Monday, March 30, 2015

When Life Gives You Dandelions

Dandelion Fritters Recipe

Serves 4 to 5
30 fully open dandelion flowers
powdered or Vanilla sugar, for sprinkling

For the batter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of sea alt
1  egg
1/2 cup lukewarm water

Oil for frying 

First, make the batter. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the center and break in the egg. Using a whisk, bring in the flour gradually from the edges, slowly adding the water at the same time.

Preheat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 350 degrees F or use a shallow pan with at least 1 inch of oil.
Shake the flowers, just in case there are any insects hidden inside. Holding each flower by its stem, dip them in the batter (add a little more water or milk if the batter is too thick) and fry in the hot oil a couple at a time until puffed up and crisp — approximately 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. dust with sugar and serve immediately.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Real Fiddlehead

Awaiting Spring and wishing for Fiddle heads

I love fiddle heads. I guess other folks do too because I see them in the produce section of my local Hannaford grocery store every Spring. I have not noticed it in any other store here in Central New York. Hannaford is headquartered in Maine where fiddle heads are, IMHO, the unofficial "state vegetable".

So, "whats a fiddle head you may be asking yourself?"

It's the unfurled frond of a young ostrich fern. 
 It looks like the scrolled top of a ..well, a fiddle...

Not all fern make good eating fiddle heads. In fact, when most people talk of fiddle heads in the context of food, they usually mean Matteuccia struthiopteris, better known as Ostrich Fern.

This is what mature  M. struthiopteris looks like. They are often found in margins of streams or wet area and are easily naturalized in gardens.

Notice the little bits of brown paper like scales that cling to the crozier (unrolled fern). That's a good way to positively ID this fern. Another is a V or U shaped shaped grove in the inside of the stem. (It's a little like celery) These fiddle heads are also smooth, not at all hairy or fuzzy.

Below is not Ostrich Fern

Below is Ostrich Fern that too mature for fiddle heads. If you ind these. Remember the spot and come back early next spring.

If you haven't tried fiddleheads, you should. I like to boil them for a few minutes, drain them,then add them to a sautee pan with a bit of butter a splash of white wine, salt and some garlic powder.  Swirl around for a few minutes and serve. What is your favorite way to prepare fiddle heads?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Pickled Fiddleheads

Mustard Fiddlehead Pickles

1 quart button onions (peeled)
1 quart fiddleheads
2 cups salt
4 quarts water
1 cup flour
6 tablespoons dry mustard
2 cups sugar
2 quarts vinegar

Wash and prepare button onions and fiddleheads. Mix salt and water. Pour over fiddleheads. Let stand overnight. Bring to boil, and drain in colander. Mix flour and dry mustard. Stir in enough vinegar to make smooth paste. Add sugar and vinegar. Boil until thick and smooth, stir constantly. Add the fiddleheads and cook until they are just heated through. (Overcooking makes them soft instead of crisp.) Pour into jars and seal immediately. Process 15 minutes in boiling water process canner.  Makes 8 pints.

Plain and Pickled Fiddleheads

cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon each of pepper, ground nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and celery seed

Pour enough vinegar over the fiddleheads to cover; then strain it off into a pan. Add 1 cup sugar for every gallon of vinegar. Add a large pinch of each of the spices and celery seed. Boil this syrup for 7-8 minutes; then pour over the fiddleheads in pint-sized jars. Seal and process for 15 minutes in a boiling water process canner.

Sweet Pickled Fiddleheads

1 quart cider vinegar
5 cups sugar
2 teaspoons salt

Mix vinegar, sugar and salt in saucepan; bring to a boil, pour over fiddleheads in pint-sized jars; seal; process 15 minutes in boiling water process canner. Makes 6 pints.

Bread and Butter Fiddlehead Pickles

4 pounds fiddleheads
3 large onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup salt
cold water
3 trays ice cubes
5 cups sugar
5 cups cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons celery seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds

In 8-quart enamel, stainless steel or glass container, stir fiddleheads, onions, salt and enough cold water to cover fiddleheads until salt dissolves; stir in ice. Cover; let stand in cool place 3 hours. Drain fiddleheads and rinse with cold running water; drain thoroughly.
Measure sugar, vinegar, turmeric, celery seeds and mustard seeds into 8-quart Dutch oven or heavy saucepan. Over high heat, heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; simmer, uncovered 30 minutes, stirring often. Meanwhile, prepare jars and caps. Add fiddleheads and onions to Dutch oven; heat to boiling. Spoon hot fiddleheads into hot jars to 1/4 inch from the top. Immediately ladle syrup over fiddleheads. Process 15 minutes in boiling water process canner. Cool jars and test for air tightness. Makes about 6 pints.

Gluten Free Pancakes

Gluten Free Pancakes
  • 3 C rice flour
  • 3/4  tapioca flour
  • 1 C potato starch
  • 1/4 c powdered sugar
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • In a bowl mix together all dry ingredients.
  • Add in eggs, water and oil and blend until only a few lumps remain.
  • Heat skillet and spray with cooking spray.
  • Spoon on batter and cook until pancakes begin to bubble.
  • Flip and continue cooking until golden brown. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

GF Brownies

Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Brownie Recipe

5 ounces high quality 60-70% cocoa dark chocolate
1/2 cup organic coconut oil
1 cup light brown sugar (not packed)
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 organic free-range eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla*
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, if desired
Dark chocolate chips for the top, if desired

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8x8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.

Melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat, gently stirring. (Or melt in a microwave safe measuring cup and stir together to combine.)

In a mixing bowl whisk together the brown sugar, almond meal, sorghum flour, fine sea salt and baking soda. Make a well in the center and add the beaten eggs, vanilla extract and melted dark chocolate mixture. Beat on low-medium for two minutes, until the batter begins to come together. At first it will seem thin, like cake batter, but keep beating until it thickens and becomes smooth and glossy.

If you are adding nuts, stir in the nuts by hand and spread the batter into the prepared baking pan. Even out the batter with a silicone spatula.

Stud the top with some dark chocolate chips and press in slightly.

Bake in the center of a preheated 350ºF oven for 32 to 35 minutes, or until the brownies are set. The top will crack, like a flourless chocolate cake.

Cool on a wire rack; and remove the cooled brownies from the pan by gripping the foil edges and lifting the brownies out as a whole.

Chill for an hour before cutting. (Though warm and gooey is really divine, if you don't mind them falling apart.)
Yield: 16 servings
*For chocolate-mint brownies use 1 teaspoon peppermint extract and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Friday, March 6, 2015


The weather has been unseasonably cold here in upstate NY. But of couse sooner or later Sring will really be here. This mooning I went on the well trod path through the deep snow to feed and water the chicken. The sky was sunny and blue it was a perfect March morning except for the temperatur of only 4 degrees.

This morning, anticipating spring forays, gardening and other chores and visiting the boat I my mind to canning up some pints of port and beans

Navy Beans

1/2 cup dried white (or any) beans
1/4 c. bbq sauce

1 TBSP bacon, RAW, diced
1/2 TBSP dried onion
fill to 1" headspace w/ water
process 10 lbs or adjusted for your altitude for 75 minutes.

1 cup beans
1/2 c BBQ sauce
2 TBSP bacon, RAW, diced
1 TBSP dried onion
fill to 1" headspace w/ water
process 10 lbs or adjusted for your altitude for 90 minutes.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sling that hash

I came across some directions for making hash. Since it's close to St. Patrick's Day, Corned Beef is available and sometimes on sale. I bought 3 points at Aldi . I cut up 2 so that I can just the meat and some onion. The plan is to drain these and ad a jar of canned potatoes for a large hash meal.

Almost 7 lbs for almost $14 ...  yields 8 pints.  Less then $2 per pint of meat. Once I add a pint of my home canned of potaotoes ... that 2 pints of hash for about $2.25.

I also made 5 pints of meat, potato and onion hash from 3.25 lbs of corned beef point that cost about $6.50 ($1.99 lb)

Here's How to can hash
Corned Beef Hash
Yield 7 pints

5 lbs Corned Beef, trimmed as well as possible and quickly rinsed in cold water
5 medium size potatoes, peeled
1 large onion diced (optional)
Boiling water
salt and pepper

Cut the corned beef and potatoes into 1" cubes.
Fill hot sterilized pint jars with 1/4 full of potatoes and then fill to 1 1/2" headspace with Corned Beef. Add a pinch of salt and pepper if desired.
Add boiling water filling  to 1" headspace. Remove air bubbles with chopstick or plastic spatula. Refill to proper headspace. Wipe the rim of the jars with paper towel that has been dipped in vinegar. Add hot lid/ring and pressure can for 75 minutes at 11lbs of pressure for dial gauge and and 10 lbs for weighted for pints and 90 minutes if you are making quarts.

After draining the liquid chop the potato and meat!

Fry in a skillet with onion

Lynn's Breakfast Corned Beef Hash!
To make the hash pour the liquid out of the jar. Empty the contents of the jar onto a cutting board and chop up the meat and potatoes into a small dice. Add a small amount of olive oil to a frying pan. If you have not added the onions previously add a 1/4 cup of diced onions per pint jar and saute till translucent. Then add the   chopped meat and potatoes to the pan. Turn the heat up to medium and cook on one side for about 10 minutes. Using a spatula turn the now crispy hash over and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve with eggs and toast! 

The taste of the hash is great and really you are just doing a reheat. I only made 7 pints but will purchase more Corned Beef after St. Patrick's day on sale.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Spiked Pears

During the cold months, when I don't want to leave the house very often. I enjoy the foods that I've canned during the harvest season. Yesterday I enhanced a simple meal of brown rice, frozen broccoli and sausage with a dessert of spiked pears. I savored every bite and made a note that I need to can much more of this next fall when the pear season is in full swing.

Spiked Pears

10 pounds pears
2 cups sugar
6 cups water
1 1/2 cups brandy or ginger brandy


Wash, peel, half and core pears cut in half or wedges Treat to prevent darkening. Combine sugar and water in a large pot; bring to a boil. Cook pears in the syrup about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add brandy. Pack pears into hot jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. Ladle hot syrup over pears, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

This should make 8 pints.