Saturday, August 28, 2010

Apricot Pineapple Jam with Lion House Rolls

Apricot season has ended.

I'm glad we had several friends willing to share their harvest. And now, I would like to share 
with you our family's absolute favorite jam recipe, apricot pineapple. It used to be printed with the MCP pectin instructions, but for some reason, it's not there anymore. It would be a true shame if this recipe were lost, so feel free to make this jam and share the recipe with your friends and family.

We made quite a few batches this year. I pitted and pureed, and Katie did the rest. We ended up with about 30 jars of jam. One would think that many jars would last us until next summer. However, an opened jar doesn't last very long in our house, especially with our growing kids. I think I need to initiate a rationing program.

Or, better yet—a reward program.
"Yes, you may have some toast with apricot pineapple soon as you clean your room."

After we finished making the jam, I was in the mood to bake something to go with it. I immediately thought of my favorite rolls from the historical Lion House Pantry in downtown Salt Lake City. These rolls are incredible. They are light, airy, and buttery. And, what I love most is the shape. They sort of remind me of those of those round bales of hay. I'd post a photo of them, but I couldn't find a good one online, not even on the Lion House Pantry website. But, just try to imagine a roll looking like this.

This past year, the Lion House started selling a box mix of their rolls. Even though homemade is always better than a mix, I considered buying a box. But then it occurred to me, the recipe might be online. It was! I also found this video where a Lion House pastry chef, demonstrates the rolling technique to achieve the signature shape.

The rolls I made tasted just like what you would buy at the restaurant. However, I need a little more practice to achieve the signature shape. As rolls go, mine look perfectly fine, but they did have these little ends sticking out. I also ended up covered in the flour and butter. Once we spread on the apricot pineapple jam, we couldn't control ourselves, and the rolls were scarfed up in no time. I think I might volunteer to make the rolls at the annual family gathering at Thanksgiving.

Yep, I don't think it will be too long before we run out of jam.

Seriously, these rolls are heaven. Just looking at the picture
makes me want to make more.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cherry and White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Through our local food co-op, we purchased a preselected variety of products from the Nutty Guys. I'm a big fan of the Nutty Guys, but one of the items included was a very large bag of dried cherries. It's not that I dislike cherries, but they've never been my favorite dried fruit. So, the bag sat for a couple months on the shelf until our health conscious friends from Canada came to stay. It was a good opportunity to unload on them all the healthy stuff that just sits around our place. With our Canadian house guests, we mainly ate the cherries straight out of the bag and on salads.

However, when the Canucks returned to the North Pole, we still had a half a bag of cherries left. Now that the bag was opened, we needed to use them up. I first tried them in a scone recipe we like. I substituted the cherries for the dried cranberries. These turned out exceptionally well, and I even like them better with the cherries. I started to brainstorm other ways to use the cherries in baking.

I decided to take a really good oatmeal cookie recipe and throw in some cherries and white chocolate chips. The result? Simply amazing. Katie expressed a little displeasure, however, because she knew she wouldn't be able to resist them. To help her out, I brought a bunch of them into work where they were a big hit (and not because I work with a bunch of starving college students).

These oatmeal cookies are so good and so easy to make. The dried cherries and white chocolate really add pizazz. Give 'em a try. And also, don't forget to check out the Nutty Guys. They've got lots of other great products, and they ship all over the US.

After photographing, I practically ate this
stack myself—the breakfast of champions.

Oatmeal and dried cherries? Yes, I'm sure they're healthy!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Apricot Raspberry Tart

It's apricot season in Utah!

Apricots are part of the culture in these parts. We even have a children's song about apricot trees. It seems like every yard except ours has an apricot tree. This, of course, is perfectly fine by me because neighbors are usually happy to share, and I don't have to clean up any rotted fruit off the ground.

A friend posted on Facebook they had a tree full of ripe apricots free for picking. So, I went over and picked enough to make apricot pineapple jam* and this recipe for apricot raspberry tart. I wanted to make this tart for three reasons:
  1. I'm not sure I have ever used the tart pan that's been in our cupboard for I don't know how long. It's finally time.
  2. I also picked up some great looking raspberries at the farmer's market.
  3. This tart reminds me of the apricot desserts I sampled last year in Austria. An area just outside Vienna is famous for its apricots. One word—amazing.
As long as you have a food processor, this recipe is easy. If you don't have one, use canned almond filling instead.

And as an added bonus, here is some music to motivate you to try this tart. The first song is the song mentioned above, "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree," followed by two variations. Enjoy and happy baking! (If the widget doesn't appear, I apologize. Grooveshark has been having problems lately.)

*This is one of our family's favorites, and I'll post the recipe soon.

This dessert makes summer sweet!

Cool Van Gogh plate, don't you agree?