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Showing posts from October, 2009

Pomegranate Jelly

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Yep, more jelly. I am STILL a mad canner, outta control.

The other day I got an email from the POM Wonderful folks, wanting to know if I'd be interested in trying out their product.



Um, yeah! I LOVE pomegranate. I always have. Not as sweet as a grape, not as tart as a cranberry and a total workout to eat.

Well lucky me I got a whole box of POM Wonderful. I drank one bottle with fizzy water and lemon. And made a little grenadine with another bottle. But then I decided that what I really wanted to do was to figure out how best to make the gift last as long as possible.

I made ice cubes out of one bottle. Which is good for future use, but still, not quite it.

So I made jelly with the rest. And it tastes DELICIOUS! It is not as sweet as the grape jelly I made earlier this week, and it tastes exactly like pomegranate. Shocker, I know.

Just so you know, I typically don't use pectin. But I wasn't sure how the pomegranate juice would cook up and I did not want to risk wasting all that p…

Under pressure.

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Behold the All American Pressure Canner
Ahhhhhhhhhh......

I bought it from a fellow on Craigslist and all it needed was a weight which I ordered from Red Hill General Store (best price) and a swipe of oil around the lid.

To test it out, I pressure canned water. The nice lady at the manufacturer suggested that idea to check for leaks and accurate pressure. Once I figured out how not to explode a big aluminum bolt bomb of boiling hot water under pressure, I decided to try out making real food.



Vegetarian baked beans!

All the recipes I found said to process the beans at 10 pounds for 65 minutes, which I did. But I am curious if that is because every recipe added a square of salt pork. Does anyone know if the time is less for purely vegetarian beans? I am not entirely against adding salt pork, but I didn't have any on hand.

For this recipe I used Baer's Navy beans and a molasses sauce - molasses, cider vinegar, a pinch of salt, dry mustard, a shake of ginger, and some onion pulp.

Next I …

Goodnight Grandpa.

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Some of you out there might know that me and m'Grandpa were like two peas hanging out in a pod. Sadly he passed away yesterday morning.

A shared love of PBS and maple syrup and geraniums and coffee with light cream and cinnamon donuts and long aimless drives to "see stuff" and many annual November Turkey Shootweekends definitely made us friends as well as family. I really enjoyed hanging out with him. I especially loved to call him late at night - in my family everyone goes to bed by 9pm (I know! Bunch of geriatrics!) but Grandpa would still be up at 10pm to chat about everything and nothing.

Grandpa loved to garden, he made jam, baked banana bread, let me take him to his first McDonalds drive through, he was unfailingly patient and took all my abuse with good humor. I mean, the Evil Twin and I used to refer to him as "The Turtle" and not always behind his back. And sometimes when he was dawdling especially slowly we'd look at each other and say "ok, wh…

Green Tomatoes

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I happened to mention to my dear friend Spruce Bruce that I was currently in the fevered throes of canning and he said "I have a few green tomatoes for you".

Hmm.

He showed up with tub of tiny gourd shaped green tomatoes and assorted other sized green tomatoes.

It was a lot. And I was sort of at a loss. So I made little green tomato pickles (4 half-pints). And a couple of jars of green tomato marmalade (4 half-pints). And I still have a bunch of tomatoes left.

Jeezus.


The colander was full of tomatoes. I started jarring them when I remembered to take out my camera. As per usual really.


I filled about 4 half-pint jars, or maybe 5. I can't remember now.


Then I poured the hot pickling brine over it, sealed them up, and processed them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

They actually look pretty good to me right now, but I am going to let them sit for a bit and, well, pickle.

After making the pickle I made some green tomato marmalade. When I told La Maman that I had a sh*t ton of gre…

Another Birthday Cake

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La Maman's birthday was last week and there is only one kind of cake she REALLY loves - hazelnut dacquoise.

You might recall that I made a massive one at Easter, but now that everyone is dieting for the Evil Twin's wedding I was not about to make anything ginormous.

So I made individual dacquoise for her party.

Let me interject here that I am all about cutting corners when I cook, except when it comes to canning. But if a recipe has more than a dozen ingredients and steps, I look to see what I can cut out.

Therefore when it comes to making meringue, I kind of wing it. I get it that the bowl has to be oil free and the egg whites have to be at room temperature and that the oven has to be at just the right heat and you can't make them on a rainy day and all sorts of scary rules like that.

Which is just too much effort for me. I just whip up my egg whites a bit (hopefully I remembered to take them out early to get to room temp, and degrease the bowl and the whip, but chances are I …

Freezing Food

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You know what I love? I love lots of things, but I especially love blueberry pancakes on a snow day.

And you know what else? The snow is coming. Maybe not today, probably not tomorrow, but there will be snow before blueberries are back in season!

Which means that all summer long I've been stockpiling a store of frozen blueberries, frozen at the height of the season. I have about 6 cups worth and had been storing them in regular ziploc bags until I noticed that they were getting covered in ice crystals.

That's not a good sign.

So in order to protect my precious supply of blueberries I decided to invest in a vacuum sealing system. Which are startlingly expensive in some cases. Yipes!

I decided against the fancy, higher end versions that involve heat and bags that can only be ordered online . Frankly I don't need a big system because it's just me and really I don't freeze all that much. Well, at least that is what I tell myself because just thinking about it now...... hmm…

Canning Fever - Part 2

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As you may have guessed from the past couple of posts, I have recently been on a canning binge. And as promised, here are a few photos of the results.

As a result of the canning class with Eugenia Bone, I am now obsessed with preserving tomatoes. I eat a ridiculous amount of crushed tomato, especially in the winter when I just want to start a stew cooking while I have a hot shower. But mostly I like to eat a little pasta with a can of tomatoes dumped on top with tons of garlic and parsley.

The jar on the right is how freshly canned tomatoes sometimes look just out of the water bath. The clear yellow liquid is the pectin separating which is apparently quite normal. Just turn the jar upside down a few times and you will get something like what you see on the left.



This is a little pot of tomato concentrate. I have a love/hate relationship with tomato paste. I will eat it directly out of the tube, squeezing it straight into my mouth. But I hate how sometimes tomato paste can taste a little …

More on food preservation

Ok, ok, yes, I am obsessed. Moving right along, shall we...

So far this week I have processed the following:

-- 6 pints of pickled cauliflower
-- 8 half pints of spiced apples
-- 5 pints of marinated red peppers
-- 6 pints of crushed tomatoes

I am picking up a secondhand pressure canner tomorrow and am looking forward to canning soup. Right now red peppers are nice and cheap so I was thinking about roasted red pepper soup. And now that the cauliflower is looking so nice right now, I am thinking to make more pickle.

So this winter, when it blizzards out, come on over! There will be plenty for all.

Canning Fever.

I have a problem and canning is thy name.

Pictures to come, but let me just say that I pickled cauliflower yesterday - 6 pints. And then today I was stuck in a long work meeting so by the time I got home I needed to do something to calm the self so I made 8 half pints of spiced apples.

My house smells lovely and I feel like I accomplished something and NOW I am ready for bed.

Why this is a problem? Because I am already planning what to can tomorrow.



*sigh*

This can't be good.

Down Cape Eat-a-Thon Part 2

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Uhhhh oh yeah, there was a part one to this... you can read about that HERE.

And realistically it is a little late to be posting about Labor Day now, but a chocolate bag was involved so I can't really let it go.

Oh but first let me explain about this place:



This is the Improper Bostonian - the Evil Twin called it "tea dance for straight people". It is where Jim Plunkett plays songs and heckles his audience. It is where I went and got so blind drunk that I passed out for 12 hours straight. Flat out on the bed, fully dressed.

Woof.

When I finally could get mostly vertical without dry heaving, the ET and I drove up to Provincetown to visit Uncle Don and KenDoll who fed us delicious food that I could not stop eating:



There is NOTHING better than pasta and meat sauce for restoring a person after a massive hangover.

I know, I know, you were thinking that the chocolate bag would have sorted me...

After the jaunt to P-town (one of my most favorite places on earth!) we headed back Down C…

Canning with Eugenia Bone

I was over in Cambridge today learning canning skills from the lovely Eugenia Bone, author of Well Preserved.

Right now I am in full tilt canning mode and I will post all about this later. But let me just say right now that I totally have a kitchen crush on Ms. Bone!

She is utterly charming and completely down to earth about canning. I learned a lot and the class was far too short at two and a half hours.

Seriously, I could have spent two and a half days in class and that probably wouldn't have been enough.

Happy Birthday to You!!!

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I am not going to say who, but today someone's birthday.

Today's favorite ingredient

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I found this in the North End, at Salumeria Italiana, but I've seen it in other places. Pretty much I have been putting it in everything lately.

So far my favorite recipe is to put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy skillet with a few minced cloves of garlic, some red pepper flakes, and a big pinch of smoked paprika. Get the oil nice and hot and throw in a half dozen cleaned shrimp. Let it sizzle a bit and turn pink, then turn the shrimp.

Just as they are about done I throw in a can of chopped tomatoes, or some cooked broccoli, or even cauliflower. Or you could have it as is with a bit of bread to soak up the garlicky oil.

Very delicious.