Monday, September 24, 2012

Canning Marinara Sauce

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

The fresh tomatoes are still at the farmers markets and in the fall, bushels of canning tomatoes are inexpensive. Last week, I brought home 1 1/2 bushels and canned 35 quarts of tomatoes. This weekend's project was marina sauce.

Canning is very easy and it allows me to have complete control over what goes in the jar. When fruits and vegetables are plentiful, canning stocks my pantry shelves at low costs for a quality product.

There are several ways to make marinara sauce: peeling the tomatoes and cooking the sauce and ingredients down to a thick stage resulting in a chunky sauce; peeling the tomatoes and cooking down and then running them through a food mill to puree and remove seeds; and my cheater method--filling a huge pot full of tomatoes, unpeeled and uncored, cooking until slightly soft and running them through a food mill.  The result is a very thin tomato sauce that is then cooked down.

I use a Victoria food strainer that sends the juice down a chute and the tomato skins and seeds out another side. I put the seeds and skins back through the strainer several times to get even more juice.Then on the stove this large pot of tomato sauce went for several hours. I cooked it, stirring often, until it was reduced by 25%. I started with 1/2 bushel of tomatoes that I bought for $7.95 at the market. Then I added:

6 medium onions, chopped
6 green peppers, chopped
12 cloves of garlic, minced
1 c fresh basil
1/2 c fresh oregano
salt and pepper to taste
6 cans tomato paste

The sauce continued to cook down another 25% to a thick sauce. To each hot pint canning jar, I added 1 1/2 T lemon juice--needed to balance acidity levels. The sauce was cooked in the canner for 35 minutes. And the result? 15 pints of gorgeous marinara sauce at a cost of about $1 a jar.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Corn with Onions, Peppers, & Cilantro

Kathryn Washburn Breighner

Fall is here and the last of fresh sweet corn is at the farmers markets. I love sweet corn in any fashion but this recipe is especially good with corn that is not so fresh or with frozen corn. My garden is overflowing with onions and multi colored peppers which went into this dish. I added a hot pepper to this for some heat.

In a saute pan, add and heat:
3 T olive oil

Add to the hot oil:
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large sweet pepper, chopped--add a hot pepper if you like heat

Stir for 2 minutes until the ingredients are evenly coated with oil and beginning to soften. To the mixture, add:

3 c fresh corn cut from the cob or frozen (not thawed) corn
3/4 chicken or vegetable stock
1 T chopped cilantro
1 t smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the mixture over medium heat for 5-7 minutes.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Zucchini Cake

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

We were invited to a dinner where we were bringing dessert. I wasn't happy with the fresh fruit selection at the farmers market for a pie but my garden was overflowing with zucchini.  The chocolate zucchini cake I concocted was a hit! There is not even a hint of zucchini flavor in this cake. It is moist and chocolatey....perfect.

In a bowl, cream:
1/2 c softened butter
1 3/4 c sugar

To it add and beat until smooth:

3 eggs added one at a time

Stir in:
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 1/2 t grated orange peel
2 c grated zucchini

Sift together:
2 1/2 c flour
3/4 c cocoa
1 t salt
2 1/2 t baking powder
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 3 batches and in between add:
1/2 milk

Stir in 3/4 c chopped nuts like walnuts or pecans.

Pour into a greased and floured bundt or angel food cake pan and bake for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees F until a tooth pick inserted into the came comes out clean. 

Cool on a rack for 25 minutes or until cool to the touch. Then invert onto a cake or serving plate. Top with powdered sugar or a vanilla icing.