Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Summer fare - Corn on the Cob

What are some of the things that just say – SUMMER – to you?  As for me there are a few – peaches, watermelon, fresh tomatoes, and a favorite - CORN on the COB!!

There are so many ways to cook it too. I just learned how to microwave it in the husk. I was very skeptical at first, but now.... I’m singing a different tune.

This method is super for when you need to cook just a few ears for dinner.

Cut the corn on the wide, stalk end of the ear.  Cut into the bottom row of kernels in order to free the cob from the husk after nuking.

Place corn, still in the husk, on a microwave safe plate and cook for four minutes in the microwave.

When the time is up, remove the corn.  ** Use an oven glove or dish towel because this corn is HOT!

Using the towel, squeeze the top end of the cob. Apply pressure to release the cob from the husk.  It will slide out and be silk free (or very few). 

Add butter, salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Tomato-Basil Jam

Love tomatoes – check.  Love basil – check.  Love jam – check.  Love tomato and basil together – check.  Love tomato, basil and jam together – Say What?
I was scanning through a Better Homes and Garden Canning magazine I purchased this spring when I came across the recipe for Tomato-Basil Jam.  It had a picture of it spread onto some toasted sour dough bread….  I had to try it.  I am so thankful that I did!

2 ½ lbs. ripe tomatoes, peeled (I used Roma’s)
¼ cup of lemon juice (bottled works best for Ph levels)
3 Tbsp. of fresh basil, snipped
3 cups of sugar
3 Tbsp. powdered fruit pectin for low/no sugar recipes

What to do-
To peel tomatoes, cut an 'X' on the bottom before placing in boiling water for thirty seconds.

Remove from the boiling water and dump in an ice bath.

Drain and peel

Remove seeds and core

Finely chop the maters
Seed, core, and finely chop tomatoes (after peeling!). Measure 3 ½ cups of chopped tomatoes and place in a 6 qt. stainless steel or heavy non-stick pot. 
Use kitchen scissors to snip the basil
Bring the ‘maters to a boil stirring occasionally then reduce heat, add lemon juice and basil. Cover and simmer for about ten minutes. Still stirring occasionally.
Next, in a small bowl combine pectin and ¼ cup of sugar, then stir into the tomato mixture.  Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly!  Add remaining sugar and return to a full rolling boil.  Boil hard for about a minute (still constantly stirring) then remove from heat.

Skim ‘foam’ off top of mixture with a metal spoon. 
Put hot jam into hot sterile half-pint jars.  Leave a 1/4 inch head space.

Process in a hot water bath (boiling water completely covering the jars) for five minutes, make sure to start timing AFTER the boiling begins.
Remove to a rack and allow to cool.  Yield: 5 half-pints
Enjoy on some nice toast with a slice of mozeralla!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Cuke and Corn Salsa

A wonderfully cool, and refreshing tomato-free salsa made with the summer’s fresh veggies.  This works for those hot summer picnic’s / BBQ’s or just for a light snack at the house.  *Note – Although I did not add it to this recipe, the next time I make this salsa I will add a diced avocado.

3 ears of fresh corn, husks and silks removed
1 lg. cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
4 green onions, sliced very thin
2 Tbsp. fresh thyme (or ½ tsp dried)
Zest and juice of one lemon (no seeds please)
Salt and pepper to taste.

What to do-
With a sharp knife, saw down the ear of corn to remove the fresh kernels. (I usually do this in a large bowl as it helps keep the kernels from finding their way to the floor.)
In a medium bowl, mix the corn kernels, celery, green onions, cucumber, thyme, lemon zest and lemon juice.  Combine well adding salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with pita or tortilla chips.