Backyard Grape Jam

Backyard Grape Jam

Our house is surrounded by wild concord grape vines which form a blind and the neighborhood kind of disappears. It reminds my of my childhood on Cape Cod hanging out with friends in the trees with the smell of ripe grapes in the air, filling up on the fresh grapes and spitting seeds.

Our yard is not that sunny so the grapes rarely are pickable but do make cutting the lawn tricky, you try walking on green marble like grapes that have fallen. I have made stuffed grape leaves with some of the young leaves and this year a vine that snaked its way thorough the tree limbs into the front yard grabbed enough sun to ripen. So I grabbed my pruner on an extension pole and snipped what I could reach, must have been a comical scene to watch not know what I was doing.

I proudly ate some that night while watching the news but the skins were a little on the bitter side so using my wife face as a guide I decided to and try and make some jam. I reviewed a few recipes for ideas but they all had so much sugar so I decided to cut that amount down by a good half. I did not use pectin so it was basically grapes, chopped skin and sugar.

It as fairly easy although time consuming and a little PIA getting the seeds out.

First squeeze the grape out of the skins forming two piles finely chop the skins and place in saucepan, cut the grape in halve and remove the seeds. That part was time consuming and the PIA so much so that Lyn came over and helped. When completed into the sauce pan with the sugar. To me the “jam expert” making this one and only time it appeared that there was enough liquid so I did not add any water. then I brought to a boil while mashing with a potato masher then simmered mashing and stirring until it got to what I thought looked like a good consistency about 20-25 minutes. Many seed that were in the mixture floated to the top and were easily picked out. Note: the seeds are easily swallowed and really don’t need to bbe taken out but for a jelly or jam I suggest they are.

Then into canning jars and placed in the canning pot of boiling water for a 10 minute bath which I had dug off a shelf in the basement, dusted off and rinsed. Turned off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes then on top towel on counter to cool. I had read that it should be aloud to set for 48 hours so after they popped and sealed I placed to the side. This morning I mad toast and had my first taste. Not bad, not too sweet and not to thick. I would prefer it a little thicker but and not going to empty the jars and boil down again, I’ve had enough.

Thinking about using some a for basting/glazing grilled chicken maybe a piece of salmon.

Seeing that I am a google/android user it is always listening to me making suggestions etc., basically invading my privacy, and this morning in my news feed was a link to Martha Stewart’s article on concord grapes.

Peanut Noodles with Chicken and a Shrimp Salad

Peanut Noodles with Chicken and a Shrimp Salad

My son has been making be proud, for the longest time his specialty was nachos which were very good but he has grown to be quite the home cook. He recently discovered my mother’s genes may have cursed him and he suffers from gout. This used to be considered the rich mans desease so maybe its not a curse after all. I’m sure he wouold say otherwise.  

Gout is a common and complex form of arthritis that can affect anyone. It’s characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness and tenderness in the joints, often the joint at the base of the big toe.

Foods considered high in purine content include: Some fish, seafood and shellfish, including anchovies, sardines, mackerel, scallops, herring, mussels, codfish, trout, and haddock. Some meats such as bacon, turkey, veal, venison, liver, beef kidney, brain, and sweetbreads. Alcoholic beverages. We bought him a copy of The Holy Gout Cookbook the other day.

Anyway here are a few things he made recently the peanut chicken I’m gong to try this one it looks good.

He also made this for another meal

I think he substituted the chicken for some shrimp that Gail had made.

Cashew Cauliflower Bake

Cashew Cauliflower Bake

I got some cauliflower with my last Misfits order and we wanted something different I found this from https://www.lordbyronskitchen.com/cashew-cauliflower/ .

Note: if you want to try out Misfits please use my code COOKWME-FG1DCQ so we both may save some money. Everyone who signs up with your link will save $10 on their first order—and thank you later. YOu can either go with surprise what’s in box or choose what you want froma list. Hint sign on at exactly the right time to get widest variety of choices, mine is 4PM and Google reminds me every Friday which is my day for Wednesday delivery.

Once you make this recipe for the first time, be prepared to make it over and over again.  You and your family will both love it. Heck you can always add or substitute some precooked chicken. Cashew Cauliflower is the vegetarian equivalent of the classic Chinese buffet favorite, Cashew Chicken.

This was a wicked easy bake. Other than getting vegetables on the table, and cutting down on your meat consumption, the only thing in this recipe that you might need to buy is the cashews.  I promise you that nearly every other ingredient in the list below is already in your pantry.

There are only two of us so I cut this in half not knowing how it would taste now I wish I had not.

HERE’S WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  1. Cauliflower – Pick the largest one you can find. Because, you’re going to regret not having more if you buy a little cauliflower.
  2. Cornstarch – This is used to coat the cauliflower and is also used in the sauce.
  3. Sauces – Soy sauce and ketchup are both used. One adds a familiar salty taste, while the other adds color, sweetness, and a deep tomato-y flavor.
  4. Brown Sugar – We use brown sugar for sweetness, but it will also help to thicken and caramelize the sauce.
  5. Garlic and Ginger – What’s an Asian-inspired dish without these two?
  6. Cashews – I used roasted, unsalted cashews. If you use salted, the overall dish might be a bit too salty in the end.
  7. Dried Red Chili Flakes – These are optional. I like a bit of heat, but they can be omitted.
  8. Optional- I added some cut up asparagus last night (2nd batch) was good addition. I needed to remember spring is around the corner.

Whoops forgot to Put the measurements in

For the Cauliflower:

  • 1 large cauliflower, washed, and cut into florets
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch

For the Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
  • 1 cup cashews, roasted and unsalted

How

PREPARE THE CAULIFLOWER FIRST:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a shallow baking dish with olive oil. Set aside.
  2. Place the cauliflower into a large bowl and add in the 1/2 cup of cornstarch. Using your hands, gently toss the cauliflower florets until completely dusted with the corn starch.
  3. Remove the florets from the bowl, lightly shake off the excess corn starch and place into the greased baking dish.
  4. Bake cauliflower at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

NOW LET’S PREPARE THE SAUCE:

  1. In a bowl or large measuring cup, whisk the water with the cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved.
  2. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. Note: last night I tried again and made sauce for 4 even though I only had 1/2 head. I had to cook a little longer once I added the sauce but was definitely worth it.

FINISHING UP:

  1. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and pour the sauce over top. Move the cauliflower around gently with a small wooden spoon to get the sauce underneath the florets. Bake for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from oven, add the cashews, and once again, lightly stir cashews into the cauliflower and sauce. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  3. Serve immediately.

IMPORTANT: READ THIS!

It is imperative that you shake off the excess cornstarch before attempting to bake the cauliflower. Once you have tossed the cauliflower with the half cup of cornstarch, depending on how big or small your cauliflower was, you might have an excess amount of cornstarch.

HOW TO REHEAT LEFTOVER CASHEW CAULIFLOWER:

  • Actually, this will be the last thing, and then I promise you can get to the recipe.  If you plan to make this ahead of time, keep in mind that the cauliflower will not hold up well to being reheated, but there is a way to get around that problem – somewhat!
  • Do not reheat this in the microwave!  It will become a steamy mush. Instead, carefully position each floret onto a greased baking sheet.  Leave room between each floret.  
  • Spray the top of the cauliflower with a little bit of cooking spray and place under the broiler.  Just a minute or so and you’ll have a reheated cauliflower dish without the mushy microwave mess.
Homemade Chinese Dumplings ala Chef Gail

Homemade Chinese Dumplings ala Chef Gail

I love what they call Peking Ravioli and have bought from restaurants, and frozen. My fondest memories are when I used to commute into Boston via the train, a there was a group of us and maybe once a month take turns going into China Town and buying a huge box of frozen ravs. On the way back we would split them up and distribute to our coolers. Many good meals were had. Well our Son Mike’s is married to a wonderful woman, Gail, who happens to be from China. I innocently (ya right) ask if she ever made them. Her mom had visited recently and left her with a freezer full. She said yes and she would show me how. I jokingly called Chef Gail and it stuck at least while she was here.

It was like getting a recipe from your mom, a little of this, a handful of that a splash of rice vinegar and she went by smell. When she felt it smelt right, we were ready to start making the dumplings. Now that I think about it that makes sense there are dishes, I make that I’ll know it is correct and ready to cook by the smell, I just never thought about it that way.

The frozen dumplings I’ve made I would pan fried and then add water cover and steam until done. Gail said the authentic way is to boil them (at least the ones you have on the Chinese New Year). So, we made the stuffing (pork) added scallions, napa cabbage, ginger, five spice, canola oil, soy sauce then mix and then stuffed. using chopsticks mix stirring in only one direction (this way the filling becomes very sticky and absorbs more water to bring the juicy flavor). She showed me her way of sealing the wrappers and I soon got the hang of it. Lyn and Mike joined in and before we knew it the pound of pork was gone. Into some lightly salted boiling water and this is where we used her mom’s trick. You bring water to boil then boil for a few minutes add a little less than a cup of cold water and bring to a boil again and repeat. Essentially boiling three times. Drain and eat with dipping sauce.

Now my challenge is to figure out the measurements (double checked with Gail).

Stuffing: Keep in mind these are estimated amounts so you have to use your judgment

  • 1 lb. ground pork (>20% fat is ideal)
  • 2 cups of Napa cabbage copped finely
  • About 3/4 inch of ginger, finely chopped or grated
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce (I like low sodium)
  • 1 tsp 5 spice powder
  • 2 tbs canola/vegetable oil …add more if the stuffing turned out too dry
  • 1/3 tsp salt


Dipping Sauce:
• 4 tbsp soy sauce
• 1/2 cup water
• 2 tsp sugar (optional for sweet)
• dash rice vinegar
• dash sesame oil
• pinch garlic powder
• two dashes hot pepper flakes

Scoop about 1 tablespoon (or less, so you can easily fold the dumpling) of dumpling filling and place it in the center of the wrapper. Rub the edge of dumpling with water (acts like glue) Hold the dumpling with one hand and start sealing the edges with the other hand (refer to the video to see how to fold a dumpling). Be careful, when you press the edges together to seal the dumpling, do not let filling touch the sealing area (the dumpling will fall apart if you do). After folding, press edge again to seal well. You don’t need to fold beautiful dumplings here, that will come with time, your goal is to make the dumplings hold their shape during boiling.

How

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • Carefully add dumplings one at a time into the water. Use a big ladle to stir the water gently, until the water starts to boil again, so the dumplings don’t stick to the bottom, for about 1 minute. Adjust the heat so the water is at boiling point but isn’t bubbling too fiercely.
  • When the dumplings float to the surface, add about 3/4 cup cold water bring to a boil add another 3/4 cup cold water continue boiling until the dumplings are filledwith air and swollen and the dough starts to become transparent, about 1 minute or 2 (time may vary depending on temp, size of dumplings etc)
    • Gail note: I only see dumplings made from commercial wraps filled with air, the ones my parents made from home-made dough didn’t fill with air,
  • Remove and place aside and cook the next batch.
  • For the dumpling already boiled, the pan-fried left-over also great:)

Low-FodMap Weekday Meat Loaf

Low-FodMap Weekday Meat Loaf

Lyn who really does not like meatloaf saw that I took some sirloin out of the Freezer and showed me this recipe from The Low-FodMap Diet. It looked familiar I swear I tried something like this before. Anyway, being a meatloaf lover, I jumped at the chance. It came out pretty good, good enough to go into my site which is our cookbook so to speak.

INGREDIENTS:

Sauce:

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar ( I used my 18 YO)

Meatloaf:

¼ cup dry  gluten-free bread crumbs (I had Italian seasoned)

1/2 cup lactose free whole milk, 2%, 1% or fat free

2 pounds ground beef, preferably 80% I only had sirloin.

2 large eggs, at room temperature, whisked well.

1/3 cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley.

1/4 cup (16 g) finely chopped scallions, green parts only

2 teaspoons Garlic-Infused Oil, made with olive oil or purchased equivalent, such as FODY Garlic-Infused Oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Freshly ground black pepper

4 slices meaty bacon, choose gluten-free if on a gluten-free diet

How:

For the Sauce: Whisk all the sauce ingredients together; set aside.

For the Meatloaf: Position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Have a flat cookie sheet ready.

Combine the measured breadcrumbs with milk in a large mixing bowl; allow the breadcrumbs to absorb the milk for 5 minutes.

Add eggs, parsley, scallions, garlic olive oil, salt, thyme and a generous amount of black pepper to the same bowl and use your hands to mix well.

Scrape meatloaf mixture into center of cookie sheet pan and use your hands to form an oval loaf shape about 9-inches long, 6-inches wide and 2-inches thick.

Spread about half of the sauce on top of the loaf, coating the top and sides. Reserve any remaining sauce to serve alongside cooked meatloaf.

Use your fingers to lay bacon over the meatloaf on a slight diagonal, tucking the ends underneath the loaf. The sauce will help the pieces stick and stay in place.

Cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until meat is cooked through and the bacon is crisp. An instant read thermometer inserted in the center of the loaf should read 160°F. You can crisp up the bacon further, if you like, by placing meatloaf under the broiler for 30 seconds to 1 minute, taking care not to burn.

Meatloaf is ready to cut into slices and serve with the reserved sauce alongside.

Next time I am trying mixing some of the sauce into the meat mixture before shaping.

Texas-Style BBQ Sauce

Texas-Style BBQ Sauce

For Christmas Lyn got me a taste of Texas, Austin Texas to be exact Blacks BBQ . It had been years since I was there, but it did not disappoint. It came frozen so after it defrosted, I followed the simple directions to reheat. Wrap in tin foil place on pan * into a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to 1 hours until internal temp was between 110 and 120. I stuck in my remote temp gauge and began to prepare my Texas style BBQ sauce.   Once it came to temp, I added another step and wrapped the whole thing, foil and all, in a towel and place in a small cooler with lid closed. It was in there for maybe 3 hours. Placing it wrapped in a cooler let it sit and absorb the juices and when I took it out it passed the flexible test gently dropping on each side. Ok enough about the brisket here is the sauce, a friend of mine in Dallas taught me this recipe which I have tweaked since.

* I like to preheat the pan in oven rather than throwing in cold pan.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 dash of Black’s original pepper sauce (optional)

How

In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer until you sell it could be less time. Stir in remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 15-20 minutes to allow flavors to blend. I placed in the blender after, but this is optional.  This comes out as a thicker sauce. I stored in a small canning jar.

Pan-Roasted Swordfish with Mixed Peppercorn Butter.

Pan-Roasted Swordfish with Mixed Peppercorn Butter.

Wholefoods had swordfish on sale for $8.99 lbs and we bought a bunch. love out food saver we divided up and stored some in the freezer. I took a piece out in the morning and on the way home stopped at Shaws grabbed a lemon and some fresh parsley.  I had always seen recipes that oven roasted swordfish but was partly afraid to try because with fish a few minutes to long and you end up with a dry fish. The other reason was out of respect for my Mom who always soaked in grapefruit juice, she said this was a trick she learned from Legals, who now if that was true or a MOMism. Tenn she would coat with mayo and grill. this has been my standard way for many years I might add some Mrs Dash  rub for different flavors before the mayo went on.  Anyway with a quick google I saw this recipe  search among a bunch and my stomach growled. yep that was the one. Got to tell you this was great I only had 1 lb so I cut the butter mixture in half. This fish melted in your mouth heck i ate 1/2 pound and eyed Lyn’s leftovers.

I had to use their picture because we were so hungry i forgot to take a picture of the end results, which was pretty close I might add. Side note I’m starting to love my new cast iron pans.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mixed peppercorns, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 teaspoon (packed) grated lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 1-inch-thick swordfish fillets (about 6 ounces each)
    • I had only 1 lbs so I cut the butter mixed in half

How

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Mash butter, parsley, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon ground mixed peppercorns, and lemon peel in small bowl. Season to taste with salt.
  2. Heat oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle swordfish with salt and ground mixed peppercorns. Add swordfish to skillet. Cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn swordfish over and transfer to oven. Roast until just cooked through, about 10 minutes longer. Transfer swordfish to plates. Add seasoned butter to same skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, scraping up browned bits, until melted and bubbling. Pour butter sauce over swordfish and serve

Over all this was wicked easy to prepare and cook. definitely a repeater.

from epicurious

 

 

Mexican Spaghetti Squash Bowl

Mexican Spaghetti Squash Bowl

We love spaghetti Squash and Whole Foods had some beautiful one so we grabbed a 2 Lbs. This meant I had to half the recipe, no biggie

Lyn found this recipe on Hungry Girl’s site. I made some small adaptations such as I used some already made guacamole added more cummin casue I love cummin bot alot jsut a bit more.

I left her recipe for the Guacamole so I could try in the future.

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 55 minutes
Ingredients:

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Bowl
1 spaghetti squash (at least 4 1/2 lbs.)
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 lb. raw extra-lean ground beef (4% fat or less)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Guacamole – Again we had bought some small “WELCOME TO MOE’S” serving so I grabbed one of those. her’s looks interesting .

4 oz. (about 1/2 cup) mashed avocado
1/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp. lime juice
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. chili powder
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Microwave squash for 6 minutes, or until soft enough to cut. Once cool enough to handle, halve lengthwise; scoop out and discard seeds.

Fill a large baking pan with 1/2 inch water. Place squash halves in the pan, cut sides down. Bake until tender, about 40 minutes. (For alternative cooking methods, see below.)

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine guacamole ingredients. Mix until smooth and uniform. Cover and refrigerate.

Bring a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Add bell pepper and onion. Cook and stir until mostly softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and cover to keep warm.

Use a fork to scrape out spaghetti squash strands. Place in a strainer to drain excess moisture. Thoroughly blot dry, removing as much moisture as needed.

Transfer 5 cups squash to the large bowl. (Save any remaining squash for another time.) Sprinkle with garlic powder, onion powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Mix well. Re-cover to keep warm.

Clean skillet, if needed. Re-spray, and bring to medium-high heat. Add beef, and sprinkle with cumin, chili powder, remaining 1/2 tsp. salt, and remaining 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Cook and crumble for about 5 minutes, until fully cooked.

Spoon beef over spaghetti squash mixture. Top with guacamole, tomato, and cilantro.

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

Time-Saving Alternative: Instead of baking the squash, cook it in the microwave. After softening in the microwave, halving, and discarding the seeds, place one half of the squash in an extra-large microwave-safe bowl, cut side down. Add 1/4 cup water, cover, and cook for 7 minutes, or until soft. Repeat with remaining squash half.

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You might want to try out my Mexican Lasagna  this was pretty good.

 

What to do with 5 lbs. of Green Unripen Tomato – Salsa!

What to do with 5 lbs. of Green Unripen Tomato – Salsa!

OK The frost was coming, the frost was coming, and I am plighted with having my garden in the only space available which does not getting full sun in late summer and early fall. even with the warm fall I had over 5 lbs.  of green unripen tomatoes. They are fine to eat fired, in stew whatever I chose Sala, spicy salsa.

 

INGREDIENTS

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YIELD 8 pints

  • 5 lbs. green tomatoes, chopped small (as you prefer for salsa)
  • 6 yellow onions, chopped (4 cups)
  • 3 jalapenos, chopped with seeds (1/2 cup)
  • 4 large red bell peppers, chopped (2 cups)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup lime juice
  • 1⁄2 cup vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne (optional, to taste)
  • 1 -2 teaspoon sugar

DIRECTIONS

Combine everything in a large pot, mixing well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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To continue canning, bring salsa to a boil.

Ladle salsa into hot sterile jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe lids and jar edges clean before finger tightening lids and placing them back in the boiling canning pot.

Process (boil) jars for 15 minutes. Make sure the cans are covered by water.

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Remove carefully and let sit for 24 hours. Check lids for seal, and refrigerate any unsealed jars.

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Marcelo’s Chimi- Churri Sauce

Marcelo gave me a small canning jar of this and I marinated a slab of baby back for 24-48 hours those were the best ribs I have ever made.

(4- 8 cloves) Garlic

Parsley (lots) – one bunch

Oregano (lots) – one bunch

Bay Leave (whole) (about 2 – 3 leaves)

Red Pepper (crushed)

Paprika

Black Pepper

Kosher salt (sea)

1 cup Hot Water

½ cup Red wine vinegar

½ cup Oil (preferably not Olive Oil)

 

  1. food processor the herbs and garlic separately
  2. Boil water.
  3. Use a glass container and start placing the herbs, garlic and other ingredients;
  4. Add hot water,