Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Canned Peaches, Frozen Peaches, Peach Honey

These are my notes for canning peaches.  Follow directions here.
30 peaches and 2 batches of syrup resulted in 9 quarts.
Dayna's syrup recipe calls for 5 1/4 cup water and 2 1/2 cup sugar.  All my peaches floated to the top.
I've used both the hot pack method and the fresh pack method.

To freeze peaches (here), 12 peaches, 3 cups water and 1 1/2 cups sugar (for the syrup) filled 3 1-quart freezer bags.  For later, make an excellent peach cobbler with this recipe.

To make peach honey from the peelings, I used all the peelings from about (about 42 peaches) which boiled down to 3 cups juice.  I added 1 1/2 cups sugar and a little mushed peach as well as about 2 T corn syrup and a sprinkling of cinnamon.  The result was 1 pint of peach honey.

Canned Fiesta Salsa

*This is the freshest tasting salsa from a can that I've ever tried--of course, I only canned it yesterday so maybe time will change it.  It reminds me of the salsa you can buy in the refrigerated section (which is my favorite, but of course costs more than the canned kind).  I spent approximately $4 on the peppers, cucumbers, and cilantro and it made 4 1/2 pints.  That puts this homemade salsa at just about $1 per jar.  This would be a good place to mention that it took me a long time to chop everything up--so let's just say it cost about $1 per jar plus approximately 45 minutes of labor per jar.  How's your billing rate?

Taken from the Ball Blue Book of Preserving

7 cups chopped, seeded, peeled, cored tomatoes (I used a combination of Roma tomatoes, regular tomatoes, and even a handful of cherry tomatoes)
2 cups chopped, seeded, peeled cucumbers (about 1 1/2 cukes)
2 cups chopped and seeded banana peppers
1 cup sliced green onion
1/2 cup chopped, peeled, roasted Anaheim peppers (approx 1 pepper)**
1/2 cup chopped jalapeño peppers (I used 3 peppers that made 2/3 cup)
1/4 cup minced cilantro
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T minced fresh marjoram (I used 1 t dried)
1 t salt
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 T lime juice (loved this, will add double that next time)

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepot.  Bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.  Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Adjust two-piece caps.  process 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Note:  When cutting or seeding hot peppers, ear rubber gloves to prevent hands from being burned.

*I would rate this as a mild to medium salsa--just the way I like it.  Even my 2 year old likes it.  Next time I have a surplus of tomatoes, I will look at making this again--but I will add that a food processor could have been very helpful chopping all those veggies!  As a side note, after filling 4 pints, I had about 1/2 a pint left over.  I processed it in an old artichoke hearts bottle and it sealed perfectly!  I didn't know that used jars and lids could be recycled that way.  That makes me wonder, can you reuse the lids from previous cannings?  Let me know if you've done it successfully.

**To roast the Anaheim pepper:
1.  Spray cooking sheet with baking spray and place peppers not touching on sheet.
2.  Turn oven on to high broil and place baking sheet approx 4-6 inches below broiler.
3.  Use tongs to turn peppers every few minutes.  Remove from oven when all sides are blackened.
4.  Place peppers in paper bag for 10-15 minutes to let steam.
5.  Wearing gloves, peel the blackened skin away from pepper.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Allrecipes
Makes 3 dozen

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 eggs
2 t vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.
2.  In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar.  Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended.  Stir in the eggs and vanilla.  Blend in the flour mixture.  Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.  Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
3.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven.  Edges should be golden.

*Soft.  Chill cookie dough before baking.

Red Pepper Salmon Pasta

Adapted from Allrecipes
Servings 4

4 (4 ounce) fillets salmon
2 T lemon juice
1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 T cornstarch
2 t minced jalapeño peppers (I used a banana pepper)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 can chicken brother
1/3 cup cream (I used 3 ounces cream cheese)
1 (8 ounce) package angel hair pasta

1.  Arrange fillets in a single layer in baking dish.  Sprinkle with lemon juice.  Tightly cover dish with foil.  Bake at 450 degrees F.  Cook until fish is opaque, but still moist looking in thickest part, 12 to 14 minutes.
2.  Meanwhile, in a blender, smoothly puree red peppers, Parmesan, cornstarch, pepper, and garlic.  Add cilantro and chicken broth; whirl to blend.
3.  Pour pepper mixture into a 10 inch frying pan.  Stir over high heat until boiling.  Reduce heat to keep warm.  Add cream.
4.  Cook pasta according to directions.
5.  Stir juice from the back salmon into red pepper sauce.  Mix 1 1/2 cups sauce with pasta.  Spoon pasta onto plates.  Top with fish, and drizzle with remaining sauce.  Serve.

*This sauce is excellent--the peppers were so tasty.  To roast the red pepper, I simply placed a seeded red pepper sliced in half on a baking sheet and placed it in the oven while it was preheating to 450 degrees.  It was about ready when the oven was finished preheating.  I will definitely make this again.

American Lasagna

*Pictured using no boil noodles and part fresh tomatoes.  We love lasagna--when I was little, my brother used to call me lasagna-head.  Every time I've made this for someone else, I've been asked for the recipe.  Jeff loves lasagna, too--unfortunately we have different ideas of what lasagna is supposed to taste like.  To put it another way, my mother makes the best spaghetti in existence--loaded with chunks of tomatoes, onions; rich and hearty.  She makes it for big family gatherings and I can't help but have multiple servings.  Jeff, on the other hand, politely pushes the tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms to the side.  He's the only person I know who doesn't rave over it.  It might be the only thing they clash about.  As a result, one of my mother's very best recipes isn't part of my recipe book.  This lasagna is her spaghetti--real, hearty, delicious.  Jeff eats it too, but I have to admit, last time I made this he asked, "Can't you use spaghetti sauce instead of tomatoes?"  You decide......

Prep Time: 30 Min
Cook Time: 40 Min
Ready In: 1 Hour 15 Min

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (or use part Italian sausage)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 (29 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
12 dry lasagna noodles
2 eggs, beaten
1 pint part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


1.  In a skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef, onion and garlic; drain fat. Mix in basil, oregano, brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add lasagna noodles, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until al dente; drain. Lay noodles flat on towels, and blot dry.

3.  In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, ricotta, Parmesan cheese, parsley and 1 teaspoon salt.

4.  Layer 1/3 of the lasagna noodles in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Cover noodles with 1/2 ricotta mixture, 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese and 1/3 of the sauce. Repeat. Top with remaining noodles and sauce. Sprinkle additional Parmesan cheese over the top.

5.  Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.