Friday, August 22, 2008

Spaghetti Sauce

This is the recipe I use for canning- we LOVE it. From the Better Homes and Gardens canning book.

15 pounds firm, ripe tomatoes
1/4 c. water
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red or green pepper
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 c. snipped fresh parsley
1 Tb. brown sugar
1 Tb. fennel seed (the secret ingredient)
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp pepper

1. Wash tomatoes. Remove cores; cut into quaters (I just quarter them)
2. Place tomatoes in an 8 or 10 quart Dutch oven or kettle. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Add water to prevent sticking. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, uncovered for 20 minutes. Press tomatoes through a food mill; return tomatoes to Dutch oven. Discard seeds and pulp. (Ok, this is where I just stick it in the blender by small batches until the whole thing is pulverized. Anything to avoid the pain and mess of the food mill)

3. Add onion and pepper. Cook until onion and pepper are soft. Stir in garlic, parsley, brown sugar, fennel seed, salt, basil, oregano, marjoram, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered, about 2 hours or until reduced by half, stirring frequently.

4. Ladle hot sauce into hot, clean quart or pint canning jars, leaving 1- inch headspace. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids. Process jars at 10 pounds pressure for 25 minutes for quarts or 20 minutes for pints. Allow the pressure to come down naturally. Remove the jars from the canner; cool on racks. Makes 4 pints.

* Don't let the canning piece scare you. You can use this recipe as a guide for making just enough for dinner if you want to.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Peaches and Cream Pie with Sugar Cookie Crust

I got this recipe from my friend Jen who got it from her favorite bakery. She says you can use any fruit with this, but peaches are her favorite. If you use peaches, be sure to blanch them in boiling water for 60 seconds, transfer to an ice water bath, and remove the skins before slicing. You don't have to peel nectarines, but be sure to wash the skins well. Don’t use frozen fruit. No good. You can also double this recipe and bake it in a 10X13 pan like I did.

1 stick butter (preferrably unsalted) softened
3 Tbs sugar ("sometimes I add more if I'm feeling naughty," says Jen)
1 Large Egg Yolk at room temp
3 Tbs heavy cream
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

1 pound cream cheese
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups thinly sliced ripe peaches

preheat oven to 375*

To make the crust: In a large bowl, on the low spread of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg yolk and cream, and mix well. Add the flour and salt, and beat until just combined. Gather the dough into a ball and roll it out on a lightly floured surface to fit into a 9 inch glass pie dish. Fold the edges under all around the rim and crimp. Prick the bottom and sides all over with the tines of a fork, Cover the edge of the pie crust with aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet, and bake for 10 min. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking 20 min more, until the crust is crisp and golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, on the low speed of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the heavy cream and vanilla, and continue to beat at low speed until well combined.

Refrigerate the filling while the crust is cooling. When the crust is completely cooled, spread the filling evenly in the crust with a rubber spatula. Arrange the sliced peaches on top of the filling in a decorative manner. Refrigerate the pie for at least 8 hours or overnight to ensure that the filling sets.