R is for Rearranging

Pumpkin pie with pastryI couldn’t​ decide how to arrange the leaves on the pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving so I took a few shots before serving.

Pumpkin pie with pastry

I was so happy that I actually remembered to bake the leaves with the leftover pie crust scraps that I didn’t know what to do with them. It’s such a simple and cute idea but I always forget. I end up using the scraps to make a few tiny jam roll ups for a snack.

Pumpkin

There are times when I am too eager to taste my food to bother taking a quality photo and this was one of those times. Sometimes you just gotta dig in!

Slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream and

J is for Jars #AtoZChallenge

Canning jars decorated with fabric and jute. Mango rum chutney, pickled green tomato slices, green relishThese jars were Christmas presents for a few friends. I found the idea to decorate them online and was happy with the way they turned out.

Decorating and wrapping gifts are not my strong suits. I’m good at cooking, baking, and in this case, canning, but that final step before gifting usually gets overlooked.

This time I was happy to decorate. It was fun. I learned that the name of that kind of scraggly looking string is jute. (I would have guessed raffia.)

Ingredients for mango rum chutney in the pot
This delicious chutney is a treat to make.

The recipe for the  Hot Mango-Rum Chutney came from Better Homes and Gardens. It’s not actually hot, but the people I gave it to would consider it spicy so I labeled it to give them warning. The recipe can be made with papaya or mango.

The recipes for the Green Tomato Relish and Dilled Green Tomatoes don’t seem to be online, but if you have an older version of the Ball Blue Book, you’ll see them there. I did blog about making them in a post about relish a while back.

 

F is for Flowers Freezing #AtoZChallenge

Cherry Blossoms covered in snow
Snowy cherry blossoms

We had a warm streak in early March that lasted long enough to trick the early flowering trees into blossoming. Too soon, little flowers, too soon. The snow stuck around for a day or two, followed soon by another storm with much colder temperatures and more snow.

Finally, a month after this photo was taken, the time was right for the trees to begin opening.

It seems that weather patterns have been disrupted lately. Winters are not predictable as they once were, turning into a mixture of a heat wave one week and an arctic blast the next.

Plum tree blossoms with snow on branches
Snowy plum tree blossoms

These trees that I photographed are decorative—planted in my neighborhood to look pretty and not to provide food. But these same erratic weather patterns are affecting and will continue to affect our fruit trees, other crops, and food supply. For example, fruit and nut trees need a certain amount of cold weather, or “chill hours,” in winter in order to produce fruit during the growing season. Peach farmers in Georgia are expecting an even worse year than last year’s crop yield, in part due to record low amounts of chilling hours.

Let’s hope we can stop climate change before we run out of food.

 

B is for Brownies #AtoZChallenge

The last brownie in the glass baking pan with crumbs

Thank you to King Arthur Flour for this recipe for brownies. I love it because I always have the ingredients on hand, so it makes a good go-to if I need to make some in a hurry. These fall more into the cake-like brownie category rather than the fudge-like brownies. But if you find yourself out of baking chocolate and it’s time to bake some brownies, this recipe won’t disappoint you.

From the King Arthur Flour 10-lbs. bag of all-purpose flour.

Quick & Easy Fudge Brownies

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. salt*
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. espresso powder, optional
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (8 TB) butter, melted
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
*increase the salt to 1/2 tsp. if you use unsalted butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F
  2. Lightly grease a 9″x13″ pan
  3. Put all of the ingredients into a large bowl in the order in which they’re written.
  4. Stir, then beat the mixture until smooth
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan
  6. Bake the brownies for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they’re just barely beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  7. Remove the brownies from the oven; let them cool completely before cutting.
  8. Store any leftovers, well wrapped, at room temperature for 5 to 6 days.
  9. Freeze for longer storage.

Yield: about 2 dozen 2″ brownies

Chocolate Habanero

2016-10-21-12-34-31Why do they call you chocolate habanero? Is it because they want to watch me take a bite and laugh at my tears and burning tongue? I know it’s only a name because they look like chocolate, but I’m just dumb enough to want to taste one….

Spicy peppers at the farmers market, jalapeno, habanero, Serrano, Fresno, cayenne, poblano

I love the hot peppers on display at the farmer’s market.

They are too spicy for me, but I enjoy pickling them for my husband.

Chopped hot, spicy peppers on a cutting board

They are so pretty when chopped up and canned.

Hot spicy peppers slices and pickled in masn jars

Daily Prompt: Relish (Green Tomato & Beet)

Green Tomato relish and pickled

In addition to my fried green tomatoes, I also made green tomato relish. I had never tasted it before and am surprised at how much I like it. The green tomatoes make it tangy and the brown sugar balances that with some sweetness. There’s also onion, pepper, cabbage and mustard seeds.

Chopped green tomatoes, onion, cabbage, peppers are salted for several hours, rinsed and then turned into relish
Chopped green tomatoes, onion, cabbage, peppers are salted for several hours, rinsed, and then turned into relish. This is about 28 cups!

I also made some beet relish a few weeks ago. (Same day I made a batch of hot peppers, apparently.)

Beet relish canned and spicy peppers canned

It’s pretty heavy on the beet flavor, but still good. I had never tasted this either, but I had some beets and the recipe in the canning book seemed good.

Ingredients of the beet relish: chopped beets, cabbage, onion and peppers

I think the green tomato is my new favorite. I had to try some refrigerator pickled slices, too. These are flavored with dill.

Green Tomato slices, pickled with dill

I made 7 pints of the green tomato relish, 4 pints of the slices, 4 half-pints of beet relish, and one pint of refrigerator pickled slices. Looks like I’ll be…savoring this relish for a long time.

viaDaily Prompt: Relish

Fried Green Tomatoes and Broiled Catfish

Fried green tomatoes and Broiled catfish with lemon

I found a lot of green tomatoes at the farmers market last month and cooked this one Sunday afternoon.

I got a tip from a lady at the market to dip the tomato slices in flour, then egg, then the cornmeal. Your fingers turn into a breaded mess, but that’s what it takes. I always had the problem of the breading falling off as soon as the slices hit the oil.