Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Applesauce Season

Hi Everyone!
Fall is finally here, and I’m really excited about being able to make my homemade applesauce! It’s hard work, but it’s definitely worth it! This is where my passion for cooking started; when I was about 2 years old, my mom put set me on the counter and give me the task of stirring the pot and adding the spices. Now I’m able to make the applesauce all by myself (with a little help and guidance from mom!) Here’s a picture of me helping mom out when I was 2.

Cranberry Applesauce
If you don't like cranberries, just leave them out to make a delish plain applesauce.

2 pecks apples, use two different flavors (one sweet and one tart)
Set aside about 12 apples to use for making pies or muffins
2 cups all-natural, no sugar added, apple cider
1/3 cup craisins
To taste: cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg

Rinse off apples. Pour apple cider into large pot. Core apples with apple slicer/core device, discard cores. If you don't have a food mill, you can remove apple skins before placing slices into pot or cook slices with skins on and skins will fall off after cooking. Place apple slices and craisins into pot and bring to a boil. Add several dashes of spices but use slightly less of cloves and nutmeg because they have a strong flavor so you don't want to add too much. Cover pot and lower heat to medium low and cook for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally.

As the apples cook, the skins will start to fall off. Taste and adjust spices to your liking. Continue to cook for about another hour. If you have a food mill, this is when you will use it to remove the skins and blend the applesauce. If you don't have a food mill, spoon out skins and blend apples with an immersible hand blender to the consistency you like. Move pot to cool spot on stovetop to let applesauce cool before bagging and placing in freezer. To help applesauce cool faster, put half of the applesauce into another pot or large bowl.

This recipe makes about 6 quarts of applesauce. Freeze most of the applesauce into quart sized ziplocs and freeze laying flat in freezer. Save the remaining applesauce in your frig to eat right away.

You should try adding different, unique things to your applesauce once it’s done cooking, like walnuts or uncooked oatmeal!

Thanks for reading!

Lizzie Marie

Friday, October 21, 2011

Taste of Atlanta Oct 22

Hi Everyone!

I’m very excited because tomorrow I’m going to be a judge at the Top Chef Kids Competition at Taste of Atlanta! Taste of Atlanta is a great event where a lot of Atlanta restaurants set up booths and offer food samples. There are also different cooking demonstrations and fun activities to do with the whole family! I will be at the Family Food Zone Stage tomorrow at 3:15 p.m. Here’s a link with more information

Hope to see you there!

Lizzie Marie

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Oxtail Soup

Hi Everyone!

I’ve always heard people talking about oxtail soup, but I’d never made it or tried it before. I recently took a trip to a German butcher and he had some oxtail on hand. I decided to get some and make oxtail soup!

I called my grandparents, Ma and Pa, to see if they had any advice on how to cook the oxtail. When I asked Pa about oxtail soup, he made a disgusted noise and said, “I hate oxtail soup!” I asked him why and he answered, “The name! It sounds so weird and disgusting!” When I prompted him about why he didn’t like the flavor of the soup, he responded and said, “Oh, I love the flavor, it’s just the name that I don’t like.” This made me crack up, because even though oxtail does sound disgusting, it’s just as odd as eating ribs, right?

I also learned that Pa’s grandma used to make oxtail soup a lot when Pa was younger. When my grandparents were kids, the oxtail would be the part of the oxen that the butcher would either throw away or give away. People soon started realizing that the oxtail (which is now cattle tail) was the most flavorful part of the oxen, and nowadays you sometimes have to special order it!

1 tail cut into sections by butcher, about 4 pounds
1 medium onion, chopped
1 14.5 oz can all-natural diced tomatoes (my favorite is fire-roasted tomatoes)
*Use your favorite veggies (chopped celery, peas, etc.), I used the following:
Several carrots - chopped or 1/2 bag of carrot chips - roughly chopped
1/2 small head cabbage, chopped
A few quarts of water, depends upon the size of your pot
1/3 cup barley
2 tablespoons grape seed oil (better to sear with other than olive oil which will burn)
1 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper, to taste

This soup takes a looooooooong time to cook. Prepare it the day before you plan to eat it. The longer the tail cooks, the more flavorful the soup.

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Salt and pepper both sides of oxtail bundle (butcher may bind tail with twine). Sear both sides of tail bundle until browned. Toss in onions, snip twine and remove, then sear all sides of tail sections until browned. Deglaze pot: add about 1/4 cup of water to pot and scrape brown bits off bottom of pot. After tail is browned on all sides, add enough water to your pot or slow cooker until within 2 inches of top. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Add about 1/2 teaspoon salt and several turns of pepper mill for cracked black pepper. Reduce heat to low, put lid on pot and simmer for about 6 - 8 hours, stir occasionally.

Remove lid from pot and move pot to a cool part of your stovetop to cool down. You want to be sure the soup is completely cooled off before you put it into the refrigerator for the night, about 2 hours to cool. Before putting soup into frig, remove tail pieces and with a fork, remove any meat from bone. Place meat back into pot and discard bones. Place cooled soup into frig overnight.

The next day, remove soup from frig and carefully skim off top layer of fat. Place soup back onto stove and bring to a boil. Add veggies, tomatoes, barley, thyme and bay leaf. Reduce heat to low, put lid on pot and simmer for 1 hour. Taste soup and adjust salt and pepper to your liking.

The oxtail soup was delicious and it warmed my belly up. I can’t wait to make it again!

Thanks for reading!

Lizzie Marie

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tiny Tidbits: Easy Way to Cut Onions

Hi Everyone!

Cutting onions is a dangerous task; they're slippery, make your eyes water, and are an accident waiting to happen! I recently learned a great way to cut onions from one of my favorite chefs, Robert Irvine. Here's how:

Thanks for reading!

Lizzie Marie