Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

Sweet Potato Waffles

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

The growing season in my neck of the woods is winding down, and any day a hard killing frost could bring it to a screeching halt.  I’ve started stashing some vegetables for winter keeping.  Three bushels of potatoes in the well pit, a bushel of red onions and several butternut squash in a cool dry corner of my basement. Also stored in the basement are sweet potatoes kept in flat wooden crates lined with newspaper.  I don’t grow my own potatoes and onions.  These particular crops don’t grow well in my heavy clay soil, so I get them from Kindy’s, an organic farmer a couple of miles down the road from my house. It’s nuts that the soil is sandy just 2 miles from my place. Why couldn’t I be so lucky?

The guys in my household seem to think deep orange veggies should always be served with lots of butter and sugar.  I”m constantly trying to find new ways to fix sweet potatoes and squash that don’t involve so much butter and sugar, but somehow it always comes back to the same old thing. My sweet potato waffle recipe is no exception, but at least the sugar is in the form of maple syrup my husband makes each spring.  I would like to take this opportunity to shamelessly plug my hubby’s maple syrup. He still has one half gallon and some quarts left to sell, and would really like to get it off his hands before we head into winter. Seriously, you NEED some real maple syrup for your Sunday morning waffles, so head over to Bart’s Maple Syrup and buy some now!

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming. Because of the inclusion of mashed sweet potato, these waffles have a more dense texture than a typical light, airy waffle. Also, I’ve never been able to get them crispy, but it may be due to the fact my waffle iron about 20 years old and needs to be replaced. I did a little bit of research, and discovered Belgian waffle irons are supposed to do a better job of producing crisp waffles than traditional style waffle irons. After reading both professional and consumer reviews, the Presto 3510 FlipSide Belgian Waffle Maker looks like it would be my best bet for a reasonable price.

Sweet Potato Waffles
1 cup sweet potato, cooked and mashed
1 cup milk
3 eggs, separated
3 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

Beat sweet potato, milk, and egg yolks together.

In another bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, spices, and salt.

Next, mix the sweet potato mixture into the flour mixture.

In yet another bowl (sorry,  this is a 3 bowl recipe, but they clean up easily), beat egg whites until stiff.

Gently fold egg whites into sweet potato batter.

Proceed to prepare waffles according to the manufacturer’s directions for your waffle iron.

I had a request from a friend for sweet potato pancakes because she did not own a waffle iron.  Here are a few tips for converting this recipe for pancakes. First, don’t bother separating your eggs, and mix them whole with the sweet potatoes and milk.  Secondly, you may want to consider reducing the sweet potato by 1/4 to 1/2 cup, and/or increasing the milk by 1/4 cup. You may need to tinker with it depending on how thick or thin you like your pancake batter. Sweet potatoes produce a dense textured pancake, so if you want a lighter textured cake you will need to reduce the potato.  Lastly, for pancakes you can reduce the butter and sugar by half. Waffles use a little more butter and sugar to develop crispness.

Corn Cob Jelly

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

I know you’re probably thinking, “Whaaaat???” As strange as it sounds, this jelly is delicious.   Some say it tastes like honey, but I disagree.  I’m not quite sure how to describe the flavor, so you’ll just have to try it for yourself.  If you Google corn cob jelly, you will find most of the recipes are the same.  You will also find a murky history, and lots of speculation about it’s origins.  I’ve been making it for more than 15 years (before I started using the internet), and I can’t remember where I got the idea.  I don’t know if the memory is accurate, but it’s floating around in my head that I found it in an historical cookbook.

I’ve played around with my recipe over the years, and I do recommend doing a couple of things differently than most of the recipes you’ll find floating around on the net. To begin with, I use WAY more corn cobs than 12,  I use lemon juice, and I do not use food coloring.  I use red cobs which produce a beautiful natural color.

Side note on pectin: I’ve been using liquid pectin with no trouble for years.  This summer every jelly I’ve made using liquid pectin has failed to set up. I do tend to make jellies from herbs and other foods that contain little or no naturally occurring pectin or sugar. As a result, I’ve switched to using either Sure Jell for less or no sugar, or Pomona’s Universal Pectin. Pomona’s is my first choice, but I was out when I made this jelly, so I’m giving instructions for use with Sure Jell. If you would like to use Pomona’s, use 4 teaspoons each of pectin and calcium water, and follow the instructions on the box insert.

Corn Cob Jelly
Enough red corn cobs to fill a 6 quart pot

4 cups corn cob “juice”
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 cups sugar
1 box pectin (for less or no sugar needed recipes)

Place 1/2 the corn cobs in a six quart pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 1/2 hour to an hour. Remove corn cobs from liquid. The cobs absorb quite a bit of water, so I remove them to a colander sitting over a bowl, and then add the drained liquid back to my pot.  Here is another way in which my recipe is different.  I add the other half of the corn cobs to my pot of liquid, top it off with more water, and simmer my cobs for another 1/2 hour or so.  I like the corn cob flavor to come shining through, so no wimpy 12 cobs are going to do for me! Strain the corn cob infusion through a jelly bag, or old T-shirt material. I usually get enough liquid for two batches of jelly.

1. Prepare your canning paraphernalia: water bath canner, jars, lids, bands, etc. (pectin insert usually includes instructions on preparing your equipment).

2. Measure corn cob “juice” and lemon juice into a 6 or 8 quart pot.

3. Measure sugar into a separate bowl.

4. Mix 1/4 cup sugar from measured amount and 1 box of pectin in a small bowl.

5. Stir pectin/sugar mixture into the liquid in the pot. You may see some clumping, but don’t worry, they will dissolve as the liquid heats.

6. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly.

7. Stir in remaining sugar. Return to a full rolling boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

8. Ladle into jars. Wipe rims. Put on lids. Process in water bath.

Elderberry Sherbet

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Each year in late summer, my husband and I spend some time together foraging for elderberries.  This year we hit the mother load and found a gargantuan new patch. Last Friday I was extremely busy in the shop, so my well meaning hubby decided to help me out.  He had a HUGE plastic storage tote full of elderberries waiting for me when I finished work. I spent Friday evening, and just about all of Saturday stripping berries from the stems. Of course, my husband had a major job going over the weekend and had to be on the site, leaving me to deal with 35 pounds of elderberries all by myself! I started out on my front porch, but after several hours I moved my operation indoors and watched / listened to chick flicks while I worked. The fruit of my labor (pun intended) was 30 pints of rich elderberry juice sweetened with honey from a local beekeeper. I also added some lemon juice for tartness and a chunk of ginger in the bottom of each jar.

Elderberry is part of my winter regimen for preventing and treating colds and flu. Elderberry has been used in folk herbalism for eons, and modern medical studies are now confirming it’s effectiveness.  Last year I used elderberry tincture and tea. A friend of mine gave me a jar of her canned juice when I picked up a rare cold, and I found it to be very soothing to my sore throat. As a result, I promised myself that I would can my own juice in the future.

With such a glut of elderberries I’ve been able to experiment with recipes a little more. My friend Tina has quite the collection of recipes going on her blog, and I’d like to offer one of my own for elderberry sherbet.

Elderberry Sherbet
3 cups elderberry juice
Juice of one lemon
1 cup honey
2 or 3 slices ginger root (optional)
1 cup cream

Place elderberry juice, lemon juice, honey, and ginger slices in a pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer.  Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once completely cooled, remove ginger slices and add cream. Refrigerate mixture several hours to chill thoroughly. Place chilled elderberry mixture in an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s directions. This is a soft sherbet, so you will need to transfer it to a container and place it in the freezer overnight to firm up.

I have a human powered Donvier 1-Quart Ice Cream Maker that I store in my deep freeze at all times. Whenever I make  ice cream, sherbet, or sorbet, I sit and churn in the evening while I watch TV. Then I pop the frozen treat in the freezer and it’s ready for dessert after dinner the following evening.

Baba Ganoush

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

Baba Ganoush is an Arabic dish traditionally served with pita bread.  However, it’s also wonderful as a veggie dip, and I’ve even been know to use it as a sandwich spread instead of mayo. It’s one of those dishes that varies in preparation from middle eastern country to country. Recipes will include other vegetables and a variety of different spices. In many Arabic countries it is also common to drizzle Baba Ganoush with olive oil before serving.

Baba Ganoush is my solution to excess eggplant to be found in the garden at this time of year. I remember one particular summer when my boys were very young and I had a larger than usual garden. Because I had trouble with eggplant a couple of years running, I decided to plant a couple dozen eggplant I had started from seed. We ended up naming that summer the “Eggplant Summer”.  Growing conditions were perfect and I had so much eggplant I couldn’t even give it all away. I gave a bunch to my boys’ pediatrician, a wonderful little Filipino woman, and to this day we are good friends.  Anyway, back to our subject, Baba Ganoush freezes wonderfully, so I can enjoy it during the cold months when I start baking bread again. Because the weather is so hot when eggplant is in season, I fire up the grill for roasting instead of using the oven and heating up my kitchen.

Baba Ganoush
4 small or 2 large eggplant (about 2 pounds), roasted
2 or 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 to 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste you should be able to find in the ethnic section your grocery)
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
Ground cumin to taste (I start with 1/2 teaspoon and go from there)

To roast eggplant, preheat your grill or oven. The eggplant can be roasted whole, but I like to split mine in half.  I brush some aluminum foil with a little olive oil, lay the eggplant cut side down and roast until soft and skin shrivels. The cut side gets browned which lends a more brown color to the finished product, and also gives it a more roasty flavor in my opinion.  If you roast the eggplant whole, be sure to poke each eggplant a few times with a fork. Cool eggplant and then scoop out the flesh into your food processor

Add garlic, tahini, lemon juice, salt and cumin to the eggplant and process until smooth. This recipe is about the eggplant, so the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and spices should be adjusted for personal taste. I know I probably sound like a broken record, but I’d like to stress that cooking should not be about making a recipe just like someone else does.  You want it to taste good to YOU!

Salted Butterscotch Peach Jam

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

This peach jam is amazing! It’s so amazing that I’m going to have to make more.  My family loved it so much that I only have these two little 4 ounce jars left a little over a week after making it. That’s just two little 1/2 cup jars! They demolished the stuff!. It’s wonderful on ice cream. It’s also good on waffles, and it passed my 15 year old son’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich test.

From a cook’s standpoint this recipe was especially fun, because I got to see how it evolved, as each cook put her own touch on it.  The original recipe comes from Mary Ann Dragan’s Well Preserved: Small Batch Preserving for the New Cook I found the recipe reprinted a couple times on the net by the time my friend Maggie got her hands on it. It was Maggie’s idea to transform the recipe into a sweet and salty treat.

I loved Maggie’s idea, but the more I looked at the recipe, I realized I wanted it to be truly butterscotch and it was going to need an addition of butter and vanilla. After all, butterscotch isn’t butterscotch without BUTTER! So I put my own spin on the recipe. Maggie and I share a similar cooking style in that we follow measurement’s very loosely and go more by taste. The measurements I give allow for differing ripeness of your peaches and personal preference. For instance, I didn’t use quite as much salt as Maggie because I have relatively sensitive taste buds, and don’t like my food uber salty. Also, my peaches were very ripe and sweet, and didn’t need as much sugar. These peaches were a surprise gift from my neighbors who got them from their parents’ unsprayed tree. Local and chemical free …. the best way to go.

Salted Butterscotch Peach Jam
6 cups peaches, peeled and pitted
1/3 cup lemon juice
Up to 5 cups of brown sugar (I only needed about 4 1/4 cups)
4 tablespoons butter
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 teaspoons GOOD salt (I used French grey sea salt)

First peel and pit your peaches. The easiest way to do this is to drop your peaches into a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds to a minute, and then remove them to an ice water bath with a slotted spoon.  Work in small batches and make sure you bring the water back to a full boil between batches. After scalding, the skins should slip off relatively easily. Split the peaches in half with a knife, remove the stone, and chop the flesh. I know Maggie left her skins on, but I just can’t stand peach skin. I even peel fresh peaches before eating them.

Place the peaches in a large heavy pot and smoosh them up. You can use a potato masher or your hands. Add lemon juice, sugar to taste, butter, and vanilla bean specks. Bring the mixture up to a simmer and then continue to cook over low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring often. Cooking time will vary. My peaches were extremely juicy, and I cooked for a full 1 1/2 hours to bring the jam to a thick consistency.  As stated in the Well Preserved book, “Long-cooked jams use less sugar than those made with commercial pectin, and, I believe, have a more intense fruit flavor.”

At this point, I removed the jam from the stove and set it aside to let it cool while I fixed dinner. I did this for two reasons. First, my family was hungry and things were about to get ugly.  Secondly, I can’t properly taste anything if it’s too hot or cold. Since I was going to be adding salt I wanted to be sure I got it right.  Also, by cooling, I was able to see if the consistency of the jam was too my liking.

After dinner I assembled my water bath canner, jars, lids, and other canning accouterments. Then I added my salt to taste.  You should do the same. You might want more, you may want less. The point is you want it to taste good to YOU. Once the flavor was to my liking I brought the jam back up to a simmer, poured it into my hot jars, and processed. If you’re unfamiliar with the canning process, there are many good books and online tutorials. A quick online search should give you more than you ever wanted to know.

Pico de Gallo

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

If you’re a home gardener then I’m positive you’re swimming in tomatoes about now, and desperately trying to keep up with your ripening bounty.  I’m getting double whammied thanks to my brother-in–law (but I’m not complaining). I planted my tomatoes late this year, and the first one is just beginning to ripen.  My dear brother-in-law,  my husband’s identical twin, planted WAAAY too many plants, has no canning or preserving experience, and keeps hinting around that I might be able to do something about his glut of tomatoes.  I’ve been finding deposits of tomatoes on my kitchen table about every other morning, and he’s been warning that the main crop should be ready some time next week.  I’m still trying to decide if I’m going to help him. In the meantime, I’ve been happily munching away on tomato and sweet onion sandwiches, and making up batches of pico de gallo which are quickly polished off by my heathen tribe.

I’m not giving measurements, because this recipe is more about proportions and personal taste.

Pico de Gallo
White Onions
Jalapenos (optional)

Dice tomato and throw it in your bowl.

Dice up to an equal amount of onion. This is where personal preference comes into play.  I usually go with about 1/2 to 3/4 the amount of tomato. I recently learned that authentic Mexican food uses white onion and not yellow onion.

Finely chop a bunch of cilantro. Again…. personal preference. If I were the only person eating the Pico de Gallo, I would use an amount equal to my tomatoes, but my guys can’t handle that much.

Very finely dice the Jalapeno and add it to the mix.  I skip this one because I’m the only chili head in the house. I would be accused of cruel and unusual torture if I set out a bowl of spicy Pico de Gallo.

Add lime juice and then salt to taste.  This tasting step is very important for a couple of reasons.  First, you don’t want to overdo the salt.  If you’ll be eating the salsa with chips, remember that your chips are salted.  Second, this may be the only Pico de Gallo you get to eat.  Once you set it out it will disappear quickly!

This is a versatile salsa.  Don’t limit yourself to eating it with chips. It makes a wonderful side dish. I recently served it as a side with homemade tamales (which I promise to post at some later date).  You can add it to any number of Tex-Mex type dishes also.

Pasta with Summer Vegetables Pesto and Feta

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

One of the things I love about eating in the summer is the ability to throw together quick, healthy dishes using fresh, local ingredients. I’m especially fond of one skillet meals which take only minutes to prepare, leaving more time to go outside and play in my gardens.  We’ll call this particular recipe a variation on a theme, and I’ll show you how you can change it up, depending on the ingredients you have on hand.

The dish revolves around whole wheat pasta, seasonal vegetables, and some type of protein.  By changing the veggies and protein, the dish can be completely transformed. The version I give below is rather Italian.  Early this fall I might go with squash, arugula, sage, and goat cheese. Another fall combo is carrots, Brussels sprouts, pancetta or bacon, and pecorino cheese. In the spring you could go with fettuccine, asparagus, parsley, and Gorgonzola. I’ve even been known to use eggs as my protein, but cheese is my favorite. Some of the fresh cheese I make includes chèvre, mozzarella, and queso blanco.  We’ll talk about cheese at some later date! If you would like something a little heartier, you can use leftover chicken, shrimp, or red meat as your protein. Just remember, the point of this recipe is to be quick, so use leftovers!

Pasta with Summer Vegetables Pesto and Feta
1/2 an onion, roughly chopped or sliced
2 to 4 baby zucchini, halved and sliced lengthwise
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
8 ounces organic whole wheat pasta, cooked and drained
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 to 4 tablespoons pesto
4 ounces feta, cut into cubes
Olive oil for cooking

Once you have your ingredients chopped, sliced, and cubed, assemble them next to your skillet. Cooking will go really fast.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in your skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and cook for about 30 seconds. Next add zucchini and garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add pasta and half the tomatoes and cook for 30 seconds to a minute, or until everything is heated through.  Finally, add pesto, feta, and the last half of the tomatoes.  Stir everything together to thoroughly mix and then pull it off the heat.

Pesto, Pesto, and more Pesto!

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Last year the pesto I made for the freezer didn’t make it past December.  This year I promised myself I wouldn’t run out again, so I planted boatloads of basil. The picture to the right is just one of the rows I planted, and I’m still wondering if I planted enough. Over the last couple of weeks my kitchen has smelled divine as I’ve made pounds and pounds of the heavenly condiment.

I’m constantly amazed at the passions invoked by the mere mention of pesto.  Just yesterday I spoke to a wife who told me she can get her husband to do just about anything if she makes him pesto.  I have a friend who told me the cucumber wilt that destroyed my entire crop of cucumber vines in the last week is the payback I’m getting for all of the pesto I’ve been making! Harsh words spoken out of jealousy my dear friend!

I realize the interwebs doesn’t need another pesto recipe, but I’m going to add another one anyway. The proportions for pesto is an age old controversy, and I don’t want to step on any one’s toes. Ultimately, I think we should make food we enjoy, and that cooking is about preparing food to suit our individual tastes. This is the way I like my pesto, but you should change the proportions to suit your own taste. If you love garlic, throw in a few more cloves. If your bank account is larger than mine, feel free to double the quantity of pine nuts. To be honest, each batch of pesto I make is probably different. I tend to taste as I go, and then do things like throw in an extra handful or two of Parmesan or nuts.  I should also mention that when basil becomes scarce, I make pesto from other herbs and nuts.  In the early spring, I’m able to grow arugula weeks before anything else is available. It makes a wonderful peppery pesto combined with whatever nuts I happen to have on hand. Cilantro also makes a fantastic pesto. If pine nuts are beyond your pocketbook, use walnuts, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds.  One of my favorite nuts to use is pistachios. In the late fall, one of my favorite pesto combinations is arugula, sage, and pumpkin seeds to be served over pumpkin ravioli.

12 ounces basil leaves (or my gargantuan stainless bowl filled loosely)
3 to 4 oz Parmesan cheese
4 to 6 garlic cloves
2 to 4 oz pine nuts
1 cup or more extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

Rinse and dry basil.  I use a Salad Spinner, and it makes quick work of cleaning and drying greens and herbs.  It’s one of my must-have kitchen tools. Another tool I use on an almost daily basis is this  Cuisinart food processor, which was a Christmas gift from my little sister.

Combine basil, cheese, garlic, and nuts in food processor. Turn on processor and slowly pour olive oil into mixture until the pesto reaches the desired consistency. I tend make my pesto on the thick side for storage. Later, while cooking, I will alter the consistency with more olive oil to suit the recipe I’m working with.

To store pesto for winter use, I freeze it into cubes in ice cube trays. Once frozen I transfer the cubes to dated and labeled freezer bags.

Zucchini Blog Party

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

In light of my current zucchini “problem”, I asked some of my blogging friends if they would participate in a zucchini blog party.  I thought it might be nice to give our readers a selection of recipes for using up some of their surplus zuchs. My entry for our little veggie party is my recent post for Zucchini Fritters.

For your zucchini eating pleasure, I’d like to introduce you to the following bloggers and their recipes.

Tina Sams, editor of The Essential Herbal magazine offers not one, but two zucchini bread recipes.  You can’t go wrong with chocolate!

Zucchini and Orzo Salad with Basil is offered up by Maryanne, owner of Torchsong Studio.  Maryanne makes gorgeous handmade lampwork glass beads and jewelry.

Next, we have Patricia Morello’s Stuffed Zucchini.  Looking at her recipe, I’m wondering if I could get my guys interested by adding a little Italian sausage to the stuffing mix. Patricia owns an operates Patricia Rose.

Karen Creel brings us her Zucchini Pizza recipe. I’ve been meaning to get around to trying pizza on the grill. I could use this recipe and kill two birds with one stone. Karen offers herbal bath and body products at Garden

Cindy Jones of Sagescript Institute & Colorado Aromatics gives us her recipe for Calabacitas.  I have to admit I’d never heard of Calabacitas and had to look it up. I absolutely adore Southwestern food, so I’m positive I’ll enjoy this one.

Last, but not least, we have Beth Byrn’s Yummy Zucchini Brownies.  Again I pose, can you ever go wrong with chocolate? Beth owns a bath and body buisness, Soap And Garden.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Monday, July 26th, 2010

I know, I know!! I’m supposed to wait until frost threatens before picking green tomatoes, but I just couldn’t wait! My boys and I love, love, LOVE fried green tomatoes.  My husband hates them. But that’s perfectly fine by me …. more for the boys and me!  I had quite a bit of fun while making these for dinner this evening, thanks to my 15 year old son.  You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

Fried Green Tomatoes
4 medium green tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
Splash of buttermilk or milk
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon pepper.
Oil for frying

Line up 3 bowls and place flour in one, egg and a splash of buttermilk in another, and combine Panko crumbs and seasoning in the last. First coat the tomato slices in flour, dip in egg next, and then coat in the seasoned Panko crumbs.

Place 1/4 inch of oil in skillet and heat over medium high heat.  Work in batches and don’t crowd your tomatoes. Fry tomatoes 2 to 3 minutes on each side, turn again for another minute on each side until golden brown.

Here’s how it went down in my kitchen this evening.

Me:  Dredging tomato slices in flour.

My son: Are you putting those in pancake mix?

Me:  Huh??

My son:  Why are you putting those in pancake mix?

Me: It’s flour. What makes you think I’m using pancake mix?

My son: Points at the counter beyond my line of vision.

There sits an empty box of pancake mix. I was cleaning out a cupboard earlier and found an old box left over from a camping trip.  Normally, I wouldn’t be caught dead with prepackaged pancake mix.  At this point my son wanders off.

So I go on dredging and then dipping the slices in the egg mixture.

The Panko crumbs come next. My mom always used corn flake crumbs, and traditional recipes use cornmeal, but I love the crispness that only comes from Panko crumbs.

Me:  OWW!!!

My son:  Hee-hee-hee!!  Did that really hurt?

He’s wandered back in the kitchen and snapped me with a dish towel.

Me: Yes, it hurt! Do that again and I won’t give you any tomatoes.

He gives me a look that says, “you wouldn’t dare!”.  Honestly, working in the kitchen is always more fun when kids get involved. It’s going to be so boring when the boys leave home. I go on and start loading up my giant cast iron skillet with tomato slices.  I do let him have some, and he and I end up calling dibs on the last one.