Thursday, October 21, 2010

CERT Training

This past week we finished our 7 week CERT (Community Emergency Response Team).  It was fabulous!  In the course they teach about first aid, search & rescue, fires, etc.  In the event of a community emergency or natural disaster, CERT members will be called upon to help.  Here is the link to the CERT website.  I urge everyone to become certified! Make a difference in emergency preparedness in your home and in your community.... AND you get the awesome green vest and hard hat upon completion!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mini Quiches

This is one of my favorite appetizers.  Each time I take them to an event, I get multiple requests for the recipe. Now that our chickens are laying, I love to make things to use them up!

Mini Quiches
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sifted flour
Combine all ingredients and chill one hour.  I use a food processor with cold butter and cold cream cheese.  I mix it until it forms a ball.  I do not chill for the hour if I use cold ingredients in the processor- only if the butter and cream cheese are room temperature.

  • 1/2 pound bacon, fried and crumbled (or use precooked bacon)
  • 1 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Dash cayenne pepper or Tabasco
Spray mini tins with Pam.  Form balls of dough and place in mini muffin tins. Use a tart shaper to form shells (or press dough into muffin pans with your fingers.

Mix together eggs, cream, salt and cayenne pepper.  Sprinkle bacon then cheese in tart shells.  Pour egg mixture over cheese.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  Quiche can be made ahead and frozen.  If you are planning to freeze them, slightly under bake them.  They will finish cooking when they are reheated.   Makes about 36 quiches.  Yummy!

Roll little blobs of dough and place in sprayed pan.

Use a tart press to make the shells.  Or, you can just press it in with your fingers.

The tart shells ready to be filled.

Filled and ready to be baked.

The finished product!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tips for Canning Pears

My family loves, loves, loves canned pears.  However, I have never loved, loved, loved canning them because pears are so much work!  Well, my friend Missy gave me a trick that has revolutionized canning pears!! I really think this trick made my 41 quarts of canned pears go twice (or more) as fast.

What you will need:
  • A 4-6 inch piece of tuelle (fabric with little holes in it- think ballet tu-tus!) If you can find the slightly larger holes, it works better.  It is sort of a stiff, nylon mesh.
  • Large pan to blanch the pears
  • Large bowl of ice water
What to do:

Choose ripe, firm pears.  When they start to turn yellow, they are ready!  You can also press lightly right by the stem- if it is hard, they are not yet ready.  If it "gives" a little, they are done.  Put pears in boiling water for 22 seconds (depending on ripeness- this amount of time was perfect for my pears).  Immediatly put in ice water.
Take tuelle and wrap it around your thumb (I am right handed, so I used it on my right thumb).  You don't have to wrap it around your thumb, you can just use the tuelle with all your fingers to scrub.  I just found the thumb trick to work the very best. The thumbs are the strongest finger- you will use mainly the thumbs as you get rid of the skin!  Hold the pear with both hands so your thumbs are free to scrub!

Under running water, use those thumbs! Press hard enough that the skin just comes off.  The tuelle will get it started, and it will also remove any brown spots. Each pear takes about 5-10 seconds to scrub.

Put whole, peeled pears in bowl of water with Fruit Fresh or ascorbic acid to prevent browning.

Halve, and remove core.  A melon baller or metal measuring spoon does a great job. Prepare a light or medium syrup or pack pears in apple juice, white grape juice, or water. 

Process in Boiling Water Bath Canner, and ENJOY!

For processing times:
For Hot Pack:

Pints: 1-1000 ft: 20 min; 1001-3000 ft: 25 min; 3001-6000 ft: 30 min; Above 6000 ft: 35 min
Quarts: 1-1000 ft: 25 min; 1001-3000 ft: 30 min; 3001-6000 ft: 35 min; Above 6000 ft: 40min

For Raw Pack:
Pints: 1-1000 ft: 25 min; 1001-3000 ft: 30 min; 3001-6000 ft: 35 min; Above 6000 ft: 40 min
Quarts: 1-1000 ft: 30 min; 1001-3000 ft: 35 min; 3001-6000 ft: 40 min; Above 6000 ft: 45min