Food Archive

Smoking (meat)….bleg?

Posted September 30, 2014 By Ruth

Ok, so at my (husband’s) nephew’s birthday party this summer they had a cousin (ok, technically my husband’s sister’s husband’s cousin’s husband) smoke a pork butt for pulled pork as well as do up some chicken in his smoker.

I wasn’t entirely thrilled.  About the only smoked meat I like is bacon, and pretty much the only pork I eat is bacon, so I settled on a small piece of chicken, and planned to eat alot of cake (hardship that that is).

But dang that pulled pork smelled good.  So I ended up going back to grab some, I figured eating a bite or two would fix that problem.  And then I went back a 2nd time and loaded up my plate….

And then I tracked down the (husband’s sister’s husband’s cousin’s husband) cousin who made it and demanded the recipe for his pulled pork.  He was kind enough to email it to me.

So yah, next step was a smoker.  Picked up a seriously cheap electric smoker off craigslist ($40, but it wasn’t exactly a high end unit to begin with), made a couple of the recommended modifications to the unit that made sense to me (like, putting in a proper thermometer instead of the “cool, ideal, hot” one it had).  I figure its easy enough to upgrade to a better unit later if we actually end up using it.

The guy added in a half bag of hickory chunks when we picked it up.  So I should be good for a couple runs of smoking meat before having to find more wood.

When I make our grocery run Thursday or Friday I’m going to pick up the various ingredients I need.  Hopefully this weekend I’ll be giving this a try. 

I know there’s folks out there who smoke meat on a regular basis.  So tell me what I need to know before I go and do this for real…..

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Updates

Posted September 9, 2014 By Ruth

Well, I’m alive, and awake.  Day 4 on the new allergy med and I think I might be getting used to it, I’m not feeling QUITE as bad as I did over the weekend.

The lily plants my aunt sent me have started blooming:

2014-09-08_11-17-26_206

They’re from the family “crocosmia” though there’s virtually no way to tell which variety they are.  We’re borderline too cold for them here, but if they’ll survive (cross fingers) they’re prolific and loved by bees and hummingbirds.

After a comparatively cool summer Mother Nature decided we needed at least a COUPLE hot days, and so last weekend we hit 90, both Friday and Saturday.  My only gripe was that I had to uncover the garden lest it scorch.  Course, we’re back to cool-ish weather, with lows potentially descending into the mid to low 40’s in the next week.  So I had to re-cover the garden with the frost blankets.

The onions are, again, a bust.  A couple good sized ones, the rest are tiny.  Obviously I’m doing something wrong.  Anyone ever tried planting onion seeds in the fall at the same time as garlic?  Answers online are mixed…..

The white watermelon is trying to produce more fruit.  If the buds take I’ll cover it and see if we can keep it warm enough to produce a decent melon or two……

The hot peppers and the tomatoes are loving the heat from the frost blankets though.  Ripening has kicked into full swing.  I’ve made 3 1/2 pint jars of pickled jalapenos, and 12 1/2 pint jars of jalapeno jelly (with either a single Hot Wax pepper or a single habanero pepper depending on the batch), plus filled a gallon freezer bag with large chopped hot peppers, and started a 2nd bag.  Those peppers are in the freezer, and once the harvest is done I’ll toss them all in the dehydrator and then grind them into powder for Husband to use for seasoning through out the winter.

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Soft Molasses Cookies

Posted August 15, 2014 By Ruth

I’m not sure how I never posted this recipe on here….its one of my favorites.  Bit of a pain to make, but the cookies are to die for!

3/4 cup shortening

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 large eggs

1/2 cup molasses

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon nutmeg

 

Cream together shortening and brown sugar.  Stir in egg and molasses and mix well.  Fold in dry ingredients and stir. 

Cover and chill till firm (1-2 hours).

Preheat oven to 350°.  Roll dough into small balls and roll in white sugar.  Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. 

Bake at 350° for 9-10 minutes. 

Leave on sheet one minute until set.

Makes ALOT of cookies!

 

Canned potatoes

Posted August 12, 2014 By Ruth

I’ve been looking at alternatives for storing my potential crop of potatoes this winter.  I still want to try the modified fridge,  but I’m not having any luck finding a fridge in the general size I’m looking for (ie: a full size fridge thats not huge, that works, that doesn’t cost a alot).

I’d mostly decided on dehydrating the large majority of the potatoes.  And no matter what I’ll be dehydrating at least some of them.  But I just ran across the fact that you can pressure can potatoes too!  After reading a variety of blog posts on it I ran across this one, where one commenter stated that they did a cold pack of french fry cut potatoes……I’d mostly decided that at least SOME of the potatoes I was going to dry would be a french fry cut…..I might have to try that…..

Does anyone have any experience with home-canned potatoes?

Tomato sauce 3

Posted August 11, 2014 By Ruth

Same recipe as last time, except I remembered the oregano this time, and I added a dash of red pepper flakes

2lbs 2ounces of tomatoes

Home-made tomato sauce, try 2

Posted August 5, 2014 By Ruth

1lb 2.25 ounces of tomatoes

half the olive oil

2 cloves of garlic (Music, remember, small cloves this year)

twice as much salt

same pepper

simmer longer to reduce further

somehow still got 3 full half pint jars

 

Edit: forgot the oregano *sigh*

Home-made tomato sauce, first try

Posted July 29, 2014 By Ruth

Ok, this is mostly for my reference.

Uncooked untrimmed, 1lb 3.5ounces of tomatoes (Black Plum).

Cut out stem ends and weird spots.

Pureed in food processor, skin and seeds on, raw.

Simmered on stove w/glug of olive oil (didn’t measure, gonna regret that), a clove of garlic (Music), a little salt, pepper and oregano.

Pureed again in food processor.

Returned to stove to simmer to a slightly thicker consistency.

 Not quite filled 3 1/2 pint jars, which is fine, I planned to freeze this batch rather than can it.

Haven’t tasted it yet, and I think I got a bit to much olive oil in it.  But it smells heavenly.  We’ll be doing home-made pizza tomorrow using it!

Mustard update

Posted July 27, 2014 By Ruth

Original post here.

We’re still eating this mustard, much better than anything in the store.  The only issue is that I’m not always able to make up a new batch RIGHT as the last one goes off.  And sometimes when I can, we don’t need it right away.  We’re not huge mustard eaters, just like to have it in the house for occasional use.

So I did some poking around and discovered that the Ball Book of Canning discusses canning mustard.  A look at their recipe, and mine has as much or more vinegar. 

So last fall I canned up several 1/4 pint jars of mustard.  It worked perfectly except that I didn’t boil it down to the right consistency.  Not the end of the world, and easy enough to fix once you open it, but still annoying. 

So today I jarred up another batch, and remembered to be sure to boil it down far enough.  For those of you thinking about doing this yourself, multiplying the original recipe by 2, boiled down to the right consistency (which I did on the stove as its easier to keep an eye on), makes exactly 6 1/4pint jars.

Chocolate ice cream

Posted July 22, 2014 By Ruth

So a couple days ago I posted about an easy home-made ice cream.

Yesterday I wanted chocolate ice cream.

And hey, what do you know, over the weekend I had bought a quart of Creamline Chocolate Milk as a treat for Husband.

I used the chocolate milk instead of cream, but still added the sugar and vanilla.

O.M.G. that is decadent chocolate ice cream.

When Husband got home from work I made him some to try.

Next weekend I have to buy some Popsicle molds and a gallon of Creamline chocolate milk, we both agreed that it would make the most decadent fudgicle Popsicle…..

This was one of those things that goes around Facebook.  I mostly ignore them, but this one caught my eye.  Ice cream in a bag.

We’ve debated getting an ice cream maker but for various reasons haven’t, among others, would we really use it enough to make it worth while?

But at the same time there are times when I want ice cream and we don’t have any in the house, and I don’t want to run out to get some.  Plus some of the store bought stuff is less than stellar…….

Ice Cream In a Bag

1-quart sized ziplock

In it put:

1 cup of cream (or half and half, or even regular milk according to the comments on the recipe)

2 tablespoons of sugar

1/2 tsp of vanilla extract (or flavor of your choice)

seal the small ziplock (squeeze the air out best you can) and put it in:

1-gallon sized ziplock bag (I recommend a freezer bag, they’re sturdier)

with enough ice to half fill said bag (took about 2.5 trays for me) and

1/2 cup of salt (rock or other “chunky” salt works best, but I understand table salt works too)

Seal the gallon ziplock (you don’t actually want to squeeze all the air out, just some of it) and “shake it for 5 minutes”.  Since my hands are cold sensitive I basically just kept flipping it over and over and over.

At the end of 5 minutes pull the smaller bag out and rinse off the salt (don’t forget inside the lips of the seal!), I found it to be a bit soft to my taste for ice cream, but that’s probably perfect if you want to mix in chocolate chips or something.  Pour them into the ice cream back, seal it back up, and squish it around to mix them in.  I then put the ice cream bag into the freezer for 5 minutes while I cleaned up the mess from the ice, and refilled the trays.  After that point it was almost perfect, a bit firmer than soft-serve but not truly hard ice cream.