Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Sunday September 20, 2009

Ms Murky Mondays:
Canning Workshop - Many Hands Make for Light Work


In the photo from left to right: Me, Jim Finnerty, Judith Lerner, Jacque Metsma, Carol Way, Kevin Charlton, Doreen, Sandy, DonaSenecal, Margot and Serene Mastrianni.

 
My grandmother's wisdom was evident on Thursday night (the 17th) when I hosted a canning workshop for Berkshire Grown's "Preserving the Bounty" month when 10 people diligently chopped, diced or minced 20 lbs of tomatoes, 5 lbs of onions, 10 green peppers, 20 jalapenos, 20 cloves of garlic and 2 dozen ears of corn in 30-40 minutes. If I had taken on the task by myself, which I frequently do, it would have been hours.
Anyhow, what fun we had! And the result was 40 pints of corn and black bean salsa. Here's the recipe for about 1/5 of what made:
 

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

 

4 lbs tomatoes, chopped and drained

2 1/2 cups onions, chopped

1 1/2 cups green peppers

1 cup jalapeno pepper, chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 cup canning salt

1/3 cup vinegar

1 (15 ounce) tomato sauce

1 (12 ounce) tomato paste

1 (15 ounce) black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups fresh corn kernels

 

Equipment: boiling water canner,canning jars, canning funnel, rubber spatula, jar lifter and/or tongs

 

First, prepare your jars as follows:

 

Place cans on rack of boiling water canner, add water until the pint jars are about 2/3rds full. Cover and bring to a simmer. This process kills any bacteria. In a small saucepan, place the lids - the flat, round piece, cover and bring to a simmer. The screw bands do not need to sterilized.

 

Then, start your vegetables:

 

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring occassinally for about 5 minutes.

 

Now you are ready to start canning your salsa:

 

One jar at a time, remove from canner, pouring hot water back into canner, place jar on flat heat-resistant surface. Ladle salsa into jar leaving about a half inch of headspace, wipe the rim and threads with a paper towel. ( This is important to make sure vacuum seal can occur). Lift a hot lid with your tongs and place on jar and then screw the lid with your fingertips until tight. Place back in canner with tongs. Repeat until done.

 

Cover all jars with additional water by an inch or so. Cover canner and bring to a boil. The boiling must be continuous and rapid for 15 minutes. Remove lid, let sit for about 5 minutes or so. Remove jars without tilting, place jars on a towel in a draft-free spot and allow to cool for 24 hours. Store in a cool dark place for up to a year.

 

This recipe will yield about 6 pint jars. Enjoy!!

Tuesday September 15, 2009

Ms Murky Mondays:
Here’s my Corn Relish News Clip

I had a ton of fun preparing and then being on a news segment on Channel 13 in Albany, NY.
What was quite interesting was that when I arrived in the studio at 7.30 in the morning lugging all my props - pots, ramekins, all stages of corn relish, I was actually expecting to get some guidance. They pointed me to the studio kitchen, and told me to go ahead and get set up.
So I diligently got everything staged, styled and ready. I had marked each of my ramekins with masking tape and the amount of the ingredients so if I got "stage fright" I would be able to sail through without a hitch. But I kept waiting for the producer or someone to come over and tell me what they would like to cover, how much time we had etc. So I stood there with all my nervous energy, waiting and wondering when it would be my turn.
And then, someone came over and gave me the microphone. I thought, "Ok, next someone will give me a little coaching." Then the bright lights were pointed at me, the camera rolled over and there was a commercial break. The news anchor came over, asked me how to pronounce my name and a little about Preserving the Bounty and 4,3,2,1..."Welcome back to....we've got Carole Murko in the studio with us today - tell us what do you plan on showing us"...and I was off ...winging it, having fun, answering questions, trying to do a food demo... and in what felt like 10 seconds it was over...."but wait, I'm not done!" I am thinking....
So, click the photo to watch the clip - it was actually more like 4 minutes, not 10 seconds and I loved every minute of it. Hope they ask me back to do more!!

Tuesday September 15, 2009

Carole’s Concoctions:
Am I Nuts?

Maybe yes, maybe no? But I am always willing to try new things and explore the possibilities that an opportunity may be right around the corner. I guess that is what makes me both an optimist and entrepreneur. So when my friend Joanna Roche asked me to help out one of her clients who has a neat line of handbags (some even for knitting and needlework projects) I had to help out. (check out www.lexiebarnes.com) Lexie was debuting her bags at Fashion Week in NYC and needed sponsors and support for her "press lounge" where she hosted a "knitting lounge." So I had to come up with something for the goodie bags well knowing that the rail thin models and weight-obsessed industry would be at the receiving end. So nuts seemed to fit the bill. And I, of course, thought this could be a fun way to get the word out about Heirloom Meals and my quest for sponsors or strategic partners. Finger are crossed for Lexie and me - two independent, creative women with a dream!!
 
By the way - my nuts are hardly dietetic - but a small bag is really quite satisfying.
 
So here's my recipe for Spicy Curried Walnuts. They make excellent bar treats, great hostess gifts and are fantastic in a salad.
 
1 lb walnut halves
1/2 cup sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
 
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
 
First you need to blanch walnuts for about a minute in boiling water. Drain and toss well with sugar and oil. Let stand for about 10 minutes.
 
Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper. Spread walnuts in a single layer and place in the middle of the oven. Check and turn the walnuts every 7-10 minutes until golden. I find the process is about 25 minutes but be careful - one extra minute can turn your golden nuts black. Remove golden nuts and put in a large bowl. Mix all spices and then toss with the warm nuts. Spread nuts in a single layer to cool. Once cool, store in a sealed container and Enjoy!!

Wednesday September 02, 2009

Ms Murky Mondays:
Preparing for my News Spot - Corn Relish

Saturday, September 5th is fast approaching and I am diligently preparing for the food demo I will be doing on NBC's Albany affiliate Channel 13, WNYT - the morning show with Jessica Layton at 8 am.

 
Here's a sneak peek at my recipe. I am doing a batch today for practice and propping - you know - the magic of television.
 

Corn Relish

 

4 cups white wine vinegar

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 Tbsp salt

8 cups corn kernels, either fresh or frozen

4 cups red and green pepper, seeded and diced

1 3/4 cups celery, diced

1 cup onion finely chopped

2 Tbsp dry mustard

2 tsp celery seeds

2 tsp ground tumeric

2 Tbsp Clearjel (a thickener) Available on www.kingarthurflour.com

1/4 cup water

 

Equipment: boiling water canner,canning jars, canning funnel, rubber spatula, jar lifter and/or tongs

 

First, prepare your jars as follows:

 

Place cans on rack of boiling water canner, add water until the pint jars are about 2/3rds full. Cover and bring to a simmer. This process kills any bacteria. In a small saucepan, place the lids - the flat, round piece, cover and bring to a simmer. The screw bands do not need to sterilized.

 

 

Then, start your vegetables:

 

In a large saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Next add the corn, peppers, celery and onion. Continue stirring and keep the mixture boiling. Stir in the mustard, celery seed and tumeric. Separately, in a small bowl, make a paste out of the water and Clearjel and then add it to corn mixture. Stir frequently and gently boil until it mounds on your spoon (about 5 minutes.)

 

 

Now you are ready to start canning your relish:

 

One jar at a time, remove from canner, pouring hot water back into canner, place jar on flat heat-resistant surface. Ladle relish into jar leaving about a half inch of headspace, wipe the rim and threads with a paper towel. ( This is important to make sure vacuum seal can occur). Lift a hot lid with your tongs and place on jar and then screw the lid with your fingertips until tight. Place back in canner with tongs. Repeat until done.

 

Cover all jars with additional water by an inch or so. Cover canner and bring to a boil. The boiling must be continuous and rapid for 15 minutes. Remove lid, let sit for about 5 minutes or so. Remove jars without tilting, place jars on a towel in a draft-free spot and allow to cool for 24 hours. Store in a cool dark place for up to a year.

 

This recipe will yield about 6 pint jars. Enjoy!!

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