Holidays

See, what had happened was. . . . . .

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Hello out there!  I’ve been gone for so long!  So much has happened.  So little has happened.  So let’s sum things up — I believe I mentioned before that I left corporate America (or it left me — still not 100% sure on that one).  I focused on getting my health right, which I thought was important.  Finding another job was more daunting that I thought, but I finally got a chance to work at the amazing Zingerman’s Bakehouse over the holidays.  It was a fabulous experience!  I also decided to formalize my training and head back to culinary school.  Now I just need to find a paying gig to work with my schedule.  I can try to get my bakery up and running again, but I don’t exactly have a lot to devote to my advertising budget.  Got something in the works which would start in a few months, but a paycheck in the meantime would be helpful.  I got some other plans in the works, so we will see what pans out.  Right now I am focusing on school and the NCAA basketball tournament (priorities!).  I’m a little freaked out that almost every analyst out there is picking either my Florida Gators or my Michigan State Spartans to win it all.  Hoping that isn’t a jinx!  But this is a nice distraction from my everything-is-up-in-the-air life.  I’ll be here more often because I miss blogging and writing.  I’ll need to schedule some regular time and devote it to Jereme’s Kitchen.  Maybe that will help get my ass in gear.

Anyhoo, the saga continues. . . .

Ciderhouse Whiskey

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DSC_1446Alright, here is the first of the recipes and of course I start with booze!  This recipe I found on Saveur’s website.  I thought it sounded amazing and it was!  How can you go wrong with bourbon and cider?  I make a similar version that involves bourbon, cider, and sparkling wine — very festive.  Anyhoo, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. cider syrup
  • strip of lemon zest
  • ice

Combine bourbon and cider syrup over ice and stir.  Twist the lemon zest to release the lemon oil and drop into the drink.  Stir again and serve!

I think that drink is way to much for Mr. Jack O' Turtle.  Or maybe he's a frog.  I don't know
I think that drink is way to much for Mr. Jack O’ Turtle. Or maybe he’s a frog. I don’t know

Notes — Cider syrup is essentially some cider that has been really boiled down.  I started out with about 6 – 7 cups of cider and boiled it down to about a cup or a cup and a half.  It maybe filled the syrup dispenser shown in the pics to about 80%.  According to the recipe, you’ll need to boil it down gently for about 2 hours; mine took about 3. . . The bourbon that I used is from the Grand Traverse Distillery in Traverse City.  I had gone up there for a vacation just before the summer tourist season started.  I was absolutely floored by it!  This was one of the places that I had definitely wanted to visit while up north and I was not disappointed.  They only make some small batches and they only had a few bottles left when I was there.  Luckily I had picked up a bottle for me and one as a gift.  What’s nice is that they do their very best to use locally produced grains to make their spirits.  I believe that everything is Michigan made, except for the bourbon — I think they need to get the barley from out-of-state.  If I remember correctly, it is 70% corn, 20% rye, and 10% barley.  I was familiar with their high quality vodkas and now they are working on making a gin and rum as well.  I can’t wait to go back and see what else they’ve got and luckily they are building a tasting room in Novi, MI so I won’t have to drive up to Traverse City to get myself a taste!. . .

My handwriting is terrible.  But I do love my chalkboard pantry in the kitchen.
My handwriting is terrible. But I do love my chalkboard pantry in the kitchen.

Pumpkin Carving 2013

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Hey everybody!  Happy Halloween!  I just had my annual Pumpkin Carving this past weekend.  Sure it was cold and it did rain a little bit, but I think everyone had fun.  We even did it up a little bit and put some bales of hay around the fire pit so folks could carve and still stay warm.  And we did have a fire extinguisher on hand because having a bunch of dry straw next to an open flame isn’t exactly the safest thing to do.

How autumny!
How autumnal!

Folks brought some stuff to share like a nice rice salad and a yummy warm spinach dip.  We provided the pumpkins and made a big batch of chili.  I baked a whole bunch of stuff as well:

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

I haven't made these extra festive yet with my Halloween accoutrements
I haven’t made these extra festive yet with my Halloween accoutrements

Pepita Lavender Brittle

I love this stuff!
I love this stuff!

Savory Pumpkin Rugelach

Savory and sweet!
Savory and sweet!

Ciderhouse Whiskey (Saveur)

I am clearly not talented at making acceptable lemon twists.
I am clearly not talented at making acceptable lemon twists.

I also made a Harvest Spread, but that was from a mix (I know).  I’ll get the recipes up as soon as I can.  Well, maybe not the Brittle recipe because I have done a Lavender Pepita Croquant before and the recipe is very similar.  On a weird side note, apparently I am the country’s leading expert on Pepita Croquant.  I did a Google search to do some research and there I was — I took up the top three spots.  Weird and unexpected, but still kewl.  Anyhoo, keep an eye out for the recipes and be safe during the holiday!

Friday Foodie Funnies, ep. 7

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It’s Friday, Friday.  Gotta get down on Friday.  Fun fun fun fun fun fun.  Alright, enough of that horrible song.  It’s lucky number 7 for this episode!  And since this is the last Friday before Halloween, I thought this would be a fun one to post.

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Be safe everybody when you carve up your pumpkins!

New look and fun with the Beekmans!

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Hey everybody!  Sure it’s been awhile since I’ve here, but it’s another injury-filled couple of weeks for me.  Maybe I should actually rest instead of still playing volleyball for once.  Humbug on that!  Anyhoo, I just have a couple of announcements.

First of all, Jereme’s Kitchen has a whole new look!  It took me awhile to decide on one and I will probably be tweaking it over the next few weeks.  Of course, I could just change it altogether.  I’d appreciate any feedback and thoughts!

Secondly, I got a chance to spend the afternoon with the Fabulous Beekman Boys earlier this month!  And this time they were both here (well, not here exactly, but close enough in Lansing, MI)!  If y’all remember, I was able to attend a reading by Josh Kilmer-Purcell back in April of 2011 when he came back for a visit of his old alma mater (Go Spartans!).  This go around, he came back and he brought his partner Brent Ridge MD with him!  The focus for this talk and book signing was for their new Heirloom Dessert Cookbook.  The recipes they have assembled are a collection of time-honored gems that have been a part of their own family traditions and histories.  Like the previous cookbook, they do leave a space for you personalize the recipes with your own special twist or just leave some notes on what to do.   There is also a space for you to add any family recipes and include it in this heirloom collection.  It’s a nice touch that other cookbooks don’t offer!  And one lucky Jereme’s Kitchen reader might just get their own signed copy to cherish (hint, hint — stay tuned)

Brent and Josh at Schuler's Books in Lansing!
Brent and Josh at Schuler’s Books in Lansing!
These two guys really do seem sweet and genuine.
These two guys really do seem sweet and genuine.

At the book signing, Brent had told me about a blog project that the Boys and Kenn the Biscuit Guy were planning.  So I got to talking with Kenn the Biscuit Guy (there is a very entertaining story about how his name came about, and it involves Martha Stewart!) and he gave me some of the details about it.  The blog is called Bake Like a Beekman over at Blogspot.  What is so great about this is that they will look at one of the recipes in the book, participants will then attempt to create them, and then everyone gets to share their experiences with the recipe.  You can talk about any changes you made, serving suggestions, concerns that you may have, or just share your results.

Here's the Heirloom Dessert Cookbook!
Here’s the Heirloom Dessert Cookbook!

Now the project did already start this past Sunday, with the first recipe being the Walnut Cake.  There are already some results from the participants posted.  A new recipe will be selected every Sunday, and there will be a deadline for submissions.  That way we can all learn everything we can from each other and then all move on to the next recipe!  I think it’s a wonderful project — it’s like we all are taking an online class together.  I look forward to participating and I encourage y’all to join in too!  If you do decide to partake, tell Ken-with-two-“N”s that Jeremy-with-an-“E” sent ya!

Fun fact that I learned from the Beekman Boys on Facebook -- Josh spent some time working at the State News (the school paper and Michigan State).  While there he had to design an ad for the college book store.  His handwriting was used as the design for the neon of The Student Book Store.
Fun fact that I learned from the Beekman Boys on Facebook — Josh spent some time working at the State News (the school paper at Michigan State). While there he had to design an ad for the college book store. His handwriting was later used as the design for the neon of The Student Book Store.

Friday Foodie Funnies, ep. 5

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Hey y’all!  I’ve had a weird week, and not in a good way.  I had a weird interview followed by back-to-back days of unrelated volleyball injuries.  Huzzah!  Well, watching this video made me feel better.  It is fall and if you remember my post from a couple of weeks back, it is time for Pumpkin-Spice everything!  This video shows how some people might feel about that.  And yes, I did post this on Facebook yesterday, but I liked it so much I wanted to share it here.

 

Friday Foodie Funnies, ep. 3

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Bonus post!  Aren’t you excited?  And you thought Friday the 13th is bad luck!  Just saw this yesterday on the blog by Amy Blandes and just had to share.  This is my favorite time of year.  Check out this post from a couple of weeks ago which helps explain why.  It just makes me think of cozying up with friends and family with a lot of food and booze.  And it’s good to celebrate with your peeps!

I love pumpkin-flavored everything!
I love pumpkin-flavored everything!

But it’s not just the time for pumpkin this and pumpkin that.  There’s pumpkin-pie-spice-flavored everything, too.  Like those M&Ms that I’ve never seen before.  Oh well, Happy Friday!

And don’t forget to follow me on Facebook here and here!  Or don’t.  But it will make me sad if you don’t.

Fall is almost here!

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Fall is my favorite time of year.  I love everything about it — the smells, the cooler days, the crisper nights, the colors, the pies, Halloween, Thanksgiving, volleyball and football start up again — what’s not to love?  Alright, I admit there is one thing I don’t like — cleaning up all those damn leaves on my property.  I own about an acre of land with maybe 20 giant oak trees.  So the leaves can pile up and pile up quickly.  And unlike in some neighboring cities, I can’t just push my leaves into the road, so I either have to do it myself or hire someone else to do it.  But that’s a whole other issue. . .

this sums up Fall for me.  you do need to add "volleyball" somewhere on here though.  in big gigantic letters.  like all over the place
this sums up Fall for me. you do need to add “volleyball” somewhere on here though. in big gigantic letters. like all over the place

Anyhoo, I saw this the other day on Facebook and wanted to share.  This appeared on my feed from the magazine Midwest Living.  This sums up everything that is awesome about Fall and I wanted to share it with y’all.  What do y’all like about Autumn?  Just let me know — either here or on Facebook!  I gots a recipe for some Gluten-Free Rocky Road Brownies coming up later this week, and hopefully some other fun stuff.

Stay tuned!

Watermelon Punch

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It’s August and Summer is in full swing here in Michigan.  Actually, with the weather we’ve been having here the past few weeks, it feels like Fall.  Not that I mind the cooler temperatures; I’m just hope the mild summer is not going to translate into a brutal winter.  But enough about that — nothing says summer quite like a nice boozy watermelon punch.

DSC_1426
Ready for summer!

I did just have my summer shindig recently and made this again.  I usually have 4 big get-togethers each year when I invite my close friends (actually I consider these guys to be family) and treat them to some free food and booze.  Sure this explanation is a little simplistic, but y’all don’t need to get into my big bag of crazy when it comes to planning and prep.  I actually don’t remember what else I made, other than stuff on the grill.  But I did remember this!  Making this concoction this time seemed a lot easier, but last time I was face down in my backyard all afternoon so who knows what my recollection can actually count for.  And, of course, I could not find my old recipe no matter how much I looked around for it.  So this is a whole new deal.

Here's a better shot to get a feel of the size of the watermelon.  Just a "regular" size I guess
Here’s a better shot to get a feel of the size of the watermelon. Just a “regular” size I guess

Now I really like this recipe.  I didn’t think it was overly sweet and you could still pick up on all the ingredients.  And if you are like me, you may just have a couple of portions of mint syrup just hanging out in the freezer for emergencies.

Yummy!  It's difficult to see, but this glass has my name etched into it!  Thanks to the in-laws for the gift!
Yummy! It’s difficult to see, but this glass has my name etched into it! Thanks to the in-laws for the gift!

I did hollow out the watermelon and use it as a serving utensil, which is completely optional.  I like the presentation.  If you were interested in serving it this way but don’t know where to get a spigot like this, you could check out your local brewer’s supply shop.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 watermelon (medium-sized, I guess.  Use the pictures as a reference)
  • 1/2 – 1 c. vodka
  • 1 c. cachaça
  • 1 1/2 c. rum (I used a dark 8-year-old rum)
  • 4 oz. Midori
  • 6 limes, juiced
  • 2 c. mint syrup

1.  Take your watermelon and see if it’s able to stand on its end.  If not, just cut off a small slice to level it off, making sure not to expose any of the inner flesh.

2.  Cut off the top couple of inches of the watermelon to expose some of the red flesh inside (wow that sounds a little macabre).  Using an ice cream scoop, start scooping out the fruit (berry?) and place it in a food processor.  Pulse it in batches until smooth and run the purée through a fine sieve set over a large bowl.

3.  In a large pitcher or jug, combine the vodka, cachaça, rum, Midori, lime juice, and mint syrup.  Stir to blend.

4.  Add the strained watermelon juice and stir to combine.  You can refrigerate this overnight, just be sure to mix it before hand.

5.  Pour yourself a little happy.  Add some ice if you like!

Here's the impaled watermelon!
Here’s the impaled watermelon!

Notes – you may want to run the watermelon through a very fine sieve.  you could just line a sieve with some paper towel, but that sounds like a long process. . .  if you cut off too much on the bottom to level the watermelon, it’s not the end of the world.  just be sure not to hollow out the watermelon too much or you will have a boozy, leaky mess on your hands. . . also, be careful not to take out too much of the pulp (is that the right term?).  if you are overzealous with your scraping, the hollowed out shell might crack and there’s another boozy, leaky mess. . .

Summer Crumble with Rhubarb, Raspberries, Dried Figs, and Pecans

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We just had our first official day of summer and it was ridiculously hot here in Michigan — 97 degrees F around these parts.  Now I’m not 100% sure if figs are a summer fruit, but rhubarb and raspberries always make me think of the season.  And when it’s summer, you don’t want to be in a hot kitchen all day, so this is ideal!  What’s special about this recipe are the dried figs.  They can help absorb some of the liquid that is released by the rhubarb and they add some sweetness, texture, and color.  Sure, I was just trying to clean out my pantry but this combination really goes well together.

Just throw all the topping ingredients in a bowl and mix it up, and get another bowl to toss the filling with some sugar and flour and you are all set.  You can even make the topping the night before and put it in the fridge for when you’re ready!  Easy-peasy!  Here’s what you need:

Rhubarb and Figs actually look nice together. I toss in the raspberries later.

For the topping:

  • 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 c. rolled oats
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-in. cubes

1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt.  Add the butter and mix on low speed until the topping resembles loose crumbs.

2.  Stir in the oats and pecans.  Set aside.

I really struggled with taking a picture that did this crumble some justice. Again, I’m still trying to figure out photography and composition.

For the filling:

  • 1/2 c. vanilla sugar
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1 lb. rhubarb, chopped into 1/2-in pieces
  • 12 – 15 dried figs, cut into quarters
  • 8 oz. raspberries
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, and nutmeg.  Set aside.

2.  Place the lemon juice, rhubarb, figs, and raspberries in your baking dish.  Gently toss.  Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the top and let sit for about 5 minutes.

3.  Sprinkle the topping over the top of the fruit in an even layer.  Bake for about 45 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling and the topping is golden.  Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving so the filling can set up just a tiny bit.

Notes — My pecans got a little bit toasty, but tasted fine.  If burning them is a concern, you could add the pecans to the filling instead of in the topping. . . Store this in the refrigerator. . . You can reheat this in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 15 – 20 minutes.