Sunday, December 24, 2017

Two Grandmas ~ one batch of Jam-Jams

We have two kinds of jam-jams in my family. These oatmeal jam-jams were a specialty of my Grandma Jo. The other is a soft brown sugar cookie jam jam. They were the jam jams of my Grandma Irene.

Grandma Jo often put date jam in her jam jams. Grandma Irene usually filled her jam jams with homemade apple jelly. This reflects their two different styles in the kitchen. Grandma Jo liked to make fancy things for which buying dates and making date jam was a perfectly enjoyable step in the process. Grandma Irene had no time for that. She had already put her time into making apple jelly, so that was the perfect filling for her jam jams.
Today in our family, my sister Maureen makes the soft cookie jam jams of my Grandma Irene. They are my dad's favourite cookie ~ Irene was his mom ~ and he still gets a tin of these jam jams for his birthday every year.

As for me, I mix the two: I make Grandma Jo's oatmeal jam jams and fill them with my homemade jam or jelly. Cause I loved my grandmas equally!

Oatmeal Jam-Jams
2 cups flour
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup soft butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup sour milk (mix 1 1/2 tsp vinegar with milk to make 1/2 cup, stir, sit 5 min.)

Grandma’s instructions simply say, "Roll these." To elaborate, mix everything together, form into two balls, wrap in plastic and place it in the fridge to chill for 20-30 minutes.

Using a floured counter and a rolling pin, roll each ball of dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch (1/3 cm). Cut out circles with a cookie cutter or a glass. Re-roll and cut more cookies.

Bake on a cookie sheet for 8-9 minutes at 350 degrees. Cookies should just start to brown.

Transfer hot cookies to a rack to cool. Spread a dollop of jam or preserves on one cookie and press another cookie on top. Store in airtight container. These cookies are crisp when they come out of the oven but the filling will soften them up.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Do Your Magic Gougères

When I was little, my mom made cream puffs as a special treat. I loved how she filled them with clouds of whipped cream that gushed out all over my face and fingers. I thought they were magic. Now that I'm a big kid, I can make that magic myself. And it's really quite easy! Only now, I'm more inclinded to make them savoury with cheese rather than

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Take One BIG Zucchini...

I like a recipe that starts: "Take one big zucchini..." Or, you might say, "Prenez une grande courgette..." because this recipe is from France. It was included in a tourist brochure I picked up somewhere in the south of France in 1998. Wow, almost twenty years and I've been making this savoury zucchini loaf every summer since. It serves as a nice side dish

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Rhubarb to the Rescue

This time of year, I struggle to suppress my natural instinct to go out into the wilds (read: back alleys) of Saskatoon and forage for rhubarb. The devil on my left shoulder says Go ahead, back alleys are fair game. The angel on my right shoulder say, Nooooo, that's somebody's pie. Then I think of my friend Eva, who had an altercation with a back-alley

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Eat Your Spuds it's St. Patty's Day

Since St. Patrick's Day is nigh upon us, I dedicate today's musings to my grandmother, Josephine O'Hara. Or, as I knew her best, Grandma Jo. That's her on the right (below) with her mother-in-law, my Great Granny O'Hara, circa 1936. Grandma Jo was so proud of her Irish heritage that dinner on St. Patrick's Day was akin to Christmas or

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Time to Stop and Eat the Flowers

Some people prefer to grow flowers and some people prefer to grow good things to eat, but me, I like to do both at once. Edible flower gardening. Here are four good reasons to eat flowers: Flowers are pretty. We already put flowers on the table – in a vase – so imagine how extra pretty they are atop a salad bowl or a dinner plate. Flowers

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Orange You Hungry? Carnitas!

I remember the first time I picked an orange. Not from the produce section. Not from a fruit bowl. Not from the recesses of my Christmas stocking. Picked an orange from a real orange tree. I remembered it today because I just picked an orange and the smell took me back to the first time I plucked an orange from a tree and held it to my nose. It

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

A Culinary Lesson from Hannibal Lecter

One crisp winter day I set out to pick juniper berries at a local park. I planned to make bigos, an old Polish stew, for a dinner party that week, for which juniper berries are a traditional ingredient. Being both frugal and old-fashioned, I decided to forage the junipers in the wild, or at least the wilds of Kinsmen Park, Saskatoon. After all, why pay for