Category Archives: Recipes

Homemade Applesauce- Frugal to the Core

Homemade Applesauce put up for the winter

Homemade Applesauce put up for the winter

With an abundance of apples to harvest this year consider making some homemade applesauce!  Super easy to make,  the taste is delicious, simply amazingly superior to the commercially available sauces.

Making applesauce at home requires no special equipment, just  apples, cinnamon, and sugar is optional.  Preparing the tangy sauce at home is a fun, frugal, practical and a realistic activity for the whole family and all levels of cooking ability.  Use #2, or slightly blemished apples to save money and simply cut-away the bad spots.

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For my family, applesauce making has been a fall tradition transcending more than thirty years, ideal for our cooler Fall days.  By utilizing our abundant North Fork apple crop, you can use up the less than perfect apples inexpensively.  If you use at least three different varieties of sweet apples such as Gala, Red Delicious, Golden delicious, Fuji, Honeycrips,  or Romes you will eliminate the need for sugar.  Picking apples yourself makes the process really inexpensive and gives you the added sense of satisfaction of using up what otherwise might go to waste.

For a detailed, illustrated step-by-step PDF for making homemade applesauce, Click Here.

Basic Steps to Homemade Applesauce:

1.  The first step is to collect the equipment you will need if you are making enough to freeze or can.  Small batches can be made and stored in the refrigerator up to two weeks.

  • Large Stockpot
  • Knifecanningsupplies
  • Pint or quart canning jars
  • Jar lids or Tattler reuseable jar lids
  • Jar Funnel, optional
  • Foley Food Mill, Norpro or other Saucemaster, Food Processor or potato masher, optional
  • Water Bath Canner (if freezing the sauce the Canner won’t be needed)

apples-in-wheelbarrow2.  To make 7 quarts applesauce to freeze or can you will need about twenty pounds or more of a variety of different apples for the best tasting sauce.  If you only have one tart variety, the applesauce will still be yummy.  If your apples are bland, you can enhance the flavor substantially by using lemon juice to taste.

3.  Wash the jars in hot soapy water and then rinse in hot water, or better yet, let the dishwasher do the job and keep the jars warm.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA4.  Then wash, peel if desired,  and chop the apples up.  If you have a Saucemaster or Foley food mill, you can leave the skins and seeds in the apples, and the food mill will remove the waste for you.  I also like to leave the skins on for the added pectin in the sauce and the pinkish color to the sauce imparted by red skins.

5.  Fill your stockpot to the top with apples, and add about an inch of water and once the pot is boiling adjust the heat to medium high to steam the apples for about 30 minutes or until the apples are soft throughout the pot.  Stir occasionally.images

6.  Run the apples through the food mill or mash them up by hand with a potato masher.  Add cinnamon to taste.  I use about 1 Tbsp of cinnamon per 3-4 quarts of sauce.  (I also mix the cinnamon with a little sugar so it mixes into the sauce smoothly.)

Fill the jars to 1/2” for pints to within 1” for quarts or 1 1/2 inch for jars of sauce to be frozen (to allow plenty of room for expansion).  Plastic containers are also a great inexpensive way to preserve the sauce if you don’t have a Water Bath Canner.

7.  Process the Jars according to the following chart based on your elevation.

sauceprocessing

8.  Remove the processed jars with a jar lifter and place them on a dish towel covered wooden cutting board or other heat-safe surface.  Check the jars for sound seals after 24 hours and store the jars in a cool, dark place.

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For a detailed, illustrated step-by-step PDF for making homemade applesauce, Click Here.

Roasted Tomato Marinara Sauce

Roasted tomatoes with onion and garlic makes amazing Marinara sauce.

Roasted tomatoes with onion, basil, and garlic makes amazing Marinara sauce.

The beauty of roasting end-of -the-season tomatoes is that you use what you have left, including any kind of tomato, not just Roma’s, onion, garlic, fresh basil, and other herbs.   Oven roasted vegetables of any kind are extra flavorful and so is this sauce!  After roasting the tomatoes, onions, garlic, etc make the sauce by putting the roasted veggies through a blender or food processor.  Fantastic for spaghetti, lasagna, tomato soup, or anything you would use a marinara sauce for.

In the middle of winter, pulling your garden Marinara sauce out of the freezer will remind you of the bounty of summer and remind you that summer is coming!

Roasted Tomato Marinara Sauce:

1.  Using a deep roasting pan(s), drizzle the bottom of the pan with olive oil about 2 Tbsp.  Fill the pan with chopped tomatoes – any kind or combination of tomatoes is fine.

2.  Slice up 1-2 medium onions and arrange over the top of the tomatoes.  Add herbs such as basil, garlic, oregano, thyme, and rosemary to taste along with some hot red peppers if desired.

3. Sprinkle salt over the vegetables. Roast the onions/tomatoes for 2-3 hours or more at 325 degrees F.  Allow the veggies to cool.  Run the tomatoes through the blender and package in 2 – 4 cup portions and freeze what you aren’t using in the next few days.

Roast any kind of tomatoes you have.

Roast any kind of tomatoes you have.

4.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

I enjoy using this sauce in lasagna.  My friends have tried it over buttered spaghetti squash with Parmesan Cheese.  How do you like to use your sauce?

Presto Pesto

basilplantTraditional pesto is made with basil, cheese, garlic, and olive oil.  We all know it is delicious on pasta, but there are lots of other savory, delicious, flavor packed ideas for using this classic condiment.

Here are my top 10 ideas for using pesto:

1.  Use pesto like “mayo” Spread it on a BLT , turkey and cheese or other favorite sandwich.

2. Mix It Into Dips Try a little pesto  with sour cream, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or even guacamole.  Yum.

3. Top Your Breakfast  Drizzle pesto over your favorite breakfast eggs to add a touch of herbs and cheese.

Traditional pizza toppings with a pesto sauce base.

Traditional pizza toppings with a pesto sauce base.

4. Replace Pizza Sauce  Using pesto instead of traditional tomato sauce adds an entirely different layer of flavor to homemade pizza.  Just use a little, as pesto is flavor packed.

5. Bake It Into Bread  Instead of garlic bread, spread pesto onto crusty bread and toast, or stir pesto into bread dough for wonderfully fragrant dinner rolls. If you don’t want to turn on the oven, just mix the pesto with some softened butter and slather on some rolls or fresh bread.

Mix pesto with vinaigrette about 50/50 or to taste.

Mix pesto with vinaigrette about 50/50 or to taste.

6. Mix It Into Salad Dressing  Thinned with a little more oil or vinegar, you have a quick vinaigrette for summer salads. Whisk into buttermilk for an Italian version of ranch dressing.

7.  Top Veggies  Instead of butter, use a dab of pesto to garnish your vegetables. Or skip the butter and sour cream, mix pesto on your baked potato.

8. Quick Appetizer – A smear of pesto topped with a slice of mozzarella on a slice of toasted baguette is a very  quick appetizer.

9. Enhance the Meat  Pesto goes amazingly well with grilled steak, pork chops, chicken, and especially fish.  You can also season meatloaf or meatballs with pesto.

Garnish soup with pesto

Garnish soup with pesto

10. Garnish a Soup A traditional French bean and vegetable stew, is meant to be served with a drizzle of pesto over top. Try it with Minestrone other favorites and let us know how you like it.

What is your favorite way to use pesto?

 

 

 

 

Classic Pesto

Pesto has so many uses!

Pesto has so many uses!

1 Cup packed basil
1/2 Cup fresh flat leaf parsley
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan
1/4 Cup toasted pine nuts (toast in skillet till browned – about 3 minutes and cool) or walnuts
3 large garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin light olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil (or use 6 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Light for mild flavor

In a food processor combine the herbs, cheese, nuts, garlic, and salt Process with on/off pulses.Process with the machine running, and SLOWLY add the oil, process to the consistency of soft butter. (This recipe can be done in a blender, but you will need to stop it frequently and push the mixture down to the blades.)

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Heidi’s Tomato Salad

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Harvesting delicious home grown vegetables makes the foundation of the hot season supper. Whether you like pesto or basil infused tomato salad or both, the combination of the two layered onto toasted French bread makes an extraordinary, punch of flavor for a summertime appetizer.  Now that tomatoes are starting to come in, Heidi’s tomato salad is sure to please everyone in the family or dinner guests as a side dish or appetizer.

You will love this recipe for the ingredients are listed and you just get to eye-ball how much to use based on what you have and what you like.  Use all the listed ingredients or just the ones you like or have.  Suggested proportions are in parentheses.

Heidi’s Tomato Salad

Tomato Salad with Platter of toasted baguette slices

Tomato Salad with Platter of toasted baguette slices

Tomatoes, chopped or sliced (4 cups)
Onion chopped (1/2 cup)
Chopped basil (1/4-1/2 cup)
Garlic (3-4 minced)
Honey, oil, vinegar vinaigrette to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

To make the toasted slices of French Bread, brush olive oil on 1/4 -1/2″ slices of mini-sized baguette or French Bread placed on a large cookie sheet and toast under the broiler for 5-7 minutes.  Keep an eye on the bread or it will blacken quickly.  Spread pesto over the baguette if desired.  Top with tomato salad.  AMAZING!

Basil will succeed best when started in the garden

Basil will succeed best when started in the garden

 

Herbal Vinegar Basics

French tarragon is used for culinary purposes.

French tarragon is used for culinary purposes.

Tarragon or other herb flavored vinegars are easy and inexpensive to make and provide a simple, appetizing way to add flavor to salad dressings, marinades, and every day meals. Tasty, distinctive, flavored vinegars can also be added to roasted vegetables, drizzled over fish, splashed into a soup, stew or stir-fry for added flavor, or to baste chicken while it bakes.

The process requires few ingredients, basic equipment, and very little time. Homemade vinegars make a special and unique gift for any occasion. If you don’t have tarragon, try basil, Rosemary, thyme, dill, sage or parsley in an herbal vinegar.  Or try several different versions.

Fill jar with fresh herbs

Fill jar with fresh herbs

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 cups of French tarragon leaves, fresh and loosely packed – more herbs, more flavor
  • 2 cups white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or rice wine vinegar
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, optional

(Additional herb sprig for decoration when bottling)

Preparation

1. Wash tarragon (or herbs) the night before, if needed, so herbs, freshly harvested in the morning, will maintain maximum flavor. Gather herbs in the morning, after the dew has dried. Bruise tarragon or herbs with the back of a chef knife, with a mortar and pestle or crumple herbs by hand to release maximum flavor.
2. Fill a dry sterilized  jar with tarragon or herbs of choice. (A quick run through the dishwasher
herbal+vinegars3. Pack a one quart jar with the herbs and pour the vinegar over the herbs. Cover the container with a plastic lid and leave for 2—3 weeks. This will draw out the flavor of the tarragon into the vinegar.  (Two-piece lids will work, but be aware vinegar will react with the metal screw bands)
4. Line a fine wire-mesh strainer with a paper coffee filter or cheese cloth. Pour vinegar mixture through the strainer into a large measuring cup, discarding the herbs.
5. Fill dry, attractive sterilized glass bottles with a fresh herb sprig, and add strained vinegar. Tightly seal the bottles with nonmetallic lids or corks; store the herbal vinegar in a cool dark place.

Dress fresh salad greens with herbal vinaigraitte

Dress fresh salad greens with vinaigrette

 

TARRAGON VINAIGRETTE (Salad dressing)

3 Tbsp. tarragon vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 Cup olive oil
3 Tbsp. minced fresh tarragon or 1 tbsp. dried, crumbled

In a bowl whisk together the vinegar, salt, and pepper; add the oil in a stream, whisking, and whisk the vinaigrette until it is emulsified. Stir in tarragon. Makes about 3/4 cup.

Options for Pairing Vinegars and Herbs

White wine vinegar goes well with many herbs and is perfect for herbs or flower petals that produce color. Dill, basil, tarragon, chervil, mints, and lemon balm are well-suited to white wine vinegar.

Red wine vinegar adds a rich flavor and pairs well with sage, thyme, parsley and bay leaves.

Be creative:  mix and match herbs and garlic according to taste!

Bottles for herbal vinegars are available at Paonia Farm and Home

Bottles for herbal vinegars are available at Paonia Farm and Home