Preserves! Bruschetta In A Jar!

In truth, I suspect this is better classified as either “picked tomatoes” or “diced tomatoes with extra stuff” but either way “bruschetta in a jar” is probably a more evocative description, so we’re going with it.
Yesterday, I finally got around to canning the latest 2.5lb (bulk) bag of roma tomatoes and, in the interest of flavour variety (if not vegetable variety) in our winter diet, I opted to can them as one-cup jars of “bruschetta”.
Bruschetta in a Jar
2.5 lbs roma tomatoes (12-15, roughly), blanched, skinned, cored, and diced
2 large yellow cooking onions, peeled and finely diced
1 bulb (BULB – about 12 cloves) garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
½ C balsamic vinegar
½ C white wine vinegar
¼ C tomato juice
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp dried rosemary (I would have liked to use basil instead/also but I’m out. Oh well)
Put everything in a pot and bring to a boil. Allow the liquid to reduce somewhat, if possible[1]
Once everything is boiling and has been mixed together well, ladle it into sterilized jars – I used a slotted spoon to do this – and top up with about 2 tbsp of vinegar-tomato cooking liquid[2].
Cap the jars and process them in a boiling water bath for 10-15 minutes
Remove from water and allow to cool, listening for the “plunk” as each jar seals.
Makes about two litres
One of my jars didn’t seal, so I wound up with seven cups of bruschetta preserved and sitting in my cupboard, plus one clup of bruschetta that I used in last night’s dinner. I poured it, plus the large amount of left-over balsamic-tomato liquid, over a couple of fish fillets and baked the whole shebang. It tasted amazing so I’m confident that the above preserves will serve us well over the winter. :-)
That brings me up to about six litres of tomato products in the cupboard so far. I still have plans to make my annual roasted-garlic-balsamic tomato sauce (and I’ll be using a litre of frozen tomato skins and cores along with whatever other tomatoes I can scrounge to do it), but I can see this bruschetta mix – which is quite similar in terms of ingredients – taking up more and more space in my cupboard. It tastes good, and – while you do need to peel and core the tomatoes – it’s relatively quick as it doesn’t require a night spent in the slow-cooker before it’s ready to can.
Something to think about. :-)
Meliad the Birch Maiden
[1] This may or may not work. Tomatoes have a lot of liquid in them, so when you first boil them, you’ll actually get more liquid than you started with.
[2] The point of this is to keep the Ph level low enough to safely can them in a boiling water bath. The next time I make this, I’m more likely to half the vinegar in the recipe BUT add a tablespoon of balsamic to each jar rather than relying on the tomatoes, onions, and garlic to soak up enough vinegar to be acidic enough “on their own” during the cooking process.

Preserves – Crushed/Diced Tomatoes 2014 (and the saga of the broken jars)

So, remember last year when my crushed tomatoes wouldn’t seal, and I decided that I probably wouldn’t do home-canned crushed tomatoes again?
Well, I decided to try canning crushed/diced tomatoes again this year, after all and, while the jars sealed just fine (YAY!), I still wound up learning a Valueable Lesson about canning safety. Yeah, that. Continue reading

Full Moon – Thunder Moon Crests

It was a super moon (again) last night! :-D
My lovely wife, and one of her GFs, and I went out and sat on a bench on the corner and watched her come up over the buildings, all orange between the branches. Sh was, in fact, quite large even at that height, and quite lovely as always. :-)
We spent the day away from the house, riding around the country side on the motorbike (I love being a passenger) – the kind of ride where you go for, like, an hour and a half just to get an ice cream cone and come back again – and then eating amazing (left-over) BBQ’d ribs for dinner. Life is good. :-)
Also, every town in the Lanark Highlands is having their Garlic Festival right now which means Ontario Garlic will be showing up in Ontario Grocery Stores in, like, the next two days (YAY!!!) Continue reading

P is for Pieces (and Parma) – Pagan Blog Project 2014

So. Long ago, I picked up a copy of T. Thorne Coyle’s Evolutionary Witchcraft, and tried to read it. I never got all the way through, though. I’d always get a bit hung up on the Dances for each of the three Parts/Types Of Soul – at least that’s the big one that comes to mind for what was “stopping me” from reading it all the way through.
That seems to be kind of a thing with me, though – I’ll get a learning text and start it… and then not progress as quickly as I’d like to – for Reasons, of course[1] – and get frustrated (or side-tracked, or both) and put it down again.
The latest one that I’m (hopefully not) doing this with is Gede Parma’s Ecstatic Witchcraft: Magick, Philosophy & Trance in the Shamanic Craft Continue reading

Drying Peaches and Nectarines – Things I Have Learned

So, as-you-know-bob, I bought myself a dehydrator last week.
Yesterday was its first run, and… it did okay.
What I did was take a heap of peaches (enough to fill one tray, so let’s say “8-9″) and a heap of nectarines (roughly twice that number, since they filled two trays), and cut them up in to chunks.
Yeah, that was, I suspect, my first mistake.
See, here’s the thing. In a different house – and possibly with a different dehydrator (one that didn’t need to have its trays rotated every 3-4 hours) – leaving your dehydrator to run through the night might be a totally fine thing to do. But I don’t entirely feel like that would be the wisest course of action in our wee, previously-quite-neglected apartment building. So I’m currently only running my dehydrator while I’m awake.
Chunks of fruit have a lot of volume to get through before they’re dried all the way through. After 11 hours, even the nectarines weren’t totally done. O.O
So, yeah, I turned them off for the night, bagged up the fruit and put it in the fridge. And of course there’s condensation on the bag in the morning, because the fruit isn’t dried all the way through. Which is fine. I’ve basically made Fruit Candy and will throw some of it in with the pork tonight, and probably pack the rest up to be Snack Food for me and my lovely wife when we go on our adventure tomorrow afternoon (I think we’re borrowing someone’s car and picking up extra Bike Parts, but I could be wrong). So no harm done. BUT:
Next time I do this – most likely with tomatoes – I’ll be slicing my fruit/veggies so that they’re no more than one centemetre thick (idelaly closer to half that), and fairly uniform.
That should make things dry both more evenly and a lot faster, even though it’ll also make for a fair bit more clean-up in the long run. My hope is that the learning curve on this will be an easy one, and that I’ll have the hang of it quickly enough to be able to whip up a batch of kale chips for-the-heck-of-it every now and then, and make good (store it at room-temperature good) use of it for tomatoes, peaches, pears, plums (… etc) during harvest season. :-)

Chocolate-Chili Peanut Butter Cookies

So I spent yesterday cooking and cleaning, like you do (the work room is now actually workable – go me!) and trying out my shiny new dehydrator. I’ll do a separate post about that experience (it was fine, but I learned a few things) shortly. For now, though, I want to post this handy-dandy recipe I came up with yesterday.
Note: Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of “healthy cookies” – stuff that, while still chock full of sweet stuff, was made with a mixture of relatively-high-nutrition flours (whole wheat + ground almonds + whole cooked millet, for example) and relatively low-glycemic-index sugars (like fruit butter rather than refined, granulated straight-up-sugar).
Readers, these are not that kind of cookie.
I made them because I’ve been wanting peanut-butter cookies since last week[1] and I finally had the time to sit around and just get them made. :-)
Here’s the recipe: Continue reading

Tomato-Peach Salsa 2014

So I may or may not wind up making appliance-dried fruit this year. The dehydrator is larger (read: wider at the base) than I was expecting, and our on-going, building-wide Roach Problem has reminded me (again) that creating a warm, moist, sheltered, fruit-filled environment is maaaaaybe not something I want to be doing right there in my food preparation area.
I sure do miss my balcony right now. Ants I can deal with, if they turn up. But this is just not something I want to encourage.
That said, whether I do dried fruit or stick with, say, peach-nectarine butter (which will be its own brand of deliciousness) this summer, I’m going to need to get on it in, oh, the next 24 hours because that fruit is not going to last all that much beyond that.
I think I may have come up with a way to stage the dehydrator that will keep things relatively under control, provided my fruit doesn’t take more than about 12 hours and I can stay int he house during that time (I have a drop-leaf side table that, with the adition of a protective cover – I don’t want to wreck the wood – might serve as an appropriately sized suport, provided I can do some pre-emptive protective work around the base before I turn the thing on.
So that’s the saga with the dehydrator. Now that I’ve (possibly) grossed you all out, I’m going to rapidly change the subject to SALSA. Continue reading