Bloody Mary Mix From Scratch

5 11 2016

20161105_110841This summer was a strange one in our garden. The early spring was really wet so it was hard to get outside and get the garden boxes cleaned out. Then later when the weather was good, we were busy every weekend (yeah big surprise there). Finally, Fathers Day weekend, we finally got around to planting a few things. Tomatoes, poblano peppers, etc.

That’s super late to expect an epic harvest but the plants really took off so I was hopeful. Fruit set, the annual volunteer cherry tomatoes started feeding us all (yeah the dogs have learned to pick the low ones and munch away), the San Marzano and Russian Pink heirloom plants looked good and I thought maybe, just maybe, I’d still be able to make some tomato sauce to can.

Fast forward to October, a ton of green tomatoes, some ripe and weather of the wet and cold variety was on it’s way. I gathered the family up and got help picking every last tomato. Certainly not enough to make sauce, too many to eat fresh before they turn. What is a boy to do?

Bloody Mary mix of course. I’d be wanting to do this forever but never took the time. Today was the day. Here’s the process I took. I canned mine in a water bath but you could also refrigerate it and use it within a few weeks.

20161001_123124The first step was to make tomato juice. This is easy enough. I put them all in a large sauce pan, added just a little water, put the stove on medium and put the lid on. I came back in about 20 minutes and they had started to break down. I gave it another 15 minutes or so then brought out the food mill to remove the seeds and skins and there we had it, tomato juice. If you want to skip this step completely and buy tomato juice you certainly can but you know that garden fresh stuff is the best.

The recipe below is scaled for each three cups of tomato juice you have, multiply as needed (do the math before you drink too much). Read the rest of this entry »





My Personal Roasted Tomato Sauce

19 09 2015

20150829_154721Late summer, it’s all about tomatoes. To see how many you can eat, how many ways you can use them, how many can you save for the chilly parts of the year when they are horrible in the store. Once you finish off the big slicers for BLT’s, the cherry tomatoes for snacking and salads (or you could be adventurous and pickle those, click here to check that out), it’s time for all those paste tomatoes to get ripe, sauce time! Here’s the thing, there are 100 ways to make sauce, for pizza, pasta, salsa…it can go on and on and on. I make one basic sauce, it’s much easier to adjust seasonings at the time of use than to make separate batches.

Here’s the rest of the short list of ingredients. Read the rest of this entry »





The Best Garlic Dill Pickles – Adventures in Pickling Vol. 5

23 05 2015

Dill Pickles

Dill pickles. So basic, so easy, so addictive. So almost gone, at least the batches I made last summer. I have one jar left from my inaugural year of adventures in pickling and I’m not ready. It’ll months before I’ll be able to duplicate those super hot days in the kitchen in late summer, with batch after batch going in to the water bath canner.

Matt, one of my best friends in the world, has said several times now that he thinks I’m close to beating his favorite purchased dill pickles. I’d say that I’m ahead as these ones are free to him but whatever. Gotta keep trying to beat back the corporate giant and make the perfect pickle.

There really isn’t much in the way of ingredients or process here but this is the recipe that I use. Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry »





Spiced Pickled Pears – Adventures in Pickling Vol. 4

1 09 2014

pearsI love fresh, in-season pears. Really, any fresh, tree/vine ripened fruit is great but we only have them for a limited time unless you’re happy with artificially ripened, no flavor cardboard fruit that we tend to import from the rest of the world so our grocery store can give us anything we want, all year long. One way we can continue to enjoy truly great local fruit is to preserve it.

This is a rather unique take on the canned pear, it takes the typical sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg type canned pear to the next level with cloves and yes, vinegar. I was skeptical when presented with these but was won over quickly after a single bite. In fact, I’m kind of hungry for them right now… Read the rest of this entry »





Amish Sweet Dill Pickles – Adventures in Pickling Vol. 3

1 09 2014

Amish Sweet DillI feel like I’m getting this pickling thing down now, some combination of water, vinegar, salt and/or sugar, garlic, dill, really whatever is sitting around that you think might taste good. There are a ton of options out there but I really like this one. A little dilly, a little sweet, a little crunchy. Hope you enjoy eating them as much as I enjoy making them. Read the rest of this entry »





Pickled Cherry Tomatoes – Adventures in Pickling Vol. 2

16 08 2014

20140810_141705As explained earlier, I have a new toy, my very own canning equipment. I love to experiment (not too hot on failing but I guess it’s part of the game) and we’re collecting a ton of cherry tomatoes every day right now so I thought why not, let’s give it a shot. If they don’t work, I’ll have just as many come off the plants again tomorrow. I’m not quite to the part of the year where I’m ready to start making sauce with our tomatoes (it’s too stinking hot to keep the stove going for that long!) so let’s pickle them! The only real trick here is to prick the tomatoes with a toothpick to prevent the skins from splitting.

Recipe and directions to follow below, hope you enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »





Dilly Beans – Adventures in Pickling Vol. 1

16 08 2014

dillybeansOne of my earliest memories in a kitchen was my grandmother canning. When I say canning, I mean it. She was serious. She did cherries, plums, apricots, peaches…and horrible pickles! See, grandma was on a salt restricted diet and that meant making pickles with NO SALT. I’m not exaggerating when I say that they were foul, nasty little cucumber bombs. I loved my grandma more than anything but I still can’t see past those horrible little things.

You’d think that those early memories would sour my relationship with pickles but you’d be oh so wrong, I love em! Sour, sweet, salty, spicy or any combination thereof, bring em on.

I kind of lost touch with canning and pickling for the better part of three decades but in the last few years, it’s been reawakened by my wife’s family, notably my mother-in-law Nancy. She’s got all sorts of goodness in her cupboards and last season I had some fun helping her put some of it up. This year, she surprised me with an early birthday bonanza of my very own canning rig and accessories and it got the wheels turning in my head about the possibilities.

She also supplied a nice bunch of fresh green beans from their garden that same day and from there, only one thing could happen, DILLY BEANS. Read the rest of this entry »








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