My Corner of the World

My Corner of the World -

Green Tomato Ketchup

Nanny would always make this in the fall. I always looked forward to getting some as part of Christmas presents and sometimes just as a treat. I never came across a recipe in her collection, but I did find a recipe online for it that is pretty bang on. I cut the amount of sugar in the original recipe and will be making it this week again with leftover green tomatoes from our garden.

If you don’t have green tomatoes, this works equally well with red tomatoes. There’s really no difference in the taste, just the appearance.

Ingredients:

  • 30 green tomatoes, chopped (about 6 pounds)
  • 15 medium onions, chopped (about 3 pounds)
  • 2/3 c coarse salt
  • 3 c white vinegar
  • 2 c granulated sugar
  • 6 Tbsp mixed pickling spices, tied in cheesecloth

Preparation:

In a large bowl, alternate layers of tomatoes and onions, sprinkling each layer with salt.  Let stand for at least 8 hours, better overnight. Rinse; drain well.

Combine vegetables with vinegar, sugar and spice bag. In a large saucepan or stock pot, bring mixture to a boil, then simmer, uncovered, for about 30 to 45 minutes. Stir frequently until slightly thickened. Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal.

Punny’s White Xmas Cake

My cousin Marjorie found her mother’s white Christmas cake recipe that I had asked her for.  At first she didn’t think she had it and then one day, she was cleaning my aunt’s house and came across it.  I was so grateful as my aunt would no longer remember it and my uncle (her brother) really likes that cake.  There was only one problem; the recipe card only lists the ingredients, no prep method.  It took a few tries, but I made it today and I think I’ve nailed it down pretty good.  It’s labour-intensive, but definitely worth it!

A couple of things to note…

  1. I don’t like a ton of fruit in my cakes so I put far less quantities in mine than what the recipe calls for.  I’ll give the quantities as they are listed on the recipe card.  One can adjust it as they see fit.
  2. I’ve substituted the white sugar with Splenda and have also done a half and half split.  They all work, just remember, if you use Splenda, it won’t last as long sitting out so you might want to shove it in the fridge.
  3. I’ve used both a food processor with a dough blade and a Mix Master to make this cake.  I had more problems with the Mix Master.  The food processor was easier, but do NOT mix your fruit in it!  It will turn it into a pink mess (trust me hahaha).  I don’t even recommend mixing the fruit in with a Mix Master.  Do that part manually.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb butter (I use room temperature, not melted)
  • 2 c white sugar
  • 6 eggs beaten separately
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 lb mixed peel
  • 1/2 lb red cherries
  • 1/2 lb green cherries
  • 1/2 lb sliced almonds
  • 1/2 lbs pineapple
  • 1 1/2 lbs raisins (optional, I use golden raisins)
  • 4 c all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder (I use 2 tbsp, it rises better and you don’t taste it)
  • 3/4 c milk

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 325º F.  In a mixing bowl, add flour and baking powder, then mix well and set aside.  Cream butter and sugar.  Slowly add eggs and mix to a silky smooth consistency.  Add vanilla and milk.  Continue blending until smooth.  Slowly add flour mixture and blend until it forms a nice thick smooth consistency making sure to occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Once the batter is smooth, pour into a large mixing bowl and start adding all the fruits and almonds.  Mix very well.  Pour into a large greased baking dish and smooth out.  Bake for about 30 minutes and check doneness with a toothpick.  Bake until it’s cooked through (when toothpick comes out clean).  Let cool.  Add icing (Nanny’s cream cheese icing is good!) if desired.

Brad’s Sweet Garlic Dill Pickles

pickles2

This is Brad’s recipe for sweet garlic pickles.  Slicing them lengthwise will make them perfect for sandwiches (e.g. smoked meat or ham with mustard).  This recipe will yield about 2 litres of pickles.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c salt
  • ice (quite a bit) or really cold water
  • 3 litres of cucumbers (thinly sliced lengthwise)
  • about 1 tsp dried dill
  • 6 whole or sliced garlic cloves
  • 4 c sugar
  • 3 c vinegar

Preparation:

Layer ice, cucumber, garlic, and salt in a large vat or sink or soak cucumber, garlic,  and salt in very cold water for 3 hours.  Drain well.  Place pickles standing up in jars.  Bring remaining ingredients to a boil in a pot.  Carefully pour hot liquid into each of the jars and seal.

Nanny’s Bread & Butter Pickles

pickles

I loved when Nanny made these pickles.  She was still making them not long before she died in 2013, well into her 80′s.  At that time, I could sit down and eat a quarter litre of them with bread and butter (or margarine).  I can’t do that today, quantities are much more limited now, but I’m so happy I have her recipe.  This recipe will yield about 5 litres.

Ingredients:

  • 4 quarts (imperial) cucumbers (thinly sliced)
  • 6 medium onions (thinly sliced)
  • 1 green pepper (cut into small chunks)
  • 1 red pepper (cut into small chunks)
  • 3 garlic cloves (thinly sliced and optional)
  • 1/3 c salt
  • ice (quite a bit)
  • 3 c white vinegar
  • 5 c sugar (I use 4)
  • 1 1/2 tsp each of celery seed and turmeric
  • 2 tbsp mustard seed

Preparation:

Place first 5 ingredients on ice with salt and let sit for 3 hours.  Drain well.  Place last 4 ingredients in a large pot (we prefer non-stick just in case).  Bring to a boil.  Add drained vegetables to the pot and bring to a boil, stirring often.  Place in clean jars and seal.

Frozen Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Filling

Just a note about this pie, I used a little more strawberries (like 7 or 8) for this and it turns out fine.  I think using equal amounts of fruit or more strawberries than rhubarb is key (unless you like more rhubarb I guess)  :-) It makes 2 pies.

Ingredients:

  • 6 c strawberry (cut in chunks)
  • 6 c diced rhubarb (also cut in chunks about a 1/2″ thick)
  • 2 c Splenda (for baking)
  • 1 c white flour

Preparation: Dump all ingredients into a large bowl and toss well to coat.  Put into a freezer-safe container or freezer bag then into the freezer it goes.  Easy as that.

Baking Instructions: When filling has thawed, place half of the mixture into 1 pie shell (I use frozen pre-made shells and keep it frozen until I want to use it).  Dot with butter (about 2 tbsp) and cover with crust (crumble, pie dough, or butter puff pastry all work well).  Bake at 400°F.

Apple Rhubarb Jam

Easy to make and soooooo good!  I don’t use pectin in my jams, but I do boil them for a long time to get most of the thin liquid out.  The sugar thickens it up very well.  This is one jam that will definitely be made in my kitchen again!

jam

Ingredients:

  • 3 c diced apple
  • 3 c diced rhubarb
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 rounded tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 c water

Preparation:

Dump all ingredients into a pot (preferably non-stick)  and boil for a long time, until a jam consistency is reached.  Brad will seal the jars in a hot water bath for them.

Beer-Battered Fish

Yesterday was Good Friday and since my uncle and cousin were coming down for supper, Brad and I tried something a little different than just making fish sticks.

My uncle had brought us frozen fish (raw, 1.2 kg, just under  2 3/4 lbs of both sole and basa) when he came down for lunch earlier in the day.  My original thought was I’d throw it in a little flour, salt and pepper and pan fry it.  This evolved.

Brad was going to make french fries in the deep fryer.  If anything is going to be deep fried, he’s the one who looks after it because I’m too delicate and don’t like getting burnt by little splatters of oil hahaha.  I got the idea to try battered fish in the deep fryer.  Brad had never deep fried fish like that and didn’t know how it would turn out.  I’m glad I stuck with that idea.  The recipe turned out great and that confidence I had in Brad’s deep frying abilities paid off.  He did a great job of it! :-)

I made the recipe below which I got from Canadian Living, however I modified it.  I did not use cayenne pepper.  Instead I used lemon pepper (about a teaspoon).  I was pretty sure I had read once somewhere that lemon chicken was often made with corn starch to get that kinda puffy blown up texture, so guess what I added to the recipe…  ;-)  For something that was a “let’s see what happens with it” idea, this made the world of difference.  Those 3 rounded tsp of cornstarch gave that fish such an airy puffy texture that made it awesome :-)  Next time I think I’ll go a little heavier on the lemon pepper by doubling it and I’ll probably add about a 1/2 or 3/4 tsp of salt.

A word about the batter that is remaining.  You’ll probably have some leftover batter.  I added enough flour to it to make a sticky dough out if and had Brad drop spoonfuls of it in the deep fryer.  It made little balls of dough kinda like dumplings but not as fluffy.  They were still good to swipe through the remaining salad dressing and tartar sauce on plates.  Next time though, I think I will have an apple or firm banana around and cut up 1-2″ chunks of whatever fruit I decide to use and stick into each ball of dough with some brown Splenda and cinnamon to see how that goes.  I think it will go very well!

So without further adieu, here’s the final recipe from yesterday’s fish feast!  If anyone wants, they can modify it as they see fit :-)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, extra flour (about a cup)for dredging
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 3 rounded tsp corn starch
  • 2 bottles (each 341 ml) beer
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying

Preparation:

In large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, corn starch, and lemon pepper; whisk in beer until smooth. Let stand for 15 minutes. 

In deep fryer or deep pot, pour in enough oil to come no more than halfway up side; heat to 375 F (190 C) on deep-fryer thermometer or until 1-inch (2.5 cm) cube of white bread turns golden in 30 seconds.

Meanwhile, cut fillets into serving-size pieces. Dredge fish in remaining flour, shaking off excess; dip into batter to coat. Deep-fry fish, turning once, until golden brown, about 6 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to paper towel–lined baking sheet to drain. Serve with lemon wedges, lemon juice, or tartar sauce.

Banana Oatmeal Muffins (with Walnuts)

I made a double batch of these today and they’re quite good!  This is the recipe for a single batch (makes a dozen muffins).  They’re not very sweet which is nice but if you do like it a bit more sweet, add a little more brown Splenda to the mix or just put some kind of icing on it.  I used Betty Crocker French Vanilla icing on a few of them and it’s quite yummy :-)

Ingredients:

  • 1 c all purpose flour
  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 c rolled oats (preferably not quick oats, but hey, if that’s all you have, give it a whirl)
  • 1 rounded tsp baking powder
  • 1 rounded tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c brown Splenda
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 mashed large bananas
  • 1/3 c. melted butter or vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • About a half cup of walnuts (more or less as you wish)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 F and grease a muffin pan (you’ll need 12 wells).  Mix first 8 ingredients (the dry stuff) in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients except walnuts (so the wet ingredients).  Incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix, but just until it’s mixed (don’t over mix).  Mix in walnuts and divide it into the muffin pan. Bake for about 13 minutes at 375.  Check with a toothpick and adjust baking time if necessary.

Fish Chowder

My cousin Tommy used to make amazing fish chowder.  Back in those days, it was usually made with the fish that he actually caught (often Walleye).  I haven’t been fishing since I was a teen so I won’t be making it with fresh fish anytime soon.   Today I used frozen fish (Haddock works well, Alaskan Pollock, and I tried it today with Tilapia).  Tommy died a few years ago, so I got the recipe from my cousin Tim since he also has made it in the same manner as Tommy.   So here it is (roughly).  It makes a big pot so judge accordingly if you want to make a half batch etc.  The trick to getting the creaminess is soaking a couple of tubes of soda biscuits in condensed milk.  Don’t try to cut corners and use regular milk – it will not produce the same texture, it’ll be watery and nowhere near as good.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium onions
  • 5 lbs of raw diced potatoes (about 3/4″ cubes)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • About 2 lbs of whatever fish you want to use, cut in 1″ pieces
  • 2 cans condensed (unsweetened) milk – you can use 3 if you want it milkier
  • 2 tubes of soda biscuits (I used salted)
  • About a litre of water
  • A little oil.

Preparation:

In a large bowl, dump the contents of soda biscuit tubes and cover with the condensed milk.  Set aside.

In a large stock pot, sautée the onions in the oil.  When they’re translucent, add potatoes and enough water to cover them by about an inch.  Boil potatoes until they’re almost cooked (about 20 min.).  Add fish and salt and boil until cooked (about 5 min.).  Carefully add condensed milk and soda biscuits to the stock pot and heat for 5 min. on low heat (you don’t want to scorch it!).  Serve hot.  I like to garnish with bacon bits but it’s not necessary.

Biscuits/Dumplings

Mmmmm dumplings…  This is a quick recipe that I make either dumplings or biscuits out of.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. all purpose flour (although whole wheat also works)
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cold margarine or butter
  • Milk, about a cup but you’ll have to use a judgment call

Preparation:

Mix first 3 ingredients. Add cold butter/margarine and cut in with a pastry blender. Slowly add milk and mix until it has a doughy consistency (just past crumbly, but be careful not to put too much in to make it thin). Don’t over mix! Once it’s combined, stop otherwise, they might not rise well.

Biscuits: Preheat oven to 350F. Drop batter by the tablespoon on a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 18 minutes (depending on how hot your oven runs and altitude).

Dumplings: Drop batter by the tablespoon into gently boiling chicken broth (or whatever broth you prefer) and cover. Don’t overfill the pot, don’t pile them on top of each other either. Let them boil gently for about 20 minutes and eat hot. They should be nice and fluffy. It will likely make a nice gravy in the broth that’s remaining. Adding chicken and frozen veggies to the “gravy” makes a very nice meal with the dumplings.