Monday, September 15, 2014

Summer Sauce

I had a few ripened tomatoes, and a bag of frozen tomatoes tucked away, and it's been cool, so I thought I'd use the oven to warm up the house and make a batch of tomato sauce.  I went back and read through some old posts from one of my favourite blogs, Throwback at Trapper Creek.  And then I got creative.
I chopped all of the tomatoes that had started to turn orange, a couple of green ones, and the bag from the freezer.  I added a bunch of green onions that had been lingering in the fridge too long, carrots and tops, swiss chard, nasturtium flowers and leaves, lettuce, cucumbers, a few peas, and a pumpkin.
After roasting a few hours at 250°F, it smelled delicious- like a big pot of cabbage rolls. 

I pureed it and brought it to a boil on the stove top, before filling sterilized jars.  I pressure canned it at 15lbs of pressure for 90 minutes.  I figure it's safe, since the pumpkins aren't actually ripe yet, so more like a summer squash than a traditional pumpkin, and not the only ingredient.

I left enough out for supper- a big pan of rice and ground beef cooked in the summer sauce with a bit of tomato soup served as sauce on top.  Delish!

A few days later in the grocery store I found four 3L baskets of roma tomatoes on the cheap rack for $1.99 each.  Well, how's that for timing?

I have to say, I don't know why they were on the cheap rack, except that maybe the produce guy was planning on making a little sauce himself.  I only found one bad spot on one tomato out of the whole lot!

We had our first frost on Friday, so I harvested a bunch more young, small, under ripe pumpkins, along with all the garden veggies and a few dandelion leaves.
Algonquin Pumpkin
Once washed and chopped I had enough to fill two and a half roasting pans of summer sauce.  Canning today!

(As always, my blog is the story of my life, not a how-to on living yours.  Can pumpkin, or anything else, at your own risk!)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Baking With Beans


Last year I accepted the challenge and baked these bean cakes.  Then I filed it away in the recesses of my memory somewhere and never tried it again. 

  Vanilla Bean Cake

2 1/2 cups cooked white beans (very well cooked or canned...must be soft!)
6 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3-1/2 cup honey

Puree well in food processor or use immersion blender.

1/4 cup oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Puree again.

Bake at 325-350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Very moist and dense cake, but its very filling.

So recently I was looking through the cupboards trying to decide what to make for supper, and thought it's been awhile since the last pot of chili.  Then I thought about the beans

Baked Beans

Baked Beans

4 cups (1000 ml) dried peas or navy beans

8 oz (225 g) salt pork, cut into pieces

3 large onions

1/3 cup (150 ml) lightly packed brown sugar

2 tsp (10 ml) Each: salt & dry mustard

2/3 cup (150 ml) molasses

• Rinse beans; cover with cold water; let stand 12 to 18 hours in a cool place.

• Place required number of clean 500 ml or 1 L mason jars on rack in pressure canner; add water and heat jars to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Set screw bands aside; heat SNAP LID® sealing discs in hot water, not boiling (180°F/82°C). Keep jars and sealing discs hot until ready to use.

• Drain soaked beans; cover with 12 cups (3000 ml) water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and boil gently until bean skins begin to crack. Drain, reserving liquid. Pour beans into a baking dish; add salt, pork and onions. Combine brown sugar, salt, mustard and molasses with 4 cups (4000 ml) reserved cooking liquid. (Add water, if needed, to meet this measure). Pour sauce over beans; cover and bake at 350ºF (180ºC) about 3 1/2 hours. To home can Baked Beans, mixture must be “soupy”. If necessary, add water.

• Ladle hot prepared baked beans into a hot jar to within 1 inch (2.5 cm) of top of jar (head space).

• Using nonmetallic utensil, remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim removing any stickiness. Centre hot sealing disc on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining beans and sauce. If stacking jars, place a second rack between layers of jars.

• When pressure canner is full, adjust water to level as directed by canner manufacturer. Lock canner lid in place and follow manufacturer’s heating instructions. Vent canner–allow steam to escape steadily–for 10 minutes; close vent.

• When canner reaches the pressure appropriate for your altitude* and type of pressure canner, begin counting processing time. Process – heat filled jars – for time indicated: 500 ml jars - 80 minutes; 1 L jars – 95 minutes.

 Pinto Beans:
Start with 8 cups of dry beans, rinsed very well.  Place beans in a large pot and cover with at least 2″ of water.  Bring to a boil and let boil, uncovered for 2 – 3 minutes.  Remove from heat (but do not drain), cover and let sit for 1 hour.  Drain, rinse again with cold water.  Cover with at least 2″ of water.  Bring to a boil, uncovered.  Continue boiling uncovered for about 30 minutes.  Stir often so they don’t stick.  At this point, you can add whatever seasonings you like.  I had a lot of cumin.  I’ve never measured but I’m thinking 3 tablespoons??  I’ll pay more attention next time.
Here . . I’ll figure you know the basics of canning.   Pack beans and liquid into jars, leaving 1″ of head space.  To the quart jars, I ad 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro, 1/2 of a seeded jalapeno pepper and a clove of garlic I’ve sliced in half.  Kinda stir those things around a bit and make sure all the air is out of the jar.  Clean the tops well, place the lids and rings on.  Process quarts at 10 pounds pressure for 1-1/2 hours.  Yep  . . it takes a long time.
Since I’m making 2 batches, I keep the remaining beans in the pot and heat them up just before time to put them in jars to put into the canner.  Do not put them in the jars and allow them to sit and cool before you put them into the canner.
For the Baked Beans:
2 pounds navy beans, rinsed well
1/2 pound salt pork
3 large onions (nice when you can get Vidalias)
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2/3 cup molasses

Place beans in a large pot and cover with at least 2″ of water.  Bring to a boil and let boil, uncovered for 2 – 3 minutes.  Remove from heat (but do not drain), cover and let sit for 1 hour.  Drain, rinse again with cold water.  Cover with at least 2″ of water.  Bring to a boil, uncovered.  Reduce heat.  Cover and continue to gently simmer until skins begin to crack or loosen.  Drain but save the liquid.  Pour beans into a large covered oven proof pan or bean pot.  Add pork and onions.  Stir in remaining ingredients and 4 cups of bean liquid.  If you’re short on liquid, add water.  Cover and bake at 350º for 3-1/2 hours.  Add more bean liquid or water if necessary.  Beans should be soupy.  Pack beans in pint jars, leaving 1″ headspace.  Remove air and clean edges well.  Place rings and lids on jars.  Process pints at 10 pounds pressure for 1 hour, 20 minutes.

Canning Dry Beans

Quarts- 1 1/4 cups clean, dry (raw) beans
            Add 1 teaspoon salt
            Fill with boiled water, leaving 1 inch of headspace.

Pressure can at 15 pounds of pressure for 90 minutes.

Pints-  2/3 cup of clean, dry (raw) beans
          Add 1/2 teaspoon salt
          Fill jar with boiled water, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Pressure can at 15 pounds of pressure for 75 minutes.

Based on Caitlin's recipe.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Berry Juice

 Berry Juice

1.  Thoroughly rinse berries, and place them in a heavy pot with just enough water to make them bob. Bring to a slow boil, mash with a potato masher or spoon, bring back to a boil, and remove from the heat. Cool slightly.
Mixture of raspberries, blueberries and saskatoon berries.
 2.  Pour the mashed berries into a jelly bag or a colander lined with several thicknesses of cheesecloth. Let drip overnight and collect the juice in a pot.
3.  For a 4L jug, mix one quart concentrate, 1 Cup sugar, fill with water.
Dripping Juice, Jug of Juice
4.  Add a teaspoon of lemon or lime juice per cup.  Boil juice.  Process in a BWB canner for 10 minutes.
Two quarts berry juice concentrate for the pantry

Blueberry, raspberry, watermelon

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Mint Jelly

Mint Jelly

3 cups packed fresh mint leaves and stems
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 1/2 cups boiling water
2 drops green food colour
6 cups white sugar
1 jar liquid pectin

Rinse off the mint leaves, and place them into a large saucepan. Crush. Add water, and bring the mint to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes. Strain. Pour into a saucepan. Stir in the lemon juice and food colouring. Mix in the sugar, and place the pan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Once the mixture is boiling, stir in the pectin. Boil the mixture for a full minute while stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and skim foam off the top using a large metal spoon. Transfer the mixture to hot sterile jars, and seal.

Process BWB 10 minutes.

* Dark, due to home made pectin.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Quinoa Egg Muffins

Quinoa Egg Muffins
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (Use 2 cups of water for every cup of quinoa. Toss in a dash of salt. Cover and bring to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil, turn the heat down to a simmer, and set the lid just ajar, to prevent boiling over. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.)
  • 1 cup diced veggies (zucchini, pepper, broccoli, SALSA)
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat feta cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: Dash of hot sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk the egg and egg whites together. Then combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine.
  3. Line your muffin tin with six liners and spray with cooking spray. Divide the mixture evenly among the six muffins.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Blueberry Limeade

Blueberry Limeade

1 (10-ounce) package frozen blueberries (2 cups), thawed
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup sugar
5 cups chilled water
Fresh blueberries, for garnish
Lime slices, for garnish

Add the blueberries, lime juice, and sugar to a blender and puree. Pour the mixture into a large pitcher. Add the water and stir gently. Pour into glasses filled with ice and garnish with additional lime slices and blueberries.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Infused Waters

I cut them off of pop at home.  The boys, that is.  Husband and I continue to be bad...  I've been buying more juices (fake crap, cheaper than soda), and watering them down so they aren't so sickeningly sweet.  But spring has finally sprung, so it's time to add a little something else to the water jugs in the fridge.

Picture borrowed from facebook

Infused waters.  Put as much fruit in water as you like and let the water sit for at least 30 minutes before drinking.  Use as is, or add simple syrop.

Simple Syrop -- Boil 1 Cup water + 1 Cup sugar until dissolved.  Sweeten infused waters to taste.

  • Mint 
  • basil
  • rosemary
  • sage
  • thyme
  • lavender
  • tarragon
  • Green tea, mint, lime
  • Ginger/tea
    In advance: heat 1 teaspoon of ginger in two cups of tea, let it cool down.
    Mix in a pitcher: 10 cups of water with two cups of the ginger tea + 4-5 pieces of fresh ginger cut into cubes. Leave in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
  • Strawberry, kiwi
  • Strawberry, basil
  • Cucumber, lime, lemon, basil
  • Cucumber and mint
  • Cucumber with lemongrass -- Wash the cucumber.   Using a vegetable peeler remove some of the waxy peel from the cucumber.   Proceed to peel the cucumber into ribbons using the vegetable peeler.   Put the ribbons into the pitcher. Using your hands, peel away the rough outer edge of the lemongrass.  Cut the lemongrass in half, lengthwise.   Place the lemongrass onto a cutting board.   Using a rolling pin, gently smash the lemongrass.   Add to the pitcher of ice and cucumber ribbons. Fill with water.  Give a stir.   Let chill in the fridge at least an hour.
  • All Citrus Flavoured Water  -- slice 1 orange, 1 lime, 1 lemon into rounds, then cut the rounds in half. Add to quart jar, press and twist with a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon. Press enough to release some of the juices, but don't pulverize the fruit into pieces. Fill the jar with ice. Pour in water to the top. Stir. 
  • Orange and thyme
  • Orange and Vanilla Flavoured Water -- Combine orange slices, vanilla and water in a large pitcher, and mix well.
  • Lime and Basil
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapefruit/mandarin (fresh sliced and mulled)
  • Lemon/ginger (grated ginger and fresh squeezed lemon)
  • Lime/mint leaf
  • Mango/kiwi (a light tropical taste)
  • Blueberries (add frozen to your water bottle and let melt – You have yummy blueberry water)
  • Pomegranate/blueberry
  • Fruit herb teas
  • Raspberry Lime Flavoured Water -- Quarter 2 limes; with your hands, squeeze the juice into quart jar, then throw in the squeezed lime quarters. Add raspberries. Press and twist with a muddler to release some of the juices (don't pulverize the fruit). Fill the jar with ice, then add water to the top. Stir, cover, and refrigerate.
  •  Pineapple Mint Flavoured Water -- Add a sprig of mint to quart jar--you can throw in the whole sprig; or, remove the leaves from the sprig, if you prefer to have the mint swimming around and distributing in the jar. Muddle the mint--the goal is to bruise the leaves and release their flavor--don't pulverize them into bits. Add pineapple pieces, press and twist with the muddler to release juices. Add ice to the top and then water. Stir, cover, and refrigerate.
  • Blackberry Sage Flavoured Water -- Add sage leaves to quart jar and bruise with a muddler. Add blackberries; press and twist with muddler to release their juices. Fill jar with ice cubes, add water to the top, stir, cover and refrigerate.
  •  Blackberries with lemon and ginger
  • Watermelon Rosemary Flavoured Water -- Add a sprig of rosemary to quart jar and muddle gently (rosemary releases a strong flavor without much muddling). Add watermelon cubes; twist and press gently to release juices. Fill jar with ice cubes, add water to the top, stir, cover and refrigerate.
  •  Watermelon and Jalapeno -- Make simple syrop and infuse jalapeno and thyme for 5 minutes. Remove the jalapeno and thyme.  Pour syrup and chopped watermelon into a blender. Blend until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Serve cold over ice.
  • Clover flowers
  • Peach Slices and Cayenne Pepper
  • Apples and Cinnamon cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon, and apples
  • Rhubarb
  • Dandelion -- Rinse and peel away all greenery

Friday, April 25, 2014

Taco Pasta

Inspired by a facebook post of 21 one-pot pasta dishes, and this recipe for enchilada pasta in particular...

Taco Pasta

diced onions
minced garlic
4 Tbsp butter
2 Cups leftover turkey
1 package taco seasoning (or 2 Tbsp cumin, 1/2 tsp ground red pepper)
1 quart pasta sauce
1 pint salsa
3 quarts water
lg package rotini noodles

Sauté onions and minced garlic in butter in large heavy pot.  Dice leftover turkey and add to pot.  Add taco seasoning.  Stir well.

Once turkey is hot, add 1 jar pasta sauce, 1 jar salsa, 3 jars water and large package rotini noodles.  Stir well.  Cover and simmer, stirring regularly.

Once pasta is cooked through, remove from heat and top with grated cheese.  Let cheese melt and serve.

Serves six.

Boys were very pleased with the results.