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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Cantaloupe Jam

Since the hubby planted a bigger garden this year, I have cantaloupe coming in faster than we can eat it. I started wondering if I could save it somehow. Freezing is, of course, not an option. Then I ran across an article online about melon jam, and thought, why not??? So, after a little research, I came up with this recipe for cantaloupe jam! I will admit that I did not completely wash the salt off of the cantaloupe. I did want a little salty-sweet flavor. I also admit that we sprinkle a little salt on our cantaloupe and watermelon. It seemed like the right thing to do, and it turned out delicious!  If you decide to do it this way, taste the cantaloupe before cooking it down to make sure it's not too salty. If it is, rinse it some more. With the next batch, I'm going to add peppercorns for another "twist." I already have 2 more large cantaloupes ripe and sitting in my kitchen!

14 cups cubed cantaloupe, about 2 large cantaloupe
1⁄4 cup kosher salt 
4 cups sugar
3⁄4 cup bottled lemon juice

Toss cantaloupe with salt in a large bowl. Cover and let stand 2 hours. Drain; rinse with cold water. Drain.

Stir together cantaloupe, sugar, and lemon juice in a large stainless steel pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer uncovered about 20 minutes or until cantaloupe is soft. Mash cantaloupe pieces with a potato masher. (I used a handheld emulsion blender.) Simmer, uncovered, stirring often, about 1 hour until it reaches 220 degrees.*

Ladle hot jam into a hot jar, leaving 1⁄4-inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim and apply the lid and band.

Place jars in water bath. Process jars 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool.

*Cooking time may vary due to ripeness and water content.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Homemade Tomato Sauce

The hubby planted a huge garden this year. It's huge for us anyway! I've been making pickles, relish and pickled peppers from the massive number of cucumbers and jalapenos I've picked. Then, the tomatoes started coming in, and I became the Bubba Gump of tomatoes! Tomato Sauce, Tomato~Pizza Sauce, Tomato Salsa, Tomato Paste, etc. etc. etc. LOL

Quite frankly, I follow a lot of advice and recipes for canning from my BFFF (Best Foodie Friend Forever) Mary at Cooking With Mary and Friends! She is the Canning Queen! She has a lot of advice, notes and recipes with easy to follow instructions! Check her out when you get a chance at the link above!

For my tomato sauce, I had an abundance of sweetie and cherry tomatoes. The easiest way to deal with them is roasting. I cut them in half and spread them on a baking sheet, and sprinkled them with Kosher Salt.

 Lots of home grown tomatoes!

Sprinkle with some salt and roast at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the tomatoes soften
and the skins split and blister. Process in a food processor. Pack in pint jars with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Place the jars in a canning water bath for 35 minutes.

I made pizza sauce and salsa
from the tomato sauce using Mary's recipes.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Southern Style Tomato Pie

I asked the Hubby to go pick the ripest, prettiest tomatoes he could find from the garden. I told him that I wanted to cook a tomato pie. He said, "A what?" I laughed and told him he'd like it! Most people don't know much about tomato pie unless their Grandmama made it. Quite frankly, I don't remember Mama or my Grandmama making a tomato pie. The first time I tried it was in Santee, SC at Lone Star Barbecue & Mercantile. That first taste was enough to inspire me to make them from then on! I finished the pie and offered a slice to him. He is now hooked! I was short on tomatoes because I had already processed a lot for sauce the day before, so this pie is a little pitiful. The next one will be more substantial! LOL

This is what I found on the counter this morning!
I think he liked it! LOL

  • 1 - 9 inch pie shell (or homemade pie crust, below)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 cups cheese I used a combination of Sharp Cheddar and Mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon Hot Sauce, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Pre-bake the pie shell in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned.

Lightly salt the chopped tomatoes and set them in a colander over a bowl to drain (I used my Easy Greasy Colander System.) while you are pre-baking the crust. Squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the chopped tomatoes using paper towels.

Sprinkle a layer of chopped onion over the bottom of the pie crust. Spread the tomatoes over the onions. Sprinkle the basil over the tomatoes.

In a medium bowl, mix together the grated cheese, mayonnaise, hot sauce, and freshly ground black pepper. Spread the cheese mixture over the tomatoes.

Place in oven and bake at 350° until browned and bubbly, about 25- 30 minutes.

My pie crust was a little thin and rustic,
but it was not soggy. It was crispy and delicious!

Pie Crust:

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
8 Tbsp (1 stick) cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 to 4 Tbsp ice water

Place the flour, salt, and sugar into a food processor and pulse until well combined. Add half of the butter cubes and pulse about 6 times. Then add the other half of the butter cubes and pulse about 6 more times. You should have a mixture that resembles a coarse meal, with many butter pieces the size of peas. 
Work quickly with the dough, you don't want the processor to heat up and start to melt the butter.

Add a couple of tablespoons of ice cold water to the food processor bowl and pulse a couple of times. Then add more ice water, slowly, about a tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition, until the mixture just barely begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready, if not, add a little more water and pulse again. 

Remove the crumbly mixture from the food processor and place on a clean, smooth surface. Use your hands to press the crumbly dough together and shape into a ball. Work the dough just enough to just bring the dough together. Do not over-knead or your hands will overheat the dough and break down the butter. This will make the dough tough. You should be able to see little bits of butter in the dough.

Sprinkle the dough with a little flour. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour. (You can freeze the dough for several months until ready to use. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before using.)

When you are ready to roll out the dough, place it on a clean, smooth, lightly floured sheet of wax paper. (You can place it on a counter top, but I like to transfer the crust on the paper.) Sprinkle some flour on top of the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 12 inch circle, to a thickness of about 1/8 of an inch thick.

As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking.

Place dough onto a 9-inch pie plate. (If you use the wax paper, it's ok for it to stick a little. I invert the paper over the pie plate and gently peel the wax paper from the dough.) Gently press down to line the pie dish with the dough. Crimp or pinch the dough around the top or press with the tines of a fork.