Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Growing, Harvesting and Canning Black Beans

I love black beans and I always try to have cooked ones on hand.  I prefer to home can the dried ones so I can control the salt and the cost. It is also a good source of food nutrients if you have a power outage and no access to water and/or heat source to cook them in.  They also don't require a freezer and will keep for at least 12 months on the shelf.

Canning dried beans yourself is so easy.  I use organic and this year I even GREW some organic black beans. (More on that later.)

Growing, Harvesting and Canning Black Beans

Dried black beans (scan 2/3 cups per pint jar)
Salt (optional)
Pressure Canner (Beans cannot be water bath canned)

This year at the store I found black beans seeds and I though it would be fun to grow.  They plant like green beans do and they grow like green beans do but with a minor twist.
Hmmm, no twist yet.  These look just like green beans if you popped them open.  White seed on the inside.
Time lapse forward a little. But wait, what is this purple? The bean seeds slowly turn purple over time and this is where it is connected to the pod.
Allow mature beans to dry and cure on the plants until their pods or outer shells are crisp and brittle. As they dry (dehydrate) the color concentrates so they look black.
I read that if you pick them when they're leathery and finish drying in baskets, the vines will quickly set new flowers and fruit. Beans have a maximum fruit-load point, which is why they stop producing once you let them dry. But if you pick some, you make room for more to grow. If I decide to grow beans again I will do this.

Shelling is easy but takes time.  Find a good movie to watch.
 I found a pod that didn't want to cooperate and dehydrate so I threw the beans out.
At this point you can store them dry, cook, drain and freeze in baggies or you can pressure can them so they are ready to go at a moment's notice.

Clean your jars and get your lids and rings ready.  Rinse your beans. Use 1/2 to 2/3 cup dried beans per PINT jar. I used a scant 2/3 cup for mine. (The first time I did them they were too thick for me.)

Add to jars.  Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, if desired. Top with boiling water to 3/4 inch head space. 
Process for 75 mins in Pressure Canner.  I process at 11 lbs.  I am under 1000 feet altitude. Refer to the National Center for Home Food Preservation for canning instructions for your altitude.  
When you are ready to eat, open and enjoy!  We use the black beans for our refried beans.  So good!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Baked Apple Cider Mini Donuts

We purchased an apple press this year and are pressing our own apple cider.  I mentioned this to someone and she told me about apple cider donuts.  Intrigued, I looked them up.  I decided I must make them!  I have tweaked my Baked Eggnog Mini Donuts with Eggnog Glaze recipe to include the flavors of fall.  Careful, they are addicting, especially warm.  I had downed a half dozen before I knew it.  Good thing I made them mini size!

As an after thought I thought an apple cider glaze instead of a cinnamon and sugar dusting might be lovely so I have included ingredients for that also.  

Baked Apple Cider Mini Donuts – makes 20 mini donuts           Printable Recipe

2-1/2 Tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup apple cider reduced (see instructions)
1-1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Couple dashes salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pork Meat Balls with Dijon Cream Sauce with Wini Moranville

This recipe is from a fellow Iowan Blogger Wini Moranville.  After checking out her e-cookbook,
which is full of 22 wonderful recipes, I chose this pork meat ball recipe to share with you.  The recipe is simple and the dish looks divine.   See link at end to see how you can order your own e-cookbook for only $2.99! (Price as of 10/17/2014)

A bit more about the cookbook from Wini:  It's the result of a collaboration between French-born chef David Baruthio and me. (Chef Baru owns the widely acclaimed Baru 66 restaurant in Des Moines, Iowa). I just love the way this recipe shows that the French know their way around a meatball just as much as Italian-Americans do. 

Of course, we don't think of meatballs as something you'd braise, but in fact, on two different occasions, two different renown chefs (including David) have given me their recipes for meatballs, and both times they've been cooked partially submerged in liquid (not baked dry, as so many recipes call for). This method of cooking meatballs may just change your meatball-loving life!

A word about the recipe: As you shape the meatballs, you're going to think they're super soft and too flimsy to fry. You're going to wonder where the breading is. There is no breading in this recipe; hence, what you get is pure, rich, meaty flavor, along with that fresh green spark of the parsley. The trick is to use lots of oil to keep them from sticking. Use a large tablespoon to gently turn them. And don't worry--you'll drain off most of that fat!

P.S.  A HUGE thanks to Wini for taking the step by step photos for me to share with the recipe!

Pork Meat Balls with Dijon Cream Sauce

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