Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Canned Nectarine Plum Jelly

Stone fruits! Who doesn't love em?

I love it when I stumble upon something delicious! Honestly, I have been a little busy quilting lately and have been juicing my fruits and saving them in the freezer until I had time to make jelly out of them. I had juiced my peaches and tried to make jelly out of the peach juice. What a mistake! Peaches do not juice well. There is not much flavor. Save your peaches for the Peach Maple Syrup recipe that is coming soon. Pit them, slice them and freeze them. 
Now, nectarines and plums make a nice juice! Nectarine juice is sweet while plum juice is sour. I suppose you can buy the juice already made from the grocery store, but I highly recommend juicing yourself. The flavor is so much better, especially if they are locally grown. I use a steam juicer that was gifted to me.
I like to buy the steril gallon jugs of water made for babies. Not only is the water good for the steam juicer to prevent hard water/mineral buildup, you end up with a jug to store your juice in.
The great thing about the steam juicer is you don't have to cut your fruit up, pit them or do anything to your fruit. Wash them in water and a little white vinegar, and place the in the juicer. Most of my clients prefer plum jelly over plum jam, so I juice all my plums anyways.
Makes about 4.5 pints... 
What you need:
3.5 c nectarine juice
2 c plum juice
(If you don't have enough juice, add apple juice until you get 5.5 cups)
6.5 cups sugar
1 box powdered surjel 
1 tsp butter - to reduce foaming
Timmer set up within reach to time 1 minute
Necessary canning supplies: water bath canner, canning jars, new lids, rings, etc...

Start the water bath canner with enough water on high heat so it can start to boil, add a little vinegar (about a tablespoon or two) to reduce hard water/mineral buildup.

Pre measure sugar in a large bowl and set aside. In a large saucepan on high heat, add exact measured juice, butter and the entire packet of surjel. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the juice is boiling vigorously. It will have a white/lighter appearance from all the bubbles and the boiling doesn't stop when you continue to stir.
It's getting there... But it's such a pretty color!
Once it is boiling vigorously, dump the sugar in the saucepan all at once, and stir. Stir constantly, alternating between a figure 8 motion and a circular motion, do not walk away. Watch the liquid until you see it start to boil. Keep watching it and stirring it constantly. Start your timer when you can not stir the boiling down. Watch it, you will notice it when it changes from a regular boil to a vigorous boil... Hard to explain... Just watch...

You want to time it for exactly 1 minute. Remove from heat and continue stirring it until it stops boiling. 

Set wooden spoon aside and let the saucepan sit for about 30 seconds. This will allow the 'foam' layer to jell and makes it easier to skim off the top. 

Ladle into prepared canning jars, 1/4 inch from the top. Wipe the rims with a washcloth. Place flat lids on top and finger tighten the rings (do not palm tighten-you want air to escape the jars as they heat up in the water bath canner).

Place filled jars into your now boiling water bath canner. Make sure the jars are covered on top by 1 inch or more of water. Once the water starts boiling again, set the boil time for 5 minutes, adjust the time for the recommendation according to the altitude chart. Of you're unsure of your altitude, download the altitude app on your smart phone. An example: I'm at an altitude of 6,100 feet, I will water bath my jars for 20 minutes.
If you are doing multiple batches, start each time with a clean saucepan, spoon and ladle. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Paco's Apple Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Icing

Inspired by the strawberry cake I've been making with chunks of sliced strawberries in the batter AND by my friend's love for apples, I've come up with an apple cake. Super easy and fool proof, I had my 11 year old son make the cake part.

Preheat oven: 350°F
Prep time: 10-20 minutes
Baking time: 25-30 minutes


5 Granny Smith apples-peeled, cored, sliced and cut into quarters
1 box of French Vanilla Cake mix
3 eggs
½ c olive oil
¾ c water - if using canned apples, use juice
2 tsp cinnamon

Caramel Cream Cheese Icing:
½ c packed light brown sugar
⅓ c heavy whipping cream
¼ c butter-room temperature
1 c powdered sugar
1 box of cream cheese (8oz)
½ c sliced almonds (optional garnish for icing)


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Peel, core, slice, and quarter apples using an apple/peeler/corer. Place in a bowl with water and a dash of lemon juice to keep from browning.

In a stand mixer with a flat paddle, add cake mix, cinnamon, eggs, oil & water (water from the soaking apples will work). Mix on low-med speed until lump free, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Fold in drained apples using a wooden spoon.

Spray a 9"x13" baking dish or bundt pan with baking spray. Pour cake batter into dish and bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

While the cake is cooling, dissolve brown sugar, butter and whipping cream in a small sauce pan on low-med heat, stirring constantly. Once sugar and butter is dissolved, continue to cook for one more minute. Remove from heat and let cool to touch.

While caramel is cooling, in a stand mixer using a wire whisk attachment, mix on low-med speed:  powdered sugar and cream cheese, scraping and poking cheese out of the whisk occasionally, about 3-5 minutes. Add slightly cooled caramel to cream cheese/powdered sugar and continue to mix in the stand mixer until blended and no lumps.

Pour icing onto cooled cake and garnish with almonds.

Refrigerate cake. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before serving.

Summer 1975 Strawberry Cake

Taken from the Imperial 150th Anniversary Cook Book and altered a little bit. All I have of this recipe is a picture taken of a photocopy from a magazine. I have yet to find this recipe in digital form.

1 package of french vanilla OR white cake mix
3 tablespoons of flour
3 eggs
¾ cup cooking oil
¾ cup water
1 (3oz) package of strawberry gelatin
1-2 cup(s) frozen or fresh sliced strawberries

Combine ingredients in stand mixer and mix well using the flat mixer attachment. Pour into bundt pan sprayed with baking spray. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Strawberry Sauce:
1 pound of frozen or fresh sliced strawberries
⅓ c of water if using fresh
½ c of sugar

Combine in bowl until sugar dissolves. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Whipped Topping:
1 quart of heavy whipping cream
1¼ cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Pour heavy whipping cream into stand mixer and whip with the whisk attachment until cream becomes stiff (if you stop too soon, whipped cream may become runny after you add sugar and vanilla). Add sugar and vanilla and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Store in a large bowl and can be frozen.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Paco's Meatloaf

The last time I made meatloaf, it came out really tuff and I was wondering what I had done wrong. My friend told me that I had mixed it too long. Well, that's how I learned... mix the meat and crumbs using my hands as I squeezed it. I looked at some other recipes online and they stated that you should be sure not to squeeze it. So, for this recipe, I thought of my KitchenAid mixer. It worked wonderfully!

1-5oz bag of crushed seasoned croutons~Rothbury Farms
1 tsp salt
½ tsp garlic salt
½ c green onions
1 c diced mushrooms
1 c sour cream
1 egg
2 lbs lean ground beef
About 1 tbls Worcestershire sauce

About ½ to ¾ c ketchup
Equal amount of granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350° F. Smash croutons using a rolling pin. Add croutons, onions, salt, garlic salt, diced mushrooms to stand mixer bowl. Mix using the paddle attachment. Add sour cream & egg. Break up beef into about 1 inch chunks and place onto top of sour cream and egg. Set stand mixer to slowest setting, add Worcestershire sauce around the bowl and mix until evenly mixed; about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stop mixer, flip over meat mixture. If there is still a large concentration of any one ingredient, mix again for anther 30 seconds.

Spread out into a greased 9½" x 7½" x 3" glass casserole dish or a dish you prefer. Bake for 45* minutes. While it is baking, mix the ketchup and sugar and set aside.

Once the loaf has baked for 45* minutes or until internal temp is about 140°F, pour ketchup onto the top of meatloaf and spread it out evenly. Replace pan into oven and bake for an additional 10* minutes or until internal temp is 155°F. For the final caramelising of the glaze, broil the pan for 2 to 3 minutes or until you see a ton of tiny bubbles in the glaze. Let rest for 10 minutes once you remove it from the oven.

*Remember, if you use a larger pan, cooking time would be less or if you use a smaller pan, cooking time is longer.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Paco's Slow Cooker Chili Beans

Prep: 30 minutes, Cook: 8-9 hours

About 3 c cleaned pinto beans
1 lb ground beef or sausage
1 can diced tomatoes*
1 tbls fresh minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1 c chopped green onions (green parts add color)
4 tbls red chili powder
Enough water to cover beans by about 2 inches in slow cooker
4 tbls flour (optional)
In the slow cooker on high, add cleaned beans with water, salt, pepper, chili powder, minced garlic, garlic salt, tomatoes** & chopped onions (all but the flour). Break up the raw ground beef into pieces & drop into the slow cooker. Leave for about eight hours. Maybe check on it half way through to see if the water is still covering the beans & possibly stir once to make sure beans do not stick to the side of the slow cooker (it depends on the kitchen temperature & how close the slow cooker is to other objects).
Optional for a thicker juice:  Eight hours later (or when beans are tender all the way through), in a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 c of bean juice from slow cooker with flour. Remove remaining juice from slow cooker to where juice just covers the beans. Add juice/flour mixture back to the slow cooker. Set on low for 30 more minutes to thicken.
Serve in a bowl, sprinkled with shredded cheese & garlic bread on the side.
*Fresh diced tomatoes may be substituted for canned.
**If you like big chunks of tomatoes, add them later with the flour.

I used my chili for Frito Pie! I also serve it on top of a hotdog.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Chili and Cheese Rellenos (reh•YEH•nos)

It's that time of year again when green chili hits the stores and the lovely smell of roasted green chili wanders into my nose. That's New Mexico for ya! This year, for some strange reason, like never before, I've had a really strong hankering for chili rellenos! To top it off, I have one more week to wait until I am able to purchase my eighty pounds of roasted green chili to put away in the freezer for the next year! 

Have no fear! I was lucky enough to get fresh green chili in my bountiful basket food co-op this weekend, so I was saved! For then time being...

This is a recipe handed down to me from my Mom. I've looked online and haven't found anything close. My Mom never really measures so I tried to write it as close to it as I could.

Chili Rellenos

About 12 fresh roasted & peeled green chili
1¼ c flour
1t baking powder
1c 0% milk
2 eggs slightly beaten
½ t salt
½ t garlic salt
½ t paprika
About ¼-½ lb block of your favorite cheese - depending how much cheese you like
Canola oil for frying
I started with roasting my green chili on my charcoal grill. I set them on a high heat and was constantly turning them until all sides of the peelings looked like they had pulled away from the meat of the chili. Be sure not to leave them on one side too long... Once roasted, I placed them in a gallon plastic bag so they can steam for at least 10 minutes or longer (I went DQ and got some ice cream while I waited).
CAUTION: If your chili is hot, make sure you wear non-laytex gloves before peeling chili. At the sink under running water, I peeled each of the chili, taking care not to puncture the meet of the chili. With my thumb, I tore a small slit at the top of the chili near the seeds. Optional: I ran water inside and rubbed the seeds out - I have a hard time eating the seeds.
With a paper towel, I patted each chili dry as much as I was able. I sliced up my block of cheese to about ⅛-¼ inch thick. I then broke the cheese in half longways so that I could slide them into my chili through the slit I created to clean out the seeds. If you make the slit too long, like I did, just fold over the edges of the chili. Set them aside until finished with the batter.

For the batter, whisk the eggs together in a small bowl and set aside. In the KitchenAid mixer with a wire attachment, mix flour, baking powder, salt, garlic salt & paprika. Add milk and eggs. If you want a thicker batter add slightly more flour. Try not to mix too much, mix only until smooth. Scrape sides and mix for 30 seconds more.

Pour oil into frying pan on a medium heat, using enough oil to half way cover the chili (fatter cheese stuffed chili might need more oil vs flatter, less cheese stuffed chili). Oil is ready when you drop a drop of batter into the oil and the batter immediately bubbles and floats to the top.

When the oils is ready, completely submerge one stuffed chili into batter while holding the chili stem and a fork and the other end, remove from batter and lay into hot oil. Repeat until pan is full, but at the same time watch the chili cooking and turn over when the bottom half is brown. Remove from oil and place on rack or paper towel covered plate.
If there is leftover batter, fry it up too and make kiddie rellenos w/o chili or cheese. I'm not a kid and I still enjoy the kiddie rellenos! - just pour batter into hot oil making 2 inch round patties. Flip when bottom side is brown...

Best served warm!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Aunt Virginia Been's Jalapeños

3½ c water
5 c white vinegar
2 c white wine
3 tbls salt
¼ c sugar
5 lbs jalapeños
garlic cloves
onion wedges
Non-laytex gloves

Slice the jalapeños. Thickness is a matter of preference. I wanted to use my food processor to slice, plus i knew my jalapeños were hot so I wanted a smaller bite size slice.
Bring to boil the water, vinegar, wine, salt and sugar to make brine.
Tightly pack jalapeños into pint or half pint jars, with one clove of garlic and one onion. 
Pour brine over jalapeños.
Seal with hot lids and bath for 2 minutes.
Let them sit for 3 weeks to pickle before opening.