Archive for From Scratch

Homemade Jam – In Minutes

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I receive regular emails from King Arthur Flour. They are informative and showcase well tested recipes and new products. Their flour is a staple in my cupboard, it always provides a good result.

A couple of weeks ago they provided a link for Jam in Minutes. I decided to try it out, using 1 cup each of strawberries and chopped rhubarb. It was fantastic. And easy. And not messy. And hubby ate it every morning on English muffins with a little butter or cream cheese.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

This isn’t a large volume of jam, just barely over a cup, perfect for hubby and I and about a week’s worth of breakfasts. For today’s batch I went with 2 cups of mixed berries.

2 cups of Mixed Berries

2 cups of Mixed Berries

In a large glass bowl with a plate underneath for any overflow during cooking I tossed the berries with 1/2 cup of sugar, juice from half a lemon and a pinch of salt.

Tossed with sugar, salt and lemon juice.

Tossed with sugar, salt and lemon juice.

Next I microwaved on high for 14 minutes (stirring at 5, 5, 2 and 2 minute intervals) until the liquid had turned thicker, like a syrup.

Microwaved on High

Microwaved on High

And then we have yummy goodness.

Mixed Berry Jam

Mixed Berry Jam

Bangers and Other Sausages

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Continuing with the St Patrick’s Day menu, this year I am adding Bangers to it. And yes, I’ve been told Bangers are English. But in researching this menu item, I found recipes for different types of Bangers from different areas. I am going with Irish Bangers since this is for St Patrick’s Day.  The taste is similar to a breakfast sausage, but with just a tad more flavor oomph.

This gave me a great excuse to use one of my fancy KitchenAid attachments, a grinder and sausage maker. Guess what hubby’s first chore was? To find said attachment. Turns out we haven’t used it in a long time. A really long time. I listened to him mumble and grumble in the hall closet for several minutes. Something about filming a Hoarders show in there. Then some cussing. He was successful, tho, he found the sausage attachment.

See? There it is...wedged WAY up there!

Because of the time and work required in setting up this attachment, breaking it down and cleaning it (making sure everything is disinfected) is quite an event, we decided that in addition to grinding and stuffing the Bangers we would also make a batch of Italian and Mexican sausage.

First, we assembled all the ingredients for the three types of sausages.

Banger Ingredients

Italian Sausage Ingredients

Mexican Sausage Ingredients

At the last minute, hubby thought the Tequila would make a great addition to the Mexican sausage.

Tequila

Once all of the seasonings were assembled we prepped the pork.  You have to make sure the dice on the pork is small enough that it feeds into the sausage grinder smoothly.

Pork Shoulder

Diced Pork

Then we tossed the diced pork with the seasonings.

Toss the diced pork with seasonings

While it chills, we get the machine ready to go.

Grinder

And we are off to the races.  Kind of. NASCAR is on TV. (FYI: We still haven’t added the wet ingredient.)

Set Up

Carefully feeding diced pork

The ground and seasoned pork is then mixed with the liquid ingredient.

Almost there. BUT. In order to avoid any taste issues later, we always brown off a small sample to check our seasonings before we start stuffing it into the casing.

This batch was seasoned perfect.

Then we needed to have our mail-order casings ready to go. FYI, we still had some left from this package after stuffing about 15 pounds of sausage.

Mail Order Sausage Casings

Casings (note the salt all over the place..that's what they are stored in)

Soaked for 30 Minutes

Then we change the equipment from grinder blades to the stuffer and began threading the casing onto the horn. This is way harder than threading a needle or peeling a coupon sticker off a bag of cat food.

Start the casing.

No dirty jokes, please.

Leaving a bit at the end for the air to come out.

Turn the machine on and slowly feed the ground meat, keeping a steady pace to avoid air pockets.

AND WE HAVE SAUSAGE!


Slow and steady wins the race.  Once the you have filled the casings (avoiding any air bubbles) you can twist off into whatever size link your heart desires.

Sausage Links

Make sure you label with type and date before putting into the freezer.  This avoids that “what the heck is this and how old is it” cleaning of the freezer moments.

These three recipes all use the same basic sausage making method.  The pork shoulder should have a good amount of fat (about 20%) or extra fat will need to be added.   These sausages can be used in any recipe that calls for sausage.

Irish Bangers

4 lb pork shoulder diced
1 cup dried bread crumbs (I used panko)
1 1/2 T kosher salt
1/2 t dried marjoram
1/2 t grated nutmeg
1/4 t powdered ginger
ground black pepper
1/2 t finely grated lemon zest

1/2 cup milk

Combine all ingredients except milk and chill 1 hour. Grind using fine plate. Toss lightly with the milk. Stuff into hog casings in approximately 4″ links. Can be frozen at this point. Brown before serving. Serve with mashed potatoes.

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Italian Sausage

5 pounds pork shoulder
1 cup white wine, cold
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon chili powder, ancho
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 cup dried parsley
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Combine all ingredients except wine and chill 1 hour. Grind using fine plate. Toss lightly with the wine. Stuff into casings in desired size links or leave as bulk. Can be frozen at this point. Brown before serving.

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Mexican Seasoned Sausage

5 pounds pork shoulder
1 cup good tequila, cold
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 tablespoon chili powder, ancho
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon dried jalapenos
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Combine all ingredients except tequila and chill 1 hour. Grind using fine plate. Toss lightly with the tequila. Stuff into hog casings in approximately 4″ links. Can be frozen at this point. Brown before serving.

Apple Sauce

I always peruse the news back home.  Can’t help myself, I like to know what is going on, even tho I’m not there.  This includes previous duty stations, not just where I grew up.  But I digress.  On the local news website there was a slow cooker method for making apple sauce.  A very EASY slow cooker method.  No recipe.  Just a vague how to.  For some reason, I couldn’t resist.

So I peeled some apples.  Macintosh, Granny Smith and a Red Delicious.

Then I cored, chopped and dumped into a slow cooker with a handful of left over fresh cranberries to up the tartness as the apples seemed a bit too sweet.

For the record, if you don’t have slow cooker liners (sold next to oven bags in the grocery store) get them.  They make clean up a breeze.  Then I turned the slow cooker on low and let it cook for a few hours before adding two whole cinnamon sticks.  Lid back on and it went for the rest of the day.  I mashed it with the potato masher and voila! I had apple sauce.

OMG! Was this good.  Next time I will make a larger batch.  I also think a spice cake with warm apple sauce is in the future.  Soon.