Tuesday, August 23, 2016

You like a nice stuffed pepper??

Here's today's recipe...

My favorite stuffed pepper
sitting on olive oil mashed potatoes..

Monday, August 22, 2016

This Weekend's Recipe: Tomato Jam

A couple of years ago I made this recipe of tomato jam from the NY Times' Mark Bittman. Its really easy to make and if you don't have any fresh tomatoes you can use canned petite-diced tomatoes in a pinch. I like to use this as a glaze for meatloaf or put a big spoonful on some soft farmer's cheese or cream cheese on an hors d'oeuvre plate.

One thing I will say is that you can make this in a slow cooker if you want to put it together and forget about it for the day but your slow cooker will smell like ginger for some time afterwards no matter how fastidious you are about cleaning it. I remembered that when after looking at all of the tomatoes I am gathering from my garden and decided to make tomato jam out of them. Not wanting to have that gingery thing going on in my slow cooker I decided to advertise on Cape Cod FreeCycle for a used slow cooker to use just for this purpose. For those of you who don't know what FreeCycle is, people post items they don't want anymore to see if someone needs one. Conversely if you need something and are frugal (like I am) you simply post a "wanted" ad, which I did. On Sunday morning I met a very nice woman with an old powder blue crock pot to give me. Off I went home to deal with all of those tomatoes.

Upon getting it home and giving it "the big clean" I put all of the ingredients into the pot and set it to work. I suspect that the crock pot was not up to the task because after 4 hours of work it had not started to bubble yet so I transferred the contents to a good old fashioned dutch oven and started cooking away the jam. As I was also making stuffed peppers for dinner, I was buzzing around the kitchen anyway able to keep an eye on it and stir it without it scorching.

The resulting jam was wonderfully thick and sweet-spicy and just as I remembered it from before. Give this recipe a try. If you do try your slow cooker, you may want to set it for an overnight cooking as you'll need to give it a good 10-12 hours on high, with the lid ajar to get it to thicken up and reduce. I will include the recipe below. Here are some photos of the process:

As always, assemble your ingredients
before you start cooking. Mise en  place...

Use any tomatoes you are growing chopped into
1/4-1/2-inch pieces. As you can see, there are some cherry
and grape tomatoes in there as well.
Don't use green tomatoes in this recipe though. 
As you can see I have reduced this to a thick jam.
Taste a bit to adjust the seasoning
Ladle into the sterilized jars leading 1/4 inch headspace.
Wipe the rims with a damp paper towel. 
Put the sterilized lids onto the clean rims and
hand-tighten the bands. Careful.. it's hot!

Put jars into a boiling water bath on a rack with at least
1-inch of water covering the jars
and boil gently for 10 minutes
Cool the jars on a rack and cover with a towel
to keep drafts away. Let them cool for at least
12 hours before storing them in a cool dark place. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Tomato Pie!

This is a "rerun of a post I did in 2010 on this recipe. I made the pie again today and have added the recipe onto this post. Enjoy! 

While reading the Boston Globe yesterday I saw a recipe for Tomato Pie that seemed intriguing. It is layered with cheese and tomatoes with a crust of Ritz crackers on top. Well that all sounded too fabulous not to make so I went out at lunch, stopped at the local farm stand and got some tomatoes so I could make this last night. It is a little involved and takes some time but the result was just delicious. I made a couple of adjustments to the recipe such as adding bacon and somewhat less mayonnaise. Here are some photos for your enjoyment. 

Pie shell ready for "blind baking"

Put dried beans into pie shell to keep it from puffing during blind baking

Assemble your ingredients

Layer tomatoes with bacon, sauteed onions and basil

Top with cheese-mayonnaise mixture and repeat layering

Finally top with a layer of shredded cheese and bake

When its brown and bubbling take out of oven

Top with buttered Ritz cracker crumbs

Bake another 5-10 minutes till golden brown

Serve warm or at room temperature

Monday, August 08, 2016

Another day, another "Family Values" Christianist GOP child molester...

And to think people are still so stupid as to leave their kids at "Sunday School" to be victimized by these creatures.

Prosecutors allege that this scumbag has been molesting kids for as many as 55 years! It seems that the perv and his wife taught Sunday School for years. I've always thought that these scumbags gravitated towards churches and Christianism to hunt for their victims. If they get caught all they have to do to get away with it in their churches is to say (a la Josh Duggar or the Catholic church) "I have sinned and have repented" and *poof!* it goes away. I'll bet there's a huge cover-up that has been going on over this guy in Georgia. Disgusting! The story starts below...

From RawStory.com:

Forrmer Republican Party chair for Cobb County, Joseph Russell Dendy, has been indicted by a grand jury on 13 counts of child molestation.

After being arrested in May for allegedly molesting two boys, ages 4 and 12, during multiple visits to his home, the handed down multiple categories of charges. The 71-year-old formally faces four counts of child molestation, four counts of first-degree cruelty to children, three counts of enticing a child for indecent purposes, and one count each of aggravated sexual battery and aggravated child molestation, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

He is being held in the Cobb County jail without bond after a hearing where prosecutors alleged Dendy’s molestation spanned 55 years.

Dendy and his wife taught Sunday School at their church for years and Mr. Dendy worked as a campaign manager for former State Rep. Roger Hines. Prior to the indictment, Hines called Dendy’s character “impeccable.”

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Today's Recipe: Peach Preserves

Our local Shaw's supermarket is having a special offer on peaches today, $0.77/per pound so I decided to make my favorite toast topping, Peach Preserves. The method and recipe follow. It's really easy and your family will really love it.

As always, assemble your ingredients. Mise en place...

Remove the stones and chop your peaches. No need to remove the skins

Mash 1 cup of the peaches in the bottom of the pan and add the rest of the peaches

Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often until the peaches are liquidy and boiling

To help this along, I used my immersion blender to puree some of the fruit. Not all, mind you, as we like some peach chunks in our preserves. 

Measure out 6 cups of peaches and return to the pot. You should have just 6 cups or just a tiny bit more. 

Add the sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat stirring often. The mixture should return to the boil immediately after you stir it. Remember. It should boil!

This recipe calls for 2 ounces of dry pectin. SureJell pectin comes in 1.75 oz boxes, so make sure to get two boxes and weigh the pectin carefully. 

Stir in the pectin gradually, bring back to a full boil and boil for 1 minute exactly. Remove from heat and pour into sterilized jars. Put sterilized lids on them and process in a water bath for 10 minutes

When they come out dry off the lids, place on a rack or towel and cover with a clean towel to keep away drafts. As they cool you should hear a "pop" sound indicating that the seal is made. If the lid does not pop, the seal is not made and you must use the preserves within 3 weeks while storing them in the fridge. 

Some lucky folks are going to get something delicious!

Make sure you have a nice piece of toast and a cup of coffee to try out your preserves. Yum! This recipe is not too sweet so it's a great topping for toast or biscuits, or even a spoonful or two on ice cream!