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Late Summer Rhubarb Crisp

If you shop with a tight budget, and only go once or twice a month to the store, there are inevitably going to be times when the larder is becoming bare and still it isn’t Grocery Day. With experience, these times become a day or two at most, but it is always nice to have someone up the proverbial apron sleeve, to make a meal feel special, without a lot of extras that you may be out of.

Tonight, I made rhubarb crisp for just that reason. It was served with homemade whipped cream, and was a big hit all around. There are fancier versions (like the photo of Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp above, by Vegan Feast Catering)  But I am a huge fan of the Dump and Pray Philosophy. I know how it is supposed to look in the pan, and sprinkle or add, until I get there. Fortunately for this blog post, I measured just for you. Here is my recipe:

Simple Rhubarb Crisp

4-6 cups chopped rhubarb-measured loosely, it doesn’t matter as long as your baking pan is 1 inch full of pieces.

1 box red jello -raspberry, strawberry, it doesn’t matter

1 stick butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 cup whole oats

cinnamon/nutmeg if desired

 

In a baking pan (I use 9X 13 inch cake pan) add the rhubarb. I like to do this with frozen rhubarb, partially thawed. The rhubarb will be juicy as it thaws. Break it up, so it evenly covers the pan.

Sprinkle sugars/jello powder/flour/oats over all.

Sprinkle with cinn/nutmeg

Place pats of butter evenly over the entire pan.

Bake 375 for 30-45 minutes, or until hot in the center and topping is slightly browned and bubbling on the edges.

Serve over ice cream or with whipped cream. Delish!!

 

Foods In A Jar

From the garden to jar

I have a burning desire to always put food up. No matter if it is canning, freezing, dehydrating, or simply layering into canning jars for the pantry, it is one of the foremost things I worry/think about, when I have time to muse. I have found that many of the old cookbooks address meals in a jar, much more than modern ones do. The more modern varieties are usually desserts (not that there is anything wrong with a dessert), but savory main dish ingredients should be considered for a full pantry.

I found this cool idea for a meal in a jar, from YouTube channel: Linda’s Pantry. Called Rosemary Chicken and Rice, it sounds delicious!

Rosemary Chicken and Rice

I especially appreciate her direction, because it uses dried foods that many of us keep in our pantry, but may not know how to combine into a new meal. Does anyone know where to buy freeze dried chicken? That’s a new one.

Another cool idea, is to mix your own flavored rice together, and store it in jars. Since the flavoring can sometimes settle out of the rice, you could keep it in single meal sized jars. These do not have to be canning jars, and are wonderful for those glass jars that you always have piling up. Here is my recipe (this is straight from my Canning and Preserving For Dummies Book)

Rice Mix

1 cup long-grain rice

2 tsp bouillon granules

3 teaspoons dried herbs

1/4 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients and cap tightly until needed. For my family, I double this for one meal. As long as you use the entire jar for one meal, you will have an even ratio of rice to flavor.

No bouillon? How about powdering the dehydrated veggies of your choice: I use tomato, onion, green pepper, nettle , mixed in equal parts with Nutritional yeast, and substitute it for the bouillon. You may find that you have to adjust the salt, because of course a purchased bouillon is very salty.

Finally, please note that I am posting to the old address today. Last night, I moved to my own server and then promptly broke the site. No worries, but I can’t embed the video or do the kinds of things I want to at this address. Hopefully, but tomorrow I will get it all worked out.

Have a great afternoon!

Eat Local: Really Local

After enjoying one last Food Preservation class at our local community college, I started to really think about the idea of eating local.  For many of us that is easy to do in thesummer. We all know about farmers markets and the like. Even walmart isoverflowing with so called local produce.
I am talking about digging a little deeper (no pun intended), and try to eat seasonally all year round. 
Despite what you may think, thewinter has plenty of variety for cooking. Root vegetables have  beentucked away in the yukky veg category and that’s too bad. They have a naturalsweetness that is enhanced after a cold spell. They keep well and are flavorfulas well as colorful. I like to use winter squashes as sweet ingredients and allof them pair well with maple syrup-a warming, winter sweet. I also use them as a side dish. Rich in Vitamin A, they can certainly add a nice dose of flavor to a heavier winter meal. I make roasted or even fried winter squash fries and chips. They taste better than white potatoes, and the family asks for them now. Try making Homefries with half winter squash and half white potatoes, along with your onions. Really delicious!
You can use the things you stored from the summer, combined with winter offerings, and have a full range of foods ready tobe eaten. I will never forget the discussion I had with a conceited person inthe Ag business who told me he had the right to eat whatever he wanted, wheneverhe wanted. I asked him what made him so special and he replied that it was hisright..His Right.
So the people who don’t have the money to eat tomatoes inDecember, don’t have that right? Ghaaa…some peole need a good smack with aturnip. That’s all I have for tonight. I get too worked up about elitism whenthere are hungry children in my own town who watch the corn trucks drive by, heading to the ethanol plant. 
Do you use your local vegetables all year? What do you eat in the winter? Share in the comments! 

The Farming Wife Cooks A Tongue

Oh yea, I went there! Why not make it? We have a few in the freezer, and this week we could really use something for sandwiches.
If you are brave or curious enough to try it, here is what you do:

Rinse the tongue and trim off the meaty part that may still be attached at the back. Then you will be left with a neat, tidy piece of tongue.
In a large kettle(I use a stock pot), place the tongue and cover with cool water.

Then add the seasonings:

3 Tablespoons pickling spice
1 large onion- sliced
1Tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper( my pickling mix has whole peppercorns in it, so I omit)

Over medium heat, bring to a simmer.
Skim as foam appears.
Cover and simmer 3 hours, or until tender.
Cool enough to handle.
With a sharp knife, peel all skin from the meat. This is my least favorite part, but it is easy to do.
Slice meat thinly to use for sandwich meat.

It’s just that easy. Now, you can serve tongue many ways, but for squeamish folks, sandwiches are a good introduction. Before you say no, once you slice it, tongue is simply a very tender, rich meat. The one I cooked today, ended up being 1 1/3 pounds of meat.

Ask about them at your local butcher. When someone has a beef processed, they are asked if they want the heart/liver and tongue. Most people say no, so the butcher often has extra, and you can get them for next to nothing.

Pickled Eggs

I love to  pickle things. Admittedly, my actual cucumber pickles are not so great, but I can make a mean pickled zucchini slice. The thing about pickles, is that they are just a food soaked in brine and spices. That is it.
As far as the pantry goes, pickling is the magic that takes a few simple foods, and adds a completely new component of flavor. Pickles fill in the salty/savory/spicy gap, that many of our meals seem to be missing. If you are budgeting and still trying to keep everything as homemade and healthy as possible, pickling is for you.

Today was Pickled Egg Tasting Day. My recipe can theoretically be eaten after 3 days, and I wanted to take a picture and blog about it. Tasting was just a part of the job.

The results? They were still too salty. It is the same as trying a pickled asparagus spear too soon. The salt has not moved into the food, and is still prevalent in the brine and on the outside of the food only. They were not bad tasting, just too salty. Back into the fridge they go, for another few days.

Pickling eggs also uses up some of the spring flush that my girls get into this time of year. I seems we go with 3 or 4 eggs a week to 30 or more a week, without warning! Suddenly, I am making a lot of omelets, French toast and Frittata. My kids cry fowl (sorry couldn’t resist), and the creativity kicks in. This recipe uses 12 eggs, so I can make three or 4 jars and clean out my overabundance pretty quickly.

For this recipe, place 12 eggs into enough cold water to just cover. Bring to a boil and then turn off heat. Let cook for 12 minutes. Strain and cool in cold water so you can peel them easily.

Peel eggs and place them in a quart canning jar. In a saucepan, combine the following:

2 c. vinegar
1 c. water
11/2  tsp. salt
1 Tbsp pickling spices (I made my own using cloves,mustard seed, dillseed, cinnamon sticks, celery seed and bay leaves)
Sliced onion 


Bring to a boil and then pour over the eggs. 


Cap and let cool on counter top. Then refrigerate for 3 days at least, before trying.


Yum!! 

Why Wash Dried Beans?

This photo  is the perfect example of why one has to wash and pick through dried beans before use. I love using beans in my cooking. They are:

  1. Cheap
  2. Yummy
  3. Filling
I admit to not always doing more than a glance and rinse before cooking them, however. Yesterday, while measuring out 3 cups of dried beans(I keep them in a gallon jar),  I noticed a small stone on the top of the pile. Removing that, I poured the beans into a colander for rinsing. There was another stone! 
Now, being a Root Canal Survivor, my thoughts turned to the feeling I would experience if I had chomped down on one of those stones!  I was a bit fearful, and decided to give my beans a thorough examination. Would you believe I had ANOTHER stone?! In all my years of cooking with beans, I don’t think I have come across more than 3 or 4 stones, ever. This small 3 cup batch had THREE stones!  
The whole point of this post is to remind any other sort-of-lazy-cooks-who-take-shortcuts, that checking over beans is a GREAT idea. Consider this a head’s up. 
PS, the chili I made was delicious, without any stones. 
Have a great day!