Uncategorized

Oct
22

Welcome to Savory Soup Sunday

by , under Uncategorized

October 22 is a big day. It’s my brother’s birthday, the season premiere of The Walking Dead, and the start of a new series here on The Enabling Cook. Welcome to Savory Soup Sunday!

Some of you may remember we had a previous series about soup here at Enabling. It was a big hit among readers. And if you follow me here or on social media, you know my love of soup. It is seasonless, though I know many people tend to eat soup mainly during the cold months. So its seems like the perfect time to bring back soup to The Enabling Cook on a regular basis.

So what kinds of soup will you find this time? There will be new ones, like today’s Dublin coddle soup. But since I’m often tweaking recipes, you’ll probably find some I’ve done before but with some changes. I’d love to do some exotic soups, but living here in the middle of nowhere makes many but the most basic ingredients difficult to find.

Let’s get started already.

Dublin Coddle Soup

I’ve loved this soup for a long time. It’s steeped in history and tradition. Sometimes called Irish coddle stew or simply coddle soup (or stew), this dish, it was based on ingredients people in the Irish countryside would likely have on hand–potatoes, onions, sausage, and bacon. Carrots and cabbage were often added as well. This made it a relatively inexpensive dish for those who were having lean financial times. And today, though most of us will have to go to a supermarket to get the ingredients, it is still a less-expensive and filling soup.

And the name “coddle”? There are a few theories for how the soup got its name. Some say the soup is intended to coddle one’s soul; it’s basic ingredients made with love. As truthful as that might be, the real truth probably lies in the fact the soup is cooked on a long, slow simmer–“coddling” in Irish terminology. I prefer to think of it as a bit of both.

 

Potatoes are the star of the soup. In this version, I use baking potatoes, which I do not peel. When I have them, I like to use sweet potatoes for added nutrition. Whichever you use, slice thinly or chop into small pieces. You want them to thicken the soup. I like to have some smaller and larger pieces. That way, they thicken the soup, and yet, there are still some larger pieces to enjoy.

The second stars are bacon and sausage. I don’t do pork, and since the village market didn’t have turkey bacon, I skipped the bacon. I made my own turkey sausage. The plan was to cut the links into 2-inch pieces, but it didn’t work out that way. Still, the crumbly version was quite tasty.

When you brown off the sausage and bacon, do not forget the fond at the bottom of the pan. That’s the tasty bits.

Although amounts are given for the onions and carrots (I used my dehydrated carrots, by the way), go with what you like. If you love onion, add more. Not so crazy about onion? Use less. The same with carrots.

In the recipe, I list using chicken or vegetable stock. You can, of course, use beef stock. Just please don’t use plain water.

Now here’s one of the best things about coddle soup. Put the ingredients in a slow cooker, and let it go. That’s it. Just let it cook, sending wonderful smells through the house in the process. If you don’t have a slow cooker (and why don’t you?), you can simmer it covered on the stove, stirring occasionally. Be sure to use a heavy-bottom pot. There are some recipes that call for cooking it in the oven, but I’ve not tried those.

While cabbage may be a more traditional ingredients, I had kale. So about an hour before it was time to eat, I added some to the pot. If you want a creamy soup,  stir in some heavy cream and let it heat through before serving. I don’t think it really needs it.

Leftovers can be frozen. While I tend to can a lot of my soup leftovers, this one really isn’t conducive to the preservation technique.

I hope you give coddle soup a try. My recipe can be found here. You can also find a video of it on The Enabling Cook‘s YouTube channel.

If there’s a soup or stew you’d like me to try, please leave me a comment.

Enjoy.

Send to Kindle
Oct
16

The Great Mater Quest of 2017

by , under Uncategorized

Ah yes. Once again I found myself seeking tomatoes for canning. This has pretty much become a yearly thing. Kind of like a pilgrimage, though not really spiritual. That doesn’t mean succeeding doesn’t bring me great satisfaction. It certainly does.

Don’t get me wrong, I planted tomatoes, and they did fairly well. But they didn’t give me enough for all the uses I wanted them for. I checked the farmers’ markets, and almost all vendors told me the same thing. Because we didn’t have an extended hot period, tomatoes were really late. Most didn’t think they’d have canning tomatoes. Others just didn’t know. And now, for the most part, farmers’ market season is over.

Then there was last week. I was running an errand, traveling the route I’ve gone many times before. As usual, I passed a farmstand, the same one I’ve passed countless times before. But I’ve never stopped. But then I saw them. There they were, just sitting in front of the stall. Buckets of tomatoes! Okay, I had to stop. It seems as though they now have a glut of late tomatoes, including canning ones. They’re selling them for $10/bushel. Two bushels came home with me.

Tomato Powder

So the question was, What am I going to do with 2 bushels of tomatoes? The first choice was a no-brainer: tomato powder. I had just run out. My thought was to use canned sauce to make more, but now I had fresh tomatoes in my little hands. So tomato powder it was.

When I was a kid, Mom always canned whole tomatoes. I use commercially canned tomatoes a lot. Seriously, a LOT. So canning some of those was a given. I canned 6 quarts and 5 1/2 pints of whole tomatoes (so far). That took care of the first bushel.

I started on the second bushel this morning. Project 1 is Italian tomato sauce. This is basically a meatless pasta sauce, but I generally don’t eat pasta. So it’s just sauce with Italian seasonings. I prepped the tomatoes and started them in

We’re Going to Be Italian Tomato Sauce

the slow cooker early this morning. I’m hoping it’ll be done enough that I can use some for an eggplant bake for dinner. I added some of the new tomato powder to thicken it a bit. Now, would I have rather used romas or another sauce tomato? Sure. But I didn’t have them, so I’m using what I have.

This leaves the rest of the second bushel.

There’s definitely going to be more tomato powder. And I’m seriously thinking about more whole tomatoes in my canning pantry.

Announcement

October 22 is already a special day. It’s my brother’s birthday. It’s also the season premiere of The Walking Dead. But it’s also the beginning of a new The Enabling Cook series. Now, I’m going to keep it a surprise, but here’s a clue: It’s about one of my favorite things. So stay tuned.

Send to Kindle
Sep
29

Weighing Down Fermentation

by , under Uncategorized

Sometimes one of the most difficult things about fermenting is finding the right way to weigh the food down during the waiting process. Oh, you can use cabbage leaves, but I don’t always have them on hand unless I’m making sauerkraut. I usually made little carrot planks to keep them down. Then I picked up a couple of e-jen Kimchi containers, which have a “press” to hold down the ingredients. They work fine, but after a while, I noticed it was hard to get rid of the smell. For the most part, that wasn’t a problem, but I do tend to use a lot–A LOT–of garlic . . .

Then came the message from Raquella Raiz of Aqqo, a company owned by her family. She asked if I’d like to try their fermentation weights! Talk about timing. I had cabbage crying out to become sauerkraut.

The glass weights are sold in a set of five, so you don’t have to wait for one jar to finish before starting another fermenting project. They fit in any wide-mouth jar. There’s nothing complicated to their use. Put the ingredients in the jar, add brine or even vinegar pickling liquid, and then add the weight. Top with an airlock or whatever you use to vent. I used Pickle Pipes I ordered last year. The top photo is sauerkraut and the bottom, dilly beans.

I am impressed with these weights. My favorite thing about them is that they’re grooved. It makes them so easy to remove from the jar. I was concerned the food would come above the weights because there is space between the weight and jar, of course, but it was unwarranted. I had no problems.

Thanks to these weights, I’ll be doing more fermentation projects. If you’re new to fermenting or a pro, these weights will make things much easier.

You can order these weights from here (this is not an affiliate link).

 

Send to Kindle
Sep
19

The Apple Butter Mystery Has Been Solved!

by , under Uncategorized

In 2011, I posted my Apple Pie Butter recipe. In the connected post, I whined about my inability to find Musselman’s Apple Butter when I first moved to New York. And though that apple butter was good, it wasn’t Musselman’s. Or my version of it.

Over the years, I kind of set aside my quest, settling instead for applesauce. But this year, the desire for homemade apple butter returned. Big time! So I tried again. And by George, I think I’ve got it!!! At least a version of it.

Two things I wanted: 1. To be able to cook the apples in a slow cooker, and 2. Not too sweet. The former seems to be a preferred manner of cooking applesauce and apple butter, but I was late to the party. No big surprise there. As for the second, that’s one of the best things about making your own. You can make it as sweet or not sweet as you like. Well, that and knowing what’s in it.

Just like when I make applesauce, I used a mixture of apples. I used Gala, Mcintosh, Paula Reds, and Granny Smith apples in equal numbers. Use what you like and have on hand. I like the Granny Smith because they help cut the sweetness. The Paula Reds are new to me this year. I picked some up at a local orchard and love them.

I washed and cored the apples, and then I cut them into chunks. No, I didn’t peel. But if you prefer to peel them, do. I filled my 2-quart slow cooker almost full. I added about a third of a cup of water. You could, of course, add apple juice instead.

Once tender, I sent the apples spinning in the Vitamix until they reached the consistency I wanted. If you cut them small enough, they may break down enough that is not needed. Back into the slow cooker they went, along with the spices I used: cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. I added my choice of sweeteners–raw cane sugar and brown sugar. And then I let them cook until thick and gorgeous, about 3 hours. I propped the lid open with a wooden spoon for the last 2 hours or so to encourage it to get its thickest and best.

So how do you know it’s done? Well, it should mound on a spoon. And if you put some on a plate, liquid won’t start running away from the butter.

When done, I stirred in lemon juice. Now, at this point, you can put it in an airtight container, let cool, and refrigerate. You can also let it cool and freeze it. Me? I canned it.

I am very pleased with this apple butter. Of course, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a tweak here and there. That’s the fun part of cooking.

Here’s my recipe for apple butter.

Send to Kindle
Sep
06

It’s September, and You Know What That Means

by , under Uncategorized

Ah, yes. September. One of my favorite months and definitely the beginning of my favorite season. Fall or autumn, whatever you call, it, it’s my favorite season. It has been since I was a kid, and it meant going back to school. Seriously. I couldn’t wait for the first day of school. It still means back to school for many. It also means cooler weather and changing leaves–at least in some parts of the country. And for the past several years, it has meant something else. Yes, pumpkin spice flavored everything.

I have to confess something. That is probably my least favorite thing about September. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE PUMPKIN SPICE FLAVOR, but not in everything. For example, I love pumpkin bread. Seriously love it. And if you have a low-carb recipe for it, please let me know. I know a lot of people who live for the first day Starbucks has pumpkin-spice coffees. Not me. First . . . no Starbucks. And second, I don’t really care for flavored coffee of any kind.

I’ve been making a lot of jams and fruit butters this summer. And I decided I wanted to try a pumpkin butter. After all, I had a couple cans of pumpkin. I knew I wanted to use pretty much the same flavor profile as I do for my pumpkin bread. And I also wanted to cook it in the slow cooker. Oh, and I wanted to can it. But then I learned you aren’t supposed to anymore. But there are alternatives.

First, the recipe. After an Internet search, I decided to base my version on this recipe. Both recipes call for a 15-ounce can of pumpkin. Make sure it’s just pumpkin and not pie filling. Of course, you can use fresh pumpkin as well.

 

One of the best things about making things yourself, of course, is being able to flavor it as you’d like. I like my pumpkin pie/custard/pumpkin bread on the spicy side. So you’ll see that while my spices are the same as his, some of the amounts vary.

Don’t read the following sentence. I wanted to can it, and I do like some sweetness, so I had to add some kind of sugar. Okay, you can resume reading. My original plan was to go with the white and brown sugar, which is pretty standard. But I seem to have accumulated a couple of bottles of maple syrup. So I used a combo of cane sugar and maple syrup. Turned out to be a pretty tasty combo.

You’ll see I added lemon juice for a couple of reasons. First, to cut the sweetness; I really don’t like really sweet things. Then, okay, don’t read, I was planning to water bath it, so I’d need the acid.

I let it cook in the slow cooker. I let it go for about an hour on low. Then I put a couple of chopsticks under the lid and let it cook another hour. Finally, I took the lid off and cooked on high until it was the thickness I wanted. Be sure to stir occasionally throughout. You’ll probably want to stir more often once you put it on high.

The only problem I have with this recipe is the sweetness. It’s a little too sweet for me. Next time, I’ll probably cut back a bit on the sugar. As for the spice blend, it hits the spot–for me. Be sure to spice according to your preferences. If you’re thinking about giving as a gift, you may want to go a bit lighter on the spices.

This pumpkin butter can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer or fridge.

OR

Okay, this section is not for the faint of heart.

You can, can it.

I followed the instructions in the site posted earlier. My recipe got me 3 half-pints for my pantry.

You can read again now.

Of all the things I’ve made lately, this has got to be one of my favorites. It’s probably a good thing I used smaller jars because I could very easily sit there and eat an entire jar.

You can find my version here.

Send to Kindle
Aug
22

It’s Hummus Time

by , under Uncategorized

Hummus in one of my favorite quick lunches. Well, it can be quick if you have a package of it or a can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas). If you’ve home-canned them, using the soak method it can be pretty quick, too.

Then there’s me.

I never think to plan to have hummus. It’s always a spur of the moment thing. I do have some commercially canned garbanzos, though who knows how long they’ve been sitting in the cupboard. I think they moved here with me. And heaven knows I don’t want to spend the money on a little package of hummus. I don’t care how good it’s supposed to be.

Enter Facebook. Someone in an FB canning group I belong to posted information about Hummus in a Jar. It looked really good and seemed to solve all my issues. Plus, I had a bag of garbanzos and everything else I needed. So, of course, I had to give it a go.

T

My Hummus to Be, fresh out of the canner.

There are no exotic ingredients. All you need are dried garbanzo beans, toasted sesame seeds, garlic cloves, and lemon juice. That’s it. If you don’t have these things in your cabinet, they’re available in most markets–even my small village market.

You do need to plan, though. The beans need to be sorted and washed. Then let them soak for 12 to 18 hours. The next day, drain and rinse the beans. Put in a large pot, cover with water (with 2 inches to spare), and bring to a rolling boil.

Garlic and sesame seeds go into each pint jar. Then, using a slotted spoon, add the beans, followed by lemon juice cooking liquid. Be sure to leave an inch headspace. Pressure can at 10 pounds of pressure (adjust for your altitude) for 75 minutes. And there you have it–hummus on demand.

When you decide to use it, drain the contents, retaining the liquid. Add oil (I used grapeseed, but many use olive oil) and other flavorings if desired. If it’s too thick, add some of the retained liquid. Send for a happy whir in the food processor or blender.

The first time, I had my hummus with flatbread, spinach and  tomatoes. The next time, it was with delicious crackers from Triple Green Jade Farm that I got at the farmers’ market. (The tomatoes came from the farmers’ market, too.)

I didn’t have the amount of sesame seeds called for in the recipe. So I added tahini, which I had on hand. Even if I had the right amount, I’m not sure it would have the flavor I want, so I’ll likely just add tahini when I’m using it. Also, I like a little more lemon flavor, so I added more. And when it came to draining the beans, there really wasn’t anything to drain. The beans seem to have absorbed it.

You can find the recipe here. But I highly recommend getting the book, Not Your Mama’s Canning Book, by Rebecca Lindamood. My friend Karen Bergland got it for me as an early birthday present, and I couldn’t wait to dive in. I’ve already made several of the things she shares, and there are others I’d like to try. Besides the recipes and instructions for canning, she includes items that don’t have to be canned (like extracts) as well as recipes for using what you’ve made. By the way, the Honey Mustard recipe is amazing.

 

Send to Kindle
Aug
07

Let’s Talk about Cold Ketchup

by , under Uncategorized

And no, I’m not talking about the argument about whether it’s preferable to keep ketchup in the fridge or on the counter once opened. No, I’m talking about something my mother made tons of when we were kids. It was the highlight of the summer canning season. We always had lots of tomatoes, and most of them went into a simple delicacy called cold ketchup.

I love to can and have canned a lot of jams, jellies, and fruit butters. I’ve even canned meat for the first time this year. But in all the years I’ve canned, I’ve never done cold ketchup. Why? Simple reason. My mom says she doesn’t remember what goes in it. I confess, I wasn’t sure she was being completely honest about that. But when I talked to her yesterday, well . . . let’s just say I really believe her now. And all I can say is, “Crap!”

Now before you say, “But she had to get the reccipe from someone. Ask that person.” The simple fact is that anyone she would have gotten it from is dead. In most cases for a long time. And though I helped her with them (peeled a lot of tomatoes for those jobs), well, I was really young, and I have no real recollection of what when in them–except for tomatoes. It couldn’t be anything too exotic, even back then. We were never a very adventurous family when it came to food. Heck, we didn’t have pizza at home until I was in my teens.

So what do I remember.Tomatoes. Mom has a vague recollection that there were onions. Oh, and the tomatoes were not prepped a lot. When we opened the jars and poured out the cold ketchup, we often got a plop of an almost whole tomato–seeds and all. I thought maybe peppers, but she has no memory of putting peppers in there. I’m pretty sure there was vinegar in there, but there wasn’t an overpowering vinegar taste. And there was probably salt. Other than that, I’m not sure.

Now, before you think I’m describing salsa, perhaps in a way. But salsa wasn’t popular (at least not where I grew up in Iowa) at the time.

What to do? What to do? I’m not ready–or willing–to give up cold ketchup. So I’m on a mission to find that recipe. I’m hoping one of my readers know about it and perhaps has a recipe to share. (And please, it has nothing to do with sex with dead people; Interested? Google it.) And, of course, I’ll be experimenting. I don’t have enough of my own tomatoes. I hoped to get some “seconds” or “canning” tomatoes, but I’m not sure that’s going to be feasible. So I may have to use commercially canned. But one thing is for certain: I will not be deterred. Though I may end up with several marginal versions of ketchup. Good thing I like it.

 

Send to Kindle
Jul
30

Powder Your Food

by , under Uncategorized

It’s been a busy summer, but I cleared the schedule to finally write a post.

My original plan was to only plant a few herbs. I really want to move, and I didn’t want to leave my crops behind. But the closer season came, the more obvious it became that I wasn’t moving anytime soon. So I planted the herbs–and other things. I even have a tomato plant forest leading to my door.

There are lots of flowers and tomatoes on them. And I’ve already picked and eaten three.

I also planted jalapeños, but nothing yet. Well, I have plants, but that’s it. So, when I saw a YouTube post on Suttons Daze (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_JPNIxSg8llJJTOupC86jQ) for jalapeño powder, I knew I had to make it. After all, you know how much I love my food powders. But unless I wanted to wait, I’d have to get jalapeños and dehydrate them first. Unless . .

I already had dehydrated peppers. Thanks to My Spice Sage, I did. I had forgotten that I ordered hopped peppers. So I pulled them out and made jalapeño powder. Why would you want it in the first place? There are things  you might like to have the heat and flavor but not necessarily the pieces. It works great in soups and breads. Mix some into the vegan cheese powder I posted about. Or, do what I did, and mix it into ketchup. But first things first. What exacty is it?

My jalapeño powder consists of two ingredients: equal parts dehydrated peppers and onion powder. Some people add an equal amount of garlic. Some add a bit of salt. Me? I’m a peppers and onion type of gal.

A word of caution. After grinding the peppers, let the “dust” settle back into the grinder before opening. And don’t stick your nose right over it. Trust me on this, okay? And if you’re grinding peppers you’ve dehydrated, I recommend putting back into the dehydrator for a couple of hours after powdering to make sure it’s dry.

So what about the ketchup. Add a wee bit of the powder to kick up your ketchup. It works in homemade ketchup, like I use, or even store bought.

Besides using as ketchup for ketchup’s sake, use it as a base for salad dressing or even seafood sauce. It’s something different to your repertoire.

Send to Kindle
Jun
10

Joining the Cauli-Rice Bandwagon

by , under Uncategorized

Like probably most of you, I seem to see posts about cauliflower rice on practically every social media platform I’m on. I don’t eat rice of any kind these days, and I really don’t miss it. The one time I do notice the lack is when I have stir fry, which is often. Anyway, it’s something I planned to try, but since I’m not a huge cauliflower fan (except raw), it has been one of those someday things.

Until last Monday. I happened to catch a live chat on the Suttons Daze YouTube channel. Leisa happened to mention she had some videos about it. So this morning, I checked it out. I was really drawn to the one using a Lebanese spice mix, especially since I have a blend I keep on hand. So cauli-rice was what was for dinner tonight.

Lebanese Spice Blend

Most recipes I’ve seen for cauli-rice call for fresh cauliflower. I didn’t have any, but I did have bags of frozen cauliflower in the freezer. I took one out and let it thaw in the sink. The next step is to send it pulsing in the food processor. Be sure to pulse, not just let it run. Now, you know how much I love my VitaMix and wonder why I didn’t use it. Well, I have the bare bones version, which means my options are high/low, on/off. I wanted to use something that gave me more control. Ergo, my food processor.

I decided I wanted to add some of my dehydrated red peppers, green peppers, and some sun-dried tomatoes. So about an hour before I was ready to make dinner, I reconstituted them.

I heated about a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan and let it heat. In the meantime, I used a paper towel to dry off some of the moisture in the cauli-rice. When I pan was hot, I added the rice, my Lebanese Spice Blend (you can find the recipe here), and the reconstituted peppers and sun-dried tomatoes.

I love it. It would have been good on its own, but I did have some ground turkey on the side. I’m really looking forward to trying other flavor combinations.

Send to Kindle
Jun
04

A Nut-Free Cheesy Powder

by , under Uncategorized

I’ve been looking for a vegan cheese powder I can add to bread doughs, cracker doughs, and even use on top of veggies or in soups. I found a recipe for a parm-ish one, but it was lacking in the taste department. It’s a nut-seed combo. But, I may have finally found it.

There are a few YouTube channels that I watch religiously. One of them is Wilhelms Kitchen. Christina and her family live in Canada. I especially enjoy her canning posts. But a recent one had nothing to do with canning and everything to do with my search for a vegan cheese powder.

In a recent video, Christina talked about her Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce. She made it for mac and cheese. She now dehydrated it to make cheese powder. It’s nut-free, which suited me fine since I’m out of cashews. Christina’s recipe calls for a cooked potato. Since I need to watch carbs, I don’t buy potatoes often, so I didn’t have any regular potatoes. If I’m going to use my carbs on a potato, I want the most nutrition I can get, so I do occasionally buy sweet potatoes. And since I had one on hand, I decided to swap out the regular potato for my sweet potato. The cooked carrot I could do. Plus, I saved the peelings for stock.

As for the other ingredients, I had everything except cayenne pepper, which is optional. But since I had chili pepper, I decided to add a bit of that. And, of course I added turmeric. I try to add it to everything I can. I cut down on the salt and olive oil as well. The next time I make it, I think I’ll cut back even more on the salt. Everything goes into the blender and whirred to submission. If you want to use it as sauce, add more veggie water if needed, and stop here.

But if you’re looking for the nut-free cheesy powder, it’s onto the fruit roll-up tray or silicone sheet and into the dehydrator.  Make sure to spead thinly onto the sheets. Okay, I wasn’t so good at that.

I left mine to dehydrate overnight. The next morning, I pulled it up and turned it over to dehydrate for another few hours.

When dry, send it for a trip in the spice grinder/coffee mill/food processor/blender (I used the spice grinder). Whenever I make a powder from a liquid, I put it back into the dehydrator after powdering to make sure it’s good and dry. This went back in for another hour. And the result?

Christina says it reminds her of Chees-its. Now, I confess I’ve not had them in a really long time, but it doesn’t taste like what I remember them to taste. Now that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Quite the contrary; I like the taste.

To try it out, I decided to make a small, small loaf (okay, rolls) of bread. I added 2 tablespoons of the cheesy powder.

(Bad photo. Sorry)

It wasn’t enough to change the color, but then I used a combo of rye flour and bread flour. There was a subtle cheesy flavor to the rolls. A little too subtle for me; I’ll add more the next time.

This is a huge win for me. If you want a vegan cheese but can’t do the nuts or even seeds, this is a great, healthy alternative. I think my next experiment will be making crackers with it. Hmm, wonder where I can get a fishy mold . . .

Here’s my version of Christina’s recipe.

Send to Kindle
© Copyright The Enabling Cook 2011. All rights reserved. | Powered by Wordpress | Designed by ThemesGuy