December 9, 2013

I have been blessed to know Elaine Lupovitch & Kirk O’Neal as colleagues for the last seven years, and have been thrilled to watch over the last year as their side business (how they make time for a side business I do NOT know), Garden Dreams Houston, has flourished.  Their jellies, jams, marmalades, sauces, and salsas are truly fantastic, and Shiv looks forward to picking up new treats–and trying samples–whenever we visit Kirk & Elaine at the Urban Harvest Farmers Market.  I also regularly pick up their goods to gift as gifts or take to out-of-town friends; it all gets rave reviews, always.

Today we’re lucky enough to have Elaine guest posting here, sharing a recipe AND generously offering a giveaway of four wonderful treats.  Enjoy! –Nishta 

 elaine & kirk

Garden Dreams Houston welcomes the holiday season with citrus, and spice, and everything nice! We’re brewing up some of our favorites with gifting in mind.  No matter the season, we remain committed to using locally sourced ingredients in our handmade small batched jams, jellies, and marmalades created with lots of love, care, and artistry. Our holiday menu includes: Cranopeno Jam, Carrot Cake Jam, Drunken Tomato Jam, Hoot N Holler Jalapeno Jelly, Habanero Gold Jelly, Triple Berry With Agave Fruit Spread, Texas Meyer Lemon Marmalade, Kumquat Marmalade, Mayhaw Jelly and Hibiscus Flower Jelly.

We are so grateful for the local growers, who provide us with such an amazing array of garden year round, and we are grateful, too, for the support our Houston customers have given us and to the local growers, who provide us with such an amazing array of fruits and vegetables throughout the seasons. Preserving foods is a great way to capture the goodness of season and enjoy it all year long. Our award winning jam, Peaches N Dream, is a great example of this delicious goodness; there’s nothing like a summer Texas peach, and our recipe tries to capture them in all of their glory.  We are honored to be a Good Food Award Finalist for this product!  We’ll be traveling to the award ceremony in San Francisco in January to see if Peaches N Dream is among the winners.

In the meantime, we’d like to offer a holiday gift basket giveaway for Blue Jean Gourmet readers to enjoy.  The basket features four of our best-selling products:

Cranopeno Jelly, which is wonderful layered over your favorite soft cheese, served with crackers, or use as a glaze for a pork loin or beef roast.  See the recipe below to make your own at home!

(ingredients: fresh cranberries, jalapeno peppers, organic sugar, lemon juice, unfiltered apple cider vinegar)

Down the Hatch Salsa, perfect with your favorite corn chips or tortillas

(ingredients: charred hatch, Serrano, and jalapeno peppers, roasted white onion and garlic, tomatoes, red wine vinegar, salt)

Drunken Tomato Jam, a versatile condiment—add to a grilled cheese sandwich, spoon over grilled fish, or use a tablespoon as a salad dressing starter!

(ingredients: sweet tomatoes, very little organic sugar, fresh ginger, jalapenos, and cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves, Jack Daniels, and organic apple cider and red wine vinegars)

Satsuma Marmalade, a dreamy companion for buttered biscuits, scones, or toast, would also make wonderful thumbprint cookies for the holidays!

(ingredients: slow cooked Satsumas, organic sugar, and lemon juice)


To qualify for the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post telling us which jam or jelly flavor is your favorite!  Giveaway will close at noon CST on Friday, December13.  The winner will be contacted by email to provide a mailing address or arrange pickup (if local).  



Recipe courtesy Elaine Lupovitch & Kirk O’Neal


1 lb. fresh cranberries

1 cup jalapenos

5 ½ cups unrefined organic sugar

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 ½ cup organic unfilitered apple cider vinegar

2 packages Certo (liquid pectin)

Sterilize eight 8 oz jelly jars, lids and rings.

Prep the jalapenos by taking out the seeds. In a food processor, grind the peppers and berries. Then put them in a large pot with all ingredients except pectin. Bring the mixture to a boil, cook for 2-3 minutes, then add pectin and boil 1 more minute.

Ladle into jelly jars, leaving 1/4 inch clearance. Water bath process 10 minutes.  (Refer to jar manufacturer hot water canning instructions.)



  1. Sounds great!!

    Comment by Kay N. — December 9, 2013 @ 10:26 pm

  2. The Satsuma Marmalade is AWESOME!

    Comment by Alan B — December 9, 2013 @ 11:28 pm

  3. They all sound wonderful, but I would pick the Down the Hatch Salsa – mainly because one of my favorite snacks is chips and salsa. I will be passing these on to my niece. She’s great at making jams and jellies. The one time I tried making a peach jalapeno jam, I ended up with a rock in a jar.

    Comment by Deborah Melanson — December 10, 2013 @ 12:05 am

  4. I have not tried any of these jams as I dont live in Houston. But the Cranopeno jelly sounds delicious!

    Comment by Nandini — December 10, 2013 @ 7:41 am

  5. These all sound wonderful, but the drunken tomato jam sounds particularly yummy – esp. over grilled fish!

    Comment by Sara Beth Frye — December 10, 2013 @ 8:47 am

  6. pick a favorite? since it’s the holiday season, i’m really feeling cranberries. cranopeno jelly! thanks for sharing the recipe and the company info. would make great gifts!

    Comment by kate — December 10, 2013 @ 9:18 am

  7. Thanks to Nishta for introducing all of us to you, and thank you for the opportunity to become acquainted with your business and wonderful-sounding products. They all sound fabulous but “tis the season to sample the cranopeno jelly. Merry Christmas Jean

    Comment by Jean Croye — December 10, 2013 @ 10:08 am

  8. I would choose the Satsuma Marmalade. Sounds amazing!

    Comment by Jane — December 10, 2013 @ 10:43 am

  9. Connections! All of these will bring me back to cherished memories:

    Drunken Tomato Jam: for my relocation in the winter to Michigan (would love it with soup to keep me cozy-warm)

    Satsuma Marmalade: for the two years I lived in Baton Rouge and those yummy Satsuma gift baskets…

    Down the Hatch Salsa: Soy Tejana. nuff said!

    Hope I win! But I’m gonna try the recipe as soon as I settle in Ann Arbor next week!

    Cranopeno Jelly: Michigan is known for its cranberries, Texas for it’s jalapenos…I would be doing my part for cultural connections!

    Comment by Nikki Jackson — December 10, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

  10. I have to say, the cranopeno jelly if only for the name, but also for the spice!

    Comment by Terri — December 10, 2013 @ 4:51 pm

  11. Down the Hatch salsa sounds very intriguing.

    Comment by Jennifer — December 11, 2013 @ 9:32 am

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