Monthly Archives: June 2012

June Gloom and Comfort Food

After a weekend of sauna-like heat, we’ve had a week of cool, foggy, even drizzly days. The first day of summer looked and felt almost like winter, except that the lowering gray skies stayed that way until well into the evening.  So today instead of corn on the cob with dinner, I made a wintery dish from the kernels, a low-calorie corn pudding recipe, again adapted from a recipe I found on line.


1 ½ tb. flour
1 c. fat-free milk
Kernels sliced from 3 ears of corn
3 medium green onions, chopped (I had no green onions, so used about 1/4 c. finely diced spring onions)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dried powdered thyme
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 eggs
½ c. shredded cheddar or other sharp cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 1-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs thoroughly.

Put the flour in a medium saucepan, and gradually whisk in the milk. Add the corn, onions, salt, thyme and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

Gradually beat some of the hot milk mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly, then add the egg mixture to the saucepan off the heat, continuing to stir it until it is completely incorporated. Stir all but 2 tablespoons of the cheese into the mixture. Spoon it into the baking dish, and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Put the corn casserole into a larger baking dish, and once it is in the oven, fill the larger dish with hot water to about 1/3 of the way up the sides of the casserole. Bake until the pudding is just set in the center, about 35 minutes.

Raspberry jam

Our neighbor across the street picks Meyer lemons from our tree and, in exchange, brings us raspberries from her garden.  Of those we can’t eat right away, I freeze some and make jam from the rest.   She brought some berries over on Thursday, and I made jam Friday evening after work; raspberries are very fragile, and you have to use them fast.

I don’t know whether it’s the recipe or her berries, but the jam concentrates and intensifies the berries’ flavor into a sort of essence of all things raspberry, much more intense than any commercial raspberry jam I’ve tasted.  Here’s the recipe I use, based on one I got from the Internet but adapted a bit over time:


6 cups of fresh raspberries

4 cups of sugar

3 tablespoons or so of lemon juice

6 half-pint canning jars with double lids.

Start by boiling the jars in a deep pan or kettle, in water covering them by about an inch.   Near the end of the boil, you can add the lids; they should be boiled only briefly.

Put the raspberries and lemon juice into a stainless steel saucepan or kettle large enough to hold them and the sugar.  Use only stainless steel, because the acids in the fruit will react with aluminum or cast iron and give the jam a metal taste.

Heat the berries and juice, without the sugar, over medium-high heat, stirring a lot to prevent anything from sticking, until the mixture comes to a boil.

Add the sugar, stir it in, and continue boiling it all and stirring a lot until the jam sets.  This part is tricky with raspberries, because the jam sets early and fast, compared to other fruits.  If you wait too long, you’ll have jars of raspberry fruit leather.  (I’ve been there.)  Pink foam will form on the surface of the jam mixture as it boils, and as the jam gets close to setting, the foam will get gradually darker and more gooey.   From time to time, check the status of the jam by dripping a few drops onto a cold plate and tipping the plate so that the jam flows down it.  If the jam is ready, it will congeal and stop flowing as it cools on the plate, and if you run your finger across it it will have a soft but jammy texture.

At this point, hurriedly skim what foam is left from the top of the jam and discard it (or use it later on ice cream.)    Immediately pour the mixture into the sterilized jars, to about 1/4 inch from the top. Wipe any spilled jam from the tops of the jars, put on the lids and bands right away, and tighten the bands to hand-tightness.  You will probably have four full jars plus part of a fifth.

Put the jars of jam back into the kettle you boiled them in, add enough more water to cover them by an inch, bring them to a boil and cook them for five minutes.   Take them out of the kettle, set them on a counter or hot pad, and wait.  Over the next ten or fifteen minutes, as the jam and jars cool, you will hear each lid make a single popping sound.  This means the lids have made an air-tight seal.  Check by gently pressing the top of each jar with a finger; if the jar lid has popped, the lid won’t give when pressed.  If you get a jar that doesn’t seal, or if you have a partial jar after filling the rest, refrigerate it and use the jam in the next few weeks.  The sealed jars will keep a year or more.


Texas toast

My favorite morning news show announced yesterday that Texas is about to institute the highest speed limit in the nation — 85 miles per hour — on one of its freeways. My immediate thought — heaven help me — was, “Oh, good, fewer Texans.”

A little Kipling for a sorry time

“As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man

There are only four things certain since Social Progress began:

That the Dog returns to its vomit and the Sow returns to her mire,

And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the fire.”

Good luck, Wisconsin!