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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Honey Lavender Posset

I'm not sure why it has taken so long for this British dessert to show up in USA. Maybe I just wasn't paying attention. Consider making it a part of your repertoire because there are few easier or more impressive ways to end to a meal.

If lavender isn't your favorite flavor, visit this recipe:  Lemon Posset.


Honey Lavender Posset

Serves 8-10

4 c heavy cream
1/2 c 100% honey (the better your honey, the better the dessert will taste)
1/2 c lemon juice
1 T lime juice
4-5 culinary lavender sprigs or 1 teas lavender buds
more honey to drizzle on top

Place the cream and honey in a large, heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. When the honey is incorporated continue to boil, stirring constantly, for three minutes. Lower heat if the mixture threatens to boil over. Remove from heat. Stir in the lemon and lime juices. Drop the lavender into the mixture so it is fully submerged and allow to steep 10-20 minutes until you like the level of lavender flavor.

Strain mixture and pour into ramekins. Allow to cool on counter. Cover with plastic and place in the refrigerator to cool at least 2 hours. (Apparently, if you are in rush, these can be placed in the freezer for 40 minutes to set, but you'll get a better blend of flavors if they take longer to cool down.

Remove from fridge 5-10 minutes before serving and pass flavorful honey to drizzle on top.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sweet and Spicy Green Tomato Bread

Some years we end up with tomatoes that ripen so late in the season that I have a bumper crop of green tomatoes. I've tried all sorts of recipes to use them up and found this one last year published in a Salt Lake City newspaper. I thought the altitude would be close enough to my own (the city is about 650 feet lower) but I had to tweak this recipe some to achieve correct rising results. I baked about 10 loaves of this bread and finally got one batch that had a bit of a rounded top. I'm not sure how this recipe will work at any altitude other than mine. If you are interested in trying the bread and you live at an altitude of 4300-4500 ft. go to the link below and follow the original recipe. I believe this particular recipe will fail at sea level.

I think I like this bread better than zucchini bread.


Sweet and Spicy Green Tomato Bread (High Altitude, 5000 ft)

Adapted from Deseret News
Makes 2 loaves (8x4)

2 c finely chopped green tomatoes complete with skins and seeds (I processed these in a food processor until they looked like green mush. I measured 2 cups and let the liquid drain until the solids measured about 1 2/3 c.

1 c plus 1 T granulated sugar 
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c plain yogurt, any kind but non-fat
1/2 c oil
3 eggs
1 teas vanilla
1 teas salt
2 2/3 c wheat flour
2/3 c unbleached flour
1/2 teas baking soda
1/4 teas baking powder
1 teas cinnamon
1/2 teas ground cloves
1/4 teas nutmeg
1 c chopped walnuts (your preference)

Note:  I cooked this with frozen chopped tomato, already drained, and it worked just fine.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour the loaf pans.

Making the batter can be done by hand. Mix the tomatoes, sugar, yogurt, oil, eggs, vanilla, and salt together in a large bowl, stirring until well blended. Mix dry ingredients (remaining ingredients except for walnuts) in a medium bowl. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet until just moistened. Stir in the walnuts.

Divide the batter into the prepared loaf pans and bake for 45-55 minutes. Test with a toothpick and when it comes out with just a few crumbs, the loaves are done. Let sit on cooling rack for 10 minutes before removing from pans and allow to cool completely before slicing.

In one of my tests, I divided the batter and cooked 12 muffins and one loaf . The muffins turned out wonderfully and had a shorter baking time, 25 minutes. In my most recent baking, I put a streusel topping on the muffins more for appearance than anything else.

Here's a suggested streusel recipe (or you can search the Internet for others). This made enough for the 12 muffins as well as a topping for the loaf. It increases the sweetness of the muffin and depending on who you are that can be a plus or a minus.

1/3 c sugar (either white or brown)
1/2 teas cinnamon
1 T butter
1/2 c finely chopped walnuts

Mix the sugar and cinnamon together. Work the butter in with a fork, smashing it until the butter is mostly incorporated. Stir in the walnuts and sprinkle over the batter in muffin tins.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Roasted Tomato Salsa

Occasionally, I (along with thousands of other home cooks) volunteer with America's Test Kitchen to give my impressions of how soon-to-be-published recipes work for a non-professional. About a year ago, I tested this salsa recipe and thought it the most flavorful canned salsa I had ever tasted. I've canned it several times since and America's Test Kitchen has now published their canning book.


Roasted Tomato Salsa

Adapted from Foolproof Preserving: A Guide to Small Batch Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Condiments & More by America's Test Kitchen
Yields four 1-cup jars

Note: I checked with my County Extension Agency about using less chile if the salsa is too hot, like it is for me (to my shame). You may want to reserve some of the chiles until time to cook the salsa since it is easier to add than to remove. However, don't add more chiles than the recipe calls for. I have also reduced the salt (I find it still plenty salty but use salt free chips). I was told neither change would affect the safety of the recipe.

2 1/2 pds tomatoes, cored and halved
5 red jalapeno or Fresno chiles, stemmed and halved lengthwise, seeds removed
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 onion, sliced into 1/2-in thick rounds
1/3 c bottled lime juice (do not use fresh)
2  teas salt (the original recipe calls for 2 1/2 teas salt)
2 teas sugar
2 teas chopped fresh cilantro
1 teas ground cumin

Prepare the jars for canning by washing and heating in the canning pot. Allow them to remain in the pot until ready to use. Wash the lids and bands.

Place the onion slices and tomatoes, cut side down, on a rimmed baking sheet. (You may want to cover the sheet with aluminum foil to facilitate cleaning. I don't because it seems wasteful.) Place chiles (also cut side down) and garlic on another.

Place the sheet with the tomatoes and onions under the broiler 4 inches from the heat. Place the chiles and garlic on a rack below the tomatoes. Turn on the broiler (or preheat if that works better in your oven) and cook until vegetables are blistered and charred and have softened somewhat. Remove the tomatoes and onions from the oven when they are charred to your liking. Continue to cook the chiles and garlic until they are softened and beginning to char. I find it difficult to get everything to char "just right" at the same time, so I check frequently and remove vegetables one by one from the baking sheets if necessary. At this point the oven may be turned off.

Place the onions into a food processor and process until they are about 1/4-inch in size. Remove about half the onions and reserve. To the onions in the food processor, add all the garlic, half the tomatoes and all the chiles (or fewer if you wish) and run until all is well pureed. Pour into a large pot on the stove top. Place remaining tomatoes and reserved onions and pulse until all is chopped about 1/4-inch, only a few pulses. Add these to the pot.

To the tomato mixture, stir in the lime juice, salt, sugar, cilantro, and cumin. Taste it and if you want more heat add some of the reserved chiles. Cook over medium-high heat until the salsa has reduced and thickened slightly. It should measure slightly more than 4 cups.

When salsa is ready and jars are hot, remove from water and ladle the salsa into the jars leaving 1/2-inch head space. Bounce a skewer up and down in each jar to remove bubbles. Clean the rims with a dampened paper towel and top with the lids. Screw the bands on and tighten with your fingertips. Return the water in the canner to a boil. Then place the jars in the water making sure you use a rack so the bottles do not touch the bottom of the pot. Also ensure that there is an inch of water over the tops of the jars. Cover the pot and bring back to a boil and keep water boiling. Timing is according to altitude:  15 minutes for up to 1,000 feet; 20 minutes for 1,001 to 3,000 feet; 25 minutes for 3,001 to 6,000 feet; 30 minutes for above 6,000. After the time has passed, remove the lid, turn off the heat, and let jars sit in the pot for 5 more minutes. Remove jars from pot and place on a towel and allow to cool for 24 hours. Remove bands and check seal. Sealed jars can be stored up to 1 year.

I have doubled this and canned 4 pints. I looked up recipes on National Center for Home Food Preservation and it recommended the same processing time for half pints and pints. I also checked with the Extension agent and it is fine to use full pints. But I figured I'd add another 5 minutes in the water bath just in case.

If you choose not to preserve, the salsa can be refrigerated for up to a month according to ATK.

Betsy likes less than one poblano chile for a double batch.