Fruit

Freezer Peaches and Grandma Pat’s Pork Tenderloin with Peach BBQ Sauce Recipe

DSC02856I’m a peach girl.  I was actually born a Georgia Peach, although we moved to Ohio when I was two, so if it came down to any sort of loyalty battle, I’d claim Ohio as “my” state.  Regardless, my favorite pie is peach, and nothing smells as wonderful to me as a fresh peach!  Except maybe a baby’s head.  Or pizza.  Or french fries.  Ok, fine, lots of things smell wonderful to me.

Anyway, my Dad scored me some free end-of-harvest peaches at the local farmer’s market.  Out of three 5-gallon mostly-rotten peaches, I rescued about 4 tiny pints worth of delicious, very ripe peach chunks.  While I could have canned them, I have five little kids needing my attention today and I just wanted to be done with them.  So I packed them into freezer containers.  (Side note… I’m not all that impressed with Ball’s freezer jars – even their newest model.  They are just not easy to use because the lids on both models are so finicky!  And I can’t trust myself to freeze the glass canning jars anymore because I’ve managed to break three or four already, either over-filling them or putting them in the freezer while the contents were still hot.  What can I say? I learn the hard way.)  Instead of using syrup, which would have taken additional time to prepare, I just packed them with filtered water and stuck them in the freezer.  Done.

What to do with these in the future?  My Grandmother-in-law has a FANTASTIC recipe for a barbecue peach sauce that is served with pork tenderloin.  It’s a little involved, but it’s so totally worth it.  I would have just made the peaches into this sauce but I don’t have all the ingredients on hand.  And it would have taken more time.  And I wanted to be done.

This is an excellent meal for company, parties, or Tuesday night dinner!  🙂  There’s two options:  one that prepares the meal to be served out of a crockpot (ideal for the party scene), and another one that uses the grill and make a more impressive centerpiece (ideal for company).  I’ve tried it both ways and found them equally delicious!

Grandma Pat’s Pork Tenderloin with BBQ Peach Sauce

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 4 oz bacon, chopped
  • 1 dried Chile de Arbol (halved)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 Tbs peppercorns, crushed
  • 2 small peaches, diced
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp (or more) lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce

Pork

  • 3lbs pork tenderloin
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 4 tsp pepper
  • 4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp garlic salt

Directions

For sauce: Saute bacon and chili in large saucepan over medium heat until bacon is crisp.  Add onion and garlic, saute 5 minutes.  Add Worcestershire sauce and peppercorns, stir 1 minute.  Add peaches, saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add orange juice, ketchup, lemon juice and hot pepper sauce.  Simmer until sauce thickens enough to coat spoon thickly, stirring often, about 30 minutes.

For pork: Brush tenderloin(s) with oil to coat.  Arrange park on rimmed baking sheet.  Mix pepper, salt, and garlic salt in small bowl to blend.  Sprinkle over pork. Bake pork at 350* for 30 mins.  Slice pork into 1/2 inch slices.  Transfer to slow cooker, add sauce, cook on low for 1 hr.

OR Grill tenderloin(s) until brown and meat thermometer inserted into center registers 140*, turning occasionally with tongs, about 18 minutes.  Brush pork all over with some of the sauce, about 3 minutes longer.  Transfer pork to work surface, let rest 10 minutes.  Rewarm sauce in pan.  Cut pork crosswise on slight diagonal into 1/2 inch slices.  Arrange pork slices on platter.  Drizzle with sauce, serve, passing remaining sauce separately.

Note: Chile de Arbol is a long, thin red chile that you’ll find in the fruit/veggie section of some grocery stores.  (I probably found mine at Kroger or Giant Eagle)

Next time I make this I’ll try to remember to take a picture of the finished result!

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Categories: Freezing, Fruit, Pork, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , ,

They’re Pancakes! They’re Shortcake! They’re Practically Paleo!

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Don’t shut down on me yet.  I know I said the “P” word!  And while paleo and gluten-free are certainly hot topics and very trendy today, I’m betting most of you are like me and when you hear those words (along with vegan or vegetarian) you think, “Uuuughh, groan, whine”.  I’m of the mindset that food is good, and I like to eat it.  I like to eat it ALL.

…Unless of course you *can’t* have something.  I had to give up dairy proteins in all forms for a few months for each of my girls when they were newborns because I was breastfeeding and they had colic so bad.  THEN I was grateful for all the dairy-free recipes I was able to dig up.  And one time I got a bug in me to purchase a vegetarian cookbook because I was convicted that my family was centering ALL our meals around animal proteins.  (That book proved to be more helpful in the SIDE DISH department than with the main course.  We are just too carnivore-ish ;))

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There’s plenty of solid reasons for trying new lifestyle changes, though.  I have one friend who discovered, once she went completely vegetarian for a month, that her body does not handle animal proteins well.  Now she serves meat, poultry and fish as a treat instead of daily rations.  I have another friend who co-wrote with her husband a really great post on going mostly paleo/primal.  I highly recommend reading Daniel’s notes on WHY they went that route and how it has benefited them.

I actually enjoy a dietary challenge from time to time.  I think it opens the doors of culinary creativity, and almost always introduces me to new foods that I would not have thought to try – or new ways to use foods that I wouldn’t have tried on my own.

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Right now my husband and I are nearly done with a detox/diet that we started at the end of March.  We’re at the end of a 3-week phase where we can’t have starches or sugar.  It has not been nearly as difficult as I thought it would be, largely due to several recipes I’ve tinkered with.   I’ve also enjoyed several of the recipes I’ve discovered so much that they are now a member of my recipe book.  I don’t think I’d want to make this a permanent lifestyle, but I can say that I’m going to continue to find and add grain-free foods to our regular menus.

This particular recipe is a keeper.  Now, honestly, nothing beats good old-fashioned buttermilk pancakes slathered with butter and maple syrup.  But these grain-free pancakes are delightfully versatile as a breakfast food, a mid-day snack, or dessert!!  I haven’t tried them with syrup yet since we can’t have sugar for another 4 days (but who’s counting?) but that’s no matter.  They are really good with strawberry puree and whipped cream!  (My daughter tried them with syrup and liked them.)  I say these are “practically” paleo because I do use dairy, which is not part of the traditional paleo diet.  You can sub out the yogurt for applesauce and the milk for almond or coconut milk like the original recipe calls for, if you are trying to stick with true paleo.  And omit the whipped cream, of course.  (The first time I made these I used applesauce, and I will say they are sweeter, but much more prone to crumbling.)

One more note:  I think they are actually better the next day.  The last batch I made, I made on Saturday night so we could eat them Sunday morning.  Just re-heat them for 30 seconds or so in the microwave or in the oven for a few minutes.

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Grain-free Pancakes/Strawberry Shortcake

(The original credit for this recipe)

Pancakes (makes about 8-10 small cakes):

  • 1 1/2 cups Almond Flour (almond flour is simply almonds pureed in the food processor!)
  • 1/2 cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I used Chobani 2%, but fat-free would work, too)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 cup Milk (I used raw whole milk.  Skim, low-fat, or almond/coconut milk would also be good!)
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Coconut (optional, but delicious!)
  • Coconut Oil for greasing the griddle

Topping:

  • 1 cup Strawberries and/or other fruits (pureed in blender or food processor)
  • Whipped Cream

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, except coconut oil.  Batter should be slightly runny.  If it’s still thick, add more milk until it resembles typical pancake batter.  Grease griddle or pan with oil.  Spoon batter onto hot griddle into 2-3″ rounds.  When sides begin to brown, flip pancakes.  Brown the other side, then serve warm!  Add pureed strawberries and whipped cream.  If strawberries aren’t super sweet, you may want to add a packet of stevia or a teaspoon of sugar while pureeing.  Typically they won’t need it, though.  Especially if they are in season!  Leftovers should keep in the fridge at least a week.

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Tell me if you try these!  I have a few more starch and sugar-free recipes that I will post here if anyone is interested.   I’ll be back to eating those things next week, but it never hurts to try new recipes, right?

Categories: Fruit, Grain-free, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Apple Pie Filling in a Jar

Apple season is pretty much over, and applesauce is usually the most popular canning choice when faced with a case of apples, but I decided to switch it up this year.  Well, that and I still have a jar of applesauce left from last year.  My kids go through phases, and they are NOT in an applesauce phase right now.  So anyway, I thought this looked pretty fun!  It took me awhile to find the ClearJel, so I’m going to save you the trouble and tell you right now that you will probably have a hard time finding it in store, too.  Here’s a link to a good price on ClearJel on Amazon.  (Plus if you go through this link I get a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you!  Thanks!)

Why use ClearJel instead of cornstarch?  “ClearJel is a cooking starch that is acceptable for use in home canning.  Not all cooking starches are suitable for home canning, as reheating causes some to lose viscosity.  Making mixtures too thick can interfere with required heat penetration during heat processing.”  (Ball Complete Book of Home Preservation, p. 170)

Apple Pie Filling  Makes about 7 pint jars (or 3 quart jars, if you weren’t paying attention and accidentally filled quart jars instead of pint jars.)

What you will need:

  • 12 cups sliced peeled cored apples, treated to prevent browning (directions below!)
  • 2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup ClearJel
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cups cold water
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice
  • 1/2 bottled lemon juice

Directions:

1. Prepare canner, jars and lids.  For more information, click here

2. In a large pot of boiling water, working with 6 cups at a time, blanch apple slices for 1 minute.  Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm in a covered bowl.

I actually poured a teapot of hot water over the apples instead

(I actually just heated a teapot and poured the water into a large bowl holding all the apple slices.  That seemed easier.)

3. In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine sugar, ClearJel, cinnamon, nutmeg, water and apple juice.

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Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, and cook until mixture thickens and begins to bubble.  Add lemon juice, return to a boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.

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Drain apple slices and immediately fold into hot mixture.

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Before processing, heat, stirring, until apples are heated through.

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4. Ladle hot pie filling into hot jars, leaving 1 inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot filling.  Wipe rim.  Center lid on jar.  Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.

5. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.  Bring to a boil and process for 25 minutes for pint jars and 35 for quarts.  Remove canner lid.  Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

There you have it!  Not too hard, eh?  Now any time of the year you have a yen for apple pie or apple turnovers, all you have to do is buy make pie crusts and open your jar! 😉

PS.  Did you notice my new ladle??  It is so awesome; I am smitten!  It gets into every nook and cranny of the jar and has made my life just that much easier!  I got mine at Meijer, but here’s a link at Amazon if you want to check it out!

Categories: Canning, Fruit, High-Acid | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say “Banana”?

Knock knock…  Who’s there?

Banana.  Banana Who?

Knock knock…  Who’s there?

Banana.  BANANA WHO?

Knock knock…  WHO’S THERE?

Orange.  Orange who?

Orange you glad I didn’t say “banana”?

I’m sorry.  I have a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old.  This is my life, people.  And for two days, so was bananas.  My Dad dropped off an entire case of bananas the other day, and they were so ripe that I had to immediately address them, otherwise I was going to be reduced to making 10,000 loaves of banana bread.  Not that I don’t love banana bread as much as the next housewife…  I just don’t need a year’s supply of it.  After all, zucchini bread wants some attention too.

Anyway, I had a lot of bananas, so I got online and looked up as many recipes for bananas that intrigued me as I could.  I’m going to share just the recipes and pictures of the finished products because both you and me have lives outside of bananas, regardless of what the bananas want you to think.

Let’s begin:

Canning

Banana Butter 

This is really delicious and I plan on giving these as Christmas gifts!  I thought it was tasty on toast, and I think it would also be delicious in a peanut butter sandwich!  Here’s a link to the recipe and canning instructions:  Banana Butter Recipe

Dehydrating

Honey-glazed Banana Chips

These were really good!  And very easy to make.  Simply whisk up a glaze with 1/4 cup of honey and 1/4 cup of water.  Slice the bananas 1/4″ thick into the glaze, stir them around a bit and lift them out with a slotted spoon.  Place on trays and dry for 6-10 hours.  You could also sprinkle a little cinnamon into that glaze!

Banana Leather

Here’s the key ingredient to making fruit leather:  GREASE THE SHEET!  Sheesh.  That little tidbit was kind of hidden in my book of dehydrating recipes, and that kind of knowledge doesn’t come naturally to me, so this is what I got the FIRST time I made this:

Uh, yeah.  My fingernails hurt so bad by the time I finished peeling this off!  The SECOND time I made this, I used a dab of coconut oil and spread it around the Fruit Roll Sheet with a paper towel.  Then I pureed the bananas in a food processor until they were liquified, then spread it over the Fruit Roll Sheet.  It took about 8 hours to dry (until there are no longer any sticky parts).  Then it peeled right off!  I forgot to take a picture of that, but you can see it all rolled up and wrapped in plastic in the top picture.  (For the record, no one in my house was that excited about “banana leather”.  If I ever make it again, I think I’ll add a few other fruits to it.)

 

Freezing

Banana Smoothie Cubes

These are super easy to make.  Just slice bananas into about 1″ chunks, lay flat on a baking sheet, and pop the sheet into the freezer until the bananas are completely frozen.  Then transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container and label them!

 

What to do with these?  Add them to any smoothie!  Start with frozen banana chunks in the blender with a little milk.  Add other fruits for a fruity smoothie, or some peanut butter for a good workout recovery smoothie, or some chocolate syrup, whipped cream and a cherry for a dessert!  Thanks to my sister-in-law, Erin, for that last one!  Yum!

Baking

Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

As it turns out, I made this last and then found myself wishing I’d made 10,000 loaves of it and that lifetime supply!  *Ding ding diiiiing!*  We have a winner, folks!  This was, hands down, the BEST banana bread…wait…the best BREAD I’ve ever eaten (or made) in my life.  I took it to a family get-together this week and it received rave reviews from everyone!  (Click on the link above for the recipe!)   I can’t believe I forgot to take a picture of this, but Linda’s pictures are better than mine could ever be anyway.

 

Well, there we have it.  Enough uses for a banana to fill your week!  (How many times did I write the word “banana”?  I’m tired of that word!)

Categories: Canning, Dehydrating, Freezing, Fruit, Leftovers | Tags: , , , , , ,

Sun-Dried Tomatoes Vs. Dehyrator-Dried Tomatoes

I stumbled upon a book a few weeks ago that immediately intrigued me.  The title alone drew me in:  Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation.  I mean, come on, any book that completely summarizes it’s contents within it’s own title has to be a quick, easy read, right?   As it turned out, most of the recipes in there were a little far-fetched even for me.  It is a pretty interesting book, and I do recommend borrowing a copy from your library.  It’s basically a cookbook with a collection of authors almost exclusively from charming French provinces.  While I can appreciate the nutrients saved by not subjecting foods to extreme heat or cold to preserve, most of the recipes were obscure enough (chestnuts in vinegar and a bucket?) that I simply couldn’t see myself actually consuming the products.  And who has time to put up food they won’t ever eat?  The different methods of preservation NOT involving the ones that are so common and available to us today (canning and freezing) are pretty cool though.  I mean, this is hard-core Prairie Mama stuff, and normally I’d be all over such adventures.  But as I said, I just cannot see my my family passing oil-packed cottage cheese that’s been stored in my basement around the table.  Ick.

There was one recipe I did immediately try, however.  Sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil.  Easy-peasy, right?

Sigh.

Nothing is ever easy-peasy for this Prairie-Mama-Wannabe.  I probably would have starved my 14 children if their existence depended soley on my food preservation skills.  (That and the fact that my husband wouldn’t shoot a deer if the darn thing was foaming at the mouth.)  Although at least we’d all be skinny…

I digress.  Let’s get to the point of the post, shall we?

Sun-Dried Tomatoes packed in oil

What you will need:

  • Small tomatoes, like cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Gauze or cheesecloth (or a old window screen, if you’re a hillbilly)
  • Coarse salt
  • Oil

Directions:

Wash your tomatoes and slice them in half the long way.  I was able to catch my daughter’s nap and prepare mine while watching repeat episodes of “The Nanny”.  I will subject you to Dagny’s perfect baby cuteness now:

Don’t you just want to pinch those sweet chubby thighs?

I placed my halves on one of my dehydrator trays, but any platter will work.  Next, sprinkle the halves liberally with the salt, cover with the cheesecloth and set in the sun.

Yeah, that’s a window screen you are seeing.  I didn’t have any cheesecloth and I live out in the middle of nowhere and wasn’t about to drive 30 minutes just to have a classier picture to post.

Not that I didn’t seriously consider it…

Ok, what really happened was that I assumed I had cheesecloth or at least something that would have worked and went ahead and cut up all the tomatoes and salted them before confirming that fallacy.

Can I get some props for creativity?  It actually worked to my advantage anyway because we had some pretty intense wind the days I had this outside, and I think it would have created a problem with anything lighter than my window screen.

Anyway, this is the tricky part of drying foods in the sun:  They actually need to BE IN THE SUN.  Not the dark, not the rain, and definitely not the hail.  Seems pretty common sense, but common sense and Chelsea Daniels have very little in, well, common.

The directions say to turn the tomatoes twice a day and to bring them in at night ‘lest the dew undo the day’s drying.

The first flip

You know what else completely undoes a day of drying?  A storm.  A big, country-style, tornado-looking storm, complete with hail.

That’s right.  I thought to take pictures of The Storm, but didn’t think to Bring In The Tomatoes.  Doh!

It’s okay, the next day was sunny and warm.  I was kind of starting from scratch again, but by the end of the day they were shriveling nicely.

At the start of Day 3, I left to go grocery shopping, remembered my tomatoes and texted my husband (at the store, not on the road 🙂 ) to please set them out in the sun for me.

At the start of Day 4, I remembered my tomatoes and realized they spent the night outside.  In the dew.  Oh, and the rain.  Of course.

Let’s just skip forward to the “done” part.  What should have taken 2, maybe 3 days of attentiveness took ME 7 days.  But sun-dry they did finally do, and NOW we get to the true easy-peasy-ness of this recipe.

Slap those time-sucking shells of what once ’twere tomatoes into a mason jar, fill it to within 3/8 inch headspace with olive oil, screw the lid on, set it in your pantry and stop wasting any more time on them!

Except I couldn’t quit thinking about them.  I was irritated that they had proved to be such a task for me, and I was irritated with myself for being irritated.  I decided to see if there was any true benefit to sun-drying them as opposed to sticking them in the dehydrator.  Do they taste better from the sun?  Sun tea does have a slight advantage over stove tea.  Suntans have a serious advantage over tanning bed tans.  Surely true sun-dried tomatoes have a magic in them that the dried bits from my dehydrator cannot match.

Of course I tested this theory:

Dehydrated Tomatoes

The brand name is kind of ironic, since I used these in the dehydrator…

What you will need:

  • Small tomatoes
  • A Dehydrator
  • Coarse salt (optional, but recommended)

Directions:

This truly is easy-peasy.  Slice up the tomatoes, lay them on the dehydrator tray, (I only used one tray because we just don’t consume many dried tomatoes) salt them, turn it on the “fruits and vegetables” setting, and in about 6 hours (depending on how packed your dehydrator is) you’ll have dried tomatoes!  Pack them in a glass jar with oil to 3/8″ headspace, seal them with a lid tightly, and store in a cool place.

The Verdict

If you aren’t as flighty as I am, sun-dried is the way to go.  The sun-dried tomatoes had a richer, fuller-bodied flavor than the dehydrated tomatoes.  I actually forgot to salt the dehydrated tomatoes (I said I was flighty!), too, and the salt on the sun-dried ones was really a nice touch.  If you are prone to forgetfulness like someone else I know, the good news is that the dehydrated tomatoes are still quite tasty, and absolutely worth it.  I was pleased to discover that I really liked the oil-packed tomatoes, and can envision myself wrapping them in basil leaves for a snack, or scattering them over a fresh salad.  I will be making these again, and I will most definitely be using my ditz-proof dehydrator!

Even Dagny wants to try one!

 

*Note* This recipe did not say how long these tomatoes will last.  Use your discretion and inspect the tomatoes for any spoilage before consuming.

Categories: Dehydrating, Fruit, High-Acid, Leftovers | Tags: , , , , , ,

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