Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
If you've never taken the time to learn how to make jelly, you really should try it, just once, even if it's just to say you've done it. Your kids will love you for it!
CONCORD GRAPE JELLY
3 lb Concord grapes (3 lbs equals about 3 1/2 cups of grapes)
7 cups white sugar
1 pouch Certo liquid pectin
*SPECIAL NOTE* Do not try to make more than one batch at a time in your pan. Your jelly won't turn out right. Yes, I speak from experience.
Prepare your jelly jars by washing and rinsing them in hot water. Sterilize your lids and bands in boiling hot water as well.
First, gather your grapes. If you have a bounty, be sure to share. Invite some friends or family to come and pick with you. I gathered what I thought I needed, and then Wednesday night after prayer meeting, I turned people loose on the vines. The teens were picking bags full for any adult that wanted grapes. It was nice to find a home for some of them, rather than seeing them go to waste.Next, sort, discard stems, and wash your grapes. Place 3 lbs (about 3 1/2 cups) of your washed grapes in a large dutch oven. Pour in 1/2 cup hot water and bring to a boil.As soon as your grapes start boiling, they will start creating lots of juice and the skins will slip off of them easily. At this point, crush them with a potato masher or ricer.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Place a food mill over a glass bowl and carefully pour in 1/2 of your grape juice mixture. Process through the food mill until only pulp remains in the mill and the juice is in the bottom bowl. Pour remaining 1/2 of grape juice mixture into food mill and process again. Discard pulp from mill. Measure out 4 cups of the prepared juice from the bowl. Place juice into a clean dutch oven along with 7 cups of sugar. Stir to combine and bring to a full rolling boil. Stir in 1 pouch of Certo liquid pectin. Return to a boil and boil for 1 minute exactly, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat. Skim off foam with a metal spoon. Ladle hot jelly quickly into prepared, hot jars. Wipe jar rim and threads clean and cover with 2 piece lid and ring. Screw band on tightly. Place jars in canner (I just used one of my dutch ovens. The jars fit perfectly in it). Cover with hot water. Bring to a boil and process for 5 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. If the lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary. Retighten bands and store in a cool dry place.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Vegetable (or canola) oil - enough to cover the bottom of a sauce pan
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups rice
Heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic in hot oil, season with salt, cook until the garlic starts to turn slightly brown. Add rice and stir well. Cover rice with very HOT water, about 1/2 inch above the rice (I used chicken broth and it gave it a ton more flavor). Bring to a hard boil. Cover and turn off heat. DO NOT take cover off from rice. Rice should steam for about 20 - 30 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve with your favorite entree.
Trust me, I've already critiqued my finished cake a dozen and one times, about what I should and shouldn't have done. I should have only done the yellow dots on every other pink shell on the bottom border.... I should have only done 1 color (orange) of polka dots on the side... My writing is not straight... and I should have iced the cake on a flat board before I put it on the tray with an edge! etc.. etc.. I still had a lot of fun. I'll get there eventually.
She wanted to see how we did at using what we've learned. Mixing and matching colors, borders, making flowers, writing, etc... I REALLY enjoyed this class.
And the best part is, it was taught by my sweet daughter, Sarah. She makes EVERYTHING more fun! She is a good teacher. She LOVES to decorate cakes and is so stinking good at it. I can only hope to be half as good as her, one day.
This is where I was a couple weeks ago. Learning to write w/ icing is no small task!
The borders were pretty easy to learn. These are a few that I was working on that night, and need to perfect.
But the roses!!! OI VEY!!! If your icing is too warm, they do NOT turn out very nice. They end up looking more like a cabbage! LOL It was painstaking!
But these were my roses tonight. They turned out a little better. It really helps when the icing is good and stiff.
This was our class. Amanda, Amy, Me, and my daughter-in-law Monica. I'll show you close up pics of their cakes too. They all turned out so cute.
First there is Amanda. The class was actually her idea. She came to Sarah and inquired about it. Amanda got all mushy gushy with her cake and decorated it for her hubby. LOL
The class was so much fun, that Sarah plans to repeat it next Summer when she is home on break again.
Then there was Amy. Amy also wrote her hubby's name on it. I tried to get her to write "Hubba Hubba Mike!" But she said with the pastel colors and flowers, he probably wouldn't feel it! LOL I tried! LOL She did a cute job w/ her flowers - hyacinths, daisies and tulips.
(Please ignore the mess in the background. Our poor church kitchen has been used and abused this Summer. It is slated for a deep cleaning this week before our Christian school begins on Sept. 2)
And last, but definitely not least, is my daughter-in-law Monica. Her cake turned out so cotton pickin' cute! My grandson's 3rd BD is coming up in a couple weeks and she wanted Sarah to make him a baseball cake. He recently went to his first baseball game and fell in love with it! Sarah said, "You just took a cake decorating class, YOU make it!" LOL So tonight was a practice run for it. He will be sooooo excited over it! I think she plans to do a baseball themed BD party for him. I don't know if you can see it or not, but the border for her cake, is grass. It's made with a "grass tip." So cool!
Here are a few pics of some of the cakes Sarah has done. This was her very first wedding cake. She and Hannah worked on it together. It turned out so pretty, but it was their first experience at the "leaning" cake. It was nerve racking, until the couple finally cut it and we could serve it! She since has learned how to correct that problem.
This is the cake she made for our 25th wedding anniversary celebration. So pretty!
I am so partial to her baby shower cakes. They are the cutest!
This was the BD cake she made for her Dad this past year. The sand trap was cinnamon/sugar. The only thing is, she made it at work, so the dark "green" is air brushed.
It's still an awesome cake though.
She's made 2 cakes with sugared fruit and I loved both of them. The first one was for a ladies meeting (wedding theme) that we did, and the 2nd one was for a wedding reception we did for a couple that got married out of state.
Some cakes she's done just for fun. The purse cakes were for a ladies meeting (Purse theme).
Monday, August 25, 2008
OK folks - don't be appalled here. Just when you thought bacon couldn't be any unhealthier... Every once in a while my Honey loves a good challenge. He and a bunch of his buddies have been tossing around the idea of Chicken fried bacon *GASP!* I know, it's a heart attack waiting to happen, and he gave me permission to remind him of that if he has one! *shaking head here* I told him if he ever has open heart surgery, they'll be looking around in his arteries, a doctor will hold up his forceps and say, "I think I found the problem" and it will be an entire slice of bacon! LOL
Anyway, He came in the door today from the store and seemed all excited. He kept saying "Today's the day!" I asked him what he was doing. He said, I'm making bacon, just let me have my fun! LOLOL When he was finished, he asked if I would post his bacon experiment / adventure on here for all the world to see (mainly GUYS). What is it with guys and BACON? It's like a cult with them. He says he could wrap bacon around a boot and it would taste good. I actually tasted this - I know, I know, ladies don't think ill of me. It's just that he seemed so happy, like he had conquered Mt. Everest or something, and I wanted to share in his joy. After I took a bite, chewed it AND swallowed it, I immediately repented in sack cloth and ashes! LOL
Anyway... on to the steps for chicken FRIED bacon! *YIKES!"
CHICKEN FRIED BACON
1 lb bacon
Drakes coating mix
Canola oil (because we need to keep it "healthy!")
2 simple ingredients.
First you take 2 (TWO) bacon strips at a time and coat them with the dry mix...
Then you mix a little water with the Drakes and make a batter. Coat the bacon a 2nd time in the batter. Hang in there with me, it gets "better."
Fry in a hot skillet of canola oil (gotta keep it "heart healthy" you know!)
Drain WELL on paper towels (pat dry with rag rugs, scour with SOS pads, ANYTHING to get the extra fat off of them!) I don't even want to venture a guess on the amount of fat in these! It has to be at least 3 days worth though! If he's going to do this kind of stuff, I'm never buying bacon for him again! *hehe*
Bears cup, lit candles, MORE bacon, FRIED eggs. He's going to have to be an EXTREMELY good boy for several days now, after me letting him do this! ROFLOL I love this man! He's so stinking funny!
I think he's feeling guilty now. He's sitting in the chair on our sunporch reading my most recent edition of Cooking LIGHT! ROFLOL He's leafing through the magazine and what do his eyes land on? Creamed corn with BACON of all things! Oi Vey! Will it ever end?
Friday, August 22, 2008
You won't offend me in the slightest with your reviews. I always find it very helpful when I visit a recipe site and find reviews from others who have actually made it. That's why I put a small review, myself at the beginning of each recipe. That is my personal take on it. If you've ever read the recipe on here for Italian chicken and artichokes, you'll see that we actually didn't care for the artichokes. I will make the dish again, because in and of itself, it was delicious. But I will use a different form of artichoke.
Monday, August 18, 2008
FRANGO MOHLO - Chicken in sauce
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 stick butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 small cans salsa Cesara (in the ethnic section of your grocery store)
1 small can tomato paste
In medium saucepan, melt butter. Add chopped onion and garlic and cook until opaque. Add chunks of chicken and cook until done. Add salsa and tomato paste to the chicken, stir to combine. Cook until heated throuh. Simmer on low until ready to serve.
Serve over white rice.
4 cube steaks
salt and ground black pepper to taste
Season the steaks with the salt, pepper, garlic and thyme. In a separate bowl, to the flour, add 1 Tblsp of thyme leaves. Roll the steaks, coating both sides well, in the seasoned flour.
Fry in hot oil over med - high, for about 10 to 15 minutes or until done. Remove steaks from skillet, drain on paper towel and serve with Feijao.
This is Feijao (Fay-jown). My sister-in-law, Althea (Hubby's younger sister) and her family are missionaries to Brazil. They have been there for 12 years now. When they were home on their last furlough, they stayed with us. We have lots of extra room and enjoyed the fellowship with them during their time home in the states. Althea loves to cook too, and would often cook up a big ol' batch of Feijao for us all. We loved it so much that I learned how to make it. So every time we get the hankering for some Brazilian food and get to missing Althea, we cook this up and think of her!
In America, we eat meat and potatoes. In Brazil they eat Feijao. It's a staple on their dinner table. The slaves in the colonial Brazil created the "Feijao" (Fay-jown). They started cooking the pork meats that Farmland owners discarded such as ear, tails, feet in a big pot with black beans. This dish became traditional all over the country. Since then, the dish was incremented with pork sirloin and sausages that transformed the menu in a famous entrée that everybody who visits Brazil have to taste. This is an easy-to-do version of Feijao made only with bacon and sausages. This recipe is for busy people that don't want to handle the salted pork ears, tails and feet found in the complete Feijoada.
1 lb of varied pork sausages (prefer smoked sausages)
1 lb bacon, chopped in bite size pieces (I used scissors to cut it up)
2 cans of black beans (15.5Oz)
1 can refried black beans (15 oz)
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
2 or 3 bay leaves (bay leaves give a special taste to feijao)
In a dutch oven, fry chopped bacon with salt, onion and garlic.
Add all the sausages and stir over medium-heat until heated through.
Feijao is made with black beans and pork meats. You can use a can of beans already cooked or google how to cook dried beans. Add black beans & refried black beans to the meat in the dutch oven, and add in the bay leaves.
Cook for about 15 minutes on med heat until hot and bubbly, stirring often to keep from sticking.
Simmer on low until ready to serve. If it gets to thick, just thin it a bit with hot water.
Hint: If you do not have a can of refried black beans, to make the feijao creamy, you can liquefy 1/2 cup of black beans in the blender and add to the feijao.
SERVING SIZE: 6 portions.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
1 good size hunk of pork spareribs
dry pork rub (you can make your own or just use Lysanders)
A good BBQ sauce - we tried Ditkas this time and it was DEElicious!
We've mixed our own before, but man alive, there are sooooo many good ones out in the market to choose from. WE like to try new ones all the time.
First you remove the white, tough, fatty portion with a sharp knife. Just cut it right off. Then you rub the ribs down real good with your pork rub. Don't be afraid to rub them down good. Then put them on a baking pan with a small amount of water (just enough to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pan and to create a little moisture). Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake at 375 for about 1 1/2 hours. Or until you see the meat starting to pull away from the bone a bit. Remove from the oven and place on a preheated BBQ grill - gas or charcoal, it's your choice. Cook until they are nice and charred, slathering with sauce every 5 minutes or so. Once they are nicely charred, remove them from the grill and place them into a packet of foil and seal it up nice and tight. Let them sit for about 10 or 15 minutes, for the juices to redistribute. Then when you open the foil...WOWZERS!! Serve with your favorite veggies and ENJOY!