Monday, December 23, 2013

Chimichurri Turkey

I spent some time in San Diego in another lifetime and stayed with a woman from Argentina. Her mom came for Thanksgiving and smeared chimichurri over our turkey before cooking it. That was the most flavourful turkey I had ever eaten! I'm going to recreate that bird for our Christmas this year.

Chimichurri Recipe

1 cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, trimmed
3-4 garlic cloves
2 Tbsps fresh oregano leaves or 2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 Use a food processor to chop the parsley, fresh oregano, and garlic ( two pulses should do it)

2 Stir in the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Adjust seasonings.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

S'mores Snack Mix

Well, its not pickles or preserves, but it looks pretty in a canning jar and makes a lovely gift !

S'mores snack mix

4 cups Golden Grahams cereal
5 ounces milk chocolate, such as Dove, chopped
1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
1 heaping cup mini marshmallows


Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper or silpat.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Meanwhile, spread the Golden Grahams out in a single, even layer covering the surface of the prepped half-sheet pan.
Drizzle the chocolate (as evenly as possible) over the cereal. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and the marshmallows.
Allow to cool completely, then break into pieces and devour or store in an airtight container.
Makes about 7 cups of snack mix.

Make your kitchen smell like summer!

A warm golden butter recipe to help you forget how cold it is outside! You can also use canned or frozen peaches in this recipe.

Golden Peach honey butter
12 cups fresh peaches with skins and pits removed and chopped (approximately 20 peaches)
1 large orange with rind, quartered and seeds removed
1 large lemon with rind, quartered and seeds removed
8 cups sugar
4 packs pectin

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Marmalade Experiments

Marmalade has a bad rap - Its not just about oranges anymore ! If you prefer the traditional thick cut rind, peel it off with a vegetable peeler and cut to a size of your liking. This method gives you all the citrus flavour with less work. You could substitute blueberries for strawberries and change up the citrus fruits as well.

Blueberry marmalade
4 oranges and 4 lemons, chopped, seeds removed, make a purée in the food processor
5 cups blueberries
4 cups water
3 boxes pectin
Bring to a boil. Add :
16 cups sugar

Salsa !

Nothing more beautiful than a fresh pot of peach salsa!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fresh cheese

Ever made cheese?
I hadn't either, but since they stopped making dry curd cottage cheese for my favourite type of perogies , I took matters into my own hands and found a recipe to make my own. It also can be used in nalisniky, a Ukrainian thin pancake with fresh cheese, raisins , sugar and cinnamon. All it takes to make fresh cheese is a good stock pot, and patience.

All utensils should be cleaned very well before beginning.

1 quart (1l) whole milk
4 drops liquid rennet
½ teaspoon of salt, plus more to taste

Heat the milk very slowly in a medium-sized, non-reactive saucepan. Use the lowest heat possible and heat until the milk reaches 85º F. Turn off heat and stir in rennet. Stir gently for 2 minutes.

Cover the saucepan with a clean tea towel draped over the top and put the lid on. Let stand at room temperature for 4 hours.

After 4 hours, the mixture will be very soft. Take a sharp knife and cut the mixture diagonally 5 or 6 times, then do the same in the opposite direction.
Sprinkle in the salt then set the pan over extremely low heat and cook, stirring gently, until the curds separate from the whey. It will take just a few minutes.
Do not overcook it at this point or your cottage cheese curds will be tough.

Line a strainer with cheesecloth and set it inside a large bowl. Pour the cheese into the cloth and stir it gently to drain off the whey.
Fold the ends of the cheesecloth over the cheese and chill the strainer (keeping the bowl underneath) in the refrigerator. Let drain for about 1 hour, stirring once or twice.

If you want creamy cottage cheese , you can add 5 tbsp heavy cream.

You can also double or triple the batch and freeze it for later.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Some thoughts on watermelon rind pickles

Every time I make watermelon rind pickles, I find myself thinking about the story behind them. Who was the woman whose pantry was so empty that she made pickles out of scraps to get her family through the winter? Or did she have an over abundant watermelon crop and started experimenting with it? Or was she so thrifty that she couldn't stand to see all those peels go to waste? I started making them because I was so curious to find out what they tasted like. And who doesn't have leftover watermelon rind in the summertime ?
The response at the farmers market was a mixture of nostalgia ("Aunt Gertie used to make those ") and intrigue (I' ve never heard of that I have to try them!)
I love the history behind preserving food in this way , and I love that the process of canning gives me the head space to remember my mom when she was packing garden cukes in quart sealers and the way the kitchen smelled of hot vinegar and spices. Or of our friend Yvonne , who left me the best salsa recipe known to humans and who swore that it was good because she only used Roma tomatoes to make it. I hope my kids have memories of canning smells and their favourites that they can pass on as well. Maybe they will wonder what possessed me to make watermelon rind pickles.
Here's the recipe:

Use the white part of the rind from two large watermelons. Cut into 1" pieces. Soak overnight in a bowl of water in the fridge.
Combine the drained rind, 6 cups water, 6 cups vinegar and 6 cups sugar in a large stock pot. Add:
2 chopped lemons
2 inches peeled and chopped fresh ginger
About 15 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
Boil for about one hour , or until the rind is translucent. Remove the spices.
Water-bath can as per your preferred method.