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Friday, November 22, 2013

What the dickens is "left-over wine?"

My favorite kind of project. Making something for the people I love.
My dear friend Becky Sue Cook gave me this idea. She can bake me under a table and is a terrific example of someone who cooks poor, eats rich. Plus she's a fellow WHS RAM. Kudos love!
Most of you know that I make a little jar of something for gifts at Christmas. The brilliance of this project is it combines two of my favorite things. Hockey and Doctor, wait I meant COOKING and WINE. Yeah, those two.
Great use of any leftover wine. Simple stuff. Nothing you haven't seen before, I've done at least one jar project every year.
Wine jelly
3 cups dry wine. Red or white. I picked a nice fruity Merlot from Washington. Just about one 750ml bottle.
4 cups sugar
1 3.78 ounce package of Pectin. They used to be labeled straight 4 ounces...bastards. It's ok, it works.
One big pot for sterilizing jars and lids
One pot for jelly process.
Pair of tongs
And yes, they do sell special equipment just for processing jars. Do you need it? Well, no. I'm a professional and I don't. I'm not the kind of person who spends money on stuff I'll only use once a year.
Put all jars, lids and rings into your large pot and cover with water. Bring to boil. Sterilization. Just let it go. Make sure your tongs and ladle are in there too.

In your other pot over high heat dump in the wine and pectin. Stir gently until it comes to a boil.

Dump in all the sugar. Stir until dissolves. Keep stirring and boil hard for one minute. Lower to simmer.

Now you're going to notice a wacky, foamy scum gathering on the surface. You'll want to remove that. Just use a small spoon and dump it.

If you want to test your batch, easy. Grab a small plate or bowl. Dribble some onto it and count to 10. Turn it upside down. If it's perfect it will set and not drip.

Ok? All good? Time to process.

Using the tongs, grab one jar and fill where the ring screws on. Wipe rim with a paper towel dipped in the hot water, this will insure a tight seal. Grab one lid (that's the flat one) place on top, grab one ring and screw it on tight. I use a clean cloth towel.



As each jar is filled, put them on a towel out of the way.

Once all jars are filled and lidded. GENTLY lower them standing back into the hot water and let it come back to boil for 5 minutes.

Remove, dry and let stand until cool. Out of any cold drafts, we don't want anything to crack.

I know! Easy right? You'll get 6-8 oz jars of yield. That's a pretty fair return for little effort.

Wine jelly is a terrific condiment for savory cheeses, goes terrific with bagels and cream cheese, rye crackers...etc. Be your family's gourmet this holiday!

If you are so inclined, if you'd like to help out this poor man's blog. On the top of the site you'll see a PayPal button, any amount is greatly appreciated. Also, if you are considering buying anything off Amazon. On the right is a link. Anything you purchase, a small amount is given to support this blog. Thank you.

Have a joyful season y'all

Cooking poor, eating rich



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It's November, it's 85F. Squash.

And again. I took a long time away from the blog. My RWJ finally went full time and has taken up most of my focus sorry. I got bills. So do you.
Dad did it again, grew some great produce that I must share. What you're looking at is "Buttercup" squash. Sorta punkiny kinda butternutty. Green on the outside and rich orange inside with an earthy and sweet character. Now sure I coulda done all kinds of crazy things, made gnocchi, filling for ravioli but my focus here is to think about what YOU might do with it. So quick bread is easy. Another master recipe you can use with any golden gourd-like squash, including pumpkin, turban, butternut etc...
Master formula
2 cups AP Flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup squash, puréed
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup chopped nuts ( I'm allergic so I didn't)
1/2 cup dried fruit ( I used cranberry)
The first order of business is to render our squash. Easy. Quarter, scoop out seeds and that gushy, thready gunk. Put the quarters into a large plastic bag with a splash of water. Pop it into the Microwave for about 10 minutes or until completely soft. Scoop out (don't burn yourself) and measure out one solid cup. Any left overs just freeze.
Sift together the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a separate bowl. Combine squash, brown sugar and oil. Whisk together thoroughly. Add eggs and whisk until absorbed.
Add the dry ingredients in two additions. Mix thoroughly. Easy right? If using any or both optional ingredients add them NOW. I said NOW.
Grease up one 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.

Dump the batter into the pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Test with a knife or skewer, anything clings to it, let it go for a little more.
Remove from oven and let it cool until no longer dangerous to handle, remove from pan. Let it sit until completely cool. Wrap and chill overnight before slicing up. I know it's hard to wait and sure you could eat this right away but this formula renders a really fluffy, crumbly product. If you do it my way it gets much more dense and moist.

Quick breads are a great way to send love without breaking the bank. Using a master formula gives you the foundation to experiment with your own ideas. There are no wrong answers.
Happy Autumn
Cooking poor, eating rich