Archive for April, 2010

Rosemary and Red Wine Jelly with Orange

This one comes directly, as written from Well Preserved, by Mary Anne Dragan.  The color is beautiful.  The flavor is amazing.  And, the rosemary came from my bush that is on its last legs this year.  I am going to have to replace it.

Finished Jelly and Flowers from the yard.

Finished Jelly and Flowers from the yard.

This went about as smoothly as could be expected.  Considering everything else has gone crazy, I guess I should be grateful for that.  You may have read earlier posts wherein I fainted and broke my jaw.  That is getting better but lots of other things seem to be going wrong, but those are my problems, not yours.  What follows is the recipe for this absolutely delicious jelly.  The flavors are so complex and interesting.  I have never had jelly quite like this.  It turned out clear and dark, a beautiful jewel tone.

  • 3/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves
  • the zest of one orange, use a vegetable peeler to get thin slices
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 – 3 oz. pouch liquid pectin

Rinse the rosemary under running water, shake well, then pat dry.  Strip the leaves from the stems, measure and chop coarsely. 

Place the rosemary leaves in your perserving pot.  Twist the strips of orange zest into the pot to release the oils.  Drop the zest into the pot.  Add the wine and vinegar and bring to a boil over high heat.  As soon as it begins to boil, remove from heat, cover and let steep for 30 minutes.

Strain the mixture through a sieve lined with a double thickness of cheesecloth, pressing on the herbs to release as much liquid as possible.  Discard the herbs and prepare the jars.

Combine the liquid and sugar in the preserving pot.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often.  When the mixture reaches a full boil, stir in the pectin.  Cook and stir until the mixture reaches a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.  Boil hard for exactly one minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, stir and skim off any foam that has formed. 

Pour the jelly into the hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Wipe the rims and seal.  Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes.

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Meaty White Beans

This is the first time I’ve had any meat since this thing has started, lots of yogurt and milk and a little cheese.  These were exceptionally good to me.  They are based on a dish that is sold from one of the booths at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival every year.  It is pretty simple, essentially it is red beans and rice made with white navy beans instead of the red ones.  Everybody has their own special twist to red beans so this is mine.  It blends up amazingly well and only needs a little more chicken broth to get it to slurping consistency.

  • 1 pound dry navy beans, soak overnight
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
  • 6 – 8 oz of cooked ham, chopped

Drain beans and put in crock pot with 1 quart of chicken stock.  Throw in the bay leaf and Italian seaoning and start cooking on high.  Saute all vegetables in olive oil in a skillet, til tender.  Pour into crock pot with beans.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Wipe out the skillet and add a little more olive oil.  Brown sausage in skillet.  Put it in with beans along with the ham.  Let cook on high for at least 4 hours.  Then turn it down to low and let it go 1 to 3 hours longer.  You can eat it like it is if you can open your mouth.  If not, blend it up and it is yummy.

The first time I’ve had soup with cheese

I was thinking I would do a mashed potato soup with cheddar cheese that a friend had sent me.  But Pat said that he had read somewhere that cheese was a no-no for wired shut people.  It was too sticky and made a mess on the wires.  I had delayed doing it, but could not resist this recipe with stilton cheese.  I am happy to report that after you run it through the blender the cheese is apparently in such tiny pieces that it is not a problem.  At least for blue cheese.  I’ll try that cheddar cheese thing soon.  I’ll get back to making pictures, also, but pureed soup is not that interesting to photograph.  They just all kind of look the same.  Here’s the recipe:

Cream of Cauliflower and Stilton Soup

  • 1 1 1/2 pound head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons of butter
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3/4 cup celery chopped
  • 1 leek, white and pale green parts only, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups canned vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 1/2 ounces Stilton cheese or any good blue cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and ground white pepper to taste

Melt butter in 3 qt or larger saucepan.  Saute vegetables in butter till onion is translucent.  Add flour and cook stirring for about 5 minutes.  Stir in broth and milk.  Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer gently for 30 to 45 minutes.  Stir in blue cheese and then blend in batches or use immersion blender, til smooth.  Season to taste with white pepper and salt.

This is amazingly delicious.  Pat says it would make a nice sauce for steak or other vegetables, roasted.  It would.  I’m amazed and impressed.  Speaking of Pat, I’m amazed and impressed with him also, but not surprised.  He has been so wonderful through all of this.  Going to get me whatever I wanted at first when I was confused, frightened, and bewildered by the whole thing.  He has taken good care of me and I appreciate it.  Having a good partner has been one thing that the other broken jaw bloggers have mentioned as being important, and it is true.  Now that I’m all competent, I can act like I can do it all on my own, but at first it was pretty scary and I wasn’t too sure of anything.  It is great to have his love and support.

Did you ever see a Lassi?

Lassi, without an e, is not a girl at all, but is as lovely as one.  It is a drink from India, that can be made in a variety of ways.  The recipe I have from Gina is for a Mango Lassi.  I cannot get a picture to come out worth a flip.  My camera wants to flash and then it’s all washed out.  So just imagine a creamy, frothy, peachy, mangoey colored smoothie in a glass with a straw.  Here’s the recipe:

  • One mango’s worth of pulp, no seed, no peel
  • 1 container plain yogurt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup ice

I sliced off the mango flesh running my knife along the side of the pit.  Then just scooped out the fruit with a spoon, like you do avocados.  Place everything in the blender and whir away.  Gina says it makes 3 servings but, since it’s just me eating everything through a straw, I drink the whole thing and call it breakfast.  I think next time I may add some cinnamon or nutmeg.

OK, I know mangoes don’t grow in Georgia.  But now that I’ve got the method mastered, I can make a Strawberry Lassi, a Blueberry Lassi, a Blackberry Lassi, and the ultimate, a Peach Lassi.  I’m ready for summer and I won’t even have wires then.

What is Spring without Asparagus?

The Asparagus soup simmering along. It is very delicious.

This is another recipe from good old Gina.  I have modified it just a little to get some more calcium and protein into it.  My version goes like this:
  • 2 bunches of Asparagus, tough ends removed and chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Vidalia onion chopped
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 container Fage greek yogurt, plain
  • salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in large saucepan.  Saute onions and asparagus, just until onions become translucent.  Add chicken broth and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer for 45 minutes until asparagus is very tender.  You could probably go only 30 minutes if you don’t have to drink through a straw.  At this point.  I jar it up in 2 quart jars and put it in the fridge.   It makes 4 servings that are quite large = 2 cups each.  When you get ready to serve it, blend each serving with 1/4 container of yogurt.  You can reheat on the stove after blending or in the microwave.  If you are not getting all your sustenance from liquids, you might want to just have a cup or a cup and a half.  But it is good enough to eat the big serving.

Unfortunately, these asparagus came from the grocery store, but I am watching every day to see when mine come up.  I hope that it will be soon.

I went back to the oral surgeon today to check on how things are going.  She said they looked good.  I had been working hard to keep them clean and she was happy about that.  But she noticed that I was moving my jaw a little more than I should and that the bite did not match up on each side.  So she tightened me up.  That wasn’t too bad.  I was afraid that it might interfere with my thick soups, but everything seems to be working fine.  I had some of this asparagus soup when I got home from work this evening.  It was delicious.