Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

I did not do very much canning this summer, but the few things I did invest the effort in were just fabulous.


Hubby’s parents came to visit us at the beginning of September, and they came bearing goodies from the BC fruit trucks of Central Alberta.  Fruit trucks here in Saskatchewan have nothing on their AB counterparts; here, the best you’ll get is a van with a couple cases each of peaches and plums; there, there are semi-truck-loads of Concorde grapes, bushel baskets of peaches, pears, plums, blackberries…yum!


I had been trying to figure out a novel pork marinade using the chipotle seasoning I got in the spring, and somehow the case of peaches inspired me.  I googled “peach BBQ sauce”, and came up with a Ball recipe that I thought I could work with.   Of course, it is modified all out of recognition, but the proportions are still fine for water-bath canning, as I actually reduced the total volume of low-acid vegetables.   It tastes even better than I had hoped, and we are torn between hoarding the jars of sauce and drizzling it on everything from pork to rice to summer squash!


Peach BBQ saue ingredients


 Maple-Chipotle Peach Barbeque Sauce

6 cups peaches, chopped and packed tightly

1 cup red bell peppers, chopped

1 cup onion, chopped

1 1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey, for honey BBQ sauce, but I like maple better)

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp chipotle spice


Mix all ingredients in a pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and boil/simmer, stirring frequently, for about 25 minutes to reduce the sauce and thicken it. Puree in a blender. Ladle into clean, hot jars, and process for 15 minutes (at sea level) for half-pints. Makes approximately 4 cups (4 half-pint jars) per batch.  Use as a meat marinade, BBQ sauce, or condiment.

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I have a friend who works for a greenhouse in the province, growing peppers and cucumbers and such. He also mans a stand at the farmer’s market in his city. We dropped by on market day this spring, and not only was he kind enough to shut my shrieking kid up by handing him free mini cucumbers to munch on, but he also talked us into buying a small bag of his special all-natural chipotle spice.


Now, I am not normally a fan of chipotle. Most of the chipotle-flavored stuff from the store is marred by artificial flavors and liquid smoke. Of course, chipotle is one of Hubby’s favorite flavors. So when my friend went on about how he had ordered real mesquite wood from the southern States and properly smoked the adobo peppers with it, my ears perked up. Here was a chance to make stuff with one of Hubby’s favorite flavors that I might also enjoy.


measured spice


Of course, we’ve been trying to invent recipes to use it in ever since.


With the hot weather this summer, we don’t always want to cook, though. In fact, I rarely want to cook, but my motivation is sapped that much more when it’s thirty-five degrees (Celsius) in my kitchen before I even look at the stove. Luckily, we’ve been able to come up with a recipe that requires no stove-top cooking at all.


This is not the bean salad you remember from childhood potlucks, but it’s a crowd-pleaser around here. If we’re too lazy to barbeque something to go with it, we’ll even just eat this as our main dish…it’s that good!


Not Your Grandmother’s Bean Salad


2 cups sweet corn (I use home-frozen stuff)

2 – 19 oz cans red kidney beans

1 – 19 oz can black beans

1 red pepper, chopped fine

1 onion, chopped fine

1/2 cup lime juice

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tbsp honey

1 tsp mild chili powder

1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground chipotle peppers (to taste – 1/4 tsp of my friend’s chipotle spice makes a moderately spicy dish, comparable to medium mainstream brand salsa from the store; 1/2 tsp makes it more comparable to the hot salsa, but your chipotle spice may vary)



Warm the lime juice together with the honey in the microwave enough to dissolve the honey. Mix all of the other ingredients, and pour the lime juice / honey mix over top. Stir thoroughly, and eat immediately, or chill in the fridge. We find the flavors meld overnight, and peak flavor is on about day three…if it lasts that long!



chipotle - lime bean salad

chipotle – lime bean salad

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Mom was cleaning out cupboards some time ago, and asked me if I’d like her old Donvier crank ice cream maker.  It’s the kind that has a metal piece that goes in the freezer to pre-chill, and then you pour in the liquid mix and crank…and crank…and crank…


I know the technology is better now, and there’s even electric ice cream makers, but it wasn’t something that was even on my radar, until we had this Baby M’s dairy allergy to contend with.  I wasn’t even too concerned about it until the last couple of days, when the temperature finally went from ‘cold wet spring’ to ‘definitely summer’.  It was over thirty degrees today!  Suddenly, ice cream was in order.


Luckily, the goat kids are old enough that I can ‘steal’ some milk from the does without any issue.  Last night, we separated the kids from the does, and this morning, I milked.  Happily, Skye, who has never been milked before, was very good on the stand, at least until she ate all her grain.  Saffron, of course, was her usual bomb-proof self.  I got a decent-sized bucket of milk for my efforts…enough for a quart of ice cream, with some left over, even!


I didn’t realize ice cream called for eggs, as well.  Fortunately, we have plenty of those, too. I used the green-shelled eggs from Blue-Legs, our Americauna hen, since she ranges the most, and has the yellow-est yolks.


Blue Legs eggs


In fact, of the four ingredients on the list, the milk and eggs were produced completely on-farm, and the vanilla was something I also made, from beans I ordered from Uganda.  The sugar was the only thing I did not have a hand in in one way or another.  When you think about raising and milking the goat for your milk, raising the chicken that laid the eggs, and soaking the beans for six months to make the vanilla, this ice cream is really, really slow food!  It certainly makes me want to eat less and savor more, which, really, may be a solution to the wide-spread over-consumption we seem to have in North America.  When you make something from scratch-scratch, by producing even the ingredients, you suddenly realize how under-priced food is at the store…but that is a rant for another day.


Like so many good things, the recipe is very simple – only four ingredients!  You definitely want to use the freshest milk and nicest vanilla (no imitation extract!) for this, as the flavor is so dependent on the ingredients you use!


farm eggs and milk


French Vanilla Goat Milk Ice Cream


4 cups goat milk

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 to 2 tsp vanilla


Beat the eggs into half the milk, until everything is very well-mixed.  Add the sugar and the rest of the milk, and heat on low, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens a bit and sheets off the back of the spoon – about 15-20 minutes.   Cool the mixture (I put the pot directly in the fridge for a few hours), then add the vanilla (I like strong flavors, and used 1 1/2 tsp, but my vanilla is at least double strength.  You can taste the mixture to see if you want more vanilla in it).  At that point, put the mixture in your ice-cream maker, and chill or crank according to your machine’s instructions.


ice cream maker

I would have included a picture of my ice cream with strawberries, but it was melting too fast in the heat, so I was forced to eat it quickly!




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Rosemary Salt

I had never really used rosemary for cooking, particularly.  I know it is in the Italian blend herb mix I put in all sorts of things, but I don’t know if I had ever actually used it on its own.  The flavor is nice, but I hate the way the little needle-y leaves stick in my gums, and I could never find powdered rosemary at the store.


However, I decided to grow a rosemary plant in my windowsill herb garden, just because.


My windowsill herb garden is a little bigger than you are probably imagining right now.  I have a gorgeous, south-facing  window in my living room, six or eight foot long.  I put a shelf under it, and have space for about a dozen 6″ pots…or six 6″ pots, a 10″ pot with a dracena, a 7 foot tall scheffelara, and a big dish of cat food, as the case may be.  I sowed the herbs last spring, and am growing oregano (two pots), lemon balm, rosemary, sage, and thyme.  I had a couple of pots of basil, but it always seemed to have aphids, so I gave up on that one.  The rosemary, thyme, and sage, in particular, were getting out of hand; the rosemary was around two feet tall.  Since we’re just getting into the part of the year where all my houseplants start growing like mad, I decided to give my herbs a serious haircut.


What do you do with a huge, foot-long bundle of rosemary branches, though?  Especially when you don’t like the stuff as a dry herb?  I hated the thought of wasting it.


I remembered that I have put together a rosemary-salt rub for some chicken in the summer, by grinding some fresh rosemary with a handful of pickling salt in my mortar and pestle, and the solution presented itself.


Rossemary Salt


It is a LOT of work to grind the rosemary down in the mortar and pestle, and it is very sticky stuff.  Just stripping the leaves off the branches left my fingers feeling like I had dipped them in pine tar.  Then I ground and mashed and ground some more.  The needles hold their shape for a long time, but just as I began to despair, they started to break down and meld with the salt.  It took what seemed like forever; however, the results are worth it.  We’ve been using this salt in spaghetti sauce, and it makes a delightful rub for our home-grown chicken – I just loosen the skin on the breast (by working in from the neck end), and rubbing the rosemary salt into the meat under the skin before roasting it.  I’m sure it would be lovely with pork, as well.


If you want to try making your own, I used about equal parts coarse pickling salt and rosemary leaves.  Start small – a tablespoon or two of each, as the rosemary is tough to grind, and tends to leap out and get all over the place if you start with too much.  The salt gets a bit of a sticky, moist texture, but it keeps just fine in a covered container for at least six months (which is as long as we’ve tested, with the leftovers from last summer’s chicken rub).


Since I happened to also have sage and thyme, I made an almost-Scarborough Fair mix, grinding generous handfuls of the three herbs with a few tablespoons of pickling salt.  I think that one would be great for seasoning chicken dishes, and I’ll be testing it out in my next vinaigrette mix, as well, I think.  Blueberry-herb salad dressing?  Yes, please!  Now I’m plotting what other herbs I could plant to try this with…

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I am not detailing the harvest from the acreage, this year.  We were gone when we should have been planting (due to the birth of Baby M), and gone when we should have been harvesting (due to my sister’s wedding), so our garden did not amount to all that much.  We have half a small rubbermaid container of carrots, about as many beets, and perhaps twice as many potatoes.  We managed to put away some peas, and a fair bit of fruit, but I have not done any canning at all.  I bought my pumpkins from the farmer’s market, and was given a bunch of squash by neighbours.  Mom is bringing us a few things from her own garden surplus, and Hubby’s mom did the same earlier in the year, so it’s not like we’ll starve (fat chance) or be reduced to *gasp* buying carrots or anything.   Our onions did really well, though, and we got a decent harvest of tomatoes.  Sort of.


We harvested the tomatoes on Sept 8th, by pulling the plants by the roots, then storing them on the basement floor to ripen while we were gone to my sister’s wedding in Alaska. We did not do anything more with them until approximately 3 weeks later.


Not sure of the exact harvest weight, but a significant percentage (maybe close to half) had gone bad in the 3 weeks they were on the floor. They probably should have been hung up, as the side of each plant not touching the floor had significantly fewer rotten ones. Also, Hubby did not realize that the Black Krim toms were supposed to look like that, and he disposed of several which were probably fine. Similarly, he did not realize about the Green Zebras staying green, so we failed to pick numerous ripe tomatoes on time before they rotted. Note to self: let Hubby know when you’re planting unusual varieties that may perform differently from usual expectations.


Hubby is eating the cherry tomatoes as they come ripe, and quite enjoying them.


I cut up a roasting pan full (and I mean overflowing full) of ripe tomatoes, and roasted them at 250-275 for about 15 hours over two days. I was scared to leave them unsupervised overnight, but actually I could have done so without worries, early in the process – they don’t seem to need a lot of stirring until after they have reduced by about 30-40%. Next time, I’d chop them in the afternoon, and throw them in the oven in the evening to cook overnight and all the next day. Then I’d process them the next afternoon / evening.


I processed the roasted tomatoes after they had reduced to less than 50% of their original volume, and started to get a bit browned . Processing involved throwing the pulpy mess into the food sieve and mashing through until all the pulp was separated from the skins and seeds. That took maybe 15 minutes. This year, I then packaged it in ziplocs and threw it in the freezer; it could also easily be canned. I just did not have enough to bother with running the canner. I got 5 cups of tomato sauce that was about halfway between the consistency of commercial tomato sauce and commercial tomato paste – quite thick. I packaged it in 1-cup containers, as I think I will likely thin it down with water for most recipes. The flavor is very intense.


This was SOOOO much easier than peeling, seeding, chopping, and boiling (especially with trying not to burn) like we did back in 2009; I could actually see trying to process multiple bushels this way, especially if you had enough deep pans, like roasters and cake pans. It would be most efficient to fill the oven with as many pans as would fit, I think, and you still wouldn’t be left with an overwhelming amount to process in the end. In fact, you would need several deep roasters going just to get a canner load worth of finished sauce.


This used up about 40% of our tomatoes (and all of the ripe ones, except cherry toms for Hubby). If the rest ripen in large enough batches, they will receive the same treatment.


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