Desserts, Holidays, Potatoes, Relishes, Jams and Jellies, Side Dishes, Vegetables and Salads

Another Hodgepodge

We’ve had a bunch of things going on in our kitchen the past few weeks, nothing to write an entire blog about so we are going to have another mishmash entry.


I made the best ham I have ever made this year. Not the best holiday ham I have ever had – that honor goes to my Uncle Chris’ Christmas BBQ ham.  My Aunt Sue and I have been known to salt our ham, much to the chagrin of our family members that have not been blessed with our extremely low blood pressure. So, this year, I soaked the ham overnight in a large plastic container filled with water. I changed the  water first thing in the morning and soaked it for a few more hours. My husband was thrilled with how much this reduced the saltiness and I thought it tasted more “hammy” which is a good thing. Next time I think I will soak it at least 24 hours in advance.

Peanut Butter Jelly Bean Cookies

We ended up with oodles of jelly beans thanks to preschool, an egg hunt at Grandma’s and what the Easter Bunny brought. So I decided it was time to finally try Peanut Butter and Jelly Bean Cookies. Not bad. Use your favorite peanut butter cookie recipe (or try this wheat free recipe) and gently press in a few jelly beans before baking (I would have added a few more than the three we added to about a tablespoon of cookie dough). And I mean GENTLY. My sous chef pressed some of the jelly beans all the way through the cookie dough to the pan and after baking they made removing the cookies very difficult. A few days later I came across a recipe on Sara Moulton’s site using coconut and oatmeal that sounds quite delicious.

Community Supported Agriculture

We have had a few deliveries since I last talked about joining Harvest2U. The first few contained a lot of greens, which I found I enjoyed a bit more than when I was a child. One great method of preparation I found was to rinse them, shake lightly but keep some water on them, then chop and cook in a saute pan until the leaves start to wilt. Then add the secret ingredient – Chemical X – oops, I meant garlic jelly to taste.

We also received these two interesting looking ingredients.


vegetable from another planet #1
vegetable from another planet #2

The first is kohlrabi. I chopped it up and added to soup and stir fries. For Easter I made scalloped potatoes and kohlrabi – it was okay, probably not something I would attempt again since it smelled a bit like cooked cabbage (maybe because they are related) which meant I had to eat all of it since the guys wouldn’t even try it.

The second is fennel, which I found plenty of uses for both the white part and the fronds. Besides the soup and stir fries, I also added the both to salads giving them a little licorice flavored kick.

In the last delivery we got some loquats, tiny little orange fruits that tasted kind of like a citrusy apricot. Not sure what else to do or how long they’d stay in the fridge, I made a small batch of loquat jam with a dash of fresh chopped ginger for kick. I don’t know if I got a different variety of loquat, or didn’t cook them long enough, but mine never turned the “deep red” mentioned in the recipe. It still tastes pretty good.

Interesting tidbits:

Local Honey helps alleviate seasonal allergies! Or so says the Internet. No one has done an official peer reviewed study, but it does sound plausible if you think about how honey is made. The bees collect the pollen from local flowers and come back to the hive to make honey. If the honey is not overly processed and still has the bee pollen in it (it is sort of cloudy and NOT clear like most of the stuff you get in the major grocery stores) and you buy locally “produced” the theory is it will be sort of like a vaccine, a bit of the hair of the dog that bit you so to speak. For more info, check out this article on Discovery Health.

And finally here’s a quick follow up on the Kale Chips I mentioned previously.  A recipe in the latest issue of Sunset magazine adds a teaspoon of soy sauce to the olive oil before you toss in the kale and then sprinkles sesame seeds on top in lieu of salt. Gotta try that one!

If you have any suggestions or recipes for jelly beans, kohlrabi, fennel or loquats please share by commenting or sending an e-mail to:

Until next time, happy eating!


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