Sunday, June 25, 2017

Creamy Chocolate Pudding


Probably one of the simplest things to make with just a few pantry ingredients is pudding. When you see just how easy, you're going to ask yourself why you ever bought a box mix.

When I was first married we were on a very tight budget where every dollar mattered. There wasn't a lot of money for "extras," so out of necessity, I learned how to make my own puddings and other items; it was less expensive to buy flour, cornstarch and sugar for a multitude of uses, instead of convenience items like boxed pudding mix.

I'm really glad necessity taught me many "how to's" years ago, because I have always enjoyed cooking from scratch. There's just something rewarding about making it all yourself and not relying on box mixes.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Southern Pineapple Cake


This Southern Pineapple Cake is amazingly moist and delicious. The best part is it's so easy to make and even easier to eat and enjoy.

This cake is a "pot luck" favorite, but also makes a great after-school snack cake, or anytime you want an easy dessert. Just a few simple ingredients and you're done. You don't even need a mixer; I just beat the batter in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. See what I mean? Easy!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Grilled Chuck Roast


I am in love with local grass-fed beef! Thankfully we have several grass-fed beef farmers local to me, and this beauty came from my friends at Hill Creek Farms - Hartsville. All of their Angus and Angus-Charolais Beef comes from pasture-raised and grass-fed animals. There are no added hormones and the meat is antibiotic free. The meat is processed at an USDA inspected packing plant where it is dry aged, cut to order, vacuum packed and flash frozen.

My friends and I have ordered several sides of beef from this farm, and every time the beef has been excellent and, I believe, of superior quality to what you can buy in a grocery store. While buying a side of beef is a large investment, it can easily last you a year, making it extremely economical. See the benefits to buying a whole side of beef.

Of course, when you buy a side of beef, you get many different cuts, from sirloins and rib-eyes to chuck roast. Not always wanting the chuck roast to be cooked as a pot roast, I started investigating ways to grill it. Who knew a grilled chuck roast could be so tender and delicious? We sure didn't until we made this recipe. Wow, talk about a "game changer!" This economical cut completely amazed us, exceeding any expectations we had.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Tangy Vidalia Onion Relish


Yearly we buy Vidalia Onions at a sale sponsored locally by our Rotary Club. It's something I look forward to every May, and we usually buy 25 lbs or more we use in a variety of ways from Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette to Caramelized Vidalia Onion Relish and Sweet Vidalia Onion Relish

This Tangy Vidalia Onion Relish is great added to a beef pot roast; just toss some around with the veggies for a delicious and tasty addition to your roast. It's also very good over baked Brie or cream cheese with crackers as an accompaniment to a cheese board, and of course, for toppings on hamburgers, hot dogs, and especially brats and sausages. You can also add it in various cold salads such as potato, macaroni, pasta, and bean salads just to name a few.

5 pounds (approx. 10-12 large Vidalia onions), peeled, and diced finely
2 red, green or yellow bell peppers, seeded and diced finely
1/4 cup canning salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 cups cider vinegar
1 tsp mixed pickling spices

Using a food processor, finely dice the onions and peppers. Combine the diced onions and bell peppers with the salt; stir and let stand for 30 minutes.

Drain the vegetables in a fine mesh strainer, squeezing gently and discarding liquid. In a large non-reactive pot, combine the sugars, turmeric, and vinegar. Put pickling spices in a cheesecloth bag and add to the vinegar and sugar mixture. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Add the well-drained vegetable mixture, increase heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Fill the hot jars and wipe rims with damp paper towels. Fit the jars with the lids and screw jar rings on firmly.

Process jars in a boiling water bath or steam canner for 10 minutes. Remove jars and let cool 24 hours undisturbed. Store in pantry up to one year, opened jars need to be refrigerated.

Yield: 10 - 8 oz jars or 5 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.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Wildhaven Ranch Farm Trip


After pushing this trip back a month due to lots of rains and flooding on the ranch, we were finally off and on our way.

We had all been looking forward to this particular farm outing and couldn't wait to get to our destination.  Located in St. Stephen, South Carolina, Wildhaven Ranch ethically & humanely raise KiBoer goats, Ossabaw/Duroc hogs, Katahdan Sheep, Angus beef, and Wildflower Honey.

Travelling south on a nice, mostly sunshiny day, we made it to our destination a little over an hour later when we pulled into a long and windy road leading to the house and where we would meet our hosts for the day, Karen and AJ Biddlecom.

What a great place! The first thing you notice is the chickens and a couple of turkeys just wandering around the yard, scratching in the grass and eating bugs.

After introductions were made all around, we were off to the goat pasture where there were some sleeping in the shade and others eating leaves off the trees. Karen invited us in to give the goats some treats, so the next thing you knew we were surrounded by the herd, all anxious for their turn.

Then we wandered over to another side of the yard where the pigs were in a wooded area, thoroughly enjoying themselves. Karen called them, and they all came running over, while the mama pig, aptly named Redneck Girl, enjoyed a quick splash in a mud hole.

Next thing I knew I was off on the golf cart with Karen to see the rest of her animals. We drove by some sheep, a few horses, a llama, bee hives and more.

It was a fun tour and then we were back where we were being treated to a lunch/brunch.

We ate out at a picnic table under the shade of a large tree and it included a nice Frittata, Zesty Italian Goat Sausage, some lemonade and a homemade pound cake topped with strawberries and raw milk whipped cream. It was all delicious, but I'll admit I'd never tasted such a great sausage. The blend of goat with beef and spices made it extremely unique and very tasty! So much so, we all bought some to bring home.

It was a fabulous day out and about learning all about another farm, and once again marveling at what they do every day. No confinement cage operation here, these animals are all raised ethically and humanely on pasture as they should be. They can splash in the mud, scratch in the grasses, and otherwise live a great life on Wildhaven Ranch. This is exactly what I love about our small local South Carolina family farms; they know how to do it right!

Wildhaven Ranch products may be purchased on the farm (please call ahead), or find them at the:

North Charleston Farmers Market
Sunday Brunch Farmers Market
Folly Beach Farmers Market

Visit their Facebook page: Wildhaven Ranch


© 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.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Cold Pack Preserving - May Challenge

Bruschetta in a Jar - Tami Young (*see recipe at bottom of page)

A group of us are participating in a year long Food in Jars Mastery Challenge hosted by Marisa of Food in Jars, and May was Cold Pack Preserving.

What is cold pack preserving? Also known as raw pack, to cold pack something simply means something that it put into jars while cold and uncooked. If you’ve made dilly beans or garlic dill pickle spears, you’ve already tried your hand at a cold pack. Other things that get cold packed a lot are peaches, pears, and tomatoes that are peeled but uncooked, pickled vegetables where you’re trying to retain their crunch, and much of what goes into a pressure canner.

Why cold pack? The primary reason to choose this style of preservation is to retain texture. When fruits and vegetables go into the jars raw, they don’t spend as much time in contact with heat, which means that they don’t cook as much. That leads to a crisper, firmer texture. The secondary appeal of the cold pack is speed. Food gets peeled, pared, packed into the jars, topped with either water, brine, fruit juice, syrup, and goes into the canning pot. (Source: Food in Jars)

So off we set to begin our projects! It always amazes me the how totally different and unique they all are; everything from pears, to pearl onions, Bruschetta in a jar and crunchy dill pickles were submitted by the small group of us who are having fun with the monthly challenges, even though we are geographically separated.


Easy Carrot and Cauliflower Pickles - Sara De Leeuw - My Imperfect Kitchen
Easy Carrot and Cauliflower Pickles

Pickled Pearl Onions - Pamela Gram - The Pit Stop BBQ, LLC

Crunchy Dill Pickles - Mary Marshall - Cooking with Mary and Friends
Crunchy Dill Pickles

Pears in Apple Juice with a Cinnamon Stick - Nikki Carriere
Notes - I used apple juice instead of water; I peeled my pears; and I added a stick of cinnamon
Canning Pears

*Bruschetta in a Jar - Tami Young
From the magazine "Canning and Preserving" by the publishers of Harris Farmers Almanac

Yield 7 (8 oz) 1/2 pints (I got 10)
Skill Level: Medium
Method: Waterbath

5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons dried basil
2 Tablespoons dried oregano
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
9 cups chopped, cores plum tomatoes (about 4 pounds)

1. PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water. Set bands aside
2. COMBINE garlic, wine, wine vinegar, water, sugar, basil, oregano, and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover , and simmer 5 minutes or until garlic is heated through. Remove from heat.
3. PACK tomatoes into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch head-space. Ladle hot vinegar mixture over tomatoes, leaving 1/2 inch head-space. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jay. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
4. PROCESS filled jars in a boiling water for 20 minutes, (I'm a mile high so I had to add 10 minutes) remove jars and cook. Check lids for seal after 24 hours.


© 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, May 18, 2017

Strawberry Jalapeno Jam


Sweet and savory with a bit of a kick, this Strawberry Jalapeno Jam is the perfect jam to serve over cream cheese on crackers, baste on a grilled pork tenderloin, or chicken wings.

I always use farm fresh berries for my jams, and these strawberries are from my friends at Willard Farms. Here in South Carolina, the strawberry season began very early in 2017, with some of us getting our first "fresh from the fields" strawberries in early March. Sadly, the season is very short-lived and typically ends here in late May ( I have a lot of strawberries I flash froze and placed in food saver bags so I can enjoy them year round).

The possibilities are endless, so put your culinary juices to work to incorporate this jam into your next dish.