Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I love when a recipe turns out absolutely amazing, especially when liberties are taken!

I finished canning and had a few peaches that too bruised to be used. Back in July, I received an update from "Food and Whine" about using peaches in muffins. Totally alien territory for me, using anything but berries in my muffin making, but I figured I'd take a risk and try this.

Boy am I glad I did! These muffins were so moist, with the peaches and yogurt, but not as sugary as I feared; it took a serious force of will not to devour the whole batch.

While the original recipe called for slivered almonds in the topping, I had pecans in my cupboard so I subbed those in; didn't miss the almonds at all!

These will make a great warm breakfast in the future; they were incredibly filling, yet light enough for the early hours, and have no need for butter at all ;)

Warm Peach Muffins


2 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup peaches, mashed

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp vegetable oil

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl combine brown sugar, yogurt, oil, eggs, and vanilla, and whisk until smooth. Add to flour mixture, top with mashed peaches, and mix until just combined.

combine topping ingredients and stir until sugar begins to cling.

Pour batter into muffin cups or greased muffin tin, sprinkle with topping, and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

My batch made about 14 muffins using a small muffin tin.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Nightmare Before Canning

Last winter, I hit a close-out sale and picked up a canning kit that included a jar lifter and funnel, and thought to my self I am going to can this summer. My mum and I had canned peaches and apricots and made jam almost every summer, and since moving away for University, I haven't had the chance to keep up this summer ritual.

This year, with my own kitchen, I finally had the chance. Wouldn't you know that everybody else seems to have had the same idea as me. Five stores later and I finally found some mason jars bigger than a half pint (that's only 250 ml), and scurried home, only to find that both the jar lifter and my biggest pot were too small.

Today I again chased all over town trying to find a pot big enough to hold my quart jars; I made two trips out and ended up with two pots, the first of which only fits pint jars. ARGH! I'd have taken the jars back, but I thought I'd be smart and wash them in advance, ergo I was stuck trying to find a stock pot tall and wide enough to fit my larger jar lifter and cover the tops of the jars.

All the hunting almost made the whole idea not worth trying. Note to all you first time canners, find out which Canadian Tire has both a canning pot and all the tools in stock before you go, AND make sure you buy the jars that will fit the pot at the same time!!!

At least I'm fully equipped for next year!

Nevertheless, the nightmare ended when I finally got started blanching and processing the beans. The tiny ping of lids popping as the jars cooled made me dance a little victory dance; at least the frustration of the last two days had resulted in success at this most important point!

I canned a batch of beans following my grandmother's recipe, as follows:

2 lbs. green beans, trimmed and washed.
1 cup vinegar
2 tbsp pickling salt
2 tsp (or a small bunch) dill weed
2 cloves garlic
3 cups water
2 tsp cayenne

Blanch the beans in boiling, salted water for about three minutes, or until bright green. Drain and douse beans in icy water to stop cooking. Pack length-wise into clean, sterilized jars, up to the shoulder (that's just below the mouth), leaving about 1/2 inch at the top.

Combine the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover the beans, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Put on processed lids and hand tighten rings.

Process in using water bath method for 10 minutes.
(Water Bath: submerge jars in boiling water, with at least one inch of water above lids for specified time.)

Beautiful! Its peaches and apricots tomorrow! I may even try to do a batch of tomato sauce!