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I’m lucky enough to have a yard bursting with edible plants: an apricot tree, a huge rosemary bush, some sage and lavender, baby lemon and lime trees, and my favorite — a passion fruit bush. All summer (and a little through the winter, too) it blooms with some incredible, vibrant flowers. Once the green passion fruits ripen, they turn an incredible, deep, rich purple and the fruit is full of fragrant orange pulp with dark seeds. The pulp can be strained for the juice, but the real magic happens with the rind.

passionfruitpreserves

From vine to jar.

  • 6 ripe passion fruits
  • 1 lemon
  • filtered water
  • Honey to taste
  • Pectin or unflavored gelatin (optional)

Cut the fruit in half and scoop the pulp into a mesh strainer over a bowl. Place the rinds into a saucepan or large pot and cover with filtered water; add the juice of the lemon. Bring to a boil and simmer, tightly covered, for 1 1/2 hours or until the flesh has plumped to twice its original size and is a deep purple hue.

Remove the rinds, keeping the liquid into the pot. Scoop out the soft flesh and discard the hard peel. Chop the flesh into smaller pieces and return it to the liquid with the honey. Passion fruit can be kind of bitter, so add as much honey as you want to cut the bitterness. Bring the liquid back to a boil for another five minutes.

Passion fruit rind, like apple peel, has a pretty high pectin content, which is drawn out by the citric acid in the lemon juice. I usually add a teaspoon or so of unflavored gelatin to the last boil to help it all set, but if you’re planning to give some to a vegetarian you can either add some more pectin (find it near the canning supplies at the store) or just go without and have a little soupier jar of preserves.

Remember that pulp you strained over a bowl in the beginning? Mash it around a little to get the juice out and dump the seeds. Mix the juice with another sweeter juice (again, it’s a little bitter) and enjoy a tropical drink. If you let it settle in the fridge for a day or so, the syrup separates and you can pour off the clear part and use the concentrated flavor in an ice cream or sorbet base. Got any other ideas for it? Let me know in the comments!

Adapted from Pickles, Jams, & Preserves
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This salsa goes well with a lot of dishes: seared tuna, coconut-crusted fried fish, pork tenderloin… or it’s even great by itself.

This salsa is great with fish, seafood, grilled meat, or alone as a cool salad.

  • 1 ripe mango, diced small
  • 2 Tbs. minced red onion
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and flesh finely diced
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 ripe avocados

Combine everything except the avocados in a medium serving bowl. Chill at least two hours. Just before serving, chop the avocado flesh into 1/4″ pieces and gently mix into the salsa.

A primalized version of a fish’s best friend.

  • 1/2 cup middle eastern yogurt
  • 2 Tbs. chopped dill pickles
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients and serve with your favorite fish recipe.

We gave these edible favorites to friends and family this year in hopes that the gift will last well past the holidays. They’re a good way to give a personal gift to someone for a housewarming, as a thank-you or for a birthday. Print some nice labels and tags for an individual touch.

Include recipe cards for friends and relatives who also like to cook and the gift will last even longer.

This sweet and tangy mustard packs a big punch of flavor. Presented in a pretty jar, it also makes a nice gift.

This beautiful mustard makes a great gift for your favorite foodie. Save some for yourself, though!

  • 2 1/4 cups whole yellow mustard seeds*
  • 3/4 cup whole brown or black mustard seeds
  • 2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups water, plus more as needed
  • 1 large head garlic
  • 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 2 Tbs. salt

Combine mustard seeds, vinegar and 1 1/2 cups water in a large bowl; cover and let stand at room temperature until the liquid is mostly absorbed, at least 6 hours (or up to 24 hours).

About an hour before you’re ready to make mustard, preheat oven to 400°F. Rub off the excess papery skin from garlic without separating the cloves. Slice the tip off the head, exposing the cloves. Place the garlic on a piece of foil, drizzle with oil and wrap into a package. Place the package directly on the oven rack and roast until the garlic is very soft, 40 minutes to 1 hour.

When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze half of the cloves out of their skins into a blender. Add half of the mustard seed mixture and pulse, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary and adding water by the tablespoon as needed to facilitate the blending, until some of the seeds are coarsely chopped and the mixture looks like grainy mustard. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining roasted garlic and mustard mixture, pureeing a little longer this time. Add to the bowl. Stir in honey and salt.

Spoon the mustard into airtight containers and refrigerate.

*Note: With such a large quantity of mustards seeds needed, it’s best to  buy them in bulk. I suggest the Rocky Peanut Company in Detroit’s Eastern Market if you are in the southeast Michigan area.

Adapted from Eating Well

While my bacon fat mayonnaise sounded like a good idea, in reality it was too solid and tasted less like mayonaise and more like, well, bacon fat. This mayo recipe is easy and has a great mayo flavor.

Flavor your mayonnaise to make dipping sauces. Here we've added curry powder (left) and chipotle powder (right) to go with Scotch eggs.

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard powder (or dijon mustard)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 to 1 cup light olive oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, almond oil or macadamia nut oil*

In a small food processor or blender, crack the egg and add the lemon juice. Let it come to room temperature, at least 30 minutes.

Add the mustard powder, salt and pepper, and 1/4 cup of the oil. Combine on a medium speed. Begin to slowly drizzle in the remaining oil, as slowly as you can. Continue to drizzle until you can no longer incorporate any more oil. You may have to stop and shake the container a few times, then restart it to get a little more in.

Store in the fridge. It will keep for a week or so, or until the expiration date of your eggs.

*Nut oils can be very expensive but make for a very delicious mayonnaise. Light olive oil works well, too, and is relatively inexpensive. Feel free to experiment with different oils or combinations of oils. Just be careful to use good oils that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, low in Omega-6 fatty acids. A good summary of different oils can be found at Mark’s Daily Apple.

Here’s a delicious barbecue sauce that doesn’t come loaded with sugar.

Keep a jar in your fridge and you'll be all set for your next backyard barbecue.

  • 1/2 onion, chopped fine
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1.5 cups stock (beef or pork will work)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbs. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. sea salt

Melt the butter on low heat. Add the onions and cook slowly to caramelize them and release some of the sweetness. Once they’re caramelized, add the rest of the ingredients. Cook on low for at least 30 minutes.

Let the sauce cool a little, then puree it in a food processor or blender to make it smooth.

Adapted from Son Of Grok

Tyler’s mom came up with this delicious mix to put in cold-cut rollups. Labne is a thick, Lebenese yogurt that almost approaches a soft cream cheese flavor. It’s in the yogurt area of the grocery store.

There's no need for cheese when you use this spread.

  • 1/2 cup labne
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, put through a garlic press
  • Pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients together, spread on cold cuts.

The name says it all — mayonnaise made with bacon fat rather than soybean oil.

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup liquid bacon fat
Combine the egg yolk, mustard and lemon juice in the small bowl of a food processor or in a blender and process to mix. Season with salt and pepper.
Have the bacon fat liquid, but not hot. With the machine running, very slowly and gradually add the bacon fat until the mixture starts to stiffen and emulsify, about 2 minutes.  Continue to add the fat slowly, pausing to let it combine every so often. Be patient! If the mayonnaise is too thick, just blend in 1 teaspoon of boiling water to thin it. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Originally found in  “Fat” by Jennifer McLagan

This is Tyler’s creation. The roasted flavors in this salsa are fantastic on taco salad.

Roasted green tomatillo salsa

  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 1 serrano pepper
  • 5 jalapeno peppers
  • 10 medium tomatillos
  • 6 cloves garlic (4 for roasting, 2 fresh minced)
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 3-4 limes

Remove the outer wrapping on the tomatillos and rinse them to remove the sticky residue. Place the three types of peppers, the tomatillos and four cloves of the garlic on a baking sheet. Put it under the broiler until the skin on the peppers blackens, about 10 minutes. Turn the peppers to roast the whole surface area. The garlic can be wrapped in foil if you’re worried about them burning.

Once the peppers are fully roasted, peel off the blackened skins and remove the stems but keep the seeds. De-stem the tomatillos. Put the peppers, tomatillos and roasted garlic in a large food processor and puree. Stir in the chopped onion, minced garlic, chopped fresh cilantro and lime juice.