harvest

Roasted Applesauce (AKA The Best Applesauce Ever)

Yep. My cutting boards are actually used to cut things. I mean I guess I could buy a prop board...but I would end up chopping carrots on it.

Yep. My cutting boards are actually used to cut things. I mean I guess I could buy a prop board…but I would end up chopping carrots on it.

I can’t eat hot apples.

I can eat apples that have been cooked, I just can’t eat them hot. So I’m not sure why I got stuck this weekend on the idea of roasted applesauce-instead of my normal boiled down type.

I’m not even sure why I thought that it would be different-but different, indeed, it is.

We went on an apple hunt this weekend-I ran completely out of canned apple products last week and I had been putting off getting more apples. I decided I was never going to get them if I didn’t just make the plunge, I would keep putting it off, so I went off to my favorite vendor at the North Tonawanda farmer’s market. I came home with a Top’s paper bag full of Golden Blushes for $3.

After some basic Internet searches just to verify that this was even worth attempting, I was off. And sweet Pomona, this stuff is amazing. After blending it takes on this weird rubbery texture (look, it’s a good thing, I just don’t know how to describe it but trust me here) that you don’t get with boiled sauces. It’s more like apple pudding. Amazing, amazing apple pudding.

[I sometimes get asked this, so here’s my stance-I’m not picky when it comes to apples for saucing. If I can get my hands on it, I’ll use it. That means everything from free range wild to Aldis to heirlooms. If I can get it into a jar, I’m not a snob. The trick is trying the apple and seeing roughly how sweet it is and adjusting the sugar added to the sauce that way.]

Notes:

This, like all applesauces, is most of a structure than a firm recipe. You can adjust this as you go. I did add my sugar beforehand, and would recommend adding at least a little to help draw out moisture as it bakes. You can add a little more when it comes out of the oven if you feel like it needs more sugar.

You can roast other fruits in there with the apples at the same time for mixed fruit sauces.

I didn’t peel, I don’t peel my apples for sauce, but you can if you would like.

I froze this batch but I can’t think of a reason why this couldn’t be canned to be shelf stable. Follow the instructions for canning applesauce in the Ball Blue Book.

Roasted Applesauce

Heavy weight oven safe pan (honestly I baked it in a sauce pan)

apples, cored and chopped

about 1/2 cup sugar to start

nutmeg

 

Preheat oven to 400 or 425 (temperature isn’t terribly important as long as it’s in that range)

Core and chop your apples. I just chopped until the pan was filled (there are many apples in my kitchen)

Place in the pan, and cover with sugar.

Bake for 40-50 minutes. The apples will come out looking slightly dehydrated.

Very carefully-or let cool first-blend with an immersion blender or carefully add to a conventional blender and pulse till smooth. It might take a moment to get it going.

Add a little more sugar if desired and a couple of dashes of nutmeg, and stir into sauce.

Nutmeg Coffee Syrup

spices-834114_1280

I do have ghost material to post-I went to the Central Terminal for the Carnival of Parahorror, and want to get that post written up at least.

I love pumpkin spice, but nutmeg’s been my current love (though I admit that I’m surprised Pixabay has photos of nutmeg-the camera on my phone is getting touch and go and it’s really gray here today). We went to Spot on Elmwood on Sunday to see someone, and they had cold brew iced coffee-another love-and a shaker of nutmeg. On a whim I made myself a nutmeg coffee, and now I’m off and running.

There’s something slightly retro about nutmeg, but I can’t put my finger on exactly what that is. But I love it. Don’t be surprised if you see it here more often.

Nutmeg is a general healing herb, folklorically speaking. Nutmeg/allspice berries, like most ‘berry’ herbs, can stand in for coins in money draws.

Note:

I mix my syrups a little strong, because I don’t like terribly sweet coffee but want the spice to come through when I use it-so I use a heavy hand so I can get flavor out of a small amount of syrup. Use a lighter hand if you like a sweeter coffee.

Don’t over boil simple syrup or you’ll end up with candy.

Nutmeg Coffee Syrup

1 pint water

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 tablespoon each good quality ground nutmeg and cinnamon

1 tablespoon vanilla extract (real/alcohol based preferably)

Mix dry spices and sugar together well, add to a pot with water and vanilla.

Over medium low heat bring to a gentle simmer and let cook down slightly to make a sugar syrup.

Take off of heat, cool, and keep in the fridge. It should hold for a fair amount of time, at least a couple of weeks due to the sugar content.

Night of the Living Mint

zombie mint

Did you know that Romero never got around to copywriting The Night of the Living Dead, so for a very long time the whole thing was in the public domain?

I don’t know if it’s still true but for awhile you could pretty much do whatever you want with the movie, or the title.

After my last major mint harvest, my mint decided it had enough. Even with watering, the plants dried up and turned brown. I got busy and never got around to cleaning out the boxes. I thought I would go buy a new plant eventually, but it wasn’t a priority.

Then I happened to glance down walking by-and then had to look again.

The boxes were slowly turning green again. New baby shoots were starting to come up and there were some new leaves on the ‘dead’ stalks.

I’ve been told that part of the reason that mint is so hard to kill is that the roots themselves just don’t want to let go. My plants probably got root bound and when the tops died out, the roots moved out a little and sent up new shoots. So now I have plants coming up in new places in the box.

I’ve been feeding them coffee and watering them. And frankly, just sort of staring at my zombie mint.

I don’t know which is more amusing to me-that I managed to kill mint or that I’m not even good enough a gardener to actually kill mint.

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Roasted Tomato Sauce

roasted tomato sauce

I cook when I get stressed.

This is nothing new, I’ve talked about this before.

Today’s stress was at least productive-Mid had two job interviews. It turns out that the job interviews I stress out the most for are the ones I’m not the one going for.

So, no I didn’t exactly feel like a room, with or without a roof. I did however have a room with about five pounds of tomatoes in it because I keep swearing I’m going to fix the burner and get my canner going. However, Local Kitchen has a recipe for roasted tomato sauce and Local Kitchen hasn’t steered me wrong yet.

The thing though is, I didn’t follow the recipe because I don’t normally follow recipes if I’m not baking-any long term reader of this blog will understand that’s why my recipes are so weird. This probably falls at least relatively close, but I pretty much just baked and blended vegetables.

I was also agitated enough with the interviews I personally would not be attending that I didn’t photograph anything. Whoops.

Luckily, this means that this recipe is insanely adjustable. Use what you need to use.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Based on Local Kitchen’s Garden Sauce

tomatoes

assorted vegetables

garlic

fresh basil and rosemary

Apple cider vinegar

baking pan or lipped cookie sheet

Preheat your oven to 400.

At least core your tomatoes, but they don’t have to be skinned. Put them face down on your pan.

Place your other vegetables around the tomatoes- I used carrots, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and garlic. I peeled the onion but not the carrots or the tomatoes.

Bake at 400 for at least 45 minutes.

Carefully pulse in a blender or use an immersion blender, adding your fresh herbs.

Stir in a glug of vinegar.

*This does make the best sauce I’ve made yet, but I would pull back on how long I blended it or let the blitzed sauce cook down a little. I also would up how much seasonings I personally would use, but that’s a flavor preference.

 

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Shepherd’s Pie

shepherds pie

‘Why would you name a blog Horrific Knits and expect people to read it?!’

Well, they do read it-to the tune of about 500 hits a day.

I haven’t talked about the name of my blog in a couple of years, and since people are ahem expressing their opinion on the subject elsewhere: the blog started out called Red Crow, Green Crow and was -only- fiber arts. I don’t know why I called it that. I just liked birds.

Anyway, after awhile I started pulling more and more horror content in with the knitting-so I had this idea of calling it Horrific Knits: Knitting has never been so scary. All very tongue in cheek, or something. Anyway, after awhile it evolving into the horror/folklore/homesteading mishmash it is now. I know that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea-but I’m a female horror reviewer. There’s a lot that has already been thrown at me, so I’m pretty laid back on the whole thing.

My thoughts go something like this: if you’re not going to read a blog based on name, you’re probably not my target audience anyway. This is where the law of happiness applies: you’re never going to make everyone happy anyway. Considering I’ve had people annoyed about everything Netflix calling a film a horror movie to how many pictures I use and where I place them, I can’t really let these things bother me.  Because I also get comments telling me that readers think the name is hysterical.

Seriously: you can’t make everyone happy. Don’t even bother trying.

What did make Mid happy? This shepherd’s pie. I made it the night before and put in the fridge over night. I baked it the next day. I might make all my shepherd’s pie this way now.

Shepherd’s Pie

*This is another one of my patented, recipe is adjusted to ingredients recipes. As in, I don’t have any hard and fast amounts listed.

-Root vegetables

-meatloaf mix, 1 package

-assorted vegetables like peas and corn

-1 1/2 to 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar

-about 2 cloves worth minced garlic

For the root vegetables-I used ‘however many new potatoes came in a box from the farmer’s market’, a bag of marked down baby carrots, and a sweet potato. Use whatever you have. You want maybe 3 cups total of mashed vegetables. Enough to cover the top of the pie.

Boil your root vegetables to fork tender and mash. Set aside to cool a little, they’ll spread easier when they’re not completely, boiling hot.

Brown your meat till just before completely cooked through. Near the end, add your garlic so it doesn’t scorch. Let meat cool a little.

In a baking pan, spread your meat over the bottom. Layer with the vegetables you didn’t mash.

Carefully spread and mush your mashed vegetables over the top.

In an oven preheated to 400, bake for 10-15 minutes.

Remove and cover with cheese.

All to bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.

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Whiskey Sauce

whiskey sauce

It’s the end of an era.

I have a denim skirt, a well loved to literal tatters denim skirt. It has seen me through two degrees, a move across state, much pain, and a lot of happiness.

This skirt is well over a decade old and frankly the fabric just isn’t up to it anymore. It has given out in a place where frankly I’m just not sure it’s worth attempting to try to fix anymore.

Goodbye, old friend.

The upshot is that the new one is already ordered-and with reward gift cards, was completely free.

This sauce is based on a recipe I found on Stumbleupon (this one). However, I didn’t actually follow it. I made this like it was one of my jam recipes.

My tips: I didn’t can it, though I’m not sure there’s any reason you couldn’t. Use fairly soft fruit. I didn’t and ended up using about half of the fruit I bought because I was just that annoyed. With a project like this, use a whiskey you like but isn’t necessarily all that high quality. It’s going to be starring with fruit flavors, so don’t waste money on something with complexity that will be lost in the mix.

Whiskey Sauce

3 pieces stone fruit [roughly three cups, chopped]

1/3 cup whiskey

scant 1 1/3 cup raw sugar

1 tea vanilla

Add chopped fruit, sugar, and whiskey to bowl or pot and allow to macerate for at least half an hour.

Add vanilla.

Over medium heat, bring to a simmer and let cook down 20 minutes.

All to cool, then freeze or leave in the fridge.

Serve over desserts or mix into seltzer.

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Late Summer Jam: Blue Plum

I like to keep my plum jam simple.

Plums, and sugar.

No pectin, no spices, nothing but raw sugar and plums.

This is the only jam that I make this simply-even my strawberry jam is made with black strap brown sugar. Not the plums.

Just plummy goodness. I love to use plum jam as a stand in for plum sauce on chicken and in stir fries.

By all means, add some cinnamon and mint, I mean, it’s awesome that way. But there’s something about how really awesome plums cook down that has me in love with the simplicity of this jam.

*You don’t need to peel plums for jams. The skins will cook down, but if you really want to-go right ahead.

Blue Plum Jam

Raw Sugar

Blue plums

Half and stone your plums, placing into a large glass jar or bowl.

Add about half as much raw sugar as you have plums (so 1 cup sugar to 2 cups fruit).

Place in the fridge and let macerate at least overnight. They can sit longer than that if necessary.

Cook down about 20-30 minutes, or until you hit jell point or the consistency you like.

Place into clean jars and store in the fridge or freezer.

*You can water process this jam in half pints for 10 minutes. Add a little lemon to cut the sweetness if you would like.

Bloggers-I have started a new group board on Pinterest. Open to all DIY, craft, food, or other creative blogs, I would love to have you join. Joining instructions are posted on the board-join here.

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