Blueberry BBQ Chicken

Entree Chicken Chef Farmer BBQ Sauce

Photo from Southern Season website.

Oh goodness! Vivian Howard of Chef & The Farmer has a scrumptious Blueberry BBQ Finishing Sauce…a unique twist on BBQ sauces. I LOVE that they claim right there on the bottle that the sauce is “great with chicken and pork and grilled veggies and cocktails and friends and weekends.” Well said! Don’t worry if you don’t live in our fab ENC; you may order it from the restaurant or Southern Season. “Take a break from traditional red sauce and go blue!” You do watch A Chef’s Life, right?

2 large organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup Chef & The Farmer Blueberry BBQ Sauce
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepperEntree Chicken Chef Farmer BBQ

Preheat oven to 400°.
Salt and pepper both sides of chicken breasts.
Heat olive oil and BBQ sauce in skillet on medium high until sizzling.
Place chicken in skillet and reduce heat to medium.
Cook 4 minutes til browned on one side.
Turn chicken over.
Place in oven.
Bake 8 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to rest 4 minutes.
Slice chicken on diagonal.
Drizzle with skillet juices.

Serves 4.

Fresh Tomatoes Preserved (for Winter!)

Worth the effort…I PROMISE. You will be pleased as punch bourbon this winter when you make your vegetable soup, pasta dishes, baked chicken, and/or sauteed fish.  Don’t shrug this off; honestly, do it! This is THE simplest of all canning. Totally legit. It IS after all the season to “put up” summer produce, right?! I tweaked this recipe from Southern Living’s softback Little Jars, Big Flavors, featuring Virginia Willis. (Thanks Lou, for the intro to Virginia at Chapel Hill’s Southern Season!) So run out to your local produce stand or grocery and snatch those ‘maters up this weekend.

After the 60 second boil and ice water bath, they peel quite easily.

After the 60 second boil and ice water bath, they peel quite easily.

Sauce Canned Tomatoes Cookbook

Proof that I used the Little Jars, Big Flavors cookbook. Thanks Virginia Willis!

This is what you’ll need:
Complete Canning Set, just makes things easier!
9 lbs fresh tomatoes
2 Tbs salt
4 cinnamon sticks
6 garlic cloves, pressed
3/4 cup lemon juice
4 Tbs sugar

The first several steps make it a cinch to peel the tomatoes.
Bring large pot of water to a boil.
Prepare an ice bath in large bowl.
With knife, cut a large x on bottom of each tomato.
Drop tomatoes into pot.
Cook 60 seconds.
Remove with strainer directly in to ice bath for 2 minutes.
Remove tomatoes from ice bath.

Peel and coarse chop, discarding skin and core.
Place chopped tomatoes in soup pot.
Add salt, cinnamon sticks, garlic, lemon juice, and sugar.
Cover and bring to boil.
Once boiling, remove lid, and boil 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove pot from heat.
Cover and let stand 10 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare jars and lids by boiling them 10 minutes in water bath.
When ready to fill, remove jars and lids from water.
Ladle tomatoes and juice into jars, leaving 1/2″ head space.
Place lid on jars, and screw rims on loosely.
Lower into boiling water bath.
Process in boiling water 40 minutes.
Remove from processing bath to counter top.
Listen for the popping sound, signaling a proper seal.
Allow to stand 24 hours untouched.
Label and transfer to dark pantry.
Good for a year.
Refrigerate after opening.

Makes 6 pint jars.

Ahhh...Dinner from a Father's Day Basket with my Homemade Italian Tomatoes!

Ahhh…Dinner from a Father’s Day Basket with my Homemade Italian Tomatoes!

Chile Queso Dip/Sauce

Well hello California Chrome! Way to own the Derby. Extremely well done. And now…let’s doff those pretty hats and go to Mexico. It is, after all, Cinco de Mayo tomorrow. So I’m sharing the love with a simple but expertly crafted appetizer that you can prepare with ease and in turn share with friends. Pair it with Gray’s Margarita and you have it all covered. Mix all with Laughter; Keep Calm and Munch On.Appetizer Chile Queso Sauce

1 shallot, finely diced
2 vine ripened tomatoes, diced
3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbs butter
2 serrano chile peppers, thinly sliced
1 red jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
1/8 t kosher salt
1 Tbs all purpose flour
1 cup milk
4 oz grated pepper jack cheese
4 oz grated American cheese
Tortilla chips for serving

Combine 1 Tbs shallot, tomatoes, and half the cilantro in small bowl.
Set aside.
Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add remaining shallots, serrano peppers, jalapeño peppers, and salt.
Cook, stirring, until shallots are tender, about 3 minutes.
Sprinkle flour into pan.
Cook, stirring, until flour is absorbed, about 1 minute.
Whisk in milk.
Bring to simmer.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes.
Stir in pepper jack and American cheeses until melted.
Remove from heat.
Stir in remaining cilantro.
Pour into serving bowl.
Top with tomato mixture.
Serve with chips.

*Author’s Note: This is also excellent over baked chicken and sauteed fish. Yum.


Mango Chutney

Ingredients just pored in pot, totally uncooked.

Ingredients just poured in pot, totally uncooked at this point.

Put this one in your Trapper Keeper. Mangos (may also be spelled mangoes) have been grown in India for an amazing four thousand years. Right?! Mangos were introduced to the tropics of Florida in 1863, with the first successful variety commercially grown being the “Haden”. Other popular Florida mangos are the Tommy Atkins, Keitt, and Kent. Their peak seasons are mid June to late August, making this a perfect time to can Mango Chutney to blast you through the winter and spring. Uhhh, I think I’ve also just completed my non-shopping Christmas shopping with all of this canning I’ve been up to (don’t end a sentence with a preposition!). Yes Ma’am. Go for it. Enjoy it with pork, chicken, potato salad and so forth!

Here ya GO!  Task Complete.

Here ya go! Task Complete.

10 mangos, peeled and cubed
2 small onions, chopped
2 cups golden raisins
4 Tbs ginger paste (in refrigerated produce section)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 t mustard seeds
1/2 t red pepper flakes
5 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar

Combine sugar and vinegar in large pot.
Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.
Add remaining ingredients.
Bring to boil, and then simmer, uncovered, stirring every 5 minutes approximately 45 minutes, until thickened and syrupy.
Pour in to clean, prepared mason jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space.
Close jars with lid and lightly placed rim.
Process in boiling water 15 minutes.

Makes 11 to 12 half pint jars.

Do NOT double this. Make additional separate batches if desired.

Bread and Butter Pickles

In bowl soaking

In bowl soaking

Now this is worth knowing! Straight from Renston Garden Market came these small perfect pickling size cucumbers. I made this last week but I just betcha they’re still available. If you’re lucky enough to live in ENC call ahead to make certain they haven’t sold out for the day. Andy or Eva (pronounced Ava) will answer the tele at 252.756.3343. I’m picking up their fresh peaches on Saturday. Cheers!

4 3/4 lbs small cucumbers
4 medium sweet onions
1 large green pepper, chopped
1/4 cup pickling salt
2 1/2 cups white vinegar
2 cups sugar
2 Tbs mustard seeds
3/4 t ground turmeric
5 whole cloves

In pot after cooking

In pot after cooking

Wash cucumbers thoroughly.
Slice crosswise in to 1/4 inch slices, removing ends.
Cut onions in half lengthwise.
Slice crosswise in to 1/8 inch slices.
Put cucumbers, onions, and green peppers in large bowl.
Sprinkle with pickling salt, and stir.
Cover and let stand 3 hours.
Drain mixture.
Bring vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, turmeric, and cloves to a boil in large stock pot.

The Finished Product, 3 batches!

The Finished Product, 2 batches!

Stir until sugar dissolves.
Add drained cucumber mixture.
Cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until cucumbers darken.
Ladle hot mixture in to hot, prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch head-space.
Seal and process jars 10 minutes.
Remove jars from water and make certain that each one pops.
Leave undisturbed for 24 hours.
Move to dark pantry and allow to rest 3 weeks before enjoying.

Pickles are good for a year.
Refrigerate after opening. Makes 12 half pint jars.
As always, I receive nothing, zippo, nada for the mentions in this blog. I just pass along the sources that make my life extra enjoyable!

Glaze for Pork Tenderloin

Hell Yea!  I'm 87!!

Hell Yea! I’m 87!!

Combining multiple flavors was the focus of last night’s birthday dinner for The Queen
(affectionately) my Mother (actually). More on that menu later, promised.

Sauce Glaze for Pork Tenderloin1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup apricot preserves
2 Tbs lime juice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried sliced apricots
1 medium orange, peeled and sectioned

In a sauce pan combine all and stir together.
Bring to boil.
Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 5 minutes.
Cool slightly.

Pour half of mixture over pork last 20 minutes of cooking.
Pour small bit across top part of pork after plated.
This recipe is enough for 2 pork tenderloins, serving 6.

Also fab on chicken, fish and loads of other entrees.

Homemade BBQ Sauce

Dressing Bet's BBQ sauce1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup Hot Shot! (red and black pepper blend)
1/2 gallon Cider vinegar

Pour 1/2 cup of vinegar out of the vinegar container.
Add salt and Hot Shot! to vinegar.
Let it stand a minimum of 7 days before use.
Shake daily.

*This can easily be doubled, using a gallon of vinegar.  It keeps for months.