Saturday, May 30, 2020

The 2020 Canning Season Begins! Pickled asparagus- Batch recipe

This recipe is from BATCH, an amazing preserving book which includes preserving, fermenting, dehydrating recipes... I love that the stalks I don't use for this recipe are used to make asparagus relish.  Perfect! Everything was canned...

I love spending a Saturday morning in the kitchen- a wonderful beginning to the 2020 canning season.

To make three 500 ml or four 750 ml jars

5 lb (2.25 kg)      asparagus, cleaned and tops only cut to the length of the jar
3 cups (750 ml)   white wine vinegar (must be 5 per cent acidity or more)
2½ cups (625 ml) water
½ cup (125 ml)    lime juice (4–5 limes)  (substitute lemon juice)
3 tbsp (45 ml)      honey
6 cloves garlic,    peeled and slightly smashed (substitute spring garlic)
24                        whole peppercorns
1½ tsp (7 ml)       cayenne pepper and 1/2 tsp ground turmeric

Make the pickled spears:
Prepare your canning pot and rack, and sterilize your jars and lids. Prepare a bowl of ice-cold water.

In a pot of boiling water, blanch the asparagus for 10 seconds; remove and place in the cold water.

Make a brine by placing the vinegar, water, lime juice, and honey in a pot and mixing them well. Bring to a simmer over medium heat for 3 minutes.

Remove the jars from the canner and turn the heat to high.

Place 2 cloves garlic, 8 peppercorns, and ½ tsp (2 ml) cayenne in each jar.

Pack the jars and process:

Pack the jars with asparagus as tightly as you can; they will shrink as they cook.

Fill each jar with brine, leaving ½ inch of headspace. Gently jostle the jars or use the handle of a spoon to release any air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars, apply the lids, and process for 10 minutes. Remove the jars and allow them to cool.

Note: Eat after 6 weeks and within 2 years.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Fabulous Tomato Jam

This is a new one for my pantry and it's delicious.  The recipe is from Marissa Maclenan of Food in Jars fame.  This jam is a little sweet, a little spicy and tastes somewhat like ketchup and but so much better... My son used it as a base for a chicken wings baste and sauce- delicious...

Summer 2019 provided prodigious quantities of heirloom tomatoes in my garden.  This jam is perfect for using up those tomatoes.  Happy to be eating "my" tomatoes well into the winter as part of a cheese board, right beside the meats or as a topping for sandwiches, burgers  or sausages.

This recipe makes about five 250ml jars, depending on the thickness of the jam and the type of tomato you use.

5 lbs          tomatoes, finely chopped (the food processor works especially well)
3 1/2 cups sugar
8 tbsp        bottled lemon juice
2 tsp          freshly grated ginger
1 tsp          cinnamon
1/2 tsp       ground cloves
1 tbsp        salt
1/2 tbsp     red chili flakes (or more, to taste)
1               lemon, quartered and added to simmering jam

Combine all ingredients in a large, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce temperature to a simmer. Stirring regularly, cook at a low boil until it reduces to a sticky, jammy mess. This will take between 1 and 1 1/2 hours, depending on how high you keep your heat.  Or, I bring the tomatoes to a boil, then lower to low and allow to slowly simmer for about ten hours.  Low and slow with a stir once in a while.

When the jam has cooked down sufficiently, remove from heat and fill jars, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Wipe rims, apply lids and twist on rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes.

When time is up, remove jars from water bath and allow them to cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, test seals. Store jars in a cool, dark place for up to one year.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Hainanese Chicken Rice - and a variation :-)

I enjoyed my first taste of Hainanese chicken in Vancouver about ten years ago.  I don't remember the name of the restaurant but I do remember the great taste of this chicken dish.  It was really nice to enjoy it at home.

This dish is easy to prepare.  You can easily multitask - while your chicken is cooking, it helps to prepare the ingredients for your dipping sauce and rice. Both of these are usually assembled after the chicken is done because they require the chicken broth, but you can get started washing and soaking the rice, chopping the garlic and ginger. In this recipe, all of the poaching broth is reserved -- some is used in the rice, a small amount is used in the chili sauce, and the remainder is saved to be heated and served as a simple soup to accompany the chicken.  This broth is delicious...

To serve six.