Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tomato Season Canning Tomatoes

This is the season when the tomatoes start to turn, I have so many of them, when they all begin to ripen at the same time. I can my tomatoes every year. I rarely have to buy can tomatoes from the grocery store. Which  adds money to my grocery budget.
First step in canning tomatoes is to wash the tomatoes, cut any bruised areas, or dark spots, and stem area. Cut in to wedges. See Canning Apple Cider from my July's blog  it goes into more detail on canning.
After sterilizing the jars, press the tomatoes till the juice runs. Midway through I put a leaf of basil for pretty, it also adds flavor to the tomatoes. Run a butter knife along the sides to pop any air bubbles that may be present.
Add a teaspoon of salt on the top.
Wipe the top of the canning jar with a wet paper towel, followed by a dry one. To ensure that it is squeeky clean. Any debrie on top will cause canning failure.

Place warm new lids on jars, with rings over lids. Tighten normal. Place in canning pot. filled with water up to the ring. Place lid on top bring to a boil. When it comes to a boil lower heat so it not a rapid boil. Time for 30 minutes.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Glazing Pottery Tutorial

This is a new path for me, I had always wanted to do pottery. I live 30 minutes from Floyd Virginia the pottery Mecca of the world'
. I had a chance to take my first class at the Jacksonville College, I really enjoyed it. I will try to put some of the pottery tips I have learned along the way.
After the first firing the bisque is sharp, and gritty, I found if I scoured some of the sharp spots off with sandpaper, and immersed in water my glaze laid better on the stoneware.

Dipping your pottery will give the piece a smoother look, than brushing. It is also more affordable. The trick is to mix the glaze by weighing the water, and the glaze. I found the thinner I made the glaze the better it stayed on, and the better it looked.
I found I had to stir after every dip, the glaze wants to settle immediately. Stay away from clear. I have not found a clear recipe that I am happy with.

Here is another tip is to brush 2 thick coats of latex to save your design from unwanted glaze.After drying pull off latex, and paint as desired. It opens  up all kinds of possibility's .

Friday, July 23, 2010

Plum Tart

 My mom brought me a bag of delicious plums from her tree, her tree was absolutely loaded this year. I had thought about canning them, which is a very tasty treat, but since it's hot today, and I'm pressed for time I decided to make a plum tart.

Preheat oven 400 degrees

Ingredients for dough
1 cup shortening
3/4 cup coconut oil
5 cups flour all purpose
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vinegar
3/4 cup water

Ingredients for filling
plums 30 cut and pit removed
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

To make dough place flour, sugar, salt, shortening, and coconut oil in large bowl. Smash with dough hook till dough resembles small marbles. Incorporate very well. Place egg yolk in a 1 cup size measuring cup, vinegar, fill with water till it reaches the 3/4 mark. Blend well. Add to flour mixture a little at a time. It may not take all of the liquid depending on the humidity of the day. Using a butter knife fold the bottom over the top. This is done as to not over work the dough other wise it will make the dough hard if it's over worked. When dough comes together. Scoop a hand full in your hand make a ball, place over well floured counter top, and roll out. You can look at my Mom's Lemon Meringue Pie in March 2010 for more a tutorial.

In another bowl place plums, flour, sugar, and  nutmeg stir together till it becomes liquidity. Pour into rolled out pie shell. Dot with butter. I rolled a big pie shell, just folded it over the plum filling.
Bake 40 minutes at 400 degrees till pie bubbles, and turns brown. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fried Green Beans

Here is another quick, yummy fast way to eat green beans. I am not a fan of green beans, I  cringe when ever I see that old green bean casserole coming my way at the table. I tried boiling them, and adding butter, but still no love affair between me and green beans.
The first time I ate green beans  fried this way, I truly liked them. I asked the cook for the recipe, and here it is for you. I beta you'll like them fix, this way as much as I do.
Here's the recipe easy, easy, easy. Boil green beans in pot till they turn bright green, about 1 minute.  Have a hot pan ready with olive oil. Fry beans till they start turning brown. Add a swish of soy sauce. That's it, for delicious green beans that can accompany any main dish. Enjoy!

Fried Green Tomatoes

The season is here I have been anxiously waiting for my tomatoes to turn a little red so I can make one of my new favorite side dish fried green tomatoes. I am  a transplant from the Chicago, via Phoenix area. To my surprise frying green tomatoes is a very tasty dish.

Make a dip out of corn meal, and white all purpose flour, one to one ratio. 1/2 cup corn meal, 1/2 cup flour.
Salt, and pepper your sliced tomato before dipping in flower mixture.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a heavy bottomed pan, before adding tomatoes make sure the oil is hot. Place tomato slices giving them room, don't crowd the tomatoes or they won't fry properly. When crispy turn over. Drain on a paper towel. Serve immediately best when still warm. Enjoy!

Refrigerator Pickles

Are you a pickle fan? My grandsons are, they especially love my refrigerator pickles. Since I don't can the pickles through a hot bath, they stay crisp instead of rubbery.
When the pickles are ready to pick from the garden, I gather them and wash off those sharp thistles. Pack them into the large 1/2 gallon jars.

The cucumbers have little sharp splinters all over them that need to be scrub off. Be careful use rubber gloves to protect your hands. I use a green dish scrubber.

Ingredients: cucumbers, 2-1/2 gallon jars, washed, and sanitized. Fresh Dill, 6 garlic cloves, 3 cups apple cider vinegar, 8 cups water, 1/2 cup salt, 2 teaspoons pepper corns, 3 teaspoons pickling spice. Pack as many cucumbers as fit into your jars. Add garlic, and dill.
In large pot put to boil the water, vinegar,salt, pepper corns,  and pickling spice.
Using funnel pour hot vinegar mixture into jars.

Make sure the seals have been warmed on a low heat for 5 minutes, do not rapid boil seals.
The seal will have a little hump on top till jar cools down and seals, immediately place jars into refrigerator. It takes 4 weeks for the pickles to be ready. Keep refrigerated.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pizza on the Barbee

My husband wanted pizza today, and it's a very hot day today. I had always toyed with the idea of making pizza on the barbecue, and today I am up for the challenge.  I prepared my homemade pizza  on my blog that was done in April 2010.
The first thing that needed to be done was to get a hot fire. The pizza stone was laid on top to heat up for 30 minutes. The pizza dough was placed on the hot stone for 10 minutes to cook. When the dough was puffy, and started to lightly brown. I place the sauce, cheese and toppings.
It took another 15 minutes for the pizza to be done.  The pizza had an other layer of flavor, smokey grilled flavor. My husband gave me 2  thumbs up. I will be making pizza on the Barbee like this again especially during the warm season. Give it a try I think you might enjoy it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pottery Bird Creamer

Have you ever wanted to learn  how to do pottery? I was one of those people that would admire pottery from a far.  Any chance I got I would pick handmade pottery up in my hands and  rub it like I expected the genie to appear. Handmade pottery has a firm feeling to me not a hollow empty feel to it. I really enjoyed making these little bird creamers they are so sweet, and friendly looking.

First step is throwing on the wheel. Clay gets centered, then walls get lifted. Make sure you have a clear idea what your making before you start, or you'll wind up with a mess.

Clay needs to dry to leather hard stage. That is the time to trim. Add handles, noses, and do carving.

After leather hard stage comes, green ware stage where the piece turns ashy white. The piece is no longer cold to the touch.

It gets loaded to a kiln which is a very hot oven, and cooked to 1800 degrees, or cone 04.
After first firing the bird creamer is in bisque stage.
The bisque stage bird creamer has to be wiped all over with sponge, then rinsed .
The bird it then dunked in glazed for 5 seconds. Pulled out immediately to dry.
Then dunked again to glaze other side. Allowed to dry for a day.
Back to the kiln to be cooked again, this time to 2100 degrees, or cone 6.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Carrot Tea Sandwiches

I have had requests for this recipe,so by popular demand. I made it for my daughter-in-law Sally's baby shower. It's a very simple quick recipe. Make sure you buy the freshest softest raisin bread you can find. Spread about 1/4 inch thick. Keep wrapped with cellophane till ready to serve, or the bread will get hard.

Ingredients: 1 loaf cinnamon raisin bread.  1 cup grated carrots. 2 tablespoons butter room tempature.   1 cup powdered sugar.  1/2 cup finely chopped peacans. 4 oz room temperature cream cheese.

In medium bowl combine butter, powdered sugar, amd cream cheese. Mix well by hand. Add carrots, and nuts.

Spread on bread, cut crusts from each sandwich. Cut sandwiches in half.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sewing Crafts Rag Doll

My little granddaughter Bianca's birthday is coming up soon, she will be 4 years old. I thought it might be fun to make her a rag doll this year, that she could play with. Rag dolls are soft, so no danger of injury happening. She is old enough now where she would enjoy changing the clothing on the doll. I had forgotten I had purchased  this sweet pattern 10 years ago,made by Kezi's Oregon Ragbabies  I had always longed to have a  granddaughter to play dress up with

There a six panels which go into making the head.
The face is stuffed, and lightly penciled in.
The body is 4 panels, it has darts to create a bottom, which sits.
What I like about about the hands, is that it is sewed as a mitten, then the fingers are placed, which is a lot easier. Then the fingers are stuffed. The creator of this pattern has made dolls before.
The arms are attached to a button which gives the arms the ability to swivel.
Face is then painted in.
Hair attached individually.
Head completed.
Body sewed, arms attached.
Leggs attached.
Naked rag doll.

This pattern comes with, shoes, hat, bloomers, and top. A very nice pattern. Also see my Raggedy Anne Doll

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How to Can Homemade Apple Cider

I have an interest in preserving the old ways of living. My hope is that we don't loose the knowledge on how, to  preserve, and live off the land, which were common knowledge to our  great grandparents. They are very important to keep alive.This kind of living helps stretch your grocery dollars further. There is a sense of accomplishment when you can look at your final product, even joy wells up inside me, and says good job.

Canning apple cider. When you have buckets and buckets of apples, apple cider making is the number 1 choice of what to do with them.  Canning the cider preserves it for years, lets face it you shouldn't drinks 10 gallons of apple cider in 1 week. I enjoy breaking the seal of the fresh taste of summer, in the fall, and winter season.

The equipment you will need are the following.
Canning pot large. 20- 1/2 gallon jars large mouth or small mouth. Large or small lids, with matching new rings. Funnel for pouring in to jars. Jar holder for pulling jars out of hot water. Plenty of counter space.
First things first. Must clean jars with hot soapy water using bottle brush cleaner.

Place lids in pan of water, heat on low you just want the rubber part to soften, not melt off. When placed on the jar it creates a seal.

Place clean wet jars in oven at 200 degrees for 30 minutes.
Place apple cider in a large pot to boil. When apple cider heats up it starts forming scum.
I use a large wooden spoon to skim the scum off the top of the hot apple cider.

Using funnel pour boiling hot apple cider into jar. Leave 1 1/2" head space.
Before placing lid. Take clean paper towel wet it and wipe lip of jar, followed by a dry paper towel. this step is very important. The slightest bit of food, or juice can prevent proper sealing of the jar.

Place warmed lid on jar. Place ring on top of lid. Tighten normal, not to tight or it will pucker, not to loose or it will not create the vacuum it needs to seal.
Place hot jars in water bath to boil.
Water level should cover the juice height in jars. Bring to a boil. Not to rapid or the bottles will burst. A slow gentle boil  time for 20 minutes.
If you do it right you'll hear a wonder pop sound within 10 minutes of pulling jars out to cool.
The lid should look like this after it pops. Flat. It should not have a hump in the center. And when opening the jar of juice, a sucking vacuum sound should be heard.