Shakespeare’s done it again.

My mother gave me a wonderful cookbook that started out as a novelty and wound its way into my heart through the use of artichokes. Shakespeare’s Kitchen is a wonderful cookbook that gives you recipes from the olden days of yore that have been adapted for today. They are wonderful for parties and fancy dinners or just indulging yourself in something tantalizing. The following recipe is one of them. I am blogging it the way I have adjusted it because I have made this dish before and know the pitfalls of it.

Chicken and Artichokes:

3 tbsp evoo (extra virgin olive oil)

1 chicken cut up

1/2 c whole wheat flour (i use all purpose)

1/4 c Renaissance stock (I used leftover soup stock that I keep on hand)

3/4 cup white wine (only had red)

1 lemon, unpeeled, diced and seeds removed (this i cut into wedges because it sucks biting into a chunk of lemon expecting chicken)

1/4 tsp ground mace

6 dates, pitted and chopped

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp salt

5-6 artichoke bottoms, cleaned and parboiled (canned work well here)

heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. dredge chicken in flour and brown on all sides. Remove chicken from pan and add the stock, wine, mace, lemon, dates, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and add the chicken and artichokes. Cook for about a half of an hour on med simmer. turn the chicken over and cook for another 15 min or until it is fork tender.

Other dried fruits can be substitued with great success for the dates such as raisins.

Lemons Lemons Everywhere

I have a great cookbook that has over 400 recipes that only have 3-4 ingredients to all of the wonderful dishes. I obviously doctor them up a bit because I like my food to be flavorful and unique. Most of the recipes are perfect as is though. I came across a recipe that requires preserved lemons. After reading about them I discovered that they are basically a lemon that has been pickled almost in a salt brine. Fascinating. The possibilities seem endless to me right now. Salty delicious lemon rinds. Apparently you discard the meat of the lemon and use only the lemon peel in stews, Middle Eastern and Mediterrane dishes and other such dishes. Fascinating.

Here is one method for making them.

How to Make Preserved Lemons


8-10 Meyer lemons*, scrubbed very clean
1/2 cup kosher salt, more if needed
Extra fresh squeezed lemon juice, if needed

Sterilized quart canning jar

* You don’t need to use Meyer lemons, regular lemons will do, it’s just that the milder Meyer lemons work very well for preserving in this way.


1 Place 2 Tbsp of salt in the bottom of a sterilized jar.

preserved-lemons-1.jpg2 One by one, prepare the lemons in the following way. Cut off any protruding stems from the lemons, and cut 1/4 inch off the tip of each lemon. Cut the lemons as if you were going to cut them in half lengthwize, starting from the tip, but do not cut all the way. Keep the lemon attached at the base. Make another cut in a similar manner, so now the lemon is quartered, but again, attached at the base.

3 Pry the lemons open and generously sprinkle salt all over the insides and outsides of the lemons.

4 Pack the lemons in the jar, squishing them down so that juice is extracted and the lemon juice rises to the top of the jar. Fill up the jar with lemons, make sure the top is covered with lemon juice. Add more fresh squeezed lemon juice if necessary. Top with a couple tablespoons of salt.

5 Seal the jar and let sit at room temperature for a couple days. Turn the jar upside down ocassionally. Put in refrigerator and let sit, again turning upside down ocassionally, for at least 3 weeks, until lemon rinds soften.

6 To use, remove a lemon from the jar and rinse thoroughly in water to remove salt. Discard seeds before using. Discard the pulp before using, if desired.

7 Store in refrigerator for up to 6 months.

And now for something completely different.

So I have to admit that I have never been a jam or jelly person.  I just don’t go in for sweets. Never really have. Give me salty pickles, or chips or crunchy stuff and I am a happy woman. However, with the nesting phase of my pregnancy in full tilt I must say that I am a but dumbfounded by my want for learning all about making jam and jelly.

I decided to go with one of the stranger jam recipes that i found and I will be damned if it wasn’t great. I just had my first piece of toast and jam in probably 15 years. Banana Nut Bread Jam. With is delicious sweetness and small bits of walnuts and spice, it makes for a wonderful compliment to any bread. It could also go in the center of a tart or cookie. It is the quickest jam ever. It took about a half of an hour total to make (closer to 45 min with prep and baby stuff.) However, it is soooo good and makes quite a bit of jam.

Here is the recipe. Let me know what you think of it.

  • 10 ripe bananas, pureed(need 3 cups)
  • 1 Tb. lemon juice
  • 4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. toasted walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 box pectin, Sure- Jell
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • Dash of Clove
  • Mix bananas, walnuts, lemon juice, spices, and powdered pectin in a large sauce pan. I ended up using the biggest one I had because of how much it made. Stir while bringing to a full boil. All at once add the two sugars. Stirring continuously, heat until full boiling boil or until it begins to really set. Continue to heat 1 minute. Fill jars to 1/4 inch of top seat with 2 – part lid and ring. Boiling water bath for 10 minutes. makes 8 half pint jars or 4 pint jars of jam.

    So I tried my hand at Jam today

    I looked for a wonderful new way to use up the excess green cherry tomatoes that I have from the garden. I looked for a couple of days on the internet until I finally found something that sounded worthwhile making and I will tell you what. It was worth it.

    Green tomato Ginger Vanilla Jam.

    The recipe will follow. It is a greenish jam that looks like mint jelly but tastes very light and delicate. The recipe called for 4 1/2 lbs of toms but I don’t have that many. I had about a lb of extra so I just reduced the recipe and the result is very nice. I also used lime juice because I had no lemon. You can taste very light notes of both the ginger and the vanilla and it is a wonderful jelly that can be used on many things from crackers and cheese to yogurt to accompanying a breakfast of waffles and peanut butter. Try it out.

    Found at

    Green tomato jam with ginger and vanilla
    Makes about 4 11-oz (300 g) jars

    4 1/2 lbs green tomatoes (2 kg)
    1/2 the weight in sugar of the tomatoes, once the tomatoes have been deseeded and diced
    2-inch chunk ginger, peeled (5 cm)
    1 vanilla bean
    Juice of 1 lemon, organic if possible

    Cut the tomatoes in half horizontally and squeeze out the seeds if they seem to have a lot of seeds. Cut the tomatoes into small dice and weigh them to find out what quantity of sugar you will need. Slice the ginger against the grain and then chop it finely. Slit the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds with a knife, holding each half flat against the board as you scrape.

    Place the tomatoes, sugar, ginger, vanilla bean with its seeds and lemon juice in a large saucepan or a copper jam basin if you have one. Bring to a boil, stirring, then reduce the heat and let the jam bubble happily and reduce until thickened. It should look like a thick, syrupy green tomato sauce, which can take up to 2 hours. To test for doneness, drip some of the liquid onto a cold plate. If it sets, the jam is done.

    Meanwhile sterilize the pots, either by boiling them in a large pot of water for 10 minutes or washing them well and placing them in the oven at 375 F (180 C) to dry for 20 mins. Fill the pots with the jam while both are still very hot. Seal with very clean lids.