Monday, October 28, 2013

For the Love of Bloody Mary's:: Becoming Domestic, Sort Of

This weekend the strangest thing happened, I had a domestic moment. You know those moments where you decide you want to hone your grandmother's upbringing and buy a pressure cooker because you want to can something. That happened to me this weekend. I actually found it a little disturbing because it sparked a cooking frenzy. Never, ever would I have imagined myself owning a pressure cooker, now I do. Its the big daddy of all pressure cookers too. Massive in every way. On my way home with my new purchase my Mom called and I told her of my new purchase, in which she responded, "Rachel, be careful, read all the directions, pressure cookers can be really dangerous". Her scare tactics worked because I read the booklet three times and still felt like I needed a chaperone "just in case".

As a consolation my motive behind this canning/pickle frenzy was due to a 16 lb purchase of aspargus from Bountiful Basket. By the way, if you are not signed up, DO IT NOW! Every Tuesday you place your order for a basket. This basket includes fruits and veggies, but the best part is you have no idea what you will get, its a surprise!!! Saturday rolls around where you head to the pickup location. It's really reasonable and the loot lasts all week for a few people. On this particular occasion my roommate decided to order a side of asparagus. The side was 16lbs for a fraction of the cost. You can only eat asparagus for so long before you can no longer think of new dishes to try and tire of your old standbys. This is when Plan B went into effect. You see bloody Mary's are quite delicious especially when accompanied by a garnish of veggies. That is where my pickling/canning idea came about. All because of my love for bloody Mary's.

Pickling is actually very simple. I washed my asparagus and then snapped off the ends until they were tender. I picked up a mix of pickling spices from the local Winco.
Asparagus Pickling Recipe
3 tbspn pickling spice 
2 cups white wine vinegar
1 1/4 cup water
3 tspn koesher salt
1 large onion chopped

Bring to a boil, let simmer for 10 minutes.

While your pickling juice is brewing you have to immerse your jars into a hot water bath to cleanse them and also do the same with your lids and tops. I used pint & a half jars to accommodate lengthwise. I found the easiest way to fill my jars was to hold them sideways and fill as full as possible. Then I poured in my pickling mix, leaving a 1 inch space from the top. Taking tongs I placed the warm lid and screwed the lid on until the lid was secure but not too firm. I finished all jars and then moved onto my pressurizer. Each pressurizer is completely different. Mine doesn't have a gauge so it works a bit different. I placed my jars in the pressurizer, tightened the lid, vented out the air for 10 minutes and then processed my jars at 35 minutes at 15 psi. Be careful to let the pressurizer cool down slowly so you don't burn your self and you also run into problems with your jars breaking if they cool too quickly.

After my pickling affair I was starving. I had picked up some handmade dough from the grocery for pizza. I rolled it out and topped it with whatever I had laying around in the refrigerator. Recently I have been obsessed with ricotta. It is so delicious and has found its way into many recipes recently. Topped my pizza with tomato sauce, ricotta, sharp cheddar, red peppers, fresh basil, tomato slices, onion and minced garlic. Super easy and delicious.
A little Brewster behind the scenes blooper. He really wanted that pizza.

So far this fall I really haven't gotten into the spirit by cooking with pumpkin or apples. Since I was on a cooking rampage I thought why not make some pumpkin muffins. Really, really simple and very tasty recipe I made on the fly.

Easy Pumpkin Muffins
1 box white or yellow cake mix
1 large can of pumpkin puree
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 tspn vanilla
3 tbpsn nutmeg (or to taste)
3 tbpsn cinnamon (or to taste)

(The cinnamon and nutmeg were just estimations, as I like my pumpkin very spicy and flavorful)

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool. Eat!

So there you have it, my weekend cooking spree! What new dishes are you cooking?

No comments:

Post a Comment