Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Concord Grape Jam


There is nothing like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich but my favorite jelly with peanut butter is by far grape jelly.  So much flavor bursting in your mouth.  I know I am not alone on this one is there is jars of peanut butter already mixed with grape jelly.  My roommate way back int he day use to buy it and eat it by the spoonful!

This grape jelly, the one you can make at home if you have access to Concord Grapes is phenomenal. But here is the exciting news, you can even make it with frozen concentrate grape juice.  Yeah! Wowzer!  Just reconstitute it and follow the recipe below as usual, omitting the water in the recipe.

Concord Grape Jelly

3 pounds of Concord Grapes
1/2 cup water

4 cups Concord Grape Juice (that you extracted or from concentrate)
7 cups sugar
pectin powder or liquid directions to follow.

Take the grapes off the stems and place them in a heavy bottom sauce pan or soup pot.  Pour in a half cup water.  Using a potato masher, squash the grapes.  If you do not have a potato masher, you can use your hands.  Just get them all squashed.  Bring the grape to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

While the grapes are simmering away, prepare a colander lined with cheese cloth. Place it over a pot or a bowl that it can drain into it.  It has to be large enough to hold all the grapes. I used a fine mesh colander and did not need to use cheesecloth.  Yeah!

Once it is done simmering, pour the grapes into your cheesecloth line colander or a fine mesh strainer.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Freezing Pumpkin Puree and 15 Things To Do with it!

When you find small pumpkins, usually pie pumpkins or another variety (or other squashes you like, such as Honey Nut, tastes a lot like pumpkin but sweeter), you can freeze them.  It's really handy to reach in the freezer and grab one that is already measured in a two cup portion for most recipes.  Or grab a container and make pumpkin soup.  The hard part is over.  All you have to do is put it in your pot.

Here are some of the recipes I have made with pumpkin puree or squash (interchangeable for the most part).  If you have leftover pumpkin puree from Thanksgiving, great, it will work in these recipes too!

Smoked Gruyere and Butternut Squash Scones

Pumpkin Rolls

Browned Butter Pumpkin Cake

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ginger Pumpkin Pie

French Pumpkin Soup

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Bread

Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Gouda

Roasted Butternut Squash with Bacon 

Positively Butternut Squash Pizza

Pumpkin Almond Bars

Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bars

Pumpkin Pie Bars

Pumpkin Cheesecake

You can find more recipes for squash and pumpkin be searching in my search bar.  There are so many!

How To Do The Puree

I cut the pumpkins in half and scoop out the innards with a ice cream scoop, it is the perfect tool for the job. I like to lay them on parchment paper on the baking sheet.  This makes clean up a whole lot easier.  You can use aluminum foil but have to be careful about it sticking to the squash.

Roast at 425F in middle of the oven.  When you can push on the pumpkin and it totally gives, then it is ready to be taken out.

Scoop all the fleshy parts away fromt he skin with a large spoon, scraping as much as you can.

Place in a food processor or blender to puree. Measure out how you like and freeze.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

“Whatever our individual troubles and challenges may be, it’s important to pause every now and then to appreciate all that we have, on every level. We need to literally “count our blessings,” give thanks for them, allow ourselves to enjoy them, and relish the experience of prosperity we already have.” — Shakti Gawain
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” — Albert Schweitzer
“You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Vietnamese Carrot and Daikon Radish Pickle (Do Chun)

I was through with canning.  I put away my canner, I put away my lids and rings and warded off any future canning projects because I was done for the season.  Done I tell you!  Then I went crazy buying carrots at the market last week and I have this daikon radish in my fridge and well, I have no room in my fridge at present because I have been roasting squash and freezing it lately.  I actually have a pretty small fridge.  Its filled with end of the summer pickles.  Had to get those in before all the cukes were gone.   

I was left with no choice.  Can it!  I had to.  Noooooo. 

I will be grateful.  After Thanksgiving is over and I want some new fresh taste, I will pull out one of these sweet little jars and have me a Banh Mi sandwich.  Maybe even a turkey Banh Mi!

Vietnamese Carrot and Daikon Pickle  (Do Chun)
Adapted from this recipe via Ball Canning.  One of the best sources of info on canning.

You can do any size.  If you just want to do one jar, cut it way back and why bother even canning it. Put it in your fridge and in a week, you will have a tasty pickle to pair with your Vietnamese food or to go on your Bahn Mi sandwich.  Just make sure your vinegar ratio is 2:1 and your water sugar is 2:1.  1 tablespoon or more of salt per cup.

2 pounds carrots
2 pounds daikon radish
3 cups white vinegar
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 clove garlic per jar
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes per jar

Heat vinegar, water, sugar and salt.  While you are waiting for that to come to a boil. 
Cut carrots and daikon into matchstick sizes. 

Clean/sterilize jars and lids that you will be canning in.  Fill jars with your matchstick carrots and daikon.  Add 1/4 teaspoon or more chili flakes and a clove of garlic to each jar.  If you like a lot of heat add more chili flakes.

Once your liquid has boiled for a couple minutes, pour it into your jars, distributing evenly. If I am rally close but do not have quite enough liquid I will fill the jars with a little more vinegar.  If you are like a 1/4 inch from where you are suppose to be lets say.  

Fill jars to a 1/4 inch head space.  Place lids on and rings.

Process 10 minutes. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016


Aren't these flowers beautiful?  Such a beautiful arrangement.  My husbands work team sent this when my Father passed.  I loved the colors and the flowers chosen, the way they went with each other.  I always admire the people that arrange these bouquets.   Thank you.  It was a source of quiet joy.
If you have any zucchini, these are a sweet to behold.  So delicious. If you don't have cake flour you can substitute with 2 tablespoons corn starch or arrow root in the bottom of a measuring cup and fill the remainder with flour.  Its best to have sifted flour but at least spoon the flour into the measuring cup.  Yes, it makes a difference.  This is why I wish all our recipes were like the English, measured with weight.  It's so much more accurate.  I think foodies should start a movement...  We could call it, Wait, let's Weight!  Aren't I clever?  Ha!


2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
1⅓ cups sugar
2 tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup buttermilk
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup grated zucchini

Glaze ingredients:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs;  add oil and sugar until well blended. Add lemon juice, buttermilk, lemon zest to this mixture and blend all together.

Fold in zucchini until it is mixed well. Mix dry ingredients to the batter and mix until well combined. Do not over mix.

Pour batter into greased  9 x 5  loaf pan.

Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes.

When cake is still warm, pour glaze over the bread. Let the cake cool to room temperature.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Smoked Gruyere and Butternut Squash Scones

There is no sugar in these scones.  So good, so warm, so Autumn like comforting.  This will not be the last time I make these babies.

I have been so busy working the harvest I so gratefully have acquired.  Not a lot of time for anything else.  I feel like Autumn just passed me by in a huff.  There was also the time I spent with my Father as he lived his last days.  I feel like I am running behind, freezing and preparing food to be put up.  In between there have been a few moments to bake and this was one such moment well spent making these scones.

Smoked Gruyere and Butternut Squash Scones

1 stick butter 4 ounces
2 teaspoons sage
1/4 cup minced dried onions
1 cup pumpkin or butternut squash, roasted and pureed or canned
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cooked and crumbled bacon (optional)
7 ounces smoked Gruyere, reserving some for the tops of the scones

With a pastry mixer/fork or a food processor mix sage, dried onions, salt, flour, baking powder and baking soda together.  Then add butter and blend.  In a separate bowl combine, squash puree, buttermilk, heavy cream and egg.  Once the dry mixture with the butter has reached a mealy stage add in the liquid, pretty much just to combine.  Then add in the bacon and Gruyere and mix just enough to combine.

Spoon into scone pan.  If you dont have a scone pan you can drop by 1/2 cup measures onto a baking sheet.  Or do the traditional way.  Roll the dough out thickly on a floured surface and cut into triangles or some other desired shape.

Sprinkle tops with reserved gruyere and bake at 350F for 30 minutes, depending on what size you use.  I used a scone pan.  Do not over bake.  As soon as they are just lightly golden check with an inserted toothpick.  If it comes our fairly clean (there is melted cheese in there), then it is ready.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

cherry peppers

I have made a lot of piri piri sauce.  Its been flying out of here like crazy.  I had to. But with nearly a gallon made so far and 1/4 of that eaten, I could not make anymore.  It seemed a bit, well, unreasonable.  I decided to can these cherry peppers instead of making the sauce.  This way if I need to replenish my supply of piri piri sauce I can do it with these babies, no problem.  Doesn't even matter if it is mid winter or not. Just drain and begin.  Yes, that piri piri sauce is that good.

I know this pic is blurry but I like it in a 'water- color- kind' of way.

Pickled Cherry Peppers

2 lbs cherry peppers
4 cups white vinegar
1 1⁄2 cups water
1 - 4 tablespoon sugar (to taste)
1 1⁄3 teaspoons salt
1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano per jar
1 -2 garlic cloves per jar (whole or halved)
1 small bay leaf per jar
2 peppercorns per jars

Sterilize 5 pint-sized canning jars, rings and lids by boiling them in a large pot for at least 10 minutes, making sure they are completely submerged.

Rinse the cherry peppers thoroughly under cool running water, removing any visible dirt or debris. Trim the stem from each pepper with a small, sharp knife. You do not need to actually remove the stem; simply cut it down to a manageable size.

Place the peppers into your sterilized jars. They should fill the jars most of the way, but don't forcibly stuff them inside. Add bay leaves, oregano, peppercorns and garlic cloves to each jar.

In a saucepan mix the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and sugar. Bring to a gentle simmer and allow them to cook until the sugar and salt completely dissolve, about 5 minutes.

Pour the vinegar mixture over the ingredients in each jar. Leave approximately 1/4 inch of air at the top of each jar. Wipe the rim of each jar with a paper towel, then put the lids and rings on the jars.

Process the jars in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. You should do this with a water bath canner if possible. If not, fill a large pot with hot water, add the jars (which should be standing upright and fully submerged with 1 inch of water over the top of the lids), cover and bring the water to a boil for at least 10 minutes. At the end, turn off flame, remove top and let sit for 5 minutes before taking them out.  I find this helps with the boil out of the jar factor.

Remove the jars from the hot water, allow them to cool, then check the seal by pressing on the top of each jar with a finger. If the top is slightly inverted and does not give when you press on it, the jar is properly sealed. Store properly sealed jars for several weeks before eating the peppers.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Enchilada Sauce

Usually when I make enchiladas I am busy making the filling and totally not in the mood to make enchilada sauce.  I usually will pour some of my canned tomato sauce with a little taco seasoning in it and call it done.  That's okay but sometimes I want things really cooked through and thought out for a better depth of flavor.  So on my canning bucket list this summer was enchilada sauce.  I didn't think I was going to get to it but the end of summer tomatoes were a perfect fit for the sauce.  I ended up having 6 pints when all was said and done but it will largely depend on how long you boil it down.

I am pretty stoked about having ready made enchilada sauce in my pantry!

Canned Enchilada Sauce

24 cups  (about 3/4 peck) tomatoes
juice of 2 lemons
4 large cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons oregano
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1.   Fill the canner with water, cover and turn the heat on medium.
2.   Cook tomatoes, boiling them down for about 60 minutes.
3.   Add the remainder of ingredients and taste.  If you want more heat, add in some more chipotle.
4.   Bring to a boil again for about five minutes.
5.   Blend the sauce being careful not to burn yourself as hot liquid in a blender builds pressure and can blow the lid.  I always put a towel over top.  I also only fill my blender 2/3's full.
6.   Strain seeds and skin out.
7.   Sterilize jars and while still warm pour the sauce into jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.
8.   Run fingers around the rim to insure there are no chips or food particles on that would get in the way of a good seal.  Put lids and rings on.  Tighten rings firmly.
9.   Place jars in canner.  Add more water if necessary.  Water should be one inch above the tops of the jars. Once the water starts to boil, this is called processing, process for 30 minutes.
10. Turn off flame, remove lid of canner and wait five minutes.
11.  Use the canning tongs to remove the jars and lids one at a time from the canner. 
12.  Listen for a ping as the jars cool and the lid pops into place. You dont have to be there to hear the ping but it is a gratifying sound.  It means the lids have sealed.  
13.  Before you store them you do want to check to make sure the lid is depressed.  This means they are sealed properly.  If the lid is not depressed store in refrigerator and eat. Let the jars rest 24 hours.
14.  Store in a dark place.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


This is such a warming dish.  Warms your insides. I love these heavily spiced dishes in the Autumn.  Its comfort food.  But its healthy.  You can skip the beans if you like.  If you have this dish at an Ethiopian restaurant, you probably won't find green beans in it.  Maybe, I dunno.  I haven't been to like a ton of Ethiopian places though.  

I will tell you about fenugreek.  I used to hate it.  It is also called methi (Indian).  It must be an acquired taste, was for me anyhow.  I love it now.  Just totally love it. It is very warming and has a super unique taste.  

Ethiopian Carrot, Potato and Cabbage

teaspoon extra virgin olive oil or butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 jalapeno, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup chopped onion 
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds 
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/8 teaspoon cloves powder
a generous dash of black pepper
3/4 cup sliced carrots
2 medium potatoes, chopped, 1.5 generous cups
2 cups of cabbage, finely chopped
2 cups green beans
1/2 tsp salt

In a large skillet, saute garlic, ginger, chili, and onion until fragrant in oil,about 5 minutes. 
Add cumin, turmeric, fenugreek seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper, cook for 2 minutes. Add the carrots, potato, beans and cabbage mix well. Add salt. Mix well, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Stir periodically. 

Taste and add salt and pepper as desired, a little more oil if needed. Mix in, reduce heat to low-medium. Cover and Cook for another 15 minutes or unti