Peach & Jalapeno Jam

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Hello world & Happy Fall, Ya’ll! I can finally celebrate Autumn because the weather is slowly breaking here in N.E OH and according to my calendar, tomorrow (Friday) marks the first official day of fall, heck yeah! Who else really enjoys the fall as much as me!? How can you argue sweaters, boots, leaves crunching beneath your feet, crisp air, picking apples and then turning them into a fresh pie, warm days and cool nights, everything fall scented, fall crafts such as pumpkin painting/carving, bonfires, no bugs or sweat running down your body, goodbye to sunburn and busy nights at work! Fall really is the best season.

For those of you that have missed me, I appreciate your patience in waiting for my next blog post, ya’ll are the best! If you are new to following me, ICYMI: Summers for me working as a banquet captain at a Country Club is very busy. I don’t allow myself a lot of free time to work on cooking at home, crafting, photography and anything else that makes this blog what it is. I tend to disappear every so often because this is only a hobby for me and I only have a small window of free time to do what I love. Thank you to those who do continue to read and follow my blog. You can also follow my facebook page if you are on there as well facebook.com/driven2eat

As I was saying, fall is here and August thru September has the best produce available. -If you haven’t stopped at your local farmers market yet, this is the last week to do it before the season ends! I was lucky enough to make it up in time for the last of the peaches hull. I don’t know how the peaches were for everyone else, but the peaches we had here weren’t all the great 😦 I was disappointed in the lack of sweetness and juice that I expect to have from a peach, they were okay.

When I make breakfast at home, I usually almost always have a toasted English muffin with fresh jam. I had been buying Jam from Amish Country the last few years and haven’t made my way up there in a few months, figured it was time to just make my own anyways. With how easy it is to make jam, there’s no excuse whey I don’t make it more often! I took a look around the fridge and noticed that a few Jalapenos I had remaining were beginning to do the pruning effect on the outside, so it was time to do something with those as well. I remembered one thing my Aunt always liked to bring to a family dinner, cream cheese topped with pepper jam to spread on crackers for an appetizer. That’s when the light bulb went on in my head to take my leftover peaches and jalapenos and make a jam! The lack of sugar in these peaches actually made them perfect for this recipe. Sweet meets heats for a great spread. Peach and Jalapeno are a great combination together. This recipe also makes an excellent glaze on pork or fish for a finishing touch on dinner!

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Mise En Place:

  • 3 Large Peaches, Diced
  • 3 Jalapenos, seeds removed, diced
  • 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • Juice 1/2 Lime
  • 2 Small Mason Jars for storing

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Method of Prep:

  • Mix together peaches, jalapenos, sugar and lime juice until sugar well incorporated. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  • Over high heat, add mix into a pan and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and allow to lightly simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Liquid should reduce by half and coat the back of a spoon when ready.
  • Turn off heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  • Pour into Mason jars and cool to room temperature. Seal shut, refrigerate after opening.Β *If jam is cooked too long, it may become gelatinous and hard to spread once cooled. Scoop out what you need for spreading. As jam sits on a warm surface it will begin to melt for easier spreading.Β 

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*You may blend the jam at the end if you don’t like the candied chunks of jalapeno that will be left behind.Β 

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Coconut Crusted Tofu with Peach Salsa

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I’m always looking for new ways to cook with tofu. I came across a recipe similar to this one on the eating well website.Β  I made a few changes in the recipe for it to suite me. This recipe makes a very light meal and is excellent for the summer. If you’re not a fan of tofu you can substitute chicken for the protein.

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Serves: 2

Active Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time: 15 Minutes

Gluten Free/Vegan/Grain Free/Dairy Free/Refined Sugar Free (substitute maple syrup)

Mise en Place:

-2 Medium Peaches, peeled and cut in small chunks or diced

-1 Jalapeno, seeded and diced small

-1 Tablespoon fresh chopped Cilantro

-1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

-1 Tablespoon Rice wine Vinegar

-1/3 Cup Unsweetened Coconut flakes (I used Sweetened)

-2 Tablespoons of Gluten Free Flour OR Rice Flour (AP works fine!)

-2 Tablespoons Corn Starch

-1 Package Firm Tofu, drained

-2 Tablespoons Oil

-Salt, TT

 

Method of Prep:

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

-Combine peaches, jalapenos, cilantro, brown sugar, vinegar and a teaspoon of salt in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside.

-Mix coconut flakes, flour, a teaspoon of salt and cornstarch in a shallow dish. Cut the block of tofu lengthwise into 5 thin steaks. Pat the tofu dry with a paper towel. Season both sides with salt and pepper.

-Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saute pan on medium heat.

-Press both sides of tofu in flour mixture to coat.

-Place tofu into the frying pan. Cook until golden brown on both sides (Approximately 2 minutes each) Adjust heat to avoid burning.

-Transfer tofu to a sheet tray and bake in the oven for 5 minutes.

-Serve over rice and top with salsa.

Enjoy!

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Serving Suggestion:

-The tofu and salsa are great on their own, however I recommend cooking off some white rice and drizzling a little bit of soy sauce and sriracha on top of rice and garnish with scallions. Place 2 tofu steaks on top, spoon salsa over tofu and drizzle a little bit of the juice from salsa around the rice. (See pictures)Β  YUMMY!

 

 

Pumpkin Granola

The long weekend for me at work has finally come to an end. The printers in the kitchen stopped shoveling out tickets, the hot line begins to cool down as I turn off the grill, flat top and fryers, and the breakdown of my mise en place on my station is in place. I tightly wrap my prep with plastic wrap, cut a small piece of blue tape and begin to write “Diced Tomatoes, 11-04” All of a sudden I realize the 11 on the tape stands for the month of November. Where did this year fly by?? It didn’t phase me that we were already in the end of the year until two days ago. What started out as a slow year for me as I unpacked my belongings and got settled into my new South Florida residence and began a new job, slowly picked up once summer came to an end.

Now that fall is halfway over, the holidays are quickly approaching in less than 4 weeks with Thanksgiving kicking it off. The change in climate has fallen which means most folks will be turning to comfort food to keep warm this winter. As I gear up my kitchen in preparation to make soups, stocks, stews, cookies, breads along with other hearty and seasonal favorites, I want to share with you one last fall recipe that I know you will enjoy. This recipe is great for the winter as well if you have access to fresh or canned pumpkin. This granola is fantastic with fruit for breakfast, yogurt for lunch, and dessert for dinner. At the end of this recipe, you will find an awesome suggestion for the granola.

 

Active Time: 15 Minutes

Total Time: 40 Minutes

Recipe Credit: Girlcooksworld

Ingredients:

-6 Tablespoons Butter

-2 1/2 Cups Oats

-1 1/2 Teaspoons Cinnamon

-1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger

-1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg

-1/2 Teaspoon Salt

-1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree

-1/2 Cup Honey

-1/4 Cup Brown Sugar

-1 Teaspoon Vanilla

-1/2 Cup Pumpkin seeds (optional)

Additional Tools:

-Parchment paper

-1 Sheet tray

-1 Medium sauce pot

-1 Mixing bowl

Method of Prep:

-Set oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit

-Melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add the oats and stir to coat

-Pour oats into a bowl. Add spices and salt.

-Cook remaining butter, pumpkin puree, honey, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Stir in vanilla and remove from the heat.

-Pour hot mixture over the oats and mix well. Mix in pumpkin seeds and spread on a lined baking sheet.

-Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until desired granola texture (crunchy vs soft).

-Remove from oven and let cool. crumble granola in your fingers until it is all broken down into granola consistency.

 

Recipe Recommendation:

Bourbon Peaches, Pumpkin Granola, Apple/cinnamon yogurt, pomegranate.

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

-1 Cup Pumpkin Granola

-8 ounces Apple Cinnamon Greek yogurt (Chobani)

-1 Cup Frozen Peaches

-2 Ounces Jack Daniels or other Bourbon of choice

-1/4 Cup Pomegranate seeds

-1 Tablespoon Butter

Method of Prep:

-In a large sauce pot, heat up bourbon and peaches until peaches are soft.

-If granola is soft, place in the oven to dry out and make crunchy for 10 minutes on 300 degrees.

-Once peaches are soft, place in a serving bowl. Leaving bourbon in the pan, place back on the stove, add in butter and cook over medium low heat until slightly reduced into a syrup consistency, approximately 5 minutes.

-Sprinkle granola and pomegranate seeds over the peaches. Add a dollop or more of yogurt of top.

-Pour bourbon syrup over granola, mix up and eat!

Enjoy!