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Ethel’s Best Pickled Beets

23 Jul

I am not a fan of pickled beets, but I do like to garden, and I do like to feed people, so I will occasionally can my dad some pickled beets.

I am using the recipe his mother used.  It’s called “Ethel’s Best Pickled Beets” on her recipe card.  I assume the Ethel she is referring to is her sister-in-law, my great-aunt.  In other words, this is a family recipe that is quite old.

I pulled some beets from the garden because they needed to be thinned.

When I was ready to make my pickled beets, I trimmed them.  Leave just about an inch of the stems and an inch of root.

Then scrub them as clean as you can get them.  I actually use my green scotch pad to scrub them.

Then you put the beets in a pot of water, making sure you have enough to completely cover them, and boil them for about twenty-five minutes.

Do not discard the water.  Remove the beets and the skins will just slip off.

Now you can cut off the rest of the stems and roots.  Honestly, they will probably just rub off with the skin.  Slice or dice the beets.  If they are small (2 inches or less in diameter) you can leave them whole.

Place them in the jars you plan on canning them in.  I got five pints from those few that I pulled.

To make the pickling, you will use your reserved beet water, vinegar and sugar in equal amounts.  For the small batch I was canning, I used 1 1/2 cups of each.  I had more than I needed.  That is the nice thing about this recipe.  You can make whatever amount works for you; just keep the 1:1:1 ratio for the pickling liquid.

The first time I made these, I was rather disgusted with the thought of using the water the beets were boiled in.  I measured out my water and then decided to run it through a milk filter.  To my surprise, it was clean.  There was not a single drop of dirt in the filter.  If you don’t believe me or just want to feel better about it, you can always strain the water through a coffee filter.  Place your water, vinegar, and sugar into a pan and heat to dissolve the sugar.

Then pour it over the beets, filling the jar to 1/2 inch (another pickled beet recipe I looked at said 1/4 inch) from the top.

Wipe the rims of the jars clean and adjust the lids.  Process the jars (pint or quart) in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes.  These are best left for a day or two before eating.

Since I had some of the pickling juice left, I decided to slice a cucumber from the garden.

They became pink refrigerator pickles.

For the record, they were delicious.

Blueberry Cheese Cake

18 Apr

I found a recipe for a Nova Scotia Blueberry Cream Cake, and I liked the idea, but the picture made it look all sloppy and goopy, so I decided to adapt it.  This cake has a bottom layer that is like a dense pound cake for a crust, a layer of blueberries, and a layer of cheesecake.  It’s divine!

Here’s the recipe I adapted.

For the cake bottom mix together:

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 Tablespoon baking powder

Using a pastry cutter mix in 1/2 cup butter.

Add 1 egg and 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix this thoroughly and pat into a 9″ spring form pan that has been greased or sprayed.

On this, you’ll pour 4 cups of blueberries.  I used frozen, but fresh would also work.

For the cheesecake topping mix together

2 cups of cream cheese softened to room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Pour this over the blueberries.

Put it in an oven that has been pre-heated to 375°F and bake for an hour and fifteen-twenty minutes.  Let it cool completely before removing it from the pan.

I really wish I’d had some whipped cream for the top.

When a Vegetarian Loves Her Family

21 Nov

I am making pulled pork.

about 3 pounds of pulled pork

I don’t eat it, but my mom’s family is rather large, and I decided to make some to take to the family Thanksgiving gathering.  While I’m at it, I decided to do another batch to freeze for me.  Then, when I have family show up (or come help while I’m kidding), I have something I can quickly fix for them to eat.

I started with Iowa produced pork loin.  My batch is for about 9 pounds of meat.

For seasoning I mix:

  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp dry mustard
  • 3 Tbsp salt

Sprinkle it over the meat.

You can put it in a roasting pan and bake it in the oven, but I am using my electric roaster.  I like that it has the rack to set the loins on.  I also start with the fat side down.

Then add some liquid, but not rinsing the seasoning off the meat.  I used veggie stock because that’s what I have, but you could also use chicken stock.  I added one 32 oz. box.

Bake it a 300º F. After the spices all dissolved, I turned it over.  About an hour later, I turned it again.  This has the fat side down again, and by the time it’s done roasting, the fat will have probably mostly fallen off.

You know it’s ready when you put your fork in it and it falls apart.  Roasting time will depend on how big the loins are, but it will be four or five hours probably.

I let it cool a little bit and then finished pulling it apart.  I picked out the little bit of fat that was still attached (and fed it to Snickers).

It works really well to divide it into ziploc bags and add the liquid (straining the fat out) and freeze it.  When it’s time to serve it, let it thaw and heat it up in a crock pot.