Monday, May 15, 2006

Garden Salsa

Makes about 6 quarts salsa.

16 cups tomatoes, chopped/diced to your preference
4 onions, diced
6 green peppers, chopped
jalapeno pepper(s), diced and seeded, to taste (or any other hot pepper; I used hot Portugals from our garden, and it turned out fine)
2 cups lemon juice
two 12 oz. cans tomato paste
1 and 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 tsp. salt.
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 bunch cilantro, or to taste (I threw in a vague amount from ours)
shredded carrots
chopped celery

Cook vegetables in a large pot (without added water) until hot. Strain out some of the juice, and then add the rest of the ingredients. Boil for a few minutes. Pour into warm jars, screw on lids, and process in a boiling hot water bath for 15 minutes.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Kosher Dill Pickles

Thanks to Titi for this recipe. (John thanks you, too. These are his favorite pickles.)

You'll need seven pint-size canning jars with lids and tops and a large canning pot (a pressure cooker is not needed). If you want to double the recipe, 7 quart jars will do, and since these pickles are delicious, you may want to triple or quadruple or quintuple or...whatever...just get more jars.

Wash jars and lids in hot water. If you want, you can keep them in warm water until ready to dry and fill.

4 pounds pickling cucumbers, each about 4" long
14 garlic cloves split (I think I used a few more)
1/4 cup pickling salt (a coarse salt sold in grocery stores)
2 and 3/4 cups white vinegar
3 cups water
14 heads fresh dill (I used dill weed because I had it)
28 peppercorns (I used black with a few scattered other colors from our pepper grinder, and I used a few more than 28 because Millie was "helping")
*** I usually dump about 1/4 tsp. mustard seed into each jar, too.

Wash cucumbers and cut in half lengthwise. (I cut some in quarters for easier jar-stuffing.)

Heat garlic, salt, vinegar, and water to boiling. Remove garlic and place 4 halves into each pint or quart jar, reserving the vinegar solution.

Pack cucumbers into jars, adding 2 heads dill, 4 peppercorns, and 1/4 teaspoon mustard seed. (If you're using dill weed, just stuff however much you want into the cracks between pickles. I used a lot, and the pickles were strong and yummy.) Pour hot vinegar solution over cucumbers to within 1/2" of top. Screw on and adjust lids.

Lower temperature sterilization: Place jars in canner half-filled with warm water (120 to 140 degrees).
Add hot water to a level of 1 inch above the jars.

Heat the water to 180
-185 degrees F and start a timer. Process for 30 minutes, checking with a candy or jelly thermometer to be certain that the water temperature is at least 180 degrees F but not much higher. (Temperatures higher than 185F may cause softening of the pickles, but temps. lower than 180 degrees may not kill all the bacteria.)

Immediately remove jars from canning pot at end of processing time. Put jars on a rack or towel so air can move freely around them.

Let pickles ripen in flavor for 6 weeks, or, if you have no willpower, open a jar soon after making them like we do.

The Encyclopedia of Country Living, p. 332

7 pints
NOTES : You can also use regular water bath canning to can the
pickles, but this lower-temperature pasteurization method
results in crunchier pickles. Follow directions
carefully to avoid spoilage.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Indian Flatbread (Naan)

This recipe creates a mild, slightly sweet, buttery, soft, and chewy flatbread, an ideal balance for the spiciness of the dish below. I used a cast iron pan to cook these, which worked perfectly. I haven't tried them in the oven or on the grill, but either could be used, as well.

2/3 cup warm milk
2 cups white flour
1 tsp. yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter; I just used regular, melted butter)
2 tablespoons yogurt
minced garlic, garlic powder, onion seeds or onion powder, if desired
(poppy seeds, raisins, etc., could also be sprinkled on the dough, depending on your tastes)

1. Mix warm milk with yeast and sugar until both are dissolved. Let proof for about ten minutes (until frothy).
2. Sift flour, salt, and spices, if desired, in a bowl, then add the yeast mixture, the yogurt, and half of the butter.
3. Mix into a soft dough and knead on a floured surface until smooth and elastic (you'll probably have to work more flour into the dough for easier handling)
4. Place dough in warm place until doubled.
5. Punch down and knead for five minutes. Divide into 6 pieces, and roll each piece into 8-inch round naans. Cook one at a time (about 30 seconds on each side) in a buttered, cast-iron pan until puffed and just browned OR cover an oven tray with foil, grease the foil, and cook naan on your oven's highest setting for about two minutes on each side until puffed and just browned OR cook on a lightly greased grill for 2-4 minutes on each side.

Spicy Buryani (Chicken and Rice)

After eating some leftovers yesterday (I didn't have more than a few bites the night before), I've concluded that this isn't really super-spicy. It's spicy but not painful, so try it!

-8 medium pieces chicken
-2 cups basmati rice
-4 cups water
-1 cup plain yogurt
-1 tsp. red chilli (I used cayenne powder)
-1 tsp. tumeric powder
-1 tsp. garam marsala (a hot spice blend you can purchase or that you can make if you want)
-1 tablespoon each of garlic and ginger pastes (I made my own; just smush ginger root and garlic cloves in a food processor or in a hand-held garlic press; add a bit of water if needed)
-2 tablespoons butter
-2 medium onions

Make cuts in chicken pieces. Combine yogurt, chilli powder (or cayenne), garam marsala, half of the ginger/garlic pastes, half of the tumeric, and salt to taste. Rub onto chicken pieces and marinate in refrigerator for at least one hour.

Brown onion rings in butter and set aside.

Heat butter in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add remaining ginger/garlic pastes and tumeric powder and saute for a bit. Add chicken, rice, water, and salt, to taste. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until water has evaporated and chicken is cooked, about 15 minutes. Garnish with brown onions and serve with naan.