Rhubarb Strawberry Curd

Rhubarb Strawberry Curd // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

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I still remember the first time that I tried rhubarb.  It was probably 10 years ago. I had wanted to try it, but just hadn’t had the chance (I guess) living in suburbia Oklahoma and just didn’t have the inclination to go hunt for it.

But one summer night, I was out working a 12 hour shift doing field work for my Master’s degree and my husband was babysitting my littlest sister who was only 6 at the time. Since they are both the adventurous type, and neither of them really knew how to cook…. they decided to make me a rhubarb cobbler as a surprise treat for when I got home.

I was so surprised when I walked in the door and smelled that amazing smell. It was seriously the best cobbler I had ever eaten. (Maybe it was because I had just worked 12 long hours in the hot summer sun.) But it really was the perfect blend of tartness and sweetness. Just like my husband and my sister Olivia. Sweet and tart! 🙂  They began my obsession with this fabulous spring plant…ooooh rhubarb!

Rhubarb Strawberry Curd // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Rhubarb Strawberry Curd // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Since that first magical cobbler that they made for me ten years ago, I have had quite a love affair with rhubarb. Rhubarb is a perennial that will come back year after year when planted in a good location. My rhubarb plant always lets me know when spring is near, because it begins to sprout its long stalks and leaves when temps rise above 40 F.

Rhubarb can be used in so many recipes: tarts, cobblers, pies, salsa, sauces, and this amazing curd! Yeaaaaaaaaah. Curd doesn’t have to be reserved for citrus! This Rhubarb Strawberry Curd is hands down my favorite. I decided to add some frozen strawberries that I had in order to boost the pink color of the curd.  Feel free to adjust the ratio of rhubarb to strawberries to suit your own tastes.

Rhubarb Strawberry Curd // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

This Rhubarb Strawberry Curd can easily be used to fill a pie or tart crust for an easy dessert. The extra egg whites can be whipped up as a meringue for the top too! I went the easy route this time and I mixed mine in greek yogurt for a delicious breakfast and midday snack! Either way, I know that this will be a favorite for all you rhubarb lovers!

Rhubarb Strawberry Curd // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Rhubarb Strawberry Curd

  • Servings: 2 cups
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh rhubarb, sliced 1/2-inch thick (about 5 trimmed stalks)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 4 eggs, yolks separated (reserve whites for another use)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. In a heavy saucepan placed over medium heat, cook rhubarb, strawberries, water, and 3 tablespoons of honey for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently and smashing the fruit with the back of spoon. Mixture will begin to fall apart and look mushy. Turn off heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a food processor and puree smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, cream the butter and the honey together until fluffy.  Beat in the eggs slowly. Slowly add the rhubarb and strawberry mixture, whisking constantly until completely combined.
  4. Transfer mixture to a medium-sized, non-reactive saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and stir constantly with either a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the mixture has thickened to jelly consistency, about 10-12 minutes.  Do not let the curd boil! Pull the pan off the stove before it gets to that stage. The curd is done when it coats the back of a spatula or leaves a clear path when pulled through the mixture.
  5. Remove from heat allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Pour curd mixture into a clean glass jar, but let it cool completely before you screw on the lid. You can even place the filled jar in the freezer (without the lid) for about 15 minutes and then remove from freezer and place the lid on the jar. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Note – Recipe adapted from Dolly and Oatmeal.

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Homemade Bloody Mary Recipe

Homemade Bloody Mary Mix // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Last weekend, over the labor day holiday weekend, my husband and I escaped the hot KC summer and traveled to the amazing scenery of New Mexico. We were celebrating our NINTH wedding anniversary. It was magical. We spent several days in Taos and then ended our vacation in Santa Fe. I’m absolutely in love with the area. How could you not be???

The mountains.

The locals.

The adobes.

The FOOOOD!

Homemade Bloody Mary Mix // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Homemade Bloody Mary Mix // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

It was prime time for roasting fresh hatch chiles!  Everywhere we went, I had green chile and red chile sauce (christmas style…which means both) slathered on everything.  I couldn’t get enough, breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, snacks, chile on chile on chile. I luckily brought back some fresh hatch chiles that I was able to snag at the Taos Farmers Market.

We came home to a plethora of tomatoes in our garden. The end of August and September typically leave most gardeners with so many tomatoes that you are looking for new and different ways to use them.  So I have a handy dandy new recipe idea for you and all your ton o’ tomatoes…Bloody Mary Mix. Ya..you heard me. I will be showing you how to use all of those tomatoes to make fresh tomato juice for your own homemade Bloody Mary Mix.

Homemade Bloody Mary Mix // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

One really easy way to make tomato juice is using a juicer. Williams-Sonoma has a plethora of great juicer options (droooool). Unfortunately, I do not have a juicer. So I decided to puree my tomatoes (along with some onion, green chiles, and celery) and pass the puree through a sieve or fine mesh to separate the juice from the solids.  I was able to get 8 cups of juice from 12 cups of diced tomatoes.

And DON’T THROW AWAY THOSE SOLIDS…seriously.  Make fresh and easy salsa with the tomato solids! Two recipe dishes for one effort!  I added a handful of cilantro, a diced onion, diced jalapeños, lime juice, and salt to taste. Bam…salsa. A snack to go with your brunch drink. Amazing.

Additionally, I have included canning instructions below so that you can preserve your awesome homemade Bloody Mary Mix and drink it forever give it as gifts (if you can dare part with this amazing elixir). If you don’t have much canning equipment, check out this awesome selection of canning and preserving equipment from Williams-Sonoma too (double drool).

Homemade Bloody Mary Mix // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

My homemade Bloody Mary Mix recipe has a New Mexican spin since I added roasted hatch green chiles. I roasted my own chiles by placing them over an open gas flame. The smokey hatch chiles provide a nice smokey addition of flavor! Warning – be careful when adding additional hot sauce to your Bloody Mary Mix because some hatch chiles can be HOT HOT HOT.

If you want to put up several jars of this Bloody Mary Mix, pint-sized jars of homemade Bloody Mary Mix make a great gift.  I know I would LOVE to get this mix as a gift. Oh ya. To make a great gift set, include the following:

  • Pint sized jar of Homemade Bloody Mary Mix (sealed and processed through hot batch canning)
  • Jelly jar of pickled green tomatoes (sealed and processed through hot bath canning) or a jar of jalapeño stuffed olives
  • Tiny baggy of kosher salt, ground pepper, and smoked paprika for the rim
  • Mini bottle of vodka

Homemade Bloody Mary Mix // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Voila! Best brunch gift ever.  Be sure to include directions for mixing up the homemade drink. One pint jar will make at least TWO Bloody Marys.

Note – the Homemade Bloody Mary Mix may start to separate (solids and liquid). This is ok…no big deal. Just swirl the mix prior to preparing your drinks. This may not be an issue if you use a juicer.

Homemade Bloody Mary Mix // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Homemade Bloody Mary Recipe

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 1 hour prep / 1 hour canning
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Ingredients

  • 12 cups of diced ripe tomatoes and juice
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery plus leaves, chopped
  • 2 fresh roasted hatch green chiles (or 4 oz canned green chiles) (optional)
  • juice of 2 limes and 2 lemons
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of grated fresh horseradish or prepared bottled horseradish
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons gluten free Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon celery salt
  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Hot sauce (such as Sriracha), to taste
  • 1/4 cup pickle juice (spicy pickle juice is super good)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups of vodka
  • Rim Seasoning: kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, smoked paprika
  • Optional Garnish: olives, jalapeño stuffed olives, pickled green tomatoes, lime wedges

Instructions

  1. Make Fresh Tomato Juice – Place chopped tomatoes, onion, celery, and roasted hatch chiles in a blender or food processor and puree.  This will likely need to occur in batches. Pass the pureed mixture in batches through a food mill or through a fine mesh sieve, capturing the juice in a large container. You should have about 8 cups of tomato juice.  Set solids aside to make this salsa. (Alternately to using a blender, you can use a juicer and juice the tomatoes, celery, shallot, and chiles).
  2. Make Mix – Add lemon juice, lime juice, grated horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, and celery salt to the fresh tomato juice. Add hot sauce, salt, and fresh cracked pepper to taste. (To can and preserve the Bloody Mary Mix, see canning instructions below).
  3. Assemble Drinks – Mix 1 tablespoon each of salt, ground black pepper, and smoked paprika on a small flat plate. Dip the rim of each glass in water or lemon juice and then dip the rim of each glass in the paprika-salt mixture and twist the glass.   Fill each 8 ounce glass with ice to the rim. Pour 1 ounce of vodka and top off with bloody mary mix in each glass. An extra splash of hot sauce and pickle juice tastes grand.  Be sure to swirl around all the ingredients using a spoon or chopsticks.
  4. Garnish – Top and garnish the drinks as you wish…with limes, lemons, jalapeño stuffed olives, hot sauce, pickled green tomatoes, pickled green beans, bacon… ya bacon. It’s endless possibilities.

Canning Instructions: (See this tutorial on canning instructions for great details)

  1. Clean and heat canning jars.  Simmer lids for 10 minutes at around 180 F water. Preheat the water bath to a rolling boil.
  2. Fill pint-sized jars with Bloody Mary Mix, leaving 1/4-inch head space at the top of the jar. Wipe rim of jars.
  3. Apply the lids and screw on the canning rings.
  4. Lower the pint jars into the boiling water canning bath using a jar rack. Allow the water to come back to a gentle boil.  Place lid on canning bath and process pint jars for at least 45 minutes. (Note – If you’re canning a small batch of jars, it is best to use a smaller pot to process your jars to reduce breakage.)
  5. Remove from canning water bath using tongs. Allow to cool to room temperature. After your jars have cooled, check the seal by pressing down on the center of the lid. If the lid does not move and is concave, then you have a good seal. However, if the lid moves when pushed, then there is a bad seal and the jar needs to be processed again.

Fresh and Easy Salsa

Fresh and Easy Salsa / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Put me in front of a bowl of chips and salsa, and it would take the strength of ten mules on steroids to pull me away. I’m serious. Chips and salsa are my go to snack…

Not saying it’s a good thing. Just sayin that your hand maaaaaay get gnawed on if you go for a chip or scoop of salsa while I’m diving in. Seriously. I can’t stop this dipping train!

And now that tomatoes are so prevalent in my garden, it’s time to get this crazy SALSA train started!!!

Fresh and Easy Salsa / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Fresh and Easy Salsa / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I used fresh roma tomatoes, but other varieties are juuuust fine. Plus, I’ll tell you a secret. This recipe can even be made in the winter with (gasp) canned tomatoes.  I have used some that I canned from my garden, but if you only have store-bought, go for the good kind! Muir Glen is my fave. The secret to this salsa is definitely good tomatoes AND lime juice.

I whip up my salsa using a food processor but if you love to chop chop chop, then feel free to dice away. I like to reserve my energy for diving head first into the salsa bowl. If you do end up chopping up the ingredients, your salsa will just be more chunky….which is what I’m going to be if I don’t get my face out of this bowl of chips and salsa soon!

Give me more!

Fresh and Easy Salsa / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Fresh and Easy Salsa

  • Servings: 4 Cups
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 cups diced fresh tomatoes (about 15 roma tomatoes)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 jalapeños (chopped and seeds removed if you want mild salsa)
  • 1/4 bunch of cilantro
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)

Instructions

  1. Place tomatoes in bowl of food processor and pulse a few times until tomatoes are fine diced. Transfer tomatoes to a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Place chopped onion, garlic, jalapeños, cilantro, and lime juice to bowl of food processor. Pulse for 15 seconds or until everything is chopped fine. Transfer contents to the medium bowl with the tomatoes. Stir well and add salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be made ahead of time.

Asian Pickled Vegetable Slaw

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My garden is BOOOOOMING. It’s September and temps are nearing 100F. UGH. But hey, like grandma always said, when life hands you a crap ton of vegetables, make pickles…and slaw…and pickled slaw…oh and salads…and pickled slaw for your salads. Right?

I am presenting you with a healthy and quick snacking tool to stash in your fridge. You can whip these out to snack on, to amp up a burger, boost a salad, or pizzazz a sandwich wrap.  Trust me, once you pop, you just can’t stop! Oh, and these are super kid friendly too.

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DSC_0202And…AND…did I mention that you do NOT need a canner. Quick fridge pickled slaw will be your BFF in no time. They are pickled within an hour, but taste best if you wait about 24 hours. These fridge pickled veggies will keep for a month (if they last that long without being devoured).

When making a batch..or two, just make sure you have about 3 to 4 clean pint jars with lids. Mix up the brine in a saucepan and allow to boil and then let it cool.  Stuff all of your delicious julienned veggies into the jars. Then, pour the brine over your veg mix, leaving about 1/4-inch head space. Seal up with your lid. Place in fridge. Wait. Shake. Wait. Wait. Shake. Eat. Eat. Be happy.

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Note – The asian flare is primarily from the rice vinegar. I recommend buying an organic rice vinegar or at least one without added sugar, such as Eden Organics Brown Rice Vinegar. This recipe can easily be doubled and tripled if you want to make extra for giving the gift of pickled slaw to others. People will love you. This recipe can easily be made with 100% rice wine vinegar or 100% apple cider vinegar…actually, any vinegar would work. It will just change the flavor.

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Asian Pickled Vegetable Slaw (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients

Brine:

  • 1/2 Cup Rice Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Yellow Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Cup distilled water

Vegetable Mixture Options (requires about 4 cups at least of shredded or julienned veggies):

  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Bell Peppers
  • Jalapeños
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Radishes

Instructions

  1. First, cut up about 4 to 5 cups of fresh and colorful vegetables (see suggestions above). The vegetables can be slivered or julienned.
  2. Have at least 4 pint jars with lids cleaned and set aside.
  3. To make the brine, heat the vinegars, honey, salt, and mustard seeds in a saucepan until it begins to simmer. Make sure the saucepan is non-reactive. Once the salt and honey is dissolved, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the distilled water. Allow the brine to cool to a lukewarm temperature.
  4. Next, divide your vegetable slaw mixture evenly between your jars. Pour the brine over the vegetables. Seal with lids. Place in refrigerator for at least 24 hours and up to a month. The vegetables will taste pickled within an hour, but taste even better the next day or two. Make sure your vegetables are submerged in the brine for the maximum shelf life.

Quick Spicy Kosher Dill Pickles

This recipe is from a stash of old Kerr and Ball Jar canning recipes that were used by my husband’s great grandmother. Kiley’s mother gave me these amazing recipes and I cherish them so much. Hand written notes are in the margins and there are added notebook sheets browned at the edges and creased from use.

His great grandmother was a 4′ 10″ strong, fiery, and amazing woman that believed in Sunday suppers with family and walking every day to the end of her drive way for exercise wearing large sunglasses and a large rimmed sun hat.  I wish I would have known her. Especially since she would have been one of the only people that I would actually tower over.

These recipes bring me back to a simple time. A time when families would have a garden in the backyard. Produce was fresh and “organic.”  Except people didn’t have to call it organic, because why would they spray pesticides and chemicals on their own food. “Fast food” was reheating the leftover pot roast and green beans with new potatoes from Sunday’s supper. Oh ya…and it was supper, not dinner. Families sat down for supper together, a homemade meal that was made with love and the seasonal produce plucked from the backyard. No cell phones. No Facebook. No processed foods. Extra produce was canned or preserved in some way so that there was produce to eat in the winter.

I made both the kosher dill pickles and a batch of bread and butter pickles. Both are amazing. I’ve included the recipe for her kosher dill pickles which are amazing. You can adjust the heat depending on the quantity of red pepper flakes that you add.

These are quick refrigerator pickles that don’t need to be canned.  This is simple. Almost as simple as opening a jar of store bought. But so much more rewarding! You will love to bring these pickles out at parties or take them to picnics or munch on them as a snack.

So, you have a new assignment. You are making pickles. Use those extra cucumbers from the garden or gather up a bounty at the farmers market. Oh, get some fresh dill while you are at it. Make extra because your friends will want some and your family and your neighbors.

A few notes on canning brought to you by the great folks of Kerr: “Only fresh, firm, not too ripe cucumbers should be used for pickling. The cucumbers should be small or medium-sized and freshly gathered. Use a good grade of vinegar, one with 4% to 6% acidity. Strength of vinegar is usually shown on the label of the bottle. If vinegar brine is too weak, the pickles will spoil or become soft.”

Quick Spicy Kosher Dill Pickles

Ingredients

  • 30 to 36 cucumbers (3 to 4 inches in length) or 12 large cucumbers
  • 3 cups vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • fresh dill and dill seed
  • 3 tablespoons of mustard seed
  • 3 teaspoons red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Clean and sterilize 6 pint jars. I sterilize my jars in the dishwasher.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat vinegar, salt, and water over medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat.
  3. Meanwhile, wash you cucumbers and slice lengthwise into spears or in 1/8-inch rounds.
  4. In the bottom of each sterilized pint jar, place 1 garlic clove (sliced or whole), 1/2 tablespoon dill seeds, 1/2 tablespoon mustard seeds, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less depending on how spicy you want your pickles). Stuff each pint jar with cucumbers. Layer fresh dill within the cucumbers.
  5. Pour liquid brine into each jar, leaving about 1/4-inch head space. Seal with lid. Refrigerate until cool, at least 8 hours. These improve over the week. Can be stored up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator.

Jalapeño Jelly Time

With just a few ingredients, we made this amazing jelly. It tastes great as a topping over goat cheese or cream cheese and served with crackers. I’m even going to be slathering it on my burgers, sandwiches…just you wait. It’s the bling that your food has been waiting for! It’ll even take a grilled cheese up 10 notches. 

Jalapeño Pepper Jelly (makes 4 to 5 8 oz jars) adapted from Ball Preserving Guide

Ingredients

  • 12 jalapeños (chopped and deseeded…depending on how hot you want your jelly, you may keep the seeds from a few of the peppers)
  • 2 red bell peppers (chopped and deseeded) (do not sub green)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 3 oz. package of pectin (liquid works best)
  • 5 cups of sugar
Instructions
  1. Chop the jalapeños and bell peppers in a food processor or by hand. If you are chopping the peppers by hand, you should probably wear rubber gloves. Because no matter how careful you are, you will end up scratching your eye and it will sting FOOOOOREVER (yes, this is personal experience talking).
  2. Combine peppers, vinegar, and sugar in a saucepan. Heat over medium until boiling. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Add pectin and stir constantly for an additional minute.  Skim foam if necessary.
  4. Ladle hot jelly into hot sterilized jars. Leave 1/4 inch of headspace.  Assemble and adjust two piece lids. Place in fridge or process in hot water canning bath for 10 minutes. See safety instructions for hot water bath canning. 

Pickled Okra

My okra plants are taller than me…ya, not hard to do, but still impressive to me. Coming from Oklahoma, I looooove me some fried okra. But I wanted to find better and healthier recipes for preparing okra. With a bumper crop of okra, I have been trying to find different ways to preserve them. I have frozen nearly four gallon bags of these puppies, waiting to make gumbo this fall. I decided to try my hand at pickling okra also.

These are a fabulous snack and pretty too! It’s a lot easier than you would think. The smaller okra pods work best, but as you can see from my photos, I allowed my okra to get a little too big and went ahead and used them anyways. They just aren’t as tender as the babies, but they still are tasty tasty. I used the recipe from my Ball Preserving book. They even have a homemade ketchup recipe in there….mmmm…tempting.

Pickled Okra by Ball’s Guide to Preserving

  • 3 1/2 pounds small okra pods
  • 1/2 cup canning salt (I use kosher salt)
  • 2 tsp dill seed
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 small hot red peppers, cut in half (or 1 to 2 tsp red pepper flakes)
Materials: You will need 4 clean and sterilized pint mason jars with lids (band and clean lid). A funnel may also be useful, but not necessary.
Prep: Trim stems of okra but leave whole, being careful not to cut into pods. For the larger okra, I went cut them up. The downside of this is that you will have a bit of slimy goo from the okra in your jar, but it still tastes fine. The smaller pods are still better. After you have prepped your okra, set them aside.
Make Brine: Combine salt, dill seed, water, and vinegar in a large pot. Bring to a boil.
Pack: Pack okra into the hot and clean jars, leaving about 1/4 inch headspace to allow for heat expansion. Shove 1 clove of garlic and 1/2 pepper in each pint jar.
Finish ‘er up: Ladle the hot brine liquid over okra, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Add the cap and band. You can heat in a hot water canning bath for 15 minutes to seal completely….OR allow to cool for 15 minutes and then place in refrigerator for fridge pickles. They should be ready to eat within a week.