Plum and Lemon Preserves

Coming to Michigan has been a wonderful experience. It’s summertime and everything here is so green and vibrant… not at all similar to the dry, hot summers of Southern California. The people are just as lovely as the weather this season, and I’ve had the great fortune of meeting a great number of lovely people so far.

One of the benefits of summer in this area has been the availability of cheap, fresh produce. Finding myself in an adventurous mood today, I decided to make my grandmother’s plum and lemon preserves. It was my first time attempting preserves, and it was much easier than I expected. I am happy to report that the recipe was a delicious success!

I’ve done my best to reproduce the recipe below. My grandmother has a tendency (like many Russians, I think) to eyeball ingredients, so while I’ve done my best to put them into proper American measurements, if you want to reproduce this recipe, you will most likely have to improvise a little on the amounts. One pound of plums makes the amount of preserves in the picture below (i.e. one small jar).

Plum & Lemon Preserves

Tangy… yum!

1 lb plums
2 cups sugar
1.5 cups water
1.5 fresh lemons
juice from half a lemon (optional)

Peel the lemons, and slice up their peels into thin, long strips. Cut the plums in half, pit them, and then cut each half up into thirds. Put plums, lemon peels, water, and sugar into the pot. If your plums are a bit sweet, or if you like your preserves extra tangy (as I do), then mix in the lemon juice as well. If you like your preserves a bit sweeter, forgo the lemon juice and add a little extra sugar instead. Set on low or medium-low heat.

Cook without any covering, stirring every 5-10 minutes to keep the preserves from sticking or burning, until the liquid is thick. One way to test for the liquid’s thickness is to drop a dab onto a plate. If it spreads out, then it’s not ready yet. Cooking should take around 1.5 or 2 hours. Allow to cool (preferably overnight) before serving, and store in the fridge if not using a canning method.

Serve with tea, on bread, on crêpes, or as you would any other preserve/jam.

Two-bite Breakfast

*Takes four or five bites to consume

Perfect for breakfasts on the go, or work lunches.

Today I tried a new breakfast recipe, the Two-bite Breakfast, and just wanted to share my success! These delicious bites of heart-attack are made with cheesy toast on the bottom, bacon strips wrapped around, and one wholesome egg in the middle.

To head in a slightly more healthwardly direction, I recommend low-fat, low sodium bacon (which I prefer anyway) and whole wheat bread. You can also scramble the eggs and add in some veggies for an omelette breakfast cup. The variations possible for this recipe are limitless.

To avoid wasting bread, use one slice per one cup and make bunny-in-a-holes the next day, or cut two holes out of each slice and use the bread scraps for bread pudding.

Since this was my first try at the recipe, I only made a few slight tweaks:

First of all, I didn’t bother separating the egg yolk from any of the egg white, because I like the egg whites as much as the yolks. As a result, my Two-bite breakfast was more like four or five bites.

Second of all, I let the eggs bake for a little bit longer, until the yolk was almost completely hard. This is, of course, a matter of preference. However, having a harder yolk also allows for easier transportation, and these little cups of heaven are just perfect for breakfast on the go, or lunches at work.

Finally, I had four rows of three breakfast cups, so I put four different herbs on top: oregano, tarragon, paprika, and none. I have to say that the tarragon probably tasted the best, with paprika coming in close second. I also used three different cheese combinations along the three rows. The result was that each breakfast cup was unique. =)

The credit for this recipe goes to Meseidy over at Nosherry, and a big thanks to her for posting it online! Mine don’t look as good as the picture on that post, but I think they were just as tasty.