Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wish I liked these...

I made (again) Boston Baked Beans yesterday.  Seem like I can't make enough for the men in my life.  If the boys come over for something...they steal containers from the fridge!  (I mean, they have to open the fridge and see what's there!)

Here's what I did using my electric pressure cooker:

Boston Baked Beans
1 pkg. (2 c.) dried beans  (I used 1/2 navy & 1/2 northern beans)
6 slices thick cut bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2-1/2 c. chicken stock  (you can use water...but I use stock)
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. honey
3/4 c. ketchup
1/2 c. BBQ sauce
Salt/Pepper to taste

I boil the beans 2 min. then let soak for 1-1/2 hours.
Drain/rinse beans well.

While beans are soaking, brown the bacon on the 'Brown' setting; remove to a paper towel when crisp.

Saute onion in bacon grease.
Once beans are soaked and rinsed, add to onions.
Add mustard, olive oil and chicken stock.

Cook on 25# pressure for 25 minutes.

Let pressure reduce naturally for about 10 min. before releasing.
Add brown sugar, honey, ketchup, BBQ sauce and salt/pepper.

At this point, you can do a quick taste test and decide if it needs more mustard, ketchep, BBQ sauce or brown sugar/honey.  Each batch I make seems to taste different, depending on what BBQ sauce I use, especially if I have to use bottled instead of homemade)

Cook on 25#  pressure for 4 min., once again letting pressure reduce naturally for a bit.

Taste.  Once again, add what you think it needs for your taste buds.  If the beans are a bit firm for you, cook it a few more minutes.

At this point, it will look kind of runny.  I put my p/c on 'Brown' again and let it cook down and thicken (time varies).  If you like it soupy...go for it and eat it this way.  It will also thicken up once it's been in the fridge.

I add the crisp bacon right before serving to keep it a bit crispy.

I wish I like beans...because the sauce is to die for!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

One of my Favorites...

This was our dinner the other night.  A local grocery had them cheap so I bought 3 of these little 1 pounders.  (found out later it was National Lobster Day)

Our plan was to grill them all, share one with our steak...then use the other two for lobster rolls for lunch the next day.

But.  Seems Marshall came over at the wrong time, saw them...and ate dinner with us.  I reminded him how his love of lobster began when he was almost 4.  He and Kendra were in bed (so we thought) and we were just getting ready to eat lobster.  In comes Marshall to the kitchen, wondering what we were eating.  Of course he wanted a bite.

That was it.  He fell in love with those tasty crustaceans.  And yes.  Several weeks later, he wanted LOBSTER for his 4th birthday!  There's a picture of him with his lobster...and Big Bird cake!! 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pittsburgh Quilt Show

Thought I'd let you know about an upcoming quilt show this fall.  The Beaver Valley Piecemakers is a 100 member guild north of Pittsburgh PA.

Their 18th Annual Quilt Show is Oct 12th, 13th, and 14th.

The judge will be a National Quilt Association judge.

Here's a link to the show's information.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Jam Time

Strawberry Jam...that's what I did the last 2 days!  There would be 4 more containers, but 2 of my spawn were here last night and they each took 2 containers.  So.  I got almost 28 (1/2 lb.) containers from 11 quarts of berries.  Ummm.  That's minus what I just had to sample.

Here's the recipe that I got from my mother.

Strawberry Jam
1 quart strawberries
3 c. sugar, divided

Rinse the berries, trim tops and quarter them (or keep them whole if that floats your boat)

Put berries in heavy bottomed large pot.  (I use a Dutch oven)

Add 1-1/2 c. sugar.  Let sit at least 15 min. to allow the sugar to start melting.  This step will help keep the jam from crystalizing when it's done.

Bring the mixure to a boil. 
Boil 5 min.  (during the beginning of this step, I take a little bowl of water & a pastry brush and brush down any bits of sugar that are on the sides of the bowl, which also helps if from NOT crystalizing later on)

Add the remaining 1-1/2 c. sugar.
Bring to a gentle boil, stirring frequently.
Boil 10-12 min.  (I do 10 min. because I don't like a real stiff jam)

Carefully pour into a crock or glass bowl/container. 
Skim off the foam that develops.  Stir frequently, skimming till all the foam is gone.

Let jam sit on counter overnight or for about 24 hours, stirring every time you walk past to take a little sample. ( I usually invert a dinner plate and put it on the top once the jam has cooled)

Put in containers, mark the date and freeze.  I package mine in deli containers that I purchase at my local GFS (Gordon Food Service) but you could put it in glass jars, too.  If there's no GFS near you and you want to us plastic containers, I saw similar ones  here.

NOW go bake some homemade bread, slather it with butter and jam.  You'll think you died and went to heaven.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bread Addiction

My name is Kay and I have a bread-baking addiction.  Yes. It. Is. True.  The sad part is...I have also been eating it.  Dipped in yummy extra virgin olive oil.  With herbs.  Straight to the mouth.

The artisan bread is sooo easy to throw together at night, sit on the counter, then bake in the morning.

this is the recipe I've been using.  I've tried several of the variations and the cranberry/orange zest/walnut is my favorite.

Believe me when I say my butt/thighs can't take much more of this.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Taco Salad...yummmm

I was hungry for taco salad the other day...and this is what I came up with.

I always have frozen hamburger patties in my freezer.  I buy in bulk and package them up in individual sizes, then wrap in foil, put in a plastic bag, then I'm good to go (plus they thaw in no time).

Taco Salad   (2 large or 3-4 small servings)
3/4 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. Taco Seasoning (if not making my own I use Old ElPaso)
lettuce of your choice
onion (I used white sweet, but you could use red onion)
cheddar cheese, shredded
tomatoes, diced
black beans (I started with dried, then followed directions on the label)
avocado, sliced
sour cream
Fresh Salsa  (recipe to follow)
taco chips (my personal favorite is Tostitos brand)

Make the ground beef according to the taco seasoning directions.  I didn't use a full pound of beef because; 1. didn't need that much  2. I like the seasoning a little stronger, esp. in a salad.

I recently got these terrific large bowls at a restaurant supply store, which are great for salads/pasta/chili/soups.  So I just layered everything in them in this order:
    seasoned meat
    black beans
    sour cream
    taco chips on the side

With the salsa, we didn't even need salad dressing.  Ranch dressing, mixed with a bit of the salsa would have been quite tasty though.

 Fresh Salsa
1 large can whole tomatoes
1 jalapeno, or to taste, seeded/diced (I hang on to the seeds if I feel it needs more heat)
onion, 2 big slices or several green onions, sliced/diced
3 cloves garlic (what can I say...we like garlic)
1/2 lime, zest and juice, or more/less to taste
cilantro  (I use a big handful, but we love the stuff)

I use a slotted spoon and get the tomatoes out of the jar and throw them in my food processor, saving the juice if I need to add more later.

Throw in the rest of the ingredients.  Whiz away, making it as chunky or smooth as your family likes/wants it.

Add a bit of the saved tomato juice if you think it needs it.  (I rarely seem to need the extra juice so I just put it in a small container, label it and throw it in the freezer for the next time I make chili, etc)

This is where the fun part begins.  Open that bag of Tostito Scoops and taste away!!  At this point you can add a bit more salt...or maybe you need more heat and need to add more jalapeno...or just some of the seeds, or maybe more lime juice.

I know I didn't really give measurements...but it's a taco salad!!  Once the meat is cooked, just add your favorite ingredients.  That's why I used black beans.  They are the only beans I like.  I'm lucky.  I get all the avocado because hubby doesn't usually eat it:-)


Friday, February 17, 2012

I went to ITALY!!

I went to ITALY!!!  Here we are on our first day in Florence, Italy.  That's me on the LEFT, with my sister-in-law.  There are not words to express the beauty of that view of Florence.

 This pretty much sums it up about Assisi, Italy.  Everything is UP.  And the ONLY excalators are in the parking lot!

I just could not get enough of the Collesium in Rome, Italy.   AMAZING!

This is the top of the Pantheon in Rome.  It's open...and they say rain never gets inside.

I know this is late in posting about my trip, and am hoping to post more pictures.