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This is totally on my "to make list" - thanks to JD for sharing his 'kicked up a notch' Cheese Soup. ~Enjoy! Diane
Tequila Cheese Soup
*guest post by JD Provence
1 quart milk (4 cups)
2 cups of chicken broth
8 ounces Velveeta, cubed
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 medium sweet onion, peeled & diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 to 2 jalapenos, sliced (optional)
1/4 cup cooking oil
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup tequila (optional)
1 tsp black pepper
Salt to taste
Heat oil and saute vegetables until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add broth and continue cooking, over medium high heat, until all vegetables are tender. Meanwhile, in separate pan, melt butter and add in the flour to make a roux. Slow!y add milk and simmer until all roux is absorbed, then add cheese and broth/vegetable mix, continue simmering over medium heat, constantly stirring, until all cheese is melted. Add tequila and black pepper, simmer over medium low heat 10-15 minutes. Garnish with grated cheddar cheese and diced tomatoes. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers
Recipe & Photos by: JD Provence for Canning and Cooking at Home
This recipe is for a quick and easy dinner. We like doing this when we don't have access to our outdoor grill but, craving a burger. You can make the hamburger patty as thick or as thin as you want but, if you do go thicker then increase your first 'bake time' accordingly. The second 'bake time' is to melt the cheese, warm up the onion and toast the buns. You can double this recipe completely by using 2 pounds of ground beef and spreading into a 9x13 baking dish. The original recipe called for 1 tsp garlic powder but, that amount was a bit too strong for our tastes...We backed off of using 1/2 tsp garlic powder per pound of ground beef. I also used two 8x8 baking dishes (one to bake the ground beef and one to finish the recipe.) IF you don't have two equal sized baking dishes, just be extra careful wiping out the dish between the first and second 'bake time.'
Easy Cheeseburger Oven Sliders
1 pound of lean ground beef
1/2 garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 onion, small dice
4-6 slices of cheddar cheese
(enough to cover ground beef patties)
6 slider hamburger buns
2 Tbs melted butter
sesame seeds, optional
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix the spices into the ground beef, press the beef into an 8x8 baking dish so that you have one smooth and even layer. Bake in oven at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove beef from oven and wipe out baking dish (move beef to a large plate so you can easily wipe out dish.) Spray a bit of non-stick spray into baking dish, lay the bottom portion of slider buns down into baking dish, layer beef on top of bun bottoms, sprinkle your diced onion over beef, and lay cheese slices over - covering the beef. Add the tops of your slider buns over that creating your 'burgers'.
Use melted butter and brush the tops of buns lightly, sprinkle sesame seeds over tops of buns (optional.) Place baking dish back into the oven at 350 for another 20 minutes.
Serve hot: Using a knife, cut into beef, along the bun sides to create individual burgers.
Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese
1 gallon milk
1/2 packet direct set mesophilic culture
1/4 tsp liquid rennet, or 1/4 rennet tablet, diluted in 1/4 cup cold, unchlorinated water
1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
1/5 tsp Calcium Chloride (Pickle Crisp Granules) dissolved in 1/4 cup cold, unchlorinated water
I used store bought Vitamin D milk. I use a stockpot, set inside a larger stockpot, filled with water up to the level of the milk, for better temperature control.
Add calcium chloride water solution to milk and stir well. Heat milk to 90F, sprinkle mesophilic culture over top of milk and let sit 3 minutes to hydrate. Using a large whisk or perforated spatula, gently stir in an up and down motion, being sure to get all culture mixed in, for 3 minutes. Cover and let sit for 45 minutes, be sure to keep milk at steady temperature, and as still as possible during this time. Add the rennet solution and again, gently stir, in an up and down motion, for 1 minute. Cover and let sit, keeping the pot at 90F for 45 minutes, or until you can get a clean break with the curds. You should be able to cut into the top about 1/2" and fold the cut over, and it stay, without the cut filling back in. Using a long knife, cut the curds in 1/2" slices, back and forth across the pot. (If you're not sure the curds are ready, slice some, then lift with a ladle and see if they retain their shape, if they do, they're ready.)
Gradually bring the temperature up to 100F, over a period of about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally, very gently to prevent the curds from sticking together. Once you reach 100F, cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Line a colander with cheese cloth, and using a perforated dipper or spatula, gently lift the curds out and place into the lined colander. After you get most of the curds out, you can dip out most of the whey, then pour the remaining curds and whey into the colander.
Tie up the ends of the cheesecloth, hang, and let drain for about an hour. Place the curds in a large bowl, remove the cheesecloth and break up the pieces, while gradually mixing in the salt.
If you don't have a mold and press, place back in 2 or 3 layers of cheese cloth, bring the ends together and twist, to form a ball. The pressing process: You apply 10 pounds of pressure for 10 minutes, remove from mold, unwrap, turn over, replace cheese cloth, apply 20 pounds of pressure for 30 minutes, unwrap, replace flip over, replace cheese cloth, then apply 50 pounds of pressure for 12 hours. Then remove the cheese cloth, let air dry for 2 or 3 days, until a crust-like rind forms. Then wax or vac-seal and let age at least 1 month. I used a 2 pound plastic cheese mold and a big C-clamp. A better press can be made from 2 long threaded bolts and a couple of boards...
Recipe and Photos by: JD Provence for Canning and Cooking at Home
1 1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoon citric acid
1/4 rennet tablet or 1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet (1/2 tablet Junket rennet)
1 gallon milk, whole, not ultra-pasteurized*
1 teaspoon kosher salt
5 quart or larger non-reactive pot
Measuring cups and spoons
8" knife, off-set spatula, or similar slim instrument for cutting the curds
1. Prepare the Citric Acid and Rennet: Measure out 1 cup of water. Stir in the citric acid until dissolved. Measure out 1/4 cup of water in a separate bowl. Stir in the rennet until dissolved.
2. Warm the Milk: Pour the milk into the pot. Stir in the citric acid solution. Set the pot over medium-high heat and warm to 90°F, stirring gently.
3. Add the Rennet: Remove the pot from heat and gently stir in the rennet solution. Count to 30. Stop stirring, cover the pot, and let it sit undisturbed for 30 minutes.
4. Cut the Curds: After thirty minutes, the milk should have set, and it should look and feel like soft silken tofu. If it is still liquidy, re-cover the pot and let it sit for another fifteen minutes. Once the milk has set, cut it into uniform curds: make several parallel cuts vertically through the curds and then several parallel cuts horizontally, creating a grid-like pattern. Make sure your knife reaches all the way to the bottom of the pan.
5. Cook the Curds: Place the pot back on the stove over medium heat and warm the curds to 105°F. Stir slowly as the curds warm, but try not to break them up too much. The curds will eventually clump together and separate more completely from the yellow whey.
6. Remove the Curds from Heat and Stir: Remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring gently for another 5 minutes.
7. Separate the Curds from the Whey: Ladle the curds into a microwave-safe bowl with the slotted spoon. You can cool and save the whey for other uses (like adding to baked goods & smoothies)
8. Microwave the Curds: Microwave the curds for one minute. Drain off the whey. Put on your rubber gloves and fold the curds over on themselves a few times. At this point, the curds will still be very loose and cottage-cheese-like.
9. Microwave the Curds to 135°F: Microwave the curds for another 30 seconds and check their internal temperature. If the temperature has reached 135°F, continue with stretching the curds. If not, continue microwaving in 30-second bursts until they reach temperature. The curds need to reach this temperature in order to stretch properly.
10. Stretch and Shape the Mozzarella: Sprinkle the salt over the cheese and squish it with your fingers to incorporate. Using both hands, stretch and fold the curds repeatedly. It will start to tighten, become firm, and take on a glossy sheen. When this happens, you are ready to shape the mozzarella. Make one large ball, two smaller balls, or several bite-sized bocconcini. Try not to over-work the mozzarella.
11. Using and Storing Your Mozzarella: Mix a teaspoon of salt with a cup of cool whey and pour this over the mozzarella or dip cheese ball/balls in this mixture to coat. Wrap tightly in saran, Cover and refrigerate.The mozzarella can be used immediately or kept refrigerated for a week.
Adapted from: New England Cheesemaking Supply Company
Photo by: JD Provence and Diane Baker for Canning and Cooking at Home
It was just a day or so before Easter and my hubby said "can we have Au Gratin or Scalloped Potatoes at Easter with the Ham?" since he doesn't request specific foods very often, I said "sure!" and set out to find a great "Homemade" recipe. Who else can I ask but, my Foodie Friends!! They have never let me down and this time was no exception! Mary from All Things Food - Cooking with Mary & Friends sent me her recipe and it is a real winner!! So glad to add this to my recipe box!! Easy to assemble and bake - even EASIER to EAT!! and EAT and EAT!! Make sure to stop by Mary's for more great recipes. ~Enjoy! Diane
Cheesy, Creamy Scallop Potatoes with Bacon
1/2 stick butter (4 Tbs)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp salt
2 tsp course-ground black pepper
1 Tbs parsley flakes
1 tsp hot sauce
1 medium onion, sliced
5-6 red or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
2 cups medium cheddar cheese, divided
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 tsp paprika, sweet mild
Slice onion into rings. Rinse potatoes; drain then thinly slice, I used my mandolin.
In a small pot, heat butter on medium heat until melted. Add in the flour. Whisk until smooth and slightly nutty smelling, gradually add milk, cream, salt, black pepper, parsley flakes, 1 cup cheddar cheese and the hot sauce.
Bring to a boil over med-high heat; stir constantly for 2 minutes or until thick.
Place lid on pot to keep warm (this can be made ahead of time and let sit until ready to use).
In a lightly buttered 2 qt. glass baking dish, layer potatoes and onion rings alternately starting and ending with potatoes. Pour sauce over potatoes and onions. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon over top.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until browned and bubbly.
Recipe by: Mary Marshall - All Things Food - Cooking with Mary & Friends
Photos by: Diane Baker for Canning and Cooking at Home
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Diane Baker: Owner & Creator of Canning and Cooking at Home