Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto

Prep Time5 mins
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino or Parmasan cheese freshly grated

Instructions

  • Combine fresh basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped.
  • Add 1/2 of the olive oil and process until smooth (fully incorporated).
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • If using immediately, add remaining olive oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer basil pesto to a serving bowl. Mix in the cheese.
  • If freezing, transfer to air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Good for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

Blueberry Jam (no pectin)

Making blueberry jam without pectin can be reliably done with the use of a candy thermometer. Or another thermometer that registers high temperatures. I use the ThermoPop.

Fresh or frozen blueberries can be used. Either will make a fine and tasty jam. Remember, jam can be used on more than bread. Try it on pancakes and waffles, ice cream or angel food cake. You’ll be glad you did!

Blueberry Jam (no pectin)

This quick and easy recipe uses much less sugar than others. And no pectin. It takes a little longer but is well worth the effort.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Canning Time15 mins

Equipment

  • Candy thermometer
  • Water bath canner
  • 10 jars – 1/2 pint (with lids and ring bands)
  • Canning funnel
  • Canning jar lifter

Ingredients

  • 9 cups Blueberries crushed
  • 6 cups Sugar

Instructions

Calibrate Thermometer

  • Boil a small pot of plain water. Insert candy thermometer to determine actual temperature
  • Water boils at a different temperature depending on elevation and atmospheric conditions. Do this each time you make a batch.

Making Jam

  • In a large stainless steel pot mix together crushed blueberries and sugar.
  • Bring mixture to a boil, stirring very frequently. (Use lower heat until sugar is dissolved, then turn up heat to cook jam rapidly.)
  • Cook until temperature of jam is 9 degrees higher than the temperature at which the water boiled. (Jelling point.)
  • Immediately take pot off the heat.
  • Let sit for 4 to 5 minutes. Stir gently and frequently to suspend fruit in the liquid jam.

Canning Jam

  • Ladle blueberry jam into hot sterilized half-pint jars. Leave 1/4 inch headspace.
  • Wipe rim of jars with damp cloth or paper towel to remove any sugar residue ensuring a good, tight seal. Screw on lids and ring bands.
  • Place jars on canning rack in water-bath canner. Add enough simmering water to cover 1 to 2 inches above top of jars. Bring water to rolling boil.
  • Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water-bath canner. Then turn off heat. Remove lid (lifting so steam escapes AWAY from you. Let sit 5 minutes.
  • Using canning jar lifter to remove jars from water, place on dry towel or wooden cutting board. Let sit undisturbed until completely cool.
  • After cooling, check for proper seal. Remove ring bands, press in center of lid to find concave dimple. Carefully lift jar by the edge of the lid. The lid should hold.
  • Label jars with contents and date of processing. Store sealed jars in pantry. Store unsealed jars in refrigerator to be used immediately.

Greek Meatballs with Yogurt-Mint Sauce

Greek Meatballs with Yogurt-Mint Sauce

Slow-simmered in a rich tomato sauce and served over rice with a tangy yogurt sauce and crumbled feta. Yum, yum.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 20 mins
Cuisine: Greek

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 2 lbs ground lamb
  • 4 tablespoons fresh mint chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano chopped
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • ½ cup olives chopped (green, black or mixed)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ red onion chopped
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • Olive oil for browning meatballs

Tomato Sauce

  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin ground
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Yogurt-Mint Sauce

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • Juice of one lemon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Garnish
  • Feta crumbled
  • Fresh herbs mint and oregano

Instructions

Meatballs

  • Combine meatball ingredients in large mixing bowl. Form meatballs.
  • Heat a large pot on medium heat. Add oil to coat the bottom. Add half the meatballs, keeping space between them.
  • Brown well on one side and flip to brown the other side. Roll to sides and brown.
  • When nicely browned, put on a plate and repeat with remaining meatballs. Put on plate.

Tomato Sauce

  • Add crushed tomatoes, garlic and cumin to pan. Scrape bottom and combine well. Add meatballs, season with salt and pepper, bring to a simmer. Turn down to low.
  • Cook for about an hour with lid slightly open. Scrape bottom occasionally to prevent burning.
  • Meatballs are done when tomato sauce thickens.

Serve with Mint Sauce and Feta Over Rice

  • Prepare rice of your choice. Combine the yogurt sauce ingredients.
  • Spoon yogurt sauce on top of meatballs and crumble feta over it.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs and olive oil.

Moroccan Seasoned Meatballs

Moroccan Seasoned Meatballs

Moroccan Seasoned Meatballs Seasoned with a Moroccan-style blend of fresh mint, cinnamon, coriander and cumin and simmered in tomato sauce, these tender lamb meatballs make a flavorful change from their Italian-style cousins.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 egg slightly beaten
  • 1 clove garlic very finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh mint leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • ½ cup onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic very finely chopped
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes undrained
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Combine the lamb, egg, garlic, bread crumbs, mint, parsley, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Form the mixture into 16 to 18 meatballs about 1 ¼ inch in diameter.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook until lightly browned on all sides, about three minutes total. Transfer the meatballs to a plate, drain the excess fat from the pan and return it to the stove.
  • To make the sauce, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, one minute longer.
  • Stir in the tomatoes. Add ½ teaspoon each of cinnamon and coriander and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for two minutes, then taste again and adjusted the spices as desired.
  • Return the meatballs to the pan and turn several times to coat them with the sauce cover and simmer slowly until the meatballs are cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Transfer the meatballs and sauce to a serving dish, garnish with parsley and serve with steamed white rice.

Easy Barbecued Beef

Easy Barbecued Beef

This easy barbecued beef recipe takes advantage of your traditional slow-cooker. It’s great for any cookout or potluck dinner. Chuck roast makes delicious shredded beef sandwiches. The recipe calls for ketchup however, you may substitute tomato paste for a slightly less sweet dish. In any case, this barbecued beef is sure to please your family.

Ingredients

  • 3- pound boneless grass-fed chuck roast
  • 1 ½ cups ketchup or tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon style mustard
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove garlic diced

Instructions

  • Place chuck roast in your slow-cooker.
  • Combine remaining ingredients in mixing bowl to make sauce. Pour mixture over Chuck roast.
  • Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours or 4 to 5 hours on high.
  • Remove roast from slow-cooker and shred meat with a fork. Place shredded meat back into the slow-cooker and stir to evenly coat with sauce.
  • Serve alone or atop whole-grain sandwich buns and top with additional barbecue sauce if desired.

Notes

If you like your meat a touch sweeter, add a tablespoon or two of date sugar while it is still hot to allow it to dissolve.

Queso Fresco

Queso Fresco

Want to make queso fresco at home? Here is an easy recipe to make this homemade cheese that is a popular topping for tacos, nachos, enchiladas and tostadas. Many Latin foods use this ingredient and it is so easy.

Ingredients

  • ½- gallon fresh whole low-fat or skim milk
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 3 Tbsp white vinegar

Instructions

  • Assemble a cheese cloth lined colander.
  • Heat the milk and salt stirring constantly to prevent sticking.
  • Bring it to a boil, turn the heat to low, and add 3 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar.
  • Watch and stir. Almost immediately, the milk will separate into curds and whey. If not, add one more tablespoon of vinegar. Continue to stir gently to encourage whey extraction and curd formation.
  • Drain into the cheesecloth-lined colander in the sink. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is cool enough to handle. Form the curds into a ball or disc while squeezing excess whey through the cheesecloth. At this point the cheese is ready to eat, but if you prefer a drier, firmer cheese, you can set it on a plate or a sheet pan with a plate on top of it. Use some kind of weight — cans, pots and pans, or books — to press it down for 15 more minutes or up to a couple of hours.
  • Crumble over tacos or enchiladas, or sprinkle into a salad. Slice as a side with your morning sausage and eggs.

Notes

This cheese is not a melting cheese. It is best enjoyed as is, fried or baked — just as long as you don’t need it to become gooey.

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