Monday, May 22, 2017

Strawberry jams and goslings "hams"

90 degree + heat and humidity notwithstanding, we've been spending a little time down by the water.

Todd has been working on cutting up the tree that fell a few weeks ago.

Thankfully a local resident is cutting up/taking most of it!  Down by the pond, I have to make loud, sliding steps, because the ground is covered by teeny tiny southern toads, no bigger than my thumb nail.

I've seen "the goz" down there several times, too.  Oh, they're getting so big!

Borga hangs out on her chain...

...or staring with adoration at "Daddy" when he takes a break from work.

I saw a single magnolia in bloom here last week...

...but we have lots of gardenias blooming now.  Especially in this heat, the fragrance is intense!

A friend gave me 3 pounds of fresh strawberries recently.  Aren't they gorgeous?

I made sorbet with 1 pound, but decided to make jam with the other 2 pounds.  All the recipes I found, though, called for FOUR CUPS of sugar per 2 pounds (or 4 cups) of strawberries.  Although I understood that sugar affected not only the taste, but the texture as well, I only added 1 1/2 cups.  I threw in some lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and 2 TB unflavored gelatin to help with the structure. Thirty minutes later - perfectly sweet, perfectly "jellied" jam!

I also (re)discovered the wonders of coconut milk ice cream.  Todd doesn't eat dairy, so when I read you could throw chilled coconut milk, raw honey, salt, and vanilla into your ice cream machine and get actual ice cream, I was thrilled.  I pulverized some chocolate chips to throw in at the end and got the most amazing chocolate coconut ice cream ever.

It is just as caloric as dairy ice cream, but much healthier.  And supposedly your body metabolizes the coconut fat in a different way than animal fat, so win-win!

If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can freeze the mixture in ice cube trays and toss the frozen cubes into your blender for a similar effect.  The recipe is here if you want to give it a try.

Have a great week!

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