Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Tomato Jam

Tomato Jam
Receipe submitted by Lisa VanMansum

Makes a classy substitution for ketchup.  Try with burgers, meatloaf, steak or fries!


1 1/2 pounds of good, ripe Roma tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup sugar (the original recipe called for 1 cup! - way too sweet)
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice (adjust with more later)
1 tablespoon fresh grated or finely minced ginger
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon salt (adjust with more later)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 - 1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (add more if you'd like more kick)


Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.

After about 5 minutes of a soft boil, reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is the consistency of thick jam and a lot of the liquid is reduced, about 1 hour, 15 minutes.

Taste and adjust seasoning, then cool and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Recipe submitted by Lisa VanMansum

Monday, September 5, 2016

Santa Barbara, California, 8//20/16

Santa Barbara, California, 8/20/16
We had the pleasure of visiting the Kunin Winery tasting room in Santa Barbara, California this past August. (Pictured left to right, David, Rob, Frank, Janet & Angela)

Penne with Vodka Sauce

Penne with Vodka Sauce

Looking for an easy romantic dinner?  If yes, just add salad, bread, red wine and Italian music!


Kosher salt
Penne pasta (12-ounce)
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 shallots, minced
2 - 3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup  vodka
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
Handful of fresh basil leaves, torn, plus more for topping


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook as the label directs. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta. Empty the tomatoes into a bowl and crush with your hands.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about three minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and stir in the vodka, tomatoes and salt to taste. Return the skillet to medium heat and simmer, stirring often, until the alcohol cooks off, about seven minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about three minutes. Stir in the Parmesan and basil.

Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to combine, adding some of the reserved cooking water to loosen, if needed. Season with salt. Serve topped with more Parmesan and basil.

Serve with salad and bread.

4 servings

Orange Salad

Orange Salad


4 oranges
2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced, fronds reserved
1/2 cup pitted black olives


5 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon, strained
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Fennel fronds (see above)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
Salt and pepper


First make the dressing.  Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, fennel fronds, and fennel seeds, if using, in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cut off peel from oranges, removing all traces of bitter white pith. Cut the flesh into rounds, put them into a large salad bowl, and add the fennel and olives. Mix well. Drizzle the dressing over the salad to taste, and serve.

Serves 4 - 6