Saturday, July 23, 2016

Easy Blueberry Freezer Jam

Anyone with a free 20 minutes can make freezer jam. What's so great about freezer jam?
- quick
- easy
- tastes fresher and fruity than regular jam
- freezes well
- makes great gifts
- less sugar than traditional jam
- great activity for kids

Right now is blueberry season in Vancouver - I picked up 20lbs (that's right 20lbs!) of these plump and delicious berries last week. We froze a few pounds for winter smoothies and then went into cook/bake mode - sweet fruity, and buttery aromas were filling our kitchen thanks to hours of making  jams, crumbles, pies and cakes.

Today, I'm sharing the freezer jam the kids and I mixed up. Normally, I don't cook the fruit I use in freezer jam but in the case of blueberries a little bit of cooking softens the berry skins and brightens the flavour of the blueberries. Luckily, it only adds a few minutes to the process. 

If you don't like the spices I used or even the lime, just leave them out and you'll have pure, unadulterated blueberry flavour. The jams will last in the fridge for 3 or 4 weeks or place them in the freezer for up to a year.

To crush the berries, I pulse them a few times in my food processor - you want them chunky but broken down a bit.

Special equipment: 4 - 1 cup glass or plastic jars.


4 cups crushed blueberries (about 4-1/2 cups before crushing)
1 package freezer pectin (I use Bernadin pectin)
1-1/2 cup granulated sugar
zest of half a lime
juice of half a lime
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg


  1. Place berries in pan over medium heat.
  2. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together pectin, sugar and spices.
  4. Add berries and lime juice and zest and stir for 3 minutes.
  5. Divide among containers and let sit for 30 minutes to thicken.
  6. Cover and refrigerate or freeze.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Beef Chili Cobbler

Beef Chili Cobbler

This dish is a huge hit in my house. The chili is delicious and, of course, can be tweaked to whatever you like - more spices, different spices, heck even taco seasoning tastes great in it. The biscuits are from Greg Henry's 'Savory Pies' which I reviewed here. You can substitute a different cheese if you like. As you can see, this is quite a versatile dish. 

You can make this dish ahead of time (in the morning or a day ahead). Make the chili, cool and refrigerate (I usually place it in another dish). Make the biscuit dough and refrigerate. I warm the chili first in the pan and continue as directed. 

Special Equipment: 12-inch cast iron pan


2 lbs ground beef
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 medium onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1/2 jalapeno, diced
6 white mushrooms, diced
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 red pepper
1 14 oz can black beans, drained
2 cups beef broth
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce

1-1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup corn meal
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup grated parmesan
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into on inch pieces
1-1/4 cups 2% milk


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.


  1. In the 12-inch cast iron pan, sautee ground beef with salt and pepper over medium-high heat to brown meat. This will take 7-10 minutes.
  2. Add onions, poblano, jalapeno, pepper, mushrooms, cumin, chili powder, paprika, and garlic. Sautee for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add beans, beef broth and tomato sauce.
  4. Simmer for 15 minutes.

  1. Add flour cornmeal, salt, and baking powder to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 10 times to combine.
  2. Add butter, a piece at a time, and pulse until mixture has a sandy appearance.
  3. Add parmesan and pulse another few times to combine.
  4. Add milk and combine on medium-low speed until  coarse dough forms.

Putting it together
  1. Drop batter by the tablespoon or from an 2 inch ice cream scoop onto the chili (about 14 drops).
  2. Place the pan on a baking sheet to catch any overflow and insert into the oven for approximately 25 minutes (mixture is bubbly and cobbler is golden brown).