Thursday, October 20, 2016

Pear Butter Bliss

Harvest time is rich with opportunities to make jams, jellies, fruit spreads with so many other canning and freezer projects.  Everything smells fresh and sweet and savory with the fruits and vegetables we choose at our local farmer's markets or that we grow ourselves. Here is a great recipe for Pear Butter:

Pear Butter Bliss:

3-4 lbs. pears
3 Tbsp. Honey
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
3 Tbsp. Pear Liqueur

Directions:
1. Rinse pears, peel, and core. Chop pears in 1 inch squares and place in medium saucepan.
2. Pour honey over chopped pears.
3. Add lemon juice, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, & ground cloves.  Add 2 Tbsp. of Pear Liqueur. Toss to mix thoroughly.
4.  Bring mixture to slow boil on medium high heat.  Then turn down to medium heat and simmer for 50 minutes or until the Pear Butter has arrived at your desired thickness. 
5. Use immersion blender to blend pear butter as smooth as you like it.
6. Once Pear Butter is as thick as you like it to be, take off heat and shut burner off, then add last Tbsp. of Pear Liqueur.
7.  Place in jars or freezer jam containers.  Let cool to room temperature and store appropriately.






Our Fall walks are some of the best walks we have.  Rooney seems to bounce with pleasure at all the oranges, yellows, reds, and burgundies moving in the gentle breezes.  The leaves scurrying on the street before us as if leading us on our way. We enjoy the cooler, crisper air, and vivid colors before us.  It is looking at the most beautiful oil painting in the world!  I am lucky to have Rooney enjoying my favorite season with me. She is such good, intelligent company.  It is during these walks I discuss what I should preserve next.  Farmer's Market ends the end of October, and our walks provide me the time to make a list of planned projects to store fresh fruits and vegetables through canning and/or flash freezing and then storing in storage bags, so we can enjoy them through the winter.  Fall is simply the loveliest time of year!



Enjoy the harvest!
V.......
 








Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Pizzazz of Pizza

I spent all week working on pizza crust and pizza sauce.  The first time we have a recollection of eating something good with superior flavor is when we first remember the best of anything we have eaten of that particular food, such as pizza, and every pizza after that particular moment is evaluated by the first of the best we can remember.  I have been trying to recapture the flavor of pizza sauce I remember on the first best pizza, based on what I remember ever having from that first recollection.  I declare victory.  Here are the recipes for my pizza sauce and pizza crust with all the secrets for making the sauce and crust the best of the best.

My Pizza Sauce:

15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp. basil [dried]
1 tsp. oregano [dried]
2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Directions: Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.  Spread 2-4 oz. sauce on crust.  Remainder can be frozen in a muffin tin.  Flash freeze in muffin pan and then add to storage bag.
My Pizza Crust:

2 c. flour, sifted with 1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 pkg. rapid rise yeast
3/4 c. warm water

Directions:  Whisk yeast in warm water.  Let mixture sit until it starts to foam.  Add water, yeast mixture to flour, salt mixture and stir until blended.  Turn out on lightly floured surface and knead for 3-5 minutes until dough stops being sticky.  Still in a ball leave pizza dough under a bowl on counter for 30 minutes to an hour to rest.  Allowing pizza dough to rest makes it easier to shape dough without it springing back in a undesired shape or too small of a shape.  The rest is important.  This dough can be divided in two crusts or used for a large crust.  The key to thin crust [my favorite] is to roll pizza dough on parchment paper as thin as you like it.  When size is accomplished pick up parchment with dough and place on cooking sheet or pizza pan, and continue building your pizza.  Dough can be put in a storage bag and refrigerated for three days until you are ready to use it or if you are just using half and saving half.

Rooney is the best of the best everyday.  Rooney is love.  I love Rooney!  I can see why we take breaks between our beloved pets.  Time to grieve and then there is wanting to make sure we accept each new pet in their own right.  Each one sets a standard for what we like in a pet. They win our hearts with amazing constant love, and the consistent energy they sweep us up into along with them is welcoming, and we find we are being taken on walks and then we are being taken away on play times, and our recollections tell us this is the best ever moments in our lives!



Enjoy the best pizza sauce and best pizza crust ever this week!
V.......






Saturday, October 8, 2016

Applesauce, Oatmeal, Cranberry, Walnut Cookies

These cookies are so-oo good.....Enjoy

Applesauce, Oatmeal, Cranberry, Walnut Cookies

1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
3/4 c. softened butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. applesauce
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. Oats
1 c. cranberries [dried]
1 c. chopped walnuts

Oven: 350 degrees..... Bake cookies 15-17 minutes  [depending on how light or dark you like them]

Yields: 48 cookies

1. Cream butter in stand mixer.
2. Sift dry ingredients in sifter in separate bowl while butter is being creamed.
3. Add sugar to butter.  Mix well.
4. Add applesauce, mix through.  Add eggs one at a time. Mix well. Add vanilla.
5. Stir dry ingredients by hand.  Stir in oats. Stir in cranberries and walnuts.
6. Tablespoon of dough per cookie on parchment lined cookie sheets.


A super moist, delicious, nutritious cookie!





Enjoy a batch of Applesauce, Oatmeal, Cranberry, Walnut Cookies this week..
V...


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Poulet au vin blanc

One of the most critical lessons in life is understanding when your family members are disguising their true feelings in an attempt to take an easier way out.  It is common for family members to agree with you for the sake of your attention.  They may feel lost without that attention.  So begins some friendships in this complicated void.  Various personalities provide their own needs in a huge variety of ways.  Personal needs shift from time to time and as we live our lives up close or at a geographical distance we may not know when the shift took place or that it even took place for that matter.  A huge burden besets us all some time in life or maybe many times in life when family expects someone to carry the load of emotional support.  Without that emotional stability from family, friends become the emotional support network.
This recipe brings back a flood of memories.  I reflect on the memories associated with this recipe two ways.  The first as an eleven year old young girl, and the second as a wife, mother, grandmother perspective on life in retrospect.
The recipe starts as a hand-me-round from one military wife to another and becomes a hand-me-down from my Mom to me and then my children and now my grandchildren enjoy this dish.
As a young girl my memories are happy remembering the times when Mom prepared and we enjoyed this chicken and white wine recipe.  My Mom and the military wife who shared this recipe with Mom became friends and served as each other's emotional stability during a time when it was indeed welcomed by each of them.
I enjoy this recipe more than ever now.  It is flat out delicious.  It is so good, I classify it as a comfort food.  Enjoying this dish came into my life about the same time as my second double digit birthday.  This recipe reminds me of happy times.  Of coming together with my Mom, her friend and her friend's children and my sisters and I.  We enjoyed Poulet au vin blanc and each other's company; the sharing of friendship and food.  There were no expectations.  We came together enjoyed food and fellowship and when we parted it was with anticipation of next time.  Consistency was in this ritual of ours of coming together and it created a delightful joy to be remembered always.
I have changed some of the prep for Poulet au vin blanc, and it tastes the same each time I make it with an added boost in flavor.

Poulet au vin blanc

Chicken...thighs legs breasts or whole chicken...your choice
minced onion
minced garlic
1 c.-1 1/2 c. white wine
1/4 c. fresh parsley
1/2 c.- 1 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
salt & pepper to preference


Directions:

Saute chicken until slightly golden...using same skillet after removing chicken and placing in baking pan, saute mushrooms until golden, put mushrooms on top chicken in baking pan, saute minced onion, until becoming slightly soft, add minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds until garlic blooms, add parsley and wine and scrape chicken bits from bottom of pan....simmer wine and onion and garlic and parsley mixture for five minutes.  Pour over chicken in baking pan, add foil and place in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken is 165-170 degrees.  Let chicken rest for twenty minutes. Serve and enjoy.
Rooney has a beautiful personality. She is always in a good mood.  I can wake up each morning with Rooney greeting me with total sweetness and excitement.  Everyday Rooney is gorgeous and ready to make fun memories.  Her consistency helps both of us thrive.  Another fabulous friendship to enjoy and remember always.
                    Rooney soaking up some sun.  An expression of pure bliss on her face!
Looking gorgeous with one of my "Burning Bushes" as backdrop!





Enjoy Poulet au vin blanc this week!
V.........................................