Fruits of our labor

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Today I am linking to the Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage.  I have been amazed that Jami is still harvesting her crops, when ours are long gone and the garden is dry and parched!  But I suspect we had a head start.  Back two months ago, I took this picture while making salsa.  My husband dearly loves homemade salsa, and I dearly love him, so last year I canned the equivalent of 5 gallons of salsa!  This year it was more like 4 gallons.  Makes you feel accomplished, though, when you see all those jars in a row:

P1040314So thankful for the blessing of abundant tomatoes and peppers this year!

Here’s the salsa recipe, if you’d like it:

4-4 ½ quarts diced tomatoes

2 c. finely diced jalapeno pepper (if they are really hot, do ½ and ½ with green pepper)

5 onions, diced (2 cups)

3 T. minced garlic

1 T. salt

2 c. lemon juice (OR put ¼ t. citric acid in each pint jar before the salsa)

1 can tomato paste, if too thin

Combine all ingredients except tomato paste in large pot.  Bring to a boil, then simmer until onions are tender and liquid is reduced.  (This takes awhile,  cook until volume has reduced down about 2 inches.) Add tomato paste if desired.  Put into pint canning jars and process in hot water bath for 15 minutes.  Makes 7-8 pints.

Bitty Baby Cornbread

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I have a bitty baby iron skillet, 6 1/2 inches across in diameter.  It cooks up a couple of eggs just fine, or two sausage patties.  But today I needed cornbread!  Not too much though, I prefer to eat it fresh and hot, not left over.  So I made a recipe for cornbread in the bitty baby pan.  Here it is, if you’d like to try it:

Bitty Baby Cornbread

1/2 c. white cornmeal

1/4 t. salt (you may want more–I use less than most recipes call for)

1 t. baking powder

1/2 t. baking soda

1 egg

1/2 c. buttermilk

2 T. oil (plus another T. for the pan)

Turn the oven on to 425 degrees.  Put 1 T. oil in your bitty baby iron skillet, and put it in the oven.    Mix the dry ingredients with a fork in a small bowl.  Add liquid ingredients and using a whisk, mix together thoroughly, scraping the sides and bottom to make sure all the cornmeal is mixed in.  Batter will be thin. Remove skillet from oven, and swirl around so that the oil will coat the bottom.  Pour in your cornbread batter, and place back in the oven.  Bake until golden brown on top, and a knife stuck in the middle comes out clean.  This took about 15 minutes in my toaster oven.

Enjoy your bitty baby cornbread!  Just right for the two of you.  We’re having homegrown black-eyed peas and ham hock with ours–yummy!

*Post-lunch update:  It was really good!  Had a thin crackly crust on top, and was very light and airy.

Homemade sauerkraut

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Let me just begin by saying that I don’t eat this stuff.  However, my husband and daughter love it, and I’m always up for a culinary adventure.  So, they chopped and smushed a whole head of cabbage, and placed it in the red crock pictured.  We used a recipe from my Christmas present, The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila, with one important addition.  We added some EM-1 to introduce some friendly microorganisms to help it ferment properly.

Two weeks later, I kept smelling the kraut, so I told my husband it was time to package it up.  As you can see, our large head of cabbage made almost 2 quarts of sauerkraut!  He pronounced it most tasty….I’ll just take his word for it.

Make it from scratch…pancakes!

Today at breakfast, while we were eating our pancakes, I told the kids that when we first married, I was using Bisquick to make pancakes. I characterized them as big, fat, and ugly. One Saturday we were hosting a pancake breakfast at the house for a small group, and I ran out of Bisquick. Betty Crocker, what do I do? I got out the trusty red cookbook, and set to work making pancakes from scratch. I probably didn’t have any buttermilk in the house, but I might have used sour milk (made with vinegar).

Needless to say, I had saved the best for last, and we never looked back…at the Bisquick box. I transformed myself into a buttermilk cook like my mother, and now we have made from scratch, whole wheat pancakes on a regular basis. Very easy, and oh, so tasty!

Here’s a recipe in case Betty Crocker doesn’t live at your house. I like my pancakes pretty thin, so if you like fat ones, use the same amount of flour and buttermilk.

Buttermilk Pancakes

1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 egg
2 T. oil —beat these ingredients with a whisk, then add:
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour, pastry or regular
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
Mix with whisk until smooth.
Bake on preheated griddle (325 degrees on my electric skillet) until bubbles form, then flip carefully. Makes 12-14 4″ pancakes.