Weekends Are For Making Things, vol. 1

I don’t think WAFMT will ever catch on as shorthand for “weekends are for making things” but maybe it’s worth a try! This has become a bit of a mantra for me over the last year or so. I make things during the week too, but Saturday and Sunday I often have a lot of time at home alone except for the cat (this is one of the consequences of being married to a chef). Some weeks I read a lot, or go play board games with friends, but often I just Make Things.

This weekend, we spotted these beautiful strawberries at the farmer’s market. I’ve never bought a whole flat before, but it was hard to resist.
strawberries

Armed with all sorts of plans for jam, ice cream, shortcake, etc. we brought home our 6 quarts of strawberries. Then W. had to head to work, so I was on my own with hundreds of strawberries and the remains of a cold. I started by chopping and macerating 2 quarts for the strawberry-vanilla jam from Food in Jars. Another quart got mashed up and chilling with some whipped cream for ice cream (a very old recipe from the New York Times cookbook). This morning we had strawberry muffins, then I tackled the jam again. It was my first time making jam with a) pectin and b) a candy thermometer, and I’m not sure I’m a fan of either. It seemed like it would be easier, but my thermometer doesn’t seem to be totally accurate so I ended up overcooking the strawberry-vanilla jam a bit and the pectin means it will set up really firm.

As if that weren’t enough, I realized I’d only used about half the strawberries! (These were some heaping quarts.) So I washed the jam pot and started again, with a small batch of spicy chipotle strawberry jam inspired by one of my favorite preservers, Hungry Tigress. Yet another pint of strawberries went into a bowl with some sugar to start turning into shrub. Then it was time to churn the ice cream. In between all the strawberries, I put up some preserved limes and pickles, too.

pickles!

There are still nearly a quart of strawberries but I just can’t face it tonight! Time to put the paring knife away and leave the kitchen… I was going to make lamb kebabs for dinner but I have to admit Chinese delivery sounds pretty appealing.

Final tally:

Strawberry things

  • Strawberry-vanilla jam, 3 10-oz Weck jars, 3 half-pints and one partial (a similar recipe is here)
  • Strawberry ice cream, about 1.5 quarts (NYT cookbook)
  • A dozen strawberry streusel muffins (based on Smitten Kitchen’s rhubarb streusel muffins)
  • Spicy strawberry jam, 3 half-pint jars (shhh, don’t tell the USDA – I kind of winged it! 1 quart strawberries, 2.75 cups sugar, juice of a lemon, and 3/4 tsp powdered chipotle)
  • Strawberry shrub (Serious Eats article)

Non-strawberry things

  • Preserved limes
  • Asparagus soup (Jamie Oliver)
  • Eggs Suffragette (1909 recipe from the NYT cookbook – just deviled eggs with anchovy paste in the filling)
  • a jar of pickles (super-quick dills from The Joy of Pickling)
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