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Monthly Archives: August 2011

My Best In Show, Spicy Tomato Salsa!

Hello Everyone,

I won Best In Show, in the Western Idaho State Fair, for the first time in canning this year! I made a Spicy Tomato Salsa recipe from the Ball Blue book of canning and preserving! I can’t tell you how much that meant to me! I put in a lot of hours, cleaning jars, peeling, and chopping. I ended up making 7 pints and 1 half-pint, which I just put in the refrigerator to eat! When you enter salsa at the fair you have to include the recipe. If you want your canned products to win in the fair I highly recommend using the Ball books or the USDA canning book, they have so many wonderful recipes, and helpful tips for canning. Also for safety reasons it is not ok to just make up ANY recipe and can it! I bought a 35lb box of Roma tomatoes from Bountiful Baskets one weekend and at first I didn’t know what I was going to make with all of them. I looked up this salsa recipe and thought that’s it! I also made a seasoned tomato sauce, which didn’t place, because I put the wrong processing time on the label! I know I followed the directions to the Tl!! The judge wrote on the back of the tag “Needs longer processing time for our altitude”! That’s what I get for making labels last-minute!!! HA!!! Oh well maybe next year!! The tomato sauce is really good, it’s not as dark of a red color as I would have liked to have. The Roma tomatoes gave it a lighter red than what you see in the grocery stores. Ok enough of my jabbering here is the recipe. It’s from the Ball Blue Book of Canning and Preserving:

Spicy Tomato Salsa:

6lbs. tomatoes (about 12 large)

9 dried hot chilie peppers

3 cups diced red onion

1-1/2 cups chopped cilantro, tightly packed

15 cloves garlic, minced

6 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced

1 tbsp. salt

3/4 tsp. dried red chilie flakes

3/4 cup red wine vinegar

Wash tomatoes; drain, Peel, seed, and dice tomatoes into 1/4-inch pieces. Remove seeds from dried chilie peppers; place chili peppers in a small bowl. Pour boiling water over chilie peppers just to cover. Secure plastic wrap over bowl and allow to steep for 15 minutes. Drain half of the water. Puree chili peppers and remaining water in a food processor or blender for 1 minute or until smooth. Combine all ingredient’s in a large sauce-pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until mixture thickens. Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch head-space. Adjust two-piece caps. Process salsa according to your altitude. In my altitude 1,001-3,000 it’s 20 minutes. Please check with your local county extension office for the altitude in your area!!

Note: When cutting or seeding hot pepper, wear rubber gloves to prevent hands from being burned.

Well I better be off for now! I hope you all will try canning salsa! It taste too much better than the store-bought stuff in a jar!!!

Until next time,

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on August 31, 2011 in Canned Foods

 

Western Idaho Fair Week

Hello Everyone,

I’m sorry everyone, I have been bad this week with not posting! 🙂 Seems like the week just flew by so fast! I had 2 contest’s at the Western Idaho Fair this week. Thursday was the Fleischmann’s Yeast contest. They have 2 categories, and it’s been called “Bake For The Cure for Breast Cancer” for several years, and they encourage decorative themes ect.. The 1st class was for “Any Style of Bread” and the 2nd class was “Whole Grains”. I have had a hard time with this contest through the years. I can’t seem to get it right, I placed a dismal 9th this year in the 1st class!! Last year I placed 2nd, and that’s the only time I have placed in the 8 years I have been participating in this contest. I just need to work harder! This year I made Cherry Rolls and Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin bread. They said the cherry brandy was to strong in the cherry rolls. I didn’t know you could have too much brandy in something!! lol!!! I’ll work on the recipe and enter it next year! On the other hand they said they loved my Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin bread! I places 4th in that class and only the first 2 get any prize money, in the whole grains category. I’ll try again next year and see what happens! Friday they had the first of what was called a “Sorrento Presents Cheezaplaooza”. They had 2 categories, 1st was called “Cheesy Couture”, and anything savory could be entered in this class. I made a cheeseball and crackers made with cheese and I don’t know how it placed, I never got a chance to ask them. I know it didn’t do very well, they had 7 entries and only the first 4 get prize money, which I thought was great! The prize money was 1st $100, 2nd $75, 3rd $50 and 4th $25. The second category was called ” The Cheese Stands Alone” the sweet side of cheese. They had at least 12 entries in this class. I am so happy that I placed 2nd!! I made a Caramel Pecan Cheesecake, and it was made with all ricotta cheese. Since the sponsor didn’t make cream cheese we had to substitute their products and ricotta cheese was just one of them, here is their website if you want to take a look, plus they will have posted all the recipes from the contest, even the non-winning recipes! http://www.sorrentocheese.com/cheese/  The recipes from the fair are not posted yet, they said to give them a few days to get them posted..

I entered 24 entries in the Culinary department and placed with 12 of them! To even place at the state fair is great, because you will see a lot of entries that do not place which is kinda sad for the ones that don’t get anything..Here’s what placed for me this year, apricot rolls 1st and the Idaho Wheat Growers Award! Apricot drop cookies 3rd, apricot fill cookies 2nd, apricot pie 2nd, apricot candy 3rd, canned applesauce 3rd, apricot pie filling 1st, strawberry jam 2nd, grape jelly 2nd, salsa 1st and a Best In Show!! I was awarded 2 extra blue ribbons for division 5, division 5 in the special awards division. I know it’s funny I had a lot of apricot items entered this year. One of the workers that was helping me put tags on my entries exclaimed “you must love apricots with all these apricots entries”! I just laughed and said yes I do, plus it was what I had, so I used them up!! 🙂 Well I better be off, I have peppers and corn to work with today. It’s cloudy out so veggie soup is on the menu tonight! Need to get into kitchen and cook!! 🙂

Until next time…

Amanda 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2011 in My Thoughts

 

Bing Cherry Jam

Hello Everyone,

Bing cherries are my favorite fruit to eat! My best memory from when I was a kid was, when we would go cherry picking downriver. We would bring tons of 5 gallon buckets and sturdy boxes. We would then find the farms that would let us pick all we could. I would never climb the trees, I am afraid of heights!! YIKES!! My mom and brother would climb up the trees and myself and my dad would pick from the lower branches. I think we would eat a gallon of them apiece to! Our lips and fingers were stained with cherry juice! They tasted the best when they were freshly picked right of the tree where the sun was hitting them, the tasted like little sugar bombs in your mouth!! I bought some black cherry jam at World Market the other day and it was really good, but tasted nothing like the canned jams we would make. My mom canned the cherries with the pits, because they held up better in the jars. I love them canned with just the juice! I would eat a whole quart by myself! Yummy!! Good times we had cherry picking. Here is a great bing cherry jam recipe I made just before the fair, and I won 1st place for them! I did enter them in the state fair and I don’t know how they did over there.. Can’t wait to see!! 🙂

Bing Cherry Jam:

3 cups finely chopped sweet bing cherries

1/4 cup bottled lemon juice

4-1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 package powdered pectin, 2 oz. box

1/2 tsp unsalted butter

In a large saucepan add the cherries, lemon juice and pectin and stir until you get to a full rolling boil, (a boil that can not be stirred down). Add entire amount of sugar. Stirring constantly until mixture comes to a full roiling boil again. Remove from heat and stir in butter and skim off foam. (the foam from jams and jellies taste’s great in fresh-baked bread or biscuits!) Ladle hot jam into hot pint or half-pint sterilized jars. Make about 5 cups of jam. Place on 2 piece lids and tighten to fingertip tight. Cover jars with at least 2 inches of warm water. Boil in a boiling water canner. Please read through the USDA guidelines for canning, as boiling water times vary from different elevations. I have included the link for you to read…

http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/questions/FAQ_canning.html

I hope I have inspired you to try making your own jam! I love canning!!

Until next time..

Amanda 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2011 in Canned Foods

 

Our 10th Anniversary

Hello Everyone,

Ray and I decided to celebrate our anniversary not only at the Culinary Walk About but also by staying at the Grove Hotel downtown. We had a great time, getting room service, and watching movies. We also decided to visit their restaurant in the hotel called Emilio’s. We had some great food that night! They had a 4 course dinner that we decided to try. Plus Ray wanted the crab cakes, they were delicious and served with a wasabi aioli.  Our first course was a choice to start with soup or salad. Ray picked the clam chowder and I picked the spinach salad. The waiter came and said sorry, but the chef’s order of spinach didn’t come it that day, ahh shucks, I said the house salad would be fine. Ray loved his chowder, and my salad was good, it had fresh baby field greens, dried figs, pistachios, a light vinaigrette dressing and a huge pile of red onions. I normally like red onion, but for me this was over kill on onion, I ended up not eating most of them. 2nd course was a Palate cleanser. It was a berry sorbet served on a spoon, yummy!! Here’s some information I found about it. When the waiter served it Ray asked me why are they serving this before our entrée? So I explained the reason for it..:)

Palate cleansers, by nature, are used in the middle of a meal to remove lingering flavors from the mouth so that the next course may be enjoyed with a fresh perspective. The French also use them as an all-important digestive, to avoid heartburn, indigestion, and to stimulate the appetite.

There is not much written instruction on the art of palate cleansing during a sumptuous, multi-course French meal. It has become something of a prized tradition, passed from generation to generation in the local enclaves of France. Each region has a special ingredient, usually a locally produced product that the locals swear by.

For our 3rd course we chose the rack of lamb and it was delicious! It was seared to medium rare for me and medium well for Ray. I love lamb served medium rare, it has a much better flavor to me served that way. The lamb came with roasted potatoes. They were a mix of white and purple potatoes.

Ok I have to insert a funny story here about purple potatoes! My parents are wonderful gardeners and they grow all kinds of fresh produce. One year we my mom decide to grow purple potatoes! They are really good and they taste just like a white potatoes. We had a home health client that lived with us and my mom decided to cook up some of the purple potatoes for dinner. We all loved them expect our client, he refused to eat them. It was a mystery to us, he normally ate potatoes! So we asked him didn’t you like the potatoes? He said no they were burnt! We laughed and said no they were not burned that’s just the color of them! LOL! Purple potatoes get darker when they are roasted so I can see why he thought they were burnt. After that day he ate them! 🙂

Ok back to our dinner, we also had asparagus, broccolini, and a flat crispbread, it tasted like parmesan cheese and herbs, it was all fantastic! Our final course was dessert, and the waiter wheals up this huge towering display of desserts with wine choices. The waiter starts to explain each dessert and they were all made with berries of different kinds. It had at least 6 different choices one was a berry bomb cake with a chocolate shell, another was a berry chocolate cake, a berry parfait, a berry tiramisu, berry creme brulee. I can’t remember the others, I wish I had taken a picture of it! Ray chose the tiramisu, and I chose the berry creme brulee, and we could only eat half of our desserts. With all the other food, by then we were full! I think the waiter was surprised we only ate half! They both were fantastic! It was a meal we won’t forget!   

Thank you honey for a great Anniversary, it’s one I will not forget!! 🙂

Amanda 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2011 in My Thoughts

 

Culinary Walk About in Boise Idaho…

Hello everyone,

Ray and I have been married 10 years now! Wow!!! I can’t believe 10 years have already passed, where did the time go? We have had lots of good times and some bad times. Ray asked me would you marry me again now? I said yes! We had a great night tonight! Ray wanted to take me to the Culinary Walk About in Boise. All the proceeds benefit the local Meals-On-Wheals program. I want to talk about the wonderful food we had!

1. Adrid Club, Sous Vide River Farms Short Ribs, served with vegetable slaw and hoisin sesame aioli. I don’t remember eating this dish, maybe we didn’t get it? I don’t know??

2. Tavern at Brown Crossing, Herb-Roasted Double “R” Ranch Filet, served with lavender white cheddar mashers and a green herb sauce. Oh My Word!! This dish was so good I could have eaten the whole plate!!

3. Bella Aquila, Mushroom Risotto, served with crimini, oyster, and enoki mushrooms in a creamy Italian rice. I have to be honest here, I’m sorry but I didn’t care for this too much. It tasted too much like just onions to me..

4. Cucina di Paolo, Bruchetta 2 ways, served with grilled artichokes, Maytag blue, and pinenuts with marinated slow-roasted tomato. These were really yummy!!!

5. Boise Centre, Pepper-Crusted Ribeye Steak, served with chipolte remoulade. Herb-Crusted Pork Tenderloin Crostini, served with huckleberry chutney. This was delicious!!

6. Salt Tears, House-Roasted Turkey Salad Sandwich, served with honey/lime vinaigrette. Roasted Pork Shoulder, served with Dijon cream sauce. These were served on little buns like sliders, and they were ok. I did like the turkey better than the pork..

7. Dawson Taylor, Dark roasted Sumatra, Swiss Water Decaf Dark Roast Sumatra. We didn’t get a chance to try these.. I would have liked to try the decaf, since caffeine keeps me awake..

8. Reef, Mango Tango Salad, Fresh spinach tossed in a mango cumin vinaigrette with applewood smoked bacon. This was ok, not my favorite..

9. The Brickyard, Day Boat Scallops Seared Over Beluga Lentils, served with Cabernet pan reduction and micro greens. I liked the vegetables on this but I let Ray have the scallop..

10. Goody’s, Coconut Ice Cream, served with bittersweet chocolate topping. Ray loved this, but I could only eat about 4 bites, it was really good but very rich and so sweet!

11. Doubletree, Chocolate-Covered Idaho Potato Chips with Sea Salt, topped with Sweet Spicy Bacon Bits and Huckleberry sauce. Oh My Word!! If any food was sinful tonight this was it!! LOL!! I ate 3 of them! One of the best bites I had all night!

12. Ono Hawaiian Cafe, Sugar Cane Sweet Pork Tacos. I can’t remember if we ate any of these???

13. Bardenay, Braised Pork and Guajilo Chili Posole, Garnished with Savoy Cabbage, cilantro, radish, and scallion. Ray just ate this one, I like Posole, I made it awhile back and loved it, but I didn’t want any tonight. I don’t think Ray ate more than 2 bites of it, he said it was to spicy for him.

14. Zee Catering and Floral, Wine Cork Smoked Snake River Beef Brisket, served with Port wine mashed potatoes. This was another dish that I wanted to eat the whole plate!! YUMMY!!

15. Cottonwood Grille, Petite Beef Tenderloin Oscar. this was very yummy!!

16. Incredible Edibles, Huckleberry Pavlova, this was delish!! I ate 3 of them! They were only about 1-inch round, so good!! Mocha Mousse Cones, this was ok, to rich for me.. White Chocolate Truffle tart, these were really good to! Mini Gourmet Cake Bites, the one I had tasted like lemon and I didn’t like it at all, it was like wet dough covered in chocolate, yuck…

17. John Berryhill Bacon, 8 kinds of bacon, need I say more? It was all bacon baby! It was all delish!!

18. Life’s Kitchen, Santa Maria Tri Tip. served with black bean and roasted corn relish. I really liked the meat on this one, but not the relish too much..

19. Louie’s Ravioli di Lazio, served with mushroom-stuffed ravioli Grilled Chicken, served with balsamic pomodoro sauce. This was ok, not the best we had tonight…

20. Mickey Ray’s Brisket and Pulled Pork Sliders, I loved the brisket, but not the pork to well.

As you can see we really had a lot of variety tonight, a lot of it was really good and some not so good. It all boils down to personal taste, I guess… I hope we can make it next year! If you’re in the Boise area next year give this a try! We had blast!!

Goodnight all!!

Amanda 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2011 in Restaurant Reviews

 

Fruit Juice Jelly

Hello Everyone,

I love making jellies!! Ray loves them too, he likes to spread jelly on toast, biscuits and I like jelly on saltine crackers. I love to make different kinds of jelly, not only are they easy to make, but they look so pretty in your pantry!! 🙂 Try making your own it’s so worth the time! Your family will thank you to!! They make wonderful gifts too!

Fruit Juice Jelly:

Because this jelly starts with fruit juice, it goes together quickly and easily, yet has the great taste of homemade jelly! If you would like, substitute other 100% fruit juice blends for the suggested juices.

4 cups cranberry juice (not low-calorie) or unsweetened apple, grape, or orange juice

1/4 cup bottled lemon juice,***

1 1.75-ounce package regular powdered fruit pectin

4-1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. unsalted butter

Pour desired fruit juice and lemon juice into a 6-8-quart heavy saucepan. Sprinkle with pectin. Let sit for 1-2 minutes; stir to dissolve. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. I use a long wooden spoon and juice will spatter a bit. Stir in entire amount of sugar. Return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Skim foam from top. Ladle hot jelly into hot sterilized (5 jars) half-pints, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Place on two-piece lids and tighten lids to finger-tip tight. Place in canner and cover jars with 1-2 inches of warm water. Bring canner to a full boil before starting your timer. IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST TIME CANNING PLEASE READ THROUGH THE USDA HOME CANNING FOR YOUR ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENTS. I HAVE PROVIDED THE LINK.

*** Only use bottled lemon juice, as fresh lemons vary in acidity. Bottled lemon juice is 5% acidity.

http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/questions/FAQ_canning.html

Well I better be off, I am canning tomato sauce and salsa today!! FUN, FUN, FUN!!

Amanda 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2011 in Canned Foods

 

Caramel Apple Spice Cake

Hello Everyone,

Here is a cake I made for my grandparent’s 50th Anniversary a couple of years ago. They loved it! 🙂 I also made a 5-tier lemon cake with yellow roses and a water fountain under the cake. There’s a funny story that goes with making their Anniversary cake. I had made about 100 golden-yellow Royal icing roses, and I put them on cookie sheets to dry. The party was in our hometown about a 6 hour drive from where we live. Ray and I packed everything up, or so I thought we did.. About 3-1/2 hours into the trip, I was dozing in the front seat and all of a sudden, I sat up and shouted OH NO!!! I scared the crap out of my husband and he says WHAT, WHAT, WHAT??? I forgot the roses at home!!!! ACK!!! What was I going to do??? When we got to my aunt’s house, I called my mom who hadn’t left town yet to get a few items so I could make more roses. The town where the party was is really small, and they do not have cake decorating tools let alone the color I wanted… My mom saved the day and brought all items that I needed and it turned out great in the end.. Here’s a picture of the cake..

Caramel Apple Spice Cake:

For the cake:

2 1/ cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar

1 cup sour cream

 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup shortening

1/4 cup water

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

2 large eggs

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2, 8 or 9-inch round cake pans. In a large mixing bowl, beat all ingredient’s together with an electric mixer on low-speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high-speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pur into pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cake tester inserted into center come out clean. 

Apple Filling:

3 1/2 cups sliced apples, cooked in a little water just until soft, drain and pat dry

3/4 cup + 2 tbsp. sugar

1/4 cup Clear Jel, can be found at specialty food markets or online..

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1-1/4 cups unsweetened apple juice

1 drop yellow food coloring, optional

2 tbsp. lemon juice

In a medium saucepan combine the sugar, clear gel, and spices. Add in apple juice, lemon juice and food coloring, and cook on medium heat until thick. Fold in apples, and cool completely.

Caramel Frosting:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup whole milk

2 cups or more powdered sugar

In a 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly; reduce heat to low. Boil and stir 2 minutes. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling; remove from heat. Cool to lukewarm, about 30 minutes. Gradually stir in powdered sugar. Place saucepan of frosting in bowl of cold water. Beat with a spoon until smooth and spreadable. If frosting becomes too stiff, stir in additional milk, 1 tsp. at a time, or heat over low heat, stirring constantly.

To assemble cake:

Place one cake layer on plate, and spread with about half of apple filling. Top with second layer. (If you feel the cake needs to be more stable, you can insert a couple of plastic drinking straws in the center of cake, this keeps the cake layers from shifting). Spread top and sides of cake with caramel frosting, and spread remaining apple filling on the top of frosting. (Just on the top for garnish).

My grandparent’s loved this cake! I know you will too!!

Until next time…

Amanda 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2011 in Cakes