Friday, September 30, 2011

Baked Swiss Chard Chips

 We love sauteing it, boiling it with stock, blending it in a smoothie and baking it into chips. 

Baked Swiss Chard Chips

1 bunch Swiss Chdar
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt

Wash and dry the leaves. Remove stalks and thick ribs. Cut or rip the leaves into good sized pieces. Drizzle olive oil over leaves and toss well to coat.  

Arrange the leaves in a single layer on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until crisp.  Check them after 10 minutes.  I like to toss them around with a spatula half way through. They will get dark green when they crisp up.  Don't let them brown. Cool and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Poached Pears, Grape Jelly and CSA

It's nice opening the door to a box full of fresh produce! We receive a box every Friday laden with different local and seasonal organic fruits.  We used to get a mixed box of vegetables and fruits but decided that we prefer to buy our vegetables from Trader Joe's since we can pick and choose what we want. Avocados and tomatoes are considered fruits so we are happy to find them inside the boxes at the moment. Amelia happened to ask for an avocado when we heard the knock at our door and low and behold a single avocado was waiting inside the box for her. She was one happy girl.

There have been quite a few pears in our CSA box that we couldn't keep up with so I decided to make a dessert with them. I chose a warm winter pear dessert. Poached pears in red wine sauce stuffed with goat cheese! What?! Yep. It was good.

Poached Pears

4 ripe pears
1 bottle Cabernet Sauvignon
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick

Goat Cheese Filling

3/4 cup goat cheese
2 Tablespoons sugar or to taste
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Mix goat cheese, vanilla and sugar together until smooth, set aside. Peel and core pears leaving the stems on. Stuff the goat cheese mixture into the hollowed out pears.
 Mix the red wine, sugar and cinnamon stick together in a sauce pan. Add all 4 pears to the wine mixture and bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat to a simmer. Constantly and carefully rotate the pears on their sides to coat them in the wine mixture. Poach until tender. About 10-15 minutes. You can remove the pears and continue to simmer the wine sauce until it becomes syrupy or serve immediately.

I've been canning off and on throughout this year. Pickled garlic, grape jelly sweetened with local honey, apple peel jelly and sweet pickle relish. If and when my tomato crop comes in I want to make tomato jam. 

I just followed the directions on the No Sugar Needed Fruit Pectin box to make grape jelly with 100% bottled juice and honey.  I added 3/4 cup of sugar but I think it needed a whole cup. This is a quick and inexpensive way to make grape jelly if you do not have concord grape vines.  My dad planted concord grape vines at the farm house several years ago and each year they produce plenty of grapes to eat on and make fresh grape jelly.

The next step is to make Mulled Apple Cider Jelly with apple peels and cores. It will taste like Autumn.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Apple Peel and Apple Core Jelly!


A couple weeks ago we went to Gizdich Ranch
to pick apples and have a slice of their freshly baked pies! My husband is a party pooper and decided that he didn't want to pick apples so we settle for buying a 1/2 bushel of apples from their apple barn and sharing a slice of their delicious dutch apple pie a la mode! Oh my was that good.  We washed it all down with an apple slushy. Their fresh apple juice was so sweet and full of flavor. It was also strawberry picking time so we bought a pint of strawberries for $1.50!

 It was so bright that day. I could hardly keep my eyes open for the picture.

Amelia's favorite face to make! lol

There was a hay tunnel there that Amelia was surprisingly scared of. She finally went through and loved it.


Amelia really wanted those marbles!

Growing up with family who suffered through the depression I've learned that they used just about every part of an animal, fruit or vegetable. Rarely did anything go to waste.  Either they made something with it or they fed it to the farm animals.  Two recipes in particular come to mind. Watermelon rind pickles and apple peel and core jelly. I know my mamaw Curtis used to make watermelon rind pickles and my Great Grandma Taffer made Apple Jelly.  I just recently came across this recipe and thought I would try it out since I would have lots of peels and cores left over from freezing apples for apple pie making or fried apples!

Apple Peel and Core Jelly

Peelings and cores from 15 -20 medium tart apples
6 cups water (for cooking cores and peels)  
1 (1 3/4 ounce) box dry pectin 
9 cups sugar  
1 -2 drop red food coloring (or 1 drop each of yellow and blue food coloring) (optional) 
I used 3-4 strawberries to give the jelly a pink tint

Cook peelings and cores in 6 cups water for 20-30 minutes. If using strawberries to tint jelly add them as well. Strain through prepared cheesecloth or jelly bag. Do not squeeze the pulp or the jelly will become cloudy. Add water as needed, to the strained juice, to obtain 7 cups liquid. Add pectin (whisk works well) and bring to a rapid boil. Add sugar, boil hard for 1 minute. Note: If desired, food coloring can be added to juice for color. Pour into sterile jars, leaving 1/8" head space; wipe jar rims, adjust lids and rings; water bath 10 minutes. 

These will make nice Christmas gifts!
Seems like a lot of sugar but remember that jelly is a condiment not a side dish. My jelly set up very nicely. Next batch I'm making will have a mulled apple cider twist to it!

For Apple Cider flavor add in: 1 1/2 Tbs whole allspice, zest of 1 1/2 oranges, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 1/4 teaspoon whole cloves (strain out after the peelings and cores have cooked)