Archive for October, 2007

A First Try at Home Canning ~ Green Tomato Pickles

I had a plethora of green tomatoes left on the vines, and with the unseasonally warm autumn, I let them stay right up until the bitter end. Happily my weather-watching paid off, because the very day after I picked these, we had the first frost.

green tomato slice

green tomato slice
slice of green tomato, in varying autumn light

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I went out to get some more mason jars for my dry goods, and right there on the shelf above I found a beautiful Granite Ware hot-water canner and a little canning kit. For $12, I could not pass it up. The kit consisted of the 21-qt canner with lid and a rack to hold seven quart-sized jars, a wide-mouth funnel, a pair of jar-lifting tongs, a magnetic lid-lifter, and a tool to remove air bubbles from packed food. I decided to try canning my own green tomato pickles.

The recipe was very basic, with no sugar. Only the tomatoes, salt, vinegar, water and pickling spice (and yes, I cheated this first time and bought ready-made pickling spice!). I haven’t cracked open a jar yet, as it needs to cure. If they taste any good I will post the recipe later. Meanwhile, here is the process in photos. It was alot of fun, if somewhat time-consuming, and I definitely intend to try more home-canning.

getting ready to can
getting ready ~ tomatoes, jars, bands and lids all washed in hot soapy water, rinsed and dried

tomatoes ready to slice
clean tomatoes ready to slice

sliced green tomatoes
two and one-half lbs of green tomatoes were sliced, about 1/4″ thick

green tomato pickle ready to cook
the sliced tomatoes were layered with kosher salt and pickling spices in a large, non-reactive pot. vinegar and water was carefully poured over, and the whole cooked about fifteen minutes, until fork-tender

filling the jars
using the wide-mouth funnel, cooked tomatoes and liquid were ladled into sterilized pint-sized jars. tops and threads were wiped clean, and sterile lids applied and fastened in place with the dry, sterile bands

pickles in water bath
the jars were transferred to the rack of the canner, and lowered into the hot-water bath, which must cover the jars by 1 to 2 inches. water was brought to a boil, canner covered and the jars processed in the boiling water for ten minutes

green tomato pickes out of the water bath
when ten minutes was up, the rack was lifted and the jars allowed to cool slightly before removing with the jar-lifting tongs. they were set on a clean towel to absorb heat and prevent cracking. after 24 hrs, the seal was tested (making sure the lid would not spring back when pressed). now the pickles are ready to be stored in a cool, dark place for up to one year

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I also bought some no-sugar-needed pectin — naturally sweet yellow-tomato jam might be next! 🙂

Oh, and How ‘Bout Those Sox!!!! 🙂

Comments (33)

hmmmmm…green tomato!

hmmmm…

hmmmmm…

Well girls, Richa and Ruchii came right out and said it, but I’m sure Srivalli wasn’t the only other one who knew that the photo in question was part of a green tomato. Bee, Sandeepa, Neroli, Asha, ISG, et al, I am *sure* you knew that 🙂

Asha, a mocha latte would be delish about now!

Thanks everyone, for playing along with such fun guesses!
It’s tough to get something exotic enough to make a mystery around here!

Comments (15)

End Of The Garden Chole, and Meme

End of the garden chole
end of the garden chole, hot from the stove

Once more I am lagging in my blogging and blog-hopping.
It comes as something of a shock, how much I miss it.

I miss “making the rounds” and I can see by the few glances I have had over the past day or two, that I am missing ALOT of treats. I also miss the comment conversations; hopefully I will be back to something more like a routine soon.

When I pass quickly by your kitchens, I feel rather wistful; as if I have waved in passing to so many dear friends I can’t wait to meet up with again 🙂

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End of the garden chole. Is it chole? Is it channa masala? I don’t know what its name should be, I just know it was delicious. I had a mess of late-season tomatoes, ripe and semi-ripe, and a couple of precious brinjals looking for attention. For those who didn’t know my nana, “a mess” was her phrase for a bunch of veggies from one picking.

We never cooked a pot of anything, but we cooked “a mess” of swiss chard quite often when I was growing up. Nana would often pick “a mess” of rhubarb for sauce. Isn’t it amazing how something so simple as a word or two connects us to our yesteryears.

end of the garden veggies
a “mess” of juicy tomatoes and fresh brinjals, from the end of the garden

This recipe is mostly from Sri’s Chole Masala.
Wherever you are, Sri dear, I wish to thank you! 🙂

(Fairly) Quick End of the Garden Chole
ingredients flexible and approximate — adjust to taste
note: I used semi-ripe green tomatoes and they provided the tartness in this dish. Lacking these, you can use dried amla as Sri calls for…

For seasoning:

1 tsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds

1 small red onion, chopped
1 healthy TB ginger-garlic paste
2-3 green chiles, slit
1/2 – 1 tsp kashmiri chile powder
pinch turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 TB cumin-coriander powder
(yes, I love cumin)
pinch black salt (optional — I liked it the first time, omitted it the second)

In a small frying pan, heat oil and sizzle the cumin seeds. Add chopped onion, fry until golden. Add ginger-garlic paste and green chiles, saute a few minutes then add powders and 1-2 TB water to prevent burning the spices. Stir well to blend — when fragrant, remove from heat and set aside.

For the chole:

2 small cans chole/chickpeas, rinsed well and drained
(or soak 3/4 cup dried the night before)
1/2 tsp turmeric
few drops of canola oil

Pressure cook until soft but not mushy. Let pressure drop under cold running water. When safe, open the pan and add the seasoning above along with the following veggies, cut into small dice:

2 juicy ripe red tomatoes
2 semi-ripe green tomatoes
2 long brinjals

Stir everything together along with 1 c water. Seal the pressure cooker again and cook 10-15 minutes (I don’t know how many whistles ’cause I am still in search of a whistling pressure cooker here in Boston area — if anyone knows where I can get one… please do tell! 🙂 )

Let the pressure fall on its own this time, and when safe to open, add a lump of jaggery and mix well to dissolve.

Add salt to taste and serve hot. Better yet, serve this the next day for even more delightful flavor. Actually the third day was the BEST. I don’t always pay attention to letting a dish sit for a day or two for improved flavor — now I shall.

end of the garden chole
end of the garden chole — doesn’t it look better the third day? 😉

Lovely and talented Richa of the delicious As Dear As Salt has tagged me for this Fantastic Four Meme. Little did she know I was just in the mood to yak on and on about myself today! Thanks Richa 🙂

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Four places I’ve lived:

Cape Cod
Greater Boston
New York state
Michigan

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Four jobs I’ve had:

Domestic Engineer — when I was a younger stay-at-home mom, I took college classes part time. On the first evening of any given class, the professor would inevitably say, “Let’s go around the room. Introduce yourselves and tell us what you do for a living”. I was a little embarassed to be a stay-at-home mom without a career, amongst all the professionals. I always said I was a domestic engineer. That made them stop and think 😉

Nurse — well, not in the professional sense! But I can draw up meds and give shots without a second thought, this from the person who used to be sick at the sight of a hospital. I can also calm the school nurse when my daughter is in her office with a high or low blood sugar! I wish I could cure those around me and quit this particular job.

Restaurant manager — the job I had before I quit school and had kids.

Travel consultant — what I do in real life 🙂

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Four favorite places I’ve holidayed:

Upper peninsula of Michigan
Lower peninsula of Michigan
Colorado Rockies
Did I mention Michigan? 🙂

I’ve been to numerous Caribbean islands, Canada, Chicago, DC, New Orleans, NYC etc., and many places in between… but never overseas.
East or west home is best… Michigan for me any chance I get!

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Four favorite foods —

I second Richa here, only four, not fair!!! 😉

Sambhar made with ISG’s magic sambhar powder — any variety you can think of. Right now mine is simmering on the stove, with sambhar onions as the featured veggie. Thanks once more, ISG! 🙂

Genuine U.P. pasties (say pass-tees).
I have been fortunate to make them with the expert!

My mom’s apple crisp — none of that healthy oatmeal topping, oh no. Pure butter, sugar and tiny bit of flour. Heaven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

My uncle’s quahog chowder (or chowdah, as we say here in New England). Nobody can make as he did. I miss the chowder on July 4, but I miss him more 🙂

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Four places I would rather be — other than right here with my kids, they are as follows:

paddling
canoeing: paddling outside traverse city

scarlet tanager
watching birds: spectacular scarlet tanager,
preening springtime plumes in northern michigan

lake superior
watching gulls and kittiwakes, swimming in vast Lake Superior

keweenaw eye candy
sitting on the Keweenaw Peninsula,
looking out on Lake Superior

In other words, home in Michigan! 🙂

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Four bloggers I would like to tag:

Forgive me here, as I have no idea who has already been tagged for this meme. If you’ve already played or don’t care to, please don’t worry! All in fun 🙂

Shammi of Food In The Main

Latha of Masala Magic

(yes girls, your friendship starter IS forthcoming!) 🙂

Nabeela of Trial and Error — one of my first blog-friends 🙂

and since my meme was mostly about Michigan, my one-day will-be next-door neighbor from Wisconsin, Pel of Elaichi et Cetera 😉

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And last but certainly not least, look how well FAHC has done — surpassed their “Subscribe to Smiles” goal long before the deadline! Thanks again to dedicated kind souls VKN and Indira, et al… I am humbled by your efforts on behalf of children in need and happy to have had the opportunity to take part.

Comments (34)

FAHC, Smiles, and Other Great Causes

fahc
Feed A Hungry Child

I have had this draft on my dashboard for some time now; it was just a simple list and I figured I would post it when the holidays came around.
Then this week, along came dear Indira of Mahanandi with this post at Dining Hall. What a great chance to showcase a worthy cause!

my most fortunate child, with her dinner

Wouldn’t it be amazing if every child could have a meal like this!?
Actually, why should it be amazing? Why shouldn’t it be commonplace?
Doesn’t every child *deserve* a meal like this!?

Simple meals that many of our kids take for granted are out of reach
for too many children the world over. Feed A Hungry Child, brainchild and champion cause of our own generous soul, VKN of My Dhaba,
seeks to change that.

Please help.

Hosted WordPress blogs like mine do not have a provision for the widget used by the folks at Feed A Hungry Child, so please click on the link below to read more about this wonderful venture.

I hope you will choose to make your donation there, as I did.

Their server is secure, and every cent contributed goes directly to feeding children in need.

Feed A Hungry Child

While we’re about it, here are a few more excellent causes to remember — now, as holiday gift-giving season rolls around, and all year long.

US Campaign for Burma

Asha For Education

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Asperger’s Syndrome

In my family we have often made a donation to the charity of one’s choice in lieu of exchanging gifts — this works for any occasion be it a birthday, Christmas, anniversary, or any other time.

Thanks to all who give a little of themselves, and thank you Indira and VKN for publicising this most worthy cause 🙂

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I was happily informed, by reading over at Nupur’s One Hot Stove, that today, October 15, is Blog Action Day. I am always learning something new at One Hot Stove!

Nupur has written a fantastic post with all sorts of examples of how we can be more enviornmentally conscious — from the places we choose to spend our money to the way we organize our fridge 😉 I can eschew Walmart a lot easier than I can keep a fridge as neatly as Nupur keeps hers! I can’t say I have tons of environmental tips to offer. For my own private effort, I made a promise at New Year’s that I would try to avoid purchasing anything packaged in materials I cannot recycle — styrofoam and other non-recyclables are out — cardboard and plastic containers I can reuse are in. Thanks Nupur, for broadening my environmental horizons and sharing your ideas 🙂

Comments (9)

Rainy Day

okra
okra flower napping on a rainy day

daisy napping
daisy napping on a rainy day

It should be about the end of the little-garden-that-could, but here in the northeast we’ve had such warm weather that my green beans, tomatoes, pumpkin, and even okra are still flowering. The vines are dying back, but the tomatoes keep coming. The eggplant is also flowering yet, but the fruits are looking a little odd.
I thought it would be fun to get some snaps on this rainy Columbus Day.

early girl tomatoes
early girl tomatoes

better boy tomatoes with pumpkin
better boy tomatoes with pumpkin ripening

okra
okra flower

egg plant
egg plant for “Click” at Bee and Jai’s Jugalbandi

All photos are taken with an Olympus Camedia C-750 Ultra Zoom (4.0 megapixel, 10x optical zoom). I don’t use a tripod or any special lighting. Just for fun… no formal training here and no competition for all of the talented photographers out there!! 🙂

Comments (36)

Curry College Radio

Hi friends!

If you’re sitting at the computer, and you want to hear an eclectic selection of music with a really neat kid in the DJ seat, here is a shameless plug!

My son is hosting the 7pm – 11pm (that’s EST in the US) hour tonight at his college radio station.

Here he is, holding a plate of our garden bounty in August:

m harvest pic
my son with the veggies he helped to tend this summer 🙂

Isn’t he cute? 🙂
Log onto Curry College Radio. Click on “listen live” and enjoy 🙂

Comments (20)

A Laugh for Moms and Lovers of Moms

Tonight I had a few minutes to sit down and catch up on blogs and bills and general internet browsing — and I found this hilarious video clip.
It goes very fast, so I listened several times to be sure it didn’t include anything offensive — I think it’s safe. It sure made me laugh at the end of a busy day. Although some is geared toward moms of older kids, I think it’s universal in its theme and I hope it gives some of you a chuckle too.

The embed feature at WordPress doesn’t seem to work with Yahoo video, so here’s the link. Trust me, it’s worth it 🙂

This is cross-posted to Desi Momz Club ~ the lovely mom’s portal brought to us by our own lovely Sandeepa, ISG, and Asha. If you haven’t visited, do check it out 🙂

Comments (10)

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