Blanching, Stewing, Canning, oh my!

Ingredients:

Fresh lemon juice (amount varies to the amount of tomatoes stewing)

Fresh local tomatoes

Tools:

Ball canning jars

Tongs

2 large pots

1 large bowl

1 ladle or slotted spoon

 

Blanching: Step ONE

  1. Fill two large pots with water.  Use one to boil the Ball mason jars. Hand was jars before placing them into boiling water.  These steps will help sterilize jars for eventual canning.  The second pot will be used to boil tomatoes.
  2. Once the second pot is up to a boil, add tomatoes (in small batches) to the pot and let boil for 60 seconds.  While tomatoes boil, fill a large bowl with ice water.
  3. After the 60 second boil, remove tomatoes and put into ice bath.  If using a ladle, make sure not to transfer hot water into the ice water.
  4. Leave tomatoes in the ice bath until cool.  You will notice the skin start to peel off of the tomatoes.  Fun to watch and a great sign of ready to peel!  If the skin doesn’t pop off, dont worry! You can use a knife to crack the shell.
  5. Peel skin and core tomatoes to prep for stewing.

 

Stewing: Step TWO

  1. Take blanched and cored tomatoes and crush/blend to desired consistency.
  2. Cook mashed batch to desired thickness on a medium heat.  This will vary with eventual use (pizza sauce, pasta sauce, etc).

Canning: Step THREE

  1. Carefully lift jars out of pot with sterilized tongs.  
  2. Add 1 tsp of lemon juice for 1/2 pint glasses, 2 tsp for a pint.
  3. Fill jars with stewed tomatoes, leaving 1/2 inch of space in the jar.  Wipe down rim of excess tomato for a better seal.
  4. Seal jars with lid and ring.  Place back in boiling water.  Boil for 65 minutes.
  5. After 65 minutes, carefully remove from water and place on the counter to cool .

If you press down on the seal and there is no movement, you have successfully stewed and canned your first tomatoes!!!

Zucchini Latkes

Zucchini everywhere and we’re trying everything to get rid of it…I mean use it all to the best of its abilities!!

I’ve tried linguini, zucchini bread (recipe to follow), mashed squash and zucchini.  I’ve thrown it in curry, salads, and now I’m vampin’ up old favorites: latkes, I love you.  Do you taste aiight with zucchini??

Now nothing will ever replace potato latkes and the joy they bring to a cold winter day, but I gotta say, the zucchini worked like a CHARM.

 

Zucchini Latkes

Ingredients

(serves 2-3) 

2 cups shredded zucchini

½ cup of onion (finely chopped or grated)

1 egg

¼ cup corn meal (can be substituted with matzo meal)

¼ cup all purpose flour

¼ tsp salt

fresh cracked black pepper (I did about 10 cracks from the pepper grinder)

1/8 tsp garlic powder

vegetable oil (will depend on size of pan)

 

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  1. Shred 2 cups of zucchini and onion using the large hole side of a grater.
  2. Press the grated material of all excess liquid. This can be done by pressing with the heel of your hand with the vegetables in a strainer, allowing liquid to drain. You can also press liquid with folded hands.
  3. Place all pressed veggies into a mixing bowl. Add 1 egg, salt, pepper, garlic, and flour. The flour can also be substituted with matzo meal, but I can’t lie, I didn’t have any in the house.  The pepper is also a fairly crucial ingredient to the latke so don’t be shy!
  4. Mix ingredients until thoroughly blended. You will notice excess liquid in the bowl. This is fairly abnormal for potatoes but definitely normal with zucchini.
  5. Fill a saute/frying pan with ½ of vegetable oil and bring to a medium high heat.
  6. Before cooking latkes, tare a paper bag up into squares and lay on a cookie sheet. This will be for the latkes once they are done cooking in order to remove excess grease.DSC_1365
  7. Grab a small ball of mixture (a tablespoon or two) and squeeze to remove excess liquid. Flatten with the palms of your hands. Test the oil by placing a piece of shredded zucchini. The oil is only ready when immediate sizzling begins. When oil is ready, place the flattened zucchini mixture into the pan. After a browning of the edges, flip the latkes to thoroughly brown on each side.DSC_1367
  8. Place zucchini latkes on the paper bag pieces, helping to keep latkes crisp.

 

 

 

Serve with sour cream, apple sauce, or improvise with what’s in the kitchen! I used vegenaise mixed with bourbon smoked paprika. If  I could have, I would have gone for greek yogurt with bourbon smoked paprika and maybe a touch of honey!

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Summer Treats: Peach Treat Sangria

My favorite lil’ drink of the summer time…

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Peach Treat Sangria

Ingredients:

2 Shots Aged Rum

1/2 Peach

White wine of your choosing (Sweet preferably)

 

  1. Muddle a peach in the bottom of your glass.  You can do this using a spoon, fork, wooden spoon, really anything that can fit in the glass.  
  2. Add shots of rum to the muddled peach and stir.  Fill the rest of the glass with white wine and maybe an ice cube or two.

Enjoy before the summer air is gone!!!

 

Oh Alaska: The Great Crab Off

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A trip to Alaska:

What a wonderful world.

The battle of best crabs was on after an Alaskan came to MY home town and told me yeah he guessed Blue Crabs were good, but his Alaskan crabs, King and Dungeness, are better. Clearly, I cannot stand for that so I went to Alaska for the freshest test possible.

 Away to Alaska I went:

Alaskan Crabs vs. Blue Crabs

I arrived in Alaska to the kindest family I could imagine, making our future fight over crabs harder than I thought it would be. Off to their house we went and I was delivered to a true Alaskan feast: Dungeness Crabs with garlic butter, fried Halibut with homemade tartar sauce, and homemade coleslaw. Where’s the paper?? I thought. How about the hammers? Nope. Each place was set with a small cut board and a rock. Yes, a rock. Are they otters or Alaskans….or both? Nah, they’re just mountain people who have found perfectly shaped rocks to their hands and keep them just for their local eats.

 

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So the difference? The Dungies, as they call ’em, have enough meat in half of their body as a whole Blue Crab and a half. Each leg matches the same amount found in a Blue Crab claw. The rock, quite frankly, makes you feel like a bad-A animal claiming ya meat. Now can I say which one is better? Can I, in my right mind, say that Dungeness Crabs are better than Blue Crabs?? No. Maryland would remove me from the state.

 

So here it is Conor Lendrum (the nice young fellow who challenged my crabs): Dungeness vs Blue Crab. They tie. I’d say Blue meat is a wee bit sweeter but there is just so much meat in one Dungie crab.

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I flew all the way to Alaska to prove to my Marylanders once and for all that our crabs are supreme….and we came out in a dag tie. THANKS ALASKA. But really, thank you, it was delicious.

 

PS- Why didn’t I mention the competition with King Crab? Because they fail. Seriously, not worth racing with the Dungies and the Blues.

 

Some tasty Blue Crab and Dungeness Crab recipes?

 

 

The not so traditional Crab Dip:

The ratio for this dip is a personal preference. I love the extra tomatoes and onions for the extra texture and flavor. It also makes the crab meat go farther, which, considering the price, is very helpful. The Tabasco adds a little heat without upsetting the clean flavors of the vinegar with the crab meat.

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 Ingredients:

8 oz crab meat

2/3 cup white onion (diced)

2/3 cup tomato (diced)

2 tbs vegenaise

1 tbs apple cider vinegar

5 shakes Tabasco hot sauce

fresh cracked pepper

fresh cut italian parsley (optional)

 

  1. Toss the above ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly mixed. Be carful to fold and not mix too roughly so as to keep the meat, especially that tasty back fin, in tact.  Serve chilled.

 

Incredibly refreshing and delish with a beer on the back porch!

Best served with buttery crackers (Ritz or Whole Foods party packs) or topping a salad.

 

 

A crabby twist on the Lobster Roll

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Ingredients:

(serves 3)

1 lb crab meat

3 tbs tartar sauce (with cayenne)

½-1 tbs sweet pickles (diced)

2 splashes of hot sauce (of your choice)

fresh cracked pepper

Lemon zest

  1. In a bowl, combine the above ingredients. Be careful to mix, rather than fold. Mixing will break down the crab chucks, folding will give you a lumpier and more flavorful roll.
  2. For best serving, top each side of roll with the horse radish mixture listed below, then crab meat, onion and tomato. Place in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes to crisp the roll and warm the meat.

 

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Roll topping:

 2 tbs sour cream

1 ½ tsp horse radish

Additional toppings

Red onion slivers

Spinach/lettuce

Tomato slices

 

Work a thon at the 49 West

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What a pleasure to see familiar faces!

After a few long days of working alone, I got to spend some time alone with The Trusted Table’s Sarah Knebel.  Over our favorite tasty hummus platter we began to trade secrets and girl chats…within minutes the boys were calling.  Bored without Sarah, we’d like to think.  But we were blessed to be joined by them.

It’s amazing what things can be done when you put the group mind into power!  Reality checks from Sarah, web help from John, development advice from Todd, and a little cooking and wording advice from lil ol’ me.

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This is just a Thank You to 49 West for providing us such a great place to brainstorm, to keep caffeinated, and to provide us with our tasty favorite, healthy snacks!  You can always find at least one of us there, and all the other entrepreneurs roaming the streets of Annapolis.

An Arthur Friendly Meal: Ketogenic deliciousness .

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My dear friend Arthur, loyal employee of Annebeth’s & St. John’s senior, has been operating on a Ketogenic diet for about 4 and a half month.  In that time he has become the incredible shrinking man, losing a whopping 55 pounds.

          The basics of it? Green veggies and meat.  Sugar’s out, carbs OUT.  He wants to reintroduce a lil bit of those foods at a time, but nothing too heavy, so that his body may readjust. In order to help with this, and to finally teach the man to cook, we make a meal a week.  I try my best avoid the no-no’s of the Ketogenic diet but with each meal, a lil something slips finds its way to the plate.

          The quinoa in this meal was all for me, too many carbs and sugar in the tomatoes.  The cheat for Arthur?  The well worth it Jamaican Jerk seasoning from the Shenandoah Spice Company.

In this meal:

Sage Summer Squash Mash

Skillet Grilled Skirt Steak

Jerk Sautéed Summer Veggies

Roasted Tomato Qunioa

Summer Squash Mash

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Ingredients:  (Serves 2-4)

1 summer squash

1 yellow squash

8 leaves of sage (if small, 5 if large)

1 clove garlic

2 1/2 tbs salted butter

  1. Fill a sauce pot 3/4 full of water and bring to a boil. Cut Squash into 1/4 inch thick slices, leaving the ends on the cutting board, and add to boiling water with 1/4 tsp salt.
  2. Allow to boil (without lid) for 8-10 minutes.
  3. While cooking squash, melt 2 tbs butter in a small sauté pan.  After fully melted, add 6 finely diced sage leaves to pan.  Move butter around the pan until it is browned.
  4. When the squash is tender, remove water from pot, all liquid possible.  When you begin to hand mash squash, liquid will release from vegetables, creating a soupier consistency.  Removing as much possible now will help during mashing. (save the brown butter pan for quinoa)
  5. After thoroughly draining, add browned butter mixture, 2 finely diced sage leaves, crushed garlic clove, and pepper (to taste) to the squash.
  6. When serving, use the hand masher to assist in straining squash mash.

 

 

Skillet Grilled Skirt Steak

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Ingredients:  (Serves 2)

1 lb Steak

2-3 tbs cul-pepper seasoning (Shenandoah Spice Company)

3 small peppers, thinly sliced (or 1 large bell pepper)

1 tbs butter

  1. Slice skirt steak into 1/4 inch thick pieces.  Lay flat on cutting board and apply measured seasoning (or as needed to fit personal preference) to either side of strips.
  2. Melt 1 tbs butter onto skillet and distribute evenly.
  3. Lay strips flat on skillet.  After browned, flip to other side to cook to personal preference (rare, medium rare, well, etc).
  4. After finishing cooking, place steak on a plate and cover with aluminum foil.
  5. Place thinly sliced peppers onto pan, allowing them to absorb some of the seasonings flavor and singe their edges.  If the pan seems too try, add a splash of the liquid from the summer squash mash’s final product.  This will add a touch of butter to the pan and moisture to the peppers while maintaining that grilled effect.

 

Jerk Veggies

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Ingredients:  (serves 3-4)

1/2 Zucchini (sliced and halved)

8 oz red cabbage (sliced and chopped)

1/4 red onion (sliced)

1/2 tbs butter

Jamaican Jerk Seasoning (will shake to taste) 

  1. Melt butter into pan and place veggies into sauté pan. 
  2. Sprinkle Jamaican Jerk Seasoning over veggies, to your personal taste.  I used about 2 tsp to 1 tbs.
  3. Toss veggies in saute pan for 8 minutes, or until veggies are to your liking of tenderness.

Roasted Tomato Quinoa

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Ingredients:  (serves 3-4)

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

1 cup oven roasted tomatoes (or to preference)

  1. Add 2 cups of water and 1 cup quinoa to a sauce pan. 
  2. Bring to a boil and turn down to low.  Cook for 15 minutes and enjoy!
  3. Toss quinoa and tomatoes in saute pan with tomatoes on low heat.

 

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Arthurs meal, quinoa free.

 

Ingredients list:

Red cabbage, small peppers, zucchini, squash, tomatoes: The Trusted Table

Red onion: Annapolis Farmers Market

Skirt steak: Whole Foods

Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

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Ingredients

Cherry Tomatoes (as many as you like)

Olive oil (for drizzling purposes)

Herbs de Provence or Herbs of Italy

Sea Salt (optional)

1-2 garlic cloves (crushed, optional)

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  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degree (200 if conventional)
  2. Slice cherry tomatoes in half (from stem root to end, aka length not width).
  3. Cover cookie tray in aluminum foil.  Cover aluminum foil with a thin coating of olive oil.  This will keep tomatoes from sticking after cooking.
  4. Evenly distribute tomatoes across foil.  Season to preference: add pinch of salt, a few shakes of herbs, and pressed garlic.
  5. Place tray on the middle rack and allow it to bake (dehydrate) for 2-4 hours.  I did mine about 2 hr 45 min.  For a drier, almost sun-dried texture, go for longer.
  6. Enjoy in a dish or just as they are! They keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

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How I’ll be using them this week? Quinoa with oven roasted tomatoes and peppers served with sage squash mash.

 

Buffalo Salmon Tacos

Two things I can’t really get enough. Favorite happy hour treats, favorite late night treats, favorite everyday treat: Buffalo wings and fish tacos.  After a long day of working for Gator Ron’s, I still wanted wings but just couldn’t shake the craving for fish tacos…Then it got me: Buffalo Salmon Tacos with a blue cheese coleslaw.

 

Check here for the Salmon cookin’ and click the links for the tacos toppers:

Blue cheese coleslaw

Avocado Cilantro puree

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Ingredients:

1 6-8oz salmon filet

3 tbs buffalo sauce (I’m usin’ Gator Rons spicy sauce)

  1. Rather than using oil in your frying pan, use 2 tbs of buffalo sauce. Bring to medium high heat.
  2. Place salmon in frying pan and pour 1 tbs on top of salmon. Although its usually recommended to season salmon (season=salt), there is enough sodium in the sauce to hold off on seasoning.  Sear salmon on each side for 3-5 minutes, or until a slightly darker pink in the center than the outside.
  3. Serve with a tortilla of your choice (healthy substitutes: sprouted corn tortilla or dinosaur kale).

 

My serving preference: Blue cheese coleslaw, avocado slices (or puree), spinach, slices of habanero and a side of sliced tomato.

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My meals ingredients:

Red cabbage, salmon, dinosaur kale: The Trusted Table

Red onion, cilantro, lime: Fleet Street Market

Gator Ron’s Sauce: Annebeth’s (Annapolis), Eddies (Baltimore)

Avocado Cilantro puree

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Ingredients:

1 avocado

1 lime

1/4 cup cilantro (loosely packed)

1 tbs sour cream (optional)

1/4 tsp salt

  1. Use a food processor or blender of sorts to create this puree.  Add avocado, lime juice, cilantro, sour cream, and salt.  
  2. Blend until a smooth consistency.

 

Great with:

         Sandwiches, eggs, tacos, fish, and anything else your heart desires!

 

Side and for the Buffalo Salmon Tacos!

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Blue Cheese Coleslaw

Perfect for what kinda meals?: Chicken wings, Salmon Tacos, and Saucy Chicken Salad

          Tonight, this meal was prepped by my dear friends, Molly and Arthur, and I.  We have decided to utilize the one day deal at Whole Foods, pick up a pound of salmon, and make Buffalo Fish Tacos with this tasty coleslaw! I have spent the night trying Two Oceans salmon, but all major produce are from local farms.  All the best, Molly, Arthur, and Leenie…

 

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Ingredients:

(serves4-6 people)

1 lb red cabage (finely chopped)

1/2 cup greens (personal preference, packed)

1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup blue cheese crumble

1/2 cup low fat sour cream

1 tbs mayo

1 tbs vinegar

2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

cracked black pepper (to taste)

  1. Make sure all ingredients are finely chopped.  Add to a medium bowl.
  2. Stir ingredients together, until finely blended.
  3. Cover and let sit in the fridge 15 minutes.
  4. Before serving, you are welcome to add another 1/2 cup of greens to add color and texture to the dish.  Otherwise, enjoy as is!

 

Try it with the delish Buffalo Salmon Tacos!

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A special thanks to my sous chefs!

 

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