Meyer Lemon + Rhubarb Marmalade

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Winter, meet spring.

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I recently discovered two large freezer bags full of chopped pink rhubarb in my deep freeze, and decided I should get rid of them to make room for a new haul, which considering the weather we’ve been having, is imminent. I haven’t been without a bag of Meyer lemons in my fridge since they became available earlier in the winter, and so was happy to find a recipe for marmalade combining the two in Marisa’s latest book, Preserving by the Pint.

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You take your lemons and slice off the nubbly ends, cut them in sixths, then cut the pointy edge off the wedges, bringing the seeds along with them – these go into a tea ball or cheesecloth to simmer along with the fruit and provide pectin. My candy thermometer was lost to dishwater eons ago, but the marmalade still turned out perfectly-sweet and citrusy, not too acidic, with a slightly floral undertone.

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I’ll be honest – the straight-up Meyer lemon marmalade is pretty fab on its own. But the rhubarb brings its own tartness, and a beautiful shade of pink. Because mine was frozen it added a bit of water in the form of ice crystals, but all turned out well.

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I’ve chipped away at a chunk of the block of frozen rhubarb. At this rate, everyone I know will be getting a jar of marmalade. I think a batch of rhubarb chutney is next on the list.

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Speaking of pretty in pink, I’m heading out to Jasper to an 80s pyjama party with MOLLY RINGWALD. My 15 year old self is DYING. Maybe I’ll bring her a jar of pink marmalade and we’ll wind up being besties. I’ll keep you posted!

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Meyer Lemon + Rhubarb Marmalade

from Preserving by the Pint by Marisa McClellan.

1 lb Meyer lemons
3 cups sugar
1/2 lb rhubarb, finely chopped (about a cup)

Scrub the lemons, slice off both nubbly ends, and cut each into 6 wedges. Lay each wedge on its side and slice off the thick piece of membrane that runs down the middle of each lemon, along with any seeds. Place these bits into a square of cheesecloth, gather it into a bundle and tie with kitchen screen. (This will provide pectin to help your marmalade gel.) Put the lemon slices and the bundle into a bowl with 2 cups of water and pop into the fridge overnight.

When you’re ready to make marmalade, put the lemon mixture (including the bundle and water) into a pot along with the sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20-25 minutes. If you have a candy thermometer, it should reach 220F – but I’ve been without one for awhile, and mine set beautifully. To be honest, I didn’t even time it that accurately.

Add the rhubarb and simmer for 5 minutes until it softens and turns your marmalade a pretty pink. Divide into clean, hot jars and process if you like for long-term storage; otherwise, the marmalade will last in the fridge for at least a couple months, and can be frozen.

Makes about 3 cups.

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March 13 2015 | preserves | 6 Comments »

London Fog Shortbread

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I’m a little late to the party with this one, but it’s OK if you show up late and bring cookies.

We talked about tea last week on CBC, and its flavouring potential, especially when baking with it. One of my favourite combinations is Earl Grey, butter and sugar in a sandy-sweet shortbread, but I don’t like the little hard bits you wind up with when you stir dry tea leaves into baked goods, especially something like shortbread that doesn’t contain any liquid to plump it up. I happened to have just made a batch of crème brûlée, steeping the cream first with Earl Grey, and decided to use the exhausted tea leaves in the shortbread.

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Opening them up first not only helps them release more flavour, but softens them, eliminating those nasty bits. You can then blitz the soft leaves with the butter and sugar in the food processor, obliterating them further. This is not only a great way to flavour cookies and cakes and ice cream and anything else you want to infuse with your favourite tea, but a way to recycle the tea leaves you just used to steep a pot, which are still good for something. (If you don’t happen to have just made a pot of tea or a batch of crème brûlée, you could just open up the leaves with a splash of hot water in a small dish. Same diff.)

Oh hey! I know I keep telling you about this new web redesign I’m working on, and I haven’t been lying, I just hadn’t found the right person yet. But I think I have, and we’re having a planning meeting on Monday, and I wanted to ask you what you’d like to see here, since this is your space after all. My priorities are design and recipe search functionality, but I’m open to any and all ideas and suggestions, and I’d love to hear what websites you love to read/look at/use, whether they’re food blogs or not. Thanks!!

London Fog Shortbread

If your tea leaves are already exhausted, don’t worry about softening them with boiling water.

1 Tbsp. loose Earl Grey tea leaves
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 325?F.

If you’re starting with dry tea leaves, put them into a small dish and pour just enough boiling water over them to cover (about a tablespoon or two); set aside for a few minutes, then pour off the water.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the butter, sugar and softened tea leaves until well blended and creamy. Add the flour and salt and pulse until the dough comes together.

Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and place on a parchment-lined sheet. Press down with a cookie stamp, bottom of a glass, or crisscrossed with a fork. (Alternatively, roll the dough into a log, wrap and chill, then slice and bake.) Bake for 10 minutes, or until pale golden around the edges.

Cool on the pan or on a wire rack. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

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March 08 2015 | cookies & squares | 16 Comments »

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