Friday, November 4, 2011

Cranberry Apple Butter

I have never been a fan of apple butter. (I think it's because I've only tried store-bought apple butter and let's be honest - homemade anything is usually better than store-bought.) My brother- and sister-in-law took my daughter and I to The Flying Biscuit Cafe in Sandy Springs, GA, this summer. They serve all of their biscuits with homemade cranberry apple butter. I liked it and thought, "Oh, okay. Apple butter ain't bad."

Fast forward a week and I couldn't get that stuff out of my mind. I was craving it like chocolate and wondering if they sold it by the jar. Lucky for me, an internet search turned up the very recipe that they use in the cafe (thank you, PBS!). I bookmarked it for future use when cranberries came in season again. And here we are!

This year I hope to use my brain and freeze a couple of bags of cranberries so I have them available at other times of the year. Wish me luck.

from The Flying Biscuit Cafe

2 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup orange juice (not from concentrate)
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups cranberries
10 Granny Smith apples (about 3 lbs.), peeled, cored, and sliced

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, orange juice, and spices. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add cranberries and simmer until berries begin to pop. Reduce heat to low and stir in apples. Cook, stirring frequently, until apples are soft; about 45 min - 1 hr. Remove cinnamon stick and either blend mixture with an immersion blender or puree in blender or food processor until smooth.

Let cool and refrigerate. Will keep in fridge for 2-3 weeks.

Or fill clean, hot jars with apple butter to within 1/2-inch of rim, wipe rims clean, and screw on hot lids. Immerse in boiling water bath for 10-15 minutes. Cool for 24 hours. If any lids "pop," refrigerate jars and use within 2-3 weeks. Properly sealed jars will keep at room temp for 18 months - 2 years.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Vegetable Beef Soup

If someone out there in blogland would like to donate a DSLR camera to me, I wouldn't mind in the slightest.
It would make my food actually look something you want to eat!

This is a great way to use up a small, boneless roast. Since the beef is slow-cooked you can use a tougher cut like chuck. I make it the way my grandmother made it; with barley.

Quick pearled barley is used as a "thickener" - essentially it's a healthy filler and sucks up some of the extra broth. I've usually found it by the dried beans and rice:


1 1/2 - 2 lb. chuck roast
1 can beef broth
8 cups water
4 tsp. beef bouillon or base
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 celery stalks, sliced
2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 med. potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup quick barley
1 can tomato soup
salt & pepper to taste

Pat roast dry with paper towel(s). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spray bottom of large pot with cooking spray; heat over med-high heat. Brown roast on all sides; add beef broth, water, and bouillon or base and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2 hours.

Add onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes; return to a simmer. Cover and cook for another hour.

Remove roast from pot and shred into bite-size pieces. Return to pot with tomato soup and barley. Cook another 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as needed.