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persimmon tree and jam

In the early spring, I planted a bare-root persimmon tree. The persimmon tree is that stick with a tag on it in the photo above

I planted it because I love to use persimmons on my Harmony Boards in the fall.

The little tree set so many blossoms that I was pinching them off daily.

As the fruit set, I eventually put on netting to keep the birds away.

During one of the recent monsoon storms, part of the netting blew off and ended up high in my Joshua tree on the front side of the house.

This photo shows where the persimmon tree is in relationship to the Joshua tree.

I tried getting it off with the telescoping pole from my pool net, but it is not budging. I guess it’s there to stay.

Anyhow, the fruit I had left on the tree to ripen was weighing down the branches and putting undue stress on the tree, so I picked the majority of the fruit off last week. The persimmons were small, rock-hard and not yet ripe, but I discovered that when I left them at room temperature for a few days, they began to ripen and soften.

The outside was still green but the inside flesh was vibrant orange and sweet. What to do with it all? Jam seemed like the best solution.

I did some research and learned that persimmons do not have a high enough pH value to be safe for water bath canning.

The same article suggested adding another fall fruit, such as pears and plenty of lemon juice. Problem solved.

While I was in Canada with Kim last month, we talked about the dilemma of making jam and all the sugar that is needed. Kim did some research of her own and we learned about Pomona’s Universal Pectin. This brand requires far less sugar.

For instance, I found several pear jam recipes online that used about the same about of fruit as I used in this recipe, but used 4 cups of sugar versus the 1 ½ cups I was able to use because I used Pomona’s Univeral Pectin.

The Pomona’s box also comes with a little packet of calcium powder that you mix with water to activate the pectin. Here is more about the calcium from Pomona’s website:

“Pomona’s Pectin is activated by calcium, so calcium has to be present in the mixture either naturally or added by you. Since most people don’t know the calcium content of their fruit, we recommend a calcium water amount in every recipe to be sure there is calcium in the mixture. If your fruit has calcium in it naturally, you don’t need to add the calcium water.”

One mistake I made was that I didn’t cut the fruit small enough for my small jars. As you can see in the photo above, it wasn’t as much a jam as it was chunky fruit.

To fix that, I transferred the cooked jam to a food processor and used the pulse button to get it to the consistency I wanted. I rectified that in the recipe by called for diced fruit instead of chopped. But if you want do less initial chopping, you can use the food processor after the fact too.

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September 11, 2019   2 Comments

Well, look at me – 3 days in a row!

It’s crazy how often you can post when you have content! Here is the third recipe from Labor Day 2019.

I would absolutely love to have a big shrimp boil one of these days. It’s such an iconic east coast summer meal.

But here in the desert, in the summer, even the thought of standing outside while shrimp boils and then standing over the steaming masses of food poured out in front of you sounds absolutely torturous and horrendous. Maybe in the fall!

Something like any one of these images is the dream. Have a bunch of friends over and just dump it all out for the taking on a long table covered in paper.

This Fall. For Sure!

In the meantime, I made this attempt at a touch of the “shrimp-boil” flavor for our Labor Day BBQ.

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September 6, 2019   No Comments

big burgers

Along with the Corn and Shishito Salad I posted yesterday, I made burgers for the guys on Labor Day. I used one-half pound of 80/20 ground beef for each patty. So yeah, they were BIG burgers! If you’d like to make them more manageable, use about a quarter-pound of beef per patty.

But this recipe is really about the great zippy basting sauce that consists of sweet chili sauce and sriracha. The sauce really makes these burgers sing. Added bonus: Half of the sauce gets mixed with mayo … truly addictive stuff!

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September 5, 2019   2 Comments

Labor Day salad

I had my dad, Connor and Dave over for a Labor Day BBQ and swim this past Monday. Of course, I made a Harmony Board for the occasion.

Another of the dishes I prepared was a quick, easy, healthy and delicious side salad. I’ll be making it again before the summer is over … which, sadly, isn’t for many more weeks here in the desert southwest.

One of the salad’s main ingredients is shishito peppers. Most grocery stores are carrying them now and you can always find them at Trader Joe’s. I forgot to take a photo of the bag before I began slicing the peppers, so this photo is of the bag filled with the stem ends that I was throwing away. Sorry!

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September 4, 2019   2 Comments

5 winners

Many thanks to all of you who played along with the 10th Blogiverary Contest!

Congratulations to our five winners. If you recall, to win you needed to follow Harmony Boards on Instagram and get two of your friends to also follow. So it seems appropriate to share the winners with you by showing their Instagram home page header.

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August 26, 2019   1 Comment

Canada 3.0

My fabulous vacation to the Howard’s Deer Lake in Canada is coming to a close. On one hand, I hate to be leaving so soon, but on the other, I can’t wait to get home to my kitties. That sounds like crazy-cat lady talk, I know, but I hate leaving them home alone for so long.

How about I share images from my trip in today’s post?

You’d like that! Yay, here we go.

2019 Sturgeon Moon

Seriously, this is the only photo I really need to post. So GORGEOUS! Kim woke up early last Friday morning and caught the full moon over Deer Lake. Absolutely Stunning!

The local market in the Village of Ripon had the cutest booth signs above each vendor

We visited a variety of markets during my visit, here are my favorite images.

These tomatoes were delicious and the flesh was so beautiful. The center flesh was blush and slowly turned to yellow.
These cabbages looked like huge roses.
I never see garlic scapes in Phoenix.
Such sweet displays in this little local market!

Another day we drove into Montreal and visited the Marché Jean-Talon.

The sights, sounds and smells at this market rival any in Europe!
Can you image buying this $100 basket of blueberries and making pies and jams and cobblers? Wow!
So many baskets of berries!
Like a beautiful dream!
Eggplant of every variety and color variation.
Fresh summer sweet corn is available at every vegetable stand. Loved this stand of only corn. Look at the dump truck full!
Along with loads of fresh produce that we purchased from the markets, I picked up these unique items for future Harmony Boards.
We saw wild turkeys on most of our drives.

After one afternoon of being out for the morning, we came home to find that two birds had flown into the sliding glass doors along the back of the house.

I was able to save this little guy.
But sadly, this little hummingbird did not make it. Heartbroken!
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August 21, 2019   1 Comment

pretty in purple

As I mentioned in THIS POST, I do a lot of the shopping for veggies for the Crudités Harmony Boards at Sprouts. My favorite produce available there is the orange and purple cauliflower.

I had one last crudités and one final fruidités board to make the weekend before I left town. (Fruidités is a word I coined to mean a half crudités and fruit Harmony Board)

I store all the cheese, meat and fruit for Harmony Boards in my kitchen refrigerator. I store the vegetables in the garage refrigerator. I keep a list in my brain of what vegetables I had on hand, which in hindsight is a mistake.

Anyhow, I went to Sprouts and bought a load of vegetables, including head of purple cauliflower. Then I came home, pulled out the stock from the garage refrigerator and there was a nearly full head of purple cauliflower. Usually, that would not be of concern, but since I was only 48 hours from hopping on a plane… a problem it was.

In my opinion, there is a nearly perfect way to use up extra vegetables and that is in SOUP! Happily, I also had a few leftover purple potatoes. All these purple vegetables made me excited about purple soup.

Of course, I’ve made cauliflower soup before, but never purple soup. Some of you might be thinking, “What about borscht?” Nope, never made borscht, because I despise beets! Sorry, you’ll have to find a recipe for borscht elsewhere.

Roasted Purple Cauliflower and Purple Potato Soup

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August 19, 2019   2 Comments

10th Blogiversary

Ten years with 2,037 posts! That is nearly 204 posts per year – and yes, I know, that calculation required the most basic and easy math. But that adds up to a big bunch of typing, talking, thoughts, cooking, memories, recipes, stories and photographs. I believe this occasion is worthy of a contest! Before I share with you exactly what it is that you have a chance to win and how you can win it, how about a few fun facts from the last 10 years?

Although I’ve had my blog since August 16, 2009, the platform I have it on, WordPress, reset the statistics in April 2013. I’m not sure how or why that happened but I no longer have the stats from August 2009 through March 2013.

With that in mind, here are the stats I have for LesPetites Gourmettes.com:

The most visited post: February 3, 2014

The recipe in that post is for Homemade San Tung “Dry-Fried” Chicken Wings. These are the absolutely scrumptious and addicting wings from San Tung Restaurant which is in the Outer Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco. That is where my darling daughter, Marissa, first lived in when she moved away after college.

  • Total comments: 5,782 comments left by you wonderful people. Thank you for each and every one! Comments are what keep me motivated to keep on blogging.
  • The most commented-on post: “Lost” from 2011 This post is about the death of my younger brother, Andy. Thank you for all the kindness, compassion and comfort you provided to me during not only that sad time but throughout the ups and downs of life that I’ve shared here.
  • The person who has commented the most: Marissa <3
  • The most visited year: 2015
  • The most visited month: March 2015

OK, enough with the stats, let’s get to what we’re all here for … CONTEST TIME!

PRIZE: Five (5) Lucky entrants will join me for a Harmony Board Class. You will learn all the tips and tricks on how a Harmony Board is made. Plus each winner will make a mini-board of her/his own to take home and share, or not share, this is a judgment-free zone!

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August 16, 2019   1 Comment

blogiversary eve

Tomorrow is the 10th birthday/blogiversary of LesPetitesGourmettes.com. There will be a contest. So you really should come back and see what you could win!

In the meantime, I have a couple of random things to share. I am currently in Canada with Kim at the Howard family compound known as Deer Lake. It is situated between Ottowa and Montreal in the Province of Quebec. This time we flew into Montreal. The large structure on the left in the photo above is Olympic Stadium from the summer games of 1976.

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I would show you what I did with the bits and pieces of fruit, veggies and cheese that were in my refrigerator before I left town. Here is a peek inside my carry-on bag.

We had to change planes in Minneapolis, so we found a little lounge table and chairs in the airport and put together our own mini-size travel Harmony Boards to enjoy on the second leg of our flight.

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August 15, 2019   7 Comments

summer’s perfect salad

I had a couple of extra busy weekends with Harmony Board orders. So far this first summer of Harmony Boards has been exactly as expected, slow! But for some reason, the first and second weekends of August exploded.

With that in mind, I may have been a tad overzealous about stone fruit season. First I went to Costco and bought a huge clamshells of peaches, red & Rainer cherries and red plums.

A day or two later I was at Sprouts shopping for purple (a purple soup recipe coming for you soon) and orange cauliflower for Crudités Harmony Boards.

It was then when I saw the extensive variety of stone fruit in season and on sale.  There were pink, red and black flesh plums, yellow plumcots, Jupiter peaches, nectarines, white peaches, etc.

As my vacation to Canada with Kim drew near, I knew I had more stone fruit product on hand than I had orders… oops. I was eating overripe plums for breakfast and snacks. Then it was cherries and peaches for lunch and after-dinner dessert.

While I was finishing up my final orders on the weekend before my flight, I knew I had to do more than snack on the quickly ripening fruit. I invited Connor and my dad over for dinner and made this salad.

* In my next post I’ll show you what I did with the remaining bits and pieces of fruit, cheese and veggies before I escaped the heat.

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August 14, 2019   1 Comment