9/30/09

8 Kitchen Tip: Freezer Storage

I love tips. Anything that will make my life easier. Simpler.

I have a side by side fridge that I am not happy with.

I'm waiting for the day that I can get one of those new fridges with the freezer on the bottom... and the double doors that open up wide. Really wide.

In the meantime, I found these plastic baskets at the Dollar store.
I put in all those little odds and ends that are stored in little freezer baggies.

The last hamburger patty.

My frozen meatballs.

Leftovers.

I inherited the inability to throw anything away from my dear mother....

If you have any great tips, please feel free to share!



9/28/09

5 Canning 101: Pear & Pineapple Jam

Pineapple Pear JamPantry Eats posted a recipe that intrigued me.


Pear & Pineapple Jam.


Sounded like a winning combination...




My neighbor gave me some Barlett pears from her bumper crop tree.


For this recipe, all I needed was about 5 of these large pears.






After peeling the pear, I used a melon baller to get the seeds out.









Then I used a paring knife to cut the stem and the blossom end off.









Ta da~ This pear is ready...











I cut them up in chunks and measured out 4 cups.









I measured out 10 oz. of canned crushed pineapple.








The recipe called for mashing them, but I do not have a potato masher.

I blended it in my food processor instead.








For this recipe, you will need 1 package of pectin.








This is from my first batch in my stainless steel stock pot.

I recommend a heavy bottomed pot...


AND stirring it constantly...(which I didn't do)




See that white stuff on top?

It's foam.







Just scrape it off and put it in a separate container.

It's okay to eat it.

You scrape off the foam to make your jam look pretty~




The result?

Beautiful, great tasting jam! Thanks, Rachelle!

Make some soon~


Pear & Pineapple Jam

(get the recipe here)


9/25/09

5 Ooey Gooey Caramel Popcorn

Caramel Popcorn





This is an easy, fast buttery caramel popcorn that is ooey, gooey, sticky and sooooo addictive.





Last spring, my 16 year old was asked to a girl's choice dance.


This large, new, 30 something gallon container was dropped off on our front porch.











It was COMPLETELY filled with theater~style buttered popcorn.








The instructions were to find all the footballs hidden throughout the popcorn.








Inside each football 'egg' were some gumballs and a yellow sticky note.









Each sticky note had a letter that spelled out the name of the girl inviting him to the dance.








We tried to give away the popcorn, but was not successful.

Then we thought, "Why not make Caramel Popcorn?"


This recipe usually calls for microwave popcorn, but we had TONS of it...







The ingredients are simple.

Brown sugar.








Butter. Not a lot, since the popcorn is already buttery.









Light corn syrup.











Mixed together in a heavy bottomed sauce pan.








Brought to a rolling boil.

Don't forget to add the vanilla....








Immediately pour over the popcorn and stir well.








Once you start eating this, you won't be able to stop~


Caramel Popcorn
(4x6 printable recipe) (full page recipe)

9/22/09

20 BBA: Light Marbled Rye & a Patty Melt...

Light Marbled Rye Bread Patty Melt SandwichThis next bread for the BBA Challenge is a fun, pretty looking bread to make.

I had a devil of a time finding rye flour in my neighborhood.
I did find some at Harmons, but at $7 for 5 lbs, I was hesitant.





I finally found these rye berries at Good Earth, which is a great place to buy organic products and all sorts of whole grains.

I will definitely be shopping there again.

These were only $1 per pound.





I found that 1 cup of the rye berries yielded 7 oz. of flour.









PR says to use light rye flour, which is sifted twice to remove the bran and germ.

Huh?

Sift the flour?







After the first sift, this is what was left in my sieve.

I was stunned.

This is what contributes to the 'heaviness' in the bread....






I sifted the remaining flour again.


What?

Still more bran/germ?





What I had left was exactly 6 oz. of light rye flour, which was exactly what I needed for half the recipe.









This bread calls for molasses.

I am not a big fan of molasses, but it is the sweetener for this bread.








I added all the liquid the recipe called for, plus 2 T.

The dough quickly cleaned the sides of my bowl....too quickly, if you ask me.

I touched the dough.

It felt a little heavy and stiff.



I added up to 1/4 c. more water, a couple of tablespoons at a time and allowed the dough to knead for about 4 min.


What you want is a supple dough that is tacky, not sticky.






Place it in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.









Worked on the 'dark' rye, which is really light rye with caramel color in it.

Caramel color is really burnt sugar.

I use it in my Outback Bread, which some neighborhood kids have nicknamed 'chocolate bread.'





Put this in an oiled bowl with plastic wrap on top...









and 45 minutes later, my dough had definitely doubled!


Yowza!






Let's take a look at the 'dark' rye.


It has doubled as well.








I separated each batch into 4 equal piles and allowed them to rest comfortably for 10 minutes under some plastic wrap.

If you let your dough rest, it will be much easier to shape.










Rolled each ball into a 10x6 rectangle...









and stacked them, pressing down slightly to remove any air bubbles.








Tightly rolled the dough and pinched all the seams closed.


I pinched the ends closed too.






I put them into my 8x4 pans and noticed something strange.


They filled the entire pan.


My experience has taught me that this pan is tooooo small.

Sorry, PR, but an 8x4 is too small.




Now this Pampered Chef stoneware 9x5 pan feels just right.


It's got some room to expand and grow....








and grow, it did!

This was only 30 minutes later.









Time to put some egg wash on top for a shiny crust.







After an hour of cooling (yes, this IS necessary)

this is what I found.

"Cool!" said my 16 year old.

"How pretty!" said my mom. "Is there chocolate in it?"


My husband was so excited to make his fave sandwich, a patty melt.


I have NO idea what that is, so he showed me.

First, I made my homemade hamburger patties. This is a recipe that uses lean hamburger, yet still is juicy and flavorful.

A butter slice of rye is placed on a heated griddle.
Then a slice of Swiss cheese is added.






Add a pile of sauteed onions on top.












He thought sauteed sliced mushrooms sounded good, so those went on next.








Another buttered slice of rye goes on last.









Cook both sides until golden brown.








My husband just took one bite, closed his eyes and said absolutely nothing until every delicious bite was gone...

What is YOUR favorite rye sandwich?


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