I'm in the Kitchen

Welcome to Madre's Kitchen! I am so glad you visited my blog about cooking and all things healthy. I am a cook, not a chef. One of my hearts desires is to hit the road when disaster strikes and feed people a home cooked meal. First, however, I need a portable kitchen! Home cooked relief can bring healing on many levels. Since my breast cancer, food awareness has helped me to discover and apply a more healthy lifestyle for myself. It has taught me to promote better healing and health through treatments. I will be sharing that information here too. Thank you for visiting and enjoy!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Fridge Pickled Okra

Almost every day I post my "Today's Haul"  We have not had to buy tomatoes or okra all summer.

 We love pickles.  We love pickled okra too.  With the abundance of okra this summer and plants that look like small trees I am excited to try this recipe on pickling okra in the refrigerator rather than by canning on the stove.  The only difference is this recipe doesn't last as long as the vacuum sealed ones, but that's ok cause we eat them so fast.  I typed into Bing "How to pickle okra" and discovered a recipe for how to do it cold and in the refrigerator.  It was not that hard.  Here is the sequence on how I did it.

As you can see there is an abundance this year for us in the okra and tomato department.  We pick fruit every day and most days end up giving away some to neighbors and friends.

My friends laugh and say I might become the next Mrs. HEB as she went door to door selling her garden harvest right here in Kerrville, TX.

So I decided to try my hand at canning and pickling.  We had bought a canning pot and jars last summer but did not get the yield we are getting this summer between the two gardens.  Rain praise God  is the difference.   The chili pecanias in this bowl at the bottom of this photo is one days harvest.  They are so hot I can't eat them and have not cooked much with them.  I give them away mostly.  I love the color they bring to the garden.

So I washed all my okra and let it dry on a cotton dish towel, got out all my spice ingredients and my secret ingredient I was given that came all the way from Australia.  I used 1/2tsp each of dill seed, mustard seed, celery seed, organic fennel, Himalayan pink salt, cracked pepper, my herbs de Frio combination, two cloves of garlic peeled and La Barre's caramelized balsamic vinegar.

Then I cut off the excess stems and got them ready for the jars.  Since I did not sanitized the jars in my dishwasher, I sanitized them in boiling water for 4 mins then took them out and let them stand to dry.  I used 16oz of Heinz's pickle perfect vinegar all the spices mentioned above in a brine.  I let that come to a boil and simmer for 4 mins then let it stand.  I loaded the jars with the freshness from the garden.
I basically laid the jar on its side and rotated it as I loaded the okra then just filled in with what I could.

Then I poured the brine into the okra filled jars and let the liquid settle.  Then kept adding till it was full with about 1/4 inch space ....I scooped out the spices and put into jars including the garlic.  I did not boil the chili.  I added it at the end before closing the lid.......I kept having to push the okra back down as I waited for it to cool with the lid off.  I just pushed them back down as they shrank and found their places in the jar.  This one will be the spicy one with the chili pecania's.  I have one that is mild without the chili pepper.  I waited for the liquid to cool, put the lids on tight and put in the fridge.  I could start eating them they said within 24 hours, but it could take up to a week for the vinegar to absorb.  I turn them upside down ever so often and will wait til next Friday to taste.  I will let you know how they turned out.

So whether it is for you or your neighbor sharing our abundance is great.  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sparkler Soup

My sweet friends liking my Sparkler Soup on Instagram.  Follow me @MadreMinutes

Recently I was asked if ever thought about writing a cookbook.  I said I had thought about it, but just post here instead.   To me isn't this what self publishing is about?  So, I guess the answer is yes I am writing a cookbook and its here starting with the archive recipes dating before this post, to today's post and beyond......welcome to Madre"s Kitchen.  What I post takes time to savor, nurture and make public before I pass it off as an official recipe..... like I was some sort of Julia Child, Barefoot Contessa or Paula Deen, I am not, but  here goes!

The Sparkler Soup:   I took a store bought tomato basil soup HEB brand they have for sale in the glass jars.  I decided to add some things to it.  I had gone into my garden to see if there were any tomatoes to pick and there weren't that many so I put them into the soup.

The haul for the day.

My tomatoes are really doing well and have taken off now that the heat is here.  I have a variety of sizes from the beef steak, cherry, grape and yellow bells.  The yellow bells are so sweet and just great to eat right off the vine.  This is about as much as I wanted to add so it was the perfect amount.  I have been gone for a couple days and now have so many I will make a salsa or gazpacho soup.

Once you wash your veggies cut them into pieces and place them in a Mexican mortar and pestle called a Molcajete.  I like these because of the roughness of the bowl really grinds well.  Really takes care of the tomato skins. I also put some fresh basil leaves in there to add vitamins and its pungent flavor.  Then I place some Murray River Salt to help with flavor but also to act as an abrasive to grind.  Then I threw in some dried herbs of my own design that consists of oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, parsley, sage, and lavender.

Grind those together to make this mushy liquid.

Then I add this mixture to my soup that is heating on the stove.

When I am thinking of what to add to different dishes somehow the tastes are in my mouth if that makes sense.  So I was thinking what can I add to thicken the soup and I thought of pecans.  Every time I would go to Houston the Hwy 290 way I stopped in Ellinger, TX and picked up some pecans from the Tobias Pecan Co.  They are some of the best pecans I have eaten.  I eat a lot of pecans so trust me when I say they are good.  I always get a bag of the pecan mash or finely ground to put on fish to crust or mix into my rosemary shortbread cookies or pie crusts.  So I put the rest of the bag into the soup just to try and it thickened up nicely.  About two handfuls to be precise.

I let it heat up for a bit more then it was ready to eat.  I call it my Sparkler Soup cause what I put into just an ordinary jar of soup made it sparkle with flavor and savor.  I hope you will try it or a combination of this.....fresh sage would also be nice added to this soup.  Enjoy!