Why do I love this time of year? This is why! This is a tomato I pulled from the ripening table because it had a scare and was getting fruit-fly-ish. I just cut the scar and stem out and cut it for a salad.
JUST LOOK AT IT!
Breakfast. I love breakfast. We all love breakfast, we just don’t all love to make breakfast. During the week, we don’t want to get up early enough to make a good breakfast. So, what do we do? Well, we either skip it or, maybe even worse, we stop at the local fast-food joint and by a sausage, egg and cheese McMuffin ( a personal favorite of mine!).
Well, no more! I already have the alarm set for 5:30 AM, so I’m going to start getting up then, take the shower and make a decent breakfast. Right now, I keep hitting the snooze button (8 minutes each time) and cuddle with my warm, soft and just comfortable wife Molly. Sometimes, I’m so tired, I fall asleep each time hit the snooze and get a short, different dream before the next alarm (kind of like a CliffsNotes version of each dream). But, I digress.
So, I will (try) to get up each day and make a decent breakfast. Maybe, if I do, I can inspire the rest of my family to also wake up a bit early and have a good breakfast. I now have a source of good eggs, I make a fine pancake, I have bacon from Karl’s and who wouldn’t love some biscuits? No, I’m not going to make them all at once, but with plenty of time, there’s no reason I can’t make at least one of them.
Well, it must be fall because I’ve started canning tomatoes. A wonderful farm stand in a nearby town sells “canning tomatoes”. These are really nice tomatoes, more often than not, very ripe, ugly, misshapen or with a scar, just not very perfect for the main shelf. They are also $10.00 for 25 pounds, about 40 cents a pound. I’ve got another 15 pounds or so ripening on my dining room table and I’m getting another box for the winter.
If you have a chance to get tomatoes like these, I can’t encourage you enough to get them for winter. Here is my procedure to can tomatoes:
Peel the tomatoes. – Cut out the stem end with a paring knife and make several slashing cuts through the skin. Drop them into boiling water for about 30 seconds. Remove from water and run cold water over them under the faucet, all the while peeling the skin off. Chop
Cook down the tomatoes in a large pan (I use my turkey roaster) until reduced by quater to a third, stirring often so the tomatoes don’t burn on the bottom.
Sterilize the jars – I use my dishwasher for this. Put the quart jars in the dishwasher and quick wash or regular wash the jars. Just before canning, boil the tops in hot water for 5 minutes to sterilize and soften wax.
Fill clean jars with hot tomatoes to within ½ inch of the top. Place a hot top on the jar and screw on a lid.
Place in a stockpot a wire cooling rack in it so the jars don’t sit on the bottom. Fill with just enough water to cover jars, bring to a boil. When the water is boiling, place jars in the pots and boil for 20 minutes. Remove tomatoes and cool on racks or a towel. When cool, check the canning by pressing on the center of each lid, it should not pop up, if it does, place in refrigerator for use within a week – they will still be good.
Here’s the first 15 quarts:
DISCLAIMER: The FDA says the tomatoes we have today are not acidic enough to can without adding additional acid to them, like powdered vitamin C or lemon juice. A low acid environment may allow the growth of the bacteria that can cause botulism; one of the most deadly pathogens known to man. I believe cooking down the tomatoes increases the acid level and I’ve had no problems. BUT, that doesn’t mean I won’t or you won’t.
Well, it was birthday time again at work and this time we decided to do something easy…Baker’s Day. We did cookies, cakes and treats. I did some of the treats…Rice Krispee Treats! Sunday morning found me melting bag after bag of marshmallows in a saucepan with butter and pouring it over Rice Krispee-type store brand cereal. Quickly stirring to combine as the mass immediately forms a sticky ball in the bowl and dumping inyo pans and forming with water-coated hands.
A favorite of my friends at work was the Fruity Pebble treat. This is your basic Rice Krispee treat where 40% of the cereal is Fruity Pebbles. Oh, my – as my friend Joe said, inspired. I once made a 100% Fruity Pebble Treat – it was so sweet it was like sticking your face in a sugar bowl. So, I’ve found it’s best to cut it by over half. Just right.
This time I felt the need to try something new. Something I never tried before – a Rice Krispee cake.
RICE KRISPEE CAKE
For each layer:
- 7 Cups of Rice Krispees
- 10 oz bag of Marshmallows
- 3 Tbls. Butter
Place the Rice Krispees in a large bowl. Melt butter in large saucepan and add the marshmallows. As soon as marshmallows start to melt, start stirring and continue until all of the marshmallows are melted. Quickly pour over the cereal and equally as quickly stir – the mass will quickly (notice a pattern here?) form a ball. Drop mass into a well greased 9” cake pan and press with wet hands to spread evenly. Repeat with second pan and let cool.
Flip pans and frost like a normal layer cake.
It was better than you think.
Lurking around some of my friend’s blogs, I discovered one of them had a picture of a half-dozen eggs from a local farm. I then remembered I had just received two dozen of the best eggs in the world! My parents, three hours away in the hills of Western Massachusetts, have access to the very best eggs I have ever had. Coming from the small flock (group? gaggle? school?) of chickens from the mysterious “Heidi”, these eggs are….oh, boy….they’re….they’re just really good! The yolks are a rich, deep orange – nothing like the pale yellow eggs you buy in the supermarket. And the flavor!
Search out fresh eggs – sure, some will be brown, some will be white and some will be pale blue, maybe even green. Also, some will be HUGE, some will be small and some will be just like Baby Bear’s – just right. But, they will also be better and more likely than not, not coming from tortured chickens (where’s Eric Holder when we REALLY need him, huh?)
I’m back. Maybe the two most common words on Mel’s Diner, but…well, whatever… I’ve had great plans to post…I’ve even said to myself, “Dude! You need to post!…Gosh!” And still, I didn’t. Mostly it’s because I got out of the habit of posting. Hence, Mikey has a crappy blog.
So, I’m back. I didn’t quite know what to post about, so I thought I’d have a snack while I thought about it. My snack? A Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Here, in New England, a Toasted Cheese Sandwich. Here, in the Mulholland house, A Toasted Cheese Sandwich also has thin, sliced green peppers. Many (OK, few) of you will remember this sandwich is the single dish that introduced me to a fun and, now pregnant, girl in Canada we all know as Sara from iliketocook. I’d link back to that blog post, but it’s one of the many lost on Clearblogs.
What’s in a Toasted Cheese Sandwich? Well, it’s two slices of white bread, a Wonder-type, bread, buttered. Two slices of American Cheese, the plastic-wrapped type and a few slices of Green Bell Pepper - the salad-type. Layer bread, cheese, pepper, cheese and bread. Butter both outside end’s of the bread. Fry in a pan, flip and fry the other side. No magic. That’s it.
Oh, it’s good! Really, really good.
Does this really have anything to do with food? I guess not, I suppose it could if Michael Symon needed some quick advice about bacon ice cream and called me, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen soon.
I will be getting a new phone for the kitchen (the downstairs phone). This phone will have something the kids just can’t wrap their minds around – a cord! Twice today, I had both of our cordless phones within a foot or two each other – upstairs!
While at the bookstore last week I picked up a little book in the sale section called The Great Salsa Book. I like salsa and I think I make a pretty good basic Tomato Salsa Fresca. This weekend, on a whim I thought I would try the first recipe in the book, Tomatilla Salsa Verde. I’ve never really had a green salsa, living in New England and all, but I thought what the heck, let’s give it a shot.
Tomatillo Salsa Verde
- 1 lb tomatillos
- 3 Serrano chiles with seeds (I had Jalapenos, so I used them)
- 3/4 cup cilantro leaves
- 2 tbls. lime juice
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
Husk & rinse the tomatillos. Coarsely chop them & place them in a food processor or blender. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor & puree. Transfer to a serving dish but let it sit for about 30 minutes before serving.
I tried this as soon as it came out of the food processor – it was terrible! Very bitter! SO, I let it sit like the recipe says and, lo and behold, it was much better. Still, fairly bitter, but quite nice on a corn chip. Interesting.
After that, I was inspired to do more salsas! I had two poblanos and a left over Fresno pepper and two jalapenos. I roasted them by putting them under the broiler and flipping them as they blackened their skins. Out of the oven and into a plastic bag to steam for 20 minutes. Out of the bag, peel the skins off and de-seed. I then diced my roasted peppers and put in a bowl. Add to that a small onion, diced, one large tomato, peeled and diced. A tablespoon or two of olive oil and 2-3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, salt, ½ small bunch of cilantro and ½ of a lime, juiced.
This one – really good. The roasted peppers added a different dimension and it wasn’t as spicy/hot as my regular salsa.