Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mixed Berry Microwave Jam

Preserving Fruit

Capture the bounty of summer fruits in a delightfully sweet and berry-packed homemade jam. This Mixed Berry Microwave Jam will disappear on slabs of toasted, buttered bread so quickly that you won't have to perform the scientifically approved process of a hot-water bath canning session to make it last. You can safely enjoy the fruits of your labor for 2-3 months if you keep it refrigerated. Regular shoppers at Jungle Jim's International Market know to stop in the fresh berry section to discover plump raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries just waiting for a chance to become jam! 


Four simple ingredients are needed:  3 cups assorted ripe berries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1½ cups sugar,½ teaspoon butter. We put the butter and lemon juice in the same small bowl.


Crush berries to measure 2 cups (a potato masher works well for crushing).



The berries should be a soupy, chunky mess! You'll enjoy the berry aroma.


Put all the ingredients in a deep microwave-safe bowl. We really like using Pyrex in the microwave. This is an 8-cup bowl.


Place in the microwave (on a plate or paper towels in case of boil-over) and microwave on high 7-8 minutes or until mixture comes to a full boil.



Remove from the microwave and stir the fruit mixture. Microwave again, uncovered, on high for 8-9 additional minutes, stirring 2-3 times, until the jam begins to coat a spoon and droplets are thick when dripped from the side of a spoon (total microwave time will be 15-17 minutes).



Have ready two 8-ounce or one 16-ounce clean jar(s) with lids. Pour into jars, cool to room temperature and refrigerate.


The jam will remain fresh 2-3 months in the refrigerator. This recipe yields approximately 2 cups of jam.



Mixed Berry Microwave Jam

3 cups assorted ripe berries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1½ cups sugar
½ teaspoon butter


Have ready two 8-ounce or one 16-ounce clean jar(s) with lids.

Crush berries to measure 2 cups (a potato masher works well for crushing).

Place 2 cups crushed berries and remaining ingredients in a 2-quart glass measuring cup or 3 quart bowl and stir to combine thoroughly.

Place in microwave (on a plate or paper towels in case of boil-over) and microwave on high 7-8 minutes or until mixture comes to a full boil. Remove from microwave and stir fruit mixture. Microwave again, uncovered, on high for 8-9 additional minutes, stirring 2-3 times, until jam begins to coat a spoon and droplets are thick when dripped from the side of a spoon (total microwave time will be 15-17 minutes).

Pour into jars, cool to room temperature and refrigerate. Jam will remain fresh 2-3 months refrigerated.

Makes approximately 2 cups



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chicken Tacos

Weeknight Tacos

For a spicy weeknight dinner, try this Chicken Taco recipe that packs a big punch of flavor and texture. Tacos make for a great dinner because each person can add their favorite toppings and everyone ends up with a smile on their face. Leftover chicken makes this dish even easier to quickly throw together - grilled, baked or rotisserie chicken will work. The staff at The Cooking School staff at Jungle Jim's International Market love it when we can enjoy testing a taco recipe!


Start by heating the olive oil in an 11-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, salt and pepper and sauté until softened, 3-4 minutes.



Stir in the chili powder, cumin and oregano.



Stir to combine. The aroma is wonderful!


 Add the drained tomatoes and pureed chipotles.


Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a simmer.


Stir in the chicken, cover the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until chicken is heated through, 7-8 minutes. Taste for seasoning and set aside.



An easy way to slice an avocado is to cut it in quarters, Twist and pull them apart. Remove the pit. If the avocado is ripe, the peel will pull off easily. Slice into thin pieces or dice - your choice. Set aside.




Heat a small cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Warm the tortillas one at a time, turning once, until slightly puffy and just beginning to show char marks.


The steamy, fragrant chicken is ready to be stuffed into the charred corn taco shell.


Assemble tacos by spooning some of the chicken mixture over a warmed tortilla. 


Top with avocado slices, cheese, cabbage, cilantro and sour cream. Squeeze lime juice over all, fold your taco in half and enjoy.


Who wouldn't be pleased to enjoy several of these bad boys?! A cold beer and some hot sauce might be in order. Just sayin'.


Chicken Tacos

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
1 14.5 ounce can petite-diced tomatoes, drained
1½ tablespoons pureed chipotle in adobo sauce
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
12 small (5½-inch) corn tortillas
1 large ripe avocado, pitted and sliced
6 ounces crumbled queso fresco or shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
½ cup sour cream
1 lime, cut into wedges


Heat olive oil in an 11-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, salt and pepper and sauté until softened, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin and oregano. Add tomatoes and pureed chipotles and bring to a simmer. Stir in the chicken, cover pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until chicken is heated through, 7-8 minutes. Taste for seasoning and set aside.

Heat a small cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Warm tortillas one at a time, turning once, until slightly puffy and just beginning to show char marks.

Assemble tacos by spooning some of the chicken mixture over a warmed tortilla. Top with avocado slices, cheese, cabbage, cilantro and sour cream, squeeze lime juice over all, fold taco in half and enjoy.


Serves 4

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

White Chocolate Brownies

Brownie versus Blondie

While these squares of delicious, buttery, chewy white chocolate confections were baking, the aroma was tantalizing the office staff at Jungle Jim's International Market. One of the perks of working in the administrative office area is enjoying the delightful aromas wafting out of The Cooking School. If you are partial to sweets, please make these White Chocolate Brownies immediately! As these were baking, Leigh posed the question:  What is the difference between a brownie and a blondie? Many of us assumed that a brownie would be always have cocoa and result in a deep brown chocolate color. Conversely, a blondie would then be any chewy bar that did not use cocoa. The difference actually comes from the type of sugar used - a blondie uses brown sugar and a brownie uses white sugar. Doesn't matter what you call them - these are just plain good! 


Preheat the oven to 325°. Line a 9x13-inch pan with aluminum foil, leaving a little overhang around the edges of the pan. Grease the foil and set aside.

Heat the butter and chocolate, stirring frequently, in a large saucepan over low heat, until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat. As is readily apparent, we used up all our odds and ends of white chocolate. Never waste chocolate!


Using a wooden spoon, stir the sugar into the melted chocolate, then stir in the eggs and vanilla. The mixture will look a little curdled. We have been asked why we specifically use a wooden spoon in our recipes. Leigh favors using a wooden spoon when the batter is stiff; however, you can use your favorite utensil to mix the batter. 



Add the all-purpose flour and salt. Combine thoroughly.


Add the chopped, toasted pecans. Quickly stir just until mixed.



 Pour the batter into the prepared pan.



Bake the brownies 30 - 35 minutes until the top is lightly golden but the center is still somewhat soft when pressed lightly. Let them cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the brownies at least 3 hours. Using the foil, lift the brownies from the pan. Cut into 20 - 25 squares. You can thank us later for bringing these to your attention.




White Chocolate Brownies

1 cup unsalted butter
10 ounces white chocolate, broken into small pieces
1¼ cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans


Preheat the oven to 325°. Line a 9x13-inch pan with aluminum foil, leaving a little overhang around the edges of the pan. Grease the foil.

Heat the butter and chocolate, stirring frequently, in a large saucepan over low heat, until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.

Using a wooden spoon, stir the sugar into the melted chocolate, then stir in the eggs and vanilla. (the mixture will look curdled)  Add the flour, salt, and chopped pecans. Quickly stir just until mixed. Pour the batter into the pan.

Bake the brownies until the top is lightly golden but the center is still somewhat soft when pressed lightly, 30 - 35 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Refrigerate the brownies at least 3 hours. Using the foil, lift the brownies from the pan. Cut into 20 - 25 squares.


Recipe from: Nantucket Open-House Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Baby Back Ribs

A Labor of Love 

As the end of summer draws nigh, The Cooking School at Jungle Jim's staff determined to help our readers send it off with a succulent slab of ribs fit for a culinary finale to the summer of 2014. Baby back pork ribs are a meaty choice for a weekend BBQ. Follow the step-by-step instructions and you will be rewarded with sticky fingers and sloppy grins. For proof of satisfaction, scroll on down for a photo of our panel of taste testers thoroughly enjoying these Sweet Chili and Root Beer Baby Back Ribs! To start, let the ribs sit at room temperature for about 1 hour. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill fire for indirect cooking over low (300°) heat. Let the fun begin!


In a medium bowl, mix the sweet soy sauce (kecap manis), root beer, and both chili sauces. Set aside 1/2 cup of the sauce for serving. Do not be tempted to substitute regular soy sauce for the sweet soy sauce - it is not the same!


Start by removing the silverskin. Silverskin is a tough, chewy membrane that holds the bones together. It takes a little effort to remove it, but it pays BIG dividends in appearance and ease of eating!


Start by inserting a blunt-nose butter knife under the silverskin. Gently wiggle the knife to loosen the silverskin. Make room to get your finger inside to gain hold to loosen the skin enough to get a good grip.


With the aid of a paper towel as a gripping agent, grasp the silverskin and tear it off completely. 


Sprinkle the meat side of the ribs with 2 teaspoons salt. One teaspoon per rack.


Arrange the ribs bone-side down in a single layer over the cool zone of the grill. Close the lid and cook the ribs until tender, about 2-2½ hours. 



The grill temperature should stay at a constant 300 degrees. To test if they’re done, insert a knife into the rib meat—if it slides out without pulling at the meat, they’re ready. The meat should be tender but not falling off the bone.


Increase the temperature of the indirect grill fire to 350°. Remove the ribs from the grill and transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet lined with foil.



Brush the ribs on all sides with the remaining sauce.



Return the ribs to the cool zone of the grill and cook, turning once, until nicely lacquered, about 10 minutes total. If you like your ribs more browned and with a little char, place the racks over the direct heat for 3-4 minutes per side before removing from grill. Let the ribs rest, tented with foil, for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving with the reserved sauce for dipping or for drizzling over the ribs.



Enjoy! It's a tough job testing the finished product, but somebody has to do it.


Sweet Chili and Root Beer Baby Back Ribs

2 racks baby back pork ribs (about 5-6 total), silverskin removed
Kosher salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
1/4 cup root beer
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce, preferably Mae Ploy brand
2 tablespoons hot chili sauce, preferably Sriracha


Let the ribs sit at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare a gas or charcoal grill fire for indirect cooking over low (300°) heat.

Sprinkle the meat side of the ribs with 2 teaspoons salt. Arrange the ribs bone side down in a single layer over the cool zone of the grill. Close the lid and cook the ribs until tender, about 2-2½ hours. To test if they’re done, insert a knife into the rib meat—if it slides out without pulling at the meat, they’re ready. The meat should be tender but not falling off the bone. Remove the ribs from the grill and transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet lined with foil.

Increase the temperature of the indirect grill fire to 350°. In a medium bowl, mix the sweet soy sauce, root beer, and both chili sauces. Set aside 1/2 cup of the sauce for serving. Brush the ribs on all sides with the remaining sauce. Return the ribs to the cool zone of the grill and cook, turning once, until nicely lacquered, about 10 minutes total. If you like your ribs more browned and with a little char, place the racks over the direct heat for 3-4 minutes per side before removing from grill.

Let the ribs rest, tented with foil, for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving with the reserved sauce for dipping or for drizzling over the ribs.

Serves 4-6



Adapted slightly from Fine Cooking magazine

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Grilled Bricked Chicken

Spatchcock....Huh?

This isn't a word we made up, not a swear word or a culinary term you should fear. Quite simply put, to spatchcock a chicken means to split and flatten it for grilling or roasting. There is some technique involved and The Cooking School at Jungle Jim's will demonstrate how easy it is and how delicious a grilled, whole chicken can be. You can use a sharp knife to remove the chicken's backbone, but a good kitchen shears will make this task easier and safer. It's a good kitchen gadget to have on hand and you can visit the Gourmet Galeria inside Jungle Jim's International Market to select one. Foil covered bricks help press the chicken onto the hot grill, helping to cook evenly and quickly. It doesn't have to be a special brick - just a regular brick used to build a house. If you are ready to try something new on the grill, give a spatchcocked chicken a try!


Select a 3 1/2 - 4 pound whole, all-natural chicken. You will need a cutting board, knife and kitchen scissors.


Using scissors or a sharp knife, cut backbone from chicken


You can save the backbone for making chicken stock or you can discard it.


Using scissors or a sharp knife, cut backbone from chicken. If you are making stock, add the wing tips to the backbone. 


Turn the chicken skin-side up and press firmly on breastbone to flatten.


Pull firmly on each leg to pull from socket and press down to flatten.


 The chicken is flattened and ready for the marinade. Set the chicken aside and make the marinade.


Combine juice and zest of lemon and orange, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine. 


Pour the marinade over the chicken, cover and refrigerate 1-24 hours.



When ready to cook, preheat grill to medium for indirect heat (for a charcoal grill, bank coals on 1 side of grill; for a gas grill, leave center 1 or 2 burners off). Remove chicken from marinade.


Place skin-side down over direct heat.


Place bricks on top of chicken. Close lid and grill (approximately 450° heat) for 5 minutes to brown skin. Move chicken to indirect heat (or turn heat off directly under chicken), cover and grill 15 minutes longer.


Remove bricks from the chicken and turn the chicken skin-side up



Replace bricks on the chicken and grill indirectly an additional 20-25 minutes, or until thermometer inserted in thickest part of the thigh registers 170°. Remove the chicken from the grill and allow to rest 10 minutes before cutting into pieces and serving.


A grilled whole chicken is tender and juicy and really very simple to prepare on the grill. Give it a try!



Grilled Bricked Chicken

One chicken, 3½-4 pounds, spatchcocked
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Juice and zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 bricks wrapped in foil


Spatchcock the chicken: Using scissors or a sharp knife, cut backbone from chicken. Turn chicken skin-side up and press firmly on breastbone to flatten. Pull firmly on each leg to pull from socket and press down to flatten. Using scissors or a sharp knife, cut backbone from chicken Set aside.

Combine juice and zest of lemon and orange, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Pour over chicken and refrigerate 1-24 hours.

When ready to cook, preheat grill to medium for indirect heat (for a charcoal grill, bank coals on 1 side of grill; for a gas grill, leave center 1 or 2 burners off).

Remove chicken from marinade, place skin-side down over direct heat and place bricks on top of chicken. Close lid and grill (approximately 450° heat) for 5 minutes to brown skin. Move chicken to indirect heat (or turn heat off directly under chicken), cover and grill 15 minutes longer. Remove bricks from chicken, turn chicken skin-side up, replace bricks on chicken and grill indirectly an additional 20-25 minutes, or until thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh registers 170°. Remove chicken from grill and allow to rest 10 minutes before cutting into pieces and serving.

Serves 3-4