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!


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