Friday, August 17, 2012

New Banner Patterns for August and September

Banner of the Month Pattern for August

Banner of the Month Pattern for September

Both available soon!

Meat Loaf Stuffed Zucchini

Here's a great way to use that summer squash or zucchini that hid out and grew too big.  Stuff it with your favorite meat loaf recipe and bake it about 1 hour at 375 degrees.  Here's my recipe:

Meat Loaf Stuffed Zucchini

2 c. Lean Ground Beef
1 medium Onion, minced
2 stalks Celery, minced
2 T. Butter
1 c. Bread Crumbs
1 - 2 t. ground Sage, depending on taste
1/2 t. Onion Powder
1/2 t. Garlic Powder
1/2 t. Salt
1/4 t. Pepper
1/2 c. Ketchup
1 Egg
1 Large Zucchini or Summer Squash (12-20 inches long), seeds removed

In a large mixing bowl, mix meat and bread crumbs together well.  Place onion and celery with butter in the microwave and cook about 3 minutes until soft.  Add them to the meat mixture.  Mix seasonings, ketchup and egg together well and add to the meat mixture.  Combine well.  Salt and pepper the squash and stuff it with the meat loaf mixture. 

 Place them in a baking dish with about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the pan.  

Bake, covered, at 375 degrees F. about one hour or until the squash is done.

Here they are, fresh from the oven and steaming hot!  This is delicious with a Cucumber & Onion salad.

Cucumber and Onion Salad

1 - 2 sweet, mild Onions, chopped rough
1 English Cucumber, peeled or unpeeled, according to taste
1/2 c. Sour Cream
2 T. Balsamic Vinegar

Place the sour cream in a cup or bowl.....

and add the vinegar.

Mix well and set aside.

Rough chop the cucumber and  

place in a small bowl.

Chop the onion,

roughly, in bite-sized chunks;

add salt and pepper to taste.

Combine all with the salad dressing....

and you have a lovely summer treat to go with your meat loaf and squash!  Enjoy!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Time to Preserve - Pickles and Onions

It's that time of year, again.  Time to make the house fragrant with vinegar and herbs and spices.  I made 7 quarts of Garlic Dills and 13 pints of Sweet Spears today; plus I started another two crock pots full of onions to carmelize.

The Sweet Spears were made with a recipe from my dear departed mom-in-law and here it is:

Sweet Spears - For 7 Pints of Pickles

4# cucumbers 3-4 inches in length
Boiling Water to cover
4 c. White Sugar
3 3/4 c White Vinegar
3 T. Pickling Salt
4 t. Celery Seed
4 t. Turmeric
1 1/2 t. Mustard Seed

Wash, pick over and quarter lengthwise all of the cucumbers.  Place in a large stainless steel or glass or plastic bowl and pour boiling water over to cover.  Let stand 2 hours.  Drain and fill jars with spears, laying the jar on its side to arrange the cucumbers vertically.  Fill in the top with smaller spears or cut pieces.  Meanwhile, heat the remaining ingredients together in a large stock pot to boiling.  Fill to within 1/2" of the top, wipe rims, place lids and rings.  Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath; 15 minutes for quarts.  Pickles should be ready to eat in 2 weeks.

This is how they look coming out of the canner.  I let them set with the rings on until they are cool; then, wash them well in soapy water, rinse and dry.  I label them with the name of the pickle and the date and down they go to the basement to await their accompaniment for a good sandwich and an honored spot on the Thanksgiving table!

Garlic Dills

For each jar:

Place a head of fresh Dill upside down with the stem sticking up
Add 1-3 cloves fresh Garlic
Place medium, whole Cucumbers vertically in the jar until filled to within 1/2 inch of the top
Add 2 t. Pickling Salt and 3-5 whole Peppercorns

Heat a solution of:

1 1/2 c. Vinegar
3 quarts Water
For 7 quarts of pickles

Bring to the boil and pour over the cucumbers in the jars to within 1/4" of the top of the jar.  Wipe rims, place lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

 Whole peppercorns

 It's starting to look like a cannery in my kitchen.

This is how the dills look, coming out of the canner.  They will be ready to eat in about 2 weeks.

Preserving Onions

On our trip to Walla Walla last week we picked up 70 pounds of Walla Walla Sweet Onions.  These onions are wonderfully flavorful and not hot; you can eat them like an apple, really.  We make onion and butter sandwiches and a salad with cukes, sour cream and a little balsamic vinegar.  Yum.

Here they are in their bags.

Another arrival that day were some large summer squash that grew while we were away.

Aren't they lovely?

For Carmelized Onions, I slice them and put them in a large crock pot.....

with a half cup of butter....

for 10 hours or until they turn a.....

lovely, rich, brown color and smell sweetly delicious.

Then, I bag them up......

Label, and freeze them.  When I need them, I keep a package in my freezer in my kitchen.  I just take them out of the bag (where they have been frozen into a rather flat square), cut off what I want with my chef's knife, and return the remainder to the freezer.  A few minutes in the microwave will thaw them, or I can add them straight into the frying pan for added flavor to meat or veggies.  We love these, all through the year.  For three of us, about 6 quart bags (frozen flat and thin as possible), are enough.

I also mince them and freeze them raw for use later as I go along cooking away for my family. Of the 70 pounds of onions, we froze about 24 quarts raw.  They work very nicely.  I also chop and mince sweet bell peppers and freeze those for use later in the year.

The large summer squash, I am grinding up and freezing to make Sweet Zucchini Relish, later.  I'll show you the recipe when the time comes.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

We Have a Winner - August Drawing for a Free Pattern!

Yes, we have a winner.   It's Raewyn!  Raewyn, drop me a note at prairiestitcher at centurytel dot net; and we can make arrangements for you to have this month's free pattern:  "Strawhat Sue"


Everybody applaud  for Raewyn.   

I'll be blogging again in a few days but have to do some family time this weekend, first.  See you soon!  Thanks for coming by!

Meanwhile, which pattern would you all like me to give away next month....for September?  I'd like to hear your suggestions.  Just go to my wholesale catalog at the link to the right of this message and pick one.  See you in a few days!