Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Can it, Bottle it, Smoke it!

And Other Kitchen Projects
by Karen Solomon
Hardcover, 160 pages
also available as an e-book

It's no secret that I am a big fan of do-it-yourself, especially in the kitchen. Homemade condiments, breads, snacks and desserts are not only healthier (none of those pesky fourteen-letter ingredients that were made in a lab), but infinitely tastier and imbued with the joy of having made them in your own little kitchen.

Karen Solomon has followed up her immensely popular Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It with Can it, Bottle it, Smoke it - 75 recipes to get you into the kitchen and whipping up your own DIY kitchen projects. Karen includes a little bit of everything in her books, a real panorama to whet your appetite and open the doors to homemade goodness. Once you get going, you'll be hooked!

With this book you'll be able to make:

1 Jam It
Carrot Almond Jam, Apricot Orange Jam, Quince Paste, Plum Catsup, Apple Cranberry Fruit Cheese, Apple Pectin 

2 Spoon It
Cornflakes, Puffed Rice, Insanely Healthy Nuggets, Sesame Rosemary Granola, Apple–Candied Fennel, Seed Granola, PLUS: Dried Apples, Energy Balls!     

3 Stock It
Canned Tomatoes, Preserved Lemons, Vanilla Extract, Worcestershire Sauce, Vinegar, PLUS: Infused Vinegar, Basic Barbecue Sauce, Smoke and Chocolate Spice Rub, Curry Powder, PLUS: Chicken Curry, Miso
4 Pickle It
Sweet Pepper and Corn Relish, Ploughman’s Pickle, Miso Pickles, Pickled Grapes    

5 Bake It
Bagels, English Muffins, Hamburger Buns and Hot Dog Buns, Pizza Dough, PLUS: Pizza, Cakes in a Jar    

6 Stalk It
Masa, Corn Tortillas (Two Ways), Tortilla Chips and Tostadas, PLUS: Simple Salsa, Tamales (Two Ways),  PLUS: Fillings for Tamales  

7 Roast It
Coffee Beans, Sweet and Spicy Nuts, Cacao Nibs, PLUS: Cacao Nib Brittle, Roasted Chestnuts

8 Hunt It
Corned Beef, Pastrami, Hot Dogs, Corn Dogs   

9 Smoke It
Chipotles in Adobo Sauce, Smoked Almonds, Smoked Apples and Pears, Smoked Cheese

10 Munch It
Soft Pretzels, Cheese Weasels, Fried Pork Rinds, Crunchy Lentil Snacks, Caramel Popcorn 

11 Sweeten It
Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, Caramel, PLUS: Caramel Apples, Dulce de Leche, Candied Citrus Peel, Crystallized Ginger   

12 Milk It
Almond Milk, Rice Milk, PLUS: Horchata, Coconut Milk (Two Ways), Soy Milk, PLUS: Sweetened, Flavored Soy Milks, Tofu     

13 Slurp It
Strawberry Black Pepper Syrup, PLUS: Strawberry Black Pepper Soda (Two Ways), Pineapple Mint Syrup, PLUS: Pineapple Mint Soda (Two Ways), Blueberry Lemon Syrup, PLUS: Blueberry Lemon Soda (Two Ways), British-Style Ginger Beer, Tepache, Apple Cider

14 Freeze It
Orange Vanilla Cream Pops, Salted Margarita Cream Pops, Berry Cabernet Pops, Strawberry Ice Cream (Without an Ice Cream Maker), PLUS: Chocolate and Vanilla (and Other) Ice Creams, Ice Cream Cones, Ice Cream Sandwiches    

In our KitchenPuppy test kitchen, we went straight for a bread! I love English Muffins and Karen Solomon proves that they are easier to make at home than to drive somewhere to pick them up. Tastier too! We served ours with poached eggs and cheese sauce. I'm getting hungry for more just writing about them.

We've all made these before, right? Grape juice in the popsicle forms. Okay, that was fine for when we were kids, but Karen has us making Berry Cabernet Pops. Yep, there's wine in them there popsicles! Perfect treat for this weather. Or any weather. Wine goes with everything. ;-)

Plum Catsup anyone? I had to make this as: #1, I am a condiment fiend, #2 plums are on sale and I have lots. Deliciously sweet and savoury at the same time, it's perfect for chicken or pork.

And below is the beautiful Sweet Pepper and Corn Relish. Capture these favourites while they are at the peak of season and you have a delicious condiment to brighten up your colder months. Like sunshine in a bottle. Why don't you try it yourself?

sweet pepper and corn relish
by Karen Soloman author of Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It
Makes about 6 cups (3 pints)
Time commitment about 1 day

I drink the brine on this one. I kid you not. This is a super old-fashioned pickle so self-consciously retro that it’s modern again—ready for its place on your Aunt Bitty’s relish tray alongside the three-bean salad and the pickled beets. Just FYI, I actually prefer frozen corn to fresh here because—well, forgive my shallowness, but frozen corn is just prettier than anything I’ve ever been able to cut off the cob, and the strong flavors in this mix don’t merit the extra effort. (Oh, and thanks to my intern, Sam, who showed me how awesome this is baked with salami on a pizza.) Note that it’s natural for the brine to get cloudy as the corn releases its starch.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3¾ cups diced red bell pepper (3 or 4 peppers)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
1¾ cups diced red onion (1 very large onion)
1½ cups apple cider vinegar
1½ cups sugar
½ teaspoon ground turmeric

Instructions Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and salt and sauté for approximately 12 minutes, stirring often, until the peppers soften and begin to caramelize. Add the corn, stirring to combine, and cook the vegetables for 3 to 4 minutes longer, until the corn is hot. Turn off the heat and add the onion to the pan; stir well.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, sugar, and turmeric and stir just until the sugar
dissolves, about 2 minutes.

Pack the vegetables tightly into 3 clean pint jars, and pour the warm brine over the vegetables to cover completely, discarding any unused brine. To can the relish for  longer storage, process the jars according to the instructions below. Otherwise, cover tightly, and let the relish sit at room temperature for 1 day before moving it to the refrigerator.

How to Store It: Refrigerated, this will keep for up to 6 months. Canned, it will keep for up to 1 year.

How to Can It: Place an empty canning pot or stockpot on the stovetop (don’t turn on the heat yet). Place as many jars in the pot as will fit without touching one another (you may have to process the jars in multiple batches). Fill the pot with cold water to cover the jars by at least 1 inch. Put the lid on the pot and turn the heat to high. Bring the water to a boil and let the jars boil for 15 minutes.

Put a kitchen towel on your counter. Turn the heat off and carefully remove the jars from the hot water
bath with tongs or canning tongs and place them on the towel (don’t let the jars touch). You will likely hear some of the jar lids pop, indicating that they have been properly sealed (they can still be properly sealed even if you don’t hear the pop). After the jars have cooled for about 10 minutes, check the seals: press down on the center of each lid; it should not bounce back. If it does, move the jar to the refrigerator once it’s cool and eat within a week.

Excerpted from Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It by Karen Solomon Copyright © 2011 by Karen Solomon. Excerpted by permission of Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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