Monday, January 21, 2013

Homemade Canned Salsa

We live in a very rural area of the county on a one lane gravel road quite a ways from the highway. During the winter, we like to stock up on food items in case we get snowed in. We are always the last road to get plowed after a snow. I'm off from work today and thought it would be a good time to can some salsa. It's the middle of winter and if you buy fresh tomatoes at the store this time of the year, it's going to cost a fortune, not to mention not being very flavorful. So, when I don't have fresh tomatoes from the garden, I used canned tomatoes, which I did today.

 The cooking time will vary depending on how thick you like your salsa, as will how big or small you chop the vegetables. We like thick salsa, so the veggies were chopped just a little bigger than normal and I cooked it for about an hour. The recipe also calls for 12 cups of tomatoes. I use 4-28 oz. cans of diced tomatoes which is actually 14 cups. The measurements  for the vegetables can vary, depending on how much you want make. With the four cans of tomatoes, I came out with seven pints of salsa.

For this recipe, I don't use in a canner. Most will tell you that is dangerous to can that way. I heat the lids and jars and put the lids on tightly and wait to hear the dink indicating that they have sealed. My disclaimer here is that it is totally up to you whether you use a canner or not. My jars have always sealed just fine without it, but you be judge for your own.

Lastly, you never know how hot the hot peppers are going to be, so I actually take a bite of a small piece of the pepper after chopping. I bought four peppers, but only used two of them. If you like really hot salsa, you may want to add more, or less for a milder. It is entirely up to you.

Homemade Canned Salsa

12 cups tomatoes, peeled and chopped
6 green bell peppers, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
3 T. minced garlic
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup white vinegar
3 T. canning salt
3-4 hot peppers

Put all ingredients into a large pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring often. When it reaches desired thickness, put into canning jars and seal. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"A Kitchen Affair"

This is my new novel, A Kitchen Affair and it will be released on or around January 8, 2013 on my publisher's web site, on Amazon a few weeks after that and, the paperback will follow a few months later.

    Jenny Marshall is struggling to pay her tuition at culinary school, so she decides to become a Personal Chef to make ends meet. Derek James, owner of the James Corporation, has a crisis. His cook quit two days before his Thanksgiving dinner party. He desperate and hires Jenny to prepare the meal.
   The prospects of a relationship between Derek and Jenny begin to look good until Colleen Michaels, a manager at his company, sets her sights on Derek. She convinces Jenny that she's all wrong for Derek, coming from the wrong side of the tracks, so to speak.
   Everyone thinks Colleen is the perfect match for Derek; everyone that is, except Derek. He's fallen for Jenny and desperately wants her in his life. However, Colleen has other plans to keep that from happening. What lengths will she go to in order to keep Derek and Jenny apart?

Check back later for updates.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Best Biscuits Ever

I wish I could take credit for this recipe, but I can't. I have tried for years to bake eatable biscuits, but had never found a recipe that came out the way it was supposed to. That is, until now. I stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest and couldn't be happier that I found it. I made them last night and they have to be the best tasting homemade biscuits I've ever eaten. To be fair, I have to give credit to the blog that the recipe is on, Plain Chicken.
On that blog, they are called 7 -Up Biscuits because you use 7-Up in the recipe. I'm not a fan of 7-Up, so I substituted Sprite and it came out great. Some of the comments on that blog also say not to use diet 7-Up, as it doesn't taste as good. I also found my dough just a little sticky, but more comments on that site said to add more Bisquick to remedy that. I also used a 4-inch drinking glass as my biscuit cutter, but I think next time I will use a smaller size. I was only able to get 8 biscuits to fit since my dish was 8 inches, not 9.


7-Up Biscuits

2 cups Bisquick Baking Mix
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup 7-Up (or Sprite)
1/4 cup melted butter

Cut the sour cream into the biscuit mix, add the 7-Up and mix very well. This makes a soft dough. Sprinkle additional biscuit mix on the board  or table and pat dough out. Melt the butter in a 9-inch square pan. Place the biscuits in the pan and bake at 450°f until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Twinkies recipe

By now, I'm sure you've heard that the Hostess company is doing away with their popular item, Twinkies. All Facebook jokes aside, I can't imagine that Twinkies are going to be gone forever. But, just in case, I went searching for a Twinkies recipe online. I found a lot of recipes out there; some easy and some difficult.

Depending on how much trouble you want to go through to make your very own homemade Twinkies, you'll have to look through a variety of recipes. The best recipe that I found was from the tried and true, Top Secrets recipe site. I'm sure their Twinkies recipe is getting tons of hits today. This recipe even tells you how to make molds for your homemade Twinkies so they will not only taste like the real thing, but also look like them too. In addition, the recipe also explains an easy way to fill the cakes with the filling. Remember the three holes you see on the bottom of Twinkies. Yours will have them also.

You don't want to go to that much trouble? Not a problem. Go to Google and search 'Twinkies recipe' and chose the one that sounds more to your liking.

Twinkies will live on forever.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Oven Temperature

For the longest time, my husband and I have known that our over temperature did not match what the dial said. We tried to adjust the temperature to a lower number and even shortened the baking time, but things still came out over-done or even burnt. We bake our pizza on the oven rack and when he checked the last pizza we baked, it was just starting to burn on the edges, but wasn't even hot in the middle.

Last night was the final straw. I baked a persimmon pudding and the recipe called for one hour at 350° f. I set my timer for 50 minutes and the oven dial at 325°. After 50 minutes, I checked it and found it done in the middle so I removed it to cool. But, before turning the oven off, I checked the bottom of the pudding and found the edges burnt black. My husband said he had found an in-oven thermometer the other day and went to get it. Leaving the oven at 350°, we put the thermometer inside for about 15 minutes. What we found was that our over temperature was 75 degrees higher that what the dial was set at. No wonder everything was burning. While I'd love to have a new stove, knowing the temperature difference will save us the money of purchasing one. Now, I will just adjust the temperature. I made biscuits this morning and they came out perfect. No burnt bottoms.

If your oven is doing the same thing, I highly recommend purchasing a thermometer for your oven. I did a search this morning and found several web sites where you can buy one. Or, if you prefer to shop local as I do, visit your local hardware store and see what they have to offer. Holiday baking is going to be so much better this year.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Freezing Corn

I spent most of today putting corn up in the freezer. I was able to get twelve bags of it frozen for later dates. That should take well into the winter. I started off the morning sitting on the porch and shucking fifty ears of corn. It really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. My dog and cat stuck around and kept me company, but at a safe distance away from the corn.

When I freeze corn, I always blanch it first, usually eight ears at a time. I let it boil for about six minutes and then put the ears in a sink full of ice water to cool. Once they have cooled, I let them drain for a few minutes on some paper towels and then put four ears in a plastic zipper bag and into the freezer it goes.

A co-worker recently told me they had an abundance of apples with nothing more to do with them. She had already canned, bakes, frozen, and even fed some to their cows. My husband told me to get as many of them as she wanted to get rid of because he wanted to make apple butter. Now mind you, he's never made apple butter before in his life, but he's going to try it tonight. Actually, he said it's a two-step process starting tonight and ending tomorrow. I can't wait to see how it goes. Hopefully, it will come out good because I do love apple butter.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Making Celery Crisp Again

 This a quick tip for today about celery. I have always heard that you can make limp celery crisp again by putting it in cold water, but had never tried it. Lately, I've been trying to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables when I need a snack at work. Mostly, I take grapes, carrots, cauliflower, and celery to eat at my desk. Last week, I went to my refrigerator to bag up my snack and found that the only thing I had left was some limp celery.

Perfect time to give that cold water a try. I pulled off a couple of stalks and cut and washed them. I then put the stalks into a container of cold water, sealed it with the lid, and left for work. At my office, I put the container in the refrigerator. I normally snack around ten a.m., so when that time rolled around and I went to get my snack, I found perfect celery. In fact, it was probably the crispiest celery I have ever had.

It worked and I was amazed. So, the next time you have some limp celery, try putting it in cold water for a few hours and see what happens.