Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Home Canned Tomatoes

I had 10 pounds of tomatoes sitting in the fridge. I decided we couldn't eat all the tomatoes from the garden right away and that canning them (actually preserving them in a jar) was a good idea.

It's a lot of work to preserve anything in a jar. I had forgotten this.  It's been a few years since we've had enough of anything to make canning worthwhile. Thankfully, Mom was around to help me. Also I relied heavily on my copy of the Ball Canning and Preserving Blue Book.

I got my supplies together and washed.

We blanched the tomatoes to get the skins off then cut out the stem-end core.

We sliced them in half and loaded them into hot jars with 2 T. lemon juice and 1 tsp. kosher salt per quart jar. I did not add water or pre-cook the tomatoes. This was a pack-in-its-own-juice type of recipe.

Then we boiled them forever, or for what seemed that long. They actually cooked for 1 hour 35 minutes thanks to the altitude adjustment. (Please research correct cooking times for your location. The original recipe said to cook 1 hour 25 minutes in a boiling water bath at zero altitude.)

Then, we covered them up all night-night-lamby-kitty so they wouldn't cool off too fast and hoped that they would all seal up tight. (It wasn't really night time at this point and no lambs or kitties were involved. That's just a little inside joke between me and Mom.)

After the jars cooled a long while, they started to pop. That means the lids sucked in and that they had sealed properly.

Now I have 3 quarts plus a pint of tomatoes saved for later. Yes, it's time consuming but you honestly can't beat the flavor of home-grown food.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Salted Caramel Budino

This weekend, I was hungry for something sweet. Not too long ago, we had dinner at Campo which was finished off by their dessert sampler. We got a tiny Mason jar of panna cotta topped with berries, a tiny slice of chocolate cheesecake, and another tiny Mason jar of salted caramel budino.

I have been thinking of the panna cotta and budino ever since.  Budino is Italian for pudding. I did some Internet research and happened upon this recipe that I decided to give it a try.

My littlest helper was happy to smash cookies, mix them with melted butter and spoon it into cups.

I took care of all the hot stuff over the stove, like making the two separate batches of caramel, one to flavor the budino and another to pour over top of the completed product.

It was a bit time consuming. I've never spent so much time making pudding before. I had to separate my eggs, mix milk and cornstarch, temper the yolks with the hot milk, them mix, mix, mix and cook some more. Then it went through a sieve to get the lumps out before going into the cups.

To serve it, I took the cooled budino cups out, drizzled batch #2 of caramel sauce on top, added a little whipped cream from a can (seriously I was tired of mixing at that point), added a raspberry and some more cookie crumbs.

It was good, pretty darn good. I do think that there are better caramel sauce recipes out there, but it was certainly good enough to eat.