Rhubarb Orange Jam

This recipe from Ball Blue Book is a family favorite in our house.

RHUBARB ORANGE JAM
(From Ball Blue Book of Preserving)
Yield: 7 half-pints

2 ½ lbs. rhubarb, diced
2 oranges
1 pkg powdered pectin (1.75 oz.)
6 cups sugar

Squeeze juice from oranges. Measure juice, adding water if needed, to make 1 cup; set aside. Remove white pith from one-half of orange peel. Cut peel into slivers.

Combine orange peel, orange juice, and rhubarb in a large saucepot. Simmer covered about 3 minutes, or until rhubarb is tender. Stir in powdered pectin. Bring to a boil. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved.

Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary.

Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving ¼-inch head space. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10-minutes in a boiling-water canner.

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Yellow Crazy Cake with Strawberries

(No eggs or milk needed, this is a nice, easy little half-sized cake for a small household.)

1 ½ cups + 3 T all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan or glass baking dish.

Mix together all dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix together the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Immediately pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until relatively smooth. It’s okay if there are a few small lumps. Work quickly and pour into baking dish.

Bake for 35-37 minutes or until top springs back when pressed lightly with fingertip.

Top with your favorite frosting or serve with berries and whipped cream.

You can double this recipe for a 9×13-inch pan.

 

Chocolate Truffle Dessert Cups

Extra special and extra chocolate-y.

½ c. cocoa
¼ cup cornstarch
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 ½ c. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
2 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Finishing:
Whipped cream
Shortbread cookies (your favorite)
Walnut halves (optional)

Mix cocoa, cornstarch, beaten egg yolks; sugar, salt and vanilla. Then add milk gradually, while stirring in a pot over med-high heat (or use a double boiler).

Cook pudding until thickened. Towards the end, your pudding will look lumpy and uneven, but if you alternate whisking and stirring vigorously, it will smooth to silky perfection. Cool for 10 minutes, and spoon into fancy tea cups with matching saucers.

Chill well. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, a walnut half and two shortbread cookies. In each cup, place one cookie angled upright in the dessert and one on each saucer.

This tastes like the creamy center filling of your favorite chocolate truffles.  Serves 8.

 

 

 

 

 

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pie

This chocolate pie is head and shoulders above any you’ll make with a box pudding.

½ c. cocoa
¼ cup cornstarch
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 ½ c. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
2 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Make a home-made pie crust and pre-bake in a 9” pie plate. In a hurry? Use store-bought pie crust and bake. A pre-baked graham crust is also an option, but this is supposed to be old-fashioned, right?

Mix cocoa, cornstarch, beaten egg yolks; sugar, salt and vanilla. Then add milk gradually, while stirring in a pot over med-high heat (or use a double boiler).

Cook pudding until thickened. Towards the end, your pudding will look lumpy and uneven, but if you alternate whisking and stirring vigorously, it will smooth to silky perfection. Cool for a few minutes, and pour into the pre-baked pie shell.

Chill well. Before serving, mound with homemade whipped cream. This tastes like a creamy chocolate truffle filling in a pie shell!

For a fuller 9-inch pie, make 25% more filling as follows:

½ c. + 2 T cocoa
¼ c. + 1 T cornstarch
4 egg yolks
1 ¾ + 2 T sugar
¼ lightly rounded tsp salt
2 ½ cups milk
1 ¼ tsp. vanilla

 

 

Sweet Dill Pickle Relish

Sweet Dill Pickle Relish
Process in water bath or simply refrigerate small batches.

(Makes 4 pints)

4 pounds large cucumbers
1 large onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ c. pickling salt (or Kosher)
3 cups apple cider vinegar
¾ c. sugar
2 tsp. dill seeds or 1 T dill sprigs chopped
2 tsp. mustard seeds
2 tsp. celery seeds
½ tsp. turmeric

Clean and sterilize 4 or 5 pint canning jars and lids (8 or 9 if doubling recipe).

Using a peeler, remove most of the cucumber skin, leaving some strips (they will add flecks of color to the relish). Store-bought cucumbers have a wax coating and could be a little tough, this is the reason to remove most of it. Then halve the cucumbers lengthwise and using your knife or a spoon, remove the seeds. Rough chop the cucumbers.

Peel and chop the onion and garlic. Using a food processor, process the cucumbers, onions and garlic to a fine dice. Don’t over process, pulse! Unsure? Use a knife and finely chop everything.

Place the cucumber mixture in a stainless steel or large glass mixing bowl and mix in the salt. Let sit 1.5 to 2 hours to draw out water.

Drain the cucumber mixture, pressing or squeezing (with cheesecloth) to press out the excess moisture.

In a medium pot, add vinegar, sugar, dill, mustard seeds, celery seed and turmeric. Stir to dissolve sugar, add the cucumber mixture, and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare your water bath and have it simmering or on a low boil.

Fill jars using a slotted spoon, adding back only enough liquid to cover. Leave 1-inch in necks. Add the lids and process 10-15 minutes. Remove from stove, cool, and tighten lids.

Note: 7 jars process better, so If you double this batch, and have 8 jars, simply put the 8th jar in the refrigerator unprocessed to use right away. It will keep that way for weeks.

Double-Crust Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

2 Cups brown sugar
1 ½ cups rolled oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter
2 T cinnamon
1 T ground ginger
1 T nutmeg
8 cups fresh rhubarb cut into 1” pieces
2 cups sliced, fresh strawberries
2 cups granulated sugar
¼ cup corn starch
3 T minute tapioca
2 cups water
2 T vanilla
Pinch of salt

Melt butter and combine with brown sugar, then oats and flour. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Mix well. Press half the crumb mixture into the bottom of a glass 9×13” pan. Cover the bottom crust with rhubarb, then strawberries. Set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 F. Then, in a saucepan, combine granulated sugar, corn starch, and tapioca. Mix this first, then add water. Cook over medium heat until sauce becomes clear and thick. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt and remove from heat to cool 10 minutes.

Pour sauce over strawberries and rhubarb. Top with remaining crumble mixture. Bake 1 hour. Let cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Tip: Crisps and crumbles never stay crunchy past the first day, so if you love the crunch, take the half of this mixture meant for the topping, spread it on foil and bake it separately until golden and crispy. Sprinkle it on individual servings when you dish it up.

Ground Beef and Refried Beans Tacos

This can also be served with tortilla chips as an appetizer or hot dip.

1 lb ground beef
½ medium onion, chopped
2 tsp. T Adobo seasoning, or to taste (Start with 1 tsp.)
1 small can (4 oz.) diced green chilis or ½ c. Goya Recaito Culantro cooking base (Find in specialty food stores.)
½ c. bottled salsa (your favorite)
1 can (16 oz.) refried beans
2 c. shredded Colby-Jack cheese
Flour tortillas
Fresh cilantro (optional)
Sour cream

Brown ground beef with onions and season with Adobo. Add green chilis and salsa. Spread meat mixture across bottom of medium casserole dish.

In a separate bowl, moisten refried beans with just enough water to make them spread easily over the meat mixture in the casserole. Top with cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until bubbling and cheese is melted.

Serve with warm tortillas (wrap in foil and warm in oven while dish is cooking). Top each taco with shredded lettuce, fresh chopped cilantro, and sour cream. Yields 12-14 tacos.

You could serve this as a warm dip with tortilla chips.