Every year Brent needs a treat to bring into the office for the holidays...this is a easy one especially if you have stuff already done up from the garden. I took a 5 lb block of cream cheese and cut it longs ways... Only using about half of the block. Cut again on a diagonal as this gives you two sides for a Christmas tree shape. Use green onion stems for the trunk and a bell pepper cut into a star shape for the tree star. I like to use My Gardner Guy's tomato jam spread on the top and garnish with parsley....The truth is many kinds of spreads/ jams would work...I would love to try jalapeno. I love the color and taste though of a good tomato jam!!! Surround with the crackers of your choice and you have a very nice dessert, appetizer, office goodie.....they will like it!!! Click on this link for a great tasty tomatoe jam....http://mygardnerguy.blogspot.com/search/label/Jam
What I love about Christmas and Gardening.....My Gardner Guy brings me home lots of stuff to use for gifts...Giving things made from the kitchen is fun, pleasing, and rewarding because you did it. So here are my neighbor gifts...waiting to be delivered in the Christmas spirit....
Well we had a great Thanksgiving...computer down... as well as my new camera. I am having surgery Wednesday and will be down a spell. I am very behind in my blogging post as I wanted to get so much done before surgery. I will, I will, I will catch things up in my down time of 8 weeks or so....I do have a cute Christmas wrapping tip using brown packing paper (butcher paper) or the paper bags you can get at most grocery stores....fresh pine tree sprigs, pine cones, and wrapping string. It's cute isn't it?
What a simple idea to to with those paint swatches.....
Another cute idea to do with your scrap paper....and pretty ribbon....I love brown paper wrapping!!!
A pine-tree profile cut into gold tissue paper folds back to reveal a layer of silver tissue beneath
Saturday My Gardener Guy and I spent the day cooking up all our pumpkins...we have enjoyed pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pie and frozen pumpkin yogurt..
Homemade Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt
1 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt, strained
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
(At times I have use other sweetners, example would be a simple sugar syrup mixture)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Mix everything together in a large mixing bowl until completely combined. Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker for a few minutes until it is a smooth, cool consistency. Alternatively, place the bowl in the freezer and stir mixture every half hour until it reaches desired consistency.
If they only knew they are on the list for getting cooked......would they Run?
This week I am preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner. That Apple Pie Filling I canned makes for a great Apple Pie. The rhubarb and strawberries I pick this summer are waiting in the freezer to be added to My Gardner Guy's Strawberry Rhubarb Pie!!! Those Halloween Pumpkins....well they are going in the oven to roast...Like I said it's Pie Time.......Oh and Pumpkin Pie from our Pumpkins!!!
When I was a teenager I loved Baking. My Father use to say when you learn to make a apple pie as good as your Aunt Luella then you will have become a great cook. I so wanted to please him, so year after year I would bake him a pie. I tried many different crust recipes....then I found the one I loved, I have been using it for the past 15 years. Year after year I would wait to hear if I had become that great cook, baker or something from my Father. Finally, I asked him...."Hey Daddy is my Apple Pie better than Aunt Luella's...or as good...he smiled and said I surpassed her along time ago!!! Funny what kind of things make us smile. I want to thank my sweet Aunt for teaching me how to make pies!!!
2 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup shortening
1/4 cup of water
Measure 1 2/3 cups of flour and put into a mixing bowl. Add 1 tsp of salt. Cut in 1 cup of shortening. In another small bowl mix 1/3 cup of flour with 1/4 cup of water making a paste. Then add this to the shortening/flour mixture until it forms a ball...Makes a two layer pie, fill your pie with the desired filling of your choice and bake at 400 degrees.
• 6 lb red bell peppers (about 14 medium)
• 1 lb Italian plum tomatoes (about 5 medium)
• 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
• 1 small white onion
• 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
• 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
• 1 Tbsp sugar
• 1 tsp salt
Yield: About 5 half-pints
1. ROAST red peppers, tomatoes, garlic and onion under a broiler or on a grill at 425°F, turning to roast all sides, until tomatoes and peppers are blistered, blackened and softened and garlic and onion are blackened in spots. Remove from heat.
2. PLACE pepper and tomatoes in paper bags, secure opening and let cool about 15 minutes. Allow garlic and onion to cool. Peel garlic and onion. Finely chop garlic. Set aside. Finely chop onion, measuring 1/4 cup. Set aside. Peel and seed peppers and tomatoes. Place peppers and tomatoes in a food processor or blender, working in batches, and process until smooth.
3. PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
4. COMBINE pepper and tomato puree, garlic, onion, vinegar, basil, sugar and salt in a large saucepan.Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture thickens and mounds on a spoon, about 20 minutes.
5. LADLE hot spread into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
6. PROCESS in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
Place garlic and pine nuts in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add Parmesan, red pepper, basil leaves, salt and pepper. Pulse until well combined. With the motor running, add olive oil through the feed tube and process until incorporated. Set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot. Add the pesto to the pasta and stir to combine. Stir in heavy cream if desired for a creamier sauce. Heat until warmed through. Serve immediately. If you make the My Gardner Guy's Roasted Red Pepper Spread....use 1 cup and depending upon your taste you may or may not want to use less freash garlic and fresh basil...
So I am so in love with my Kitchen....I think My Gardner Guy may be a tiny bit jealous....Here are the after pics so far...still working on painting, lights underneath some cabinets, and decorating a huge wall in the new dining area...little things, molding, window treatments..it's coming, and I'm cooking!!!
(From a July post) This is a before shot of my existing kitchen and dining area...Today I meet with a contractor and hopefully in a week or so we will be able to start.
Below are some pictures I used to get the feel of what I was going for...do you think I got close?
Do you want to see what I'm going for...well it's a work in process but I have a few pics that will give you a general idea...Tell me which look you like...
Your Guy will love stuffed peppers, jalapenos, anaheims, chili peppers...most any pepper taste delicious stuffed with a mixture of cream cheese and grated cheddar cheese. For a little extra treat wrap with bacon...roast under the broiler on the lowest rack in the oven and serve with a tomato jam...(Tomato Jam, watch for this gourmet specialty). Leaving the stems on makes it easy to handle these tasty treats as an appetizer...or cut the stem end off and slice in half, either way they will get eaten...TRUST ME!!! These peppers are great even without the bacon...
Notes: drain the meat once it browns to minimize the amount of fat in the jars, make sure to cook the beans a half hour before adding them to the chili, and be very consistent with your 1" inch head space....the beans need it as they will expand while pressure canning....
3 cups dried pinto or red kidney beans
5 1/2 cups water
5 t. salt (2 t. for salting beans when they cook & 3 t. for the chili)
3 lbs. ground beef
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped red bell peppers (you could use jalapenos for a spicier version. I used a mixture of peppers from our garden...he likes it that way!!!)
1 t. black pepper
3 to 6 T. Chili powder (I used 4T.)
2 quarts crushed or whole tomatoes (8 cups)(I used 8 cups of tomatoes that I had cooked down to a thicker sauce...)
Wash beans thoroughly and put them in a 2 qt. saucepan. Add cold water to a level of 3 inches above the beans and soak for 10 to 12 hours. Drain and discard water. Combine beans with 5 1/2 cups fresh water and 2 t. kosher salt. Bring to a boil, reduce and cook 30 minutes. Soaking time really depends on how old the beans are. The older the beans mean more soaking time...
Mean while, brown ground beef, onions, and peppers, in a skillet. Drain off fat by spooning into a colander in the sink. Shake out the excess fat. Pour into large pot and add 3t. salt, pepper, chili powder, tomatoes. Drain beans after 30 minutes and add to meat. Simmer chili for 5 minutes.
Using sterilized jars fill leaving 1" headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids and process in pressure canner. Process pints at 11lbs of pressure for 75 minutes for a dial gauge and 10 lbs of pressure for a weighted gauge. This recipe makes between 9 to 10 pints....
So what's for dinner....Gardner Guy approved Chili Dogs....he loves them!!!