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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Southern Pickled Okra

I made pickled okra last summer, but I never realized I didn't make a blog post about it. I was trying so hard to baby the 4 plants that made it in planting and processing the yield, that the post just never occurred to me! Funny! Pictures and posts are usually first in my mind! LOL


Makes 6 (1/2-pt) jars 
1 pound okra (3 1/2 to 4 inches long)
3 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes
6 teaspoons dried dill
6 garlic cloves, peeled
3 cups cider vinegar (24 fluid ounces)
1 cup water
3 tablespoons kosher salt

Sterilize jars and lids. Put 1 garlic clove, ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon dill in each jar. Tightly pack jars with okra, stem ends up. Bring remaining ingredients to a boil in a 2-quart nonreactive saucepan, stirring until salt is dissolved. Divide pickling liquid evenly among jars, leaving 1/4-inch space at top. Tap jars or run a knife or skewer around the jar to release air bubbles.

Seal and process jars. Wipe off rims of filled jars with a clean damp kitchen towel, and then firmly screw on lids and bands. Put sealed jars on rack in canner or pot and add enough hot water to cover. Bring to a boil. Boil pickles 10 minutes. Carefully transfer jars with tongs to a towel-lined surface to cool. Jars will seal (if you hear a ping, this signals that the vacuum formed at the top has made the lid concave).
Let pickled okra stand in jars at least 24 hours for flavors to develop.

Pickled okra (in sealed jars) keeps 6 months in a cool dark place.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Mama's One Minute Icing

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix sugar, cocoa, butter and milk together. Over medium heat, bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Add vanilla. Cool partially, then beat with a mixer for 3 minutes or until spreadable consistency.

This is not a fluffy kind of frosting that you use to decorate a cake. I did use it on the layer cake in the picture, but this is more of a icing that would go on a sheet cake. The mixture will harden some, but it definitely shouldn't be soupy. Be careful not to heat it over too high a heat, or the sugar will start to turn to candy, which will make the mixture grainy. Spread on the cake quickly and let it set until completely cooled. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sweet and Sour Chicken with Red Sauce or Mama's Chicken Hawaiian Style

I got this recipe from my Mama's recipe file and modified it a little. When I made it, I realized it tastes just like the Chinese Restaurant's Red Sauce! I had been trying to duplicate that sauce for years because that's the main reason the hubby eats Chinese Food! LOL Stumbling on to this recipe was a real find! Mama called this Hawaiian Sauce!

 My version of Chinese Take-out!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

This is Mama's recipe...

Chicken Hawaiian Style

1 ½ lbs Chicken Breasts, cut into strips or cubes

1 cup Pineapple Chunks
1 cup Pineapple Juice
½ cup Vinegar
6 oz Tomato Paste
¾ cup Sugar
1 cup Water
1 t Salt
1/2 Green Bell Pepper
1/2 Red Bell Pepper
1 medium onion
2 T Cornstarch

Brown chicken strips in butter.* Drain pineapple, reserve syrup. Combine syrup with enough water to make 1 cup. Mix with tomato paste and water, vinegar and sugar in saucepan. Mix cornstarch with 1/2 cup water and add to pot. Heat until thickened and clear. Add pineapple chunks and bell pepper. Pour over chicken and simmer.

Mama's Note: “I used to make this for company a lot…It’s a change from the same old chicken…”

My modification...

*I used her tempura batter recipe and fried the chicken strips or cubes. I then prepared the sauce minus the green pepper. I didn't have any and my family doesn't like them anyway. I used the sauce as a dip instead of simmering the chicken in it like Mama's recipe.

Chocolate Buttercream Icing

It's not a great picture, but this is my homemade Chocolate Buttercream Icing. It's an old recipe, but a goof proof one, which is good for me!!! It seems like a recipe gone bad after adding all the sugar. The icing is very dry, but after adding the milk, it whips right up into the perfect spreading consistency! 

½ cup solid vegetable shortening
½ cup (1stick) butter, softened
¾ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (Powdered Sugar)
3-4 tablespoons milk

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add cocoa and vanilla. Gradually add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.