A lot has happened since the last time I blogged; holidays have come and gone and I hope they were wonderful for you and your families!
We are already into the new year and I’m so excited to share new recipes with you. There are so many that I love, it makes it hard to choose which recipes I am going to include in the upcoming classes. In fact some of the classes will have three recipes instead of two!
I had so much food from the garden this past year and it tested my ability to not waste food. I made meals for the freezer, canned and dehydrated some of the produce from the garden and of course we ate a lot. I most have given away 100 pounds of eggplant. LOL. I’m planning on giving some meal planning tips in future blogs to let you in on what I learned along the way. This year I will also be including fermenting, pressure canning, dehydrating and making shrub drinks into some classes along with my “classic” recipes.
The garden is doing very well this season and I’m looking forward to starting classes picking produce to use in the recipes we are making. To see the awesome recipes being offered, please go to the 2019 classes page!
If you can’t make it out to The Farm, I also love teaching at The Kitchen in Alamo! It’s a gourmet kitchen in the Alamo Ace Hardware store and they want me back teaching in March or sooner. You can sign up for a scheduled class or private taught by me at The Kitchen – Just call Diane at 925-837-2420 to set a date. If you want to see me at The Kitchen more often let them know so we can make it happen!
See you in class
This past weekend is the perfect example of why I can. Last year my daughter got engaged to get married and asked if I would make mama pies for their wedding. She doesn’t care for cake and of course I said sure, no problem. So last summer when the produce was at its peak I started canning pie filling; Apple, Apricot, Peach, Caramelized Pear Ginger, Nectarine, Apricot Blueberry and Nectarine Plum. I have to admit, I was a little overwhelmed thinking of renting a house and making pie crust and cooking it in an oven I’m not familiar with.
One day I bought pie crust as a test and took one bite and said I can not do this to my daughter or her guests. I needed a plan on how I was going to do this. As the wedding got closer I started creating the perfect pie crust that could hold up to me decorating it. It needed to taste good and look good. When I finally felt I had it down I needed to test it to see if I could make it ahead of time and freeze it, thaw them, roll it out, decorate it, and then bake. The test was successful and I was making pie crust and individually wrapping them for the freezer. I also made oatmeal pie crisp tops by putting all the dry ingredients in pint jars then at the rental just adding soft butter and mixing.
The next thing I worried about was the oven at the rental house. Was it in good working order and how can we get 20 pies to the wedding site without having them get damaged in route? Friday morning my mother and I got up and started rolling out the pie crust to decorate, then poured in the pie filling and bake them. The oven was gas and it was very inconsistent which made it a challenge for each pie. We didn’t get all 20 pies done that day. We needed to go to the wedding rehearsal so I got up Saturday at 6:00am and finished the last 5 pies.
Now it was time to get the pies to the wedding site. We carefully placed pies in the trunk of our car and in the back of my parents car and drove slowly to the venue and place the pies in the walk- in cooler. Later that afternoon some friends of the groom helped get pies out to the table where my mother saw one man with ten pies stacked on top of each other. She ran up to him and asked please do not do that as we spent two days making them beautiful. I told her I was happy I didn’t see that, I probably would have had a melt down, possibly kick him in the shin.
The most important thing was my daughter was happy how the pies turned out. The guests would get a piece of pie walk along the table looking to see what pie they wanted next. So I guess it was successful. At the end of the evening we wrapped up what was left and gave it to guests to bring home. This is why I can.
See you in class
You don’t have to know how to can to be a good preserver.
I love winter and the food that comes with the cold wet weather. My husband and I enjoy hardy soups, stews and chili. I like to make a big pot , but it usually is to much for just the two of us. So, did you know that you can preserve that great meal for another cold wet day? Yes, pop it in the freezer for later.
Soups, stews and chili are always better a few days after making them, so let them sit in the refrigerator for a day or two.
Always use wide mouth jars for freezing, and never feel to the top leave 1 inch head space, because food expanse when frozen. I like to put a small piece of clear plastic wrap on top to keep the ice from build up on top of the food.
If you use small mouth jars you run the risk of the jar cracking from expanding.
What do you do after making soup. I like putting it into jars for the refrigerator. It is a great way to store it, instead of trying to fit a big pot or big bowl in the refrigerator.
The jar on the left is Tortilla Soup, Butternut Squash Soup, Venison Stew, Venison Chili, and Vegetable with venison meat balls. Chicken soup in the pot in the background.
Go warm up your home and make some soup.