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Pressure Canning Corn

Pressure canned corn.

Pressure canned corn.

I thought for sure that I had documented canning corn before. Unfortunately, I didn’t take photos during the preparation process and filling the jars. The process is pretty simple, though. You cut the kernels of corn from fresh corn cobbs and fill clean jars with the corn, leaving a 1″ head space. add 1/2 teaspoon salt per pint jar or 1 teaspoon salt per quart jar. (I use Kosher salt). From about 12-14 large pieces of corn, I got enough kernels to fill 8-pint jars. Next, fill the jars to the 1″ head space mark with boiling water. Pouring from a tea kettle makes it easy. Poke around and down the middle of the jars with a chopstick, skewer, or similar to remove air bubbles. Add more water, if needed. Wipe rims to make sure they are clean and top with prepared canning lids. Screw on rings until finger-tight.

Add the jars to the pressure canner, following manufacturer’s directions. I use a Presto brand 23 quart model.

Presto pressure canner.

Presto pressure canner.

For mine, after I secure the lid, I bring the water to a boil and a little piece pops up to let me know it’s ready. I set a timer for 10 minutes to purge the air out. At that point, I add the little weight that comes with the canner and allow the pressure to build to 11 pounds. The hardest part is regulating the temperature to maintain the pressure. If the pressure goes below 11 pounds, you have to raise the pressure back up and restart the time. I can relieve pressure if it goes to high, by pushing down on a little rubber button on the lid. For corn, the process time is 55 minutes for pints and 1 hour 25 minutes for quarts.

When the processing time is up, turn the heat off and remove the canner from the burner. (I do, because my burners are electric and do not quickly cool…you might not need to, if you use gas.) Allow the pressure to drop to zero, without forcing it. Carefully move jars to a kitchen towel, using a canning jar gripper tool.

Jar gripper and a chopstick (for removing air bubbles).

Jar gripper and a chopstick (for removing air bubbles).

When possible, tighten the screw rings well. (You might want to use a kitchen towel or two to avoid burns!) Allow the jars to set for 24 hours. Check seals to verify a good seal on each jar. If any did not seal, refrigerate and use within a couple of days. Sealed jars are stored in my pantry cabinet without the screw rings…I try to save them for Winter. We’ll see. Take advantage of those Summer vegetables while you “can”! Enjoy!IMG_20150726_184337436

I used this website for reference: http://www.freshpreserving.com/recipes/whole-kernel-corn to make sure I was following safe procedures.

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Yellow Squash Casserole with Swiss Cheese and Cream of Mushroom Soup

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So, I’ve had this really easy recipe for a chicken dish that I got out of Southern Living Magazine decades ago. It’s boneless chicken, swiss cheese, cream of mushroom soup, white wine, bread crumbs and melted butter…baked for 45 minutes at 350F. Now that I have to cook for a vegetarian, I need to try some new things. I was looking for something to do with yellow squash from my garden and I decided to make this recipe.

Yellow Squash Casserole with Swiss Cheese & Cream of Mushroom Soup

Most of the ingredients for the casserole.

Most of the ingredients for the casserole.

5 c. Yellow Squash. cut into approx. 1″ cubes

1 medium Sweet Onion, thinly sliced

1 can Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup

About 2 cups of Shredded Swiss Cheese

2 cups Plain Panko Bread Crumbs

1/4-1/3 c. Dry White Wine

Salt & Pepper, to taste

5 T. Butter, divided

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. In a small saute pan, melt 2 T. butter over medium heat. Add onions and saute until softened, but not browned. Spread the onions evenly over the bottom of a large casserole dish.

Sauteing onions

Sauteing onions

Cover with yellow squash and season with salt and pepper.

Onions, squash, salt and pepper.

Onions, squash, salt and pepper.

Evenly distribute the shredded swiss cheese over the squash.

Swiss cheese.

Swiss cheese.

In a bowl, mix the cream of mushroom soup and the wine. Ladle the soup mixture over the casserole, to cover.

Mushroom soup layer.

Mushroom soup layer.

Next, cover the casserole with the panko bread crumbs. Melt the remaining 3 T. butter and drizzle over the bread crumbs.

Panko and butter drizzle.

Panko and butter drizzle.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 35 to 40minutes, until bubbling throughout. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Serve hot, over rice.

Served over rice...yum!

Served over rice…yum!

Vegetarian approved…and I liked it too! Enjoy!

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Minnie’s Cinnamon Rolls

Leftover dough equals cinnamon roll goodness!

Leftover dough equals cinnamon roll goodness!

So, with the scraps from Dad’s Yeast Rolls dough, after cutting out the rolls, I made some cinnamon rolls this morning. This takes me back to circa 1979, to my first job: Morrison’s Cafeteria. There was a short, snaggle-toothed, older German lady there that did all the baking. There was always some leftover dough and, with both managers weighing in at over 350lbs…maybe 400+…they gave her no arguement when she used it to make some of the best cinnamon rolls ever known to man! Those memories have led me to name this blog entry after Minnie. She looked like a bulldog, baked like an angel, and had a heart of gold. Thanks, Minnie!

Because I had just a handful of dough, I made my cinnamon rolls in a rolled loaf and cut them after baking. If I were dedicating a whole dough recipe to cinnamon rolls, I would roll it out a bit thinner, cut the roll into rounds, and place them on the baking sheet. The leftover dough from the previous night was wrapped in plastic overnight. If making same day, follow Dad’s Yeast Rolls recipe through until punching down the dough, after the first rise.

Sprinkled liberally with brown sugar and cinnamon and rolled.

Sprinkled liberally with brown sugar and cinnamon, rolled and brushed with butter.

The basic procedure is to roll out the dough into a rectangle, about as thin as pizza dough…maybe not quite that thin. Bush the dough with melted butter, scatter brown sugar over the dough to cover. Leave a little room around the edges. Sprinkle ground cinnamon over the brown sugar. Drizzle with a little more melted butter. (Optional: at this point, you could add some chopped pecans, if you like.) Roll the dough tightly, along the long side of the rectangle. Now, for my leftover batch, I baked the whole roll, brushed with more melted butter. For a larger batch, gently cut 1″ pieces and carefully lay them out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 400F oven until nicely browned. I have to admit, I didn’t set a timer or note the cooking time exactly, but it was probably about 15 minutes. Brush with melted butter and drizzle with icing, if you like.

Baked roll.

Baked roll.

For the icing drizzle, I eyeballed a couple spoons of powdered sugar and a tablespoon or so of half’n’half. Powdered sugar doesn’t need much to liquify, so go easy! Use a wire whip to whisk thoroughly and eliminate any lumps. Use a spoon to drizzle over the rolls. Enjoy!

Drizzled with icing.

Drizzled with icing.

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My Dad’s Rolls

Dad's Yeast Rolls...none better!

Dad’s Yeast Rolls…none better!

It’s been decades since I’ve had a yeast roll made by my Dad. Well, he IS 88 years old and hasn’t really cooked in many years, to my knowledge. There was a time when he did, from time to time. In fact, I got really tired of his Shrimp Fried Rice (though it was really good!). His rolls were always welcome though. I tried to Google a recipe last thanksgiving and that recipe failed pretty miserably. So, I asked for the recipe soon after. What I got was an old recipe notecard with ingredients and pretty sparse instructions. I don’t know where the recipe originated. The card says to cut the dough in strips, stack in 3’s and “cut 1/2 inch and butter”. That’s not what my Dad did…I have no idea where he got his technique, but I like it. I’ll go over it in the recipe. Anyway, I made the recipe for the first time tonight and I feel like I have tasted my Dad’s rolls for the first time in decades. Kind of a big deal. Thanks, Dad!

Ingredients for Dad's Yeast Rolls.

Ingredients for Dad’s Yeast Rolls.

Dad’s Yeast Rolls

Dry ingredients:

4-1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

1/4 cup Sugar

1 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/4 cup Crisco Shortening

1 pkg. Dry Yeast

Wet ingredients:

1/4 cup Water, warm

1 cup Buttermilk, lukewarm

2 Eggs, slightly beaten

Melted Butter for brushing

Directions: Proof the yeast in the warm water. Meanwhile, add the dry ingredients to a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Blend the dry ingredients briefly. Add the Crisco and blend on medium speed until incorporated. Combine the wet ingredients and stir together. With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

The dough coming together.

The dough coming together.

When the dough comes together, switch to the dough hook attachment and run on low speed for 5 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and not sticky.

Low speed with the dough hook.

Low speed with the dough hook.

Grease the bowl or spray it lightly with nonstick spray. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover, and place in a warm draft-free place, until dough doubles in size, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Time to rise!

Risen!

Punch dough down…

Punching down the dough.

Punching down the dough.

…and roll out into a circle, about 1/4″ thick. Cut into 2″ circles.

Rolled and cut dough.

Rolled and cut dough.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Fold the dough circles in half, using a slight pulling motion to stretch a little. Place on the baking sheet and brush with melted butter.

Folded and brushed with butter.

Folded and brushed with butter.

Heat oven to 400F and bake in the center of the oven for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter again.

Baked and butter brushed again. Mmm!

Baked and butter brushed again. Mmm!

Serve warm! These rolls are great with jam/jelly or gravy, too. Enjoy!

 

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Further Adventures with Jackfruit…Canning in Syrup

Fresh Jackfruit. ripe.

Fresh Jackfruit. ripe.

When I got this jackfruit, I went through quite a learning experience to get the fruit separated from the husk. For that adventure, see my previous post. With some of the fruit, I decided to make a Jackfruit Cider. For that adventure, you can follow his link to my brewing and fermenting blog:

https://mmmbrews.wordpress.com/2015/06/02/jackfruit-cider-well-see/

With 2lbs of fruit left, plus the seeds, I needed to finish up before things started going bad. First, the seeds. I boiled the seeds for 15 minutes and then roasted them for another 15 minutes at 400F. The skin covering the outside is a little bit of a pain to remove. The seed itself is like a very dry, firm potato. Not bad, though. A nice snack.

Jackfruit seeds. Boiled and then roasted.

Jackfruit seeds. Boiled and then roasted.

Now, for the fruit.

2lbs fresh jackfruit.

2lbs fresh jackfruit.

Canned Jackfruit in Syrup

2lbs fresh, ripe jackfruit

3 cups white sugar

3 cups water

Directions:

Combine the water and sugar in a large pot or saucepan and stir to dissolve the sugar over high heat. Bring to a boil and add the jackfruit. Boil for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare 2 pint jars, lids, and screw rings for canning. Prepare pressure canner.

Boiling jackfruit in syrup.

Boiling jackfruit in syrup.

Add fruit to jars and cover with syrup, leaving approx. ½” headspace. Clean rims with damp cloth. Place lids and screw down rings to finger tight.

Jackfruit ready for jars.

Jackfruit ready for jars.

Place jars carefully into prepared pressure canner and close lid. Purge according to manufacturer’s recommendations (10 minutes, in my case). Place weight and bring pressure to 11lbs.

11lbs for 15 minutes, after 10 minute purge.

11lbs for 15 minutes, after 10 minute purge.

Process for 15 minutes. Allow to cool in canner until pressure is zero. Remove jars to cloth-lined counter and allow to rest for 24 hours to seal. When cool enough to touch, snug down screw rings. After the rest period, check seal, remove screw rings, and store in cool, dark space.

Canned jackfruit in syrup, just out of the pressure canner.

Canned jackfruit in syrup, just out of the pressure canner.

Note: I had excess syrup…about 2/3 of a pint jar. I let it cool and refrigerated it. Not sure what I’ll do with it yet.

 

 

 

 

 

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Jackfruit: What You Need to Know Before You Buy a Fresh One!

Fresh Jackfruit...oh boy!

Fresh Jackfruit…oh boy!

Through a little twist of fate, I wound up the proud owner of  a large, fresh jackfruit today. It was just going to be tossed, if I didn’t accept the offer, so I took it. I had visions in my head of making a jackfruit mead or a jackfruit cider. I also am considering canning it in syrup…could be an NC State Fair prize winner! But I have no idea how to use it. I’m ruling out mead, because I would need six pounds of honey and I’m not willing to invest $36+ on a project that may not work out. Other options are open and more research is going to take place shortly.

The reason for this post is to let people know, who may be intrigued by this large fruit, normally found in Asian grocery stores (in my area),  what you are about to get into if you make that leap.

First, it is big. My kitchen scale goes up to eleven pounds and this exceeded that. Second, it is hard. I used a 10 inch chef’s knife and did okay cutting it in half and then each half into quarters. Imagine cutting through a very large butternut squash.

Half...then quarters.

Half…then quarters.

When you open it, you will see orange pods held in place by stringy internal fibers, and a core. I cut the core away, like I would from a quartered pineapple. Some of the pods had their single seeds exposed and a few cut through. So, the trick now is to separate the pods from the rind and the fibrous stuff. I decided to cut between the rind and the pods like I cut cantaloupe away from the rind. Then I would pull up a pod, remove the sticky, clingy strands from it. Next, cut a piece from the top and bottom, releasing the seed from its attachment to the pod. The seed, which looks like a large garlic clove is slippery and will pop out of its sheath, which should be removed and discarded.IMG_20150531_162438878

It is at this point that you realize that your hands and knives are becoming more and more sticky and it isn’t rinsing off…not even with soap. The sap is coming from the core and stringy fibers and it feels very much like what I would imagine the sap from an actual rubber tree would feel. So, at this point, I decided just to get it done. *(Update: I later learned through my research that cooking oil keeps what others refer to as the “latex” from sticking. Coat your hands, work surfaces, and knife blades with it prior to beginning. Personally, handling oily knives with oily hands sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, in my opinion. Perhaps I would try it for clean-up.)

This is AFTER I tried to wash my hands with hot water!

This is AFTER I tried to wash my hands with soap and hot water!

This took some time…I wasn’t watching a clock, but it was over an hour, I’m sure. Once I had everything separated, most of the peels, cores, etc. went to the composter. I kept the seeds, pending research. Some seed covers and a fair amount of string/sticky fiber went into the disposer. I would not recommend this…looked like sinks were backing up, but cleared a few minutes later, after running the disposer and some hot water. I had to clean my hands and knives with a solvent!*(see update above)

Yielded about 4lbs fruit.

Yielded about 4lbs fruit.

With all said and done, I have 4lbs of Jackfruit and about a pound and a half of seeds. As I said, I’m not decided yet on what to do with the fruit and I doubt the seeds are useful, but after all that work, I’m going to figure out something!

As for the flavor and texture, fresh jackfruit is hard to pin down, except for banana. Banana is definitely there, but there’s some other stuff there that I don’t really know how to describe. Floral? Peach/mango/pineapple? But with absolutely no acidity. It’s not juicy or lush; the texture is kind of like biting into a slightly limp slice of yellow squash. It’s hard to say I really like it. I would nibble on some, but I would not eat much. Canned in syrup or as the main ingredient in a cider? I don’t know yet…could be fabulous. But before you buy one, if you read this first, you’ll know what you’re getting yourself into! Enjoy!

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Awesomest Cookie Ever?!

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I love cookies. For health reasons, I generally avoid buying any cookies that I like, to eliminate the temptation. Unfortunately, my wife brought home some chocolate chunk cookies recently and I reaquainted myself with love! They came from Chik-Fil-A and I don’t really know anything else about them…I don’t even know how much they cost. I just know that they were GOOD! (If Chick-Fil-A would like to send me free chicken sandwiches, I’ll be glad to stop by my local location to pick them up!)

So, now I’m at home, following a minor surgery, and can’t drive while on pain meds…and I’m craving cookies! My first choice would be white chocolate/macadamia  cookies, but I don’t have those ingredients on hand. After some research, I found a chocolate chunk cookie recipe by reknowned New York chocolatier, Jacques Torres. Now, Mr. Torres would probably be horrified, but; despite my “foodie” status, I’m not a big fan of most dark chocolates. I like the sweet/creamy flavor of milk chocolate. And, since I have some other ingredients that I want to use before they go stale, I’m also thowing in some butterscotch chips and pecan pieces. One other change: I’m substituting whole wheat flour for the pastry flour, because I don’t keep pastry flour on hand. The texture probably won’t be as light, but I like the nuttiness of whole wheat flour. So, with all due repect to Jacques Torres, could this be the awesomest cookie ever?!  Well, they are darn good!!! (I still love me some macadamias, though!) I got 2 dozen BIG cookies and 10 smaller ones. Here’s the original recipe* with my changes…so you could try it either way! Or do your own thing! Enjoy!

Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Makes twenty-six 5-inch cookies or 8 1/2 dozen 1 1/4-inch cookies

Ingredients

Ingredients

Ingredients

1 pound unsalted butter

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar

4 large eggs

3 cups plus 2 tablespoons pastry flour (substituting whole wheat flour)

3 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (substituting 11.5oz milk choc. Chips, 11oz butterscotch chips, and 6oz pecan pieces)

Directions

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats; set aside.

– In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars.

Creaming butter and sugars.

Creaming butter and sugars.

– Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Always break the eggs into a bowl...so you can make sure no shells go into the cookies.

Always break the eggs into a bowl…so you can make sure no shells go into the cookies.

– Reduce speed to low and add both flours, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and chocolate; mix until well combined. (I was able to add the pecan to the mixer, but I had to add the by hand. This is a pretty large recipe!)

Mixing in the chips.

Mixing in the chips.

– Using a 4-ounce scoop for larger cookies or a 1-ounce scoop for smaller cookies, scoop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. (I used a #12 disher/ice cream scoop, which is 2-2/3 ozand I only got 6 per 1/2 sheet pan)

Big balls ofcookie dough!

Big balls of cookie dough!

– Bake until lightly browned, but still soft, about 20 minutes for larger cookies and about 15 minutes for smaller cookies.

Out of the oven.

Out of the oven.

– Cool slightly on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

*I found the original recipe on someone else’s Pinterest site and do not know if it has ever been published elswhere or has copyrights established, so I am making every effort to give Jacques Torres credit.

https://www.mrchocolate.com/

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