Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Peach Salsa

It has been like a cannery around here.  Seriously.  Yesterday I canned another batch of peach barbecue sauce because we love it so much.  I put some in the fridge because my husband was like, "don't can it all- leave some out for now!"  I could not agree more.

I also canned this peach salsa.  I had canned it last year as well and it is nearly gone.  We discovered that we REALLY like it on rice.  Delicious.  Also, great on fish tacos! So I had to make this and yes, I doubled it because we like it that much.

The day before that I made some more of my dill relish that we blew through this past winter.  Here is a pic of my daughter turning the old fashioned grinder that I have.

Before I started canning all these I organized my canning shelf to get ready for the onslaught that is summer harvest.

Peach Salsa
Adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.  Yield 8 pints.

12 cups chopped pitted peeled peaches
1 cup white vinegar
2 1/2 cups chopped red onion
2 large jalapeño peppers*, finely chopped. (for a mild heat with a hint of burn, remove the ribs and seeds from the jalapeños prior to chopping)
2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped finely
1 cup loosely packed, finely chopped cilantro
4 tablespoons liquid honey
4 clove of garlic, finely chopped
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

Scald the peaches for one minute and peel.  Measure after you have chopped them and pitted them. ( Just to give you a rough idea, I used a little over half a peck for a double recipe).

Place vinegar in the pot first then the peaches.  The vinegar will help the peaches from turning brown too fast. Add everything else to the pot. Once everything is in, bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened (about 5-10 minutes).

Have ready previously prepared, washed and sterilized canning jars. Ladle the hot salsa mixture in, leaving a quarter inch head space. Wipe the jar rims and tighten the hot lids on to fingertip tightness.

Place the jars in a boiling water bath canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes.

After processing, remove jars from the canner with the jar lifter and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool.

*I recommend chopping up your jalapeños one by one and adding them.  Check the heat.  It will give you some indication of how hot it will be, but of course it isn't going to be through and through  your salsa yet.  I love heat and my jalapeños were super big,  I took off the ribs and seeds and ended up using only two in the whole recipe.  Plenty hot.  Not to mention you will add cayenne too.  Keep in mind you do not have to add the cayenne if you don't want a lot of heat.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Peach Barbeque Sauce II

Last winter we gobbled up all of the peach barbeque sauce that I canned two years ago.  This year I knew I had to can more and I did.  The recipe is here.  But I also wanted to try this recipe from Williams Sonoma.  The fact that it had a cup of Worcestershire Sauce was certainly intriguing.  Normally I would have doubled the recipe but I gave it a go with a single batch.  There was a bout a 1/4 cup leftover and it was gobbled up like "snap".

I am making it again today.  I had enough fully ripe peaches to do another single batch.  I think it may be a great present for Christmas and hostess gifts.  I think there may be a third batch in my near future.

This stuff is not too vinegary, ever so slightly sweet and flavored perfectly.  I can not get over how amazing this stuff is.  For the original recipe go here, to Williams Sonoma.  I changed it up just a bit and really went into a lot more detail.

First of all, I weighed the peaches after they were scalded, skinned and pitted.  I wanted to maximize this and the original recipe was not all together too clear on that point.
Peach Barbeque Sauce
Slightly adapted from Williams Sonoma 

4 pounds of peaches that have been scalded, pitted and peeled
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup avocado oil
1 large onion (about a cup and a 1/4)
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar (the first time I used a combination of regular brown sugar and a tablespoon of molasses)
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup bourbon
1 cup Worscestershire Sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons peeled and grated ginger
2 tablespoons chili powder
salt and pepper to taste (about a 1/2 of a tablespoon each)

1. Scald peaches for about one minute, submerged in boiling water.  The skin will peel away easily. Slice and discard pit.  Weigh all the peaches. Pour lemon juice over top.
2.  Sauté onions in oil until translucent.  Add garlic.  Cook one minute more.

3. Add peaches to the onions.  Add in cider vinegar, bourbon, and sugar.  Simmer the mixture uncovered for 30 minutes.

4.  Let cool to blend or you can be like me and power through.  Just fill the blender 3/4 full, no more and place a towel over top, holding the lid down firmly with your hand.  This will keep the hot liquid inside and not jumping out at you and everything else.

5.  Add in the Worcestershire sauce, ginger, chili powder and tomato paste.  I add it all to the blender when I blend the last batch.

6.  Cook 10 minutes more, especially if you had let it cool previously.  A gentle simmer.

7.  Pour into clean canning jars, place lids on top and screw down with jar bands.  Turn tightly.  Place in canner.  Bring to a boil.  Keep simmer for 15 minutes to seal everything in.  You can use a make shift canner like me, using a deep pot with a towel on the bottom or a round cooling rack.  Of course I have a regular canner but I was too lazy to deal with it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mrs. Wages Ketchup My Way

It would be a cliché to quote Frank Sinatra in his song, "I Did It My Way".  But I can't help but have that song rolling over and over again in my brain as I write this post. 

I don't say "my way" because I am thinking I am awesome.  I say "my way" so that next time when I go to can ketchup I know exactly what I did.

I don't know about you but I am often put off by the strong flavors of homemade ketchup.  Sometimes I like it, on certain things.  Like a burger, when it compliments the flavors.  There are time when I don't like it.  Like on French Fries, because for me, the ketchup should taste a certain way.

Finding the right ketchup, that tastes that certain way, without going to the store to buy it, is a bit of a challenge.  I think I have found a solution.  It might be temporary though.

Mrs. Wages are premixed "spice packs" that you can add to your canning process.  There are other things in the mix.  Since I try to stay away from packaged things as much as possible, and really that is a big part of why I can fruits and vegetables, I hate my reliance on it.  But it will do until I find the perfect combination of spices and such.

On the Mrs. Wages package it says, 6 pounds of tomatoes.  I used 7 and I did it a different way so I am going to rewrite the recipe like I did it.  Of course, you are still adding that package of Mrs. Wages.

Adding that pound with yield more ketchup.  But it will also tone down the spices into more of what I like about commercial ketchup.

Mrs. Wages Ketchup, My Way

7 pounds fresh Roma tomatoes (weighed after coring them)
1 cup white vinegar
1 6 ouncs can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 pouch Mrs. Wages Ketchup Mix

Start with pretty ripe Roma's.  You want them to be at their peak.  They will be sweeter and meatier.

Wash the tomatoes. Cut of bad spot and cores.  Squeeze them with your hand into the pot.  The package directions say to mash it with a tomato masher.  I am here to tell you friends, your hands are much faster and effective.  But do make sure they are clean first.

Start the flame on low just so nothing burns.  Turn to medium high after the tomatoes start to release more of their juices. Reduce to simmer and let cook at least for a half an hour. You want some of the liquids to evaporate.  This will yield a thicker ketchup.

Turn off the heat.  Place about 3 cups of the mixture into the blender.  I place a towel over the top because sometimes the hot liquid can rise and force the top open a little.  Let me tell you, that hurts.  I also start the blender on 'stir' to get things going and then I move it up to 'liquefy'. 

Pour the liquid through a strainer.  You will need to run a spoon around the bottom of the strainer.  You are basically forcing the small solids through.  You want these small solids.  Again, it will add to the thickness. Once you have forced as much through as possible, then you tap the strainer edge on the side of the pot you are straining into.  A couple times do this,  This will force the rest of the solids through. Pretty soon there will be a ball of tomato skin and seed bouncing in the strainer.  That is when you know You have forced as much of the mush tomato through as possible.  Discard those solids or better yet, compost them.

Now that you have cooked and strained as much of it through as possible, you can proceed with the recipe as it is written.

"Combine juice, tomato paste and vinegar into a large pot and bring to a boil.  Stir frequently.  Slowly add sugar and Ketchup Mix to hot juice until evenly dispersed.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Ketchup is ready." (Mrs. Wages Ketchup package directions).

The only thing I would add is that I used a whisk to mix in the Ketchup Mix.  It clumps very easy.  You could also take some of the hot liquid out and mix it with the powder in a separate container and then pour it back in. 

You can freeze it or can it.  If you can it.  You will need to process it for 40 minutes.  What does that mean? Process?  Bring a large pot of water, preferably a canner, to a boil.  Pour liquid into canning jars, place lids on top and screw down with a jar ring tightly.  Place hot jars into hot water.  Bring to a boil in the canner.  Once the water in the canner has reached boiling, Let boil for 40 minutes.  Remove with a jar remover and place on towel on counter to cool.  You want to make sure you hear that ping.  This lets you know it has properly sealed.  After 24 hours, push down on lids, if they spring back, they are not sealed.  They need to be refrigerated and used. To learn more about canning please consult a Ball Canning Book or go to this site and learn more about safe canning practices.

If you are anything like me, you will ask what is in this list of ingredients on the Mrs. Wages package.  Here yah go: salt, food starch, evaporated can sugar, beet powder, onion, natural flavor, xanthan gum,citric acid, paprika spice, garlic.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Baked Potato

I do not turn my oven on n the summer if the AC is on.  It's just counter intuitive to me.  We had some cooler days last week- low 70's, windows were open and a nice breeze was blowing.  I decided some baked potatoes would go nicely with the cube steak I had out for dinner.

I don't know what it is about baked potatoes in a restaurant.  They are always so good.  I can not seem to replicate them at home. Enter Alton Brown.  I am definitely a fan of his.  I decided to give his baked potato a try.

Best Home Baked Potato

6 baked potatoes
1/2 cup peanut oil
kosher salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Position rack in center of oven.
2.  Place baking sheet under the middle rack to catch drips.

3.  Wash and scrub potatoes.
4.  Prick with a fork in several spots all over the potatoe.
5.  Brush oil on potato.
6.  Sprinkle salt all over potato.
7.  Bake for at least 60 minutes but 90 minutes is even better.
8.  Prick potato with knife to see if it is ready.  It should penetrate the potato easily. Outside of potato should be darker in color as well.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Raspberry Jam

This jam is so easy.  All you have to do is do equal parts mashed raspberries and sugar.

But I have to be different.  Only cause I made a mistake.  You see you bring the raspberries to a boil for two minutes.  Then you add the sugar and bring to a boil for another two minutes.  But, eh, I was in a hurry and didn't read the directions again.

You see my daughter had to get to the ice cream place for an ice cream cone and nothing was going to get in her way.  Mom we goin'?  Mom, when are we going?  Mom, is it time to go?  Mom, Mom, Mom.  You can only take that so many times before you are like, lets go!!!!!!  I have also said , we are not going because you bugged me one too many times.  But not tonight because I wanted Oregon Blackberry Ice Cream.  And it is all about me, right?  Cough, cough.  Hardly, when you are a Mom, you take this oath that from this day forward, it is always about your children.  Basically, until you die.  And really, I wouldn't have it any other way.  But they do also have to realize that I have needs... But I digress.  This about food, right?  Right?  It's not about the joys of parenting.  Right?

So, anyway.  I changed the recipe. Because I have some Dutch Gel.  Because I can. I get Dutch Gel from the Mennonite store that I go to.  I wanted to remember what I did for next year.

Raspberry Jam

3 cups mashed raspberries (this was about 24 ounces)
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup (generous) Dutch Gel

Mash the raspberries.  Measure equal parts sugar and raspberries.  Heat in a pot.  Bring to a boil.  When it is a rolling boil that you can't stir down, start the timer and time for 2 minutes.  Add in Dutch Gel.  Again.  Bring to a boil that you can't stir down for 2 minutes.  Pour into jars, leaving a 1/4 inch head space.  I use pints because we tend to use a lot of this kind of jelly and no sense wasting lids.

Place lids and rings on jars and turn upside down for ten minutes.  Place back in upright position.  They should seal at this point.  If they don't you can invert them again or give up and place in the refrigerator. If you don't feel comfortable with the upside down method, then process the jars for ten minutes.

Thursday, August 13, 2015


I think I took 5000 pictures of this blueberry dessert.  It was so pretty.  I couldn't help myself.  First, I started taking pics with just the glass with the dessert inside.  Then I took pics with the silver platter underneath.  Then I put the demi tasse spoons in.  It just kept looking prettier and prettier.

But how did it taste you ask.  Well, imagine blueberries and cream.  It just does not get any better.
Does it? Well, my husband says just plain blueberries are phenomenal.  Don't you just hate people like that? Such purists. Ah, but don't be fooled.  He is not perfect when it comes to eating.  If he stares down a pizza, the pizza always wins!
How is it done?  Well, that my friends is the easy part.


1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese or Greek Yogurt cream cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup mashed blueberries
2-3 cups blueberries

Whip the cream cheese until fluffy.  Add in sugar and vanilla.  Combine.  Whip in mashed blueberries.  I dont know if this was a good decision or not.  I think it might be better without the mashed blueberries whipped in.  But I kind of liked how it was very blueberry-y tasting. Eh, either way.

Whip heavy cream until stiff peak form.  Spoon a third of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture and blend.  Add in the remainder or fold it in.

Sppon some of the cream mixture into a gladd dish.  Layer in blueberries.  Add more cream.  And then top with more blueberries.  Garnish with mint leaves.

Makes 8 servings.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tender Zucchini Noodles with Scrambled Eggs

Zucchini is like miracle food when it comes to 200 or less.  You can really eat a lot of zucchini without eating too many calories.  Love it.

The hardest part of this dish is chopping up the zucchini.  I used the mandolin to cut thin slices and then I cut those into small strips.  If you have one of those ribbon cutters, that will work perfectly.

Salt the zucchini liberally and let sit for fifteen minutes.  Rinse and squeeze gently before adding to the pan.

Tender Zucchini Noodles with Scrambled Eggs

This makes two servings. Calories in italics.
Calories per person is 217

2 medium to large zucchinis.  You should end up with about 6 cups of zucchini (before salting) (114)
1 teaspoon olive oil (40)
4 eggs scrambled (280)
season with garlic powder, salt and pepper

In a large, non stick fry pan heat olive oil.  Add gently squeezed zucchini. Cook over medium heat until the zucchini has wilted.  Move aside and cook eggs.  Or you can cook your eggs in another frying pan.

Divide zucchini and eggs between two serving plates.

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