If you are interested in finding out more specific information on how to safely can jams & jellies, salsa, or both, the University of Illinois – Extension Adams/Brown Unit is presenting a series of in-depth, hands-on workshops. Earlier this year they presented a Preserving Local Flavors 101. That workshop focused on the basics of canning, freezing, or drying food. In the upcoming workshops, the Participants will learn by doing and the focus is Jams & Jellies and Salsa.
Participants will receive the latest food preservation information, hand-outs, and recipes. Dates of the workshops (with pre-registration dates) are as follows:
· Thursday July 8, 2010-Jams & Jellies, Vermont Street United Methodist Church, 818 Vermont St, Quincy, IL – pre-registration by Tuesday July 6, 2010
· Monday July 26, 2010-Salsa, Cornerstone Church, Hwy. 24 East, Mt. Sterling IL – pre-registration by Thursday July 22, 2010
· Tuesday August 3, 2010-Salsa, Vermont Street United Methodist Church, 818 Vermont St, Quincy, IL – pre-registration by Friday July 30, 2010
The cost of the workshop is $25 per person per workshop. Click here to register online or mail your check and the date of the workshop you plan to attend to the Adam/Brown office at the address below. Registration is limited for these sessions so get your registration in soon.
One of my favorite food writers has to be Mark Bittman. His “thing” is good food, simply cooked and he is big into local, fresh food. He is known as The Minimalist. It may have been this past New Years, but he did an OUT/IN list. The gist of the list was processed food that we use and can easily (and with more flavor) make at home. Here are a few tips:
OUT Aerosol oil. At about $12 a pint, twice as expensive as halfway decent extra virgin olive oil, which spray oil most decidedly is not; and it contains additives.
IN Get some good olive oil and a hand-pumped sprayer or even simpler, a brush. Simplest: your fingers.
OUT Bottled salad dressing and marinades. The biggest rip-offs imaginable.
IN Take good oil and vinegar or lemon juice, and combine them with salt, pepper, maybe a little Dijon, in a proportion of about three parts oil to one of vinegar. Customize from there, because you may like more vinegar or less, and you undoubtedly will want a little shallot, or balsamic vinegar, or honey, or garlic, or tarragon, or soy sauce.
Crockpot: I posted a great crockpot recipe from the Pahlmans on the website: www.greatrivercsa.org. It’s easy, versatile, and tasty!! It is easy because you just thaw it and put it in the crockpot for the day. It is versatile because you can put in any herbs you would like to get a different flavor. It is tasty because it is chicken!!
Roasting: My favorite way to prepare chicken is whole roasted. Thaw the chicken and remove any insides. Tuck the wings under and tie the legs so that it cooks evenly. Then, select the herbs you want. I usually use sage, but also rosemary or thyme with salt and pepper. Often, I will squeeze a lemon over the skin and put the rind in the cavity or smear the skin with butter. I add a rough cut of mirepoix (quartered carrot, celery, and onion) to the roasting pan and bake at 325 degrees for about 60 -90 minutes.
Gizzard gravy is the best with this meal. My mom would mince the heart, gizzard and liver. When the chicken was done, she would sauté heart, gizzard, and liver in some of the drippings until cooked. Add the remaining drippings. She would mix flour and water in a jar, about 1:2 (1 part flour to 2 parts water) and shake. Add the flour mix and simmer. Continue to add water to get a good gravy consistency, remember it will set up as it cools.
Some baked potatoes and steamed green beans (grim bims, as my grandma would say). It is a great Sunday dinner.
Thank goodness the rains have subsided somewhat. The beds have dried out a bit here and the Basil is taking off.
Feiner Gardens: This week the garlic is out and I am curing it. Although you can eat it right from the ground, I thought we could braid some garlic at the picnic table. So, if you want to spend some time, you can try your hand at it as well.
Terripin Farms: Brad was picking Friday for the Farmer’s Market in O’Fallon. He picked a few cherry tomatoes and said that the tomatoes will be ready soon. He planted over 2000 plants!! They are looking good. The corn will be ready in a couple of weeks, but the rain hampered his ability plant. He usually has about 6 plantings in by now and he had only 3. Beans are coming, too (green, Dragon’s tongue, yellow)!
Grassy Hill Farm: This is a chicken and egg week! Also the last day to order your Thanksgiving Turkey.
Storage Tips: Herbs
There is actually a YouTube video for preserving (drying) herbs by Alton Brown that is actually pretty good. He does get pretty involved with it. I haven’t tried it myself, but his other techniques are pretty good.
This is what I have found:
You can keep most fresh herbs about a week. Treat fresh herbs like you would fresh flowers, cut the stems off and put in fresh water and store in the refrigerator. Change the water when it gets too stale. This works well for tarragon and cilantro.
You can also dampen a paper towel, put it in a plastic, put in the herbs and store in the refrigerator. This works well for most other herbsBasil dislikes cold so much that the refrigerator is not good for it. You can keep it on your counter as you would fresh flowers and it won’t turn brown as quickly, but it does deteriorate and after about 3-4 days tends to smell unpleasant. It also does well with the paper towel/plastic bag technique.
Spread sauce over crust, sprinkle with basil, mozzarella, and finally drizzle with oil. Pepper and salt, to taste. Bake about 10 minutes at 500 degrees