recipe

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

Homemade Pumpernickel Bread

Pumpernickel Bread

There are few aromas I like more than freshly baked bread.  I don’t bake much during the hot summer months, and look forward to cool Autumn days and fresh baked bread. I enjoy baking all sorts of breads.

For a bread baking class last night,  I made Pumpernickel Bread. The dark color comes from a mixture of rye flour, strong coffee, cocoa powder and molasses. These ingredients also give this bread a richness and texture I adore.

It’s hard for me to find a store bought Pumpernickel bread that comes close to this one. Some store bakeries rely on caramel coloring for the color in the bread. For real flavor you need the real ingredients. It really is worth the time to make your own.

 

Pumpernickel Bread

2 Packages active dry yeast

½ c. warm water

2 c. lukewarm strong coffee

¼ c. each molasses and unsweetened cocoa

2 T. Caraway seeds

2 t. salt

5-6 c. flour- I use bread flour

2 c. rye flour

Cornmeal

1 egg white, slightly beaten

 

In large bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in coffee, molasses, cocoa, seeds, salt and 3 cups of flour. Beat with wooden spoon about 2 minutes. Stir in rye flour and enough of the remaining regular flour to make soft dough. Turn onto floured surface and knead until dough is smooth, about 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top, cover and let rest until doubled, about 1 hour. Grease large baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal. Set aside.

Punch down dough, divide in 2, and form into balls. Place on baking sheet and cover. Let rise until double, brush with egg whites, slash tops and bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.

Beet Dumplings

Beet Dumplings

These dumplings were inspired by gnocchi. Gnocchi are wonderful little dumplings made with potatoes in the dough. I love them and make them often.

Since I had a lot of beets, I wanted to use some, to shake things up a little. I made a version with cooked beets. The color came out so vibrant.

The flavor of the beet is somewhat muted in this little dumpling. For serving, I combined the beet version with traditional gnocchi and some made from sweet potatoes. These would be a nice side dish for all sorts of dishes. I will make more and serve them with a roast chicken this weekend.

I do a very rustic version- just slice dough off into 1/2 -inch thick pieces and boil them up. These could be made ahead and frozen, too.

 

 

Beet Dumplings

2 small russet potatoes, 11-12 oz. total, peeled, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium/small beets, roasted, skin on, cooled
1 egg
1/4 c. whipping cream
1 1/4 t. salt
¼ t. dill weed
1 1/2 c. (about) flour
Steam potatoes over boiling water until tender, about 12 minutes. Place in bowl and mash or put potatoes through a ricer. Place in bowl and cool about 10 minutes. Remove skins from cooled beets and dice. Place beets in a food processor or blender. Add the cream and process until smooth. Combine with potatoes, egg, salt and dill and mix well. Stir in flour and combine until slightly sticky dough forms. Add more flour a tablespoon at a time if the mixture is too moist. Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface and divide into 6 equal portions. Roll out 1 piece into a rope about 20-inches long by 3/4 inch. Cut dough into 3/4 -inch pieces and arrange finished dumplings in a single layer on a floured baking sheet and repeat the process with the remaining dough. Boil the dumplings in well-salted boiling water, about 1/3 at a time. Boil for 4-5 minutes. They will come to the surface and be tender. Check after 4 minutes. Serve with butter and Parmesan cheese or with your favorite sauce. Serves 6.

A Trio of Gnocchi

A Trio of “Gnocchi”

Spooky Candy Spiders

Candy Spider

This is the only kind of spider I want in my house. If you are looking for a quick spooky decoration/treat idea, you might want to make some candy spiders. These are about the size of a tarantula. Super simple and kids can make them, too. You only need a few ingredients. The body is made from marshmallows, the legs are chow mein noodles and the eyes are small candies. I used melting chocolate, but you can use any kind of chocolate you like.

 

To start, melt some chocolate. Dip the chow mein noodles in the chocolate and tap gently to remove excess. I leave one end un-dipped to make it easier to stick in the marshmallow later. Allow to harden up before going to the next step. I set them on a flexible cutting board, but wax paper is good, too. You have to peel them off later, a flexible surface is best. You’ll need 8 for each spider- so be sure to make enough. Allow for breakage.  Set a marshmallow flat side down and poke 4 holes in each side, 8 total. I used a bamboo skewer. Stick a noodle “leg” in each hole. Spoon chocolate over the marshmallow until coated. Whatever drips off can be re-melted and used again. While the chocolate is still soft, press 2 candy eyes into place. Hold them for a minute to be sure they are secure. Now, you can decorate cakes with them, use them on a dessert tray- or just eat them.

Chow mein noodle legs

Chow mein noodle legs

Insert legs into marshmallow

Insert legs into marshmallow

Spoon chocolate over the marshmallow to cover it.

Spoon chocolate over the marshmallow to cover it.

Busha’s Beet Soup

Busha’s Beet Soup

This colorful, tasty soup, was first made for me by my Busha, my Polish grandmother. Beets are a big ingredient in Eastern European culture. My Mom cooked with them, too.

I have fond memories of spending time with my Busha. I stayed with her on weekends a few times. One of those weekends, she taught me how to make a wonderful coffee cake. I still have the index card where I wrote down the recipe as she went along making it. Busha didn’t write her recipes down much.

Another time, she made beet soup. I loved it. I think the color is what pulled me in. I was a big fan of pink back then. I still am, especially when it comes to this soup.

I prefer to use fresh, raw beets.  You can use cooked beets, or even canned, if you like.

I made homemade spaetzle, but other pasta or cooked, diced potatoes are good, too.

So here is the recipe for the soup and the spaetzle. I always think of Busha when I make it.

 

 

Busha’s Beet Soup

1 large onion, sliced thin

oil

5-6 medium beets, about 2 pounds

5-6 cups beef, chicken or vegetable stock

1 c. dairy sour cream

1 t. dill weed

cooked spaetzle, recipe follows

 

In soup pot, sauté onion in oil until starting to brown. Meanwhile, peel and dice the beets. You should end up with 5-6 cups of cubed beets. Add beets and stock to pot and bring to boil. Cover and turn down to a simmer. Cook until beets are tender, about 20- 25 minutes.  Place sour cream in small bowl and ladle in a little of the hot soup, whisking until smooth. Add another ladle of soup and whisk again. Pour this mixture into pot of soup along with the dill weed. Serve with the spaetzle.  Serves 4-5.

 

Note: You can also pre-cook the beets or use canned beets. Trim off leaves of beets, leaving 2 inches of stem. Leave roots intact. Boil beets in water until tender, which can take as little as 20 minutes for tiny beets or 45 minutes for the large ones. Cool in bowl of ice water and then slip off the skins. Dice and add to soup as if the beets were canned. You don’t need the long cook of fresh beets. Just bring soup up to a simmer.

If you prefer, serve the soup with diced boiled potatoes or kluski, rather than the spaetzle.

 

You can serve the sour cream on the side, rather than incorporating it into the soup, then allow people to add a dollop of sour cream to individual bowls. Polish beet soup usually adds the sour cream and Russian style is to dollop on the top. Both versions taste good.

 

Spaetzle

3 eggs

1/2 c. half and half or evaporated milk

1/2 t. salt

1 1/2 c. flour

 

Combine all ingredients and let rest 30 minutes. Drop by small spoonfuls into boiling water. Cook until they float and puff up, about 5 minutes. Drain and serve with soups, stews, sauces or buttered.

 

 

 

Homemade Caramel Apples

Caramel Apple

I did a program with kids earlier this week and we made these caramel apples. The kids loved them and I wanted to share the recipe. Making caramel apples is a wonderful childhood memory for me. Every Autumn, we would make a batch.

We used those little store bought caramels. I was often the one tasked with unwrapping them. I can remember unwrapping one after the other.

I wanted to make my own caramel, so that is what I did with the kids. It is so much better than the store bought version.

Caramel is not that hard to make. You do need to keep an eye on it. Stir constantly. Just a hint, be sure your candy thermometer is really secure. Mine was a little slippy on the pan I was using. At one point the thermometer slid into the caramel. Not what you want to have happen!!!

Once dipped in the caramel, you can dip the bottom of the apples in nuts, pumpkin seeds, sprinkles, cereal, or even popcorn.

Homemade Caramel Apples

1/2 c. butter, cut in cubes

2 c. packed brown sugar

1 c. corn syrup

pinch of salt

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 t. vanilla

8-12 apples

chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds, cereal, sprinkles, popcorn for dipping the bottoms of the caramel apples, optional

 

In heavy saucepan combine the butter, sugar, syrup and salt. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. This will take about 10 minutes. Add milk and bring mixture up to 248 degrees. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Place a Popsicle stick, skewer or chopstick down the center of each apple. Dip apples in the caramel, allowing excess to drip off- or not. Dip bottoms of apples into nuts, seeds or whatever ingredient you picked. Place on wax paper and allow to set up. If you don’t want to dip the bottoms in anything, place the dipped apples on lightly buttered wax paper. Cool before serving. Makes 8-12 caramel apples.

Note: You could also use pears in the recipe.

The kids dipped their apples in cereal.

 

Homemade Apple Pie Filling

Apple Pie Filling

While I think the best pie is made with fresh apples, I also like making and canning my own apple pie filling. It is a handy way for me to enjoy local apples throughout the year. It is also a whole lot better than any commercial pie filling I have tried. Loaded with plenty of big chunks of apples and seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg- I think it the next best thing to fresh apples for baking.

I use my canned filling  to make pies, but I also use it for kolachy, blintzes, cakes and more.

The hard part, for some, is getting a hold of Clear Gel. It is a special type of cornstarch. I buy mine on line, but you can find it in stores where the Amish shop. Clear Gel stays thick, even if it is reheated. Regular cornstarch will not.

Here is the recipe I use. You can tweak the seasonings to suit your own taste, but keep in mind that spices sometimes get stronger when canned, so don’t go too crazy!!

 

Apple Pie Filling

6 qts. apples, sliced and blanched

5 1/2 c. sugar

1 1/2 c. Clear Gel- modified cornstarch available on line and in Amish stores

1 T. cinnamon

1 t. nutmeg

2 1/2 c. cold water

5 c. apple juice

3/4 c. lemon juice

If apples lack tartness use an additional 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Wash, peel and core apples and cut into 1/2 thick slices. Place in water treated with either lemon juice, citric acid or ascorbic acid to prevent darkening. Remove from solution and drain well. Blanch in boiling water- 2 quarts at a time- for 1 minute. As you finish each batch place in a bowl and cover to keep warm. In large pot combine sugar, Clear Gel, cinnamon, nutmeg, water and apple juice. Stir over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Add lemon juice and boil 1 minute. Add drained apples and stir gently to combine. Ladle into hot, clean jars leaving 1 1/2 inches of headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rims and adjust lids.  Process in a boiling water bath- pints or quarts for 25 minutes. After the time is up, turn off canner and let jars sit in water bath for 5 minutes before removing. This will reduce the chance of siphoning.  Makes 7 quarts or 14 pints.

For only 1 quart

3 1/2 c.apples

3/4 plus 2 T. sugar

1/4 c. Clear Gel

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/8 t. nutmeg

1/2 c. cold water

3/4 c. apple juice

2 T. lemon juice

Homemade Raspberry Liqueur

Homemade Raspberry Liqueur

I make a lot of different liqueurs. Raspberry liqueur is probably one of my favorites. It reminds me of a warm summer afternoon.

I love raspberries. My parents had a row of raspberry bushes at the back of the yard, so I grew up enjoying them fresh. I preserve raspberries to enjoy all year long.  I freeze berries, make jams and jellies and dehydrate some.

I also enjoy  using some to make homemade raspberry liqueur. You just start with alcohol – I  most often use vodka – then you add raspberries. I sweeten it later on, but you can leave it unsweetened, if you prefer.

Its beautiful color and great flavor make it nice for sipping, or used in mixed drinks. Think of it as just another food preservation method. Here is the recipe, in case you want to make it. Makes a great gift, too.

You can use fresh or frozen berries.

Homemade Raspberry Liqueur

1 lb. raspberries*
3 c. vodka, you could use brandy
1 ¼ c. sugar
Combine fruit and vodka and let stand 2 -4 weeks. Stir in sugar and age 3 months. Strain and filter. Makes 3-4 cups.

*You can use frozen berries, too.

Gluten-Free Zucchini Brownies

Gluten-Free Zucchini Brownies

These brownies are everything you want in a brownie. Sweet, moist and very tender. The fact they are also flour and gluten-free is a nice bonus for those who can’t have gluten.

You might think, when you read the ingredients, that I left something out. I didn’t. They baked up beautifully and had a wonderful texture.

I made them for a dinner with friends and everyone liked them, a lot.  I think the next time I make them, I might also add some chopped nuts.

 

Gluten-Free Zucchini Brownies

1½ c. shredded zucchini
1 c. almond butter- but you could use peanut butter instead
1 c. chocolate chips
1/3 c. honey – but you can use 1/2 cup if you want a sweeter brownie
¼ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. allspice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×9 inch pan, set aside. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until well blended. Pour batter into pan and spread evenly. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool before cutting. Makes 16.

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