Saturday, August 1, 2020

Spicy Pickled Okra


No matter what you've always thought about okra being slimy, pickled okra is not. Spicy Pickled Okra using the freshest okra you can find is crisp and tender and does not get mushy.


I'm very fortunate the Bradford Heirloom Okra is grown local to me. The pods are larger than most okra varieties, and always harvested and sold while super-fresh, either the day it's harvested or the very next day.

A few years ago a small group of us visited Nat Bradford on their farm and learned all about the families heirloom products, which includes the okra, but also the Bradford Watermelon, African Runner Peanuts, Hanson Lettuce, Bradford Collards and more. For more about the farm, please visit Bradford Watermelon Company


Growing up in New England okra never touched my lips until we lived in the south, and my first experience with it was less than favorable. Okra to me was slimy and the only way I could eat it was fried.

Visiting the Bradford's quickly changed my mind when I tasted their okra raw in the field. It was so tender and crispy. Did you know okra is related to the orchid family? Isn't the flower beautiful?


You can use any fresh okra you have in this recipe, but always make sure it's fresh and buy it from your local farm or farmers market. Pickling it fresh is what keeps the okra from getting slimy and mushy. If you don't want to pickle the pods whole, they are also delicious cut into okra chips.


Pickled Okra is wonderful on a cheeseboard, as an addition to a relish tray, a snack anytime, or try breading them and frying for a crispy, spicy treat.

RECIPE
Ingredients
2 1/2 pounds okra pods 
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
2 tablespoons pickling salt
1 teaspoon dill seed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 jalapeno pepper sliced into rings (optional) 

Method
Wash the okra pods and trim away the stem ends (for chips cut 1/4-inch thick slices). Combine vinegar, water, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.

Place the dill seed, red chili flake, mustard seeds, and peppercorns in each of the four jars. Add 2 slices jalapeno peppers to each jar.

Pack the okra tightly into the jars over the spices, alternating them stem side up and down to fit more snugly if necessary.  

Pour the brine over the okra, leaving 1/2-inch head-space. Gently tap the jars on the counter to loosen any trapped air bubbles. Run a plastic knife around the inside of the jars to get rid of any stubborn air bubbles, if necessary.

Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath or steam canner for 10 minutes.

Once processed, remove jars from the canner and allow to sit on a kitchen towel on your counter-top undisturbed for 24 hours. Jars are sealed when the button on top of the lid is fully depressed and won't flex up and down.

Store sealed jars in your pantry up to one year. Spicy Okra Pickles are best if allowed to sit for 2 weeks before opening a jar to allow the flavors to develop. Open jars must be refrigerated.

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 18, 2020

Jalapeno Pickle Relish


A short time ago my son mentioned this Jalapeno Relish they'd been buying, and how much they really liked it. He sent me a photo of the front and back of the jar so I could see it and, more or less, see the ingredients (they never tell you everything).


A later conversation with my daughter, who had also talked to her brother about the relish, resulted in us deciding this relish was basically like any pickle relish, only with jalapeno peppers instead of cucumbers. Luckily I just happened to have a sweet pickle relish recipe we all enjoyed, and so began the experiment with this Jalapeno Pickle Relish. 

What do you need to make Jalapeno Pickle Relish?
  • 20 medium Jalapeno peppers
  • 1 medium white onion
  • White vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Celery seed
  • Mustard seed
  • Salt
  • Turmeric
  • Non-reactive bowl (stainless steel or glass)
  • Measuring cup
  • Mesh strainer
  • Water bath or steam canner
  • Half-pint canning jars
This Jalapeno Pickle Relish is the perfect blend of sweet and heat; not too hot with just the right touch of sweetness. 

How to use it?
  • Top it on burgers, brats or hot dogs
  • Mix it up with some stewed tomatoes for a savory side dish
  • Add it to a pot roast for an extra punch of flavor
  • Mix it in egg salad, potato salad or chicken salad
  • Mix it in mayo for a twist on tartar sauce



RECIPE
Ingredients
20 medium jalapeno peppers
1 medium onion
Brine: 
1 cup vinegar
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp mustard seed
1/2 tsp turmeric

Method
Cut stem end from jalapeno peppers and pulse until finely minced in your food processor. Repeat with the medium onion, pulsing until finely minced. Add both to a non-reactive bowl such as a stainless steel or glass bowl.

Mix the brine in a small saucepan or 2 cup measuring cup and heat or microwave until sugar is dissolved.

Pour brine over pepper and onion mixture, cover with plastic wrap and let sit 1-2 hours.

Pour mixture with brine into a mesh strainer placed over a bowl to catch the brine. Spoon relish into half-pint canning jars leaving 1/2-inch head-space and top with brine. Run a knife around the inside of each jar to remove air bubbles and add more brine if necessary. 

Top jars with lids and rings and process in water bath or steam canner 10 minutes. Remove jars, and let sit undisturbed for 24 hours on your counter-top. Jars are sealed when button on lid is fully depressed and won't flex up and down.

Store sealed jars in your pantry up to one year, open jars need to be refrigerated.

Cook's note - recipe is easily doubled

Yield: approx. 2 half-pint jars

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. 


Monday, May 18, 2020

Strawberry Crisp





Every spring and early summer we look forward to juicy, fresh strawberries from a local farm. We buy them by the gallon and always flash freeze some for use over the year.


Recently after a short visit with my daughters, they left a large container of strawberries they purchased at a roadside stand with me. The berries were fresh, but several days old, so I was in a hurry to make something with them. Since we'd already had so many other strawberry "things" I decided to make a crisp.


What will you need to make Strawberry Crisp?
5 heaping cups fresh strawberries
granulated sugar
brown sugar
vanilla extract
3 tbsp cornstarch
rolled oats
flour
salt
cinnamon
butter or vegetable oil

Combine the strawberries, sugar, vanilla and cornstarch; stir until all the berries are well coated and pour into prepared baking dish. 

In a separate bowl combine the flour, oats, white and brown sugars, salt, and cinnamon. Stir well to combine then pour on melted butter or vegetable oil and stir well, until topping is crumbly. Spread evenly over strawberry filling.


RECIPE
Ingredients
Filling:
5 heaping cups fresh strawberries,hulled and quartered
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp cornstarch
Topping:
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted (or you can use vegetable oil)

Method
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 or 10-inch deep dish pie plate or 9 x 9-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray and set aside.

Combine the chopped strawberries and sugar in a large bowl and mix until the strawberries fully absorb the sugar. Add in the cornstarch and vanilla extract and stir until all of the strawberries are evenly coated. Pour into the prepared baking dish.

In a separate medium size bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Pour in the melted butter and stir well until well coated and crumbly. Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the top of the strawberries.

Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top. 

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. 

Friday, August 23, 2019

Brandied Spiced Peach Jam


Brandied Spiced Peach Jam is a great "summer meets fall" kind of jam. The sweetness of the peaches and schnapps, combined with the brown sugar and spices, are a match made in heaven.

It is reminiscent of all the flavors of fall, using a sweet summer peach. Use this jam on toast or biscuits, topped on pancakes, waffles and pound cake, or heat some up and pour over vanilla ice cream. Brandied Spiced Peach Jam is also an excellent basting sauce or accompaniment for roasted pork loin, leg of lamb, or ham.

Ohhhhhh laaaaa laaaaaaa!! 



RECIPE
Ingredients
8 cups peeled, chopped peaches
1 box Sure-Jell (powdered pectin)
1 tsp butter (to reduce foaming)
1/2 cup Peach Schnapps + 1 tbls more to add to each jar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
2 cups brown sugar
8 cups granulated sugar

Method
Combine peaches, Sure-Jell, butter, peach schnapps, cinnamon and allspice in a large stock pot. Heat over medium-high to high heat, stirring to prevent sticking, until mixture comes to a boil.

Add sugar all at once and return to a rolling boil (one that doesn't stop while stirring). Boil hard one minute. Remove from heat and ladle into prepared canning jars leaving just slightly less than 1/4-inch head-space. Top each jar with 1 tablespoon Peach Schnapps. Wipe jars and top with lids and bands.

Process jars in boiling water bath or steam canner 10 minutes.

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

Store in pantry up to one year.

Yield: 10-12 - half-pint jars

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.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Bloody Mary Beans


Bloody Mary Beans ... oh yes! These are so delicious in Bloody Mary's, but equally good right out of the jar to nibble on.

I picked up a half-bushel of Blue Lake green beans from a local farm to put up, but I also knew I wanted to make some of them into these Bloody Mary Beans.



Wading my way through all those green beans was a 2 day job, but in the end, I'm always happy to put up my own.

These Bloody Mary Beans are bursting with flavor from the garlic and dill weed to the hot sauce. The recipe is identical to my Pickled Asparagus with the exception of the added hot sauce.




Bloody Mary Beans are crisp tender, tangy and a little spicy. Want more spice? Add more red pepper flakes and hot sauce. If you'd rather them be mild, you can add less or leave it out completely.

You may also like these other pickled vegetable recipes:
Pickled Cabbage Slaw
Pickled Cauliflower and Carrots
Frog Balls {Pickled Brussels Sprouts}


RECIPE
Ingredients
5 lbs fresh green beans, ends trimmed
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
2 tbsp pickling salt
1 tsp. dill weed
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. dried minced garlic (or fresh minced garlic)
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. hot sauce (or more to taste)

Method
Combine the vinegar, water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. 

Add the dill weed, peppercorns, mustard seeds, garlic, red pepper flakes, and hot sauce to each jar.

Pack the green beans into the jars over the spices, leaving 1/2-inch head-space.

Pour the liquid over the green beans, and tap the jars to remove any air bubbles. Wipe rims with a damp cloth, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath or steam canner for 10 minutes.

Remove from jars from water onto a towel, and allow to cool completely. Once cool, remove the rings and check the seals. Sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to one year.

How to use:  Add to Bloody Mary's, or serve on an assorted pickle tray.

Yield: 5-6 pint jars

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.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Mixed Berry Cobbler


What could be better than fresh summer berries all mixed up in a delicious cobbler? If you ask me, not much!


Every Spring and summer, I look forward to the abundance of fresh berries available at my local farmers markets from a variety of local farms. I am usually the one you see buying several gallons at a time so I can flash freeze them and store them in food saver bags in my freezer.


Recently when I had a variety of berries at home, I thought a Mixed Berry Cobbler would be awesome with these. Of course, I have always made Blueberry Cobbler or Blackberry Buckle, but I'd never mixed the berries together. I know, right? Why hadn't I ever done this before? I'm so glad the light bulb in my brain went off finally and I mixed them up, along with some sweet strawberries.



You may also like:
Blueberry Dump Cake
Luscious Blueberry Turnovers
Old Fashioned Blueberry Coffee Cake
Blackberry Pudding Cake
--------------------------------------------
RECIPE
Ingredients
For the Mixed Berry Filling
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh blackberries
2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

For the Topping
1 cup plus 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled & cut into small pieces
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg, optional

Method
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly butter 9½-inch deep-dish pie plate, 10-inch pie plate or 2-quart baking dish.

Prepare the Mixed Berry Filling: In a large bowl, add all the berries. In a small bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest. Add the flour and whisk until thoroughly combined. Sprinkle mixture evenly over berries and toss gently. Add mixture to pie plate or baking dish.

Prepare the topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until well combined. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles a coarse meal with small pea-sized pieces of butter. In a small bowl, whisk vanilla into beaten egg using a fork. With a fork, gently toss beaten egg and vanilla into flour mixture until moistened and dough starts to hold together. Continue to toss and blend gently with fingertips until well combined yet taking care not to overwork the dough.

Assemble the Cobbler: Sprinkle biscuit crumble topping evenly over fruit filling. Sprinkle biscuit crumble topping with sugar and, if desired, dust with freshly grated nutmeg. Alternatively, dust with cinnamon-sugar combining sugar and cinnamon before sprinkling over topping. 

Bake in preheated oven until topping is golden brown and filling is cooked through and bubbly, about 55 minutes. To prevent over-browning of topping, cover with sheet of aluminum foil after 30 to 35 minutes of baking. Remove foil and carefully transfer to wire rack to cool.

Serve cobbler warm by itself or topped with fresh whipped cream.

Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Cook's note - you can definitely use frozen berries, but the cobbler will not set up as thick, and will be slightly more runny.

Recipe adapted from Wicked Good Kitchen

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.


Monday, June 17, 2019

Plum Jelly

A few years ago, my husband and I transplanted 3 purple leaf plum trees from our yard to a military recreation area my husband manages. Mostly this was done to provide some shade for a few RV sites, but also to provide an edible fruit for his customers.
It's taken a few years, but those plum trees have now matured, and for the very first time, one tree was loaded with delicious plums. 
They have a taste very similar to Damson plums and make an excellent choice for jelly or jam. Sweet and slightly tart at the same time, they are simply delicious.
I set out one morning with a large bucket to pick some of these amazing plums, and with the help of another friend, we managed to almost fill a large bucket simply by picking the ones we could reach on the lower branches. This tree was loaded, and there are still many plums unpicked we simply couldn't reach.

Upon my return home I set out to make Plum Jelly. This has to be the easiest jelly recipe you will ever try. No peeling or pitting, you simply cook down the plums in water, then strain it through a mesh colander, extracting the delicious juice used to make the Plum Jelly.
How easy is that? It's the simplest, easiest jelly recipe ever. Even if you have never canned before, you can do this.
Spread on English muffins, toast or biscuits for a delicious breakfast treat. Serve over cream cheese with crackers, heat and baste on grilled chicken or pork toward the end of grilling time, or heat and top on vanilla ice-cream, pancakes or waffles. Delicious!
You may also like:
RECIPE
Ingredients
6 lbs. plums
4 Cups water
3 1/2 tbls Hosier Pectin or 1 3/4 oz powdered fruit pectin package (Sure-Jell)
1 tsp butter (to reduce foaming)
8 Cups sugar
Method
In a large stockpot simmer plums and water until tender and broken down, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Ladle mixture into a mesh strainer placed over a large bowl. Using the back of a spoon, press solids around mesh strainer to remove as much liquid as possible. Let stand for 30 minutes. You should have 6 cups of liquid. 

Return liquid to pan, add butter and pectin. Stir and bring to a boil. Add sugar all at once and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute and remove from heat. Skim off any foam with a metal spoon.

Ladle hot mixture into sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch head-space. Remove air bubbles and wipe rims. Apply lids.

Process for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath or steam canner. Remove jars and allow to sit undisturbed on your kitchen counter 24 hours. Jars are sealed when button on top of lid is depressed and won't flex up and down.

Store in pantry up to one year. Open jars must be refrigerated and will keep several months.

Yield: 12 - 8 oz jelly jars

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.