Blueberry bonanza

I’m not much of a BBQ sauce fan. I only have come across a few BBQ Sauces that I’ve really liked. When I started canning, I started experimenting with BBQ sauces and I’ve tried 3 different BBQ canning sauces.

I came across this peach BBQ sauce from Vanilla Garlic. I tried a Chipotle BBQ sauce that ended up being way too sweet. There was another spicy BBQ sauce that I really liked but I don’t eat enough BBQ sauce throughout the year to justify spending my time making two different kinds because I will not forgo a peach season without making this peach BBQ sauce. This peach BBQ sauce is my absolute favorite BBQ sauce ever.

“Wait until you try this sauce!,” says the sugar bear

This peach BBQ sauce is tangy and slightly sweet but is not overly sweet. The chipotle adds a lovely smokiness and a bit of heat on the back of your tongue. It’s thick enough to slop onto meat while it’s grilling but it’s not too thick. It’s my favorite on pork, then on chicken.

Since it’s only 4 pounds of peaches, I use a vegetable peeler to peel the skin off of the peaches. 4 pounds is not very many peaches and to me it’s not worth it to use up the time and space needed to peel them the boiling way. When I can the BBQ sauce, I can it in half pint jars as I never go through a whole pint and I have to end up throwing out the last quarter or so of the pint.

Peach BBQ Sauce

Yield:  7 half pints plus some extra for the fridge

4 lbs peaches

½ Cup lemon juice

2 T oliveo il

1 large onion, chopped

1.5 cups brown sugar

1 C Cider vinegar

½ c bourbon

1 C worchestirshire

¼ c tomato paste

Piece of ginger about size of thumb, grated

2 T Chili powder

1 T chipotle powder

Kosher salt and ground pepper

  1. Set up kitchen according to “Kitchen Tactics:  Boiling Water Bath Canning”
  2. Using vegetable peeler, peel skin off of peaches, cut in half, and remove pit.  Slice
  3. Toss slices with lemon juice as you are slicing the peaches
  4. In large stock pot add oil and sauté onion until soft.
  5. Add garlic and ginger, cook until fragrant.
  6. Add peaches, vinegar, brown sugar, and bourbon.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes uncovered, stirring the whole time.
  7. Blend well using stick blender
  8. Add Worchestershire, tomato paste, chili powder, chipotle powser, salt and pepper.
  9. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 miutes, stirring frequently.
  10. BWB process for 15 minutes.

Black Raspberry Jam

Rico Suave and I went blackberry picking to fill our freezer up with berries for our morning smoothies. The blackberries were so plump, juicy, and fat, they were falling off the vines. Picking the blackberries was a much nicer experience than black raspberry picking. We only spent about an hour picking at Butler’s Orchard but ended up with 2 big buckets full.

I had only been blackberry picking once before this year.

I was at Ft. Knox, Kentucky for Leaders Training Course (LTC) in July of 2002. After the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, I was angry and wanted to do something – anything. I had entertained the notion of dropping out of school and enlisting in the Army but I only had 2 more years left to finish my degree. I was so close to the end of the tunnel, I didn’t want to derail the train. I decided against enlisting, instead joining the Wildcat Battalion at the University of Arizona with a 2-year ROTC scholarship. Since I didn’t have all four years of ROTC training, I had to go to LTC for 4 weeks to make up for the 2 years I missed of ROTC Training – or as the recruiter called it, “ROTC Boot Camp”. LTC, as it’s known now, has evolved a lot in the 12 years since I’ve been (OMG, has it been 12 years?!). When I went, it was basically a Boot Camp for ROTC cadets.

Plump, juicy, delicious berries

I was so proud when I signed my LTC contract that was about to whisk me away to Kentucky for 4 weeks, the first person I called was my dad. “Dad!,” I exclaim. “I just joined the Army! I’m going to Boot Camp this summer!” To which he replied, “That’s great, honey. Um, you know they yell at you in boot camp, right?” (I was a sensitive, quiet, shy, and naive child growing up who turned into a sensitive, quiet, shy, and naive young adult.)

“YEP! It’s gonna to be awesome!”

Little. Did. I. Know.

(I’m getting to the blackberries, I promise)
The major part of LTC was our capstone which was just about the final week of training. It was Squad Situational Exercises, otherwise known as STX Lanes. In STX Lanes you run squad sized infantry missions; everything from defending a perimeter to assaults. After the completion of every mission, we have an After Action Review and the instructors gather around with us and tell us what was good that we did, what was bad, and what we could do better. It was a week in the field eating MREs and sleeping in the rain. All-in-all, it was good Army training.

A handful of blackberries for you, a handful of blackberries for me!
A handful of blackberries for you, a handful of blackberries for me!
We were probably 4 days into STX training when on a particular mission, we had to cross an open area. We cross the open area into some bushes, regroup, and carry on our way. That’s when someone noticed we were traipsing through a patch of wild blackberry bushes! Alerting each other to the utter joy of finding fresh blackberries, after eating nothing but MREs the past few days, we started grabbing handfuls of blackberries and stuffing them into our smiling faces as we marched on. By the time we cleared the blackberry bushes every single one of us had purple-stained faces and hands.
Rico Suave and I went blackberry picking to fill our freezer up with berries for our morning smoothies. The blackberries were so plump, juicy, and fat, they were falling off the vines. Picking the blackberries was a much nicer experience than black raspberry picking. We only spent about an hour picking at Butler’s Orchard but ended up with 2 big buckets full.

This is what 10 pounds of blackberries looks like
This is what 10 pounds of blackberries looks like
I had only been blackberry picking once before this year.

I was at Ft. Knox, Kentucky for Leaders Training Course (LTC) in July of 2002. After the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, I was angry and wanted to do something – anything. I had entertained the notion of dropping out of school and enlisting in the Army but I only had 2 more years left to finish my degree. I was so close to the end of the tunnel, I didn’t want to derail the train. I decided against enlisting, instead joining the Wildcat Battalion at the University of Arizona with a 2-year ROTC scholarship. Since I didn’t have all four years of ROTC training, I had to go to LTC for 4 weeks to make up for the 2 years I missed of ROTC Training – or as the recruiter called it, “ROTC Boot Camp”. LTC, as it’s known now, has evolved a lot in the 12 years since I’ve been (OMG, has it been 12 years?!). When I went, it was basically a Boot Camp for ROTC cadets.

Plump, juicy, delicious berries
Plump, juicy, delicious berries
I was so proud when I signed my LTC contract that was about to whisk me away to Kentucky for 4 weeks, the first person I called was my dad. “Dad!,” I exclaim. “I just joined the Army! I’m going to Boot Camp this summer!” To which he replied, “That’s great, honey. Um, you know they yell at you in boot camp, right?” (I was a sensitive, quiet, shy, and naive child growing up who turned into a sensitive, quiet, shy, and naive young adult.)

“YEP! It’s gonna to be awesome!”

Little. Did. I. Know.

(I’m getting to the blackberries, I promise)

The major part of LTC was our capstone which was just about the final week of training. It was Squad Situational Exercises, otherwise known as STX Lanes. In STX Lanes you run squad sized infantry missions; everything from defending a perimeter to assaults. After the completion of every mission, we have an After Action Review and the instructors gather around with us and tell us what was good that we did, what was bad, and what we could do better. It was a week in the field eating MREs and sleeping in the rain. All-in-all, it was good Army training.

A handful of blackberries for you, a handful of blackberries for me!
A handful of blackberries for you, a handful of blackberries for me!
We were probably 4 days into STX training when on a particular mission, we had to cross an open area. We cross the open area into some bushes, regroup, and carry on our way. That’s when someone noticed we were traipsing through a patch of wild blackberry bushes! Alerting each other to the utter joy of finding fresh blackberries, after eating nothing but MREs the past few days, we started grabbing handfuls of blackberries and stuffing them into our smiling faces as we marched on. By the time we cleared the blackberry bushes every single one of us had purple-stained faces and hands.

Still purple stained, a day after…

When we gathered for the AAR, the instructor for that lane remarked, “what in the world happened to you all?!”

I chuckle every time I think what a group of young cadets – future leaders of the US Army – must have looked like to those instructors. Hey, never take for granted what mother nature has to offer…and blackberries are a delicious example.
When we gathered for the AAR, the instructor for that lane remarked, “what in the world happened to you all?!”

I chuckle every time I think what a group of young cadets – future leaders of the US Army – must have looked like to those instructors. Hey, never take for granted what mother nature has to offer…and blackberries are a delicious example.

Roasted Turkish Orange Eggplant

This isn’t really a recipe.  It’s more of a chance to show off my Turkish Orange Eggplant from my garden.  The secret behind Turkish Orange Eggplant is that you want to pick them *before* they turn completely bright orange; when they get to that point they get bitter.  You want to pick them while they still have their green stripes.

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Roasted Turkish Orange Eggplant

About 2 pounds Turkish Orange Eggplant, thickly sliced
About 2 T, Carrot Top Chimichurri
1/4 cup olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 450F
  2. Whisk olive oil with chimichurri until well emulsified.  Toss eggplants with chimichurri/olive oil mixture
  3. Roast for about 20-30 minutes or until desire doneness, tossing every so often.

 

Im not a gardener

This post has been removed as I felt it was a little bit rambling plus many of the pictures I wanted to use for the post were no good.  Sorry about that you could alway check out the newer posts in the the baking category.  Or simply go back to the homepage.  You get the idea now the gardening is not going so well now the weather is colder so its time for more indoor pursuits I feel.

 

Orange marinated red pepper

I have been so busy putting food away!  Autumn is the busiest time of year for people who preserve their own foods.  It’s when most of the vegetables are ripe for picking and when most start to sit on the shelf for too long so farmers need to get rid of it.  It’s a great time to get crates of vegetables and fruit for killer prices.

Orange marinated red pepper

Since I started preserving my own food, I’ve been searching for a tomato sauce that is versatile and flavorful enough that I can use as a pasta sauce. This is the first time I’ve tried Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce. I was pointed to this sauce by the folks at SB Canning with more than one person raving about how delicious it is, so I decided to give it a shot.

Roasted Garlic Sauce 2

I took the original Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce recipe from SB Canning and doubled it. I bought a 25 pound crate of paste tomatoes from Brad’s for this specific purpose and I wanted to make as much pasta sauce as possible. Last year I didn’t make near enough sauce and I had to ration them through the year. This year I wanted to make enough sauce to, not only, not have to ration but to start building a good “emergency” supply. I got 7 quarts of sauce from this recipe. I’m not going to list out the whole recipe here as I followed their Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce recipe verbatim. I used:

25 pounds paste tomatoes
12 garlic bulbs
4 cups basil
1 cup assorted tyme, oregano, and rosemary
1 cup parsley
4 green bell peppers
4 red bell peppers
6T brown sugar
4 T kosher salt
2T balsamic vinegar
2t ground pepper
2T Lemon juice per quart

It seems that it has a lot of garlic – 12 BULBS! – but roasting the garlic first gives the sauce a caramelized sweetness to it; it’s actually not overpowering at all. To roast the garlic, slice through the top and using a misto (Misto is the greatest invention ever for cooking large batches of stuff – or if you just don’t like to get your hands all that dirty; seriously, you NEED one) spray the garlic bulbs with olive oil and toss the tops or throw in your composter. I used a mixture of bell peppers, using 4 green and 4 red. I used 4 cups basil; 1 cup of assorted tyme, oregano, & rosemary; and 1 cup of parsley (because parsley is cheap!). All of the herbs I chopped very finely.

You get garlic! And you get garlic! EVERYBODY GETS GARLIC!

You want to cover the garlic with tin foil. In a separate baking sheet, slice the bells in half and place cut side down, then spray with olive oil again. Roast the garlic and bells at 450F for 30-40 minutes. While the garlic and bells are roasting, cut the paste tomatoes in fourths and place in the largest pot you have. Since we are going to blast them in the food processor, don’t bother peeling or seeding them. That’s an extra step that is just not necessary. Simmer the tomatoes in the pot until they express their juices. This step helps with cooking down a large amount of sauce. Using a spider ladel, in batches, ladel the warmed tomatoes into the food processor and process into a sauce, pouring the sauce into a separate large pot. In one of the batches of tomatoes, you can add the herbs so that they get processed into the tomatoes. When the garlic and the bells are done roasting, cover and let them cool. When they are cool to the touch, peel the bells and add them to the processor. Now here’s the most annoying part of the whole recipe, you are going to squeeze each bulb of garlic into the processor. Some cloves will be easy, most will be difficult, and it will all be very messy and sticky. HA!

Pour everything into the large pot with the tomato sauce, add all the rest of your ingredients, and cook down all – day – long. BWB quarts for 45 minutes and pints for 35 minutes.

I’m excited to try this sauce as I tried a small taste and it was very flavorful. I’m excited to taste how the flavors meld as they sit on the counter. This was the first of two pasta sauce recipes that I am trying this year. The second one is Roasted Vegetable Pasta Sauce. Time will tell if I stick with both or end up doing one or the other.

Soda Scones

Yes, you read the title right. Brown Sugar Bourbon Peach Jam and yes, it’s as good as it sounds.

Before you buy crate of peaches to make jam, here’s a little hint, as if they are freestone or clingstone. Freestone peaches are peaches where the pit comes right out very easily. Clingstone peaches are peaches where the pit is stuck to the flesh. Clingstone peaches are *very* annoying to can with and cause more issues than not.

To easily remove the skins from the peaches, you want to blanch them. First, slice an “x” in the bottom of the peach through the skin. Place them in boiling water for 30 seconds to a minute, then plunge them in cold water. When they are cool to the touch, the skins should slide right off. You can toss the skins or compost them.

Brown Sugar Bourbon Peach Jam

Even though the jam has bourbon in it, it is still safe to feed to children as the alcohol will completely burn out from the cooking. However, children still may not like the strong flavor of the bourbon.

Brown sugar has a very strong flavor, so only a third of the sugar that I added was actually brown sugar. I didn’t want to overpower the flavor of the bourbon and peaches.

Just imagine this jam on some brie accompanying a hot toddy in front of a fire in the middle of winter.

Mmmmmmmmmm…..

Brown Sugar Bourbon Peach Jam

12 cups peaches

4 cups sugar

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup bourbon

2 T lemon juice

  1. Set up your work area per instructions, and prepare 8 half pint jars, according to ”Kitchen Tactics:  Boiling Water Bath Canning“
  2. Slice an “x” in the bottom of the peaches, blanch them, and plunge them in ice water in order to peel them.  Cut them in half and remove the pit.  Toss the skins and pit.  Chop the peaches and add them to a large stainless steel – or ceramic – pot.
  3. Add the sugar, brown sugar, bourbon, and lemon juice.
  4. Cook down and stir frequently using a wooden spoon until the jam comes to 220F (this will take awhile)
  5. BWB for 10 minutes.