Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pancakes and Fruit

We love maple syrup. But sometimes it is nice to have something else on our pancakes. Enter: preserved fruit! Today we used peaches and strawberries. I made a triple batch of pancakes for everyone and then we brought out the jars. Mmmmm.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Apple Pie for Breakfast?

Sort of! This morning breakfast consisted of whole wheat toast, cream cheese, and "Apple Pie In A Jar." This is a preserve (conserve?) of apples and raisins with a bit of lemon. It is wonderful, and really tastes like apple pie. Next fall after apple picking I'll make little 4 ounce jars of this to give away for Christmas!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Another New Cookbook!

Nana and Papa brought me two cookbooks! This one has some nice flavor combinations I wouldn't have thought of myself. And there are some good pickle recipes I can't wait to try!

Oh, Yeah...

The Cranbanero is GREAT on chicken instead of regular cranberry sauce.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Cookbook!

Many thanks to Nana and Papa for my newest canning/preserving cookbook. This one has a big section on drying food and even how to build your own root cellar! One never knows when that might come in handy...

Pressure Canners Still Scare Me

Last night I roasted a chicken for dinner so, as usual, made chicken stock from the bones. Because it was really late, I put the stock in the fridge, saved the meat that came off the bones, and planned to make soup today. First of all, I had to get the pressure canner out and buy new jars. I found that stock in wide mouth jars doesn't really do well - it leaks out all over the canner and makes a mess which is difficult to clean. But maybe it's that the past few times I used the pressure canner, I forgot to let it vent for 10 minutes before putting the little weight on. Anyway, I bought the regular mouth pint jars for the stock. See how big the canner is?

The next step was reheating the stock and putting it in the jars. I had just enough to make 4 pints of stock, which are sitting in the canner in 1.5 inches of water. Then the top goes on. My canner does not have a rubber gasket. It's milled for a perfect fit. The screws are applied 2 at a time, on opposite sides (see below), until it's tight. Then it's heated and when the steam starts to come out, vented for 10 minutes (the step I always forget) and then the weight goes on. 10 pounds. Adjusting the heat to keep it at 10 pounds without a lot of rattling of the weight takes time. The stock was processed for 20 minutes, then I turned off the burner. When the pressure went down to zero, I took the lid off, removed the jars, and then replaced them with the jars of soup and started the process again.For the soup, I took the fat off the stock before I heated it up, and used it to saute leeks, celery, and onions. I added water, carrots, and the chicken meat I'd saved from yesterday, plus salt, pepper, and thyme. This simmered for about 2 hours. It made 2.5 quarts. These were processed for 90 minutes and removed when the pressure dropped back to zero.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Snowstorms are Good for Comfort Food

Considering we had just managed to drive 57 miles home in the snowstorm today AND make it up the driveway we felt that today was a good day for some soup. So I grabbed a quart of the turkey vegetable soup and a pint of the turkey stock, brought them to a boil, and then added 1/2 cup of acini di pepe (the little balls of pasta used in Italian Wedding Soup).

We had a wonderful lunch!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Every day is Jam Day

One of the advantages of having a wide variety of jams in the house is that we get to have something different every day. The other day it was toast with cream cheese and the Carrot Cake jam. Today I had toast with chive/onion cream cheese and the Cranbanero. Our 3 year old likes Nutella with Blackberry jam, while my husband prefers peanut butter with some kind of berry jam. Today it happened to be Blackberry as well. The 7 year old is not as into jam as we are and opted for cinnamon toast instead.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Persian Spices

Today I used the last quart of tomato sauce with Persian spices to make lamb shanks for dinner. The spices are coriander, cumin, and dried lime, and I put them in the jar before pouring in the tomato sauce. This way I could make a big batch of tomato sauce and then end up with multiple different flavors of sauce at the end. My grandmother would mix the coriander and cumin together and store it that way; she called it cardi, which means "work," I think. I also made Persian rice with potato tadiq.

Doesn't it look yummy?

Sunday, January 4, 2009


At the grocery store this morning there was a special on blackberries. In January! So I bought 10 little packages, used one for a fruit salad at lunchtime, and converted the other 9 into blackberry jam. I used the recipe on the Certo package, but I probably had way more than 4 cups of crushed berries, so I added a little extra sugar but no additional pectin.

There was a little more excitement than usual because I used a pot that was the perfect size if I'd used the right amounts of things, but with the extra berries and sugar, when I added the pectin it threatened to boil over. In fact it did boil over a little, but I managed not to get any on my skin. Contact with a substance the consistency of boiling tar is not really on my list of things to do. I held the ladle at the very end and stood as far back as possible for time it took to boil with the pectin. This photo demonstrates just how close it was!

Instead of 8 cups as promised on the Certo instruction sheet, I ended up with 11 1/2 cups. That's a good thing. Considering how fast the raspberry jam disappears, I'm sure this won't last very long!