Friday, October 26, 2012

Green Tomato and Cabbage Chow Chow

Green Tomato and Cabbage Chow Chow

The cabbages are just coming in, the tomatoes won't have enough sun to ripen, and the peppers are still abundant, so if you chop them all up, sweeten it and spice it up, preserve it with vinegar you have a tasty chow chow to brighten the upcoming winter meals.

I hesitate to give recipes and advice on canning, because I'm such a novice, so if you're unsure about preserving food, consuslt an expert-which I am not.  That said, this is the second time I've canned this relish.  The nuber one rule is keeping things clean, this means sterilizing the jars, lids, and utensils (a dishwasher can do this for you);  clean and sanitized work surfaces and clean wiping towels.

Start by chopping your vegetables and cooking them in the pickling solution.

  2. 6 green tomatoes, cored and finely or coarsely chopped (I like mine chunky)
  3. 1 medium cabbage, chopped
  4. 8 Bell peppers-I used a mixture of colors
  5. 2 hot peppers-optional if you you don't like heat
  6. 3 Tablespoons mustard seeds
  7. 2 Tablespoons celery seeds
  8. 4 cups white vinegar-cider vinegar would be nicer
  9. 2 cups sugar-I used sugar substitute
  10. 3 Tablespoons kosher salt
  13. Cook over medium low heat for about 2 hours, stirring often and skimming any foam or scum from the top.
  15. Ladel the hot relish into the sterilized jars, running a thin knife around the inside of the jar to release any air bubbles, place the sterilized lid on the jar and secure with a ring.
  17. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  I use a steam canner, for 10 minutes.
I have no idea how why the numbers 1 through 17 appeared on the recipe, bu I can't get ride of them so ignore them please.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

More Pumpkin

Here are a couple of other ideas for roasted pumpkin I was working with this past week.  First up is Bucatini with roasted pumpkin and sage brown butter sauce.  Bucatini is a fat, hollow noodle which resemble a fat spaghetti with a hole in the middle.  They are a chewey, hearty noodle to soak up the sage butter and compliment the sweet pumpkin.  Salty parmesan cheese is a perfect fit with the sweet of the pumpkin and the richness of noodles in butter sauce.

Bucatini with Sage Brown Butter and Parmesan

1 pound bucatini, cooked according to package directions
1 1/2 cups roasted pumpkin cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups of butter, browned and strained-discard the solids and return the clarified browned butter to a clean saute pan
2 tablespoons of minced fresh sage
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Parmesan cheese-as much or as little as you like
Freshly ground blackpepper

Heat the clarified butter and add the sage, it should sizzle for about 20 to 30 seconds, add the pepper flakes and the pumpkin.  Heat the pumpkin, being carefule not to break up the chunks too much.

Add the cooked noodles and heat through.

Serve with the grated parmesan cheese.

Pumpkin Risotto

1 small pie pumpkin, roasted according to the recipe I gave last week.
2-3 tablespoons neutral oil-canola or vegetable
1 tablespoon butter
2 shallots, minced
3 cups Arborio rice
1 cup Riesling wine
1/8 teaspoon each ground allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup for the risotto and additioanal for garnish-as much as you like

Cut the roasted pumpkin into 1" chunks and divide in half.

Add the spices to the stock and bring it to just the point of simmering.

In a heavy bottomed pan-I like a dutch oven or similar kettle-heat and add the oil and butter.  Stir fry the minced shallot over low heat for a couple of minutes until it is soft and fragrant.  Add the rices and coat with the butter-oil-shallor mixture.  Continue to saute the rice until it turned an opaque shade of white.

Stir in the wine and cook until the wine is reduced.  Add 1/2 of the pumpkin chunks and begin adding 1/2 cup of the spiced stock, stirring the rice until it is absorbed.  Continue cooking the rice and pumpkin this way until it is tender and a little creamy-adding more stock as the rice absorbs it and the pumpkin falls apart into a puree-probably about 20 to 25 minutes, stir in 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese and taste for seasoning.  Do not over cook the rice or it will become mushy.  It may not require all 8 cups of stock.

To serve heat the remaining pumpkin and carefully fold into the risotto, trying not to break up the chunks, drizzle the top of the rice and pumpkin with some of the sage brown butter (same recipe from the Bucatini posted above).
Sprinkle on more parmesan or serve it separately.

I have to thank Josh and Jordan-from the restaurant kitchen-for helping with this recipe.  First of all Josh suggested it as a seasonal special and then all three of us worked on getting recipe developed.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sacred Music and Sunday Dinner

Music is always a big part of my Sundays.  Classical Sacred music is always a good choice for Sundays, but also I like some gospel-both country and black spiritual styles.  Sometimes I play old church hymns on my own piano.  Today I thought for something different I would share this vidoeo of Valentina Lisitsa playing Ave Maria with my Sunday dinner of Roasted Quail and Grapes.

I discovered Valentina on You Tube.  She was born in Ukraine and emigrated to the US.  In the middle of a lackluster career her husband posted some videos of her playing to You Tube-and they went viral.  She now has a recording contract and plays the great concert halls around the world to sold out crowds.  And I, like so many others, am totally enchanted with her.  She plays with such passion and urgency.

She also usually plays a Bosendorfer rather than the more expected Steinway-she has said that she gats a more "rumbling bass" out of the Bosendorfer.  I play the considerably more modest Wurlitzer in the second picture and am lucky to get something remotely musical out of it-I keep trying anyway. 

Roasted Quail and Grapes with Roasted Pumpkin
4 large quail-4 to 5 ounces each
4 cloves of garlic
4 rosemary sprigs
4 bay leaves
1 orange, quartered
Salt and Pepper
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 celery stalk, cut into sticks
1 carrot, cut into sticks
1 small onion quartered
1 cup grape juice
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 pound red seedless grapes, cut into four clusters
1/2 pound green seedless grapes, cut into four clusters

Rub the birds with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt and pepper the birds and the cavities.  Stuff the bird's cavities with a clove of garlic, a sprig of rosemary, a bay leaf, and an orange quarter.  Truss the legs.

Let the seasoned birds rest at least 1 hour, or overnight in the refrigerator.  Let the birds return to room temperature before roasting.

In a roasting pan just large enough to hold the birds, place the celery, carrot, and onion, toss with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper.  Roast the vegetables for 15 minutes in a pre-heated 425 degree oven.

Place the quail, breast side down on the vegetables and return to the oven for 15 minutes, add the grape juice and vinegar, return to the oven and roast for 15 minutes.

Turn the birds breast side up, add the grape clusters and baste with the juices; return the birds to the oven for 15 more minutes, basting the the birds every 5 minutes with the juices.

Serve the birds with some of the roasted vegetables, a slice of roasted pumpkin,and the pan juices.

Roasted Pumpkin

1 small pie pumpkins
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons brown sugar
salt and pepper

Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds.

Place the pumpkin on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side down.  Add 1/2 cup water to the baking sheet and place the pumpkin in a preheated 425 degree oven for 1/2 hour.

Turn the pumpkin cut side up and brush the surface with the melted butter, sprinkle the brown sugar across the surface.  Season with salt and pepper and return to the oven until the pumpkin is totally soft and the edges are caramelised-about 15 minutes.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cactus and Corn Salsa

Cousin Kevin from Plano Tx sent me a recipe link last week that just seemed too perfect for the season.  The original recipe comes from Simply Recipes. 

Olive oil to grease baking sheet
2 Nopales cactus paddles, spines removed
2 to 3 tomatillos
1 small white onion, quartered
2 hot peppers
2 cloves of garlic
1 ear of corn
1 bunch of cilantro, minced
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Roast the cactus, tomatillos, onion, peppers, and garlic in a 400 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Puree the roasted vegetables.

Grill the corn in a grill pan until some of the kernals are browned.  Cut the corn from the cobb.

Fold the corn kernals into the cactus puree, and stir in the remaining ingredients.

I did change some aspects of the recipe-so it's not exactly the same as the one on Simply recipes, but close.
I served the salsa along side some roasted pork tenderloin and some crispy corn chips.  Thanks cuz its a really delicious and unusual salsa.