Taste and see …

Apple butter November 22, 2010

Filed under: Canning — F. Penner @ 9:24 PM
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I actually made apple butter several months ago, I think at the end of September? and had started a post about it, but then got distracted by the rest of my life… and I wasn’t going to keep it, but I finally uploaded the pictures I had taken of the disaster area that was my kitchen after I made the butter, and decided that maybe I should do it anyway.  I went apple picking with a couple of friends at the same orchard I had gone for peaches earlier in the summer.  This time I limited myself to enough apples for one batch of butter and a pie or two, though :).  I wanted to try apple jelly also, but I think that’ll have to wait until next year.  Or maybe this winter when I’ve lots of free time…  At any rate, I got a recipe for apple butter from my sister-in-law, and then because it said it only yielded 3 cups, I decided I wanted to double it so it would be more worth the effort.  I think I ended up with about 9 cups when it was all finished – I tripled the recipe without even meaning to, apparently!  I also cut the amount of cloves and allspice a little bit – if I remember correctly, I think I halved the amount for both, but left the amount of cinnamon the same.

Apple butter

2 quarts apple pieces, peeled (8 cups)
1 quart apple cider (4 cups)
3 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp allspice

Cook apples and cider until they are tender.  Press through a sieve or food mill (I just used my blender…).  Add sugar and spices and return mixture to the pot.  Cook until thick (this took 1 1/2 to 2 hours for a double recipe, I think).  Yields 3 cups.  I also used the boiling water method to seal my jars (another reason I wanted to double it – who wants to boil lots of water for 3 jam jars worth??)

The aftermath of my apple butter:

I wanted to make sure that I got this fruit butter to the right consistency (unlike my peach butter, which could have cooked for a bit longer…) so I think I ladled some of it into the jars, decided it wasn’t thick enough, poured it back into the pot, cooked it down some more, ladled some out, decided that it still wasn’t thick enough, poured it back in, cooked it down some more, and decided that whether or not it was the right consistency, I wasn’t going to pour it from the jars back into the pot a third time.  And it turned out pretty thick… possibly a little too thick, but it tastes good, and hopefully next year I’ll be able to make fruit butters that are just the right thickness, since I’ve made too thin and too thick 🙂

 

Tomato soup November 20, 2010

Filed under: Dinner,Soup — F. Penner @ 12:47 PM
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It’s been getting cooler here, and at times it’s actually been cold enough for soup.  I had been looking through my thoroughly unorganized collection of recipes for ideas, and found a recipe for ‘Fresh tomato soup’ that I had pulled out of an old Paula Deen magazine.  I’m not generally a fan of the canned version – I think maybe it’s too sweet for me? but I thought I’d give home-made tomato soup a try.  I think I added too much onion (I decided I didn’t actually need to measure out the 3/4 cup, but threw an entire medium onion in instead…), but otherwise it was pretty good – especially with a grilled cheese sandwich!

Fresh tomato soup

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cups finely chopped tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 cup half and half

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes, or until tender.  Add tomatoes; cook 3 minutes.  Stir in flour, and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Stir in chicken broth, salt, and pepper, and cook 4 to 6 minutes, or until thickened.

Pour soup into an electric blender or food processor (I imagine an emulsion blender would also be just fine :)).  Puree until desired consistency is reached.  Return soup to saucepan; stir in half and half.  Cook over low heat 5 to 6 minutes, or until thoroughly heated.