As Madame JoJo commented to me yesterday, the creativity is steadily seeping from my bones. So I spent another rainy morning perusing a favorite foodie blog, CakeWalk, to hunt for inspiration on how best to showcase the rest of the figgies picked yesterday. The BROWN ones.
Unfortunately, any responsibly constructive tendencies I muster up are tempered (as always) with a slight touch of attention deficit that cannot be remedied, even by scoring one of RouBarb’s Ritalins. Instead of settling on how best to use the rest of the lovely figs, I stumbled upon a recipe for Violet Jelly. The flavor of flowers – especially violets and roses – bring back fond memories of sharing scented pastilles with my old (hee) friend Patio, and I longed to have the luxury of a field of violets just ready for the pickin. But this is Houston. In July. Scorched lawns? Yes. Fields of violets? No.
Dried lavender, however, can be found here readily. (What? They’re flowers.) Pictures danced in my mind of a cup of Lady Grey tea served with gorgeous scones blanketed in homemade lavender jelly. CakeWalk had no lavender recipes, and Food in Jars only had one with pears. Delicious sounding, but I was determined to make a flowery, subtly scented jelly. Not pears.
Off to Google!
This is where the plan fell apart. I forgot the cardinal rule of Googling: specificity. I typed “lavender jelly” and expectantly clicked the search icon…to see this:
Way to go, Google.
In the MIDDLE of the page. Sandwiched between actual recipes. Ew, Google. Just…ew.
Lesson #1 learned, though my thoughts of lovely floral jelly with scones and afternoon tea were tainted by Google’s dirty-minded little trick.
Still needing an outlet for my seeping creativity, I decided to fall back on an old standby: Three-Pepper-Lime Jelly.
Once upon a time I was tired of the too-sweet, too-food-colory-green pepper jellies out there, and I asked around for a better recipe. So Oklahoma Me gave me her great recipe for jalapeño jelly (which she found on the internet somewhere – no link, though). My pantry lacked some basic ingredients needed, so I made a few substitutions with great results. Instead of using only jalapeños – Oklahoma Me grows her own in abundance – I decided that a red bell pepper would give lots of color and just a bit of sweetness and a habañero would lend a lovely, short-lasting burn of strong heat.
Don’t be askeered of the mighty habañero.
Do not fear me!
I chopped up all the fragrant peppers and inhaled too deeply while chopping Mr. Habañero. An immediate dry burn hit my sinuses and I sneezed and sneezed and sneezed and sneezed until Little Dog wandered in and asked me WTF?
Fer totes, WTF with all the sneezing?
Lesson #2: Don’t breathe while dealing with monstrously hot peppers (AND Lesson #3: don’t rub your nose vigorously when they’re covered with capsaicin).
Since I was chopping and grating and boiling anyway, I decided to finish off the rest of the brown figgies – some preserved whole (NO idea what to do with whole preserved figs, but they look so pretty) and some into a fig-lemon-ginger jam.
Lesson #4: a canner in motion stays in motion.
The *ahem* fruits of my labors…
So endeth the lessons.