RECIPE: Red Currant Blood Orange Raspberry Pear Jam

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Red currants are hard to find, yet hubby always wants to play with them (being German and all). We looked into growing currant bushes, but I guess they are not allowed here? I would love to dry my own berries for tea! But until I can get to the bottom of growing them, I am always on the lookout for them at the store. And we actually did find them this month! It was a bit expensive, but when you decide to can them for a ton of jam, it makes the price worth it per jar.

We like using this jam for pork and venison roasts. It's also really nice on ice cream. Red currants are tart, so they need some help to sweeten them up. The blood orange and raspberries add some sweet while marrying well with tart. These make great gifts, too. Keep it on your to-do list when you see those treasured red currants!

Red Currant Blood Orange Raspberry Pear Jam


6 - 6 oz. boxes red currants
2 large (approx. 1” x 3”) strips orange rind
2 - 6 oz boxes red raspberries
2 blood oranges, peeled and cut into 1/4” pieces
4 Anjou Pears, peeled and cut into 1/4” pieces
1/4 cup cherry Kirsch
4 oz. dry pectin (18 tsp dry) and
    add water to dissolve into paste
5 cups sugar


1. Heat a 8 qt. sauce pan over medium high heat. Add thin layer of water to cover bottom of pan. Rinse red currants and add the stems and all to pan. Cook until red currents start to breakdown. Remove from heat and pour into a food mill, one third at a time. Process with the food mill until only seeds and stems are left in the mill back into a large bowl and set aside. Discard the remnants. 

2. Peel two strips of blood orange rind approximately 2 1/2 by 1/2 inch wide and remove all pith. Pull all segments apart and cut into quarter inch slices. Peel pear and cut into quarter inch pieces. Add thin layer of water to cover bottom of 8 qt. sauce pan. And orange rind, blood orange, heat and boil for five minutes. Remove from heat and lightly mash pears to break down mixture. Do not over mash so that you don't have pieces left. Return to heat.

3. Add milled red currants and cook for five minutes, skimming as necessary. Add washed raspberries, cherry Kirsch, and then cook two minutes more. Mix sugar and pectin paste together and add to pan and mix until boiling.

4. Fill jars with jam leaving 1/2 inch from the top of the half pint jars. 

5. Clean jar tops and seal. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Carefully pull out the jars, and bring up to room temperature on a towel on the counter. Listen to popping noises from the seals, assuring things are sealed nicely. Once jars are set and cool enough to handle, set on a shelf to store and set.

Makes 11 half pint (1 cup) jars. (6 1/2 cups of fruit jam)

RECIPE: Super Easy Spanish Rice

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Super Easy Spanish Rice


1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 cup water
1 cup mild salsa
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cups instant brown rice
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cans drained Mexicorn
chopped cilantro


In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil, then sauté the onions until translucent. Add the corn and cook until just tender. 

Next, add the spices and mix well.

Next add the water, chicken broth and salsa. Mix well and bring to a boil.

Stir in the rice, then cover. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve with chopped cilantro.

RECIPE: Gluten Free Lemon and Cherry Marbled Tart with Almond Crust

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Warmer, longer days are finally here, and that means entertaining outside on warm, breezy evenings. Desserts need to be cooler and lighter to beat the heat, like this lemon and cherry tart I whipped up. I made it gluten free for my sister and daughter by using almond flour and egg. The lemon curd uses eggs and cornstarch to help it come together and I used a splash of vanilla to mellow out the punchy lemon profile. You can marble in other fruit jams to your liking, but I thought cherry would marry well with the almond flavors in the crust.

I brought this to my parent's memorial day picnic, and we enjoyed delicious slices with mom's espresso granita while the sun went down on the patio. It was a sweet ending to a lovely evening. My angsty-13-year-old-moody-daughter actually hung out with us and giggled at Nonno's jokes. Not sure if it was my magical lemon tart or what, but we didn't ask questions-just enjoyed each other's company.

Gluten Free Lemon and Cherry Marbled Tart with Almond Crust


2 cups almond flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
dash of salt
1 egg
6 Tbsp. chilled butter
2 Tbsp. Almond liquor, like Amaretto (optional)

1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. water
5 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2/3 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. butter, cubed
1/4-1/2 cup cherry "spreadable fruit" or jam (you can use raspberry or blueberry too)

whipped whipping cream or whipped topping for serving

You will need a double boiler or a makeshift double boiler to make the curd.


Preheat the oven to 350˚. In a food processor, pulse the almond flour with the sugar and salt a couple of times. Add the butter and pule until mixture looks like cornmeal, and butter is the size of small peas. Next pulse in the egg and Amaretto. The crust will be very damp, but worry not. Because this is GF you need that egg to keep things together.

With a spatula, pour into the waiting tart pan, and using that same spatula and damp fingers, pat the crust into the pan evenly along the bottom an up the sides. I found cold wet fingers to really help with this.

Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until crust is a golden brown. Let cool on a cooling rack.

While tart is baking, make the filling.

In a small cup dissolve the corn starch with the water until completely dissolved. Set aside.

Heat up your water in the bottom of your double boiler. While that's heating, in the top pan (off the heat) whisk the eggs with the sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice, vanilla and corn starch mixture. Place the top pan onto the simmering pan gently, and continue whisking and cooking over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until thick. Take off the heat, and whisk in the butter until smooth. Let cool down slightly.

Pour warm filling into cooled crust right up to the edge of the crust. The filling will settle in.

In a microwave safe bowl, heat the fruit jam for 30 seconds. With a knife, dollop jam in areas on the lemon curd, then with the edge of knife, swirl the jam gently and slowly in "swishes" to marble it into the lemon curd.

Cool in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve with whipped cream.

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