Cooking

Apple and Cabbage Slaw

Apple and Cabbage Slaw

How fun to have a couple of unseasonably warm days in October. I know this won’t last, but it has given me a chance to get some work done outside.

Normally, this time of year, I am thinking about soups and fresh baked bread. But I thought I would use some of my Autumn produce in a salad instead. Apples are in season and cabbage is abundant at my local market. It seemed just natural to pair them up.

I love cole slaw. I think I could eat it everyday. I often make slaw with a creamy, mayo based dressing sometimes. Other times, I prefer a vinegar type dressing. For this slaw I went really simple. Just vinegar, a little honey and celery seeds, along with salt and pepper. Then I added thin strips of crisp, fresh apples to the shredded cabbage. The apples added a wonderful crunch and sweetness to the dish.  So simple and so good. Almost any apple will work in this recipe. I prefer super crisp, slightly tart apples, but use what you like. Here is the recipe.

 

 

 

Apple and Cabbage Slaw

6-8 c. shredded cabbage

2 large apples, cored, unpeeled, cut into thin strips

1/2 c. cider vinegar

2 T. honey

1 t. celery seed

salt and pepper to taste

Combine cabbage and apples in a medium bowl. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and stir until well mixed. Pour over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat evenly. Salad can be eaten right away or chilled for a couple of hours.

Goblin Goo Drink

Goblin Goo Drink

If you want a fun beverage to serve for Halloween, try this Goblin Goo Drink. It’s easy to make and will give guests a start. I will be making this with a group of kids in Hudson later today.

The secret is Jell-o. Make whatever flavor Jell-o you like. Once it is firm, mash it with a fork into pieces.

Place some of the mashed up  Jell-o in a glass and add ice and whatever beverage you like. I used cherry Jell-o with sour cherry soda. The Jell-o is invisible that way.

When your guests take a sip they get little gobs of Jell-o in every sip. You can also play with color combinations for fun. Grape Jell-o with orange soda looks like little black globs in the drink.  Play with color combinations. You can also do this with Jell-o shots, for the grown-ups.

 

Mash Jell-o with a fork

Mash Jell-o with a fork

Add some Jell-o to the glass before adding ice and soda

Add some Jell-o to the glass before adding ice and soda

Maple Nut Candied Bacon

Candied Bacon

I did a class all about bacon last night and I wanted to share one of the recipes. This candied bacon only has three ingredients- bacon, maple syrup and chopped nuts. The combination in sublime. Salty, sweet, smoky all in one crunchy bite. Everyone loved it!!

The bacon is baked and then coated with maple syrup and chopped nuts. It is returned to the oven, where it bakes until the bacon is crisp and the coating it toasted almost caramelized. It gets crisper once it cools down.

You can make a spicier version by sprinkling with a little cayenne pepper or adding hot sauce to the maple syrup.

Candied Bacon

1 lb bacon
3/4 c – 1 c maple syrup
3/4 c – 1 c crushed pecans (or any nuts you like! I like to leave some
larger pieces and then mix in some more finely ground)

Preheat oven to 350. Put bacon in baking pan and bake about halfway through (about 5-7 minutes or so). Drain most of the grease and allow to cool slightly. Coat each piece in syrup, roll in nuts and put back on pan. You may need more nuts as you go along, though it’s up to you how much to cover them. Bake another 7-9 minutes, until desired crispness. If you do like crisper bacon, just be sure to move the cooked bacon quickly off the baking sheet onto parchment paper, since the syrup will harden. Allow longer cooking times with thicker bacon.

 

 

 

 

“Bat” Wings

Bat “Wings”

With Halloween fast approaching I thought I’d share this recipe for bat wings. OK, not really bat wings, but you already knew that. I just add black food coloring to barbecue sauce and use it to color chicken wings.

I made a batch for a Halloween party a few years ago and someone actually asked if there were real bat wings. A word of warning- when you use black food coloring it will transfer to you. No matter how careful you are when you eat the wings, you’ll end up with purple fingers.  Also, for the best effect keep the wings intact- no trimming off of the tips.  They look pretty cool when set out on the table. Creepy- but very tasty.

Bat Wings

2-3 lbs. whole chicken wings

salt and pepper

1 c. barbecue sauce- store bought or home made

black food coloring- handle carefully- it stains

Place chicken wings in a roasting pan, season with salt and pepper and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Meanwhile in medium bowl combine sauce with food coloring. Add just a little black food coloring at a time. Too much will alter the flavor of the food. Remove wings from the oven and dip them in the bowl of sauce. Turn to coat. Place wings on a clean baking sheet and return to the oven. Bake an addition 45 minutes. You can baste them with additional sauce during the baking, if you like.  Place on a serving platter and provide plenty of napkins.

 

A pile of "bat" wings

A pile of “bat” wings

Green Tomato Sweet Relish

Green Tomato Sweet Relish

This sweet relish is a great way to preserve those last of the season tomatoes. It is every bit as  good as relishes made from cucumbers.

I am always a little sad to see fresh tomato season come to an end. I have canned tomatoes and dehydrated some, too.

I know the green tomatoes I have left will not have time to ripen. I don’t want them to go to waste, so I have pickled some. I also like to make this relish with some of them.

Someone asked me for the recipe- so here it is.

 

Green Tomato Sweet Relish

6 pounds green tomatoes, about 22 medium

2-3 medium onions

2 medium sweet red peppers

1 sweet green pepper

1 large rib celery

1 3/4 c. white or cider vinegar ( 5% acidity)

1 2/3 c. sugar

3 T. canning salt

1 1/2 t. celery seeds

1/2 t. each cinnamon, cloves, allspice and turmeric

1/4 t. cayenne pepper

Wash trim and quarter vegetables. Put vegetables through food grinder using medium blade or pulse in food processor to chop finely. Drain, discarding liquid. Wash jars in hot, soapy water. Rinse and set aside. Combine vinegar with remaining ingredients in large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add vegetables and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Continue simmering while packing hot jars, one at a time. Fill to within 1/2 -inch from top of jar. Wipe rims and place on lids. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Makes 5-6 pint jars.

Pickled Green Tomatoes

Green Tomato Pickles

The garden season is winding down around here. A number of friends have posted pictures of their last ripe tomatoes of the year. That is a sad time. But, don’t forget about those green tomatoes. You can make fried green tomatoes, which are great. You can also make these pickles. That way, you can enjoy those home grown tomatoes a little longer.

The recipe is pretty simple. I sometimes add a teaspoon of red pepper flakes to each jar for a spicy version. The hardest part is waiting. Once the tomatoes are canned, you have to give them 4-6 weeks fopr the pickling to finish. Trust me, it is worth the wait.

Just because your ripe tomatoes are done for the year, harvest those green ones and get a little something more from your garden.

 

 

Green Tomato Dill Pickles – Kosher Style

Green tomatoes
6 ribs celery, cut in 2-inch pieces
6 Sweet green peppers
6 cloves Garlic
2 quarts water
1 quart vinegar- 5% acidity- you can use white or cider vinegar
1 cup canning or pickling salt
Dill, optional

Use small firm green tomatoes. Pack into hot, clean canning jars. Add to each quart jar a bud of garlic, 1 piece of celery, and 1 green pepper cut into fourths. Make a brine of the water, vinegar, and the salt. Boil with the dill for 5 minutes. Pour the hot brine over the pickles to within 1/2 inch of the top of the jar. Put on cap, screw band firmly tight. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. These pickles will be ready for use in 4- 6 weeks. Yield: About 6 quarts. Source: NCHFP

Pink Applesauce

Pink Applesauce

I really enjoy the flavor of homemade applesauce. I try to can at least a few batches this time of year.

I decided to mix things up a little by making a batch of applesauce with cranberries. It came out a pretty shade of pink. The cranberries also added nice tartness to the mix.

You don’t have to add sugar, if you don’t want to.  You add the amount of sugar you like, or leave it out completely. I like to mix different varieties of apples, for different flavor in your sauce.

You can also freeze the mixture if you don’t want to can it.

 

 

Pink Applesauce

60 medium apples, I used mostly Melrose and some Jonathans

12 oz. cranberries

water

1 c. lemon juice

sugar to taste

Peel and core apples. Put in water with some ascorbic acid, citric acid or lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Place apples in a pot with enough water* to prevent sticking and add the cranberries and lemon juice. Cook over medium high heat until soft. I wanted smooth applesauce, so I ran the cooked apple mixture through a food mill on the medium blade. Return apple mixture to pan and bring to a boil. Sweeten with sugar, if you like, or leave unsweetened. Have water bath full of boiling water and have hot, clean canning jars and lids and rings ready. Ladle hot applesauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Wipe rims and apply lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes for pints or quarts. Turn off heat and let jars stand in water bath 5 minutes before removing. Set in a draft free area to cool down. Yield: 8 quarts or 16 pints.

 *rather than add water, to prevent the apples from sticking, you can use cider instead.

Canning Class at Coit

Pink Applesauce

I will be doing a canning demo at Coit Rd. Farm Market on Saturday morning. The demo will start at 11 am. I will show you how to can applesauce, but will also discuss canning basics, safety and resources. I will be happy to answer any food preservation questions that you have.

If you haven’t been to Coit Rd, Farm Market- now is the perfect time. Local produce and a wonderful group of vendors. I real gem.

 

Coit Rd. Market is located at  15000 Woodworth Rd. – near E.152nd and Noble.

 

Stop by and say hello.

Flaming Ghost Cake

Flaming Ghost Cake

I have posted this recipe before, but thought it might be a good time to post it again. This one is fun for Halloween.

You start with a baked 9×13-inch cake. Frost it with chocolate frosting and then use white frosting to draw a ghost on the cake.

You can make all sorts of images- cats, bats, pumpkins, if you prefer.

When ready to serve the cake, the eyes are set on fire. Fun effect. Kids and grown-ups both will get a kick out of it. Just be sure to have proper adult supervision for the kids.

The picture doesn’t do it justice. Very cool blue flames. Don’t forget to turn down the lights!

 

Flaming Ghost Cake

1 prepared 9×13- inch cake, any flavor

2 c. chocolate frosting, I prefer homemade

1 c. vanilla frosting, I prefer homemade

3 oz. semi sweet chocolate, optional

2 empty eggshell halves, washed well and dried

2 sugar cubes

Lemon extract

 

Frost cake with chocolate frosting, then spread vanilla frosting in the shape of a ghost. Melt chocolate in a small plastic bag. When chocolate is melted snip off the corner of the bag and use to outline ghost. Place eggshell halves in cake, round side down where the ghost’s eyes would be. Soak sugar cubes in lemon extract and place in eggshells. When ready to serve light sugar cubes and turn off the lights. Serve 12-16.

Variations: You can use the flaming eyes effect on cat shapes, pumpkins or even bats. Practice drawing the shape on paper before frosting the cake. If you bake a larger round cake the whole thing can be the pumpkin. Just frost it with orange tinted frosting.

Butternut Squash Saute

Butternut Squash Saute

Winter squash season is here, and I could not be happier. I love the variety of squash (and pumpkin) at the markets this time of year. They are both beautiful and tasty.

This dish is a saute of butternut squash with onions, garlic, carrots and finished off with black sesame seeds.It makes a great, seasonal side dish.

I used butternut squash, but you could use any number of hard squashes, or even pumpkin. If you are looking for a different way to cook some of those squash- try this dish. I think you might be surprised at just how good it is.

When cutting up hard squashes, you have to be careful not to cut yourself. A round, hard  squash, with a tough outer skin can be a recipe for disaster. I trim a small slice off one end of my squash, creating a flat side. Then I lay it down on that side, to make it more stable for cutting. With the butternut, once it was sliced on one side, I was able to cut in in half pretty easily.

 

Butternut Squash Sauté

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

4 cups cubed fresh butternut, acorn or Hubbard squash or pumpkin

1/2 cup grated carrot

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoons black sesame seeds

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onions begin to brown. Stir in the squash, carrot, soy sauce, salt, and pepper; cook, covered, another 5 to 7 minutes, until squash is tender. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

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