Sunday, August 16, 2009

Recipes: Grandma Louise's Chili Relish

Grandma Louise's Chili Relish

It takes a lot of tomatoes, and a good 8 hours to cook down, but it is worth every minute of effort. My grandma Louise has been making chili relish since before I was born. She always served it with hamburgers, but I've found it to be great with hot dogs, meatloaf, sandwiches, and my favorite homemade black bean patties.

The recipe for the Chili Relish is copied directly from grandma's own recipe card. The recipe for the black bean patties is one I developed in college.

Chili Relish

18 tomatoes (skinned, cored, seeded, and roughly chopped)
2 green peppers (roughly chopped)
2 medium onions (roughly chopped)
1 1/2 C sugar
2 C white vinegar
2 t salt
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground cloves
1 t allspice

In small batches, finely chop the tomatoes, onions, and peppers in a food processor. Put in a large heavy pot* and add the rest of the ingredients. Allow the mixture to simmer for approximately 8 hours. When the relish is finished, it will be the consistency of ketchup and will have cooked down to about 1/4 of the original mixture.

When the mixture is nearly finished cooking, sterilize half pint jars and lids. Spoon the mixture into the jars, and seal (process in a water bath for 20 minutes).

Makes around 8 1/2 pints

Here is the chili relish when it is finished. You can see how full the pot was in the beginning. The key to this recipe is slow patient cooking.

* Grandma Louise always makes a double batch and uses her roaster set on low. Patience is key.

Black Bean Patties

1 1/2 C cooked bean beans (or one can)
1/2 C Quick Oats
1 t fresh oregano (or 1/2 t dried)
1 clove chopped garlic
2 T Olive Oil
salt and pepper to taste
5T olive oil (for cooking)

Mash the beans into a smooth paste with a hand mixer or a potato ricer. Add the oatmeal and spices. The mixture will be slightly crumbly. Add the olive oil. The mixture should have the consistency of a stiff dough. Form the dough into patties that are about the size of a hamburger and about 3/4 inch thick.

In a non-stick skillet, heat 5 T olive oil over medium heat. Brown the patties on both sides for about 5 minutes each. As the patties cook, it is useful to press down slightly on each side.

Serve on a bun with Homemade Chili Relish!

Serves 4

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Around Our House: Growing Italian Stuffing Tomatoes

Here are a few pics of one of the more unusual tomatoes we are growing this year. It is an Italian Stuffing Tomato. It's mostly hollow (a lot like it's cousin the pepper), and has a very meaty texture. I've been hollowing them out and putting them in the deep freeze to make lovely baked stuffed tomatoes this winter. I'll post a recipe when I feel like turning on the oven again.

The outside is a lovely red with orange streaks.

Here is the inside after having been scooped out.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Recipes: Sesame Almond Coleslaw

Sesame Almond Coleslaw

Growing up, I always hated coleslaw. Once I discovered alternate ways to dress cabbage, I learned that coleslaw is one of my favorite summer dishes. It is high in vitamin C and fiber, and light enough to go with just about anything.

This is my recipe for a light slightly sweet coleslaw that works well as a side dish, or is fabulous topped with a grilled chicken breast and served as a main course.

The last meal I served with this coleslaw was a marinated minute steak with sauteed peppers and tomatoes. Delicious!

Sesame Almond Coleslaw

1 small head of green cabbage
1 T toasted sesame oil
2 T rice vinegar
2 T honey
1/4 t garlic powder
1 small red onion thinly sliced
1/2 C dry toasted unsalted sliced almonds
salt and pepper to taste

Slice the cabbage into thin slices. In a small bowl, mix together the oil, vinegar, honey, and garlic powder. Toss together the cabbage, onion, almonds, and dressing. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4-6 as a side
2-4 as a dinner salad (topped with a chicken breast or fried tofu)

If you need to prepare this recipe ahead of time, hold the cabbage and the dressing separately and toss just prior to serving.

Alternate Ingredients:

Substitute grapefruit juice for the rice vinegar for a tasty citrus coleslaw

Add sesame seeds (1/4 c) in place of the almonds

Add a 1/2 c of orange sections (peeled with the membrane removed) or 1/4 C dried cranberries.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Recipes: Dried Zucchini

Ahhhh Zucchini!

This year we've planted three hills of summer squash (cocozelle, black beauty, and yellow crookneck), so now we are faced with what to do with it all. One of my favorite and most interesting ways to put up the harvest is to make Dried Zucchini Chips. I make mine a little spicy and find that they are a perfect mid afternoon snack since they are full of flavor and crunch (and fiber so WATCH OUT!)

You will need a food dehydrator or you will need to be able to keep your oven at a low temp for a prolonged period of time (I've done this by cycling it on and off).

We bought our dehydrator at a garage sale a few years back, and there seems to be no shortage of them, so keep your eyes peeled.

Here is my recipe for Spicy Dried Zucchini Chips

5-6 medium to large summer squash (zucchini or other soft fleshed squash)
1 cup cold water
2 T Sriracha (A.K.A. Rooster Sauce)
2 T Soy Sauce
1 T garlic powder
1 T salt
2 T toasted sesame oil

Slice the summer squash into 1/4" chips. Mix together all ingredients except the squash. Coat the chips well with the marinade (I often let them soak while I set up the dehydrator).

Lay your chips out in a single layer on the dehydrator trays. My dehydrator will hold about 5-6 medium to large squash worth of chips, but yours may hold more or less.

Turn on the dehydrator and open the vent holes wide. Allow to dehydrate for about 24-36 hours. Rotate the trays several times during this process.

When your chips are completely dry, they should be quite crunchy. Store in a well sealed container. This will yield about 1 - 2 cups of chips.