Category Archives: Recipes

What to Make with 25 Pounds of Concord Grapes?


Two years ago I was in the Finger Lakes over Labor Day Weekend, and picked ten pounds of concord grapes. Soon after our love for grape ice cream was born.

Last year, we knew we wouldn’t be able to make it back there during grape season, and my parents were kind enough to pick some and bring them to us. Well, I think they got a little carried away. Because they brought me 25 pounds of concord grapes! My favorite way to eat them is fresh – although it’s messy and turns your lips and fingernails purple. But they only last so long – so when I couldn’t possible eat another – into the freezer they went.

I smile every time I look at them, because I remember another day spent in grapevines in the Finger Lakes.

Taking wedding photos with my bridesmaids. Some pretty, some silly.

concord-grapes-2Clearly I was in bridal la-la land. I can’t believe I let them near my white dress with those dark purple grapes!!!! (Although these were grapes for Riesling, not Concords.)

I still have about ten pounds of concord grapes in my freezer and am looking for ways to use them. I recently made these Concord Grape Crumb Bars, which make a fancy upgrade from a regular brownie sundae.

I’ve also got my eye on trying this concord grape sorbet from Martha Stewart:

via Martha Stewart

and of course I need to try making the classic grape jelly:

via Epicurious

The only problem is that most concord grape recipes I’ve found are desserts. Although I did bookmark this tasty looking grape focaccia from my Smitten Kitchen cookbook:

via Smitten Kitchen

I am looking for recommendations!

What would you make with ten pounds of concord grapes?

YUM: Recipe for Concord Grape Simple Syrup

Recipe for Concord Grape Simple Syrup and Mint Simple Syrup from Design Lively

My wonderful parents visited last weekend. They are wonderful in many ways, but particularly so because they hand-picked and hand-delivered 20 pounds of concord grapes to my doorstep.

The first few days were lovely – my kitchen smelled like vineyard deliciousness and we made my Concord Grape ice cream again! Then the fruit flies started to descend and I knew I needed to do something quickly!

The bulk of them went into the freezer (rinse, air dry, then freezer bag), and on a whim I decided to try making a concord grape simple syrup with what we hadn’t eaten already.  I’d gotten into the routine of making mint simple syrup this spring – and it’s a lip-smacking addition to iced tea, lemonade, and mojitos – I thought how delicious muddled raspberries, concord grape simple syrup and seltzer would be – and I was motivated! (And I promptly tested my theory – it was tasty.)

Next summer I will need to think ahead and make it in bulk – I think these would be great hostess gifts!

 Concord Grape Simple Syrup:

1. Wash 1 lb of grapes and put them into a pot with 2 TB water

2. Let simmer until the grapes pop open

3. Drain the mixture drain through a fine mesh strainer. You can use cheesecloth if you’re fancy and have that kind of thing on hand, which I never do. I just run it through a fine mesh strainer twice, pressing down the pulp with a spoon to get all the juice. Discard the pulp.

4. For every cup of grape juice you have, add .5 cup of water and 2 cups sugar to a pot.

5. Simmer until sugar is dissolved

6. Transfer to a glass bottle or jar while still warm. I pour it through the strainer (for good measure) into a funnel, into the bottle. (I get bottles from IKEA.)

 Mint Simple Syrup

1. Collect about 15 mint leaves

2. In a pot, add 1 cup of water and 2 cups of sugar

3. Mash the mint leaves in your palm a bit and toss in the pot

4. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved

5. Remove the mint leaves and pour syrup into a glass bottle or jar

Be sure to keep an eye on your simmering grapes to avoid a grape explosion… If I had my wits about me I’d have taken a photograph of the purple horror scene my (white) kitchen became while simmering grapes. I was running around the house doing laundry, while the grapes were simmering, and I walk through the kitchen only to find dark purple juice spattered all over my floor, the stove, the countertop, and my white cabinetry (upper and lower). Fortunately with a bit of scrubbing everything was looking good as new.

So tell me, what would you make with Concord Grape or Mint Simple Syrup? I have plenty left over for more taste testing!

Recipe: Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream Recipe |

Y’all. (Why are only Southerners allowed to say this?)

We love blueberries and this ice cream is delicious.

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream Recipe |

I appear to be in the minority here. That being, the minority of people who own ice cream makers and actually use them.

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream Recipe |

There is a great blueberry farm in the Finger Lakes that we make a trip to whenever we are visiting my family. And we are serious about our blueberry picking. This summer we managed to bring home 45 pounds of blueberries.

I even dragged my poor parents out in the rain one morning and we got soaking wet. (Aren’t they kind to indulge their crazy daughter?)

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream Recipe |

Blueberry Ice Cream Ingredients:

  • 1 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream (sorry!)
  • 2 tablespoons boysenberry syrup

(You can supplement whole milk for a 1% milk or heavy cream for light cream, but the texture will be slightly icier, and certain members of your household will notice.)

First, make the blueberry concentration:

  1. Toss 1 cup of blueberries with 1/4 cup of sugar in a pot over medium heat
  2. Stir frequently and squish the blueberries with a spoon  to release the juices in the pot
  3. Let simmer until all sugar is dissolved
  4. Set aside and let cool

Next, make the ice cream:

  1. Whisk together milk and 3/4 cup of sugar in a bowl
  2. Gently stir in the heavy cream, 2 TB of boysenberry syrup and your blueberry concentration
  3. Pour into the ice cream freezer bowl and turn on your machine
  4. Let the machine run for 20-25 minutes
  5. You can eat it at this point if you like very soft ice cream! Otherwise put in an airtight container and stick it in the freezer for another 30 minutes.
  6. ENJOY!!!

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream Recipe |

I’m sure this ice cream would taste delicious without the boysenberry syrup too. I added it at the last minute and it was a very delicious addition! We keep it on hand for pancakes and it is usually in the maple syrup section at the grocery store.

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream Recipe |

What’s your favorite flavor ice cream? I love to get Cake Batter ice cream!

Recipe Post: Pancake Cookies

Pancake Cookies for a Lumberjack themed birthday party

Earlier this spring we had a Lumberjack themed birthday party for my husband. I promised a tutorial on the pancakes cookies and had completely forgotten until a reader left me a friendly note requesting it.

The pancake cookies are extremely simple.

Warning – I am not a food photographer and made these at night! The light from my oven does not make for beautiful photographs. : ) Also, as I’ve said before I’m not a food blogger, most of my recipe tips do not have specific measurements. It’s just the way I cook. Sorry! It drives my husband crazy too.

The Cookie:

Pancake Cookies for a Lumberjack themed birthday party

Start with any cookie base of your preference. I started with a classic Betty Crocker sugar cookie, recipe. You could also try molasses or gingersnap. Anything that will give the cookies that pancake color.

To get the cookies to bake nice and flat, I rolled the cookie dough into a ball in my palm and then I squished it so it resembled a Peppermint Patty. Sorry, no photos for this step! My hands were covered in cookie dough!

I baked them according to the recipe and let them cool completely. If they look like they are getting too puffy in the oven while they are baking, give them a pat with a flat kitchen tool (like a flipper) to flatten them back out.

The Maple Syrup Frosting:

Pancake Cookies for a Lumberjack themed birthday party

To create the maple syrup I created a runny chocolate frosting.

In a double boiler, melt some chocolate chips (About 1/2 a bag) and a tb. butter. Add the butter at the very beginning before the chips are melted. Adding it later can make your melted chocolate get a weird texture.

In my mixer, I made a basic buttercream frosting recipe (modified from this recipe). Instead of vanilla extract I added real maple syrup. Then I added my melted chocolate chips. Mix thoroughly. Add tiny bits of water until the icing easily runs off a spoon.

At this point, things can get a little messy. I laid my cookies on wax paper for easy cleanup. Then proceed to spoon the runny chocolate frosting on top of them. The frosting should naturally pool in certain directions, giving you a maple syrup effect.

Due to the runny frosting, it will take longer than usual for the frosting to firm up. I wouldn’t recommend stacking them either because they frosting never sets to a hard frosting – I’m sure a better cook would be able to solve this problem.

Frosting Butter Pad

Pancake Cookies for a Lumberjack themed birthday party
For the pad of butter, I created a very thick frosting. Combine confectionery sugar and milk in a bowl with a fork. Continue to add confectioners’ sugar until you have a very thick, non-spreadable consistency (similar to Play-doh). Add a few drops of yellow food coloring and use the fork to spread the coloring throughout your mixture.

Scrap the frosting from a bowl on to a piece of waxed paper and fold it over so the frosting is in the middle. Use a rolling pin to flatten it out until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick. Place in refrigerator.

After the yellow frosting has been in the refrigerator for sometime and feels very stiff take it out and cut into small 1″ x 1″ squares immediately. Don’t wait, it must be cold or else it will not cut smoothly. Place on top of the maple syrup frosting and there you go!

Pancake Cookies for a Lumberjack themed birthday party