Thursday, September 30, 2010
I have Layne to thank for this trip down memory lane. "What do I do with apricots?" she asked. Two things instantly came to mind...jam and Sweet & Spicy Chicken Sauce.
Memory #1--Growing up my grandparents lived in a house with a huge backyard and in that backyard was a beautiful apricot tree. My aunt was married under that tree. My sisters, cousins, and I climbed that tree over and over each summer. Family portraits were taken under that tree. Pretend popcorn balls were made from the beautiful blossoms. I love apricots and while they are a very tasty fruit, my love for them probably stems more from my fond memories at papa and grandma's house then it does from the fruit itself. With that being said, there are some wonderful things to make with the tiny, orange fruit.
Let's start with jam. If you've never made freezer jam, go do it now. It's simple, and the rewards are great. My grandma made lots and lots of jam from all the apricots from her tree. I never tired of it!
There are many kinds of pectin, but recently while making peach jam, i found Ball brand pectin, that requires very little sugar. It does call for you to add 100% apple or grape juice, but I feel better about that then I do 6-8 cups of sugar with my 4 cups of fruit. I did end up adding 1 cup sugar, but one cup is doable. So, Layne, if BB really hooked you up with apricots, just follow the instructions from the pectin and jam it, but it will take a lot of apricots so keep that in mind.
Just for fun, if you do make jam, here's a fabulously easy, and seriously fool-proof french bread recipe you can spread that jam all over. Insert drool here... I have my sister-in-law to thank for this one.
French Bread-1 loaf
Mix together the following ingredients and allow the yeast to work for about 5 minutes.
1 1/4 C warm H2O
1 pkg yeast
2 T sugar
Add the yeast mixture to the following.
1 t salt
1 T oil
3 C flour or more (add gradually. you want your dough slightly sticky.)
Knead (I use my kitchenaid), let rise for 40 minutes,then roll out with a rolling pin. Roll up like a jelly roll, place on greased cookie sheet. Slash 5 times, brush with cold water. Raise another 20 minutes (I have let it raise even longer. it just gets lighter and less dense). Brush with cold water again (I don't always do the water brushing steps). seed if you want to and bake for 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees.
For 2 loaves, double everything except the yeast. Use approximately 1 1/2 packages of yeast.
Memory #2--My other set of grandparents are known for a few things in the kitchen; caramels, cherry dump cake, quarters in birthday cake, and Sweet & Spicy Chicken Sauce. The original recipe does not call for apricots, but rather apricot preserve, but personally I think it would be better with the real thing, so give this a try.
Ingredients for Sweet & Spicy Chicken Sauce
4-6 apricots, peeled and mashed (enough to equal 1/2 C)
1/4 C french dressing
2 T finely chopped onion
2 T lemon juice
**1 T packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp pepper
Mix the ingredients together in a pan. Heat until warm. Use to baste the chicken the last 15 minutes of cooking time. We usually grilled the chicken, but you could bake it as well. Serve the remaining sauce on the table and be prepared for the bowl to be empty when dinner is done.
**because the original recipe called for 1/2 C apricot preserves, you may need to adjust the brown sugar if it's too tart for your liking.
Layne, we hope you find these ideas helpful and please let us know what you think!!
P.S. Here's a little treat that I think sounds delicious.