Coming later today… A recipe worth returning to read!

This week is crazy.  I'm catering a wedding rehearsal dinner on Thursday 1 1/2 hours away, it's the middle of pickling/canning season, and I have company coming both today and Friday.  Yikes!    But I do promise this.  This afternoon I will carve out time to share a recipe for an AWESOME chilled quinoa salad.  It's worth coming back, so please do!     … {Read on...}

Amish Haystack Suppers

englisher-haystack-supper

  Today's weather was glorious and made for driving about the backroads doing country errands.  While stocking up on oats, sugar, and other sundries at the small bulk foods store run by a local Amish woman I saw her husband out gathering hay in their field.    The field was beautiful with the clean cut green topped with regular mounds of hay that had been painstakingly baled by hand.  Since the Amish eschew most farm equipment for religious reasons, he was manually baling the hay.   Each large mound of hay was comprised of many small, hand-tied bales propped up on their ends with their heads resting together and another bale perched on top.  Aaron explained to me that this is the way it's been done for centuries and when the sun is shining and the breeze was blowing as it was today that the hay would dry out in record time.  Of course!  How did I not connect the saying, "Make hay while the sun shines"?  I always thought it was a naughty aphorism.  It's a good thing we moved here.   I needed Amish neighbors to get my mind out of the gutter.   In addition to improving the aim of my moral compass, my Amish neighbors have taught me how to make some simple, frugal meals such as the following Haystack Suppers recipe.  The beauty of Haystack suppers is that it can take advantage of odds and ends you have in the fridge and can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be.    Since it was so gorgeous I really didn't want to spend a whole lot of time in the kitchen and took a … {Read on...}

Blueberry Jam

adding-pectin-to-blueberries

In yesterday's post I offered the world's easiest blueberry preservation technique- freezing.  I also promised to provide an overview on how to make blueberry jam.  I'm a gal of my word, so as promised, I put together a primer on making and canning blueberry jam.  First, a couple words of caution:   This recipe is specifically for blueberries.  While the principles of canning remain the same if you're using other fruits, you cannot switch out blueberries for something else in the preparation of the recipe.  If you have other fruit, use a recipe tailored for that fruit so you can maintain the proper levels of acidity and sugar to preserve your jam best.  Have your mise en place ready to go.  (Repetitively redundant, I know...)  Think of making this like you would  a stir-fry.  If you try to measure things out and run around to find implements you'll run the risk of ruining it.  This is not a walk-away-and-do-other-things project. Once you make your own jam you will be very, very bitter if you have to purchase jam at the store.  The flavor and cost of homemade jam will convert you powerfully fast! Onto business...   Blueberry Jam Primer and Recipe   Ingredients for approximately 6 cups of jam: 4 cups sugar, measured into a mixing bowl 6 cups whole, clean, very fresh blueberries 1 package powdered pectin (not liquid!)   Sugar, blueberries and pectin for jam.     Hardware Needed for Canning 6 Cups of Jam: 3 sterilized pint jars (for … {Read on...}

Blueberry Crisp and How to Freeze Blueberries

blue-gold

"One berry, two berry, pick me a blueberry. Hat berry, shoe berry in my canoeberry. Under the bridge and over the dam. Looking for berries.  Berries for jam!" from 'Jamberry' by Bruce Degen     It's blueberry season!  Find a local U-Pick place, grab your large kitchen bowls and get yourself some blue gold.      Blueberries are serious power food.  Not only are they delicious, but they are very low on the glycemic index, which makes it wonderful for folks battling blood sugar problems or struggling with their weight.  They're jam (ha!) packed with incredibly high levels of antioxidants, flavanoids, fiber, Vitamin C and folic acid.   In lab tests, blueberries have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, ill effects of aging (um, what are good effects of aging?), vision loss, and urinary tract infections.  They've also been proven to make you more attractive.  (Not really, just making sure you're paying attention!)   Adding to blueberries' charms is the fact that they're super simple to prepare.  You don't have to peel, pit, chop or core them.    And since this is my birthday week -because I stretch my birthday festivities out to cover an entire week*- I decided to haul the kids out to the blueberry patch for the day.  While the kids covered themselves in SPF 4000, I pulled a gallon of water, sliced a loaf of bread for power-munching with berries, grabbed a bag of chips and a container of dip and slid the lot into our cooler.  I … {Read on...}

Last non-food post. You know what I’m sayin’?

We're home safe and sound from our weekend get-away. I have to say two more unrelated food things and then I'll get back to the business at hand. It was unbelievably wonderful to spend some time alone with my husband. It was unbelievably wonderful to come home to my kids and their hugs.   Okay, one last non-food related item.  Weird Al was hilarious and I highly recommend catching one of his shows.  They combine his musicality (astonishingly good) with his humour (astonishingly juvenile.)  That's the perfect recipe for a hilarious night!  They aired this "interview" at the show on Saturday.   It was a very, very, good time!     … {Read on...}