The Sunday Recipe: Salsa

This recipe is adapted from one in an old copy of Country Woman magazine that my grandmother had kept. It was submitted by “Diana Murphy of Black Earth, Wisconsin” and printed in the November/December 1999 issue. I changed up the amount of onions, type of peppers, and reduced the amount of tomato paste.

Note: When chopping hot peppers, like jalapeno, it is wise to use gloves, but if your hands are in good shape, no cuts, and you can remember NOT to touch your face, you should be fine.

The first time I made this recipe, I left the seeds from ONE jalapeno in and it gave the salsa a nice heat that crept up on you. This time I seeded the peppers but didn’t worry if a few seeds got in, for a nice, mild, sweet, salsa.

Originally, I also used Poblano peppers instead of bell peppers. This time the grocery store only had the Italian equivalent so I used those. Substitutions are a good thing, especially when someone in the family is allergic to bell peppers.

This made me about 9 pints of salsa. A great recipe for gift giving!

Salsa

Ingredients

  • 18 cups quartered peeled fresh tomatoes (60 to 80 Roma tomatoes, depending on size.)
  • 4 Large onions, chopped
  • 4 good size Poblano chile peppers, seeded and chopped.
  • 9 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 6 sweet banana peppers chopped
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • ¼ cup sea salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 can of tomato paste

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large kettle and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring once every five minutes.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for two hours. Stir occasionally.
  3. Jar or cool and freeze.

The Sunday Recipe: Old-fashioned Chili Sauce

Old-fashioned Chili Sauce

This is an old recipe that my mother got from my paternal grandmother. I’ve made it quite a few times over the years and it has evolved a tiny bit. (Recipes tend to do that around here based on what is available.) It’s a lovely, savory relish that my father and aunt were known to eat from a saucer with a slice of bread.

I like it on burgers and I’ve cooked venison in the slow cooker with it for a great main dish. I’ve even used it as a dip with crackers. I have canned it before, but I have also frozen it and that is what I did this time. It makes a great gift for people who don’t need anything, or when you simply don’t know what to buy.

The most onerous part of making this relish is chopping the onions, but it’s worth it. I highly recommend you refrigerate the onions before chopping. (It helps a LOT.) You can use a food processor, a chopper, or make sure there’s a vent fan going while you chop.

Now, I don’t normally use brown sugar, I substitute maple syrup, but I wanted to keep this recipe true to the original flavor because I was mainly making it for family, so I used the brown sugar.

Ingredients

  • 12 large, ripe tomatoes
  • 6 large onions, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers (green or red, or a combination)
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon each ground allspice, ground cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, mustard seed, and celery seed.
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves

Directions

  1. Mix everything in a large pot
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring every few minutes.
  3. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook down for about 2 hours, until well thickened.
  4. Can, freeze, or use.

The Sunday Recipe: Green Tomato Mincemeat

My husband grew a bumper crop of Roma tomatoes this year. I’ve made several batches of marinara sauce, chili sauce, and one HUGE batch of salsa. Some of the tomatoes didn’t quite have time to ripen though so I’ve used an old favorite recipe to preserve them — Green Tomato Mincemeat. I’ve adapted this recipe for a more paleo version from the Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook of 1937. It’s simple but amazingly delicious.

In the past I’ve used either olive oil or butter, and either vinegar or lemon juice. This time I replaced the sugar with maple syrup, which allows me to use ¾ of the sugar content and still retain the tangy sweetness.

I prefer Granny Smith apples, but I’m sure any good cooking apple would work. I made a double batch the first time with vinegar, instead of lemon juice, and it tasted great. Today I made a triple batch and used lemon juice.

Green Tomato Mincemeat

Ingredients

  • 2 cups peeled, cored, and chopped apples
  • 2 cups chopped green tomatoes
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup dark raisins
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon mace (nutmeg is an acceptable substitute)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ tablespoon tapioca flour or cornstarch (optional)
  • ¼ cup butter

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large pot, except butter and tapioca (or corn) starch.
  2. Bring to a boil gradually over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Simmer about 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  4. Stir together tapioca flour or cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water and stir into the sauce.
  5. Simmer another 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in butter.
  7. Cool and use, or pour into freezer containers to store in the freezer.

The Sunday Recipe: Autumn Turkey Pot Pie

This recipe was born from being short on time and already having turkey salad in the fridge made up. It’s a combination of the popular turkey salad recipe that uses pecans, cranberries, celery, mayo and yogurt, the Pampered Chef Turkey Cranberry Wreath, and what I happened to have on hand. My daughter has told me several times that she wants me to make it again, so I consider that a big win.

If you don’t know how to make crust for a pie, talk to Betty. https://www.bettycrocker.com/how-to/tipslibrary/baking-tips/how-to-make-pie-crust

I like to use Spectrum organic palm oil for the shortening. For regular pie crust, the trick is really to be in a hurry – leave the fat content chunks big, like green peas, no over mixing, just enough to bring the dough together, and keep everything cold. Chill the dough ten minutes before rolling out. Now, with the vegetable shortening, I found it worked best warm. Roll out on floured parchment paper then put the pie plate over it upside down and flip them BOTH over.

Autumn Turkey Pot Pie

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup mayo
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon marjoram
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped cooked turkey
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ dried cranberries
  • 4 ounces shredded baby swiss (or cheddar)
  • Crust for top and bottom on a pie.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Prepare bottom pie crust in deep dish pie plate.
  3. Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, honey, marjoram, and pepper together.
  4. Add the chopped turkey, celery, pecans, cranberries, and shredded cheese.
  5. Turn into the pie crust.
  6. Cover with second crust, flute edge, and add air vents.
  7. Bake at 425 for 35 minutes.
  8. Enjoy.

The Sunday Recipe: Simple Marinara Sauce

My husband had a bumper crop of Roma tomatoes in his garden this year so my daughter and I ended up doing three batches of marinara sauce over three days for the freezer, refining our skills as we went. Here is where we ended up.

I based the seasoning on the simple sauce I make from canned unsalted tomato sauce.  I just stir together 1 eight ounce can of unsalted tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon of basil, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, ½ teaspoon of oregano, ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, and a pinch of sugar. I use that for pizza, spaghetti squash, zucchini, and eggplant recipes.

Now we have a small supply of sauce from home grown tomatoes.

Simple Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

  • 9 to 10 pounds tomatoes (preferably roma)
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup of water
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup dried basil
  • 2 Tablespoons dried oregano
  • If not using head of garlic, 2 tablespoons of garlic powder (NOT salt)
  • 4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions

  1. Clean and quarter the tomatoes to make sure there are no bad spots inside.
  2. Combine tomatoes, crushed garlic, chopped onion, and water in a large stock pot.
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Stir and reduce to a simmer.
  5. Leave lid on and stir every fifteen minutes for the first hour.
  6. Tip the lid so steam escapes and continue to simmer for about 3 hours.
  7. Run the cooked tomato mixture through a food mill with a fairly large whole strainer. You’ll get some seeds but not too many. Can also be pressed through a colander but the food mill is much easier.
  8. Place the tomato sauce in a pot and bring to a simmer.
  9. Cook until desired consistency, about an hour.
  10. Add seasonings and simmer another 15 minutes.
  11. Allow to cool.
  12. Package and freeze until needed.

Makes approximately 12 cups of sauce.

The Sunday Recipe: Lekvar Cake

This was an attempt to recreate the Lekvar cake my mother makes for Christmas using only paleo ingredients. It did and it didn’t work. It creates a dense, dark cake, but it doesn’t quite recreate the flavors of my childhood. I think next time I will try swapping out some of the pecan flour for tapioca flour. I also may try it as an upside down cake in a pie plate rather than sandwiching it. Make sure you cook the lekvar down until it is a true jam consistency.

Lekvar Sandwich Cake

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces pitted dried prunes 
  • Water to cover the fruit
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

  1. Place prunes in a small saucepan and cover with water.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until fruit is soft, adding more boiling water as necessary.
  3. Remove from heat and purée fruit in a food processor or blender.
  4. Return to saucepan, maple syrup; and cook until thick 30 – 45 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice.

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces pecan flour
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 5 large eggs (separated)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
  3. Separate the 5 eggs into 2 mixing bowls. (I highly recommend you do the actual separating over a small bowl and then dump the egg yolk into the one bowl and transfer the egg white into the mixing bowl.) If you don’t know how to separate eggs, here’s a simple 1-minute video on it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAGX-54iR30
  4. Mix the maple syrup into the egg yolks then stir in the vanilla and pecan flour.
  5. Using a mixer, beat your egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form. (Tip: for best results make sure your bowl and beaters are clean and dry, free of any oil.)
  6. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, about one third at a time. (Basically, folding means to use a large rubber spatula to stir up gently from the bottom.)
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes, until a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool completely, at least 4 hours or overnight.
  9. Slice across under the top third of the cake.
  10. Slice the remaining two thirds of the cake across to create a third layer.
  11. Spread half the lekvar on the bottom slice of cake.
  12. Place the middle layer on top and spread with the other half of the lekvar.
  13. Place the top layer on and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  14. Slice to serve.

The Sunday Recipe: Oven Fried Zucchini

These are an old favorite snack. I usually use garden zucchini these days and put the leftover back in the fridge. When I made them years ago I just used a small-ish zucchini, egg beaters, and Italian bread crumbs. These days they make some really great gluten free bread crumbs.

Oven Fried Zucchini

Ingredients

  1. 1 small to medium sized zucchini
  2. 1 egg, whisked
  3. 1/4 to 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  4. Olive oil cooking spray
  5. 1/4 cup grated parmesan (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  3. Beat an egg in a bowl.
  4. Pour approximately a half cup of Italian bread crumbs into a second bowl.
  5. Sliced the zucchini into 1/4 inch to 1/3 inch rounds.
  6. Dip the zucchini slices into the egg with one hand, then shake off the excess.
  7. Drop the dipped slice into the bread crumbs and shake bowl to coat.
  8. Use the tines of a fork to carefully prick the slice, lift it, and shake off the excess crumbs. (I tap the fork on the edge of the bowl to facilitate this.)
  9. Place on the prepared baking pan.
  10. When you’ve breaded all the slices, spritz the top of the slices with cooking spray.
  11. Bake for ten minutes.
  12. Flip the zucchini and bake another ten minutes.
  13. Enjoy!

The Sunday Recipe: Apple Cider Doughnut Cake

If you’ve read any of my recipes you might have noticed, I tend to work with what I’ve got and switch things out to avoid wheat flour and refined sugar. If you want the original recipe with sugar and wheat flour, I adapted this recipe from https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/apple-cider-doughnut-cake/#wprm-recipe-container-84520

Now, I didn’t have any oat flour on hand, nor any applesauce but I did have apples and quick oats. So, I peeled, cored and diced up a couple granny smith apples. I happened to have some plums and thought, why not? So, I cut up a plum and put that in too, with just enough water to keep things from sticking to the bottom of the little pot. I brought it to a boil then turned it down to simmer for half an hour. I processed some oats up. (1 ½ cups of oats yields approximately 1 1/2 cups of oat flour.) Then I processed the applesauce when it was done cooking and cooled in the fridge for 20 minutes.

My daughter asked if we could make another before we finished the first cake. This time we are going to glaze it instead of using the butter and sugar on top. We’ve also agreed to add ½ teaspoon of nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon of ginger, and a dash of cloves.

By the end, I was wishing I had mixed in the Kitchen Aid mixer because it’s a LOT of batter. If a Bundt pan cake seems like too much, I’ve also had good luck cutting a Bundt pan recipe in half and baking it in a glass loaf pan.

This cake is definitely best after totally cooled, and even chilled.

Apple Cider Doughnut Cake

Ingredients

Dry ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups white rice flour + ¼ cup tapioca flour
  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour (1 ½ cups of oats processes into the same for oat flour.)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Wet ingredients

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 6 tablespoons each melted butter and light olive oil
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Grease and flour, or spray a Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray. (Mine came out with the spray, but greasing and flouring is more reliable.)
  3. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Whisk the wet ingredients together in another bowl. (There are a lot of wet ingredients, go with a big bowl.)
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until just combined.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a knife inserted near the center of one side of the round comes out clean. (Mine took 60 minutes.)
  7. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
  8. Loosen the edges of the cake, I used an offset spatula. Place a plate over the cake pan then, using hot pads, turn them both over together.
  9. Brush with a couple tablespoons of melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar if desired, or glaze with a couple tablespoons of cider mixed with a cup of sifted powdered sugar.
  10. Cool thoroughly, and/or chill, and enjoy!

The Sunday Recipe: Creamy Cucumber Salad

CucumberSalad

Creamy Cucumber Salad

Our garden has produced a plethora of cucumbers this year and I just can’t keep up with it, but I’m not big on pickling. Here’s one way I use them up. Traditionally the cucumbers are salted fairly heavily and pressed to sweat the juice out before being mixed with the dressing, but I just use a little salt and a short sweat then drain and toss. I prefer the cucumbers a little more on the crisp side. The thickness of the cucumbers is also a matter of personal taste. If the seeds are too big in the cucumbers, I quarter them the long way and slice out the seeds. We’ve had some pretty gnarly looking cucumbers this year that taste just fine after they are peeled. Miracle Whip also works in place of the mayonnaise just as well. This goes particularly well with spiced grilled meats, such as Spiedies or Shawarma.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium cucumbers or 2 seedless cucumbers
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • A few pinches of sea salt
  • 1 sweet onion, such as Vidalia, sliced thin. (optional)

Directions

  1. Peel the cucumbers.
  2. Seed, if desired.
  3. Slice cucumbers to desired thickness, ¼ inch or less.
  4. Layer in a bowl, sprinkling with a pinch of salt after each cucumber.
  5. Place a plate and something heavy on top. (I used the glass bowl I intended to store the cucumbers in for the weight.)
  6. Allow to sit for up to thirty minutes or just while you mix the dressing together.
  7. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl. (If you prefer a really creamy salad, you can double the dressing ingredients.)
  8. Drain the cucumbers.
  9. Stir the dressing into the cucumbers.
  10. If using the onion, stir that in too.
  11. Serve or chill until ready to serve. (A few hours to chill produces the best result.)
  12. Enjoy.

The Sunday Recipe: Decadent Chocolate Snack Cake

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Decadent Chocolate Snack Cake

Okay, honestly, if you do gluten free, you need to try this. I’ve made it several times since I figured it out and it is just incredible. Even if you don’t do gluten free, you’re going to love this. It is a one bowl wonder.

The zucchini is just enough to add an added element of flavor but you don’t necessarily taste it at zucchini. Some people call for shredding your zucchini and squeezing it to remove liquid but I wanted the moisture from the zucchini in this, so I recommend shredding it JUST before you add it in. Use a large whole grater and shred big.

This recipe is also reduced sugar and gluten free, but it may actually be my favorite chocolate cake of all time. It’s good warm or cold from the fridge.

I adapted this from a chocolate zucchini bread recipe I found several years ago that I wasn’t really happy with. The original recipe was dry, not very chocolaty, and just not very enjoyable. I added a third egg, increased the maple syrup and cocoa powder, eliminated squeezing the zucchini moisture out, and increased the chocolate chips, then reduced the oven temperature, and changed the type of pan it is baked in.

If you’d like the link to the original bread recipe, let me know and I’ll be happy to share it.

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder (Dutch processed, if you have it.)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of almond butter (no salt or sugar added, preferably)
  • 1 cup of shredded zucchini (150 grams)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray or grease a pan. (8 X 8 or 9 X 9, even a toaster oven cake tin works.)
  2. Beat the eggs with a whisk or blender.
  3. Mix in the maple syrup until well combined.
  4. Add the vanilla. (You might get away with less than a tablespoon but indulge, vanilla makes chocolate SO much better.)
  5. Blend in the cocoa powder and salt until well combined. (Go slow at first until the powder is wet down.)
  6. Drop the almond butter by spoonfuls into the batter, spaced out, then blend in. (This can clog your whisk if it is too cold, until it gets mixed in well so make sure it is room temp.)
  7. Now, shred your zucchini then stir it in immediately.
  8. Last step – Measure the baking soda and put in then pour the vinegar over it and stir in.
  9. Pour into your prepared pan.
  10. If using, sprinkle the mini chocolate chips evenly over the cake.
  11. Bake for 40 minutes or until a knife comes out of the center clean.
  12. Enjoy!

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