Monday, July 21, 2008

Shrimp Stock

I don't know why it took me this long to get around to this. But I just discovered tonight how MUCH better this green sauce is when made from shrimp stock. Don't get me wrong - these enchiladas are delicious either way. But if you can get good "head-on" shrimp," make a stock, and use it instead of the chicken stock -- you'll be glad you did.
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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Southwestern Cornbread Salad

Our friend, Kathy, brought this to our vestry meeting in June. She got the recipe from Southern Living Magazine. It's delicious!


1 (6 ounce) package Mexican cornbread mix
1 (0.4 ounce) envelope Ranch-style buttermilk salad dressing mix
1 small head romaine lettuce, shredded
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ¼ ounce) can whole kernel corn with red and green peppers, drained
1 (8 ounce) package shredded Mexican four cheese blend
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
5 green onions, chopped


Prepare cornbread according to package directions; cool and crumble. Set aside.

Prepare salad dressing according to package directions.

Layer a large bowl with half each of cornbread, lettuce, and next 6 ingredients; spoon half of dressing evenly over top. Repeat layers with remaining ingredients and dressing.

Cover and chill at least 2 hours.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings.
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Friday, July 11, 2008

Fig Preserves

This fig tree is in our back yard. We cut it all the way down to the ground once, and it came back even bigger than ever. Each summer around late June, we begin racing the birds to get the figs. They get some, and we get some. [Click here for larger view.]


Fresh figs


When our figs start coming in, we pick them twice daily. We wash them and hold them in the refrigerator until we have a few quarts. Then, we can them in Mason jars.

We cut the stem off the figs and then slice each fig in half. You might prefer to cut them into quarters. Use 1/2 to one cup of sugar for each cup of cut figs. Place into a heavy dutch oven. Add a bit of water (1/2 cup or so) to prevent scorching. (The USDA recommends adding a bit of lemon juice. It's probably a good idea to follow their instructions.)

Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently until well combined. Simmer for about 3 or 4 hours.

In the meantime, prepare the jars, lids, and bands. We use a 5 gallon stock pot. Place jars and lids in the pots and fill the pot with enough water to cover the jars by 1 or 2 inches. Bring to a near simmer and cover the pot. Allow the jars and lids to steam this way for at least 20 minutes.

We also sterilize our ladle and a canning funnel, as well as our tongs and a "mechanic's magnet*." When ready to can, carefully remove a jar to a dinner plate set next to the fig mixture.

Ladle preserves into the jar filling to about 1/2 inch from the top of the jar. With the mechanic's magnet, retrieve a lid and place in position on the jar. Tighten the band snugly. Set aside on a towel. Repeat until all the preserves are canned.

Return jars to the water bath, and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and process at least 45 minutes. Carefully remove jars and set on towel to cool. Do not re-tighten the bands. You will hear the lids make a "popping" sound as the jars cool, and the resulting vacuum pulls the lids tight.

When cool enough to touch, test each lid by pressing with your finger. Any lid that moves up and down under finger pressure is not sealed properly. Either use immediately, or reseal and re-process. Date each jar with a magic marker.

*We have a tool that is a telescoping car radio antenna with a strong magnet on one end and an alligator clip on the other. The magnet end is what you need. Check at kitchen specialty stores or at the local auto parts store for a similar tool. If you can't find one, you can use the long tongs to retrieve the lids.

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Monday, July 7, 2008

Apple Custard Pie

Mother made this up from a bunch of apples we brought up on our visit to Tennessee. It's delicious. I'm not much on making desserts, but this one is so good, I thought I'd share it. Mother got this recipe from a cookbook published by First United Methodist Church of Munford, TN. Clara Fiveash contributed this recipe. She was crazy about Mother.


2 cups grated apples (peeled first)
2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter or margarine
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon


Mix and put in unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350 until light brown or until done (about one hour).

Special Note: I emailed the good people of First United Methodist Church of Munford to let them know of their presence here. They thanked us and invited us to drop by anytime.
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