The REDS.

The REDS.

 

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I have been creating a lot of soups and stews in the crock pot recently. Mostly because of A. working outside and B. because it smells fab when cooking and C. because by the time I am actually hungry later on, I can’t be bothered to cook anything. Charlie usually pesters me to eat. I realized the other day that my fiber world has overtaken my culinary world.

No, I am not putting bamboo and silk in the soup, but I am color coordinating the ingredients.

Really?

 

My First Color Coordinated Soup. The Reds.

The Reds:

1/2 cup dried RED lentils ( if you want it thicker, increase to ¾ cup)
1 15 oz can organic Navy (WHITE) beans rinsed
1 15 oz can organic Pinto (BROWN) Beans rinsed
1 15 oz can of Organic RED Fire Roasted Tomatoes diced
1 32 oz can of Organic RED whole peeled tomatoes
2 WHITE onions chopped medium size
1 RED onion chopped medium size
10 WHITE cloves of garlic chopped fine
1 cup bite sized chopped organic Orange baby carrots
I Red Sweet Potato peeled and diced (could increase to 2 if your slow cooker is large enough)
½ to 1 cup of chopped Rutabaga (WHITE flesh once peeled)
1 pound of thick sliced from the butcher bacon with no msg chopped small size ½ inch or smaller
1 cup of White cauliflower if you have it lying around
Pink Himalayan Sea Sat
Boiling water to cover

Throw it all in the slow cooker, making sure the bacon is the last thing and on top. Pour boiling water over the food and bring level up to about top of food and a little under lip of slow cooker top. Put the lid on idiot…I mean you didn’t forget that did you?

Our Smeg

Put the slow cooker on high and leave for 4-6 hours, than turn down for 2-4 more hours on low eating it whenever you feel like in that later few hours. If you are going away, I would put it all together before you get ready for the day, leave it on high while you get ready for work, than switch to low for the day until you get home. I didn’t try to colour coordinate it, it just happened.  Is this what you call Hand Dyed Soup?  Or is that Hand Painted Soup?

 

I threw this together with whatever I could find lying about the Smeg and China Cabinet. I made it about a week ago so I think that was what I put in it….more or less…probably…most likely…..yeah, of course that was what I put in it.

Oh by the way, what is a Smeg you ask?  Here is my Smeg.  We finally got it this fall.

Marinated Goat Cheese

Marinated Goat Cheese….brings my taste buds to attention and they yell yippee!!

It is hard to describe the fascinating blend and meld of various spices and flavors along with texture.  YOU must make this and try it for yourself.  The key is the longer that it marinates the more flavorful the cheese becomes.  I have found this personally extremely difficult as I have made batch after batch in the last month and they usually only last 24 hours.  Some may make it to the 48 hour mark but my marination time limit seems to be a few hours as I can’t stop eating this cheese.  I usually say I am going to have one piece of cheese for strength to do such and such and before you know it I am eating the cheese out of the jar straight and foregoing any proper meal for a cheese meal.  It is heaven.  I would NOT call this a low fat cheese.  I mean come on, it is goat cheese from Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goats which are a goat breed known for extreme HIGH butter fat, marinated in OIL for heavens sake.  If you are looking for low fat.  Leave my blog now, run…screaming!  If you are looking for real taste and intense flavor that is so lacking in prepared modern food, well put your feet up, read, print, and get to making your own cheese.  Trust me, I am NOT sharing.  I have been trying to make a batch to take to my BFF for weeks now.  By trying, well I make it and end up eating it before I go see her.  It has happened more than once.  I thought there was something wrong with me.  Instead of a crack addict, I am a cheese addict!!  I thought making her a jar of her own when I made a jar for me would do the trick.  NOOOOO….I finished mine off and sat and looked at her jar for 2 days.  I lost it yesterday and ate her jar for brekkie.  I had to hurry and make a double batch that afternoon so I had a full jar of my own and a jar for her.  I knew that I could pace myself to at least manage to make MY jar last 24 hours.  She got her jar.  OMG, talk about catching.  This cheese addiction.  She ate almost half her jar in just a few minutes and was bemoaning the fact that she wanted to eat it all right than and there.  What to do, what to do.  She asked me if I wanted a piece.  I said no, yes..but no.  She said you do realize how hard that was for me to ask to share.  To which I responded yes and  you do realize how hard it was for me to say no.  Before you feel too sorry for me, I consoled myself with about a third of my jar when I got home instead of dinner.

Jill, one of my Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goats

By now I am guessing you are about salivating.  So without further ado, HERE is my old post with my basic goat cheese recipe.  First you start by making the cheese.  If you don’t have goat milk and can tolerate cows milk, you don’t have to use goat milk.  This recipe will work with any real milk.  None of that low fat crap.  It has to be milk with FAT in it, so you need to go for FULL WHOLE MILK at the barest minimum.  Raw milk from a high fat cow or a high fat goat is best for a higher yield cheese and a milder flavor.

Once you get your basic recipe made, put it in a cheese press and press the whey out.  Press it maybe an hour or two.  Flip the sides and press the other side for another hour or two.  Take it out of the press and slice it into little bite size cubes.  You can go as little or as big as you want keeping in mind a simple limitation.  Your mouth is only so big and it doesn’t hinge top.  Smaller cube size like you see on cheese party trays with toothpicks is better because you can pack more cheese in the jar which means you get more tasty cheese and use much less oil.  This marinated cheese does not need to be refrigerated.  The oil and vinegar combo preserve it for a fair amount of time and the cheese is preserved in the mixture as long as the oil covers the cheese.  If you somehow can leave it for a long time enough that it goes bad, your olive oil will be rancid and stink and you will be able to smell it.

While the cheese is pressing is when I get down to making taste bud happiness.  Find a jar and make sure it has a lid that will fit tightly so you can turn the jar up side down now and than to mix the spices.  Also make sure the lid is one that you can open relatively well as when having a cheese craving it is horrid to not be able to get the lid off.  My jar is rather large.  It holds a net weight of 2 lbs.  (yes I know that is a lot of cheese to eat in a 24-48 hour time frame but you haven’t tasted THIS cheese yet so shut up!)  This is where the creation part comes in.  I take about 10 nice size cloves of garlic, peel them and maybe slice them in half.  If it is a smaller clove I leave it whole.  Throw those in the bottom of the jar.  I take a Balenese Long Black Pepper corn and break it in half or 3 pieces if it is long enough and throw in.  You could substitute regular peppercorns and I would probably use about 5-7 round peppercorns whole for that size jar.  I usually throw in about 2 TBS of dried minced onions, sprinkle in even more garlic powder as you want it very flavorful.  Throw in 1-2 Bay leaves whole.  1-2 TBS of Rosemary, not the ground type but the type that still looks like it just came off the plant.  Now comes the time that I impatiently wait for the cheese to finish pressing so I can chop it.  Once the cheese is chopped into your bite size pieces, I gently set those down in the jar on top of the spices filling the jar to the bottom of the threads of the screw cap.  I take an extra virgin olive oil, which if it is fresh and has been processed correctly will be GREEN not that horrid amber brown crap in the store, and pour it gently over the cheese and spices to fill it up to just over the tip of the top piece of cheese.  I take a lovely Balsamic Vinegar made right here in Canon City, CO at our Holy Cross Abbey and pour several Tablespoons over the top of the cheese and oil.  The vinegar will be heavier than the oil and settle.  I personally think that the vinegar with the spices MAKES this cheese.  Since it always settles at the bottom, I take the jar with lid firmly attached and rotate the jar from top to bottom slowly to get the spices and vinegar to move around.  I do NOT shake the jar as the cheese is fragile and will crumble into little bits.  It will taste wonderful but how do you get it out of the oil it if is in little bits?  Put the lid on, set it on a folded piece of paper towel as no matter how careful you are the oil will leak, and TRY to wait for a while to let it marinate before you devour it.

Sweet Pea, Jill’s Mom. Both are my main milkers and cheese makers!

I just finished my jar off this morning.  Record in that it was about 48 hours.  I have that oil with all those spices and little bits of cheese crumbled up in it.  Did I mention that the cheese doesn’t really melt like a traditional cheese.  It does however fry up nicely.  I bought a lovely Tri Tip Steak and a Top Sirloin Steak.  I am thinking those steaks in that oil with spices and crumbled cheese, fried all together…..get out of my way.  Where is my cast iron skillet??

Spiced Green Tomatoes

I have been canning and putting up things the last week off and on.  I am specifically using a water bath canner so mostly tomatoes, pickles, and chutneys.  I was first introduced to Chutney in Scotland.  One of my all time favorites is a mango chutney at the local Indian Restaurant in Turriff, Aberdeenshire.

I have discovered that I do NOT like relishes but adore most chutneys if they are not spiced too hot. I am not quite sure what the difference is but a relish and chutney are NOT the same.  I know the definition of a chutney is a fruit and vegetable combination, with spices and vinegar cooked for long periods to develop flavor and texture.  They are highly spiced and have a sweet-sour blending of the flavors.   Relishes are prepared using chopped fruits and/or vegetables cooked in a spicy vinegar solution.  Sometimes sugar is added if a sweet relish is desired.  Often hot pepper or other spices are added to flavor relish.  I suppose the big difference is the sweet sour factor that the chutney has and the relish does not.  As well as the extra long cooking for the blending of the flavors and spices.  Any way you look at it, I like chutneys and do not like a relish!

The last two years I have had lost my tomato crop to the cold.  Two days of cold frost this year and over 12 inches of snow last year.  I suspect with my altitude and short growing season  that this will happen every year.  Both times, temperatures were back up in the 60-70’s within a few days but my tomato vines were in a brown dead dry frozen heap with literally HUNDREDS of little green tomatoes dead everywhere.  Oh what to do??

I know what to do for the future.  In fact, this recipe that I tried is so fantastic that a tomato will struggle to ever ripen on my ranch again as I will more than likely pick them as soon as they are decent size so I am make spiced Green Tomatoes.  This recipe is courtesy of Jackie Clay who writes a lot for Back Woods Home Magazine.  She has put out a collection of her recipes into several books.  This recipe is specifically from “Growing and Canning Your Own Food” by Jackie Clay and is on page 108 -109.  It is so fantastic that I even had a non tomato person try them, under protest mind you, and he liked them so well that he went back for more.  The only thing I regret is not trying this recipe sooner so I could have known how wonderful they were.  I would have harvested the 400+ tomatoes off my vines before they froze this year.  Instead, my compost pile is tomato rich again this year and I only have a few jars to last me until next year.  I will be lucky if I can make them last until Charlie is back here from the ship in a few weeks.  I can easily sit down and eat the jar with a spoon.

Without further ado, here is her wonderful recipe.

My garden last month, when my toms were still alive!

 

Spiced Green Tomatoes

  • 6 lbs. small whole green tomatoes
  • 1 Pint white vinegar
  • 4 lbs. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Cloves
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Allspice

 

 

 

Make a syrup of the vinegar, sugar, and spices.  Drop in the whole tomatoes, with stems removed, and bring to a boil.  Simmer until tomatoes become translucent.  Pack tomatoes into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.  Ladle boiling syrup over tomatoes, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.  Remove air bubbles.  Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.

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I reproduced the recipe exactly how she had it.  Any spelling errors were all mine.  The changes I made were a much longer water bath time because I am at 7500 ft altitude.  This you need to adjust for your altitude as the 15 min is at sea level.  And I added in heavier cinnamon, allspice and cloves.  I adore that combo of spices and the cabin smelled like Holidays.

I am going to use this same idea with these spices, change the green tomatoes out for some apples with a bit of pears, raisins, sultanas, currants, onions, red and yellow sweet peppers, garlic and other assorted stuff and make my own version of a Spiced Apple Pear Chutney in a few days.  That should go very well and taste even better!