Sunday, January 29, 2012

tangerine update

I finished off the tangerines this evening. We now have tangerine-carrot marmalade, tangerine-ginger marmalade, and tangerine-apricot marmalade as well as the plain old tangerine marmalade from last time.

By the way in all of these recipes I substituted tangerines for the oranges.

The tangerine-apricot marmalade came from theirishmother blog. This is what I did with her recipe:

5 tangerines
8 ounces dried apricots (from my own trees!)
1 lemon

Makes about 6 8-ounce jars. (I got 13 half-pint jars.)

Day before:
1. Place the dried apricots in 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil; simmer 20 minutes then let sit for 40 minutes. Pulse in a food processor until chopped chunky. Scrap into stockpot.
2. Slice the tangerines and lemon. Hold up to light and pick out seeds. Cut segments (flesh) away from peelings and place into the stockpot. Put peeling in food processor and whiz around until you have fairly small pieces. Scrap the peeling into the stockpot.
3. Measure combined volume of pulp, juices, peel and apricot mixture. Add half as much water. For instance...if the combined amount of fruit mixture is 8 cups, then add 4 cups water. Put everything back into the stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours or until peel is very soft. (Mine only took an hour because of the smallish size of the peel.) Cover and let sit overnight.

Next Day:
4. Measure the peel and liquid. Stir in 3/4 the volume in sugar. For instance, if there is 4 cups fruit mix, then add 3 cups sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Boil rapidly, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes or until marmalade thickens or reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer. Test for setting point.
If you do not have a candy thermometer, use the cold-saucer test: Remove the pan from the heat and place a spoonful of hot jam on a chilled plate. Place in the freezer for 1 minute; draw a finger through the jam on the saucer. If the jam does not flow back and fill in the path, it is thick enough. If, after 25 minutes it has not set, stir in 1-tablespoon dry instant fruit pectin.
5. Ladle into sterilized jars to within 1/4 inch of rim then wipe rims. Apply prepared lids and rings; tighten rings just until fingertip-tight.
6. Process jars in a boiling water-bath canner for 10 minutes. Transfer jars to a towel-lined surface and let rest at room temperature until set. Check seals; refrigerate any unsealed jars for up to 3 weeks. It's best if you let it sit for a week.

We didn't let it set a week before trying Hubby and I both liked it. Mine was more a butter than a jam. I think I whizzed the apricots too long as I had more of a puree than chunky.

Next up was the tangerine-ginger marmalade from foodinjars blog. This is what I did with her recipe.

5 tangerines, peeled (save peelings)
6 cups sugar
6-inch piece of fresh ginger peeled and minced finely (From my own ginger plant!)
Juice of 2 lemons
1 packet of sure-jel

I wanted to see if the process was any easier by juicing the tangerines and then whizzing the peelings in the food processor. I ran the peeled tangerines through my juicer and discarded the pulp. Then I ran the peelings through the food processor until they were smallish pieces. The ginger was also run through the food processor until it was finely minced. The peeling was cooked in a stockpot with water to cover for an hour until the peel was tender. Then the sugar, juices, and ginger were added to the pot and boiled 10 minutes. The sure-jel (pectin) was added and boiled another 10 minutes. I think this was a mistake; the marmalade was too firm! I processed the jars in a water-bath canner for 10 minutes. I got 8 half-pint jars.

This marmalade was ginger-spicy to the taste buds. We will see if the taste mellows any with age. I think I used too much ginger and probably should have stayed with a four-inch chunk.

The last marmalade was tangerine-carrot marmalade. I got this recipe from Seasonal Ontario food blog. Here is what I did with this one.

5 tangerines
4 cups grated carrots
1 20oz. Can of crushed pineapple
6 cups sugar
1 package of sure-jel (pectin)

You know how you make that Jell-O salad with orange Jell-O, pineapple, and carrots. Well I decided that instead of lemon I would use pineapple.

I peeled the tangerines and processed them just like I did in the recipe above. Then I put everything in the stockpot but the sure-jel and boiled it for 20 minutes stirring all the while. Then I added the sure-jel and boiled 1 minute longer per the direction on the sur-jel package. Jarred it up and processed it for 10 minutes in a water-bath. The marmalade wasn't real firm like the last recipe as I came up to type this so maybe I should have boiled it longer. I will know for sure when the jars are completely cool. It is pretty tasty though.

Of the four marmalades I have made I like the apricot one the best so far. I will have to let them set and mellow and then try them again to be certain.

Have a good day!


Monday, January 16, 2012

pickled eggplant

We received an eggplant in our Bountiful Basket. I am not a fan of eggplant in of itself. However, when Angelo's Italian Restaurant was open they had a Chicken Parm Salad on the menu that had pickled eggplant as one of the trimmings. The pickled eggplant was very good, so I've been looking for a recipe for pickled eggplant that tasted as good as Angelo's. I think I have found it! Theresa's Pickled Eggplant from BonTonAnon's you-tube channel. You should watch the you-tube video of this little old Italian grandma make it! Here is a transcript of the information in the video.


4 eggplants (about 4 lbs.)
2 TBSP salt or more
1 quart white vinegar (I used apple cider cause that is what I had handy.)
1 pint water
1/4 cup sugar
Fresh garlic to taste
Hot pepper flakes to taste
Dried oregano to taste


Chop garlic, peel eggplant. To slice eggplant cut the top off and slice length wise 1/4 inch slices then slice bottom part in 1/4 rounds. Salt eggplant in layers. After salting thoroughly, let the eggplant stand for 4 hours: turn over mixture by hand at least every hour. Boil together for 10 minutes in a covered pan the white vinegar, water, and sugar. Do not reuse this solution make fresh for each full recipe. Drain the eggplant rinse 3 times squeeze out most of the water after the third rinse by picking up 5 or 6 slice and squeezing them between your palms. Place in colander until all are drained and squeezed. Pour drained eggplant in vinegar solution. DO NOT boil for more than 2 and 1/2 minutes. After boiling the eggplant in the vinegar solution place in the colander to drain, but do not squeeze this time. Working quickly pour some olive oil in bottom of jar, add some garlic, hot pepper flakes and oregano. Place 3-4 slices of eggplant in the jars then layer on the oil, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and eggplant until the jar is with in a 1/2 inch of top make sure the eggplant is under the oil. Four eggplants will yield about 4 pint. Let stand for a couple of days before eating. This is an open kettle method.

Because I had only one eggplant and I want the portions of garlic, pepper flakes, and oregano a little better spelled out. I keep looking and I found this recipe: Nonna’s Pickled Eggplant from flavorsofitaly's blog. Directions were pretty much the same but for a smaller quantity and the spices were spelled out. The only difference was this recipe said you could store the pickled eggplant in the fridge for two weeks.

3/4 lbs. of eggplant
3/4 cup vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
4 medium garlic, chopped
Olive oil to cover
1-tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 TBSP fresh basil, chopped

So here is what I did. I cut my eggplant into sticks like French-fries because that is the way Angelo's served it. I did the 4-hour stand with the salt, then the 3 rinses. I decided I wanted the pickling solution from Theresa's recipe but I cut it in half. A two to one ratio in favor of the vinegar meant that the pH was lower for safer storage. Then I used the spicing amounts in Nonna's recipe except I thought 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes was too much so I cut that back to 1/2 teaspoon. It is very mild and a full teaspoon wouldn't be too much. I also tossed the drained pickled eggplant with the herbs and garlic before putting everything in the jar that had a layer of olive oil in it. It yielded about 3 cups of pickled eggplant and I set mine in the fridge for several days before trying it tonight in a salad with our spaghetti and meat sauce.

If I were going to can some for my pantry, I would use dried herbs, as there have been reports of fresh herbs and botulism. The other thing I would do is water-bath can for about 10 minutes from what I saw in several other recipes, instead of using the open kettle method. But to each their own.

Have a good day!


Saturday, January 14, 2012


We pick up a box of tangerines with our Bountiful Basket order this time. I have been busy working that box up. I juiced and froze about 2/3 of them so far. I will be making tangerine-ade and agua frescas with the juice.

The first batch of juice I took the peel and made candied peel. After reading several blogs here recently I was curious. (Hi Leslie!) I used the recipe posted on Leslie's blog La Cocina de Leslie for the candy-ing process. However, I cooked my peel longer than 15 minutes. That maybe because I was doing about five pounds of peel at one time! To dry my peel I ran mine through my dehydrator. They were ready in about 12 hours. Plain was very tasty.

I ran across several that dipped their candied peel in tempered dark chocolate. Hum, Hubby likes dark chocolate. I talked to him about it and his interest was peaked so when we went to the grocery store this week I found some dark chocolate. I haven't tried it yet. That's a project for next week.

By the way the left over syrup is excellent on grits.
EDIT 1/14/12: Omg, you have to try the left-over syrup in hot chocolate! It is divine! I used two teaspoons.

The second batch of juiced peel I cut into thin strips and dehydrated for potpourri. I think some crushed cinnamon sticks and a few cloves will smell heavenly bubbling away.

Hubby is a marmalade hound, so I make my first batch of tangerine marmalade this morning. We both like it so well that I am going to make two more batches of marmalade. I'll have Sister Suzy pick up more lemons on the way home from school next Tuesday when college classes resume. I do think I may have overcooked this batch of marmalade because of the marmalade I got on my shirt and counter. It was more like a hard ball than a jelly. So it may come out of the jar after completely cooling in one piece and we may get to eat it as candy. I think I will cut the boil time back five minutes. Here is the recipe for the marmalade:

Tangerine Marmalade

3 pounds tangerines (about 4 for me)
2 small lemons
1 1/2 c water
4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups sugar (I used 5 cups and the marmalade was sweet enough for us.)

1) Chop the tangerines, peel and all. I do this by hand, so as to remove the seeds. If you’re using a seedless variety, then by all means use the food processor. Repeat with the lemons. (Next time after I remove the seeds I am going to run mine through the food processor for smaller chucks of peel to see if I like it better.)

2) Combine the tangerines, the lemons, and the water in a pot. Bring rapidly to a boil; simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and let sit 12 to 18 hours.

3) Add the sugar (or more, if you like a sweeter marmalade) and bring rapidly to a boil. Meanwhile, start heating up your boiling water bath in a separate pot. Stir constantly while bringing the mixture almost to the gelling point. (I boiled for 20 minutes.)

4) Transfer to clean, sterilized jars and screw on two-piece lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

I ended up with 3 1/2 pints of marmalade.

I'm not sure what to do with what is left. I may give some to my mother-in-law, maybe to some friends here in town and I guess I will juice the rest.

Have a good day!


Sunday, January 1, 2012

black-eyed peas

Did you get your black-eyed peas today?

I'm not real fond of black-eyed peas and ham. It's just kind of blah to me. So here is what I did to get my black-eyed peas in on this New Year's Day. Texas Caviar! The first time we had it was at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas. We liked it so well I used a napkin to write down the ingredients I recognized. When we got home, I did some searching for a recipe. Here's my version:

Texas Caviar

1 can of black-eyed peas, drained
1 cup frozen corn, lightly cooked and drained
1 jalapeno, finely minced (seed and devein if you want milder)
1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup minced red onion
1 tomato, finely diced
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 to 1/2 cup of your favorite Italian dressing (I use sun-dried tomato.)

Mix everything in a bowl and then add the dressing depending on how soupy you want it. I like mine with just a light coating. You are suppose to chill for two hours before eating but mine never makes it that long. Serve with tortilla chips to scoop up the goodness.

Note: If you can get a hold of shoe-peg corn use it instead of regular frozen corn. Shoe-peg corn adds that little something to the Texas caviar.

I hope everyone has a peaceful and prosperous New Year!


P.S. We had Little Smokies in BBQ sauce and beer for our ham.