Roasted Strawberry-Balsamic Preserves
No special canning procedure needed: this stuff disappears before it could ever go bad. It’s beautiful on toast, stuffed into croissants, drizzled on pancakes, or just spooned right out of the jar. This will make a little over 1 cup of jam, so feel free to increase the quantity: you’ll want to save some for yourself.
- 2 pounds of strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced into halves
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 tablespoon high-quality dark balsamic vinegar
Toss strawberries and sugar in a large bowl until they’re mixed together thoroughly. Set aside and let them macerate for about half an hour. Heat your oven to 250 F.
Spread berries on a 9 x 12 inch baking dish and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. Pop the dish into the oven and bake for 90 to 120 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes or so. You’ll want to bake them until they’re a very dark red, and some of them may have dry edges.
Pour the berries into a bowl and squish them with a potato masher or fork. There will be a fair bit of liquid, so drain that off into a spare jar and set it aside for whatever nefarious purposes you have in mind.
Adjust flavors as desired (add more sugar if you like, or a pinch of spice, even some cracked black pepper…) and transfer into your upcycled jars.
Cashew and Mushroom Pate
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 tablespoon Earth Balance or other vegan margarine
- 4 cups sliced mushrooms (I like to mix portabellos with button, cremini, oyster, and wild mushies, but use whatever you have on hand.)
- 1/3 cup white or yellow onion, minced
- 1 green onion, slivered
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon onion salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dry white wine
Toast your cashews in a dry frying pan until they’re just golden on all sides, then set aside to cool.
Heat your margarine on medium-high heat, then add your minced onion. Reduce heat to medium and stir until they onions go translucent. Add the mushrooms and crank the heat up a bit – you want to brown these babies a little. Once they start to brown, add your garlic, green onion, and spices. Stir well until nearly all liquid has evaporated and it’s all gloriously fragrant.
Pull the mushroom mixture to the sides of the pan and pour your wine onto the exposed pan to deglaze it. Use a spatula to move all the pan’s contents around, scraping gently at the pan’s bottom to release any bits of caramelized deliciousness. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
Add cashews and mushroom mixture to a food processor, then pulse gently until all is chopped up and combined well, but don’t puree it! You’ll want to keep some texture here. Season to taste with salt, add a generous twist of cracked pepper, stir well, and transfer to your jars.
It’s fabulous on toast squares and crackers, as well as cucumber rounds, celery sticks, and green pepper spears.