Weekends are cooking time

Weekends are time for me to do more elaborate / longer cooking. I'm the primary cook-er in the household, so I do cook most every day, but cooking is also relaxing downtime for me, especially when I get to try new things, or things that I don't cook very often.

Yesterday was an errand day in general. We bought 10lbs of peaches and apricots coming back from the Okanagan (at the Mariposa fruit stand in Keremeos, to be exact -- recommended by Chris Rich amongst the sea of fruit stands there). By now, it was time to process them in bulk in some way. So I made peach jam and apricot jam.

I've never made peach jam before. I used this Farmstand Peach Jam recipe, although as always, not exactly. I don't like using pectin, and I don't like to put in too much sugar. I ended up taking out a cup of cut up peaches at the last minute since I wanted to stick them in the freezer, and I think that was the error. Or, just that peaches are quite sweet to start with, and without pectin you can't skimp on the sugar. I had originally intended to also make some spicy peach chutney of some kind - I still have those peaches in the freezer, or I could even just use some of the jam and mix it with savoury ingredients to make it.

Next I made apricot jam. My mom makes this all the time, so I was reasonably sure the no-pectin method would work, and it certainly did. It turned out nice and tart. It was a pleasant surprise to find and use Jens Alfke's apricot recipe - a long time blogger whose feed fell from my reader at some point. So, score 1 for a great recipe (since it uses a formula for fruit-to-sugar) and for re-finding a great writer.

This morning I poached a couple of eggs for breakfast. Rachael is a fan of poached eggs, but I usually just find them too fiddly. I took it upon myself to actually look up some egg poaching instructions and they turned out nicely. In short: the water shouldn't be boiling, turn it off as soon as you put the eggs in, put a lid on it, and 3 minutes is about the right time length.

Wandering up Commercial Drive, I decided today would be a seafood day. So, I've got some Qualicum Beach scallop and side stripe shrimp ceviche marinating in the fridge. Recipe in short:

  • 10 prawns, remove the shell and chop
  • 4 large scallops, chopped
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 1/3 cup red onion, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 tomatillos, chopped
  • juice of 3 limes
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • small red chile, minced
  • 1/3 cup cucumber, chopped

It's marinating now, it may end up gaining some other bits and pieces as I adjust seasonings when it comes out of the fridge.