Our daughter came up today to see us and to do her laundry, so I needed to get out of the living room (we have limited seating). So first, I spent a little time in the kitchen making Cowboy Candy. If you've never heard of it, it's candied jalapeños. I ordered a canning pot, rack, and tools while I was in Colorado, and this was my first time to use it. (I've made jelly and jam before, but this was the first "canning.")
I saw this recipe on SBCanning, and was intrigued. I love spicy and sweet combined, so I'm looking forward to trying some of these. It's suggested that these are good on hamburgers, and on cream cheese atop crackers. We'll see!
1 lb. fresh jalapenos
⅔ cup cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
¼ teaspoon tumeric
¼ teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Slice jalapenos. Mix cider vinegar, sugar, tumeric, celery seed, garlic, and cayenne to boil. Reduce for 5 minutes to a simmer. Add jalapenos at the simmer for 5 minutes more. Load sterilized jars with jalapenos first and add liquid filling the jars leaving a 1/4 headspace. Process in a water bath for 15 minutes. Makes 2 pints (I made 4 half pints).
Next, I went down the mountain to pick up some things at Cost Plus (wine and beer), Trader Joe's, Vons, and the Ranch Market (I have to have their tortilla chips). When I came back, T was sleeping in her father's recliner, and her father was finished with his painting on the deck and was watching the Ryder Cup (go USA!!!!). So I went downstairs and grabbed the two pumpkins I bought yesterday at the pumpkin patch. I was given a pretty good deal - they weren't open for business until today, but forgot to close the gate. The guy said he'd be glad to sell me some pumpkins as long as I had cash, so I got two white ones that are great for making pureé. The larger one would have been $10, and the smaller one $8, but he gave me both for $10.
I cooked these two ways. One was done in the microwave and the other in my 2-tier vegetable steamer. To microwave: Cut pumpkin in large chunks, scoop out the seeds and junk, and put in a bowl with about an inch of water. Cover the bowl loosely, and microwave on HIGH 20-25 minutes. Check after 15 and then just add 5 minutes at a time until the flesh is soft.
After setting aside two cups for pumpkin butter, I ended up with 7 bags of pureé.
While I was bagging the pureé, I started the pumpkin butter. It takes about an hour to cook it down
by Kevin of Closet Cooking
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup apple cider
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves
Simmer everything in a pot until most of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce has thickened. Makes 2 cups.
This took about an hour, and after the first 10 minutes I had to use a spatter screen to keep it from splattering all over the stove.
You can't can this for safety reasons, but you can store it in your fridge for a few weeks (if it lasts that long) or for 3-4 months in your freezer. The batch only makes about 2 cups, so we should be able to eat it up!
I also managed to freeze and bag a pound of strawberries and a big basket of raspberries. I just rinse, hull and slice the strawberries, and do nothing with the raspberries. I spread both fruits on a large cookie sheet and flash freeze. Then when they're solid, I put them in ziploc bags and put them back in the freezer. They're now ready for smoothies and desserts.
Dinner was Kung Pao Pork - and I forgot the peanuts again! It still tasted good, but I missed the peanuts. My daughter had never had it, and she gobbled it up. She says she won't have to eat during work tonight (she works midnight to 8 am).