Sunday, September 17, 2017

"Hot Shot" Apple Jam {Cinnamon Whisky}

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I love apples and I really love boozy apple jams. There's Bourbon Maple Apple Jam and now this Hot Shot Apple Jam made with Fireball Whisky. Other alcohol's you could pair with this apple jam could be Apfelkorn, sweet apple-flavored liqueur, or Spiced Rum to make a different variation.


It's delicious to eat spread on biscuits or English muffins, or topped on waffles and pancakes. It's even good basted on roast pork or glazed on a ham.



Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sweet Watermelon Rind Pickles

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When your farm friend, Nat Bradford, is bringing back his family's heirloom watermelon right in your backyard you do two things; one is go visit the farm to see and hear for yourself first-hand about it, and the second is you anxiously await the new harvest so you can buy one of these awesome watermelons for yourself.

Nat Bradford, me, and a gorgeous 30 lb Bradford Watermelon
The Bradford Watermelon has been grown in Sumter County, South Carolina for about 170 years and has a fascinating history. Read all about my first trip to the Bradford's farm.


Determined there would be no waste of this gorgeous watermelon, I decided to make Watermelon Rind Pickles. So sweet, yet tangy and soft, with a nice texture, they are not mushy at all, and are so delicious. Serve them on a cheeseboard with some shaved prosciutto or other thinly sliced deli meat, with a variety of cheeses and crackers. Yummmm!


RECIPE
Ingredients
3 quarts (about 6 pounds) watermelon rind, unpared
¾ cup salt
3 quarts water
2 quarts (2 trays) ice cubes
9 cups sugar
3 cups white vinegar
3 cups water
1 tablespoon (about 48) whole cloves
6 cinnamon sticks, 1 inch pieces
1 lemon, thinly sliced, with seeds removed

Method
This is a 2 day process 
Day One:
Trim the pink flesh and outer green skin from thick watermelon rind. Cut into 1 inch squares or fancy shapes as desired. Cover with brine made by mixing the salt with 3 quarts cold water. Add ice cubes. Let stand 3 to 4 hours.

Drain; rinse in cold water. Cover with cold water and cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes (do not overcook). Drain.

Combine sugar, vinegar, water, and spices (tied in a clean, thin, white cloth). Boil 5 minutes and pour over the watermelon; add lemon slices. Let stand overnight in the refrigerator.

Day Two:
Heat watermelon in syrup to boiling and cook slowly 1 hour. Pack hot pickles loosely into clean, hot pint jars. To each jar add 1 piece of stick cinnamon from spice bag; discard lemon slices, and cover with boiling syrup, leaving ½ inch head-space.

Remove air bubbles and adjust head-space if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process half-pints or pint jars 10 minutes in a boiling water bath or steam canner.

Yield: 4-5 pints

Original recipe from the National Center for Home Food Preservation

Enjoy,
Mary

© 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, July 22, 2017

Cheesy Enchilada Meatball Bake

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Cheese ... Meatballs ... Enchilada Sauce ... all baked in a casserole. It's so easy to make and delicious to eat.

My husband, the non-Mexican or Tex Mex food person, loved this. It's not too spicy, so "everyone" friendly, but you could kick it up by adding more peppers if your family enjoys spicy.


I start with homemade Enchilada Sauce, but store-bought will do. I also use grass-fed ground beef from a local farm. To me it's a superior beef, with very little, if no, fat to drain off, and makes a better meatball.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tomato Bruschetta in a Jar

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Our little raised bed kitchen garden has been exploding with some small Roma (plum) tomatoes, and I needed something to do with them besides eating them.


I'd already made Pico de Gallo Salsa, and Petite Diced Tomatoes, but then I ran across this recipe for Tomato Bruschetta ... ohhhhhh that would be awesome to just grab a jar out and use, and so began this next canning project, which really went quickly!


Next time I want some bruschetta, it's going to be a cinch to assemble. It would also be great as an accompaniment on a cheese board with a variety of cheeses and crackers.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Pico de Gallo Salsa

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I really love tomato salsas, but I also enjoy Pico de Gallo and make it fresh with local tomatoes every summer. There is nothing better than fresh, local, vine ripe tomatoes you either grow yourself or purchase at a local farm or farmers market. The taste in so unbelievably good, so I highly recommend making this recipe with local fresh tomatoes.


Pico de Gallo is technically a fresh salsa and not one that's traditionally canned. I really wanted to try and make some I could process and keep for many months on my pantry shelf (not that it will last that long), so I started experimenting.

Paste or Roma tomatoes hold up the best in this recipe, and they are not mushy in the finished product. See this link for more awesome salsa recipes.


RECIPE
Ingredients
10 medium to large paste or Roma tomatoes, diced (preferred since they are a meatier tomato)
1 medium onion, diced
2 large jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup **Ball Fiesta Salsa Mix (or any salsa spice mix you like)
3 tbls lime juice
1 tbls (per pint jar) lemon juice
** If you don't have any salsa mix add 1/2 tbls each ground cumin, oregano and dried cilantro leaves (or fresh minced cilantro) or slightly more to taste.
May omit cilantro if desired.


Method
Dice tomatoes, onion and jalapenos and place in a large bowl. Sir in salsa mix (or spices), salt and lime juice, mixing well. Let sit 5 minutes so tomatoes begin to get juicy.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop the pico de gallo into pint canning jars. Top with 1 tbls lemon juice concentrate, and evenly distribute the remaining tomato juice from the bowl into each jar leaving 1/2" head-space. Top with lids and rings tightening to just finger tight.

Process jars in water bath or steam canner 15 minutes.

Remove jars and let cool on a kitchen towel on your counter-top 24 hours undisturbed. Jars are sealed when button on lid is fully depressed and won't move up and down.

Store in pantry up to one year. Open jars must be refrigerated. Serve Pico de Gallo Salsa with your favorite chips or top on tacos, taco salads and more. It's even awesome stirred into some steamed rice and served with your favorite Mexican dishes.

Cooks note - the liquid may be below the top of the pico de gallo in the jars. Once they are processed, this is fine and will not cause the salsa to go bad. I also like to give mine a quick shake before serving.

Yield: approx.3 pint jars (recipe is easily doubled)

Original recipe adapted from Healthy Canning

Enjoy,
Mary

© 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, July 6, 2017

Tomato Paste {Water Bath Canning}

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I've been canning tomato products for years, but I never thought I'd be making my own tomato paste. I guess I was just convinced it had to take a long time to cook down and thicken ... never did I dream it would actually take less time and be much easier than I thought.


When tomato season came around again this year, I found myself buying my favorite Roma tomatoes from Willard Farms, a family farm local to me. If you can't find Roma tomatoes, San Marzano plum tomatoes are also an excellent choice.

"Prized for its use in tomato paste and sauces since its introduction in 1955, Roma Tomatoes produce a large harvest of thick-walled, meaty, bright red, egg-shaped tomatoes about 3 inches long and with few seeds. This tomato is not juicy. This is not a slicing tomato. Instead, the flesh is thick and drier so that it will cook down into a thick sauce. Cooking intensifies flavor, too. If you can tomatoes, make your own spaghetti sauce, or like to chop a tomato into an omelet, this is a great choice. It's not too juicy in the pan compared to slicing tomatoes. The fruit freezes well for later cooking, too."


And so today I set out to make tomato paste. Oh my goodness, the flavor is so rich and intensified, it tastes like a vine ripe tomato just picked. Amazingly delicious ... I may never buy it commercially again!


RECIPE
Ingredients
4 quarts tomato sauce
lemon juice concentrate
salt (optional)

Method
Begin by making Tomato Sauce following my Tomato Sauce Canning Made Easy recipe. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour 1 quart tomato sauce onto a rimmed baking sheet. You can do 2 baking sheets at one time.

Place baking sheets on 2 racks in your oven and set the timer for 60 minutes. At the 30 minute mark, stir tomato sauce; you will see it's already reducing and thickening. Switch baking sheets around by moving the baking sheet on the bottom rack to the top rack and the top baking sheet to the bottom rack.

Continue baking another 20-30 minutes, checking and stirring often, until tomato sauce is reduced to a tomato paste being careful not to burn it.

Repeat process with remaining 2 quarts of tomato sauce.

Add 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice to each 4 oz jar or 1 tablespoon to each 8 oz jar, and 1/4-1/2 tsp. salt (if using) to each jar. Spoon tomato paste into jars, smoothing and removing air bubbles, leaving 1/2"-inch head-space.

Process jars 45 minutes in boiling water bath following the guidance from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Remove jars from canner and let cool undisturbed 24 hours on your kitchen counter-top. Jars are sealed when button on top of lid is fully depressed and won't move. Store in pantry up to one year. Open jars need to be refrigerated.

Yield: approx. 2 - 8 oz jars or 4 - 4 oz jars per quart of tomato sauce (my total yield was 5 - 4 oz jars and 3 - 8 oz jars for 4 quarts of tomato sauce)

Enjoy,
Mary

© 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, June 28, 2017

Sweet and Sticky Tomato Jam

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I knew as soon as I saw this recipe on Marisa's page, Food in Jars, I wanted to try it. Oh yes, it is amazing! Sticky, sweet with a little kick, it is the perfect condiment for burgers, brats and more.


Serve it over crostini with a savory cheese, or on a cheese board with a variety of hard cheeses or even over cream cheese on crackers. IT is a delicious condiment you can use in a multitude of ways.