Jams and Preserve Recipe

So here is my basic jam recipe. Have fun with it.

Fruit Preserves
  1. 4 Cups fruit
  2. 4 Cups Sugar (this can really range from 3-5 Cups depending on the sweetness of the fruit)
  3. 1/4 Cup lemon juice, fresh or bottled
  1. Sterilize your jars.
  2. You can do this in your dishwasher if you have a sterilize cycle. I typically do this while prepping the fruit so the jars stay hot for filling.
  3. You can also boil your jars in your canner. Just simmer them for about 10 minutes at 180 degrees. The problem I have is I use the canner for the water bath.
  4. Tip: put some saucers in the freezer. you can use these to check to see if you jam is ready.
  5. Get your canning pot going. Add water to your canning pot. You will want to have enough water to cover your jars by an inh or two. Set the pot on high cover it, and when it starts to boil lower it to medium to keep a good simmer going.
  6. Add water to a medium sauce pan for your lids. This will ensure they are clean and soften up the sealant. you will want to put them on medium to simmer.
  7. In a medium stockpot, combine the fruit, sugar, and lemon juice; place over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes.
  8. Bring the mixture to a full boil, and cook, stirring frequently, 10 minutes. Place a candy thermometer in mixture, and cook, stirring frequently, until temperature registers 220 degrees. 30 to 40 minutes. While cooking, skim any foam that floats to the surface.
  9. Old school tip: You can add a tablespoon of butter to the fruit mixture. It will knock back the foam and just about eliminate the skimming.
  10. With the temperature at 220 degrees, perform a gel test. Remember those saucers in the freezer? Remove one of the plates from the freezer, and place a spoonful of the jam on it. Return the plate to freezer, and wait 1 minute. Remove plate from freezer, and gently nudge the edge of the jam with one finger. If the jam is ready, it will wrinkle slightly when pushed. If it is not ready, it will be too thin to wrinkle. If the jam does not wrinkle on the first attempt, cook 2 or 3 minutes more, and repeat the gel test.
  11. Once the jam has gelled properly, remove stockpot from heat.
If you jars are in the water bath
  1. Using canning tongs, remove a jar from the simmering water, and empty the water back into the stockpot.
  2. I don't like doing this since pouring the hot water can splash and burn. The dishwasher is much safer.
  3. Place the jar on a clean surface, and insert a canning funnel. Using a ladle, pour the jam through the funnel into the jar; fill to within 1/4 inch of the rim.
  4. Remove the funnel; wipe the rim with a clean damp towel. Very important. clean rim equals good seal!
  5. Using the tongs, lift a lid from the hot water; place lid, sealant side down, on the filled jar. Screw down the band, and tighten firmly, being careful not to force it.
  6. With the tongs, stand filled jar in your canning basket. Repeat with the remaining jam and jars, making sure jars aren't touching and are spaced 1 inch apart.
  7. Lower the basket into the water bath and raise the heat to high, cover stockpot, and bring water to a boil. Process jars in boiling water for no more than 10 minutes. Using tongs, transfer jars to a wire rack to cool completely. Store jam in a cool, dark place up to 1 year.
Good combinations
  1. Peach-Chipotle: Dice up two chipotles in adobo, remove the seeds and add just at the end and let boil for 1 minute.
  2. Peach-Vanilla: split a vanilla bean and scrape the vanilla seeds into the fruit pot. I add the bean too, just remove it when you fill your jars.
  3. Cherry-Cinnamon: Add a couple of cinnamon bark stick to the fruit while you cook it. Take them out when pouring into your jars.
  4. Cherry-Anise: Add a couple star anise to the fruit pot.
  5. Pear-Ancho: 2 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded, soak in hot water until soft and minced.
  6. Apricot-Jalapeño: 2 stemmed, seeded, chopped jalapeños.
  1. Fruit Pectin. You don't really need it, but it will shorten your cooking time. You only bring the fruit to a boil for 1 minute.
  2. Some people use Fresh Fruit Protector to keep the fruit from browning. It's asorbic acid (Vitamin C) which is also in the lemon juice. It's your choice. I don't think it really needs anything beyond the lemon juice.
Before The Paint Dries http://beforethepaintdries.com/

Manhattan Recon Trip Nov 2014

A quick 2 day trip to Manhattan. We flew out Nov 10 and returned Nov 12. I had a training class that was canceled, so we decided to take the days and have a little fun in Manhattan.  Keith in 1st ClassWe hopped on a 9am flight to Newark. We stopped by to see some friends who have a yacht docked at Lincoln Harbor. Then it was off by ferry across the Hudson River to Manhattan. It’s a fun trip if you get the chance. You can take the train from Newark, transfer to the local line and get off right at the Sheraton Hotel. The ferry dock is right there!

Continue reading

Old Fashioned Chocolate Custard Pie

I am starting a new tradition this year. One of Keith’s childhood memories is of his grandmother’s chocolate pie. A dear friend made him one the last couple of years for Christmas. Now it’s my turn. I will make him one every New Years Eve. This is an old southern style custard pie with meringue! There is nothing, I say nothing like a real custard pie. There is no substitute.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie
Pie Crust
  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. ½ teaspoon salt
  3. ⅓ cup shortening
  4. 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
Chocolate Custard
  1. 1 cup sugar
  2. ¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  3. ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  4. ¼ teaspoon salt
  5. 1½ cups whole milk
  6. ½ cup evaporated milk
  7. 4 extra-large egg yolks, beaten
  8. 2 tablespoons butter
  9. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. 5 extra-large egg whites, room temperature
  2. ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  3. ¼ cup sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Prepare Pastry
  1. 1. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut shortening into flour with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas. Push mixture to one side of bowl.
  2. 2. Drizzle 1 tablespoon water along edge of flour mixture. Use a fork to toss some of the flour mixture into water. Move mixture to opposite side of bowl and repeat with 2 more tablespoons of water.
  3. 3. Gather the dough together with your hands. You can add a little more water if the mixture is too dry, but it is best to add as little water as possible. Shape dough into a disk and place on a lightly floured work surface.
  4. 4. Roll dough to ⅛-inch thickness and place in a 9-inch pie plate. Trim excess pastry and fold edges under and crimp. Prick bottom and sides with a fork and bake for 9 minutes, until golden brown. Set pie crust aside to cool and reduce oven to 325 degrees.
Prepare Chocolate Filling
  1. 5. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, unsweetened cocoa, and salt. Gradually whisk in both milks.
  2. 6. Cook, whisking constantly, over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute whisking continuously.
  3. 7. Remove from heat and gradually whisk a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks. Continue to add hot mixture to egg yolks while whisking constantly until approximately ¼ of the mixture has been added to the egg yolks.
  4. 8. Pour egg yolk mixture into the saucepan and whisk well.
  5. 9. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, over medium heat for 3 minutes.
  6. 10. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla extract. Pour chocolate filling into pie crust.
Prepare meringue
  1. 11. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves.
  2. 12. Spread meringue over filling, sealing the edges. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, or until meringue is golden. Cool completely before slicing.
Before The Paint Dries http://beforethepaintdries.com/

Caramel Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Hard Bourbon Sauce

I’ll post a picture soon. I am trying testing this recipe tonight.

Caramel Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Hard Bourbon Sauce
  1. 4 large eggs
  2. 2 (15-oz.) cans pumpkin
  3. 1 1/2 cups milk
  4. 1 cup half-and-half
  5. 1 cup granulated sugar
  6. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  9. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  10. 1 (12-oz.) French bread loaf, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 10 cups)
  1. 1 cup pecans, chopped
  2. 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  3. 1/2 cup butter
  4. 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Bourbon Sauce
  1. 2 cup(s) confectioners' sugar
  2. 2 tablespoon(s) bourbon
  3. 1/2 cup(s) chopped toasted pecans
  1. 1. Prepare Bread Puddings: Whisk together eggs and next 8 ingredients in a large bowl until well blended. Add bread pieces, stirring to thoroughly coat. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill 8 to 24 hours.
  2. 2. Preheat oven to 350°. Spoon chilled bread mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil.
  3. 3. Bake, covered, at 350° for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes.
4. During last 15 minutes of baking, prepare Caramel-Pecan Sauce
  1. Heat pecans in a medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant.
  2. 5. Cook brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and pecans.
  3. 6. Remove bread puddings from oven; drizzle with Caramel-Pecan Sauce. Bake 5 minutes or until sauce is thoroughly heated and begins to bubble.
  4. Optional Hard bourbon Pecan Sauce
  5. You can use this instead of the Caramel Sauce.
  6. In a bowl, whisk the remaining butter with the confectioners' sugar, bourbon, and pecans. Serve the pudding with the sauce.
Before The Paint Dries http://beforethepaintdries.com/

Turkey Tamales

It’s the day after Thanksgiving. Dinner was great and everyone had a wonderful time. You’ve made at least one round of turkey sandwiches, but what else could you do with that left over bird?

Do what we do here in Texas – make tamales! Just think about it, all of that work prepping, seasoning and basting that succulent bird. Maybe you smoked that turkey or deep fried it.  The flavor is great! add some tomatillos, chilis and masa, a little time in the kitchen and you have a great treat that no one will get tired of!

Here’s the recipe I use for Turkey Tamales. A Quick Google and you will find wondrous recipes from Mole Negro Turkey Tamales. I even found one to use up those cranberries by making a Guajillo-Cranberry mole for the tamales.

Feliz Comer!

Turkey Tamales
For the Masa and Corn Husks
  1. 1 (8-ounce) bag dried corn husks
  2. 2 cups dried masa mix for tamales (do not use masa harina)
  3. 5 ounces/ 2/3 cup chilled lard
  4. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  5. Salt
  6. 1 cup cool chicken or turkey broth
For the filling
  1. ½ pound fresh tomatillos, husked
  2. 2 jalapeño or serrano chiles, stemmed (and seeded if desired)
  3. 2 tablespoons chopped white onion, soaked for 5 minutes in cold water, drained and rinsed
  4. 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  5. 6 to 12 cilantro sprigs, plus chopped cilantro for garnish
  6. 1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
  7. 1 cup chicken or turkey broth
  8. Salt to taste
  9. ½ teaspoon crushed dried chipotle chiles or chipotle powder, I'm using Ancho Chili Powder.
  10. 2 cups/ 1/2 pound shredded cooked turkey
  1. 1. Prepare the corn husks: Place in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and use a plate to submerge husks. Soak 1 hour.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, prepare the masa: In a medium bowl, mix masa with 11/4 cups hot water. Let cool.
  3. 3. Combine lard and baking powder in a stand mixer and beat for 1 minute, until light. Add salt and masa in 3 additions, beating at medium-low speed. Gradually add 3/4 cup broth while beating on low speed; beat for another minute or two. Taste for salt. Test to see if masa is aerated enough by dropping 1/2 teaspoon into a cup of water; it should float to the top. Batter should be soft but not runny, holding together on a spoon if you tilt the spoon. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Beat masa again for a couple of minutes, adding remaining broth.
  4. 4. Meanwhile, make the filling: Place tomatillos in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 8 to 10 minutes, flipping them over halfway through, until softened and olive green. Drain and place in a blender. Add green chiles, onion, garlic and cilantro sprigs. Blend until smooth.
  5. 5. Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatillo purée and stir constantly until it thickens and begins to stick to pan, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth, add salt to taste and bring to a simmer; let simmer 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often. Stir in chipotles. Sauce should be creamy and coat the front and back of a spoon. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from heat. Stir in shredded turkey.
  6. 6. Make the tamales: Select 16 corn husks; look for large ones that have no tears. Take a few more and tear into 16 1/4-inch-wide strips for tying tamales. Use some of the remaining husks to line a steamer that is at least 6 inches deep (or a pasta pot with an insert); reserve a few husks in case you need to double-wrap tamales. Add just enough water to the pot to miss hitting the bottom of the basket.
  7. 7. Lay a corn husk in front of you and pat dry. Spread a scant 1/4 cup of the masa into a 4-inch square, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border at pointy tapered end of the husk and a roughly 3/4-inch border on the other sides. Spoon a heaped tablespoon of turkey mixture down the middle of the masa. Pull long edges of husk toward each other and join them so that batter is now wrapped around the filling. Fold the two pinched-together edges over in the same direction and wrap the tamale. If it does not seem well wrapped, wrap in a second husk. Fold pointy end up to enclose the bottom and tie with a strip of husk. The wide top end will be open. Stand tamale up, closed end down, in steamer. Repeat with remaining masa and filling. The tamales should be crowded into the steamer so they remain upright. If they don’t, fill spaces with crinkled foil. If tops stick out from top of steamer, trim with scissors.
  8. 8. Lay unused soaked husks over open tops of tamales. Bring water to a boil, cover pot, reduce heat to medium and steam tamales for 11/2 hours. Meanwhile, bring a kettle of water to a boil to replenish water in bottom of the pot, should it run out (check periodically). Tamales are done when husk comes away easily from the masa; when done, let them sit at least 15 minutes in the pot, uncovered, to firm up. Serve hot.
  1. This recipe scales nicely, I like to bump it a little to make 2 dozen tamales. Keep half and gift half to people I like... 🙂
Before The Paint Dries http://beforethepaintdries.com/

Old School Dinner Rolls

Old School Dinner Rolls
  1. 2 c. whole milk (if you’re in a pinch, you can use 2%, but whole is best. Don’t use 1% or skim)
  2. ½ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  3. 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) butter
  4. 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  5. 2 packages active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp.), preferably bread machine yeast
  6. 2/3 cup warm (105-115-degree) water
  7. 8-9 cups all-purpose flour
  8. 3 beaten eggs
  1. Combine milk, 1/2 c. sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts. Remove from heat. Allow to cool to lukewarm. I usually rub some ice cubes along the sides of the pan or pop the entire pan in a sink full of ice cubes to cool the mixture down because this step can take forever. This step is really important because if the mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast.
  2. While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes. If the yeast hasn’t bubbled, you’ll need to repeat this step–moving on with yeast that hasn’t been activated properly will only end in heartache for you.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 c. flour and milk mixture. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Add yeast mixture and beat on high for 3 minutes. Add beaten eggs. Why should you beat your eggs first? Same reason you should combine your dry ingredients before adding them to moist ingredients when making cookies and cakes–it ensures everything is well-mixed and can be evenly distributed through your dough or batter. If you add the whole eggs, your dough may not be as consistent.
  4. Stir in as much remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough. This dough should be very soft–it will be coming away from the sides of the bowl, but it will still stick to your finger when you touch it. Don’t worry, it will firm up during the rising process. Part of what makes these rolls so good is that they’re so soft and light; if you add too much flour, they will be heavy and dense. Place the bowl in a warm place and cover with a clean towel; allow to rise 1 hour.
  5. Punch down dough. Lightly flour your work surface and turn dough out onto surface. Divide in half.
  6. Spray 2 9×13 glass pans with cooking spray. Roll first portion of dough into a rectangle and then cut it into 12 equal-sized pieces. I like to use a pizza cutter because it has a blade on each side, so it cuts right through dough without sticking to the blade. This dough should be very easy to work with, almost like playdough. Shape each piece into a ball and place in prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough in the second pan.
  7. Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. When dough has about 15-20 minutes to go (depending on your oven), preheat oven to 375.
  8. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden-brown.
  9. When done, remove from oven. Rub a stick of cold butter over the tops of the rolls.
  10. You must now eat one! Now! While it’s hot! Its your reward!
  11. Then pop the rest into a bowl and no one will ever know that you cheated. Makes 2 dozen rolls.
  1. These are the real deal from my childhood. I grew up in a German family in Kenosha, WI. Every time we got together with my cousins, my Aunt Marge made the most incredibly delicious dinner rolls. Soft buttery, slightly sweet, with that comforting yeast smell. If you take the time to make these you will be rewarded. This recipe makes two dozen. We often bake all and gift half away, because seriously we can eat them all.
Before The Paint Dries http://beforethepaintdries.com/

Breakfast Popovers

Breakfast Popovers
  1. Butter, for greasing the pan
  2. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 6 strip good smokey bacon
  4. 1 cup shredded smoked mozzarella (4 ounces)
  5. 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  6. 2 cups milk, at room temperature
  7. 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  8. 2 small green onions, pale green and white parts only, finely sliced to yield ¼ cup
  9. 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  10. 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  11. ½ teaspoon Chipotle Chili powder
  12. ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  13. Maple syrup, for drizzling
  14. Special equipment: One 12-cup nonstick muffin pan, each cup about ½-cup capacity, or a 12-cup popover pan, each cup about ½-cup capacity
  1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Butter the muffin cups.
  2. Cut the Bacon into 1 inch pieces. Add to heated skillet and render til crispy. Remove with slotted spoon to paper towels.
  3. Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons bacon into each muffin cup. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the bacon.
  4. Blend the eggs in a blender until frothy, about 15 seconds. Add the milk, flour, green onions, basil, salt and pepper. Blend until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the muffin cups, filling each cup to just below the rim. Bake, without opening the oven door, until puffed and golden, about 35 minutes.
  5. Place the popovers on a platter and drizzle with maple syrup.
  1. Ms DeLaurentis recipe uses Italian sausage with the following ingredients and directions.
  2. 6 strip good smokey bacon
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. Heat the oil over medium heat in a medium nonstick skillet. Add the sausage and break it into 1/4-to-1/2-inch pieces using a wooden spoon. Cook until brown and cooked through, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds.
Adapted from Adapted from Gina DeLaurentis
Adapted from Adapted from Gina DeLaurentis
Before The Paint Dries http://beforethepaintdries.com/

Chains do not hold a marriage together.

Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads, which sew people together through the years.
Simone Signoret

I wanted to share some pictures from our ceremony in Hawaii. This is why Oct 10 is special to us. Kailua Bay, HI at sunset we held a private commitment ceremony. Only a couple of people even know, but not anymore.




The Antigua & Barbuda Tinman Rohr Triathlon

Jonathan Rohr legacy continues on. The Antigua & Barbuda Tinman Rohr Triathlon this past weekend was a great event. We met many of Jonathan’s friends over the last couple of days. It’s wonderful and heart warming to know how loved Jonathan was. The welcome we received was truly remarkable. From the barbeque the night before the race, where we had the most incredible Jerk Chicken throughout the weekend until we left. Everyone was open and friendly and made us feel a part of the event.

The Tinman Rohr was the brainchild of Antiguan triathletes: Andre Simon, Wayne Henry and Rory Butler along with Jonathan Rohr – a triathlete and American medical student who studied on the island.

The athletes together decided they wanted to start a challenging event on the island that would inspire people and attract some of the world’s best athletes to our shores while offering a fun and exciting way for people to accomplish a half-iron distance triathlon.

I have created some galleries of the photos I took of the event.


The Antigua & Barbuda Tinman Rohr Triathlon, or Tinman Rohr for short, is dedicated to the memory and legacy of a friend and triathlete Jonathan Rohr. In tragic circumstances, Jonathan – a founder of the event – died of a sudden heart failure in his sleep in the months leading up to the inaugural race. Jonathan had been training heavily in anticipation to compete in the first race but tragically never had that opportunity.

Jonathan was a true force in his time in Antigua; he was instrumental in raising the level of triathlon in the country and served as a bond between American medical students and the wider community. He was an inspiration to many in the school and in the sporting community through his continued hard work, determination and positive demeanor.

We’ve returned from our trip with wonderful memories from the event. Here are some I would like to share.


Jonathan’s uncle Jeff Emmons participated in the Triathlon again this year. 20140823-tinman-rohr-0445

Cary Emmons, Jeff’s wife, also participated in the swim. Sybil Shepard, Jonathan’s mother attended as well as his father John Rohr.



It’s time to start adding some recipes

Well, this site has been up for a little while. A lot has changed in my life. I have a new job with the same company. I am really digging it. I am learning Lean Six Sigma, which is basically process engineering to reduce waste. We are traveling a lot. It seems that one of us is traveling about every other week. This is a change for us and it makes for some lonely nights, but change can be good. There is something about missing someone and then getting to see them again which makes like all the more interesting and makes you realize how much you appreciate the ones you love.

I still have hundreds of photos to go through and classify into albums. I need to just start getting to them in the evenings instead of watching the old boob tube.


I also love to cook, so I will be posting recipes to this blog. It will be things we like and want to share. Mostly Vegetarian, but there are some good old comfort food recipes too. I think had i been brought up vegetarian I wouldn’t enjoy eating things I know I shouldn’t. I can say that we have cut down dramatically the meat we consume. It’s maybe once a week, and the portions are usually much smaller. We also go for what we really like and make sure it’s good quality.