Thursday, August 29, 2013

Summer, Tomatoes and Fish

Several years ago a colleague asked me to make tomato jam to be served with ice cream.  I thought this would be the worst thing I had ever made.  But I grudgingly agreed to make tomato jam for ice cream.  Being the food person that I am, I knew this would not work.   Ha, to my surprise, it was wonderful!  It just goes to show one should always keep an open mind.  You never know what your next surprise might be.

After nursing my bruised ego, I started to think about what a tomato really is, a fruit.  Why not make a jam with it?  While summer is rapidly coming to an end, tomatoes are in full swing.  Your local farmers market should still have a plethora of tomatoes.  Why not grab a few and make tomato jam.

Tomato jam can be spicy, with hot peppers and vinegar and served with meat dishes.  It can also be slightly sweet and served for dessert. 

A note of caution, these jams should not be canned for later use.  It can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.

This is my version of spicy tomato jam that I serve with meat dishes.  If you would like other recipes using seasonal produce, check out Discover Seasonal Cooking on the UNL-Extension food website.  You will lots of great recipes for seasonal produce as well other food information.  We aim to be your one stop source for food information.

Tomato Jam

Serves 4.


2½ cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes or
     1 can (14 ounce) diced tomatoes
cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
1 Tablespoon honey
2 teaspoon minced garlic
teaspoon red pepper flakes


1.  Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

2.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes.

3.  Remove pan from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

We Want Breakfast!

According to a recent report from the Mintel Group, consumers consider breakfast to be the most important meal of the day, even more than lunch or dinner.  Specifically, a 2009 International Food Information Council Foundation's Food and Health Survey found that 93% of Americans consider breakfast to be the most important meal.  In contrast, 87% feel this way about dinner and 81% say the same thing about dinner.  Even though 93% of consumers believe breakfast is important, only 44% eat breakfast everyday.

Now here is a little info to help those non-breakfast eaters think about that morning meal.

An NPR story reported that people who consume breakfast have reduced risk of heart attack.  A study conducted by Harvard School of Public Health, finds that men who routinely skipped breakfast had a higher risk of having a heart attack or dying from coronary heart disease compared to men who ate breakfast.  Even when the researchers accounted for differences in diet, smoking patterns and exercise patterns, there is still an elevated risk of heart attack among the non-breakfast eaters. 

It seems that most Americans want  breakfast-on-the-go.  Hand-held breakfast food is the fastest growing segment of the frozen food market.  Below is a recipe for blueberry muffins to help you get an on-the-go breakfast.  They can be made a head of time, frozen until you are ready for breakfast. These can be made as muffins or muffin tops.

Blueberry Muffin Tops

Makes 12.


6 Tablespoons butter
cup milk
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups all purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh blueberries


1½ Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
¼ cup all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons sugar


1.  Batter.  Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Coat the muffin pans with cooking spray.

2.  Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat,  Remove from heat.  Whisk in milk, whole egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.  Stir to combine.

3.  Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.  Add milk mixture and stir until just combined.  Gently fold in blueberries.

4.  Divide batter among 12 muffin cups.

5. Topping.  Blend together topping ingredients until crumbly.  Sprinkle evenly over batter. 

6.  Bake until golden and crisp, about 18 to 20 minutes.