Purple Kitchen Treats

Over the past few years, I have been working on a cookbook. During this time, I took time off to finish my Master's Degree. Now that I have accomplished that, I am working again on my cookbook, slowly but surely.

However, over the past few months, something interesting has happened...I have received multiple requests for baked goods, particularly my cookies. I am also receiving multiple requests for granola. So, with all these requests in mind, I have started to make my cookies for sale, along with my granola.

My official web site is available, but will be undergoing a significant redesign. Be sure to visit my "official" web site at: http://www.susanshonk.com and watch for some exciting changes.

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,

Saturday, January 15, 2011

365 in 365 - #16 - Strawberry Jam

I will first and foremost acknowledge that I owe y'all the omelet recipe and the heart healthy version of the Walker Family Canadian Pancake.  But first....I have to share this brand new wonderful recipe that was a very "spur of the moment" idea this very afternoon.

My sweet friend Sheri stopped by today and brought me 2 bottles of flavored balsamic vinegar from The Grapevine Olive Oil Company in Grapevine, Texas.  One of them is Blackberry Ginger and the other is Dark Chocolate.  Both are completely amazing alone with a bit of bread for dipping.  Sheri also had Black Currant, which was simply scrumptious.

The minute I tasted the Dark Chocolate balsamic vinegar, all I could think about was strawberries.  Strawberries and chocolate are such a classic flavor combination.  And, I have seen fruit served with a balsamic reduction, but I had not encountered a jam made with the vinegar.  So, before Sheri left, I started a small batch of jam.  What resulted from this simple flavor inspiration was PERFECTION in a pan.

Ladies and gentlemen....hold on to your taste buds...'cause mine ran screaming into the street dancing "nekked" and jumping for joy when I tasted the jam.  WIthout further adieu, may I present:

Strawberry Jam with Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar

1 bag of frozen strawberries, unsweetened (approx. 12 ounces)
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons dark chocolate balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the strawberries, water and sugar in a sauce pan and bring to a slow simmer.  Once the strawberries are soft, mash them with a potato masher being careful not to break them up too much.  Let them simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally.  The liquid should be reduced by about half.  Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and the vinegar and stir to incorporate.  Let cool and it will thicken a bit more.

This will be one of the gifts that I make next Christmas to include in my gift baskets.  I still have to call the Olive Oil Company and tell them about this.  Hmmm....I think I will bring them some next weekend because by then, I am certainly gonna need more vinegar and will have to try some new olive oil flavors.  I'll let y'all know what happens after I visit.

Have a great evening!!!

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