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Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday, I was a cooking fool. Started in the garden and collected dozens of ripe tomatoes. Then, it was on to the green beans. I'd identified several recipes to try and started in once Connie got back from the grocery store. He is the world's best sous chef. Keeps the dishes washed and all the stuff chopped. Ten hours later, we'd cooked our way through about a dozen recipes. Needless to say, this might be a long post :-)

Let's start with the canning. I only did the heirloom tomatoes. The mountain of romas is still sitting on the counter awaiting their fate. Yesterday, we had Cherokee Purple with their green shoulders. Black Krim. Black Brandywine. Lemon Boy. Pink Brandywine. Several whose names escape me. We'll pull the tags up and make sure we reorder most of them. The Black Brandywine's are absolutely the best tomato I've ever eaten. Took Mom a couple today when I went over to pick her up for an eye doctor's appointment. When I took them out of the bag she waxed euphoric about the first batch I took her. No wonder, they're the perfect balance of flavor, acidity, sweetness. YUMMMM! The drill is carving an "X" into the bottom of each tomato, dunking it in boiling water for a few seconds, moving it to an ice water bath, then removing the skin, coring it and chopping it. Those tomatoes that didn't work for canning in chunks were tossed into a large saucepan. I added onions (chopped,) a few cloves of roasted garlic, a couple of bay leaves, salt, pepper, fresh oregano, crushed red pepper, a smidge of sugar and a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice (to adjust the Ph so the sauce was safe to can - make sure you read up on the rules if you're going to can the stuff!)

Next was tomato pickles. This inspiration for this recipe came from Herb Companion. We'll know if we like these in a couple of weeks!

4 large heirloom tomatoes, unpeeled, cut into 6ths
6 cloves roasted garlic, sliced
3/4 c basil leaves
3/4 c cider vinegar
1 1/2 Tbs kosher salt
1 1/2 c cold water
1 lime, juiced

Cut the tomatoes and put into three sterilized pint jars. Make sure they're no more than 75% full. Boil the vinegar and salt until the salt dissolves. Add the cold water and lime juice. On top of the tomatoes, stack the basil leaves. Pour the liquid over the tomatoes leaving adequate head room.
Next was corn relish. For once, I almost followed a recipe. This came from the McCormick's web site. Their recipe calls for adding cornstarch to thicken the relish. I didn't think it needed that so omitted that step.
Corn Relish
6 cups cooked corn (9-12 medium ears)
1 1/2 cups diced red bell pepper (1 large)
1 cup diced green bell pepper (1 medium)
2 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp celery seed
2 tsp mustard seed
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
Chop and mix the vegetables. Mix vinegar, sugar and seasonings in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add vegetables and return to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Ladle into sterilized jars. Cover with lids and secure with rings. Will keep in the refrigerator for 3 months - although I doubt it'll last that long around us because this stuff is REALLY good!

Even though the recipes from Sunday aren't done I"m going ahead and publishing... More later :-)

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