Friday, September 20, 2019

ZUCCHINI PICKLE RELISH


This relish is absolutely delicious and we use it in everything from tuna fish salad, to potato salad, to hot dogs, you name it.........NO ONE has EVER guessed it is made with zucchini, it just tastes like the BEST bread and butter pickle relish you have EVER eaten !!!



12 cups unpeeled zucchini (chopped small)
3 cups sweet onion (chopped small)
1 cup celery (chopped small)
2 large red bell peppers (chopped small)
2 cups peeled carrots (chopped small)
1 cup pickling* salt (see important note)
3 cups white vinegar
3 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons DRY mustard powder
1 tablespoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon corn starch


Wash and dry the vegetables before cutting them (the only one you should peel is the carrot). Coarsley chop the vegetables, then put them in the food processor (2 or 3 cups at a time) and pulse them a few times to get the pieces small enough for a good relish (but not too small). The chop size should look like this:

Measure the vegetables AFTER you chop 
them in the food processor.

Mix the small chopped vegetables and 1 cup of pickling salt. Place this mixture (covered) in fridge overnight (The salt will draw excess moisture out of the veggies).


IMPORTANT NOTE: After the vegetables have chilled overnight, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you rinse the salt off of them. I rinse the chopped veggies three times (in small batches).


Whatever method you choose to rinse the salt off, just make sure you rinse, rinse, rinse then squeeze as much water out of the chopped veggies as you can(I use my salad spinner). Set aside.

In a large, non-aluminum, pot, mix the vinegar, sugar, celery seed, spices and corn starch. Bring to a boil (to dissolve the sugar). Add all of the rinsed vegetables to the pot and bring BACK to a boil. Once it is boiling hard, turn heat to medium low and GENTLY boil everything for 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes or so.

While the relish is simmering, sterilize 7 pint jars and 7 (two piece) screw on lids. I do this by putting the JARS through a hot cycle in my dishwasher. Keep the jars in the (unopened) hot dishwasher after the last cycle.


For the LIDS, I just wash them with hot soapy water, rinse them well and then pour boiling water over them in a large saucepan which I keep HOT on a burner.


Also, while the relish is simmering, bring your canning water to a hard boil, here is how:

 Place a rack on the bottom of a large stock pot (or something to keep the jars up off of the bottom of the pan) and fill the pot with water (water should be deep enough to cover the jars by 2". Bring the water to a full boil.

Now that your relish has boiled for 20 minutes, remove it from the heat and place it in the clean hot jars, leaving 1/4" space at the top of the jars (make sure there are no air pockets in the relish). Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, hot, wet kitchen towel and screw on the two-piece lids fairly tight. Lower the jars into the already boiling water and keep them in there  10 minutes for half pint jars and 15 minutes for pint jars.


Remove from boiling water and let cool to room temperature on your kitchen counter. As they cool on your counter, you will hear the lids "pop" when they make the correct seal.  If they don't "pop", just keep them in the fridge.




NOTE: Do not use regular table salt for this recipe because the anti-caking agents in table salt cause the relish to discolor.  If you don't have pickling salt, the next best thing to use is kosher salt (but I highly recommend pickling salt).



NOTE: The recipe calls for 12 cups of chopped up zucchini. I have found that if I am a cup short of zucchini, I just add an extra cup of chopped carrots. Works well.

NOTE: This recipe makes 7 pints of relish.



ENJOY !!!

Friday, September 6, 2019

EASY ITALIAN SAUSAGE

This Italian sausage is delicious and goes together quick and easy.  It calls for ground pork, so I just grind a couple of pork steaks, but you can also use unseasoned commercially ground pork.

When I make this, I fry it all up and then freeze it in small packages so it will be instantly ready for pizza, spaghetti sauce, meatballs etc., it’s great for a million things!!



1 pound of ground pork
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry parsley
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes* (see note)
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds  (don’t leave out)
1/4 teaspoon paprika (smoked paprika is good too)
1/4 teaspoon dry minced onion flakes
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold water

Measure the seasonings and then grind them all together with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder (so they will distribute evenly throughout the sausage. 


Sprinkle the seasonings over the raw ground pork and then add the water. Mix with your (washed) hands and chill (covered) overnight. That's it!! I told you it was easy !!!



After the sausage has “mellowed” in the fridge overnight,  you can use it or freeze it (it freezes well). 


I’ll never buy pre-made Italian sausage again. It is not only delicious, but I like knowing what is in my sausage!!




ENJOY !!! 
*NOTE: My picky picky husband HATES doesn't like spicy, so this amount of red pepper flakes is ok for him. If you like a little more heat, just add more red pepper flakes.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

FRESH PEA SALAD

Summer Pea Salad, jazzed up with crisp bacon and sweet cherry tomatoes is one of my favorites. It is one of those great salads that travels well and tastes even better after it has been in the fridge for a day or two.



1 pound fresh green peas (or 16oz. frozen green peas)
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup peeled and grated carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup red bell pepper chopped fairly small
3 slices of crisp bacon cut up (optional but delicious)
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded (I use a little more)
cherry tomatoes, cut in half (sweeter the better)
toasted sunflower seeds

Fresh green peas are the best in this salad, but when they are not available, frozen peas work well too. 

Microwave peas (covered) with 1 tablespoon of water for about 2 minutes or until slightly cooked (but not soft) then drain and cool.

In a large bowl, mix all of the above ingredients together (except the bacon, cherry tomatoes and sunflower seeds), then gently fold in the dressing.


Dressing

3 heaping tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1-2 tablespoons milk
Whisk the ingredients together and gently fold into salad. Cover and chill.

Just before you serve it, gently fold in the cut up cherry tomatoes, crisp bacon and toasted sesame seeds (save a few for decorating the top).


NOTE: Every microwave cooks at a different rate, so keep an eye on your peas when you microwave them. You don't want them raw, but you don't want them cooked and mushy either, does that make sense?

ENJOY !!!