Category Archives: Cooking

Pomegranate Chicken Salad

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Pomegranate Chicken Salad on Croissant

006Last year during pomegranate season I added a couple of my favorite pomegranate recipes, including this one, but I wanted to revisit it again because it is so addictingly good that I have made it about a dozen more times already this year because my trees were so full of pomegranates that even after sharing bags full with all my friends and neighbors, we still have tons to seed and freeze.

Here’s the recipe again.  Try it!  It’s super easy:

  • 13 oz. can chicken breast
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing (adjust to your taste)
  • seeds from one pomegranate
  • 1/2 cup cashew pieces (I like a lot; you could certainly use less)
  • fresh ground pepper

004Mix all the ingredients together and enjoy on your favorite bread or roll.  The pomegranate seeds are a wonderful and unexpected crunch and burst of flavor against the chicken.  I have also tried it with left-over rotisserie chicken, and it worked out great.

If you haven’t discovered the ease of seeding a pomegranate in a bowl of water yet, check out my post on that technique here.

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pomegranate recipes

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pomegranate treeI’ve got a couple pomegranate trees, so each fall, when the gorgeous red fruit is ripe, we try to find new and exciting ways to use pomegranates in our cooking.  But first you have to get all those seeds out of the pomegranate.  This used to be tiresome and messy–until we discovered the best way to seed a pomegranate: in a bowl of water!

pomegranate seeding in waterCut off the crown, then score the pomegranate along the sides (but don’t cut deeply enough to go all the way through) in order to break it apart into pieces.  Submerge the pomegranate in the bowl of water, then split along the scored lines.  Use your fingers to push off the seeds to the bottom of the bowl.  Discard the large peel pieces as you finish with them.  When you are done seeding, any remaining membrane will float (as in the picture above) and is easily skimmed off.  You can seed a pomegranate in less than five minutes!

Now you have lots of lovely, juicy seeds to eat or cook with.  I have put them in salads or served them as a side (we always have both cranberry sauce and a bowl of pomegranate seeds with Thanksgiving dinner).

My favorite creation is a Pomegranate Chicken Salad:

13 oz. can chicken breast
2-3 green onions, diced
1/3 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing (I am just guessing here–I do it to taste; adjust as necessary)
seeds from one pomegranate
1/2 cup cashew pieces (I like a lot; you could certainly use less)
fresh ground pepper

Mix all the ingredients together and enjoy on your favorite bread or roll (crescents are especially nice!).  I have served this many times now, and I always get the best comments.  The pomegranate seeds are a wonderful and unexpected crunch and burst of flavor against the chicken.  Yummy!

Last year we made a pretty fabulous pomegranate sorbet in our ice cream maker, so this year we thought we would try it as an ice cream.  It turned out wonderful.  For these kinds of recipes you need to turn your seeds into juice.  We just pop them in a blender, then run the juice through a strainer.

For the ice cream we used

3/4 c pomegranate juice
juice of one small lemon
1-1/2 c powdered sugar
2 cups heavy cream

Combine the pomegranate and lemon juices, then whisk in the powdered sugar to dissolve.  Add the cream and whisk for several minutes until it starts to thicken.  It will be a pale pink color.  Pour into the ice cream maker and run for 30 minutes.  Freeze to firm up.  Garnish with seeds if desired.

pomegranate-ice-cream

picking pectin

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My mom came over on Saturday to help me tackle two flats of strawberries and our annual freezer jam marathon.  I personally cleaned and cut all two flats of strawberries and did my share of mashing (when I couldn’t persuade my daughter or hubbie to take a turn at the masher).  My mom did all the boiling and mixing.  Together we made 9 batches of jam!!  Whew.  Here’s my share:

Aren’t they pretty?  I could show you all the steps to making freezer jam, but it’s really super easy (clean, mash, boil water & pectin + sugar, mix in berries, pour into jars) and you just need to follow the directions in the pectin box.

What I really want to address, is WHICH pectin to use.  My mom is a big fan of Sure Jell, but it is one of the more expensive ones, so this time I tried Ball Pectin.  Both of the brands were for low or no sugar.  I have also tried other cheaper varieties, but they have not set well.  My mom used 4 boxes of Sure Jell for her flat of berries, and I used one 4.7 oz. container of the Ball pectin.  The main differences were in the proportions.  Each Sure Jell box calls for 4 cups of mashed berries to 3 cups of sugar + 1 cup of water.  You mix the sugar, water and pectin together and bring it to a boil.  This way everything dissolves nicely.  Then you add the strawberries and pour into containers.  Each recipe filled four 8oz. jars (or double of 4oz. jars).  You are also not supposed to double the recipe.

With the Ball pectin, it called for 3 cups of mashed berries to 1-3/4 cups juice or water (we tried it with apple juice) + up to 3 cups of sugar.  We decided to use just under 2 cups of sugar to keep a similar ratio to the Sure Jell.  It tasted plenty sweet.  I like that you can adjust to your personal preferences, even using NO SUGAR at all.  I’m not quite that healthy, so we were fairly generous with the sugar.  In this case, the recipe called for boiling the pectin (3 Tbls. per recipe) and juice, and then adding the sugar (not boiling it), and then the berries.  My mom worried that the sugar wouldn’t dissolve well, but we had no problems.  We made 5 batches with my container of pectin, and it looks like I have about 1 Tbls. left over.  Because we used only 3 cups of berries, each recipe only filled 3 jars.  This meant more work in the long run.  However, the instructions said you CAN double this recipe (up to 10 jars, it says, so I guess you could triple the recipe).  We didn’t try it because my mom said she got in a rhthym of proportions and didn’t want to have to rethink it.  Next time I would definitely try it because that would save a lot of time!

When we were all done, my mom’s Sure Jell jams were pretty well set already.  My Ball jams were still runny.  The Sure Jell calls for setting the jars on the counter at room temperature for 24 hours before freezing.  The Ball wants you to refridgerate for several hours (no more than 24, it says) before freezing.  I put my jams in the fridge overnight, and they were perfectly set this morning.  Most importantly, both jams taste great!  My mom got her Sure Jell on sale for about $3.50 a box (it is often more than that), and I bought my container for about $7 (maybe a little less).  That’s about the double the cost for the Sure Jell for the same amount of jam.  So there you have it.  If you are looking to save a little money, I think going with the Ball pectin is a smart choice.

The best thing, though, is seeing my freezer full of lovely jam for the coming year!

boysenberry crisp

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We have these wonderful thornless boysenberry bushes in our yard, and every year when the berries are ripe, my favorite thing to make is my boysenberry crisp.  (After we graze on the fresh berries as we pick them, of course!)
So today I am going to share my recipe.  It is super easy, and very yummy!  I always get lots of compliments when I bring this dessert to share.

Boysenberry Crisp

  • 1-1/2 cups boysenberries (though I often use even more!)
  • 2 TBS granulated sugar
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg

You could toss the 2 TBS sugar with the berries ahead of time, but I usually skip that step and just dump the berries in my lightly greased cooking pan, then sprinkle the sugar on top.  I don’t even stir it up.  Like I said, I usually use extra berries, enough to cover the bottom of the pan with at least a double layer.  But then we have an abundance of berries to use!  I never increase the sugar, but you can see that it covers sufficiently as is.  Perhaps you may even want to decrease the sugar if you use less berries.  Then I dot 2 TBS of butter on top.

The next part does need to be done in a separate bowl.  Mix the last four ingredients with a fork, until it resembles course crumbs.

I always mix it a little long than I think I should.  You’ll be amazed at how crunchy this topping is!  Just dump it on top of the berries in your pan and pop it in a preheated 350 degree oven.

Bake for 30 minutes.  You can serve it warm with whipped cream or ice cream, but I like it plain, hot or cold.  It is sooooo good!  It’s undoubtedly the fresh berries that are the highlight, but I think the crispy topping complements the berries perfectly.  I also think you could substitute any berries (or combination of berries) you wish.

I completely forgot to take a picture of the dessert when it came out of the oven, but here it is just a little while later after my family (and in-laws) had a serving.  At least they saved me a row to show what it looks like!