Thursday, September 14, 2017

Free Apples

When I got home from work today, my neighbors across the street stopped by with an offer of apples. These are the Granny Smith apples I mentioned before, and their tree had produced over 40 pounds! They gave me 14 pounds of apples and those that hadn't spoiled (I only lost about 2 pounds) got cooked down into five quarts of applesauce. Since they didn't have a lot of inherent water content, I added about a pint of apple juice along with both brown and white sugar and some cinnamon. I just kept adding sugar and cinnamon until it tasted right. I'll be giving a quart back to them, and then I think I might have enough applesauce for the season. Which is too bad, because we're going apple picking on Sunday.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Half Awake

Last night I worked an overnight shift and I haven't really slept yet. Instead, I'm cleaning up some of my farm share veggies by making salsa again. I had almost a pound of tomatillos which were converted, along with five serrano peppers, into a pint of salsa verde. I also had eight large plum tomatoes and those, plus a red bell pepper, some onion, and more jalapeños and serranos, became almost three pints of regular salsa. I also discovered that the overabundance of hot peppers from the farm share is a problem - they're starting to go bad faster than I can use them! I'll be giving away the habaneros tomorrow to someone who plans to make habanero infused maple syrup with them. I haven't been keeping the hot wax peppers because I have so much hot pepper sauce from last year, but I do have a lot of cherry bombs. I'd been planning on making toorshi with them but that never materialized and I don't really know what else to make. I could just pickle them, I suppose.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Last Minute Fix

Yesterday I was getting my entries ready for the fair, printing out the recipes and entry forms, and then I realized I'd made a mistake. You see, I entered a class that consists of three different kinds of jelly entered together. My mistake was, I had jams picked out, not jellies. I had two options: not enter the class (fine, but where's the fun in that?) or quickly make a few more batches of jelly. Today. When I have to enter everything tomorrow.

Yeah, you guessed it. I made jelly.

Lavender White Wine Jelly

3 ¼ cups white wine
2 T. dried lavender buds
¼ cup lemon juice
1 package Sure-Jell Pectin
4 ½ cups sugar

and

Rosemary Red Wine Jelly

3 ¼ cups red wine
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, about ¼ cup
½ cup lemon juice
1 package Sure-Jell Pectin
4 ½ cups sugar

Each of these were made with the same method: simmer the herbs in the wine for about 20 minutes then strain out the herbs. Boil the wine, pectin and lemon juice and then add the sugar. Boil hard for 2 minutes and then process in the boiling water canner for 10 minutes. They only make about 4-5 cups of jelly but that was enough to get some things for the fair and add to the gift stash. 

The third entry for this category will be elderberry jelly, which I made last month. Good thing I caught my error before tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Sweet and Sauer

This morning it was finally time to can the sauerkraut I'd been fermenting. Every once in a while I still heard a "bloop" when air escaped from the crock (there's a water seal) but it'd been a few weeks and I needed to get it into jars so I could enter it in the fair. The sauerkraut was packed into three pint and two half-pint jars and processed for 20 minutes, once I brought the water to a boil. Because you pack the sauerkraut cold, it's important to not heat it too quickly or the jars will break. When I first opened the canner I was afraid a jar had broken but I guess I got lucky.

The next thing I did was make cookies. I'd been wanting to make some for the kids and the original plan was stymied by the lack of powdered sugar and my disinterest in going back outside. So I took the recipe I have for lemon sablées and altered it.

Pistachio-Lemon Cookies

12 ounces butter at room temperature
10-1/4 ounces sugar
2 eggs
3-1/2 ounces milk
1 tsp lemon extract
1-3/4 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 ounces finely ground pistachios (be careful not to turn them into paste)
19-3/4 ounces flour

Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat until smooth. Add milk and extract and beat until smooth again. Add the dry ingredients and mix until dough is combined. Pipe onto a parchment-lined baking sheet in rosettes, and top each cookie with a pistachio and a piece of candied lemon peel. Bake at 350˚F for 12-13 minutes, turning the baking sheet once during baking. 

I tried playing around with the shape when I piped the dough - I was trying to make seashells but ended up with what looked like winking hedgehogs (1 pistachio, 1 piece of lemon peel). And who has ever heard of a lemony winking hedgehog?

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Did I Mention?

It's been a week and I never got to post about my fabulous birthday cake. My husband made it, with guidance from me. Here it is:

He took the sour cream chocolate cake that we all like so much and baked it in a bundt pan with a cream cheese and condensed milk filling. As the cake baked, the filling sunk in and the cake enveloped it. It was frosted with fudge frosting. And it was awesome.

We had a few friends join us for dinner and we had chicken kebabs, veggie kebabs, and also for dessert, fruit kebabs which the youngerchild made. Many things on skewers. For the chicken, I'd used the yogurt and honey marinade I like so much but added cardi and ground lime to make it even more Persian. It was a good addition.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Grape Goodness

Today I finally had time to make grape jelly from all that grape juice I extracted the other day. First I made two back-to-back batches of grape jelly (per batch: 5 cups juice, 7 cups sugar, 1 box Sure-Jell) which came to 18 cups or 11 jars. I used some half-pint jars and some pint jars and will enter two of the half-pints in the fair.

I had just over three quarts of juice left so I added four cups of sugar and heated the juice. I'm currently canning three quart jars of juice in the canner and saved the rest for the youngerchild to drink with dinner.

It's my weekend (and holiday) to work, so that may be all I have time for until Tuesday!