of September 30, 2007
are all kind of great recipes for using fall pumpkins.
The are wonderful in or pies, soups, muffins and
breads. Ask your grocer for sugar pie pumpkins
or other flavorful varieties which are small and
sweet, with dark orange-colored flesh. (Do not
use stringy field pumpkins; they are great for
jack-o-lanterns but not eating).
medium-sized (4-pound) sugar pumpkin should yield
around 1½ cups of mashed pumpkin. This
puree can be used in all your recipes calling
for canned pumpkin.
are three ways to cook pumplin and then turn into
the puree to use in cooking and baking:
the pumpkin in half and discard the stem section
and stringy pulp. Save the seeds to dry and
a shallow baking dish, place the two halves
face down and cover with foil and bake in a
preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven
for about 1½ hours for a medium-sized
sugar pumpkin, or until tender.
the baked pumpkin has cooled, scoop out the
flesh and puree or mash it.
silky smooth custards or soups, press the pumpkin
puree through a sieve.
the pumpkin in half, discarding the stringy
the pumpkin and cut it into chunks.
in a saucepan and cover with water.
to a boil and cook until the pumpkin chunks
the chunks cool, and then puree the flesh in
a food processor or mash it with a potato masher
or food mill.
the pumpkin in half, discarding the stringy
on high power for seven minutes per pound, turning
pieces every few minutes to promote even cooking.
Process as above.
can refrigerate your fresh pumpkin puree for
up to three days, or store it in the freezer
up to six months, enabling you to enjoy fall
pumpkins for months to come.
of September 23, 2007
to Tell if Fish is Fresh?
let your nose be the judge. Perfectly fresh fish
and shellfish have virtually no odor. It’s
only when seafood starts to decompose that it
takes on a “fishy” aroma. Fresh fish
will display these properties:
eyes are clean and bulge a little.
fish and fillets have firm and shiny flesh and
bright, red gills free from slime.
flesh springs back when pressed.
is no darkening around the edges or brown or
fish smells fresh and mild, not “fishy”
of September 16, 2007
what exactly is a tomatillo?
- pronounced [toh-MAH-tee-YO] is relative of the
tomato and member of the nightshade (Solanaceae)
family tomatillos provide that tart flavor in
a host of Mexican green sauces. In Mexico the
fruit is called tomates verdes, tomates de cascara
as well as fresadillas.
fruits average about 1 -2" wide and have
a papery outer skin. The tomatillo is actually
used when it is still green. If you see the photo
below one of the tomatillos is just turning a
light yellow and indicates that is ripe and past
its prime for most uses. Tomatillos have a very
tart flavor, not at all like a tomato.
are frequently available in large chain grocery
stores as well as most Mexican markets. Select
unblemished fruit that complete fill their papery
prepare, eemove and discard the papery husks from
the tomatillo, rinse, dry and use per your recipe.
Tomatillos are not usually seeded prior to use.
of September 9, 2007
from the South, I was alway in anticipation of
late summer's bounty of okra. Of course okra is
one of those things that you either love or hate.
And of course there is the slime factor...
is Swahili for okra. The recent upsurge in the
popularity of gumbo has also brought renewed attention
to okra. Okra was brought to the new world by
African slaves during the slave trade.
is also very popular in Indian cuisine. A very
popular dish is Bhindi
Ki Subji (stir-fried
okra) which uses okra or "lady's fingers"
as they are called in India.
mother, a fantastic Southern cook always diced
the pods in 1/2 inch chunks and stir fried until
lightly browned over high heat in a little olive
oil with onions and salt and pepper with a little
cider vinegar toward the end. Yes cider vinegar.
It pretty much removes the slime or silkiness
from the texture.
can also soak okra in vinegar for for about 30
minutes, then rinse and drain and use in recipes
and Green Beans
This dish can also be oven-baked. Instead of simmering,
lightly cover with aluminum foil and bake for
30 minutes at 350°F.
pound fresh okra, uncut
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3/4 pound fresh green beans
2 large garlic cloves, crushed then chopped
1 cup water plus 2 tablespoonssalt and freshly
1 - 6 ounce can tomato paste
okra pods, trim stems, do not remove caps. If
desired soak okra in vinegar for 30 minutes to
remove some of the stickiness. Rinse well and
drain. Wash beans and cut into 3 inch lengths.
Combine water, tomato paste, olive oil, onion,
garlic, salt and pepper in a sauce pan and mix
stirring frequently, until mixture comet to boil.
Add okra and beans and additional water if necessary
to almost cover vegetables.
heat to low, cover and simmer gently until vegetables
are crisp-tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
of September 2, 2007
fruit can be an easy way to enjoy the bounty summer
all year round. Compared with other preservation
methods, freezing saves time and nutrients, and
keeps fruit fresh-tasting and colorful.
these guidelines for safe preparation and preservation
of peak-of-the season fruit.
fruit in containers or bags designed for freezer
storage to prevent freezer burn. Make sure they
are freezer bags; regular storage bags are not
thick enough. Rigid plastic containers also work
cut surfaces of some fruits such as apples, apricots,
peaches and pears darken quickly when exposed
to air. You can prevent browning by sprinkling
with a commercial ascorbic acid mixture such as
FruitFresh®; dipping in a solution of vitamin
C-prepared by crushing three 500 mg tablets of
vitamin C per quart of water; or dipping in a
solution of bottled lemon juice: three tablespoons
per quart of water. Fruit must be drained before
packing into a freezer container.
you can freeze almost any fruit without sugar,
most fruits will have better color, texture and
flavor if frozen with some sugar. Fruits packed
in syrup are best for dessert; those packed in
dry sugar or unsweetened are best for cooking.
Adjust cooking recipes for any sugar added in
freezing. If freezing fruit to use in making jams
or jellies, do not add sugar.
Dry, unsweetened fruit. Treat fruit to prevent
browning, drain and pack fruit firmly into a
freezer container with no added sugar. Alternately,
spread small whole fruits or fruit pieces in
a single layer on shallow trays (baking sheets)
and freeze. Once frozen, remove fruit from the
trays and pack into a freezer container.
Dry sugar pack. Treat fruit to prevent browning,
drain and sprinkle fruit with sugar to suit
your taste. Mix gently and pack in freezer containers.
Syrup pack. Dessert fruits can be packed in
syrup. Thin syrup will not mask the taste of
mild-flavored fruits. Medium syrup is recommended
for whole fruits and those that tend to darken.
Heavy syrup may be needed for sour fruits.
boysenberries, raspberries and strawberries can
all be successfully frozen. Sort berries and wash
gently. Drain well. For an unsweetened loose pack,
place on trays in a single layer, freeze for one
to two hours, then pack in freezer bags and return
to the freezer. For sugar pack, sprinkle sugar
on berries and gently mix until sugar is dissolved.
Slice strawberries or crush other berries and
mix with sugar. Pack in freezer containers. Syrup
pack may be used; leave one-inch headspace.
a syrup pack for cherries (sour or sweet). Stem,
sort and wash the cherries. Drain and pit. Sweet
cherries lose color quickly, so add antioxidant
to sugar or syrup pack. A sugar pack is recommended
for all cherries to help maintain flavor and color.
Pack crushed or pureed cherries with sugar and
antioxidant. Syrup pack with antioxidant may also
be used; leave one-inch headspace.
rhubarb. Wash, trim, and cut stalks into one-
or two-inch lengths. Pack raw, or heat in boiling
water for one minute and chill in ice water to
retain better flavor and color. Pack raw rhubarb
without sugar, especially if you will cook with
the rhubarb later. Caution: Rhubarb leaves are
poisonous. Use stalks only.
NOTE : Label and date all packages that are placed
in the freezer. For best quality, use frozen fruits
within one year