Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I am deeply into canning season now.  Saturday I did half a bushel of peaches, including Spiced Fruit Compote with cinnamon and cloves.  I think this will be great in the middle of winter served warm, maybe thickened a little and with a few dried cherries added.

Spiced Fruit Compote

5 lb Peaches, peeled an coarsely chopped 
2 fresh Pineapples peeled cored, an coarsely chopped
2 t cinnamon
1t ground cloves
2 c sugar
3 c water

Make the syrup then add fruit and cook until warm throughout.  Process in pints 15 min.

I also tried bread and butter pickles and made some more soup.  I just used a mix for the bread and butter pickles, because I'm not entirely sure they will get eaten.  We will see.

Sunday I tried to continue my canning Bacchanalia, but I got busy and all I got done was some pineapple, which was new, but why not?  Oh and I also made some Refrigerator Dill Pickles.  These are the second batch that I have made this year, and the first one was great.  About a month ago I found myself in an emergency pickle making situation (don't ask) and found that I was out of pickling spices.  However, I had some mulling spices and I substituted them.  The result was awesome!  Here is the recipe I used:

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

12 3 to 4 inch long pickling cucumbers
2 cups water
1 3/4 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh dill weed
1/2 cup white sugar
8 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons coarse salt
1 tablespoon pickling spice or mulling spice or a mixture of both
4 sprigs fresh dill weed

In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, water, vinegar, chopped dill, sugar, garlic, salt, and spices. Stir, and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours, until the sugar and salt dissolve.  Remove the cucumbers to three 1 1/2 pint wide mouth jars, placing 4 cucumbers into each jar. Ladle in the liquid from the bowl to cover. Place a sprig of fresh dill into each jar, and seal with lids. Refrigerate for 10 days before eating.  

So otherwise I have just been making more and more soup, and keeping up with the second bushel of peaches I bought.  Tonight I may try again to make jelly, which is another story....maybe tomorrow I will post on that one.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Horseradish Dissapointment

Tonight I tried to harvest the horseradish we inherited from my Dad last spring.  The patch had grown to about 2 feet sqare and about 4 feet tall.  I had visions of 3 or 4 half pint jars processed and put up for the winter.  I dug up all the plants and all the root system I got was about the equivilent of 3 carrots.  So I dutifully ground it up in the food processor with a little vinegar and got a little over a half pint and just stuck it in the fridge.  Also it seems to be a little woody.  I guess I need to research better when to harvest.  I re-planted about 1/3 of the roots, so I will try again next year.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Easy Meatloaf and Spicy Green Beans

Most of those who know me know that I am really a "From Scratch" kind of girl, but this meatloaf is more "Semi-Homemade"  because I use the stovetop stuffing mix.  Really, it has all the seasonings I would add, it's just faster.  I mixed this up this morning and the kids will pop it into the oven at some point.  Hopefully.
I am also adding the Spicy Green Bean dish, but beware: it may ruin you for canned green beans forever!

Easy Meatloaf

1 lb. local ground beef
1 pkg stovetop stuffing mix
1 egg
1T worchestershire sauce
2/3 c milk

Place everything in a bowl.  Allow the milk to soak into the stuffing mix for a couple of minutes.  Mix the whole thing with your hands and pop it into a greased loaf pan.  Bake at 375 for about an hour, then top with "Special Sauce"  (equal parts of ketchup, mustard and brown sugar) and bake for 15 minutes more. 

Spicy Green Beans

3/4 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili sauce (I like Sriracha)
1 T honey
I like to mix up a bunch of the sauce ahead of time and keep it in the fridge.  I have tried freezing this and it doesn't work well, but the sauce keeps for a couple weeks and I can usuallly find fresh green beans except in the dead of winter.
Saute the green beans in a couple of teaspoons of oil until the color becomes vibrant, then add the sauce and steam until they are just tender.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Heirloom Tomato Soup

This year George planted at least 5 different types of heirloom tomatoes. He started in April with seeds.  He babied them along, protected them from cats, frost, wilt, heat, and the dreaded blight.  Now in late August they are all ready to harvest at the same time.  He lovingly slices them, rereads their descriptions in the seed catalog, then we have tastings as if they were wine.  I am getting a little sick of tomatoes.
But Lo!  Canning Season is upon us!   I wanted to do something special with his precious tomatoes, so when he went on a business trip, I set to looking for a recipe.  This is what I came up with:

Heirloom Tomato Soup

6 qts. ripe tomatoes -heirloom including Cherokee Purple, Mountain Princess
1 sweet onion, diced
1 stalk celery
1/4 c fresh parsley
4 Tb. flour
3 Tb. salt
8 Tb. sugar

Cut the tomatoes into wedges and cook all ingredients until celery is tender (about 1 hour).  Run the whole thing through a food mill, then return to boiling and pack hot into hot jars.  Process 45 minutes in a boiling water bath.

About Me

Every fall I get very introspective and philosiphic.  The kids ages are marked by their return to school.  The harvest is upon us.  For me it is the real time of endings and beginnings.  I go into full nesting mode.  A few years ago I started to write a book for my children called "How to Survive the Winter".  It is really just a journal of recipes and lists of useful information that I think they are probably too busy to pay attention to now, but maybe someday they will want to know. 
Today I realized I had some new recipes to add to the book as I do every year, but I can't find it.  It is an orange composition book and it clearly says the title on the cover.  If you find it please let me know.
My friend Pierre once told me that he wonders when someone decides that they are interesting enough to blog.  My answer to that is that I don't know.  I have decided to blog because I can't find my book.  I don't care who reads it.