quince-apple butter


I don’t do much jelly and jam making (yet), but I love “butters”. Pumpkin butter, apple butter, peach butter, pear butter, and now quince-apple butter.

My friend Meredith had given me a lovely basket full of quince the other day, and I had a bowl full of apples sitting on the kitchen table.

So after I peeled, cored ,and chopped everything I threw it into a crockpot with a scant couple cups of apple cider three cinnamon sticks a couple chunks of peeled and slightly smashed ginger (to release the flavor), sugar, juice of one lemon and lemon peel , a little mace, and two days worth of cooking…and the end result is here.

In the end I think I used close to 3 cups of sugar because quince is so tart. And quince is a very hard almost prehistoric looking fruit and halfway through cleaning the quince I wondered if it would be worth it. It is.

It smells and tastes delicious! The butter is thick and velvety, and it is a coral meets red sort of color. It looks very pretty in the canning jars. I had started cooking this yesterday afternoon but then we went out for dinner so I turned off and unplugged the crockpot. This morning I turned the crockpot back on low for three more hours of cooking and this is the end result.

I realize my method of preparing this must be maddening to serious jam, jelly, and preserve makers because I’m a little of this and a little of that in the pot. but it works! I used a couple of recipes as a guide to make sure my proportions were right, but that is about it.

Thanks for stopping by!


coffee talk: gourmesso


So I am an Espresso maniac. I make it old school in the stove top pot, but I do love my Nespresso machine. I am a purist and I do not drink flavored coffees or espressos. The flavored coffees and espressos leave a metallic taste in my mouth. I like the straight bean varietals.

What I do not like about my Nespresso machine is how expensive the name brand Nespresso capsules are. So I have been trying different brand compatible capsules again. I have discovered yet another brand. It is called Gourmesso.

Gourmesso describes themselves as “Italian passion for coffee, combines with German Ingenuity”. At first that made me giggle as I had visions of an Alpha Romeo with a Mercedes Benz engine. However, I had their espresso yesterday for the first time and oh my, it’s not just good. It’s excellent.

The capsules arrive in little boxes and are vacuum packed in little foil packets, a few to each packet. Yesterday I had “Bolivia Pura Mezzo“. My first cup was a straight shot of espresso (pictured above). It was deep and rich and smooth and flavorful. It had that real espresso taste.

And the Gourmesso capsules fit the machine well. I had a second cup that was more my normal Café au lait or cappuccino style – I admit it I have a milk frother and warmer too- Nespresso Aeroccino Plus. (Normally I only have one cup of coffee, this coffee is good enough to tempt me to two!)

I haven’t decided what flavor I am trying this morning. You can order straight from their website www.gourmesso.com and their capsules are on Amazon.com as well. Their capsules start at around $0.45 per capsule. That is a much better deal than Nespresso brand capsules which start at $0.65 per capsule for the traditional capsules.

Ok well I am off to find coffee! Try Gourmesso and let me know what you think!

Thanks for stopping by!


yes, it’s chili night

Here I am supposed to be writing an article and what am I doing?  Cooking and writing about cooking.

Well it is chili night, so I thought I would share.  Not bragging, but mine is good.

Chop up a large onion and 3 cloves of garlic.  Cook down a bit in canola or Smart Balance oil is a large pan or a dutch oven. Salt a little bit to taste.  Maybe 3 tablespoons of oil.  Chop up 1 large or two small red sweet peppers and 1 jalapeno (both peppers should be seeded and the jalapeno should be diced.)

Add a dash or two of dried oregano, chili powder (I use Jayshree Seasonings’ chili powder blend – their spices and blends are worth ordering), smoked paprika, regular paprika.

When onion starts to get that translucent look to it, toss in 1 1/2 of high quality ground beef (as in Black Angus, low-fat content – it makes a difference).

When the beef is starting to brown, taste what you have cooked so far and adjust the salt and add a couple more dashes of chili powder.

Add two 15 oz cans of beans (kidney, white, black, whatever – I use whatever I have EXCEPT not chick peas)

Add a can of tomatoes chopped or tomato puree (depending on the packaging approximately 26 oz or so)

Add a 6 oz can of tomato paste.

Stir it altogether, and once again adjust chili powder and salt as necessary (I like spicy chili).

Chop up some fresh basil, oregano, and cilantro. Stir it in.

Adjust flame to simmer and let chili burble away for about an hour, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick to pan.

Serve as you wish.  I like having crumbled queso fresco, additional chopped cilantro, and sour cream handy.

Freeze the leftovers.