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The Best Part of Waking Up Is Realizing It’s Not 2014 Anymore. And Also There Are Coffee Jellies

20 Jan

Happy 2015, ya’ll! How’s it feeling for everyone? Better so far than the pile of fetid garbage that was 2014? Okay, last year wasn’t completely bad, it was just 87% bad on my end. But so far this year’s lookin’ up! I’m ready to feng shui my whole damn life into order!

How I spent New Year's Day. Staring, motionless, at a stranger in a windbreaker and/or lighthouse in the distance.

How I spent New Year’s Day. Staring, motionless, at a stranger in a windbreaker and/or lighthouse in the distance.

Remember when I told you all about my sort-of resolution to ease up on the profanities? Yeah. Let’s f***ing scratch that; for, readers, I am weak, and my need to swear is strong. My new goal is to BUY MORE KITCHEN GADGETS. Lately I’ve been on the hunt for an ice cream maker and a slow cooker, which should be on sale because I feel like most things you can plug into a wall become deeply discounted after Christmas. My boyfriend says I’m forbidden from “bringing any more gadgets into our fun-sized kitchen unless the plan is to get rid of something(s).” It’s sad for my boyfriend that he doesn’t yet understand that I’m not forbidden from doing anything ever, forever. Poor chap. (I also want a kitchen torch, but for what I think are probably obvious reasons to many of you who know me in real life, I have forbidden myself from purchasing one.)

Really the only thing working in my guy’s favor right now is that I am boogie-down broke, due to the fact that I have decided to put the bulk of my earnings toward finally paying off my credit card debt. I am thisclose to doing so, and it simultaneously makes me want to jump for joy and die inside. If you, too, have ever had credit card debt, I trust you understand these contradictory impulses. And no, my debt was not due to an insane kitchen-related shopping spree, or a booze bender–though those would have been damn fun and I would have had no regrets, especially if I was on the booze bender WHILE on the shopping spree. Just thinking of the all the kickin’ baking contraptions I could have had at my disposal makes me wish I had swiped that plastic rectangle all over Chef’s Central instead of at [ENTER BORING, SADLY NECESSARY EXPENSE THAT I COULD NOT BEGIN TO AFFORD AT THE TIME]. Yes, I purposely censored myself on that one, because it really is a pathetically boring list of needs, and you’ll all be sad for me and we just can’t have that.

What we can have? Weird sweets. Yes, friends, it’s time for more of the strange, fancy, gelatinous desserts that have perplexed and awed us all.

Coffee Jellies 

adapted from Saveur

For the jellies

4 cups of strong brewed coffee

3/4 cup of sugar

2 packets (1/4 ounce each) of powdered gelatin

For the whipped cream

1 cup of heavy cream

2 tablespoons of sugar

2 teaspoons of coffee liqueur (optional)

To start, have someone who is obsessed with figuring out how to make a damn-good cup of coffee brew four cups of the stuff for you. In my case, it’s my boyfriend, who has spent countless hours trying to create the perfect cup of joe. I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but whenever I steal a sip of his I am always impressed. Dude knows his stuff.

Place brewed coffee in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, and stir in sugar and gelatin. Bring to a boil, stirring until the gelatin and sugar have dissolved, and remove from heat. Pour mixture into either an 8″ square baking pan or into lightly greased mini-muffin tins. Let chill in refrigerator for at least 4 to 5 hours. If using a baking pan, cut into cubes or desired shapes. If using a muffin tin, just pop these babies out.

For the whipped cream, whisk heavy cream with a stand mixer or hand mixer on high speed until peaks begin to form. Whisk in sugar and coffee liqueur just until combined. Serve jellies in mugs or ramekins and top with a dollop of whipped cream.

Dude… I am not fancy. You all know this. It was a real struggle to try and make these look fancy, so my bad for the weird pictures.

Yes, they're shot glasses. I know.

Yes, they’re shot glasses. I know.

So, verdict? Well, I’m currently BOUNCING OFF THE WALLS. It’s proving difficult to even sit here long enough to finish this post. If you like coffee and drink it often, this is the fun, quirky brunch treat for you and all of your caffeine-loving pals. I, on the other hand, very rarely drink coffee and am therefore quite sensitive to it, which means weird nervous energy for me and lots and lots and lots of run-on sentences for the blog, because it’s my blog and I can’t stop typing and coffee makes me feel WEIRD these days and OHMYGODWHATHAVEIDONE. (Note: I went back and edited this piece hours after coming down off of the extreme caffeine high I was on, and it was NOT pretty. Lots and lots of long, long rants with little to no punctuation. It was actually frightening.)

Oh! So you may not believe me because, like I said, coffee’s not really my thing anymore, but you WILL believe these pictures. Part of the reason I didn’t take a fancy picture of the jellies in a fancy mug was there weren’t enough of them by the time I decided to photograph.

Exhibit A…

THIEF!

THIEF!

See all those empty cups? HE HAD SO MANY. In a couple of sittings How? How people do this?!

Oh, also, peep this:

Notice the weird stream of light shooting out of the tin and up into his hand. The jellies seem to have unlocked some sort of probably scary force on my boyfriend. More to come as story develops.

Notice the weird stream of light shooting out of the tin and up into his hand. The jellies seem to have unlocked some sort of probably scary force on my boyfriend. More to come as story develops.

Empty. In ONE day, this tin was empty (I only managed to get down two jellies before I went completely bonkers and had to stop). I mean, I know the guy likes sweets, but this is a new ballgame. And he didn’t freak out and do eighty jumping jacks, or try to make a four-course meal in the middle of the day, or try to do parkour in a tiny New York City apartment… like a certain someone else. I’m stunned.

The Best Part of Waking Up Is Realizing It’s Not 2014 Anymore. And Also There Are Coffee Jellies

20 Jan

Happy 2015, ya’ll! How’s it feeling for everyone? Better so far than the pile of fetid garbage that was 2014? Okay, last year wasn’t completely bad, it was just 87% bad on my end. But so far this year’s lookin’ up! I’m ready to feng shui my whole damn life into order!
How I spent New Year's Day. Staring, motionless, at a stranger in a windbreaker and/or lighthouse in the distance.

Remember when I told you all about my sort-of resolution to ease up on the profanities? Yeah. Let’s f***ing scratch that; for, readers, I am weak, and my need to swear is strong. My new goal is to BUY MORE KITCHEN GADGETS. Lately I’ve been on the hunt for an ice cream maker and a slow cooker, which should be on sale because I feel like most things you can plug into a wall become deeply discounted after Christmas. My boyfriend says I’m forbidden from “bringing any more gadgets into our fun-sized kitchen unless the plan is to get rid of something(s).” It’s sad for my boyfriend that he doesn’t yet understand that I’m not forbidden from doing anything ever, forever. Poor chap. (I also want a kitchen torch, but for what I think are probably obvious reasons to many of you who know me in real life, I have forbidden myself from purchasing one.)

Really the only thing working in my guy’s favor right now is that I am boogie-down broke, due to the fact that I have decided to put the bulk of my earnings toward finally paying off my credit card debt. I am thisclose to doing so, and it simultaneously makes me want to jump for joy and die inside. If you, too, have ever had credit card debt, I trust you understand these contradictory impulses. And no, my debt was not due to an insane kitchen-related shopping spree, or a booze bender–though those would have been damn fun and I would have had no regrets, especially if I was on the booze bender WHILE on the shopping spree. Just thinking of the all the kickin’ baking contraptions I could have had at my disposal makes me wish I had swiped that plastic rectangle all over Chef’s Central instead of at [ENTER BORING, SADLY NECESSARY EXPENSE THAT I COULD NOT BEGIN TO AFFORD AT THE TIME]. Yes, I purposely censored myself on that one, because it really is a pathetically boring list of needs, and you’ll all be sad for me and we just can’t have that.

What we can have? Weird sweets. Yes, friends, it’s time for more of the strange, fancy, gelatinous desserts that have perplexed and awed us all.

Coffee Jellies 

adapted from Saveur

For the jellies

4 cups of strong brewed coffee

3/4 cup of sugar

2 packets (1/4 ounce each) of powdered gelatin

For the whipped cream

1 cup of heavy cream

2 tablespoons of sugar

2 teaspoons of coffee liqueur (optional)

To start, have someone who is obsessed with figuring out how to make a damn-good cup of coffee brew four cups of the stuff for you. In my case, it’s my boyfriend, who has spent countless hours trying to create the perfect cup of joe. I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but whenever I steal a sip of his I am always impressed. Dude knows his stuff.

Place brewed coffee in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, and stir in sugar and gelatin. Bring to a boil, stirring until the gelatin and sugar have dissolved, and remove from heat. Pour mixture into either an 8″ square baking pan or into lightly greased mini-muffin tins. Let chill in refrigerator for at least 4 to 5 hours. If using a baking pan, cut into cubes or desired shapes. If using a muffin tin, just pop these babies out.

For the whipped cream, whisk heavy cream with a stand mixer or hand mixer on high speed until peaks begin to form. Whisk in sugar and coffee liqueur just until combined. Serve jellies in mugs or ramekins and top with a dollop of whipped cream.

Dude… I am not fancy. You all know this. It was a real struggle to try and make these look fancy, so my bad for the weird pictures.

Yes, they're shot glasses. I know.

So, verdict? Well, I’m currently BOUNCING OFF THE WALLS. It’s proving difficult to even sit here long enough to finish this post. If you like coffee and drink it often, this is the fun, quirky brunch treat for you and all of your caffeine-loving pals. I, on the other hand, very rarely drink coffee and am therefore quite sensitive to it, which means weird nervous energy for me and lots and lots and lots of run-on sentences for the blog, because it’s my blog and I can’t stop typing and coffee makes me feel WEIRD these days and OHMYGODWHATHAVEIDONE. (Note: I went back and edited this piece hours after coming down off of the extreme caffeine high I was on, and it was NOT pretty. Lots and lots of long, long rants with little to no punctuation. It was actually frightening.)

Oh! So you may not believe me because, like I said, coffee’s not really my thing anymore, but you WILL believe these pictures. Part of the reason I didn’t take a fancy picture of the jellies in a fancy mug was there weren’t enough of them by the time I decided to photograph.

Exhibit A…

THIEF!

See all those empty cups? HE HAD SO MANY. In a couple of sittings How? How people do this?!

Oh, also, peep this:

Notice the weird stream of light shooting out of the tin and up into his hand. The jellies seem to have unlocked some sort of probably scary force on my boyfriend. More to come as story develops.

Empty. In ONE day, this tin was empty (I only managed to get down two jellies before I went completely bonkers and had to stop). I mean, I know the guy likes sweets, but this is a new ballgame. And he didn’t freak out and do eighty jumping jacks, or try to make a four-course meal in the middle of the day, or try to do parkour in a tiny New York City apartment… like a certain someone else. I’m stunned.

Champagne Problems On A Jello Shots Budget

13 May

I’m sitting at home along writing this post on a Monday evening, eating Cookie Butter out of a jar, reminiscing about the days when I was single, living alone, and eating various combinations of bad-for-me-and-definitely-not-meal-worthy “snacks” for dinner. As soon as I walked into my apartment from work, I’d wash my hands furiously (this is the one part of my night that has not changed and will not change as long as New York City remains the glorious petri dish of filth that it is), turn on the television, and start dinner– usually a bowl of cereal or something else equally pitiful. I’d zone out in front of a cooking show or a crappy procedural drama, barely paying attention, and then I’d go to sleep at a pathetically decent hour. My life was not that bad, but it was also not that great.
Those are the lame ol’ days that I try to remember when I go through rough periods now. As much as I sometimes miss living alone, I would never trade that for the guy and the life that I very fortunately have now. I’ve got a best buddy who has turned so many of my horrible days around with tiny surprises and giant hugs. I know how sappy I sound, believe me, and I hate me too for it, and believe me when I say that I do realize it could all go away tomorrow. But since my last post, I have had the blues in the absolute worst way for more reasons than I can count– I’ve had a nasty cough for what has felt like forever, I’ve had a million mini-crises related to my professional life, I’ve seen people I love get very hurt, and I’ve had people I love suddenly just sort of disappear from my life without explanation. Writing out what the past was like compared to the present helps sort it all out in my mind. A lot has changed, but things aren’t worse, they’re just different. In some ways (Hi Jimmy!), they’re better.

One of the many tiny surprises.

One of the many tiny surprises.

So, with that in mind, I’m going to hearken back to an earlier post and once again talk about celebration. As rough as life’s been, I’ve been fortunate to still have some things to celebrate, be grateful for, be happy about as of late (see: above Troll, which I will treasure forever, and no, you may not make fun of me for being so dorky about this. Ok, yes, yes you can). For this reason, I believe it is time to pop the bubbly.

Around Christmas, my parents came over to our apartment and very kindly gave my boyfriend and me a bottle of champagne (I guess the correct term would be “sparkling wine” because geography and whatnot, but I’m just going to be comfortable being wrong for the rest of this post, so purists, deal, please). My mom emphasized that we should always remember to celebrate, which was really touching, given that my parents have come to support and champion us even when we haven’t felt the same love elsewhere. I always kept those words in the back of my mind, and we mutually decided to save the bottle for a special occasion.

Then, after realizing that there was no way we’d be able to kill a bottle of Brut in a night, and that neither of us really drinks champagne all that much, and that there are only so many sort-of-mimosas one could make and imbibe, I decided to get creative. CHAMPAGNE. JELLIES.

Champagne Jelly Shots (makes about 18 1-ounce shots) 

2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin

1 cup of boiling water + 2 tablespoons of sugar, more if you’d like this sweeter

1  1/2 cups of champagne/sparkling wine/you know what I mean (Note: if you’d like to keep this booze-free, substitute some sparkling cider)

Raspberries or berries of your choice, if you please

Pour boiling water into a large, heatproof bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over water, and let cool slightly. Pour champagne or whatever bubbly drink you choose over the mixture, then stir gently to incorporate any clumps of gelatin that may have formed. Pour into mold of choice (I used a mini-muffin pan), and place a raspberry or berry of your choosing in the middle of each mixture. Refrigerate for at least an hour, until the jellies have set.

The following is a series of “artistic” photos that we took of these shots, because they’re friggin’ gorgeous looking.

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I feel like the photos don’t even do these justice, but let me tell you, these came out looking magical. The bubbles stayed put, giving these shots a sparkly, glowing look. Oh, so how’d they taste?

Um, AMAZING. The shots were bubbly, only very slightly sweet, and way more fun than just a regular ol’ glass of bubbly. But, uh, just slow your roll a bit with these, or you’ll end up downing five in the span of a minute and then waking up in the middle of the night with a faint recollection of drunk-dialing your parents. Not that that happened. Just saying it could.

Champagne Problems On A Jello Shots Budget

13 May

I’m sitting at home along writing this post on a Monday evening, eating Cookie Butter out of a jar, reminiscing about the days when I was single, living alone, and eating various combinations of bad-for-me-and-definitely-not-meal-worthy “snacks” for dinner. As soon as I walked into my apartment from work, I’d wash my hands furiously (this is the one part of my night that has not changed and will not change as long as New York City remains the glorious petri dish of filth that it is), turn on the television, and start dinner– usually a bowl of cereal or something else equally pitiful. I’d zone out in front of a cooking show or a crappy procedural drama, barely paying attention, and then I’d go to sleep at a pathetically decent hour. My life was not that bad, but it was also not that great.

Those are the lame ol’ days that I try to remember when I go through rough periods now. As much as I sometimes miss living alone, I would never trade that for the guy and the life that I very fortunately have now. I’ve got a best buddy who has turned so many of my horrible days around with tiny surprises and giant hugs. I know how sappy I sound, believe me, and I hate me too for it, and believe me when I say that I do realize it could all go away tomorrow. But since my last post, I have had the blues in the absolute worst way for more reasons than I can count– I’ve had a nasty cough for what has felt like forever, I’ve had a million mini-crises related to my professional life, I’ve seen people I love get very hurt, and I’ve had people I love suddenly just sort of disappear from my life without explanation. Writing out what the past was like compared to the present helps sort it all out in my mind. A lot has changed, but things aren’t worse, they’re just different. In some ways (Hi Jimmy!), they’re better.

 

One of the many tiny surprises.

One of the many tiny surprises.

 

So, with that in mind, I’m going to hearken back to an earlier post and once again talk about celebration. As rough as life’s been, I’ve been fortunate to still have some things to celebrate, be grateful for, be happy about as of late (see: above Troll, which I will treasure forever, and no, you may not make fun of me for being so dorky about this. Ok, yes, yes you can). For this reason, I believe it is time to pop the bubbly.

Around Christmas, my parents came over to our apartment and very kindly gave my boyfriend and me a bottle of champagne (I guess the correct term would be “sparkling wine” because geography and whatnot, but I’m just going to be comfortable being wrong for the rest of this post, so purists, deal, please). My mom emphasized that we should always remember to celebrate, which was really touching, given that my parents have come to support and champion us even when we haven’t felt the same love elsewhere. I always kept those words in the back of my mind, and we mutually decided to save the bottle for a special occasion.

Then, after realizing that there was no way we’d be able to kill a bottle of Brut in a night, and that neither of us really drinks champagne all that much, and that there are only so many sort-of-mimosas one could make and imbibe, I decided to get creative. CHAMPAGNE. JELLIES.

Champagne Jelly Shots (makes about 18 1-ounce shots) 

2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin

1 cup of boiling water + 2 tablespoons of sugar, more if you’d like this sweeter

1  1/2 cups of champagne/sparkling wine/you know what I mean (Note: if you’d like to keep this booze-free, substitute some sparkling cider)

Raspberries or berries of your choice, if you please

Pour boiling water into a large, heatproof bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over water, and let cool slightly. Pour champagne or whatever bubbly drink you choose over the mixture, then stir gently to incorporate any clumps of gelatin that may have formed. Pour into mold of choice (I used a mini-muffin pan), and place a raspberry or berry of your choosing in the middle of each mixture. Refrigerate for at least an hour, until the jellies have set.

The following is a series of “artistic” photos that we took of these shots, because they’re friggin’ gorgeous looking.

SONY DSC

(We kinda ran out of raspberries.)

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC
SONY DSC

 

I feel like the photos don’t even do these justice, but let me tell you, these came out looking magical. The bubbles stayed put, giving these shots a sparkly, glowing look. Oh, so how’d they taste?

Um, AMAZING. The shots were bubbly, only very slightly sweet, and way more fun than just a regular ol’ glass of bubbly. But, uh, just slow your roll a bit with these, or you’ll end up downing five in the span of a minute and then waking up in the middle of the night with a faint recollection of drunk-dialing your parents. Not that that happened. Just saying it could.

A *Very Special Episode* Of Sad Shibow, Featuring A Very Handsome Guest And…Jellied Black Tea With Cardamom (!!!)

1 Mar

Readers! The following is a post I am ridiculously excited to share. I think I’ve mentioned many times that my boyfriend James is kind of a genius when it comes to kitchen stuffs. As you’ll all see for yourselves, mama wasn’t lying. Enjoy, and I’ll see you all back here soon! xo – Sad Shibow

Hi people from over the computer,

Have you ever made Jell-o? Easy, right? Making Jelly is kinda like making Jell-o. You only need a handful of things, really: sugar, pectin, something you want to turn into a jelly, and one or two chromosomes that wear plaid shirts. Since we have all those things, and Sad Shibow let me near the stove Tuesday, we made some jelly from black tea. It was tasty! No kidding. We didn’t have any on hand, but I pictured its sweet jiggle on a Carr’s wheat cracker with some brie. Try it. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed at all. Now, before anyone gets nervous about the doyenne’s absence, know this: Sad Shibow will be watching over you as she was watching over me as I made this. You’ve all seen Star Wars. She’ll be like Obi-Wan Kenobi when he was translucent and blue-ish. But Sad Shibow will be translucent orange-ish and riding on a mid-sized Indian elephant with long eyelashes (Ed. note: All of these things are true. None of these things are untrue). Are you getting all this down? So, don’t quake. This recipe is for everybody. If you can make a cup of tea, you can make this.

Enough foreplay. Together let’s march … jellyward!

Stuff you need:

3/4 cup of sugar
2 tbsp powdered pectin
2 small saucepans
wooden spoon
cardamom seeds
1 lemon
3 bags of your favorite black tea
4 cups of water
glass jar with a lid
Strainer

Other stuff you “need” (for the countrified effect)

A screen, somewhere in your house, that needs mending and is letting in junebugs that are so big that your cat has to chew them for a full thirty seconds before she swallows.
A Straw hat
hyphenated first name (Sybil-May, James-James)
Becoming, at one time or another, a specific shade of green when coveting your neighbor’s new tractor (John Deere Green)
Very firm ideas as to how pie thieves should be punished

Directions:

Fill your small saucepan up with your four cups of water. Set it on the stove, boil it. Turn the flame down lower and put your three teabags in, taking care to strip them of their paper anchors. Cut a lemon wedge and squeeze a little of its juice in. Hull six or seven of the cardamom seeds and put them in there too. Let it all simmer for about ten minutes.

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After the bell rings for the next round, come out swinging, then strain the contents of the saucepan into your other saucepan. Take your lemon. Grind some zest from it into the pan. Turn the heat up again. Get a good boil going then slowly stir in the sugar. Mix it until the sugar disappears into the tea. Next, add the pectin. Stir that in until it disappears.

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At this point you should feel like a magician. Picture yourself in a top hat as you stir the rolling boil for a few minutes. This will cook it down some. Turn off the flame. If you have a funnel, set it over the mouth of your jar and pour the contents in. Fill the first jar up about 3/4s of the way, then put the rest in the other jar.

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Let them sit there and steam for a few minutes. When they stop steaming, put the lids on and put them in the fridge. When they finally cool down, they will turn into… part of breakfast.

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Jelly on brie. Highly, highly recommended.

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BLACK TEA CARDAMOM JELLY.

Forgive me, being here next to this warm oven with this group of even warmer people has made me a little emotional.

Blotting my eyes with the corner of a buttery napkin,

James

Readers, you loved him, didn’t you? I knew you would. This fella is also an extremely talented author of fiction. Please check out his work here: http://jamesvhilger.blogspot.com/.

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