Sunday, February 19, 2012

still playing around in the kitchen

Think I'm finished up in the kitchen for the time being unless something else strikes my fancy. LOL

I found a new recipe for asparagus called Chile-Spiced Asparagus from EatingWell. I liked this one better that the Asparagus-Cucumber Salad. Hubby however likes the salad better so we will be alternating between the two. I used red-wine vinegar instead of the sherry vinegar and I used a combination of plain paprika and chili powder. A teaspoon of paprika and about a 1/2-teaspoon of chili powder. I started with the paprika but it just wasn't enough so I sprinkled a little chili powder and it was better. So I added a bit more and it was great.

Dehydrated 15 pounds of tomatoes down to three cups of tomato powder. I blanched, peeled, sliced, and dehydrated the slices. Then I ran the dehydrated slices of tomato through the food processor for tomato powder, which will be used as tomato sauce/paste.

Leigh over at 5 Acres & A Dream posted about letting her ginger plant die back and making candied ginger and re-potting her ginger rhizome to re-grow next year. I have a ginger plant that I needed to re-pot but was afraid I would kill it. So I read with interest on how she did it. I have now let my ginger plant die back and re-potted a couple of chunks. Instead of making candied ginger, I peeled and finely chopped my ginger in my food processor. (I didn't have enough to candy.) Then I froze it in a stick that all I have to do is pull it out of the freezer, pull back the plastic wrap, and cut off however much I need. Re-wrap and pop it back in to the freezer for whenever I need it again.

Next project was a box of apples, I dehydrated a full dehydrator load by washing the apples, slicing them and dipping them in Fruit Fresh. I wouldn't recommend it. Yes, it was less work up front but I wasn't pleased with the way the cores turned out. I can live with the peel but because the peel doesn't dry at the same rate as the flesh the slices are twisted and misshapen. Then they take up a lot of room in the jar. Next time I will peel and core the apples.

The next batch I worked up was as applesauce. I cored and peeled this batch cause the last batch I made I though I would be slick and not peel them before cooking them down. It was not pretty trying to fish peeling out of hot apple pulp. Two stockpots full gave me 17 pints. I water-bathed 12 pints and dehydrated the last five pints for our backpacking and camping adventures.

What to do with the last batch of apples? I wondered if I could freeze apple pies? So off to the computer to indulge my favorite pass-time of cruising the web! Yes, you can freeze pies! The most popular method was to prepare your pie as you would normally and instead of popping it into the oven, stick it in the freezer until solid. Then wrap in foil and label. If you have glass pans like me they recommended lining the pan with plastic wrap before putting your bottom crust in so you can take the pie out after it is frozen. Glass pans do not go from the freezer to the oven without breakage. I now have three apple pies, three apple crisps and nine apple dumplings in the freezer.

And for all you really frugally minded readers, have you ever looked at all those peelings and cores and wondered if there was some other use for them than the compost pile or the chickens? My Scotch-Irish grandmother made butters from her fruit peelings and cores. What you do is cover everything with water and simmer the pot until the peelings separate from the flesh. Be sure and cover everything with water because I didn't the first time and wasn't having any success until I added more water. Then you run the pot of stuff through a food mill. With mine the peelings and seeds come out one chute and the pulp and juice out another. Boil your juice and pulp down, season to taste with your favorite (apple) butter recipe. And voila you have, in this case, apple butter! Then you compost or feed to the chicken what is left which isn't much.

Well, I have bent your ear enough. Have a good day!


Thursday, February 9, 2012

more from the kitchen

Well, I'm still playing in the kitchen. First I played around with 25 pounds of the biggest carrots I have ever seen. They weighed about a half-pound a piece and some were three inches in diameter. I figured they would be woody and tough but they were very tender and sweet. Five pounds went in the fridge for fresh carrots; ten pounds were sliced and dehydrated. Did you know that ten pounds of carrots dehydrates down to a half-gallon jar? Me neither! Then I pickled five pounds and made Copper Pennies with the last five pounds.

I liked the looks of the recipe for Spicy Pickled Carrots over at getrichslowly's blog the best. I used half the cloves because I'm not to fond of cloves. I also think she meant 2 1/2 tablespoons of crushed red pepper flakes and I put more fresh ginger in mine because I had it and like it. I only had three jalapenos, so I seeded and deveined to cut the heat, then I cut them into julienne strips. I though five tablespoons of pickling salt too much so I used a half of a teaspoon per jar.

Then I canned Copper Pennies. Copper Pennies is a marinated carrot salad from the late Forties or early Fifties, as I understand it. We had it for the first time in a little Mom-n-Pop's restaurant south n west of us 22 miles. We liked it so well; I came home and Googled the ingredients finding the name and a recipe. I wanted to can a few pints so all I had to do was stick a jar in the fridge, cool it and have a quick something to go with sandwiches.

I used the recipe from I switch out the tomato soup for 1-cup tomato sauce. Cut the sugar and oil in half. I only used 1/2 cup each of the green pepper and onion. I add a 1/2-cup of sliced celery because several recipes I looked at either had celery in them or celery seed. And another couple of things I did was mix the raw carrots and everything else in a big bowl and then ladled the mixture into my pint jars. I water-bath canned them for 25 minutes because of my altitude and starting with a raw pack.

I want to warn everybody that I do not have an approved method of canning this recipe. I did what seemed reasonable to me based on the acidity of the fluids I added to the marinade. If what I did makes you nervous then take the extra step; pressure can for the appropriate time and pressure.

Today I made Mango and Pineapple Jam; then I made Monkey Butter. The simplest recipe for Mango and Pineapple Jam was found on by Sharon123. And of course I changed it around a little bit. LOL Here's what I did to the recipe:

2 Cups ripe mangoes, cubed (I used 2 mangoes)
2 cups crushed pineapple (1 20-oz can, undrained)
2 TBSP lemon juice
3 cups sugar
2 TBSP rum (the addition of rum is from another recipe)
1/2 package of sure-jel (optional)

My mangoes were not dead ripe they were firm ripe. (They would have made a great salsa.) So I whizzed them in the food processor until they were finely chopped. Put the mangoes in a large saucepan and cooked for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix well and bring to a boil. Boil rapidly for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often until thick. After 20 minutes the jam wasn't thick enough to suit me so I added a half package of sure-jel. Boiled for a couple more minutes and like what I was getting so I jarred it up and water-bath canned for 15 minutes.

Notes: You might want to mix in the pineapple, lemon juice and rum; then taste it before adding the sugar 1 cup at a time because I though it was too sweet. My next batch I will be cutting back on the sugar. A blog from the Philippines said that mango jams from the USA had too much sugar in them and I have to agree.

Then it was on to Monkey Butter. I was over at Kris Watson's blog, Simply Living, and she was writing about canning up something she called Monkey Butter. It caught my interest and Kris provided a link to follow back to the recipe. So I follow the link to Brook Hurst Stephens site,, and tried her recipe. I sort of followed her recipe. LOL I added about 2 TBSP of rum to the butter after I removed the pan from the heat. It’s all her fault she mentioned Pina Coladas. And I cooked it for 45 minutes because it wasn't as thick as I like butters. I ran the whole mixture through the food processor instead of messing around with a potato masher before cooking. I did wondered if I should have drained the canned pineapple chunks before mixing the pineapple into the bananas. I would also recommend tasting the mixture before adding all the sugar because once again I didn't think it needed to be that sweet.

Tomorrow I'm going to play with tomatoes. You have a good day!