Monday, December 17, 2012

Recipes for using our Vinegar and Jam

One of the best ways to taste the true flavors of any specific ingredient is to use it as simply and plainly as possible. When trying a new vinegar or oil in a recipe why not let it shine through purely as possible? I myself will use a spoon and taste ingredients in small dosages to get a real intense, straight shot of a new ingredient. However this does overwhelm the palate and in times of doubt about an ingredient can be a rather bold commitment for your senses.

For ages many cultures have have used vinegar as a health tonic. Raw-unpasteurized apple vinegar such as Spoiled Rotten Apple is considered a living food filled with many possibilities for both internal and external well being. To get you started in your research of using vinegar in such a way try the recipe below.

Energy Drink
yields a full days serving
*For a natural energy boost and cleanse sip this recipe throughout your day. Warm or cold.

1 quart purified water
3 sprigs organic peppermint (stems & all)
raw, locally harvested honey or agave nectar to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a pitcher large enough to comfortably hold ingredients. As you add your honey or agave nectar stir mixture to help dissolve and incorporate flavors. 
It is best to allow the mixture to be kept in tact as you drink from the pitcher through the day. However if you prefer to strain the mint out of your beverage I suggest letting the mixture "steep" for at least one hour before you strain.
Serve chilled or gently warmed.

*In the recipes you will read from our kitchen note that when "salt" is called for we are referring to Kosher Salt. Any other kind of salt will be listed in the ingredients.

Basic Vinaigrette
yields 1 1/2 cup
* A good building block recipe to start with and then soon throw out as soon as you are using whimsy.

*Combine the following ingredients into a small bowl for whisking or what mechanical device you brandish.
1/2 cup Spoiled Rotten Vinegar (any variety) or any vinegar you prefer
1 small shallot, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (try not to make this an optional element)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
 *Reserve the following.
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil *For Spoiled Rotten Vinegar I prefer an olive oil blend or other light flavored oil.

While whisking athletically, slowly drizzle in the oil. Emulsifying is your goal. If using a machine such as a blender or food processor, combine the first group of ingredients in your machine and while motor is running slowly drizzle in the oil.
When smooth taste for seasoning. Ready to use or store in your refrigerator. 

Blackstrap Vinegar Reduction or Glaze 
yields 1/4 cup thick syrup
*A fun and useful condiment for a wide variety of dishes. Use as a finishing drizzle on roasted meats and vegetables or composed salads, cheese platters or on fresh berries over vanilla bean ice cream. Will keep indefinitely in the fridge.

1 teaspoon honey
1/2 small dried bay leaf

Pour the blackstrap vinegar into a heavy bottom saucepan. Over moderate heat, stir int he honey and 1/2 bay leaf. Adjust the heat to maintain a steady simmer and allow the vinegar to reduce slowly.
*You may become impatient or bored during this reduction time but BE CAREFUL!! Do not turn up heat to speed up the process or get sidetracked and forget your reduction to find a hard, burnt black mass STUCK in the bottom of your pan. Keep it slow and low.
Around 20 minutes into reducing time or when vinegar mixture has lost more than half of its original volume, start to watch your pan closely. Allow to cool before use. Store in a sealed jar or container indefinitely in your fridge.
*This reduction is best used at room temp or warmed slightly.

Quick Maple Glaze for Pork & Poultry
yields a scant 3/4 cup
*For best results I would first recommend using this glaze while grilling or roasting. Since the glaze is used near the end of cooking and won't necessarily penetrate into the protein I suggest using smaller & more tender cuts of meats like; Pork loin, tenderloin & chops. Fowl breasts, leg & thighs or a whole small chicken or game bird. 

1/4 Cup Maple Syrup, Pure
1/3 Cup Whole-grain Mustard

Mix maple syrup, mustard & maple vinegar in a small bowl. Apply the glaze to your pork or poultry during the last 10 minutes of grilling or roasting.

Mahi-Mahi Ceviche with Chiles
serves 6 appetizer portions
*The fish called for in this recipe can be substituted with any number of firm, white flesh fish. I suggest using Chilean sea bass (toothfish), blue nose bass, halibut or snapper. Always use the freshest fish you can find to avoid any health concerns or "fishy" flavors. Frozen fish for this purpose is not suggested.

1 pound mahi-mahi filets (cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick strips)
1 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup Spoiled Rotten Chile Vinegar
2 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
1/2 roasted red bell pepper, seeded, peeled and diced small
1/4 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), finely chopped
approx. 12 leaves of fresh cilantro
sprigs of chive tips
Salty crackers or freshly fried corn chips

Combine fish, lime juice, chile vinegar, oregano in a large glass bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Chill until fish turns opaque, stirring occasionally, about 50 minutes.
*It is important not to over marinate or "cook" the fish in this initial step. You want the fish to have just tuned opaque when you know it is time to strain out liquid. By the time the ceviche is finished and ready to serve it will have kept "cooking" in the acid of the lime juice and vinegar. Any prolonged marinating or "cooking" will result in undesirable textures. For this reason although leftovers are safe to eat the following day the texture might be lacking for most palates. There is a tendency for the texture of the fish to become soggy.
Strain almost all of the liquid from the fish, return the fish to the bowl. Stir in onion, jalapenos, bell pepper, and cilantro. Season with salt. Chill for at least 20 minutes and up to 2 hours.

To serve:
Divide the ceviche into 6 martini glasses, small bowls or in small spoons for a passing hor d'oeuvres. Sprinkle the toasted pepitas on the top of each portion finally sprinkling the cilantro leaves and chive sprigs.
Serve with the salty crackers or freshly fried corn chips.

by the Foodinista
This recipe was created by a fellow foodie using our Stuck-Up Rhubarb Bing Cherry Jam. Follow the link on the recipe title to get the whole story and her recipe.


We are always interested in your comments, requests & suggestions. Please contact us at or leave a comment below to share with us.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Stuck-Up & Sometimes Pickled

Here at, Shadow Creek, we have had a great time capturing the summer and autumn 2012 seasons in various ways other than our vinegar. Originally, all of our edible wares started with making jam and pickled items.
A batch of Dapple Dandy jam
family recipe

In the summer of 2011, I got into a jamming fever. An obsession which led to gratuitous holiday gifting and breakfasts laden with our own jams. At this time there was no outlet for the jams, which were simply made in our home kitchen, but the seed was planted that if ever I were to go on making seasonal goodies it might be a worthwhile plan to make them a product legitimately sales worthy.

That first season I made old favorites of mine, choosing my ingredients from the abundant local farmers markets. Just the best produce we could find and very simple traditional recipes.
Pickled Yellow Wax Beans
recipe adapted from Chez Panisse
Vegetables Cookbook

The sound of glass jars clanking and rattling as they were pasteurized filled my house through the midnight hours. Depending on the harvest, my family would be greeted in their dreams with either the sweet aroma of fruit preserves bubbling on the stove or wafts of vinegar and pickling spice creeping from under their door. In any event, a tradition was practiced and a tasty addition to a start-up shop was realized.

The next step would be refinement. In regard to the varieties of items, the quantity of each, and which flavors were most favored; decisions were made to regulate consistency, quality, and obsessive compulsion. I am proud to say that restraint was observed with regards to jamming and preserving in 2012 (this may be directly related to the introduction of making vinegar). Ultimately, the batches were kept small and the variety and flavor was left to the season's offerings at the moment that I had the time to create. Although this method worked well, and the flavors made were well received, I was sad to say goodbye to a couple of my favorites. I would like to take a moment to remember those who cannot be with with us this year.
Tomato Jam

Pickled Okra
with curry

Pickled Yellow Wax Beans
Going into the second year, Cherie and I received some beautiful gifts from our own little farm. Our fruit trees, which were barren when we first moved to the property, all blossomed and grew fruit. A loquat tree led the way in early spring, followed by plum, nectarine, figs and pippin apples. We ate as much of the fruit as we could but some of the abundance found its way to the kitchen.
Fig Butter 2012
Nectarine Salsa 2012

Transforming our pippin apples into
Apple Butter
So by the time the holidays were upon us we had a modest collection of preserves in stock. Being the first year and holiday season for Entropy the shop, we waited in anticipation, wondering if our offerings would find their way into homes. We were happy with our creations and had enjoyed eating our own reserves but hoped that our vision would be received by the public. There are so many delicious and inspired handmade items out in the market now and we were excited to represent the cottage industry tradition.

Shortly after Thanksgiving, my cousin, Heather John Fogarty, included some of our Stuck-Up creations in her blog, The Foodinista. I was so surprised, and very honored, to be featured in her writings and critique. Although she is a relative I believe her fondness of good food and tasteful insights run thicker than blood. This is why her comments on our preserves were such a huge compliment. Needless to say orders quickly started to show up at the shop. It is obvious that Heather has a following and a reputation of knowing good foods. And we are most appreciative.

Now, in the middle of December, Cherie and I have done our share of gift wrapping and shipping. Although this added activity can be tiresome while keeping up with our lives' own demands, we have been so happy to find homes for our handmade goods and vintage finds. We both get a sense of pride and accomplishment knowing that we are helping to supply those in curious need with beauty, pleasure, and taste. I think the hardest task we have is allowing ourselves to let go of some of our treasures.
Jams and Butters waiting for a wrap
All snug in one of Cherie's gift wraps

Cherie and I feel very good about our progress with our shop and our customers. We have stayed true to our vision and honest with our offerings. And, through all of the progress and growth, we find that we are enjoying it more and more. As we learn on this first year of business, we continue to create new elements and experiences for our customers to enjoy. This continual flow of creation and sharing is something we are both drawn to and the best return we could hope to receive from our efforts.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Food Culture

For everyone food is a cultural experience and practice. 

We have respect
Steve, Lisa & Blueberries. Granville, Mass 2012

maintain tradition
Lisa's Bees

We become excited

Desserts at the pass. SF Emabarcadero


A chef preparing for a wedding feast. Emeryville, Ca
Custard and bread
KMK Farms. Kingsburg, Ca
Observe trends

Roasted Pork Loin, Fig Jus

Become Curious
Loquat hunting
In the desire to create
Brooklyn Kitchen
we grow beliefs

Homegrown Swiss Chard. Castro Valley, Ca
and through our experiences
Helping mom catalog seeds

Food is deeply rooted in our feelings.

Birthday Celebration