Sunday, August 26, 2018

Salsa 2018

A review of my blog indicates I've been canning salsa for at least 12 years.   I started my blog in 2006, and I have a post about salsa making that year, but I know I was doing it long before I was blogging.    I had ordered a booklet from the University of New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service about canning salsa the first summer I lived here, which was 1992.  I've tried several different recipes over the years until I settled on Salsa #5, which is the best canned salsa I have ever tasted.    I came upon that recipe in 2010.   Looking back, I bought a half bushel of tomatoes from Ann Ruhlig in 2010 for $12.   I just spent $20 to buy that amount from Goetz Farm, which has been my tomato supplier since Ann doesn't do it anymore.  In 2013 I made 24 pints of salsa from a half bushel of 2015 33 pints from a half bushel....same in 2016.   I didn't can salsa last year, I'm not sure why.  I must have forgot.   But it has been a long winter without any; I've had to buy store bought salsa, which pales in comparison to mine. 

This year, it looks like I got 31 pints out of a half bushel.   It was a 2 day affair; my friends Patty and Ellen helped me with the tomatoes yesterday.  I sliced the peppers and onions in the food processor.   I started canning when I got home from church and the grocery store about 1:30 and I just finished.    Note to self: never plan anything exotic for dinner on a canning day.   I was going to make a special Sunday dinner but I have no energy left for it.   Oh well.....Jane is too busy to come over for dinner and Eddie and his girlfriend are home for a few days but they are out and about so it looks like sausage on the grill and potato salad for us.   Time to kick back and take it easy! 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Cudighi and Kale Soup

Another wonderful week in the Copper Country is coming to an end for us.   I love it here so much!  I can't wait to live here year round.    I just have one more day and then I am headed downstate.   I will be making lots of raspberry jam tomorrow.   Our property is abundant with both red and golden raspberries.    This will make some great holiday gifts!  Meanwhile, I've got to make sure we don't leave too much food lurking around.   Looking in the lakehouse refrigerator, I noticed some kale I bought at the Houghton Farmer's Market earlier in the week that I knew I better make into something.    I also had some cudighi sausage in the freezer, which is an upper peninsula specialty.   You can make your own by following my recipe here.   It's a mildly spiced Italian sausage....with plenty of "warm" spices like cloves, cinnamon and allspice.   We've been eating lots of great food this week but I just wanted something light for dinner.   Time for kale and sausage soup!  I also spied some cherry tomatoes that needed to be used up.   Great for a garnish.  I also threw in some oyster mushrooms my son foraged in the woods.   These aren't necessary, but if life gives you mushrooms, make soup with them. 

Cudighi and Kale Soup

1 lb. cudighi (or bulk Italian sausage_
1 onion, chopped fine
4 small potatoes, diced
32 oz.  box chicken broth
15 oz.  can Great Northern beans, drained
1 bunch kale, sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. (or more) hot pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
quartered cherry tomatoes, for garnish

In a dutch oven, brown sausage and onion until sausage is cooked through and onion is translucent.    Add potatoes and broth and cover, cook until potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes.   Add beans, kale garlic and hot pepper, and cook about 10 minutes longer.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and ladle into soup bowls.   Garnish with cherry tomatoes.

I can already see the leaves are changing here and I know by the time I return in mid September, we will be coming upon even more fall color.    I will be working that week, and will not have time to relax and enjoy this place as much as I would like.   I am hoping we can spend Christmas will depend on the kids schedules I guess.    Sure love it here!

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Dill Pickles

It's been a while since I canned anything for myself...since the kids have moved out, we just haven't gone through the pickles as fast as we used to do, even though they are always asking for a jar when we visit.   Andy  noticed he was taking the last jar out of the canning cupboard when he was making some tuna salad the other day, so I decided it was time.   I also need to make some thimbleberry jam and some salsa, and I have been thinking about canning some chicken breast as well in the pressure canner.

My favorite pickle recipe is one I came up with in 2010 when I was part of this canning group of bloggers called Tigress' Can Jam.   I wonder what happened to Tigress?   She was a Brooklyn based food blogger and DJ and her blog is no longer.   But I met so many other bloggers there, and clicking through the list so many are not doing it anymore.   They typical pattern is they stop posting, then get the idea to move their blog over to Word Press from Blogger, and then it dies.  I fear food blogging is a dying form, but I'm still at it.   I can remember back at the height of food blogging, I'd post about once a week.  Now, it's about once a month.   We used to have a group of food bloggers called Michigan Lady Food Bloggers that would get together for potlucks and I think I might be the only one that is still blogging.   Sad!

Here's my pickle recipe...I was trying to recreate something that tastes like McClure's Pickles. 

 McClure's Style Fresh Dill Pickles

8 lbs small pickling cucumbers, sliced in half or quarters longwise
28 cloves of garlic (about 2 heads) peeled
16 dill heads, with sprigs (or 14 t. dill seeds)
Pickle Crisp
Optional 12 small dried hot chili peppers
5 cups vinegar (white or cider)
6 c. water
1/2 c. pickling salt

Place 2 cloves garlic. , 2 dill heads and 2 hot peppers and 1/8 t. Pickle Crisp in the bottom of wide mouth pint jars.   Pack with as many pickle halves and spears as possible tightly in each jar.  Prepare a brine with vinegar, water and salt by placing in all ingredients and stirring and heating until brine boils.  Fill jars to 1/2 inch headspace, place lids and bands and hand tighten. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

I used to make these with a wild grape leaf tucked into each jar, but didn't bother with it yesterday.   Grape leaves are supposed to help keep pickles crisp.   I like to use Ball's Pickle Crisp  to help keep my pickles crisp these days when I am canning.