Friday, November 6, 2009

Harvesting and Threshing Popping Sorghum

We planted two rows of popping Sorghum in the spring this year. We harvested most of the grain the middle of September before our vacation to Texas and the grain has been sitting and drying in my grow room ever since.

We finally found time to remove the grain from the stalks. I had no idea how it was done and there was virtually no information on the internet about it. We finally decided to put the stalks in a pillow case and then hit it against something hard. This worked pretty good but then had to figure out how to get the seed from the chaff.

I finally decided to put it all in a bowl with water. I removed anything that floated and kept rinsing until nothing was left but the heavier seeds that stayed at the bottom of the bowl. This worked well. We laid the seeds out in trays to dry. I think we probably ended up with 5 or 6 lbs of sorghum seed.

The seed pops great. At first I used some oil in a pan and heated until smoking and then put in seed a tablespoon at a time. Now I have an air popper we found at the DAV store and it works even better. One tablespoon of seed makes about 10 tablespoons of popped sorghum. It tastes better than popcorn. I found a recipe that calls for popped popcorn flour and makes a loaf of bread. 6 tablespoons of seed makes about 2 1/2 cups of flour.

Here is the recipe for popcorn bread using either popcorn or popped sorghum:

1/3 cup popcorn or 6 tablespoons sorghum (popped and blended into 2 1/2 cups of flour)
1 1/4 cups water 110 to 115 degrees
3 3/4 t yeast
2 tbs sugar
1/4c oil
2 1/4 t salt
1 tbs butter or butter flavoring
3 to 4 c flour

proof yeast in hot water while at 110 to 115 degrees with the sugar added to water for about 15 minutes.

blend popped popcorn or sorghum in blender on liquefy and then sift to remove any kernels that do not get broken up.

add all liquid ingredients to bread machine and put on dough cycle. Mix for a few minutes then add salt, popcorn flour and 2 c flour. Add more flour until you have a smooth ball of dough.

When dough cycle is complete remove dough press out into a rectangle and then roll into a loaf pressing closed all seams.

Place on a parchment covered pan cover and let rise until double. Bake at 350 for 35 to 45 minutes or until bread registers 190 to 210 degrees. This made a huge loaf of bread and was the most moist tender and fine textured bread I had ever made. In the picture the loaf is on a regular sized pizza pan so you can tell how big it was. I also brushed on olive oil and put some poppy seeds on the loaf.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Recipe for Jalapeno Poppers

I have had a prolific abundance of jalapeno peppers and after pickling more then enough for my needs until next gardening season, I decided to make and freeze jalapeno poppers. Here is my recipe:

Wash and separate small from large. Small peppers cut off tops and using a paring knife scraping around insides get out veins and seeds. Large ones cut off top, cut in half and scrape out veins and seeds.

Use whatever cheese you like. My last poppers I used a jar of pimento cheese, the same amount of cream cheese and a handful of shredded colby. Mix together and put cheese in whole small jalapeno and large halves.

in a bowl mix and beat together an egg and about a tbs of milk. Dip pepper in mixture and then flour. Set aside to dry for about 15 minutes.

Coat with egg mixture again and then into fine bread crumbs (I use stale bread set out for about a day then blended and into the freezer.) Into flour again and
set aside again to dry for about 15 minutes.

Repeat one more time and place on a plate and freeze.

When nice and frozen place in freezer bags for later use.

When you want to fix some, heat oil to 365 and fry until golden brown. Drain and enjoy!!

Halfway there:

Ready to Freeze:

Monday, September 7, 2009

Pizza Hut Dough Clone Recipe

I have already posted my Pizza Hut Sauce clone so today I am making Pizza from scratch using that and my Pizza Hut Dough clone recipe.

Pizza Hut Dough using a bread machine

1 1/3 c water
2 1/4 tsp yeast
tsp sugar
1/3 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar
2 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
4 c flour

Proof yeast in 1/3 cup of the water and the tsp sugar at 110 to 115 degrees for about 15 minutes

Put rest of ingredients in bread maker and the yeast after it is foamy and has risen

put in two c of the flour and using dough cycle let that mix well

put in rest of flour and let the machine do the rest.

Punch down, remove from pan and divide into two pieces. This is enough for two pizza pans. Or you can use one and freeze one. What I am making today I will be freezing one along with half of the 1 lb of hamburger I have browned. This will be great for another day!

My Home made Pizza

Pizza Hut Clone Dough
Pizza Hut clone sauce
1 package mozzarella cheese
1/2 lb hamburger browned and drained
onions chopped
peppers chopped
dried tomatoes

This is a really thick pizza and will need to be baked at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes:

The Before baking:

The after:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Comfort Food

I remember when I was little, my Mom who was a planner, always let us know what she would be cooking for supper before we went to school. If it was something I loved, I would think about that meal all day long. Going home after school was over was a joy, but going home to a meal you loved was like Christmas.

Two words that could make me go wild to get home that evening was Oxtail Soup. Oh how I loved coming home to the smell of oxtail soup. It is still my favorite food. My Mom is gone now and sometimes I feel like I let all her cooking secrets go with her without at least getting them all in my head to write down someday when I had time.

I do think I have pretty much got her recipe down and make it just the way it tasted from her stove.

My Mom's Oxtail Soup

3 to 4 lbs oxtails (they are mostly bone so even this much is not that much meat)
the heart of one celery stalk
2 cups white rice
several tsp caraway seed to your taste
salt and pepper to taste

Boil oxtails with salt pepper and caraway seeds in plenty of water to have enough so there is still broth after the rice cooks. This will probably take several hours to most of the day for tender meat.

Chop the celery heart and cook with the oxtails about 30 minutes before rice.

Cook rice until tender

Now you have my Mom's best Oxtail soup and oh how good it is.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Pizza Hut Clone Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes

I just made this today tweaked from several recipes I had found online and it is so good and I believe (anyway as far as my taste buds) it is the closest you will ever get to Pizza Hut pizza sauce.

Boil tomatoes for a minute or so and then plunge in cold water to remove skins.

Core, slice in half and remove as many seeds as you can.

For every 1 quart of tomatoes in pan add:
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1 bay leaf

Bring mixture to a boil and then high simmer for one hour.

Let mixture cool some and place in blender and liquefy.

Back to pan and add per quart of tomatoes originally used add:
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp marjoram

bring back to boil and then to low simmer until desired thickness is achieved. Remove bay leaf.

One quart of tomatoes ended up as about 12 oz. of pizza sauce, enough for one pizza dough if you like it thick like I do.

HMMM --- enjoy.

I used an empty sauce jar to store in freezer:

Drying Green Beans without a Dehydrator

My dehydrator has been running day and night for months now. I needed a better way too dry the green beans because we had been getting at least 16 gallons a weeks for weeks and I needed the dehydrator for other things. I found this idea on the web and it works great:

Leather Britches

That is the old time name for dried green beans that are made by using a needle and string or heavy thread to string the beans on. First you must blanch the beans for 3 minutes and then in ice water for three minutes. Drain and string with needle to make a bunch. Hang somewhere warm and dry. It will take about 4 days and you have great dried green beans to store in jars or bags.

Freshly strung


Friday, September 4, 2009

I Just Love Jars

I have been getting lots of jars from places like the DAV store, Salvation Army and other used stores. They are usually really cheap and apparently no one keeps them. Anyway it makes me happy. I use them for all my dehydrated stuff.

The Very Best Way for Preserving Fresh Tomatoes

We had a huge abundance of tomatoes this year, we brought home 67 lbs. in a two week period and that doesn't count what we picked before and after, I am figuring we probably have gotten over 100 lbs. The last two years I just put my fresh tomatoes in freezer bags and froze to have for winter to make my stuff when the weather cooled down.

The trouble with that is that the tomatoes had a weird taste that no matter what I did with them, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce etc. always seem to have that taste. Well no more of that. I now know the best way to preserve tomatoes: ROAST THEM!

And the best part about this is you can either freeze for later use or make into something right then.

Slow Roasting

Oven temp 200 to 250 depending on how much time to have to watch them. If I put some on and leave it will be on 200 so they don't get a chance to burn. I use my smaller tomatoes for this. Slice in half put in a bowl and coat with olive oil. You can use whatever herbs and spices that suit you. I chop garlic, salt and pepper and use basil and Italian seasonings. Place in single layer and roast. It takes between 8 and 12 hours depending on oven temp. I take out when they have shriveled up some but still have juice. Cool then put on a plate and into the freezer to harden before freezer bagging and back into the freezer. That way they don't stick together and you can just take out a handful or what you need.

Quick Roasting

This is what they look like before going in the oven.

This method works great too and can be used as the base for any other sauce like spaghetti or chili. Oven temp 375. Remove core and slice in half. I put in 4 cloves of garlic, peppers, onions, 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp sugar and pepper to taste. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and mix. Pour all in a pan, place tomatoes skin side up and roast for 40 minutes.

After roasting let cool and remove tomato skins then I put in blender and use chop. Now you have the best tasting tomato sauce ever. Place in freezer bags and freeze.

Finished tomato sauce:

Chili Base

Use your fresh tomato sauce (if you know you are making chili base you can use chile peppers in your tomato mix) and add:
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp parsley
1 tsp basil
1 tbs chili powder (or to taste)

Bring to boil then simmer for 10 minutes.

Or add Italian seasonings to your tomato sauce and you have spaghetti sauce. All can be bagged and frozen for use through the winter.

Finished product, 6 pints tomato sauce base:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Freezing Green Beans the Best Way Ever

Last year was our first real garden. It actually was just an experiment to see if the land owned by dad in law would produce anything. We couldn't believe the amount of stuff we got from a 20' by 30' area. The green beans were prolific and produced until the first frost. I wanted to preserve them but had no pressure canner at that time and hated the taste of frozen green beans.

After many days and hours of research online I hit on this idea on a chat forum and it is the best of the best way to freeze green beans and retain that fresh from the garden taste:

Wash stem and pop. Blanch 3 minutes (start timer as soon as they are placed in the boiling water), remove and put in ice water for 3 minutes. I put a pint in small freezer bags then here is the secret, cover with water. Get out all the air and freeze flat to save space.

The texture is a little different from fresh but the taste is not. Try it, I guarantee you will like it.