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Corn and Salsa Spiralized Zucchini Pasta

Southwest Spiralized Zucchini Pasta

A spiralizer has been sitting around in my closet for quite some time, gathering dust. Something recently caught my attention and prompted me to buy a couple of zucchinis and dust that puppy off. Being that it is Summer, and the height of fresh veggie season, now is the time to do it!

First thing I did was set up the spiralizer with the smaller of the string settings.

Spiralizer and a few ingredients

I washed and trimmed the ends off of two zucchinis and ran them through the process.

Zucchini “noodles”

The center remains as a long “rod”, about the thickness of a pencil. I cut those into little chunks and set them aside. I added two or three good pinches of salt to the “noodles” and tossed them well. I set those aside, while I assembled my other ingredients: about a half of a cup of corn (fresh, cooked on the cobb, and removed), a half cup of salsa, the zucchini core pieces, a minced garlic glove, and a few grinds of black pepper.

In a 10″ nonstick skillet (or wok, if you prefer), add a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter over medium high heat. When melted and bubbling, add the veggies, except for the “noodles”.

Corn, zucchini pieces fron core, garlic clove.

Toss to saute for a minute, the add salsa. Make sure it’s all heated through, then add the zucchini noodles.

Almost done!

If there isn’t too much salt, it should be okay to toss straight in. If you think you added too much, rinse and drain before adding to the skillet. Toss the mixture a couple of times, to coat the noodles, cooking for a minute or so. Cover and steam for a minute. Add the black pepper and adjust seasoning to taste. Sprinkle with cheese of your choice, if desired. If I had some fresh cilantro on hand, I would have added a handful of leaves at the last minute.

The Final product…yum!

And let me say, if you’ve never tried the spiralized zucchini noodle thing, you will be pretty amazed. They really do feel like noodles, with just a slight crunch. Both my wife and daughter thought I had mixed regular thin spaghetti noodles in with the zucchini. Of course, this could be sauced an endless number of ways, and with different veggies. Also, with or without meat. I might try an alfredo next….

 

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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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Cabbage, Corn and Bean Soup

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I had some leftover cabbage and wanted to use it somehow. Thinking back a looooooong time ago to when I worked in a restaurant chain, I used to make a simple Burger, Cabbage and Kidney Bean Soup. With that in mind, I came up with a vegetarian soup that is similar, but with a few added ingredients. It starts with simple aromatics and a roux and comes together very quickly. This soup can be made entirely ahead and served later or you can prep the vegetables in advance and store them in the fridge until you want to make the soup. Enjoy!

Cabbage, Corn and Bean Soup

Ingredients:IMAG1709_1

2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 c. Carrots, diced

1/2 c. Celery, diced (2 ribs)

1/3 c. Onion, diced

1-1/2 c. Cabbage, cut into 1”x1” squares

1 large clove Garlic (or 2 smaller), crushed

1 T. Chili Powder

2 T. All Purpose Flour

1 can Corn with liquid

1 can Kidney Beans with liquid

2 c. Vegetable Broth

¼ t. Crushed Red Pepper

Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

2 T. Apple Cider Vinegar

1 teaspoon of Maggi seasoning or 1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

Directions:

Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Add raw vegetable, except cabbage, in two minute intervals, sautéing/stirring after each addition, starting with carrots, then celery and onion.IMAG1710

Add chili powder, then stir in flour. Then add the garlic and crushed red pepper. IMAG1712

Continue stirring for a couple more minutes. Add cabbage.IMAG1713 IMAG1714Next, add the corn and beans with their liquids and the vegetable stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add  vinegar and Maggi seasoning or Soy Sauce, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or more. Serve hot! Can be cooled, refrigerated and reheated for service the next day and it will be even better! Taste before serving to adjust seasoning. If the cabbage makes the soup too sweet, you can add more vinegar. Another option is the vinegar with the peppers in the bottle, if you like it a little spicier. or  the hot sauce of your choice.

How about some salt-baked Yukon Gold Potatoes and some Garlic-Rubbed Cabbage Steaks to go with that soup?

How about some salt-baked Yukon Gold Potatoes and some Garlic-Rubbed Cabbage Steaks to go with that soup?

Note: This soup could be made non-vegetarian with the addition of some browned hamburger or leftover roasted chicken and you could substitute beef or chicken stock instead of vegetable stock.

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