaves, chopped
1 bunch mustard greens, stems removed, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (or 2-3 smaller sweet peppers, like banana)
1 tsp dried sage
1 cup whole-wheat orzo
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium-high heat in large Dutch oven. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook for several minutes, until the pieces start to brown. Add veggies and sage and cook another 10 minutes or so, until the veggies start to tenderize.

Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir in orzo, return to a boil, and cook 8-10 minutes, until orzo is tender.

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