… and many other worthy things.
Scroll down for the recipe
I think the last costumes I made for my two grandchildren who live in California was a cross between a princess and a witch for the girl and Dracula for the boy. Kristen’s was goth and beautiful and Josh’s was suave and debonair. She was charming of course, but I was sorry to see him with fake blood and horrid eye makeup. But that was quite a few years ago. After that they had other plans such as growing up. Costume making has been a little more rewarding for Olivia, she doesn’t favor the macabre, and in fact she has been emphatic about never wanting to be anything scary or gross for Halloween. I go all out with the costumes and they end up costing me far more than anything the stores sell. Well that’s just fine with me, I could never relate to dressing up to a bloody, half dead trauma patient for fun. But that’s just me so I continue to make beautiful costumes for the girl as long as she wants them.
Pumpkins! The giant all American monstrosities, tasteless and full of water are only good for jack-o'-lanterns and when finished composting. Trust me; it’s not worth the trouble to cook them. There is an actual pie pumpkin, much smaller and of course more flavourful than the jack-o'-lantern. But still not as good as the European pumpkin, the type street vendors used to sell from their drum stoves along with roasted chestnuts in times long gone. I hold onto the romantic notion that the vendors still come out on chilly days in old Budapest...
After I get the girl from school today we will get a couple of pizzas and head up the hill for a quick bite and to record her getting ready to go out trick or treating with a girlfriend and the little cousin. When they leave the house I am coming home to hand out mini chocolate bars to the neighbouring kids. Once again the front yard is covered with maple leaves, its fun wading through the crunchy leaves. When the tricksters are gone I am hoping for a wind to carry the leaves next door haha, that way there will be less to rake into bags. Going by events of previous years, the next door’s tree will add to our pile. I can’t rake at the moment, the man won’t let me so I suppose once again it will be all up to him to tidy up the front yard. Have a great Halloween!
CHEF JOHN’S PUMPKIN PIE
I used to be on the opinion that people should eat their annual slice of pumpkin pie and be done with it until next Thanksgiving or whatever they happen to be celebrating. Then I tried Chef John’s recipe. It went like wildfire.
2 cups of pumpkin puree
3 egg yolks
1 large egg
1 [300 ml] can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp fine salt
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
whipped cream for serving
• Preheat oven to 425 F.
• Whisk together pumpkin puree, egg yolks, and egg in a large bowl until smooth.
• Add sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg.
• Whisk until thoroughly combined.
• Fit pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate and crimp edges.
• Pour filling into the pie shell and lightly tap on the work surface to release any air bubbles.
• Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
• Reduce heat to 350 F and bake until just set in the middle, 30 to 40 minutes.
• A paring knife inserted into the filling, 1 inch from the crust, should come out clean.
Watch Chef John’s video
I was instantly attracted to Elisabeth’s toasted tomato sandwiches and even though I lacked some of the ingredients – it has been so long I treated myself to cheese, that I made them anyway. Starting with some inert tomatoes left from summer – the magnificence of fresh fruit off the wine is now a memory – and I didn’t have fresh rosemary or provolone cheese. So I added dry rosemary to fresh parsley and used mozzarella. Now here I am waiting for my sandwich; it will be ready when the first whiff of deliciousness reaches the office.
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 large sprig of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
4 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt ground black pepper to taste
4 large thick slices sourdough bread
4 slices of white cheese
1/3 cup shaved parmesan cheese
• Preheat oven to 350F.
• Place the minced garlic and chopped rosemary in a small bowl.
• Add the olive oil, salt and the black pepper.
• Mix to combine.
• Spread the mixture on 4 slices of bread.
• Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
• Put a wire rack inside the pan and place the 4 bread slices on the top. Place in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
• Remove baking sheet from the oven.
• Sprinkle the parmesan on the bread slices and top with the white cheese. [I did the reverse, which made assembly a little awkward.
• Bake until the cheese gets a nice golden hue. It was wonderful!
This is a fast version of the Hungarian favourite, the flavours are the same, but these are ready in record time.
The original Stuffed Pepper
Deconstructing this dish is smart when Hungarian peppers are unavailable and all you have are large green bells. Stuffing them would result in enormous servings and would require way too much sauce. Besides limp green peppers are not that appealing and would inevitably be pushed aside on the plate. To save more time, I omitted the half cooked rice in the meatballs and replaced them with 3 Tbsp of fine breadcrumbs. There was no need to make a roux for the tomato sauce either, because the pureed green peppers sufficiently thicken the sauce, making this a lighter dish than usual. I took it a step further, and instead of serving the potatoes on the side, I put them right into the sauce before serving. [I did not cook the potatoes in the sauce.] What made it extra fast; I used a bag of tomatoes and a half a bag of chopped peppers from my freezer. But the write up was adjusted for readily available ingredients.
4 large green peppers
250 g fresh, extra lean ground pork
1 small onion, diced
2 + 2 Tbsp oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp fine breadcrumbs
salt and ground pepper to taste
8 medium sized tomatoes or 1 large can of whole tomatoes
1/2 bunch of fresh parsley
4 medium sized cooked potatoes pealed and chopped
sugar to taste
• Core and chop the peppers, discarding seeds and stems.
• Chop the tomatoes. • In a large pot sauté the onions in 2 Tbsp oil until soft.
• Add the peppers and the tomatoes to the pot.
• Begin to cook on medium heat, stirring often.
• Meanwhile place the ground pork in a large bowl.
• Add the soft onions, the garlic, the fine breadcrumbs and the egg.
• Sprinkle salt and ground pepper on the top.
• Combine the meat mixture thoroughly.
• Form into small meatballs.
• Remove the pot from the stove and one by one place the meatballs on top of the vegetables.
• Return pot to heat and add enough water to cover the meatballs.
• Bring to the simmer, reduce heat a little and cover the pot.
• Cook until the meatballs are no longer pink inside.
• Meanwhile cook 4 medium sized potatoes in a separate pot. Drain the potatoes and set them aside for use later.
• Remove the pepper pot from heat and with a slotted spoon gently remove all the meatballs onto a tray.
• Puree what remains in the pot and gently put back the meatballs.
• Add the parsley sprigs and bring pot back to slow simmer.
• Simmer until the meatballs are tender.
• Taste and adjust the salt and add some sugar to taste. The sauce should have a mildly sweet taste, it should not be sour; at the same time this isn’t a sweet dish. So add the sugar with restraint and keep tasting until best flavour is achieved.
• Add the reserved cooked potatoes and cover the pot.
• Remove pot from heat and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
• You may remove the parsley sprigs before serving, I kind of like them on my plate.
Of what I learned about ethnic cooking is that a recipe may or may not be authentic even within the perimeters of regional variations. It is certainly true of Hungarian cuisine; it must be so with others. Without knowing I could not give these buns an anglicized Russian title. These may be in the style of or even the real thing, but I wouldn’t know the difference. They are delicious nevertheless. I made them yesterday and maybe seven is left…the man can’t seem to keep away from them. I found it on mom’s dish.com. I assumed however that the filling would produce a huge leftover, so I cut it down and in the end I had the perfect amount to fill all the buns. Similarly, I had no farmers cheese, only cottage cheese and so I added some flour to stabilize the filling. It’s a good thing, because cottage cheese is a staple in North America and is far less expensive than the often hard to find farmers cheese.
1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp mayonnaise [not light]
1-1/2 Tbsp instant yeast
4-1/2 to 5 cups flour
2 cups lukewarm milk
3 Tbsp oil melted butter for greasing and buttering
1 egg for egg wash
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup 33% cream cheese
1/8 cup sugar
1 pkg. vanilla sugar
5 Tbsp flour
handful of raisins, optional
• Whisk together eggs, sugar, salt and mayonnaise.
• In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and yeast.
• Alternatively add the flour mixture and the lukewarm milk to the egg mixture half a cup at the time.
• With a dough hook, beat the dough for 7-8 minutes until the dough clears the side of the bowl. Dough should be very elastic
• Or beat vigorously with a large wooden spoon for ten minutes to develop the gluten.
• Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board and form into a ball.
• Place the dough in a well buttered bowl, turn over and let it rise for 1 hour.
• Meanwhile prepare the filling. • Combine ingredients, reserving the raisins.
• Line the baking sheets with parchment paper. [I used 3]
• After the dough rises, punch down and form into 30 balls.
• Arrange balls on the parchment lined baking sheets and press down, forming disks.
• Lightly butter the disks.
• Let the disks rise for 30 minutes and then press a cup into the dough creating a crater. • Fill the craters with the prepared filling and press a few raisins into the filling.
• Bake for 30 minutes or until light golden brown. Do not brown.
• Remove from the oven and immediately brush the sides with egg wash. This will make the sides of the buns soft while the bottoms remain crispy.
I once said that people can be convinced to buy anything, even water. It was an exaggeration at the time, unfortunately it no longer is. But the benefit involved using commercial Sake and Bake still escapes me. Homemade shake and bake chicken is tasty, crispy and succulent and the coating always stays on. How is your Shake and Bake?
3 Tbsp olive oil
6 chicken thighs with the skin on
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp Hungarian paprika
1 pinch savoury
1 pinch marjoram
1 pinch thyme
2 tsp dried onion flakes
salt and pepper to taste
• Wash the thighs and lightly dab each piece between paper towels.
• Oil the casserole dish and turn the oven to 375F.
• Add the flour and the seasonings to a Ziploc bag, seal and shake to combine.
• Put a chicken piece into the bag, seal and shake.
• Place the coated chicken piece with skin side up in the prepared casserole dish.
• Repeat until all the pieces are coated.
• Place in the oven for 1-1/2 hours or until golden brown and crisp.
• Remove dish from the oven.
• With a pair of kitchen thongs turn each piece over and then back with skin side on top and serve.
• Store unused shake and bake mix in the freezer.
From the age of five until I got married my family lived in a second storey small apartment in the busiest section of Budapest: the VIIth District near the Keleti Railway Terminal. My father worked, ate and slept in that apartment. He had a tiny dental lab partitioned off our kitchen and worked day and night seldom going out. Those few occasions that he would leave to visit a friend or run a work related errand, he never came home empty handed. We looked forward to the little brown bag he would bring us from the cukorbolt [candy store]. Sometimes there were shelled hazelnuts, or chestnuts and once in a while he brought home some peanuts. I liked the peanuts, but I never took to peanut butter. Then last year I discovered Adams 100% Natural Peanut Butter. It has no added sugar, no stabilizer, no preservatives, no added shortening, less than 1% salt and best of all; it actually tastes like roasted peanuts, because essentially that is what Adams Peanut Butter is; mashed up roasted peanuts. I will never be a peanut butter fan, but I can take a little Adam’s now and then. The taste reminds me of Apa and those little brown bags.
My parents in the "new" lab a decade later
If you think this one was small you should have seen the old one
1/2 cup 100% natural peanut butter, smooth
1/2 cup organic tahini
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup light corn syrup
4 cups lightly crushed corn flakes
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped almonds
1/2 cup finely shredded coconut
1 cup pure chocolate chips
• Line a 13X9 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
• Place the corn flakes, 1 cup of chopped almonds and the coconut in a large bowl.
• Next combine the peanut butter, tahini, brown sugar, corn syrup and butter in a saucepan.
• On medium heat bring the mixture to a slow simmer and simmer for 1 minute. Be careful not to burn it.
• Remove from the heat and stir into the corn flake mixture.
• When well combined, spread the mixture into the prepared pan, smoothing the top and pressing down. [I used a potato masher]
• Partially melt the chocolate chips in a microwave, and stir it smooth.
• Spread the top of the bar with the melted chocolate.
• While still hot, sprinkle the remaining almonds on the top.
• Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firmly set.
• Use a sharp knife to cut into bars.
I can spot them right away. I am talking about those heavy, inert little health muffins. A good muffin needs fat, sugar and eggs. I never look twice at the one egg wonders. They are not good. A muffin should have at least 2 eggs in a batch. That’s how they get so fluffy. The “chip away recipes”, you know the ones “I reduced this and that”, “low fat this and that”. The most hilarious is the 0% of something. Logic tells me if something is 0%, it is no longer the THING, because it is something else. So call it whatever it really is. But I suspect those 0% things have been manipulated to the point nobody knows or even wants to know what they really made of. Have a slice of toast if you are worried about your intake, but when it comes to muffins understand that there is no such thing as a low cal “health muffin”, only yucky muffin. Feast your eyes on these beauties I am having one for breakfast... with butter.
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter or light olive oil
1/2 cup milk
3 mashed overripe bananas
• Preheat the oven to 375F.
• Spray with non-stick cooking spray or generously butter the muffin pan.
• Sift together the flour, baking powder baking soda and the salt.
• In a separate bowl beat together the sugar, oil, egg and the mashed bananas.
• Stir in the dry ingredients just until moist. Do not overbeat, the batter will be lumpy.
• Divide the batter in the prepared muffin tins.
• Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
• Cool 5 minutes and remove from the pan.
And then they were glazed for the chocoholics of the family.
I only had a small amount of pie pastry left, not enough for my smallest of pie plates, but in retrospect this was a good thing because it allowed me to think out of the box [plate]. There is room for lots of personalization in shapes and sizes, for additional items, such as dried fruits and nuts. It can be made into a s’more tart with a meringue or with mini marshmallows. But since my target audience was a ten year old, my hands were definitely tied on dried fruit. All right this is not a Michel Roux’s Raspberry Chocolate Tart, but then I was busy sewing a Halloween costume and time was of essence, because the school dance happens to be this week. Well the tart made the list, sometimes the simplest of things end up being the best.
I think Liv will make a lovely Bollywood dancer don’t you?
the two layered skirt
the shawl and the bag
I only used 1 cup of chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of whipping cream. For a regular sized pie you need more. I estimate a pie sized chocolate tart like this:
1 blind baked pie shell*
1-1/2 cups pure semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup whipping cream
• Melt the chocolate chips with the cream in a double boiler over medium heat.
• Pour into tart shell.
• Place in the fridge for 2 hours until the chocolate is set.
This took so little effort, a child could make it if it wasn’t for the 2 hours wait.
*Buy an unbaked pie shell or make your own pie pastry. The pie pastry recipe is here. This recipe will give you minimum 4 pie shells. Or if you had a small piece of leftover pie pastry, shape a small tart with elevated sides just like I did.
Looks like a bar cookie but this really is a cake bar. I made it with plums, but I think other fruits could be just as delicious. There is something wonderfully satisfying about cake, fruit and icing together. I had some homemade marzipan [Click on the link for the recipe] and some overripe plums that were begging to be used. I rushed out to buy hazelnuts and almonds. It was a fitting way to finish the plums. I am grateful to Handbags and Cupcakes for sharing this wonderful recipe.
1 cup butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2+1/3 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1-1/4 cups almond meal
1/2 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
3/4 cup marzipan, chopped into 1/2 inch squares
7 ripe plums, stoned and cut into quarters
1/4 cup flaked almonds
1/3 cup icing sugar
1 Tbsp water
• Preheat the oven to 175F.
• Lightly grease a 9X 13 baking pan and line it fully with parchment paper.
• Cream the butter and sugar until pale, light and fluffy.
• Gradually add the eggs, whisking between each addition (add a little flour if the mix starts to curdle).
• Sift over the flour and the baking powder.
• Add the ground almonds and mix to combine.
• Fold in the hazelnuts.
• Gently fold in the marzipan.
• Pour into the prepared pan and place the plum quarters on top, pushing them down a little into the mixture.
• Scatter with the flaked almonds.
• Bake for about 50 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
• Cool for 30 minutes.
• Grasp the parchment paper and remove cake bar to a wire rack to cool completely.
• For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add about a tablespoon of water and stir to a single-cream consistency.
• Use a teaspoon to drizzle the icing over the cake and wait for it to set for a few hours. • Cut into squares and enjoy.
I wanted to try the boozy plum cake with apples. Initially I thought I will just add a photo to the other post. However, this cake turned out differently and yet it is so good! I used more fruit and rum this time. I suppose apples react with liquor differently, because this cake did not taste boozy. But as far as apple cakes go it is definitely the best I ever tasted. Teatime was wonderful! I am not sure how many slices Jim had already; but I hope he stops soon, because dinner is just around the corner; I have a large apple stuffed pork roasting in the oven. The dying tree did very well this year. It is a good thing, because the replacement is not yet up to a full production.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp rum [not a rum extract]
4 green apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
sprinkling of nutmeg
1/2 tsp Fruitfresh
1/8 cup of sugar
• Preheat the oven to 375F.
• Line a 9 inch spring form round cake pan with parchment paper.
• Beat the butter and 1 cup sugar until frothy.
• Add the eggs one by one beating well after each addition.
• Add the rum and beat it well.
• Lower the speed and gradually add the baking powder.
• Add the flour and beat to combine. Do not overbeat. If in doubt, stir the flour into the butter mixture with a wooden spoon.
• Put 2/3 of the batter into the prepared spring-form pan.
• Place the thinly sliced apples in a large mixing bowl.
• Sprinkle with nutmeg, Fruitfresh and 1/8 cup of sugar.
• Gently mix to coat the apples.
• Place the apples evenly on the cake batter.
• Spoon the remaining batter on the top and smooth it out with an offset spatula.
• Bake the cake for 45 minutes.
• Remove from the oven and let cake cool for 30 minutes before slicing.
Let me see. I have been busy and not always with fun. I managed three posts since August, oh how I wish it was still summer! In the meantime I got so behind responding to comments and checking out friendly blog sites I pondered hanging up the apron… permanently. Then a couple of weeks ago I got half way through Maria’s new entries and that’s when my computer fan stopped – downtime again; for the third time in three months. However the 46 unfinished posts and the numerous batches of photos I no longer recall what they were of beckon me to continue. At the same time I am acutely aware of the fact that keeping up a blog is… work.
Thanksgiving Sunday came and went. Jim and I were fortunate to be guests at a large family gathering that was held in the new digs our youngest and her husband bought at the end of the summer. The place was gorgeous and the turkey dinner amazing. There was ham and 2 kinds of pies. I contributed the dressing, the cheesecake with chocolate ganache and raspberry coulis and a chocolate cake, rice and breaded pork chops for the kiddies. Olivia’s little cousin was not allowed to eat “differently”, but in the end managed to swipe a porkchop anyway.
Monday was Thanksgiving. We treated our pie loving friend to a roast chicken dinner and custard apple pie. I also filled his head with my current obsession; space, time and the Multiverse.* He was OK he had most of the pie. I managed to save a tiny slice for the photo. It was insanely delicious. Adapted from The Joy of Baking, but I can’t help thinking I should make it with a streusel topping next time. The apples are ready… I may make a pie next week or in one of the parallel universes…
Pie Pastry recipe is here
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1/2 tablespoon Cognac or Water
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup 14% half and half cream
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp Brandy
4 Granny Smith Apples
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
• Prepare the pie pastry fresh.
• Preheat the oven to 400F.
• Line an 8 - 9 inch pie plate with pastry and make a fluted edge.
• Line the unbaked pastry shell with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
• Fill it with pie weights or dry beans, making sure the weights are evenly distributed over the entire surface.
• Bake the crust for 15 minutes.
• Remove the weights and bake the pie shell for 10 minutes longer.
• Cool the crust on a wire rack.
• Meanwhile make the apricot glaze. In a small saucepan heat the apricot preserves until boiling. Remove from heat and strain to get rid of lumps. Add Cognac or water.
• When the pie crust is cool, spread a thin layer of the warm apricot glaze over the bottom and sides of the tart to seal the crust and to prevent it from getting soggy.
• Let the glaze dry for 20 - 30 minutes. Next make the custard. In a large bowl whisk the flour and sugar together.
• Mix in the eggs and stir with a wooden spoon to make a smooth paste. Do not let this mixture sit too long as it will form a crust. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the half-and-half until it just starts to boil and the cream foams up.
• Remove from heat and gradually in a thin stream whisk it into the egg mixture, stirring constantly.
• Whisk in the vanilla extract and the brandy, if using.
• Set this mixture aside while you prepare the apples. Peel, core, and slice the apples into 1/4 inch thick slices.
• Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar.
• Add the apples and sauté until they begin to soften, in 5 - 10 minutes.
• Set the cooked apples aside.
Assemble the pie.
• Preheat the oven to 350F.
• Arrange the apple wedges in concentric circles on top of the cooled and glazed pie shell. Carefully pour the custard over the apples to just below the top of the pie plate [do not fill all the way or the custard will drip between the crust and the pan].
• Sprinkle lightly with the Cinnamon Sugar. Bake the pie for about 25-30 minutes or until the custard has set. Let the pie cool on wire rack.
• Serve the pie with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
This was a good Thanksgiving. How was yours?
Bake with only sweet, somewhat overripe plums. I was impatient and made my favourite plum dessert this summer a bit too early and then thoroughly regretted it. It turned out quite sour, but what was worse, it lacked that rich plum flavour we love so much. After making a mental note to myself never to bake with plums not fully ripe, I waited with this plum cake until the last minute and in fact we just finished it yesterday.
Ah the booziness of this cake was intoxicating! Potentially it could be made with canned or frozen plums, but it would not be nearly as good as with the fresh fruit. In the absence of fresh, ripe plums, I would bake this cake with maybe 4 to 6 apples. Don’t add seasoning if using plums, you want to taste the fruit, not the seasoning. But if using apples, I think adding a bit of cinnamon would be a good idea.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
10 to 12 fully ripe fresh plums, cut in half
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp Frangelico or rum [not a rum extract]
sprinkling of icing sugar for the top
• Preheat oven to 375F.
• Line a 9 inch spring form round cake pan with parchment paper.
• Beat the butter and sugar until frothy.
• Add the eggs one by one beating well after each addition.
• Add your choice of booze and beat well.
• Lower the speed of the beater and gradually add and the baking powder.
• Beat to combine, but do not overbeat. If in doubt, stir the flour into the butter mixture with a wooden spoon.
• Put 2/3 of the batter into the spring-form pan. [I added only half and the fruit made its way down in the pan.]
• Arrange the plums with the cut side up on the top.
• Spoon the leftover batter on the top apple slices over top and bake it for about 50-60 minutes.
• Remove from the oven and let the cake cool at least half an hour before slicing.
• Sprinkle the top with icing sugar and serve the plum cake with sweetened whipped cream or ice cream.
For mild pickled peppers use sweet red, yellow or orange peppers, for hotter pickles add hot peppers to the jar. I forgot to weigh the peppers, but to give you an idea on the amount of peppers used in the recipe; I took a basket of Hungarian, mostly red peppers from the garden, sliced them and packed them into eight 500ml jars. There was almost nothing left of one batch of brine, so for every 8 jars you will need 5 cups of white vinegar and 5 cups of water. I am very much in favour of oven processing; unless you are preserving meat or fish, you don’t need pressurizing. As for water canning or oven canning, the boiling point is a constant [it will not change] so it makes no difference if you process the jars in a water bath or in the oven. Oven processing takes longer, but in the long run will save your jars and you will never have to deal with the mess a cracked bottle can make, not to mention the waste. For oven processing I would place the jars directly on the oven rack, turn on the oven to 225F and leave it for a couple of hours. After that I would check it often and here is the gauge I follow: When you see tiny bubbles running up in the liquid or when the peppers begin to rise up [only a little, not a lot], wearing oven mitts!!!, remove the jars from the oven one by one, being careful not to bang them together. But since I had plans for the afternoon, I stuck the jars in a water bath for 15 minutes. All jars survived and by Canadian Thanksgiving we will have vibrant, crisp pickled peppers.
8 [500 ml] jars filled with sliced peppers
5 cups white vinegar
5 cups water
2-1/2 Tbsp pickling salt
1 Tbsp sugar
• Sterilize the canning jars and set them aside. You may do this in a water bath or in the oven.
• Wash peppers thoroughly and drain.
• Remove the tops and cores and slice the peppers into rings or lengthwise.
• Rinse again to remove most of the pepper seeds that stuck to the peppers and drain them well.
• Pack the sliced peppers into sterilized jars and set them aside.
• Heat the snap lids in hot [not boiling] water. Keep them hot until ready to use.
• Prepare the brine next.
• Place the remaining ingredients into a pot and bring it to full rolling boil.
• Pour the brine into the jars leaving headspace, wipe the rims and place on the lids and the screw caps.
• Process in the oven [read comments above] or in a water bath for 15 minutes.
• Remove the jars and let them cool down completely.
• Label and store in a dark place.
• Jars that failed to seal place in the fridge and use first.
• Canned goods are best within the first year.
…and The Old Freezer
Coulis is a smooth, sieved dessert sauce made from pureed fruit. You can serve coulis as a compliment to most desserts or fold it into whipped cream. Coulis is typically not cooked in order to highlight the flavour of fresh fruit. Only that seasonal fruits are not at their best during the winter, so it is worth your while to preserve them when they are at their best. Typically overripe fruit gives the most intense flavour. Apricots and peaches should be skinned. Lemon juice is added to preserve color, but I like to add citric acid as well, about a Tbsp of FruitFresh to each jar. Liqueurs can also be added to enhance the flavour and to thin out the puree if needed. Sugar serves as a sweetener as well as a preservative. Fine-tuning the sugar content is paramount, the coulis should not be sweet; it should remain on the tart side to preserve the fruit’s natural flavour. You can freeze the coulis or you can bottle it. Bottled coulis should be precooked and processed. However it lasts longer bottled than in the deepfreeze; I have kept bottled coulis for up to two years without discoloration.
As for the deepfreeze, a small container of coulis will easily drop down to the bottom only to be found when the freezer is cleaned. I don’t know about your freezer, but I always find a few containers of some unknown content that has to be tossed when the freezer is defrosted. I can’t entirely blame this on Jim’s reorganization frenzies either. And speaking of freezers – we keep ours in the storage room. When we were tiling and carpeting the basement, the storage room remained untouched. That’s because of the freezer. We were afraid to move it a few feet lest it stopped. Oh it’s an old one, a large one and a really cold one and I don’t know what I would do without it. I don’t even think they make them that big anymore. Certainly the new freezers are not as well made as this was. You could say we are emotionally attached to our freezer. We bought it in Prince Rupert back in 1969 from our friends, the Vinge’s for a mere 60 dollars. It was already ten years old then, so that makes it 44 years old! I suspect the Vinge’s then new freezer gave up the ghost a long time ago, while this big old beast just keeps on going and going and going…
1 pound fresh fruit
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp FruitFresh
• Sterilize the canning jars and set them aside.
• Wash the fruit.
• Peel any fruit with a peel, cut the fruit into chunks, and remove large seeds or pits.
• Puree the fruit in a blender or food processor until smooth and uniform.
• Transfer the fruit puree to a medium sized pot and stir in the sugar.
• Taste the puree and add more sugar if needed, but keep in mind the coulis should be on the tart side.
• On medium heat bring the puree to a slow simmer.
• Simmer for 5 minutes.
• Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.
• Place a large fine sieve over a suitable pot or bowl and pour in the coulis.
• Strain the fruit to remove fibrous bits and seeds.
• Repeat, it may seem like a useless exercise to strain the puree twice, but the second straining give a smoother texture to the coulis.
• Pack into prepared jars.
• Add 1 Tbsp of FruitFresh to each jar.
• Place on the lid and the screw cap and process in the oven for 2 hours at 225F. Or place in a canner and boil the jars for 15 minutes.
• Remove and let jars sit on the counter for 24 hours.
• Label, date and place jars in storage. Jars that failed to seal should be moved to the fridge and used up within 2 weeks.
- It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!
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