Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Joys of Small Batch Jamming/Burning

Today I am forgetting that I have twenty plus pounds of tomatoes to process.
I have 6 large white nectarines chopped and tucked away in a pot with a cup of meyer lemon juice and about two cups of sugar. Bubbling away. It smells heavenly. It won't make very much, but that's not the point. I wanted something simple and lovely this week after last week's major haul. I also have 8 green pluots that will become...something.

And....I burnt it.
Well, I'm not going to process it, but it's still edible...just a bit more caramelly than I'd prefer. it's going to be shoved into to jars of yogurt and hidden under giant globs of peanut butter. Or thrown out in a couple weeks. Meh. That's what I get for a watching a Simon Pegg marathon instead of paying attention to my cooking.
The pluots will be different. But I think I'll add meyer lemon juice to them too, so something lemony turns out right.

Monday, September 12, 2011


This has been a long weekend for canning.
But first, the photos of the tart that I made for my tea party!

Oatmeal shortbread crust, ganache, mascarpone cream, and balsamic strawberries. 

Very very yummy
This will be mostly just a huge list of photos but I will try to explain.
Friday night I picked three pints of green figs from the orchard behind my house and half candied them. I mean half because real candied figs are shelf stable, but I canned mine in the leftover syrup because I did not want to wait three days to cook them again.
Figs, brown sugar, lemon juice

Finished figs ready for a snobby cheese night

The next morning I picked up the motherlode of all farmer's market's reapings.
Plums, apples, peppers, quince, onions, concord grapes, seckel pears, tomatoes
I picked up two "lugs" of San Marzano tomatoes, one for my cousin and one for me. I first put up 20 more ears of corn.
Then tried again with pickle spears
Using a recipe from Put Em UP!
Then on Sunday, pressure canned baked beans!
Soaked 3lbs pink and ying yang beans overnight then cooked them for 1 1/2 hours

made a sauce of the cooking liquid, 1 1/3 cup molasses, 1 1/2 large red onion, 1T  salt, 1T ground mustard, 1t black pepper

Then the tomatoes
Mmmm San Marzano tomatoes

cooking it down!

couldn't quite fit the whole "lug" of tomatoes into the pot

cooked down to four pints, unseasoned
Then today I just finished a batch of apple salsa
Then put up a quart of honeyed Seckel pears and two pints of honeyed prune plums.
Shoulda pricked the plums...they split their skins
 I still have the grapes and the quince to deal with, but for now...I'm exhausted.

I'll talk more about it next week, but my mother was wonderful to send me three new canning books which makes my cache of information quite large!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

First Long Weekend!

Alright, I survived my first week of long shifts and made it to the best part of the week, my first long weekend!
I've decided that this weekend needs to be about rejuvenation and taking it of course I plan on canning corn and making a puppet and's just going to be like any other weekend just with an extra day to procrastinate.  

My farmer's trip this week was plentiful and I wanted to reflect that in my Sat. food choices so for lunch I whipped this up.

Corn/Tomato Saute

Two ears worth of cut corn
Two big sungold tomatoes
7 leaves of fresh basil, rolled and sliced i.e. chiffonade
One large clove of garlic, pressed or microplaned
 2 tsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute until most of the liquid is cooked out. Serve over pasta.
Good additions would be a red pepper or a pablano pepper, pattypan squash, maybe a protein like chunks of chicken or tofu...there's lots you can add to this dish.

I like it just as is, the sweetness of the corn with the sweetness of the sungold tomato, cut by the garlic and pepper really appeals to me.

I am revamping Helmsley. It seems like a huge waste to just toss that finished mouthplate, slightly crooked or no. I ripped all his features and his skin too (how sick does that sound?) and cut down his head and added fur instead of skin.

 I changed his eyeballs and attached his shirt. I used a hair tie to mark his iris and a nerf dart to mark his pupils. I may leave it that way or I may paint in some more, I kinda like the crazed look it gives him and once he has eyelids it may be better that way anyway.

Mary Beth, the before seen armless little girl puppet, has arms now and is performing hip hop numbers for her webcam. I still need to fortify her rods but for simple purposes, she's done too.

This afternoon I canned corn. Corn is a low acid food which means it has to be pressure canned to be safe to eat. That means I borrowed my cousin's pressure canner.
I bought twenty five ears of corn from the farmer's market and cut the kernels off using a nifty little tool my mom found at a garage sale.

I filled hot jars with the corn and 1/4 tsp. salt each and packed them down a bit and added boiling water, running a chopstick around the jar to release air bubbles leaving an 3/4ths of an inch headspace and screwed the lids on. Following the pressure canner's instructions I then added two quarts of water to the canner, and added the jars (this canner held 8 pints) and screwed the lid on and let it boil. Once the valve steams, time it for ten minutes then add the gauge (in my case a ten pound gauge) and wait for it to rock and his vigorously. This scared my poor cats senseless. Turn the heat down til it rocks and hisses gently...this has yet to work for me, it still hisses loudly and rocks around intermittently no matter what the heat. Pints are processed for 55 minutes then turn off the heat and let the canner cool on it's own time, don't try and speed the process along, as it could be holding a lot of pent up steam and blow the lid up on ya!

So there you have it, that's corn. It was my favorite canned item last year so I had to make sure I made more this year. the twenty five ears were more than enough for the eight pints so I froze the remainder, I may can another round next week.

To end my Saturday, I decided to dehydrate watermelon! Well, my cousin offered me one they had received and I have been wanting to try it out. I cut the watermelon to 1/4th inch (approximately, I was a little thick on a few) and skipped de-seeding the slices as that would take me all night and leave me with watermelon mush, laid them out on the dehydrator and I'll find out tomorrow how they turned out!