Monday, November 30, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
- Put on a large pot of water to boil.
- Place a clean tea towel on the counter
- Wash jars/lids in hot soapy water
- Keep a sink of hot soapy water ready to add pots/bowls, utensils for easier washing later
- Place jars in pot of boiling water to sterilize for 10 minutes - also add ladle and tongs
- Wash and cut strawberries - place in large pyrex glass bowl for measuring
- Use wand mixer to blend strawberries. Keep adding berries until it measures 4 cups of pureed berries.
- Transfer berries to pot on med-high heat.
- Add 1/4 cup of lemon juice
- Add 2 cups of sugar
- Stir in sugar until dissolved then add liquid pectin
- Boil on med-high heat for 8-10 minutes until it turns darker (maroon) in colour. Keep stirring to avoid the jam burning. Liquid pectin reduces cooking time!! Stir and watch the pot constantly as the jam can burn in an instant.
- When done, take off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes - skim off foam from top
- Take hot jars out of the water at the last minute (they must be hot for the lids to set) and set on tea towel
- Pour jam into jars and screw on lids.
- Don't screw lids too tight or air can't escape
- Jars should seal as the jars cool.
Makes 9 - small jars of jam. The whole process from start to finish takes about 45 minutes.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Dominican Rice and (Kidney) Beans
(makes about 6 cups of rice)
1 - 19oz can kidney beans (I prefer Unico brand)
2 cups white long grain parboiled rice (choice of rice is critical - it isn't the same unless it's parboiled rice)
Reserved liquid from kidney beans + water to make 4 cups
1 small can of tomato paste (freeze what you don't use for another time)
1 tsp salt (there's salt in the boullion cube)
1 tsp vegetable oil - helps to keep the rice from sticking
1 chicken boullion cube
1. In a medium sized pot, add the liquid, salt, boullion cube and oil and bring to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, rinse the rice in cold water until the water runs clear. Don't rinse too much. My mom used to say that if you rinse too much, you'll take the "strength" out of the rice. Never knew what that meant but I always heeded her warning.
3. Add the rice to the pot and stir. Add 1 - 2 tbsp of tomato paste (for colour)
4. Turn down the heat to low, cover the pot and let the rice simmer for about 45 minutes.
5. Check the rice and when the water has been absorbed, remove from heat. Stir.
6. Keep rice covered and let it sit for about 10 minutes off the heat. This step is important as it gives the rice just the right consistency (hard to describe). Taste the rice and add more salt if needed before serving.
When done, the rice should not be soggy or soppy. Tastes great reheated.
Keep in mind this is not an exact science. My mom was always short on money and this was a great way to feed lots of people with whatever you had on hand.
My mom always put in Yucca/Cassava and green banana. Mine is the Canadian version and will leave it out.
Chicken Soup with Dumplings
(makes a big pot)
Chicken pieces (4-8 pieces will do)
3-4 large carrots, thickly sliced
5-6 medium sized potatoes (yellow or russet is fine) cut in chunks
1 large onion (whatever you have on hand - I used a yellow onion) cut into chunks
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 stalks of celery, sliced.
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 to 1 tsp poultry seasoning (to taste)
2 tbsp powdered chicken broth (use cubes or liquid broth - the idea is to enhance the chicken flavour)
1/2 green pepper, diced (seems odd but I love the subtle taste it adds to the soup once it's cooked)
1. Fill a large pot with cold water (I add about 8 cups of water) and bring to a boil
2. Meanwhile, remove skin from chicken pieces (in true West Indian style, my mom would leave the skin on)
3. Wash and season the chicken with salt and pepper. You could do this first and leave the chicken in the fridge until it's time for the pot.
4. Prepare the celery, green pepper, garlic and onion.
5. Once the water comes to a boil, drop in the first piece of chicken. Wait until the water comes back to a boil before adding the next piece of chicken, etc. I find this keeps the water clear and you don't need to skim anything off the top.
6. Add the celery, green pepper, garlic and onion to the boiling water.
7. Add the chicken broth, poultry seasoning
8. Bring the heat to low and cover the pot. Let the chicken simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. It's done when the chicken meat falls off the bone.
9. At this point I strain the soup and remove the bones and leave just the chicken meat (Canadian version) in the pot. My mom wouldn't have bothered with this. I guess part of the enjoyment of the meal is to pick the chicken off the bones when you're eating the soup.
10. Before you continue, taste the soup and adjust the amount of salt, pepper, garlic, etc. until it tastes "seasoned enough".
11. Add the carrots and the potatoes. At this point you can add optional vegetables. My mom often added green peas (for colour and to use up what was in the fridge), cassava and green banana.
12. Cover the soup and cook until the vegetables are done.
13. Taste the soup again before serving. You may need to add more salt, poultry seasoning or chicken powder.
14. About 20 minutes before eating the soup, prepare and add the dumplings. Use your favourite recipe if you wish. I just love the way the dumplings thicken the soup.
15. Pour into a large bowl and enjoy!
I've added the recipe for dumplings that I use. This isn't my mom's recipe but it comes pretty close.
1 cup All purpose flour
2 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Butter or margerine
1/2 cup Milk
Stir flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together in medium sized bowl. cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in milk to make soft dough. Drop by spoonfuls into boiling soup. Cover and simmer 15 minutes without lifting lid. Serve. Makes about 6 dumplings.
Okay, here it is. My stomach's kinda picky this week from the chemo so there's more chicken (i.e. comfort food) on the menu than usual. I've added some "quickie" foods as the comfort foods I like aren't often loved by my kids. I've been dropping weight like crazy from the chemo so I'm trying to "fatten myself up". Ordinarily this would be a happy dilemma but being on chemotherapy is a terrible way to lose weight.
Monday - Chicken soup with dumplings (KD for one of my girls who doesn't like this West Indian version of the "old favourite".
Tuesday - Oven Baked whole chicken with mashed potatoes and vegetables
Wednesday - 50's style meatloaf (thanks, Tiffany) with white rice and corn (I'm making double to give a "loaf" to a friend). Normally we'd have mashed potatoes but I think rice is easier to transport.
Thursday - Hamburger Helper with green salad - man, my kids love this. Perhaps if I add it to the menu every week, they'll grow tired of it and I'll no longer need to make it! I have to confess that it is EASY and is a blessing to make when you're dragging yourself around most of the time.
Friday - Homemade cheese pizza (dough from bread machine) - Cheese was on sale this week so I bought lots
Saturday - Spaghetti dinner fundraiser at the church (no cooking tonight!!). Everyone's panicked at the church about H1N1 so I wonder if this will be cancelled??
Sunday - BBQ burgers/fries OR breaded sole/fries and a vegetable - TBD (cooking out of the freezer tonight)
I'm feeling pretty optimistic with my menu but I hope I have the energy to make it. This chemo sucks but it keeps me alive.