Friday, September 11, 2020

Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Butter


This is one of those recipes that tastes amazing and is oh so simple to make. Simply place the apples and cranberries in a slow cooker with the apple juice or cider and let your slow cooker do the work.


Cranberry Apple Butter is delicious smeared on toast, bagels, English muffins or biscuits, topped on waffles for a treat, or served with a hard cheese like cheddar or Gouda on crackers. It's a delightful blend of sweet, tart and tangy.

RECIPE
Ingredients
5.5 lbs apples
1-16 oz bag cranberries
1 cup apple juice or apple cider 
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 cup maple syrup
2 tsp Vanilla extract

Method
Core and cut apples into pieces (no need to peel). Put apples, cranberries and juice or cider in a crock pot and cook on high about 5 hours.

Puree mixture in a blender or use an immersion blender. You can also process through a food mill if desired.

Add 1 cup maple syrup, 1 tbsp cinnamon and 2 tsp vanilla extract and cook on high another 2-3 hours (place a wooden spoon across the end of the slow cooker to prop up the lid so the cranberry apple butter will reduce and thicken) or until cranberry apple butter mixture is thick. 

Ladle into prepared jars leaving 1/2-inch head-space and process half-pints or pints 15 minutes.

Yield: 8 - half-pint jars

recipe adapted from Citronlimette

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, September 7, 2020

Dried Minced Onion


Every year I find myself with at least one large bag of Vidalia or sweet white onions. They are awesome to cook with, and I love adding them to salsa's, salads, caramelizing them or sauteing them.


Mincing and drying them is a great way to preserve them to last a long time, well past the growing and harvest season.

These dried minced onions can be added to so much over the winter to give a variety of foods a much needed flavor boost.


What will you need to make Dried Minced Onions?

  • 4-5 large Vidalia or other sweet onions
  • Food processor (or cutting board and sharp knife)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • rimmed baking sheet
  • mesh strainer
  • cheesecloth or clean kitchen towel

How to use Dried Minced Onions?

  • Use dried minced onions in any recipe that calls for fresh. Use in a soup or a stew; throw the dried onion into the pot when you add the liquid. It’ll re-hydrate perfectly as it simmers. Same with casseroles and curries.
  • Dried minced onion works well in any kind of salad. Add it to the dressing for leafy greens, beans or grains. Or toss it into chicken, tuna or potato salad when you add the mayonnaise or a creamy dressing. 
  • The flavor of dried onions is more intense than fresh, so less is needed. One tablespoon of dried, minced onion equals one small fresh onion, minced.

RECIPE
Ingredients
4-5 large Vidalia or other sweet onion (or more depending on how much you want to process)
1 tsp. salt (use any kind you like, table salt, Himalayan, course, kosher)

Method
Preheat oven to 170-200 degrees F. Peel onions, cut them into smaller pieces and process in your food processor using the chopping blade and the pulse setting, or petite dice using a cutting board and sharp knife. You want the onions minced finely but not pulverized. 

Remove minced onions and place in a clean dish towel or piece of cheesecloth and do your best to squeeze the liquid out. Alternately, you can place a coffee filter or piece of cheesecloth in a mesh strainer over a bowl and push the minced onions with a large spoon to get the liquid to drain off. This does not need to be perfect, just do the best you can to remove as much liquid as possible.

Move onions to a large rimmed baking sheet, spreading out evenly. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Place baking sheet in oven and stir every 30 minutes or until onions are thoroughly dry. They will turn slightly brown during the drying process but should not be too dark.

When onions are done, remove baking sheet from the oven and allow the onions to cool completely. 

Store dried minced onions in a glass mason jar with a tight fighting lid. Dried minced onions should last up to one year in your pantry provided the jar stays tightly closed after each use.

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, September 3, 2020

Corn Relish


Corn Relish is a very versatile condiment to have on hand. It's awesome with tacos, added to a dip, or paired with grilled chicken, shrimp, or pork. 

The first time I saw this recipe I knew I wanted to try it with some fresh sweet corn from a local farm, and the Mad Hatter peppers we had growing in our raised bed garden.


Mad Hatter peppers are a species from South America commonly used in Bolivian and Peruvian cuisine.The taste has a refreshing, citrusy floral flavor that remains sweet, only occasionally expressing mild heat near the seeds. I like them so much better than bell peppers, and they don't give me heartburn like other peppers do.

What do you need to make corn relish?

  • 4 cups fresh sweet corn
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp canning salt
  • 3/4 cup diced celery (approx. 2 stalks)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion (1 small)
  • 1 tbsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
For best results, use the freshest sweet corn you can find. We used corn we picked up at a local farm just as it had been harvested. 

If you don't have access to fresh on the cob corn, you can use frozen corn kernels. Simply thaw and proceed with the recipe. Do not use canned corn as it has already been canned once and it will result in a less than desirable product.



RECIPE
Ingredients
4 cups fresh sweet corn
2 cups white vinegar
2/3 cups sugar
1 tbsp canning salt
2 cups diced peppers (red or green bell peppers or Mad Hatter peppers)
3/4 cup diced celery (approx. 2 stalks)
1/2 cup finely diced onion (1 small)
1 tbsp ground mustard
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp ground turmeric

Method
Combine vinegar, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add corn, peppers, celery, onion, mustard, celery seeds and turmeric. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Ladle hot relish into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch head-space. Remove air bubbles, wipe rims, and cover with lids and bands. Place jars in boiling water bath or steam canner. 

Process jars for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off heat; remove lid and let jars stand 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Button on top of lid should be fully depressed and not move up or down when pressed.

Yield: 6 - half-pint jars

Original recipe adapted from Ball Fresh Preserving

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, August 29, 2020

Pineapple Jalapeno Relish


Pineapple Jalapeno Relish is so different from other relishes, and a true tropical delight. With sweet ripe pineapple, tangy apple cider vinegar, and the heat of jalapeno peppers, this relish is packed with flavor. 


Pineapple Jalapeno Relish is awesome with grilled brats, burgers or hot dogs. It also pairs well with grilled or roasted pork, chicken, shrimp or ham, or toss some in potato salad, pasta salad, chicken or tuna salad. It brings such a nice topical taste to just about anything.


RECIPE
Ingredients
2 - 20 oz cans crushed pineapple with juice
1 medium red onion, diced (about one and one half cups)
4-6 Jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground coriander seed

Method
Pulse red onion and jalapeno peppers in the bowl of a food processor a few times just to fine chop, being careful not to puree.

Add processed red onion and jalapeno peppers to a non-reactive pot set over medium heat. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer, stirring often, until liquid has reduced by half, about 15-20 minutes.

Ladle hot relish into a hot jar leaving a 1/2-inch head-space. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim. Center lid on jar and apply band, adjust to fingertip tight. 

Process jars 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off heat, remove lid, let jars stand 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool 12-24 hours. Jars are sealed when button to top of lid is fully depressed and won't flex up and down.

Original recipe from Fresh Preserving

Yield: 4 pint or 8 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. 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Easy Steak Fajitas


To me there is almost nothing simpler than these Easy Steak Fajitas. You use an inexpensive cut of beef such as skirt, hangar or flank steak, make a quick marinade, add some sliced onions, peppers and seasonings and voila'! That's really all there is to it.


My excuse to make these Easy Steak Fajitas were some Mad Hatter peppers we were growing in our raised bed garden. The plant was given to me to try by our friends at
B's Greenhouses, and i couldn't wait. This sweet pepper is a species from South America commonly used in Bolivian and Peruvian cuisine.The taste has a refreshing, citrusy floral flavor that remains sweet, only occasionally expressing mild heat near the seeds. Aren't they cute?

What do you need to make these Easy Steak Fajitas?

  • Cast iron or other large skillet
  • Homemade Fajita Seasoning Blend
  • Skirt, Hangar or Flank Steak
  • 1 sweet onion
  • Fresh cilantro or dried Oregano Leaves
  • Sweet peppers (I used Mad Hatter but Bell peppers work)
  • 2 limes or lime juice concentrate
  • Flour tortillas


RECIPE
Ingredients

Homemade Fajita Seasoning Blend:
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Steak Fajitas:
1 clove garlic minced
1 of the full amount of the recipe Fajita seasoning above
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil divided
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves chopped, plus more for serving or 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves (for those who have an aversion to cilantro)
1 1/2 pounds hanger, skirt or flank steak halved crosswise
2 tablespoons butter
1 sweet onion halved and sliced vertically
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Mad Hatter peppers (or red and yellow bell peppers), cut into thin strips
2 wedges of lime, or 1 tablespoon lime juice
Warm flour tortillas

Method
For the Homemade Fajita Seasoning Blend
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

For the Steak Fajitas
In a shallow bowl, combine the garlic, fajita seasoning, 1/4 cup olive oil, and cilantro or oregano. Toss the steak to coat in the marinade, cover, refrigerate, and marinate for 30 minutes or longer.

Meanwhile, heat a 12-inch cast-iron or other large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and onion in the skillet. Season with the salt, stir, and cook until the edges of the onion are deeply golden yet still a bit firm, about 10 minutes.

Add the peppers and cook for 5 to 8 minutes more, depending on how done you prefer them. Transfer the onion and peppers to a small dish.

Working in two batches, sear the steak on both sides for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 to 8 minutes before slicing into thin strips.

Return the strips and any juices from the cutting board to the skillet, squeeze in the juice from the lime wedges or lime concentrate, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more. Remove from the heat and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Serve on warm tortillas. We love to top these with a Mexican cheese sauce such as white Queso sauce, and pickled red onions.

Original recipe adapted from Foodiecrush

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. 

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Zesty Corn Salsa

When fresh corn is in season, Zesty Corn Salsa is just the thing to munch on with crispy tortilla chips. We love it and serve it many times during the summer. it's a great alternative to tomato salsas and goes well as a side dish with grilled fish, chicken or pork.

I like to use fresh corn on the cob I buy from a local farm or farmers market, because that corn is usually the freshest of fresh, with crispy, juicy kernels. Of course you can use any fresh corn you can find, or you can also use frozen corn kernels if that's what's available.

The addition of diced tomatoes, black olives and chopped jalapeno peppers gives it just the right balance of sweet with a little heat. 

RECIPE
Ingredients
2 - 3 ears fresh corn on the cob, or 2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
10 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
10 black olives, sliced or diced
1 small purple onion, diced
1-2 small jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (or less depending on taste)
1-2 tbsp lime juice (from concentrate or freshly squeezed)
2 tbsp Ball's Fresh Preserving Fiesta Salsa Mix -or- 1/2 tbsp each ground cumin, dried oregano leaves, and dried cilantro leaves* (or fresh minced cilantro) or slightly more to taste. Can also add a small amount of cayenne pepper or dried red pepper flakes if desired.
*you can leave the cilantro out if desired

Method
Husk fresh corn, remove silk and using a sharp knife cut the kernels off the cob. You will need 2-3 ears of fresh corn kernels to equal 2 cups or frozen corn kernels, thawed.

Place corn kernels in a large bowl. Slice or dice the next 4 ingredients and add to the bowl with the corn. Stir in the salsa mix or the spices and stir to combine well.

Spoon Zesty Corn Salsa into a storage container with a lid, and chill in the refrigerator several hours to allow the flavors to develop. Serve cold or at room temperature with tortilla chips or as an accompaniment to grilled fish, chicken or pork.

Keeps well stored in the refrigerator up to one week.

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, 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) 
4 pint mason jars

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.

Yield: 4 pints 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.