I like to cook. Sometimes my daughter likes to eat.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Benedictine and Strawberry Refrigerator Jam

Two quick, easy recipes for produce that seems to accumulate by season: cucumbers and strawberries.

Benedictine is a cucumber cream cheese spread from the Southern United States, and I can't wait to try it on a bagel with smoked salmon! So easy, the perfect way to use up those last two Persian cucumbers before they spoil. I made mine with scallions because that's what I had around, I like the flavor and it adds to the green hue:

2-3 Persian cucumbers, peeled and cut into chunks
2 T chopped scallions
8 whipped cream cheese
1/2 t salt

Process the cucumber and onion in a mini food processor till smooth. Strain mixture, shaking the strainer over the sink to drain off excess liquid. Stir cucumber mixture into cream cheese and serve as a sandwich or with bagels and smoked salmon.

Refrigerator strawberry jam is just ridiculously easy. The trick, in my opinion, is the sugar, most recipes call for too much, but even the sweetest strawberries need some sugar to make jam work. I had a scant 4 cups strawberries so I used just 3/4 cup sugar. I use partially refined organic cane sugar, so it is still a bit brown and it has a lovely rich flavor. I buy it in the bulk food aisle but Trader Joe's is exactly the same. I also added ~1 t lemon juice to round out the flavors. I stirred the sugar and cut up strawberries together over medium heat, turned it up when the sugar began to melt and let it do a high simmer for 5 minutes, then I crushed the strawberries with a potato masher and poured it all into a freshly cleaned jar.

Delicious with yogurt, on toast or over ice cream.


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