Chili Con Carne home canned!

Hello everyone!

I know I have not been posting enough lately and for that I do apologize.  I hope in the meantime you’ve found some inspiration through my many cooking adventures here.

Today I wanted to share a bit of my love of home canning.  Every year we grow a large garden and I stay extremely busy either freezing or canning that garden.  Even though it’s more work, I love a good home canned product.  Right from the onset though, I would strongly advise that all home canned goods should be from tested approved recipes where you will find them either from Bernardin, Ball or the National Center for Home Food Preservation.  All three are easily found on line.  Ball and Bernardin are one and the same (Bernardin is the Canadian branch of Ball) and they have some excellent book available to buy.

Home canning like our grandmothers did, are not safe methods and today we know better.  Not only is botulism a huge risk but other bacterial and viral illnesses are as well.  You might say my great granny never killed anyone, but we can’t know that for certain as many illnesses that cause death are in fact food borne.  This is something I see as fact and do not debate.

If you are interested in safe home canning, you might like to check out a face book page called Safe Canning by the Book on Debbie’s Back Porch.  There are others, but please don’t go to any rebel groups or groups that never use safety practices no matter what they say.  Imagine your child or loved one with 10 days of diarrhea…

Anyway, here is my latest canning fun:

 

chili con carne

Chili con carne from the national Center for home food preservation
http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_05/chili_con_carne.html . We absolutely love this recipe! One thing you’ve got to try, make your favorite macaroni and cheese and gently stir a jar of this in, heat through and you will not believe the flavor! It’s like where have you been all my life?

I’ve doubled the recipe which gave me 17.5 pints (500 ml) jars.

Hope you enjoyed this and thank you for visiting!  ~Leasa

Footnote: even if you don’t can it, try the mac and cheese idea with any chili con carne!  A fabulous taste sensation!

Beef Rouladen

This is the time of year for dishes like beef rouladen.  Time to spend in the kitchen, time to make your house smell like home.  This dish is not spicy, never meant to be but, having said that, if you are used to a lot of spice you can always jazz this up to suit your taste!  I posted this and got approved on Allrecipes so therefore I will simply provide that link.  I hope you enjoy this as much as we do.  Thank you for visiting my page. If it doesn’t open from here, simply copy and paste.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/236037/ontario-beef-rouladen/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringContentType=search%20results&clickId=cardslot%203

 

Fall is coming, School is About to Open. It’s SLOW COOKER Season!!

We’ve had some glorious cooler weather here in Southern Ontario and being so busy trying to bring the garden in, freezing, canning I took the opportunity to warm up the slow cooker!  What a delightful tool for the busy households that want to maintain a healthy diet.

When we got home from a business meeting yesterday, the wonderful fragrance of this hit us when we opened the door:

 

beef stew

This was without a doubt the best most delicious tender beef stew possible.  (no bias here, eh?)  Of course we used my home made bread to sop it up.

Recipe (adjust volume to need and likes) I did for a hungry family of four as we love left over stew.

Ingredients:

5 medium sized potatoes, peeled and halved.

2 medium sized onions quartered

Carrots as you please, I had these lovelies fresh in my garden

Peas to please.

2 stalks of celery cut rough

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp ground thyme

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp garlic powder or fresh garlic chopped

1 bay leaf

1 cup of wine, I use rose’ or white as I find red too over powering

1/4 cup water and a heaping tbsp of corn starch.

2 cups of good quality beef broth, use low sodium or no salt as it’s always better to add your own salt to taste.

1 good pound of stewing beef.

Method:

Put the meat, celery and onions in the bottom of slow cooker.  Always start a slow cook with potato and carrots on top so they don’t over cook on you. The liquid does not have to cover them!  Add the carrots and potatoes.  Add the liquid.  Start the cook on high and turn to low when the liquid starts to bubble at side.  Or, if you won’t be home, just start it on low.   Now, just leave it alone.  Let it cook all day, 6 to 10 hours.  If you have one you can preset,  set it for 8 hours and then let it go to ‘keep warm’

Now, it’s time to serve, boot heat up to high.  Wait 10 minutes, mix the water and cornstarch.  Carefully stir into the stew until you get the consistency you like.  (some people don’t add any and like the watery broth, which is good too)

Remember, stew is what it means to you.  You can add or take away whatever you like.  Sometimes I add parsley chopped.  But, you also don’t want to over power it or over crowd it.  Also, don’t add things that will go mushy.  Corn is always nice to add…. Have fun playing with it.

What else is nice about the slow cook is that you can get all the ingredients ready at night, toss it in (in the right order) in the morning, turn it on and supper is ready when you get home!!

Thank you for visiting!

Leasa

 

 

 

White Asparagus Soup

Hi everyone.  I have to start by saying I’m sorry it’s been a while since I posted.  Today, one of my lovely white asparagus customers told me how disappointed she is that she cannot find my recipe for white asparagus soup.  She’s heard me talk about it and of course went looking for it.  So, I promised her that I would get it posted hence forth.

This is an extremely busy time of the year for us.  The fields are all being sewn and the massive home garden is going in.  This is my only excuse for not posting this soup until now.

First step:  Peel and chop about 2 lbs of white asparagus.

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Next, bring to a gentle boil your chopped asparagus in enough water to cover them.  I use plane water.  Using broth might overpower the delicate flavour of your asparagus.  Let them cook until fork tender and the flavour has infused into the water.

 

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While it cooks to fork tender measure out your other ingredients.  1/4 cup all purpose flour, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp white pepper, 1/4 butter, 1 cup of cream, 2 cups of whole milk, 1/2 cup of chopped ham.

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Next, after it’s nice and fork tender, add the butter and ham stir until melted over medium heat, gently whisk in the flour, as it thickens add the milk and cream.  Add the salt and pepper turning heat to low.  Stirring constantly and adjust salt and white pepper to taste.  20170528_173943

This is where you can adjust your personal preferences, thickness, salt, pepper…taste, taste and taste.  If you prefer it thinner, just add a little milk.

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Now, all that’s left to do, is enjoy!

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We had this tonight preceding our main course of slow roast beef, gravy and fries.  The roast had been on since this morning while I worked in the garden…but that’s another delicious story for another day.

Thank you so much for visiting my page.  Leasa

Liz & Joe’s

This goes back to when I was a kid.  Way, way back.  I was about six years old.  So, we are looking at about 50 years back.  I don’t know if either of my brothers will remember this, but I can remember this day like it was just yesterday, the smells and WONDERFUL taste of Elizabeth’s soup.

Liz and her husband Joe had a very tiny cottage like, outdated, very old restaurant on the top of the hill at Booth’s Harbour where my parents had a small boat and we had just put in our very old brand new to us, cottage!  Our ‘cottage’ was an old school bus that my parents found.  They working together gutted it, painted it, put in major bunk beds on both ends with cots and it was our escape for many years to come down by the water on Lake Erie.

One spring day, when there was bits of dirty snow on the sides of the road, my family, mom, dad, brothers Mark and Randy must have gone to the lake to check our brand new very old cottage.  For supper, we went to Liz & Joe’s, as the hand painted little sign said. My thinking is that this was a Hungarian couple.  They still had thick accents…  I remember walking into this dank little restaurant and the smell of cooking cabbage and savoury hunker down goodness just hit my nose and I’m sure I was drooling.  As a child I loved soup, stews all vegetables and meat and potatoes.  Much unlike both my brothers.  The lady with the brown grey streaked hair had a very large pot on the stove.  They had home made bread.  I don’t think there was a great menu choice, but they did have a grill.

Liz trotted over to the little table we all sat at, I think there was only maybe four tables in all and a little bar counter with swirly round seats.  She pretty much told us what we were going to get.  My brother Randy kicked up his heels.  I won’t eat that!  So Liz told him..’what’s the matter with you, no wonder you are so skinny!’  Joe yelled, ‘it’s okay, I make you a hamburger, you eat hamburgers?’  And, with that Randy was happy.

To this day, I remember that bowl of thick, thick soup, this ‘everything left over’ soup and that huge chunk of bread dripping with real butter and to this day, it still ranks up there with the best meal I’ve every had.

Today, I cleaned out my freezer, refrigerator and added a few ‘things’ and thought of Elizabeth and Joe.  As the day goes on, this soup will change as I try to get that wonderful flavour Elizabeth brought to my forever memory.  I will add the starch, either potato or pasta later in the day and it will thicken as the day goes by….

liz-n-joes

 

CHRISTMAS IS COMING AND I’M GOING CRAZY. Are you? ;)

For most of us, this time of year and we are turning ourselves inside out trying to make things nice for Christmas.  The cooking, the shopping, the planning, wrapping, cleaning….painting….(yes we just painted and papered the living room)…on top of your regular work and it’s not a far stretch to get overwhelmed.

We don’t want to resort to feeding our family expensive processed food, or CRAP for short, yet we need meals to be quick and easy.

Tonight, after shopping and doing what has to get done, I did a home made sloppy Joe’s and fries.  So much better than the canned stuff.  You do have to simmer it a bit and stir a bit, but other than that, easy-peasy.

sloppy-joe-101

 

Ingredients:

1.5 cups water, divided

1 lb of lean ground beef

1/2 bell pepper (green, yellow, orange, red ~doesn’t matter) chopped.

1/2 medium sized onion chopped

3/4 cups ketchup

2 tbsp packed brown sugar

2 tbsp garlic powder (heaping if you love garlic)

1 tbsp onion powder (don’t have to have this, but it’s nice if you do)

1 tsp Dijon mustard (if you don’t have dijon any mustard will do)

dash Worcestershire

1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt (to taste)

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1/8th tsp cayenne (or more depending on your taste for heat)

Okay, here goes:

Saute your onion and bell pepper in some butter in a fry pan until the onion starts to get a a bit soft.

Add the hamburger and work with a fork until there are no big lumps.  Brown this up a bit.  Add half the water.  Stir it well.  Let it simmer a few moments.

In a bowl combine all the other ingredients.  All of them.  Make sure you don’t miss any.  Mix them up well, including the other half of water.

Stir this into your fry pan with the meat mixture.

Simmer, not boil all of this on a medium low heat stirring occasionally.  Simmer roughly about 30 – 40 minutes until it’s nice and thick like in the picture.  Taste and adjust your salt, pepper and cayenne. (some like it hot, some not)

Toast your buns during this time.

We have this with french fries.  I have a deep fryer but you can oven cook your fries or make home fries in a fry pan or have soup with this.  Or a beer and nothing else.  Depending on your mood and needs.

Trust me, this is delicious.

 

 

Belgian Endive (witlof) Casserole ~with zing!

Good morning my friends!  Welcome to my blog.  Today I want to share with you a recipe that I found on line, I’ve read a few versions of this wonderful dish and wanted to offer you my own variation.

belgian-endive-casserole

Ingredients:

2 lbs of potatoes peeled

2 heaping tbsp of Dijon mustard

1/4 cup cream

1/4 butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

6 medium Belgian Endive (witlof)

6 larges slices of black forest ham (if your slices are very thin double)

2 to 3 cups of shredded gouda cheese, or white cheddar cheese, or a mix of Monterrey jack, cheddar and some mozzarella.  I’ve used a few versions now and all are very nice.  I also like cheese so I go the three cups.

Method: (easy)

Boil your potatoes until fork tender.

While they are boiling, wash your endive, and cut them from top to bottom into 4 quarters.  Take out the nasty core.

Scoop potatoes out of water and put into a bowl.

Toss your quartered Endive into the hot boiling potato water.  Bring back to boil and boil them for 3 minutes.  Remove from water to a colander and let drain.

Now, add to the potatoes the Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, cream and butter and mash well.

Now line the bottom of an 8 by 10 baking dish (or close to that size) with the mashed potato mixture.

Next, on top of the potato mixture place your ham slices until all of the potato is covered.

Then, in a single layer place your belgian endive quarters.

Then on top of that put your lovely cheese.

Bake at 400 F for about 1/2 hour or until cheese is bubbly and browning a bit.

You and your family will love it.