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Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

  1. Poulet en Croûte

    February 4, 2015 by Daniora


    Today’s recipe is another one from my childhood. My mom used to make this for us. It was one of those meals that always felt really special. I’ve put a couple of little twists on it myself, but at it’s heart, it’s the same.

    So, ‘poulet en croûte’ translates to ‘chicken in crust’. Loses some of the mystique in English, doesn’t it?

    The name is simple and the execution is even simpler. The beauty of this recipe is how impressive it looks, especially for the amount of effort.

    The ingredient list is short and sweet:

    Just four ingredients...

    Just four ingredients…

    • Chicken breast, one per serving. For this particular application, I used Perdue marinated chicken breasts. They were the perfect size for wrapping in the pie crust and were incredibly flavorful.
    • Sliced ham, one or two slices per serving. Mine was rather thinly sliced, so I opted for two.
    • Brie, sliced about 1/4″ thick. I usually use plain, but this time I accidentally grabbed herbed brie. I noticed my mistake and went to put it back, but decided that more flavor couldn’t be a bad thing.
    • Pie crust. I use the refrigerated kind that comes rolled. Each crust will be enough for two servings.

    That’s it. Now to put them together.

    Browning the chicken.

    Browning the chicken.

    The first step is to brown both sides of the chicken breast. This will add flavor and help sear the juices into the chicken. I had my pan a little hot, so some of the herbs from the marinate got a bit scorched, but there was no real harm done.

    Next, unroll your pie crust. Letting it come to room temperature first makes this a far easier task. Slice the crust in half. If you’re extra concerned about presentation, you can reroll each half to make it a more square shape. This will help later when it’s time to wrap the chicken, but isn’t strictly necessary.



    ... and cheese.

    … and cheese.








    In the center of the crust, place your ham. On top of that, place your brie. I was feeling saucy, so I put two slices. There is the possibility (well, probability, really) that no matter how well you wrap your chicken, some of the melted brie is going to ooze out. So, starting with more will increase the amount we’re left with, right? Yup, logic sounds good to me.













    On top of the brie, place your browned chicken breast. Gently wrap up the edges of the pie crust. This is the part where you’ll realize that rerolling the crust to be the right shape might have made things easier. Never fear, however, it doesn’t matter how ugly this seam is because it will be on the bottom. Seal it as well as you can to keep the brie from escaping.

    Ready to go!

    Ready to go!

    Place the packets seam side down on a baking sheet lined with foil (because escaping brie). If you’re feeling fancy, and I frequently am, you can use a paring knife to cut a diamond shape in the crust, exposing the ham underneath. Brush a quick egg wash on the crust to help give it a golden finish.

    I warned you about the escaping brie.

    I warned you about the escaping brie.

    Bake them in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°. Plate and serve. Simple. Elegant. Delicious.

  2. Squash Pudding

    January 19, 2014 by Daniora


    I think it’s true of every family that there are certain dishes that we grow up with that we assume everyone else knows about too. For me, squash pudding is probably top of the list.


    Here in the States, when we hear the word “pudding”, it generally conjures images of Bill Cosby selling SnakPacks of vanilla and chocolate swirl. This particular recipe uses the British meaning of pudding, savory ingredients bound together with eggs and flour which are baked, boiled, or steamed to hold them together.

    Squash puddings takes butternut squash, which is delicious and perfectly good for you all on its own, and transforms it into something calorie laden and irresistible. One of my nephews refuses to touch vegetables; I’ve seen him pick tiny pieces of chopped spinach out of pasta sauce. He will, however, sit down to a heaping pile of squash pudding and devour it without blinking an eye.

    Squash Pudding


    • 8 Tbs butter
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 5 Med butternut squash (8 cups mashed and drained)
    • 1 Tbs dried onion flakes or fresh minced
    • 4 tbs dried milk
    • 4 eggs
    • 4 tbs Wondra flour
    • 4 tbs brown sugar


    1.  Mix all ingredients together, making sure butter melts completely. Beat until smooth.
    2. Spread in baking dish and sprinkle with bacon bits (if desired). I am personally pretty done with the whole “bacon makes everything better” bit, but in this case, I really do recommend it. The salty bacon really does a lot to balance the sweet squash.
    3.  Bake at 300 degrees for 1½ hours.


    A few notes from my own personal experience.

    First of all, this recipe works equally well using frozen squash. It’s so convenient just to grab a few of the oh-so-attractive frozen bricks from the store and throw them into a pot. I’ll admit that I almost never go through the trouble of boiling and mashing fresh squash anymore.

    Secondly, a word on Wondra flour. Wondra flour is ground superfine, designed to mix more smoothly into liquids like gravy and prevent clumps. In a pinch, I’ve used regular all purpose flour instead and have yet to encounter a problem. I find a good whisking manages to eliminate any little clumps that might appear.

    Thirdly, and very importantly, remember to remove the squash from the heat when you whisk in the eggs to prevent them from cooking before they’re mixed in. Not that I’ve ever done that, mind you…

    This is one of my favorite side dishes and is one of those simple, handy recipes that can be prepared in advance and reheated for mealtime.

  3. Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

    December 14, 2013 by Daniora


    You may have discovered by now, dear readers, that I am a fan of celebrations. Any excuse to gather people together, have good food, and generally promote warm and fuzzy feelings is fine by me. Recently, it was our store manager’s birthday. While working retail may not be my ideal situation, I at least have the advantage of working in a place where we all feel like family. So there was no way this occasion was going to pass by unmarked.Edit

    Here’s the catch: He’s gluten-free.

    I’m not one to panic about such obstacles. I was, however, determined to make something outstanding. I’ve cooked for vegetarians, vegans, diabetics, and people with nut allergies (fortunately, not all at the same time). Adding a few gluten free recipes to my repertoire wouldn’t be bad. Chocolate and peanut butter are his favorites, so I went looking for something.

    Flourless chocolate cake is a popular option for going gluten free. My problem with this is that it tends to be super rich and heavy. Not ideal for a casual mid-afternoon in-the-breakroom celebration. I really wanted cupcakes.

    Fortunately, I stumbled onto this recipe from Chocolate & Carrots. It had all the qualities I was looking for. Perfect. Alright, here we go…

    Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes


    • 1 (15.5 oz) can of reduced sodium black beans, drained and rinsed


    Wait, what? Did I read that right? Yes, yes I did. Okay, okay, no one panic. I mean, beans in desserts aren’t entirely unprecedented. There are Chinese red bean cakes, for example. ::deep breath:: Alright, I’m sure these will be good. Let’s just keep going and see where this all goes.

    Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes


    • 1 (15.5 oz) can of reduced sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, or coconut oil
    • 3/4 cup cane sugar
    • 5 tablespoons special dark cocoa powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 12 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, unwrapped


    1. Preheat oven to 350°.
    2. Line a 12 cup muffin pan and spray with cooking spray.
    3. Blend the beans, 2 eggs, vanilla and sugar in the food processor (or blender) on high until completely blended.
    4. In a small bowl combine the cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda.
    5. In a large bowl, beat the butter/coconut oil until fluffy.
    6. Add the remaining two eggs and beat well after each egg.
    7. Beat in the bean mixture.
    8. Beat in the dry ingredients.
    9. Beat for 1-2 minutes.
    10. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place a Reese’s cup on the top.
    11. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the cupcakes are cooked completely.
    12. Allow them to cool completely before icing.

    Peanut Butter Frosting


    • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
    • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1/2 – 2/3 cup whipping cream (heavy cream)
    • 12 miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
    1. Beat the peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar until combined.
    2. Add in the whipping cream and beat until light and fluffy.
    3. Use a piping bag with your favorite decorating tip and decorate the cupcakes or use a knife and spread to decorate the cupcakes.
    4. Decorate with a mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.


    Okay, not going to lie, the whole beans-eggs-sugar concoction in the food processor was kinda gross looking. I did my best to press on and finish the batter. When it was all together, it looked and smelled like cupcake batter. I was starting to feel better about things.


    Then, I added the mini peanut butter cups. This really made me feel better about things.
    As they baked, I couldn’t help but feel like these cupcakes were a lie of GLaDIOSian proportions. They certainly did make my house smell chocolatey.  Once they were out and frosted, I was really happy with how they looked. There was only one test they had left to pass.

    I brought them in to work the next day. Let me tell you, they were delicious. They were light and fluffy, not at all heavy like a traditional flourless cake. This peanut butter frosting is amazing; it’s definitely a recipe I’ll be using on other chocolate cupcakes.

    I would make one minor change to the entire process. I think it would work better to let the cupcakes bake about 5 minutes before putting the mini peanut butter cup in the center. As it was, they sank to the bottom instead of being stuck in the middle. Other than that, I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

  4. Carrot Pineapple Cake

    November 13, 2013 by Daniora


    Guys, I’m not exaggerating here when I tell you that this is the most delicious carrot cake you will ever eat. That’s not hyperbole, it’s just the honest truth.


    The original recipe is designed to be  bundt cake with a vanilla glaze. It also works perfectly well as cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. The baking instructions below are for the bundt cake. For cupcakes, I cook them for about 25 minutes, rotating halfway through. (You do rotate your pans while you’re baking, right? Good.) I was worried that they were taking so long to cook, but I fill my cupcakes pretty full and this particular batter just takes a while to cook. Keep an eye on them; better to check on them more often than have them burn.


    Some people like nuts or raisins in their carrot cake. While that may not be my personal preference, it’s easy to add them to this recipe; just mix them in at the end. I like to add about a quarter teaspoon of cloves in addition to the nutmeg and cinnamon. Cloves are my favorite spice, and they give it a warm sweetness.


    I’m serious, though. This is the best. If you enjoy carrot cake even a little, you owe it to yourself to bake these (or get someone else to bake them for you).


    Carrot Pineapple Cake

    • 3 cups all purpose flour
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 3 eggs, beaten
    • 1-1/4 cups cooking oil
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • 1 cup (8.5 oz can ) crushed pineapple, undrained
    • 2 cups grated raw carrots, loosely packed
    1. Preheat oven to 325. Grease bundt pan.
    2. Mix together flour, sugar. baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large bowl.
    3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add eggs, oil and vanilla. Blend thoroughly.
    4. Stir in undrained pineapple. Add carrots and pecans. pour into prepared bundt pan.
    5. Bake for 1 to 1-1/4 hours until cake tests done.
    6. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then turn out and finish cooling on wire rack. Add vanilla glaze.

    Vanilla Glaze

    • 1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
    • 1 tablespoon milk plus 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
    1. Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth. Use spatula or large spoon to put glaze on top of cooled cake. Spread around top of cake with a knife. Glaze should run down sides slowly.

    Cream Cheese Frosting

    • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    1. Put cream cheese into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until smooth. Reduce speed to medium-low, and mix in sugar and vanilla. Raise speed to medium-high, and mix until fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes.

  5. Maraschino cherries, version one

    November 7, 2013 by Daniora

    Fresh Cherries


    I do not like maraschino cherries.

    This is a fact. I used to pick them out of my Shirley Temples, offer the ones off my ice cream sundaes to anyone that wanted them, and sipped around them in my girlie cocktails. Well, it turns out that I don’t like commercially made maraschino cherries.


    Making your own maraschino cherries is a fair amount of work. Fresh cherries can be pricy, and they all need to be washed and pitted (messy work). Then they have to be cooked with a variety of ingredients, including pomegranate juice (also pricy) and fresh orange zest. Then once you’ve got these cherries all cooked, you have to put them in jars and into the fridge for three days.  As if that weren’t enough, with no preservatives, they won’t stay fresh for long. This seems like an awful lot of trouble for something that can cheaply and easily be bought in a jar. I mean, how bad could they be?

    Cherry Label


    Okay, then. Homemade maraschino cherries it is! In a discussion with a group of friends, we decided that calories from miniature foods don’t count. I countered that I make things from scratch for that same reason; it might not be good for me, but it’s way better than if it were commercially made. For some foods, like these cherries, this is especially true.

    Real maraschino cherries are made by soaking cherries in maraschino liqueur. Who knew? However, most of my goodies tend to be enjoyed by small children, so for most applications, those cherries are not the ones that I need.

    This version of cherries is alcohol free, and I think very tasty. You can add red food coloring to make them look more like store bought, but I have a real distaste for artificial colors. Cherries are red enough on their own.

    Finished Product

    Homemade Maraschino Cherries (adapted from the recipe from Cupcake Project)


    • 1 1/2 cups water
    • 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 3 1/2 fluid ounces lemon juice (juice from about 3 lemons)
    • pinch of salt
    • Peel from one large orange
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 pound pitted cherries (invest in a cherry pitter, and don’t wear white)Syrup
    • In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, add everything except the cherries.
    • Bring to a boil.
    • Reduce the heat and simmer until the sugar has dissolved, stirring periodically.
    • Add the cherries.
    • Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes or until the syrup has a bit of a cherry flavor. You don’t want to cook the cherries – you just want to bring out some of their flavor. However, I can attest that cooking the cherries really doesn’t hurt. They just turn out a little softer.
    • Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the entire contents to a bowl (so it doesn’t continue cooking).
    • Let cool to room temperature.
    • Transfer to an air-tight container, like glass jars, and refrigerate.
    • Let the flavors develop for about three days, then enjoy!

    Waiting the three days for the cherries to be ready is tough. Of course, they taste pretty darn good straight from the pan too.  The syrup is delicious. I’ve made homemade grenadine as well, but the syrup from the cherries would be just as good for making a mean Shirley Temple. These are absolutely worth the effort, and you will never buy a jar of scary cherries again.

  6. Old Fashioned Apple Crisp

    September 16, 2011 by Daniora

    I hadn’t really intended to do another recipe post this week. When I woke up to a perfect autumn day and a bag of freshly picked apples, I knew a crisp was in the cards for today.

    Apple Crisp

    In general, I don’t really like pie crust.  When buying pies from the local orchard, I always get crumb topped and, more often than not, the bottom crust of my serving gets thrown away. As a result, apple crisp is one of my favorite fruit goodies.

    The fantastic thing about this recipe is that you can adapt it to suit your needs. If your apples are really sweet, you can decrease the amount of sugar in the filling. You can alter the spices if you like. You can leave out the cloves or decrease the amount of cinnamon. I’ve even been known to add a dash of ginger when I’m feeling a little exotic. The warm spices and zesty citrus guarantee delicious results even when using less than perfect apples. Plus, the topping has oatmeal in it; that makes it a breakfast food, right? Right?

    Old Fashioned Apple Crisp


    • ● 5 pounds McIntosh or Macoun apples
    • ● Grated zest of 1 orange
    • ● Grated zest of 1 lemon
    • ● 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
    • ● 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • ● 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • ● 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • ● 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • ● 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves


    For the topping:

    • ● 1 1/2 cups flour
    • ● 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • ● 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
    • ● 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • ● 1 cup oatmeal
    • ● 1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced


    1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter a 9 by 14 by 2-inch baking dish.
    2. Peel, core, and cut the apples into large wedges. Combine the apples with the zests, juices,
      sugar, and spices. Pour into the dish.
    3. To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas (this can also be done by hand). Scatter evenly over the apples. Dust lightly with a pinch of cinnamon.
    4. Place the crisp on a sheet pan and bake for 1 hour until the top is brown and the apples are
      bubbly. Serve warm (with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired).

  7. Grilled chicken wings

    September 14, 2011 by Daniora

    In honor of the first weekend of the regular football season, we’re going to talk about one of the quintessential football snacks: chicken wings.

    Grilled chicken wings

    Cooking chicken wings without using a deep fryer is a time consuming and intensive process.  There’s a lot you have to do to make sure that the skin winds up crispy. Until recently, I followed Alton Brown’s method of first steaming the wings and chilling them uncovered in the refrigerator before roasting them in the oven. It’s a process that takes hours and hours, but ultimately you wind up with good results.

    This summer, I decided that we should try grilling the wings. Our local market, Butcher Boy, has marinated wings for sale, as well as big bags of plain wings. I picked up a package of teriyaki marinated wings for our first experiment. Those first results were a little hit and miss.

    The biggest problem we encountered was that there were a lot of flare ups on the grill from the chicken skin, and we didn’t have a spray bottle of water handy.  A rookie mistake, I know, but most of our other grilling hasn’t really required this sort of preparation. The second problem was that the wings stuck to the grill, especially with the marinade on it.  The flavor of the finished wings was good, but the teriyaki flavor really got lost.

    Grill Flare Up

    A spray bottle is a necessity to keep flare ups under control.

    Our second attempt yielded much better results. We started with plain wings, got some Pam for grilling and liberally sprayed down the grill before cooking, and coated the wings in sauce after cooking. Something about the char from the chicken mixing with the sauces really added a new level of flavor to the wings. I made two types of sauces, Alton Brown’s orange glazed wings and a basic buffalo (see below). Both were outstanding on the crispy skin (even though the char did turn the buffalo sauce a sort of muddy brown color).

    Grilling wings is still a fair amount of work.  It takes constant vigilance to combat flare ups and make sure that all the little wings get crispy and don’t stick to the grill.  It is, however, much faster than the steam-and-roast method and has much better results. Depending on the size of your grill, it can be a great way to cook up food for a large crowd.

    Basic Buffalo Sauce

    I’m not a huge fan of  very spicy buffalo wings. I avoid anything with the words “volcano” or “atomic”. I like them to have a bit of heat, but still retain a depth of flavor. You can substitute any hot sauce of your choice and increase the amount to your desired heat level.

    • 3 ounces unsalted butter
    • 1 small clove garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup hot sauce (I prefer Frank’s)
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


    1.  Melt the butter in a small bowl along with the garlic.
    2. Pour melted butter and garlic, along with hot sauce and salt, into a bowl large enough to hold all of the chicken and stir to combine.
    3. Remove the wings from the grill and toss with the sauce. Serve warm with a side of blue cheese dressing if desired.


    As the season progresses, stay tuned for lots more football snacks and party ideas.

  8. Rotini with Sausage and Mushrooms

    May 16, 2011 by Daniora

    Dried Porcini Mushrooms

    Dried Porcini Mushrooms

    This is the recipe that introduced me to porcini mushrooms.  They come dried and have to be reconstituted with hot water.  They have a fairly strong earthy flavor.  I use them in meaty pasta sauces and in mushroom and spinach risotto.  If you really don’t care for the porcini, you can make this using only the button mushrooms, but the recipe has a far better flavor depth if they’re included.  Since using Italian sausage in pasta sauces is so popular, you can usually find it without the casings at the store.  If you do have to remove the casings, all you have to do is use a sharp knife to slit the casing open and turn out the interior.

    Rotini with Sausage and Mushrooms

    1 ounce dried Porcini Mushrooms
    1 cup hot water
    1 tbs butter
    1 large onion, finely chopped
    1 1/4 pounds Italian sausage, casings removed
    1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
    ½ tsp dry rosemary, crumbled
    ½ cup dry, white wine
    1 bay leaf
    1cup beef stock, or canned broth
    11/4 pounds rigatoni pasta
    1 cup half and half
    11/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    Salt and freshly ground pepper
    Chopped fresh Italian parsley
    Fresh rosemary sprigs
    Additional Parmesan cheese

    Rinse Porcini mushrooms. Place in small bowl. Pour 1 cup hot water over and let soak until softened, about 20 minuets. Drain porcini, reserving soaking liquid. Chop porcini, discarding hard stems. Set aside.

    Melt butter over medium heat in a heavy skillet. Add onion and cook until beginning to soften. Add sausage, increase heat to high and cook until just no longer pink, breaking up with a fork, about 6 minutes. Add fresh mushrooms and dried rosemary and stir until mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add porcini and wine and bay leaf and boil until all liquid almost evaporates, about 4 minutes. Add stock and porcini soaking liquid, discarding any sand at the bottom of liquid. Simmer until sauce is syrupy, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

    Cook pasta and drain.

    Add half and half to sauce and boil until thickened slightly about 2 minutes. Add sauce and 1 1/2 cups of cheese to pasta and stir over low heat until coated. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to platter and sprinkle with parsley.

  9. Simple Strawberry Jam

    April 27, 2011 by Daniora

    StrawberriesWe here at The Nerdly Home are all about making things from scratch whenever possible. That can be tough to do when things get busy. Fortunately, there are plenty of things that can be made ahead and stored for later. I’ve just started getting into canning, and I’ll admit that I haven’t quite gotten the hang of it. There always seems to be one little step that I forget and everything has to be stored in the fridge instead of on a shelf. I’m definitely improving, though.

    Since my canning skills are improving, I figured it was about time for me to start making things from scratch to put in the jars.  After going through the wonderful book Canning and Preserving with Ashley English (Homemade Living), I decided that her recipe for Strawberry Jam would probably be the simplest. In spite of the weather, it is spring.  Spring is the best time for strawberries. Just be sure that if you’re making anything with strawberries, be sure to get organic.  They cost a bit more, but strawberries are one of the dirty dozen foods that retain the most toxins from pesticides.

    Simple Strawberry Jam

    • 4 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced
    • 2 cups granulated sugar
    • 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice


    1. Place two small plates in the freezer. These will be used later to test for gelling.

    2. In a large nonmetallic bowl, add the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice; stir, cover loosely with a kitchen cloth, and set aside to macerate at room temperature for 2 hours.

    3. Sterilize 3 half-pint mason jars, lids, and screw rings. Fill a canner or large stockpot with water, and set over medium-high heat. Bring just to the boiling point. Place the lids in a small saucepan, fill with water, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and set the pan aside.

    4. Transfer the strawberry mixture to a medium stainless-steel pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 20-25 minutes, until the mixture begins to thicken. Stir frequently an watch the pot carefully to prevent to contents from boiling over. Skim off any foam that rises to the top.

    5. Test for gelling. Remove a plate from the freezer and spoon about 1 teaspoon of the strawberry mixture onto it. Place the plate back in the freezer and wait 2 minutes. Remove from the freezer and push the edge of the jam with your fingertip. If the jam has gelled properly, the surface will wrinkle a bit. If it fails to wrinkle, or is obviously still runny, boil the jam for 5 minutes longer, and then repeat the test.

    6. Place the hot, sterilized jars on top of a kitchen cloth on the counter. with the help of a canning funnel, ladle jam into the jars, reserving 1/4-inch headspace. Use a nonmetallic spatula to remove any trapped air bubbles, and wipe the rims clean with a damp cloth. Place the lids and screwbands, tightening only until fingertip-tight.

    7. Using a jar lifter, place the jars into the canner. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling bath.

    That’s it.  Simple ingredients and simple to make. The only major problem I had with making the jam was skimming off all the foam.  There was quite a bit of it and I really didn’t have a good tool for getting it all.  As a result, I wound up with some bits of foam in my jars compromising my canning.  So, all three jars went into the fridge.  I doubt the jam will be around long enough to risk spoiling.

    This jam is delicious.  I’m having a hard time not just grabbing the jar and a spoon and eating all of it. Because it doesn’t have any added pectin, it doesn’t set up quite as firm as commercially made jams.  Be sure to have a  napkin handy if you’re putting lots of this on your sandwich.  I’m looking forward to using it to make something tasty like danish or turnovers.

  10. Chicken Barley Corn Soup

    April 21, 2011 by Daniora

    We here at the Nerdly Home have been hit by one heck of a cold. As a result, posts have been delayed, and a large pot of chicken barley corn soup has been made. One of the fantastic things about this soup is that it can be easily adjusted to your personal tastes.  Want more vegetables? Add them.  Want to use left over chicken? Go ahead.  As a result, I won’t really put amounts on things unless they matter.

    Chicken Barley Corn Soup

    • 1 lb chicken, cut into bite sized pieces (can be leftovers)
    • garlic, minced
    • onion, finely diced
    • celery, finely diced
    • carrots, finely diced
    • 64oz (2 boxes) chicken or vegetable broth
    • 1/2c pearled barley
    • 1 can creamed corn
    • 1 bag frozen sweet corn
    • 1/2tsp-ish cumin
    • 1/2tsp-ish coriander


    1. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat a glug of olive oil.  Add garlic.  If using leftover chicken, skip this step. Add raw chicken until thoroughly cooked. I like to add some of the cumin and coriander at this point to help give the chicken some extra flavor, along with a bit of salt and pepper. When the chicken is cooked through, remove from the pot and set aside.

    2. Add a bit more olive oil if necessary and add the onion, celery, and carrots.  Add a small pinch of salt to help sweat the onions. Cook until softened, about 5 – 10 minutes.

    3. Add the cooked chicken and the rest of the ingredients back to the pot and bring just to the boil.

    4. Lower the heat and simmer until the barley is cooked, about 30-45 minutes.

    I find this soup is really fantastic with a nice warm piece of buttered Italian bread.  The soup can be made in large batches and is great for keeping in the freezer.