Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Marinated Grilled Pork Chops


One of the very first farms I ever visited when I began my quest for local, pasture raised meats and products from small, local family farms was Sunny Cedars Farm. It was an eye-opening experience, and I've been friends with the farm owners ever since.

Pigs raised humanely on pasture with no antibiotics or added growth hormones is most definitely not the white meat. These pork chops are a rosy red color, tender and delicious.

If you ever have a chance, do yourself a favor and seek out a local farm to buy your meat from ... I think you'll be very happy you did.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Strawberry Sangria Jam


This jam will remind you of  Strawberry Sangria! Made with Merlot wine, orange juice, brandy, and fresh strawberries from Willard Farms, it is a true taste explosion in your mouth.

Sweet from the berries, little hint of the orange juice and a nice tinge of wine it is delicious served over cream cheese on crackers. Light, sweet and refreshing, the perfect companion to a cheese board and summer casual dining.

3 cups crushed strawberries (about 6 cups whole berries)
1 cup red wine
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup brandy
6 cups sugar
1 pkg Sue-Jell (powdered pectin)

In an 8- to 10-quart heavy pot combine strawberries, orange juice, red wine, brandy and Sure-Jell. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar adding it all at once. Return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and quickly skim off foam with a metal spoon.

Ladle hot jam into hot sterilized half-pint canning jars, leaving a 1/4-inch head-space. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids and screw bands.

Process filled jars in a boiling water bath 10 minutes. Remove jars from canner and let them cool 24 hours on a kitchen towel on your counter-top. Store in pantry up to one year. Open jars need to be refrigerated.

Yield: 7-9 half-pints.


© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Strawberry Margarita Jam


Strawberry season came early this year in South Carolina since we had such a mild winter. Literally there were berries on the plants almost a month ahead of time, and all of us were anxious to get some as soon as they were available.

A group of us have been buying strawberries in bulk now from Willard Farms, and as soon as Jay (the farmer) told us they were ready, we put together an order. Many of us flash freeze the berries, then put them in food saver bags in our freezers to use throughout the year.

This was the case again this year, and it was great to see these pretty berries all packaged up in my freezer.

Since I have plenty, I decided to try making this Strawberry Margarita Jam ...  oh my goodness, so delicious. Really amazing taste and flavor, sweet with the strawberries, with a hint of the tequila, triple sec and lime juice. It really does taste like a strawberry margarita only in "jam" form.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Easy Greasy Review and Giveaway


I was given an Easy Greasy to try and review. I'd never heard of it before Michelle offered to send me one, but as soon as I posted pictures of it on my Facebook page, a few friends immediately chimed in saying they had one and loved it. My sister even commented "best thing since sliced bread" so, naturally I was excited to try it.

Their website says "Easy Greasy™ is a kitchen tool to make draining hot grease from food fast, easy and safe! Its patented design consists of a strainer that sits securely in a heat-resistant container. Simply pour cooked food into the strainer and allow draining. Then, remove the strainer and easily move your food to a pot or dish. Your hot grease is safely contained! Once your hot grease has cooled, just scoop it into the trash or secure the lid to store it. It’s that easy!"

"Easy Greasy™ is designed to contain hot grease produced as a byproduct of cooked food, such as ground meat (like for tacos, meat sauce or beef nachos), bacon, sausage or other meats. Easy Greasy™ is great for straining pasta or vegetables too! The Easy Greasy™ strainer can be lined with a cheese cloth for making jams or jellies."

I tried it with bacon grease today and it worked just as they said it would. Then I took out a measuring cup and filled the bottom with water just to see how much liquid it holds, and it holds a whopping 4 cups.

Four (4) cups is a quart which makes it the perfect vessel when I get ready to make some fruit jams this summer; simply line the colander with cheesecloth, place it on the bottom and pour in the fruit. This will be especially wonderful for straining the seeds out of blackberry or raspberry jam to make a seedless jam.

I can also see the Easy Greasy coming in handy when I'm making a variety of sauces, because once they are cooked down, you strain the liquid from the solids, then I could store the sauce in the bottom section covered with the lid (provided) until I was ready to use it ... perfect!

Easy Greasy would also be very helpful when making small batch veggie or chicken broth; easily stain the liquid while the bones, etc. you want to discard stay in the colander ... excellent! I'm sharing the Easy Greasy promo video here for you to watch, then be sure to enter my giveaway to WIN one for yourself!!

Watch the Easy Greasy demo video below!

Enter below to WIN an Easy Greasy of your own!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer - I received a free Easy Greasy to try and review. All opinions expressed herein are my own.


© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Pickled Red Onions


If you've never tried pickled red onions, you really need to. They are perfect for topping on sandwiches, wraps, burgers, tacos, and salads. Slightly sweet and tart, 2 large red onions makes just enough for 2 pint sized jars.

2 large red onions, thinly sliced
1 cup apple cider vinegar
⅔ cup sugar
1 tbls pickling salt
2 tsp pickling spice, divided

Cut onions into 1/4" inch slices. Dissolve the vinegar, sugar and salt in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the onions to the saucepan and simmer on low for 5 minutes covered, stirring often to move onions on the bottom to the top.

Sterilize a pair of tongs by dipping the ends in boiling water for a minute. Add 1 tsp pickling spice to each jar. Use the tongs to pack the onions into two 12 oz or 16 oz sterilized canning jars.

Using a ladle, fill the space around the onions with the pickling juice, leaving ½ inch of head space.

Process for 10 minutes submerged in a boiling water bath. After removing the jars from the water, allow them to sit undisturbed for 24 hours before handling. Store in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 1 year with the rings removed. Once opened, store in the refrigerator for up to a month.


© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Salt Preserving - February Challenge


A group of us are participating in the Food In Jars Mastery Challenge hosted by Marisa at Food in Jars and this month's challenge was SALT PRESERVING. It was fascinating to me to see all the varied ways to preserve foods with salt and many of us tried several of the suggested methods during the challenge.

The most intriguing one was Salt Cured Egg Yolks! The way the process changes the molecular structure of  the egg yolks from their original state to one where they are more or less solid and can be grated was fascinating. Then there was salt preserved citrus, sauerkraut made simply with cabbage and salt, a vegetable soup base, salt infused with herbs and spices making your own salt blends and so much more.

The Recipes suggested were:
  • Salt preserved lemons – This is an easy starting point. I make at least one batch of these every year. They add a tangy, funky bite to soups and stews. I often heap a bunch of them in the blender and puree them smooth. I dollop that puree into hummus, vinaigrettes, and other creamy spreads.
  • Salt preserved key limes – Some readers argued whether the fruit I used were in this project were actually key limes, but that’s what the bag said. They’re zippy and bright and worth the making.
  • Citrus salt – Another really simple one. Zest a bunch of lemons, limes, grapefruits, or oranges and combine them with chunky salt. Spread it out on plate or parchment-lined cookie sheet and let it air dry. Then sprinkle it over chicken, fish, dips, and roasted vegetables.
  • Herb salt – A variation on the citrus salt above, this expansive, wide-ranging recipe is flexible and adaptable.
  • Herbes salees – There’s a version of this recipe in my second book, but I learned everything I know about salt preserved herbs from Joel and Dana at Well Preserved. And so if their post was a good starting place for me, it’s a good starting place for you!
  • Gravlax – Quick cured and seasoned salmon that takes a few minutes to prep and just a couple days in the fridge to get good. It’s a low effort, high reward project and just the thing to make if you’re planning a dinner party or fancy brunch.
  • Cured egg yolks – I’ve not made these before, so I point you in the direction of Hank Shaw for instructions here. From what I hear, this relatively quick cure produces something with the flavor and depth of good cheese.
  • Kraut – There’s so many directions to go here. Start with a recipe that appeals and begin to explore.
  • Kimchi – This is my favorite approach, but it just one of many. If you decide to go in this direction, do try to stay away from the brined recipes and stick to the ones that are salted directly, as we’ll focus on wet brined foods later in the year.
  • Soup base – I almost always have a jar of this vegetable-heavy paste in my fridge for giving depth to soups and stews.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Sauerkraut Made Easy!


I am participating in the year long Food in Jars Mastery Challenge and February was salt preserving. While there are many ways to use salt in preserving, from lemons to herbs, egg yolks and flavored salts, I chose to salt preserve some sauerkraut.

My husband enjoys sauerkraut, and I must admit while I like the flavor, store bought sauerkraut doesn't always agree with me, but salt preserved sauerkraut is teeming with "good for you" healthy bacteria, which is an excellent way to boost your gut health, and it's so easy to make ...  much easier than I anticipated.

What do you need? A small'ish head of cabbage a tablespoon of salt, a mason jar and a weight. That's it, that's all there is to it. Well, that and time as the sauerkraut must ferment on your kitchen counter-top for approximately 3 weeks. The ideal room temperature for making sauerkraut is 65-72 degrees, no warmer, which is why its typically made in the cooler fall and winter months, and not in the summer. After it's fermented, it can be stored in your refrigerator for months, some say up to a year.