Ray gardner, sr




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Sweet Pickled Banana Pepper Rings - ?



I have always enjoyed both sweet and hot banana pepper rings on Italian subs. Yet the supermarkets in the Northeast USA never seem to have the sweet variety, so I had to find a recipe for making the sweet ones.

The recipe provided here is from the Internet and I have made significant procedural changes to it to take advantage of calcium chloride as a crisping agent, sodium benzoate as a preservative, and pasteurizing instead of canning the product, followed by vacuum sealing and either refrigeration or food pantry storage.

I have to test this recipe to decide what ingredient changes might be necessary. I will modify the recipe as appropriate and get back to you with the final recipe.

Ingredients: (makes 2, 8 ounce jars)

1⁄2 lb of banana peppers seeded and sliced crossways into rings

1 small sweet onion sliced thinly, then cut the slices in half

1 1/2 cups of white distilled vinegar

2⁄3 cup of sugar

1⁄2 teaspoon of mustard seeds

1⁄2 teaspoon of celery seed

2 cloves of fresh garlic, sliced thinly

1/2 tsp. of kosher or canning salt

0.3 grams of food grade calcium chloride

1/10 of 1 percent sodium benzoate by weight of all the other ingredients

Directions:

Sterilize 2, 8 ounce canning jars, lid inserts and rings in hot water.

Bring the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, celery seed and calcium chloride to a boil in a two quart stainless steel saucepan, stirring to assure perfect mixing and dissolving of the sugar and the calcium chloride..

Put the sliced peppers, garlic and onions into the boiling mixture, immediately shutting off the heat and mixing the slices of pepper, garlic and onion with the brine.

Use a candy thermometer to check the temperature and then heat the mixture on a very low setting to maintain a 165 degrees F mixture temperature for 15 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and let the contents cool to room temperature, covered.

Weigh the mixture in a one quart stainless steel bowl using a kitchen scale, allowing for the tare weight of the bowl. Calculate the amount of Koldkiss® concentrated sodium benzoate solution to add, following the directions in the Dabbling in Science topic in the Technology section of Food Nirvana. Measure out that amount of product using a very sensitive reloader scale. Add it to the pepper slice mixture and mix well.

Divide the mixture evenly between the two canning jars. If necessary, add a small amount of water to each jar to bring the liquid level up to the glass ring near the top of the jar and mix the water in with the rest of the brine. Seal the lids with the inserts and rings and refrigerate for at least three hours.

Slightly loosen the lid rings and vacuum seal the jars of sweet pickled banana pepper rings.

Screw on the lid rings tightly.

Store the jars in the refrigerator or in food pantry storage.

Enjoy. And always refrigerate the jar contents after opening.
Marie's Fried Zucchini - ☺♥

This recipe is one created by Marie and it is truly delicious. Better yet it is so simple a child could do it. It is easy to prepare and a fine side dish for almost any kind of meal. Have fun ... You will love this stuff.
Ingredients: (Serves two or three adults)
2 fresh young zucchini squash, about 8" long, ends cut off, sliced into pieces 3/8 of an inch thick, not peeled

2 cups of Kraft® Parmesan cheese put into a one gallon plastic Ziploc® bag

A can of Pam® cooking spray
Directions:
Make all other meal items before making the fried zucchini as it should be served quickly to retain it's texture.
Hint: As you slice the zucchini use the pieces quickly to keep the cut sides moist so the Parmesan cheese will coat/stick to each side well. In the meantime, if cut slices are kept tightly together (as if the squash wasn't cut) they will not lose any appreciable amount of moisture.
Pre-warm the oven to 160ºF. Put a dinner or serving plate into the oven to pre-warm it.
Add a few slices of the cut zucchini to the bag of cheese. Close and shake the bag to coat the sides of the zucchini with the Parmesan cheese.
Remove the coated slices and put them on a paper towel or a plate.
If you run low on the Parmesan cheese in the bag before you are done coating all the zucchini slices simply add more cheese to the bag.
When all the slices have been coated put the excess cheese back into it's plastic container and back into the refrigerator.
Spray a large non-stick skillet generously with Pam®.
Place slices of the cheese coated zucchini into the skillet, allowing ample room to flip them over with a spatula easily during frying.
Spray the tops of the pieces of zucchini in the skillet liberally with Pam®.
Fry the zucchini on medium to medium-high heat, turning the pieces over to fry the second side when they are light to medium golden in color on the bottom. This may take three to five minutes per side, but keeping the heat limited results in a better product. The goal is to barely cook the zucchini through while achieving the crisp light to medium golden color of the cheese on each side. Experience is the best teacher so don't be afraid to modify what you do in your kitchen to get the best results.
As each batch completes put the slices onto the pre-warmed plate in the oven, but do not stack them.
I like to clean the skillet with a quick hot water rinse and a wipe with a paper towel between batches to maximize good flavor and avoid unwanted over-fried oily cheese particles.
Repeat the above frying steps until all the coated pieces of zucchini have been fried.

Serve the fried zucchini immediately, for it will lose its crisp and yummy texture within ten minutes.
Due to the use of the Parmesan cheese, which has a fairly high salt content, it is not necessary to season the fried zucchini with additional salt. But serve the fried zucchini with salt on the side to please salt lovers.
Vegetable Tian - ?

Ina Garten provided this recipe and my friend Jamie Dawson passed it on to me as a great way to use zucchini squash. This dish is one of his favorites, and as I know Jamie to be an excellent home chef it has to be great!


Without further ado let us learn about Vegetable Tian … And as soon as I can get the ingredients together I am going to make it.
Ingredients:
Good olive oil

2 large yellow onions, cut in half and sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound of medium round potatoes, unpeeled

3/4 pound of zucchini

1 1/4 pounds of medium tomatoes

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs

2 ounces of Gruyere cheese, grated
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Brush a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with olive oil.
In a medium saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the onions over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until translucent.
Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.
Slice the potatoes, zucchini, and tomatoes in 1/4-inch thick slices.
Layer them alternately in the dish on top of the onions, fitting them tightly, making only 1 layer.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme leaves, and thyme sprigs and drizzle with 1 more tablespoon of olive oil.
Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
Uncover the dish, remove the thyme sprigs, sprinkle the cheese on top, and bake for another 30 minutes until browned.
Serve warm.

Zucchini with Tomato Sauce - ☺♥



I have a very pleasant memory of my first time eating this delightful dish. I had just learned that I passed all my final college course exams, oral and written comprehensive exams and I did well on my Graduate Record Advanced Chemistry Exam. I was going to graduate from Juniata College with my B.Sc. in Chemistry. And I already had a great job offer with a large chemical company. It was time to celebrate.
My wife Pat and I were on a very tight budget but I figured this was the time to splurge and have a great meal. A trip to the supermarket yielded some nice steaks, some corn and a can of Del Monte® Zucchini in Tomato Sauce. I literally had never seen the zucchini product before, in fact, I had never eaten zucchini in any form in my entire life. The canned zucchini product was expensive compared to other canned vegetables and I guess it was considered a specialty item as it was on a top shelf with other special food items. I decided to try it. One taste and I had found another favorite food. It was sweet and the sauce was not overpowering.
For a number of years I simply bought the occasional can and enjoyed it. It didn’t occur to me to try to make it at home until I grew zucchini squash. My one experiment was not successful as the sauce was far too diluted. I put that idea on the shelf for future consideration. Well, here I am, 47 years after graduating from college, and I finally decided to try again.
This time I was quite successful on my first attempt. I am most pleased. A bit of Internet research and a bit of my own judgment made the day. The difference between my product and the Del Monte® product is simply that I went very light on the seasonings so people could add salt or pepper individually at serving time. Of course, one of my chosen ingredients was Ragu® Traditional Pasta Sauce, so adding other seasonings before trying the dish would have been foolish.
I provide two methods for storing the completed product, canning and vacuum sealing. The process steps are quite different so you will want to read the entire recipe first to make certain you have the necessary equipment and materials. Beyond that, I show the optional use of sodium benzoate in this recipe, which is a commonly used preservative for a wide variety of foods, at concentrations of 1/20th to 1/10th of one percent by total product weight, including any liquid. This recipe comes in at about nine pounds total weight so the amount of Koldkiss® concentrated sodium benzoate solution needed to achieve 1/10th of one percent by weight is 12 grams of the concentrated solution. You will need a very sensitive kitchen scale to measure that amount in grams. I use a reloader scale that I bought from Cabela's®. Note that using sodium benzoate is essentially a guarantee that the product will remain fresh and free of any bacterial growth or fermentation during refrigerator storage of the vacuum sealed product. In short, you can expect shelf life for vacuum sealed bags of the product of at least one year in the refrigerator.
This is a very simple recipe and very easy to make. It is well worth your time, and you will save a lot of money compared to buying the Del Monte® product, which has become rather expensive. I guess there must be a permanent zucchini shortage!

Have fun … the recipe makes eight to nine pints, so you can decide to can it, vacuum seal it or simply serve a large crowd.
Ingredients:
4 lbs. of fresh young zucchini, ends cut off and cut into bite size chunks. Do not peel it.

1, quart of Ragu® Traditional Pasta Sauce (or better yet, use marinara sauce)

1, 14 ounce can of tomato sauce

1, very large sweet onion, chopped into ½" by ½" pieces

1, green bell pepper, cleaned and cut into ½" by ½" pieces

8 large leaves of fresh basil

½ cup of sugar

2 cups of water

12 grams of Koldkiss® sodium benzoate solution
Directions:
Put the pasta sauce, onion pieces and green pepper pieces into a one-gallon stainless steel or non-stick surface pot. Put two cups of water into the empty pasta sauce bottle, put the lid on and shake it, then dispense the water and sauce mixture into the pot. Add the can of tomato sauce to the pot.
Add the sugar to the pot and mix well. Measure out the sodium benzoate solution using an ultrasensitive kitchen or reloader scale and add the solution to the pot and mix.
Heat the mixture to boiling on high heat, stirring every few minutes. Then lower the heat and simmer the mixture for fifteen minutes.
Add the basil and the zucchini, mix well and heat the mixture to a pasteurizing temperature of 180 degrees F. Maintain that temperature for 30 minutes.
If you plan to vacuum seal the product, then remove the pot from the heat, cover it with a lid, let it cool to room temperature and then refrigerate it for a minimum of four hours. Vacuum seal the chilled product to 28.5 inches of mercury in 3 cup vacuum sealing bags in the ratio of two cups of zucchini solids and one cup of sauce. Refrigerate the vacuum sealed product.
If you plan to can the product then dispense the hot solid and liquid portions into pint canning jars, seal them, and process them in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Remove the jars after the boiling cycle, retighten the lids and allow the canned product to cool. The lids will seal during cooling. Any jar that does not seal must have the lid and jar cleaned, retightened, and be brought to a boil momentarily, then cooled to seal the jar.
Serve the zucchini with tomato sauce hot and let each person season it individually.

You will get compliments.


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