Thursday, December 1, 2016

Leftover Radicchio Casserole

So I made radicchio as part of Thanksgiving, with onion, dried cranberries and a balsamic dressing.  Unfortunately it was a little too bitter for people, so I ended up with a lot of leftovers.  Did a little scoping out around the Internet and came up with this.
Radicchio, chickpea pasta, a little more onion, butter, a dollop of sour cream, and cheese.
Cooked the pasta to al dente, mixed it all up

Grated some cheese on top and into the oven.

According to the Internet this will mellow out the bitterness.   So we shall see.
What are your favorite radicchio applications?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

How to can, using zucchini ginger jam.

So, from the Internet, I'm getting a lot of vibes that people are really nervous about canning.  So I'm putting together a tutorial, along with a fabulous recipe from a British friend, for zucchini ginger jam.  This is my adaptation of her recipe, based on what I have here.  
So, to start, two pictures, one, what you need for basic canning, and the other for the zucchini ginger nirvana. 

A large pot, deep enough to cover your jars.  Jars with lids (you can reuse jars, but you need to buy new lids) a ladle, tongs, and a paper towel.  And a dishcloth.  I recently bought a funnel and canning tongs, but you can go without and use regular tongs.  I try to wash the jars and lids in the dishwasher right before I start so they are clean and still warm.  You can put the lids in a bowl and pour boiling water over them and boil the jars if you want.  I have not yet had a problem.

For the jam you will need at least one large zucchini, if not two (the first time I made this, I had one enormous one) salt, sugar, lemon, ginger, and an apple.  The original recipe calls for equal weight zucchini and sugar, once the zucchini is peeled and seeded.  

So once you chop the squash, sprinkle it with some kosher salt, and put it in the fridge overnight.  In the morning, pull it out, rinse it off, and put it in a pan with half the amount of sugar by volume, approximately (if you have four cups of squash then two cups of sugar), juice and zest of a lemon, a small Apple, peeled and chopped, and ginger to taste.  (You could also add a cinnamon stick or a teaspoon of vanilla to gild the lily), and cook until the squash is translucent. 

Ended up with three cups of squash.

Lemon zest, juice, a small cooking apple, cup and a half of sugar and 1/8 to 1/4 cup of chopped ginger onto the stove.  

While that is cooking, prep for canning.
Fill your tall pot with water.   Start it boiling.
If you are using clean but cool jars, not straight out of the dishwasher, you can pop the lidless jars into the boiling water, and use a bowl for the lids with boiling water poured on. (It is better to use warm jars and lids, basically). If you buy one of those accessory packs, it comes with a little magnetic lid lifter, just put the lids in the bowl seal side down!  Like so...

It makes it easier to lift and put on the hot jars.  
Once the jars are heated, and the jam is ready to go, line the jars up like so.

Don't forget something to wipe the rims for a good seal.  And you want to leave some headspace in the jar so you make a good seal.  I usually just fill to the neck, but you can look up specific headspace if you are worried.  Then it is just an assembly line of filling the jars, and putting the filled, lidded jars into the water bath for at least ten minutes.  Let them cool, press on the top to make sure you have a seal, and then label!   Voila!  You have canned!  Any questions?

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Kicking the water bottle habit...

I see way too many people, myself included, who drink too much bottled water.  Recently, we found out about a proposed water bottling plant coming to the area.  Which is going to devastate the local environment.  Plastic bottles are awful for the environment.   They are not recycled often enough.  So this is a post about how to lessen your use of bottled water.  First, buy a reusable bottle or cup.  I bought a great glass one (with a silicone 'jacket') at Costco.  I've also bought ceramic 'coffee cups' there that again, have the silicone lids and hand grip.  You can buy nalgene water bottles, or aluminium if you want something lighter.  Fill them up at home, and take them with you.
A few of the various water bottles I own.  You can find them in a lot of spaces.

But! But I don't like the taste of my water!  I like the kiwi-watermelon flavor!  I like raspberry-cherry!  It is so easy to make flavored water at home!  And you can come up with some amazing flavors.  Steep an herbal tea and add a cup to a pitcher of water...  I buy frozen fruit in the winter, and freeze fruit in summer, almost any fruit, except bananas, will work...  Think outside the box, cukes, herbs, extracts, rose water, vanilla (I love vanilla and lemon)...  If you are making a fruit salad, add a slice or two to your water pitcher.   
The pitcher here has tap water and frozen cherries and raspberries.  Fresh also work.  

And the benefit to making your own flavored water is that you control the sweetening, the flavoring.  I personally hate the artificial sweeteners out there, and most commercial products are too sweet.  What are some of your fave water additions?