Posts filed under ‘Kitchen Gadgets’
You’ll have to pardon the brief interruption from our century home restoration: its canning season.
I’ve been making and canning peach chutney for a few summers now, and I’ve made curried pickles before, as well as red pepper jelly and cranberry sauce, and now I can add tomatoes – a bushel of tomatoes. When I purchased my bushel of tomatoes a sweet elderly lady took one look and said to me: You have a lot of work to do. I nodded, smiled and said: I suppose I do. Little did she know that I recently splurged and bought myself a Vitamix. Big deal you say? Let me tell you, all I had to do was give my tomatoes a scrub, slice off the core, slice the tomatoes in two, fill up the Vitamix and process at five on the speed dial for five seconds. Total prep time for one bushel of tomatoes using the Vitamix was about 45 minutes. Yes, I kept the skins on, but the Vitamix processes them in such a way that you don’t even see them. I only processed them a bit so they were diced, but the skins magically disappeared. If you want to check out some fun times with tomatoes, check out Clay and Zach at the Bitten Word. These guys raw packed their tomatoes; I used the hot pack method.
I think I will pickle some beets next: the golden ones; they might be a bit easier on the stain factor… and then some bread and butter pickles because these don’t seem to last very long in our house and the pickles available to us in the grocery store come all the way from Indonesia. That just seems wrong… and if I can muster up the energy (and time) why not make some sauerkraut. I think the influences of living in an old house and longing for simpler (?) times is driving my motivation to can the summer harvest (the local farmer’s market harvest, not mine). That and it would appear we have a new/old ghost living with us again that seems to approve of my canning. Whoever this is has turned on the basement light on two occasions; I assume to lure me to the shelves of old mason jars stored down there.
Mason jars are good for so many things. They keep my herbs, spices and grains organized; store my broths, teas and canned goods; mix and store my salad dressings; allow me to bring soup, yogurt and smoothies to work leak free; and I even use them as a vase for the odd occasion that someone buys or picks me flowers. What do you use mason jars for?
It’s that time of year again… everyone is either joining a gym or counting calories, or at least they are talking about it. Not me. I’ve never really been big on the whole New Year’s resolution thing. Why make a promise to myself (and publicly declare it, no less!) during the cold winter months when my personal motivation is the lowest?
While people were plotting their weight loss, stop smoking antics, and the like, I was cooking up a batch of black beans in my pressure cooker. I bought my pressure cooker last year during the summer and hadn’t really used it (I bought it at Canadian Tire, but they don’t seem to carry it anymore. It looks like it has been replaced by this one). However, in an effort to reduce our sodium intake (and no, I did not resolve to do this when the clock struck 12), I decided that I would prepare all of our beans in the pressure cooker as opposed to relying on the canned, sodium-laced ones. Not only is there less packaging involved, but the beans actually tasted better and had a better texture. It took a bit of experimenting with the bean to water ratio and cooking time, but in the end, my first attempt at cooking beans in the pressure cooker was a culinary success! Yeah beans! I ended up with about 5 cups of beans so I was even able to freeze some for my future black bean needs. For the time being, my pressure cooker is my favourite kitchen gadget. What’s yours?