Tag Archives: sauce

Muscadine Jam + O&P’s One Year Anniversary!

Good morning!  And Happy Anniversary to Oysters & Pearls!!

I seriously cannot believe it’s been one year since I started this little ole blog.  It’s been such a fun experience, and I’m so happy I did it.  I love the conversation starter it has become around town, and I love the new people and bloggers I’ve met because of it, whether virtually or in person.  I can’t wait to see what this next year holds!

To celebrate, I was going to make an elaborate cake, or pie, or something that seemed befitting of such a special occasion.  However, that idea completely went out the window when I decided to make jam instead.  Which I suppose is fitting after all.  Simple and as Southern as it gets: Muscadine Jam.

Simple Muscadine Jam | Oysters & Pearls

No, this is absolutely not seasonal.  Muscadine grapes ripen near the end of August, and that’s when I picked these at my parents’ house.  Remember me mentioning that?  Let’s take a trip down memory lane, to a sunnier, warmer, and much tanner time.

Scuppernongs On The Vine | Oysters & Pearls

Muscadines on the Vine | Oysters & Pearls

Muscadine Grapes | Oysters & Pearls

Picking Grapes | Oysters & Pearls

Gold Muscadine Grapes | Oysters & Pearls

Gold Muscadine Grapes | Oysters & Pearls

Grapes | Oysters & Pearls

Both the purple and gold grapes are technically “muscadines.”  I grew up calling them all “scuppernongs.”  I’ve since learned that they are both muscadines, but the gold variety are scuppernongs.  Sort of like, a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not a square.  Ya mean?

Anyway, the absolute best way to eat these grapes is directly off the vine.  Pop the hull and spit out the seeds.

Muscadine Grapes | Oysters & Pearls

Purple and Gold Muscadine Grapes | Oysters & Pearls

Don’t you just feel warmer now?  I think I’m just about over this winter weather and ready for summer again.  Writing this post and editing these pictures from August really sealed the deal, and a reminder of summer through the pictures and the smell of these grapes cooking is exactly what I needed this week.  Is anybody else over winter?

Anyway, last August my Mom and I picked almost 8 gallons of grapes behind my parents’ house.

Purple and Gold Southern Muscadine Grapes | Oysters & Pearls

We washed them, separated them by color, and bagged them up.  I had big plans for jelly.  Or something.

Southern Muscadine Grapes | Oysters & Pearls

But then life got busy and in the way, and in a panic, I stuffed all the bags in our deep freezer.  Whole.  Turns out, that’s okay!  And last weekend, I got around to doing something with some of them.

Scuppernong Grapes (Muscadines) and Sugar | Oysters & Pearls

Using a recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers, Elena over at Biscuits & Such, I decided I would make a simple muscadine jam with a couple bags of grapes.  It didn’t work out perfectly, and my first two batches of the jam never really set.  However, I’ve since repeated the process a couple more times, figured out how to fix it, but also decided that this happy accident is perfectly all right with me.  Scuppernong Sauce is also the jam.

Scuppernong Grapes for Jam | Oysters & Pearls

Muscadine Jam Recipe
adapted from Biscuits & Such
makes 4 jelly-jars (half pint)

ingredients

– 2 pounds (1 gallon freezer bag full) muscadine grapes (any variety)
– 2 cups raw cane sugar
– juice of two meyer lemons (1 cup)
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 packet Sure Jell Pectin

instructions

In a large sauce pan, combine grapes, sugar, lemon juice, and salt.  Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes until thick.  Stir in pectin and simmer an additional 10 minutes.  Note: this will take longer if you are using frozen grapes.  I put them in the pot frozen, and started the timer once they began to simmer.  Stir often to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot, and smash the grapes against the side of the pot.
In a waterbath or your dishwasher, sanitize jars and lids.
Push the jam mixture through a mesh strainer to create a smooth jam, or leave the grapes intact for a chunky preserve.  I did the former.
Use a spoon or ladle to fill the jars, leaving a 1/4″ headspace.  Wipe the rims of the jars with a cloth and screw the bands down over the lids tightly.  Process jars for 10 minutes in boiling water, then remove to a dishcloth on your counter.  Let sit for 24 hours or overnight.  If any jars do not seal within 2 hours, immediately put them in the refrigerator.

Disclaimer: as with any canning or preserving, there’s always a slight risk of botulism.  If something doesn’t seal, stick it in the fridge.  If you have any concerns whatsoever, toss it.

Meyer Lemons and Sugar for Scuppernong Jam | Oysters & Pearls

I mentioned my happy Scuppernong Sauce accident because it’s awesome.  The problem lies in the straining process.  If you don’t push enough of the jam through a mesh strainer, your “jam” won’t set.  And pushing it through a mesh strainer is no joke.  You will have to do a lot of pushing.  I used the back of a wooden spoon as well as the bottom of a soup ladle.  Try to get as much pulp through as possible if you want a true jam that sets (jells).  However, if you want a delicious summery scuppernong/muscadine syrup/sauce that is delicious on ice cream, in yogurt, or on biscuits, by all means, don’t kill yourself with all that straining.  Because this stuff is the jam, whether or not it actually sets.

Muscadine or Scuppernong Jam | Oysters & Pearls

I am absolutely giddy with the idea of swirling some of this syrupy sauce into a batch of homemade vanilla ice cream this summer.  I can’t think of a more Southern summer dessert.

And have I mentioned it’s divine on a biscuit?

Simple Southern Breakfast- Biscuit with Scuppernong Jam | Oysters & Pearls

That goes for any time of year.  Including the frosty doldrums of this South Georgia winter.

Biscuit with Muscadine Jam | Oysters & Pearls

And although I would love to gift each and every one of my wonderful readers a jar of this Heavenly jam/syrup/sauce, I have another gift for you.  I like to make little labels on jars of jam I gift to those I love, and since I can’t give you the jar, I’ll give you the label.  Just print, write the type of jam you’re giving, and sign it.  It should fit perfectly on the lid of a jelly jar.

You're The Jam Printable | Oysters & Pearls

Because you, my dear readers, are indeed, the jam.  Thanks for making this one of my best years yet.

xoxo

Until Next Time

Natalie’s Hot Sauce

I know you’re probably disappointed that this isn’t a cake post.  I’ll get to that Friday! :)  In the mean time, I’ll catch you up on more pepper posts.

Natalie's HOT!! Sauce Recipe | Oysters & Pearls

As you saw yesterday, I started out with a whole bunch of these Tabasco peppers.  They are HOT!! and so is this sauce.  As much as I love hot sauce, I figured it was about time that I came up with my own recipe.  Thus, Natalie’s HOT!! Sauce was born.

Tabasco Peppers | Oysters & Pearls

The third bag of mystery peppers turned out to be Brazilian Starfish peppers.  They are so pretty, so I added a few of them to the hot sauce too.

Brazilian Starfish Peppers | Oysters & Pearls

The flesh of these Starfish peppers tastes like a spicy-sweet bell pepper, and is awesome.  The membranes bring the heat, though.  They are HOT!! too.

I diced them up and threw them in a Hugh Jass pot with the Tabasco peppers I had left, along with some tomato paste, canned roasted tomatoes, vinegar, garlic, sugar, salt, and onion, and painfully taste-tested my way into hot sauce Heaven.

The Makings of Hot Sauce | Oysters & Pearls

Natalie’s HOT!! Sauce (makes a whole lot of hot sauce)

ingredients

– 3.5 pounds fresh tabasco peppers, washed & de-stemmed
– 5 Brazilian Starfish peppers, washed, de-stemmed, & diced without seeds (could substitute red bell pepper)
– one 14.5 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
– two six ounce cans tomato paste
– 7 cloves of garlic, peeled
– 3.5 cups apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
– 1 teaspoons kosher salt
– 1 cup light brown sugar
– 1 Vidalia onion, diced

instructions

Place all ingredients in a Hugh Jass pot and cook for an hour or so.  When everything is nice and soft, use an immersion blender to blend everything up.  Fill pre-sanitzed jars with sauce, leaving 1/4″ of headspace.  Can keep the jars in the refrigerator, or you can process in a hot water bath (which is what I did).  The combination of plenty of peppers, tomatoes, sugar, and vinegar should be shelf stable for one year due to the high acidity (I processed these for 15 minutes).  I realize not everyone will make hot sauce in such massive quantities, so feel free to adjust these measurements to your taste and a smaller amount of peppers.  I just added to the amount I had and tasted until it was good to me, and now I’m sharing what I did with you.

Natalie's Hot Sauce  | Oysters & Pearls

The day I made this, I took our friend Richard a jar labeled as “Natalie’s HOT!! Sauce.”  We were all over at his house after an engagement party for another friend, and all the boys were dipping chips into it like salsa and yelling “It hurts so good!”

I’d say that’s man-speak for “It’s delicious, and very spicy.”

Natalie's HOT Sauce Recipe | Oysters & Pearls

The rest are off to storage to last us the rest of the year!  My father-in-law, Bruce, gave me this old Jello box.  I love it!

Natalie's Hot Sauce | Oysters & Pearls

We can’t wait to try some of my hot sauce on oysters this fall.  Do you have a homemade hot sauce recipe?  What’s your favorite way to use it?

20130818-170606.jpg

Homemade Pizza Sauce

Now that you’ve seen my most recent kitchen fail, I’d like to backtrack and show you my good pizzas and my homemade pizza sauce, which was a definite success.

Our tomato plants have been really productive this summer, despite all the rain, and in addition to canning four quarts of romas, I also used some fresh romas to make a homemade tomato sauce!  I sort of just winged it with what I had, and it turned our really well.

Homemade Pizza Sauce  | Oysters & Pearls

Homemade Pizza Sauce

ingredients

– 10 to 15 fresh roma tomatoes
– 1 Vidalia onion, minced
– 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 jar tomato paste

instructions

Bring a pot of water to boil and drop the tomatoes into the water.  When the skins split, remove the tomatoes and set aside.  Once the tomatoes have cooled enough to handle, peel the skin off of them.

Heat the oil in a sauce pan, and sauté the onions over medium heat until transparent and soft.  Add the garlic and cook3 or 4 more minutes, being careful not to brown it.  Add the tomatoes and continue to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the sauce is reduced, stirring often and smashing the tomatoes against the side of the bowl.  Add the can of tomato paste to make it more pizza sauce-y.  Cool, and blend with an immersion blender or transfer to a food processor or blender.  Salt and pepper to taste.  This could totally be spaghetti sauce, too, and you could add ground sausage, meatballs, ground beef, etc. to beef it up (pun intended).

Onion & Garlic to Start Pizza Sauce | Oysters & Pearls

Starting the sauce off with onions and garlic.

Tomatoes for Homemade Tomato Sauce | Oysters & Pearls

Add the tomatoes.

Homemade Tomato Sauce | Oysters & Pearls

Simmer and smash.

Homemade Tomato Sauce + Tomato Paste | Oysters & Pearls

Add tomato paste.

Blending Homemade Tomato Sauce | Oysters & Pearls

Blend.

Pizza Crusts with Sauce | Oysters & Pearls

Use sauce to top pizzas.  I use a spoon to put the sauce on the dough, then use the back of the spoon to spread it around.

Freshly Shredded Mozzeralla Cheese | Oysters & Pearls

Shred fresh mozzarella and top your pizzas.

Caramelized Onion, Prosciutto, & Pickled Okra Pizza | Oysters & Pearls

I topped my pizza with caramelized onions, spicy pickled okra, and prosciutto.  It was awesome!  I like to do a thin layer of mozzarella, then the toppings, then more mozz. It makes sure everything sticks together!

Caramelized Onion, Fresh Jalapeno, & Pepperoni Pizza | Oysters & Pearls

Wheat’s pizza toppings consisted of fresh jalapeños, caramelized onions, and pepperoni.  It was delicious, too!

Baking Pizza on Pizza Stone in Oven | Oysters & Pearls

Preheat your oven (woops, should have told you that before!) to 400 degrees with the pizza stone preheating along inside.  Transfer your pizzas on parchment paper to the stone, and bake for 20 minutes.

Caramelized Onion, Prosciutto & Spicy Pickled Okra Pizza | Oysters & Pearls

Yum!  Makes me want pizza right now.  Pizza for breakfast (or any time of day) is totally acceptable in my book.

That redeems me from my sad pizza-calzone-mess, right?

20130818-170606.jpg