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Butternut Squash Bisque

We have gone through a season of purging our excess belongings, and one of the things that I’ve purged is all my superfluous cookbooks. So I am surprised that one of the few cookbooks left in my library is a simple “Barnes and Nobles” book called Cook’s Encyclopedia to Soup, by Debra Mayhew. I love it because the recipes are simple and straightforward, the book is well organized, and there are pictures with EVERY recipe. You can find my handy little volume for a penny on Amazon. Yay for old editions!


Before I share the recipe (with my adaptations) I want to give you a few pointers:
– Always heat up your stock or water in a separate pot before adding it to the soup pot. You want the stock to be warm when it hits the other ingredients. This preserves flavor.
– When melting the butter (or heating the oil) put a pinch of onion in it. When you hear the onion sizzle, then you know it’s hot enough to add all the onions.
– When you add a new ingredient to fry in the bottom of the pot, always add a pinch of salt. This, too, helps preserve flavor.
– If you want to get the most zing out of your spices, it’s generally best to add them 10 minutes before the soup is finished. If the soup is too spicy, you can always leave it on the burner another 10-30 minutes to mellow out. In this soup, I have the spices added from the outset because I wanted less POW and more of an overall mellow taste.
– The easiest way to peel a butternut squash is with a vegetable peeler
– If you want a smoother soup, peel your potatoes. I don’t.

I like starting this soup earlier in the afternoon so that it has time to cool a little before running it through the food processor.


(Serves 4)


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ large onion, minced
  • 3 cups peeled, seeded & cubed butternut squash
  • 1 ¼ cups quarts chicken stock
  • 1 ½ cups cubed potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 shakes red pepper flakes
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • Tabasco sauce, to taste
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 ½ tablespoons snipped fresh chives, plus a few whole chives to garnish

(1) Melt the butter. Add onions & cook for 5 minutes, or until soft.
(2) Add squash, potatoes, paprika, red pepper flakes, and cayenne. Toss. Cook 2-3 minutes.
(3) Add stock. Bring to boil. Lower heat to low, cover the pan & simmer for about 35 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft.
(4) Pour soup into food processor or blender and process until smooth. Return the soup to the pan and stir in the cream.
(5) Season with salt, pepper and tabasco sauce. Reheat slowly.
(6) Stir in the chopped chives just before serving. Garnish each serving with a few whole chives.


^_^ Erin

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Rustic Summer Squash Soup: with zuchini, kidney beans, carrots, celery and fresh spices

Tonight we had soup for dinner. I threw it together based around the zuchini that we received in our CSA this week. It was a simple soup to whip up, and was a particularly tasty meal at the end of the day. I will share the recipe thet I used tonight, as well as some basic principles for cooking soups that I’ve picked up in my (albeit limited) experience:

Quart chicken stock
Bowl of salt (to use for adding frequent pinches)
Olive oil
1 small onion
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
3 small zuchini squash (I used 2 yellow & one green)
1 can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
2 bay leaves
Fresh herbs: I used oregano, thyme & mint

Onion: mince (I like my onion pieces tiny)
Carrots: chop into disks
Celery stalks: chop, reserve the leafy tops
Zuchini squash: chop a little bigger than the carrot pieces, mine were in the shape of semicircles…it’s good for them to be thick because they soften significantly
Spices: for my soup, I minced the oregano & mint, but kept the thyme as little twigs

(1) You will use two pots. In the smaller pot, warm your chicken broth with the leafy tops of the celery. I typically try to get the pot to boil before it’s time to add the broth to the veggies. This reserves much of your flavor. Adding cold broth to a soup is ok, but not optimal.
(2) Heat olive oil in bottom of soup pot or saucepan. I put a pinch of onions in with the oil. When the onion pieces start to sizzle, add all of the onion with a generous pinch of salt. Stir/coat with olive oil. Turn heat down to low (a 1-3 setting on most stoves). Cook onions until translucent, 3-5 minutes.
(3) Add carrots & celery with a pinch of salt. Stir. Let cook about 5 minutes.
(4) Add squash, kidney beans & bay leaves with a generous pinch of salt. Stir to coat with oils. Let cook about 1-2 minutes.
(5) Add warm broth to main soup pot. Add pepper to taste. Raise burner temperature to boil. Once pot boils, lower temperature again so that pot will simmer, with the lid on or cracked. Soup will be finished cooking in about 20 minutes, but you can cook it for up to 30 minutes without the squash getting too soft.
(6) Add fresh spices 10 minutes before you plan on taking the pot off the burner. Adding spices at the end like this helps bring their flavors out more.
(7) Remove celery tops, bay leaves & any other unchopped spices (such as twigs of rosemary or thyme) before serving.

The soup goes great with a simple bread. I love it with a rustic loaf or sourdough bread. Fresh fruit also makes a dessert-like accompaniment. Tonight we had a galia melon (I bought it thinking it was a cantaloupe…it was a delicious surprise!).

You can use the basic formula for this soup to make any rustic veggie soup. Substitute squash with green beans or peas or corn. Add quinoa or rice to the stock. Switch up the spices. The best elements to keep steady are the onion, carrots, celerey & stock. And the salt. Adding a pinch when you add each new item helps seal in the flavor!


^_^ Erin

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Old-Time Fudge (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens 1962 cookbook)

Ive been spending a lot of time experimenting with making fuge from scratch. My basic recipe is from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (1962 edition), but I’ve started tweaking it. I have not yet arrived at The Ultimate Fudge Technique, yet, but I will share what tips I have under my apron belt. Old time fudge

RECIPE: Old Time Fudge


2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa
Pinch salt
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter (plus a little to grease the pan & pot)
1 teaspoon vanilla


Grease sides of heavy 2 quart saucepan with butter.

In bowl, combine sugar, cocoa & salt. Stir till blended (its ok if there are little “balls” of cocoa). Add milk. Stir gently to blend milk with sugar; you can even let it sit on the counter a few minutes to let the sugar disolve, but you don’t have to. Stir in corn syrup and oil.

Add entire contents of bowl to saucepan. Since you already blended the ingredients, you only need to stir occasionally. Do not scrape the sides of the pan. Heat over medium heat until boiling. Add thermometer. Cook to soft ball stage (234°), stirring only if necessary.
Immediately remove from heat; add butter and cool without stirring to apx 200°. And vanilla and beat vigorously until fudge becomes very thick and starts to lose its gloss (dont slack off…keep going strong!). Quickly spread in buttered shallow pan. Score when warm, cut when firm.





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Coconut Milk Ice Cream (Dairy & Sugar Free) – Strawberry, Peanut Butter & Mocha Recipes

Since I have a big sweet tooth, giving up most desserts is one of the hardest parts of our allergen-free diet. No wheat; no dairy; no eggs…so store bought goodies are pretty much out of the question. Thank goodness we have an ice cream maker! I’ve been experimenting with different coconut milk ice cream recipes. This is what I think of them:


This is the first one I made. Right after the ice cream maker stopped churning, I taste tested it and the ice cream tasted of both strawberry & coconut. After letting it percolate in the freezer for two hours, all hint of coconut was gone, and this ice cream had a smooth, strawberry creaminess. Fantastic!


Combine the following in your blender till smooth, then pour into ice cream maker, according to manufacturers instructions:
1 lb bag Frozen Strawberries
2 cans coconut milk
1/3 cup agave syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla


Honestly, this one didn’t turn out too well. I used an entire jar of peanut butter and the ice cream was just too rich. And I guess I must’ve not been impressed, since I didn’t take a picture!

Blend then pour the following:
1 jar peanut butter
2 cans coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup honey

1/2 jar peanut butter
2 cups almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup honey


From the moment the ice cream maker finished churning, I could not stop sneaking spoonfuls of this tasty treat. I’d open the freezer & spoon some right out of the center of the bowl, while Matt chuckled at me. Oh my gosh. It was sooooo good.

Blend then pour:
2 cans coconut milk
1 cup coffee*
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup agave syrup
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

*If your coffee is hot, you’ll want to chill this mixture in the fridge for two hours before churning it in your ice cream maker. Also: I used coffee made from espresso beans, leftover in our French press. 🙂 I think the stronger coffee flavor added an excellent POW to the ice cream.


I bought all of my ingredients from Trader Joe’s, except for the honey, which I bought at my local CSA, Terry’s Berries. Unfortunately, Trader Joe’s doesn’t carry full fat coconut milk; if I used that I think my ice creams would be even creamier. I’ll have to check out other local grocery stores to find some.

I used the Bourbon vanilla from Trader Joes, instead of regular vanilla (which has a little sugar in it).

And, for peanut butter, I chose the creamy kind that had “just peanuts” in it.

– Posted by ekwetzel using BlogPress from my iPhone, 5/1/2012

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Simple Cinnamon Scones with Vanilla Glaze

Last night, Phoebe woke me up at 4 am and decided it was time to play. I, needless to say, was exhausted. Exhausted the two hours she stayed awake. Exhausted when I nursed her back to sleep at 6:30 am. And exhausted when she awoke again at 8:30.

This is my little goofball, playing in the middle of the night.

When we get a clunky start to the day, like this, I always feel the urge to turn things around with a killer breakfast. I’ve been craving scones lately, so I looked up some basic scone recipes online, and altered one to suit my fancy.

Here’s a link to the recipe I started from, if you’re interested.

First bake the scones. After they cool slightly, remove from cookie sheet. I put mine on wax paper. Then drizzle the glaze on top.

Without further ado:


3 cups flour (I prefer whole wheat white flour, but use whatever you have on hand. This recipe isn’t finicky.)
1/2 cup sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk (plus a little extra)
1 teaspoon vanilla


Whisk together dry ingredients in a bowl.

Cut butter into smaller tabs about a tablespoon big. This will make it easier to work into the flour mixture. If you have a pastry cutter, use this to work the butter in with the dry ingredients. I ended up having to use my hands at the end because my butter was cold. There were clumps of butter left, about the size of peas, and that was ok. As long as the butter is mostly evenly distributed, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, milk, sour cream and vanilla, until smooth. The sour cream should have no lumps left.

Pour the wet ingredients in with the dry. Stir till moistened, then knead a little in the bowl (if your bowl is big enough). If the mixture is very dry, add more milk. (This will change depending on your climate & elevation).

Turn onto the counter and knead until mixture is smoother. It doesn’t need to be elastic-like or smooth, just well-blended.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the scone dough into a rough circle. Cut into 8 or so wedges and place on lightly greased cookie sheet.

BAKE in a preheated oven at 400 degrees, until scones are golden brown.


Admittedly, when I made the glaze this morning, I just eyeballed all three ingredients. Here’s an approximation, though:

1 cup powdered sugar
4-8 T milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine sugar, a little milk and vanilla. Whisk together until sugar is dissolved in milk. Keep adding milk, a little at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

Drizzle over scones. The glaze will solidify. Scones taste great warm and fresh, or a few hours old at room temperature. If they manage to not get eaten after 12 hours, store in an airtight container.


By ekwetzel

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Pie, Made From Scratch

There are two things you must know about me going into this blog post. One: I am a member of my local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program and pick up foods from my local farm once a week depending on what is in season and what the farm was able to harvest (I blogged for a year about my CSA here). Two: I hate pumpkin pie. I suppose it would be nicer to say “I don’t really like pumpkin pie,” and that’s what I say when I visit someone who is serving it. But what I really want to say when they offer me one of those big orange slabs is “I’d rather clean your toilet than eat that.”

local organic sweet sugar pumpkin for pie

So, last week when we got a sweet pumpkin in our CSA, I wasn’t terribly thrilled. My husband, however, looooooooves pumpkin pies (as do most normal Americans). So I said to myself, “Self! You’re gonna win ‘Best Wife Of the Year’ award by making your husband a fresh pumpkin pie from scratch that he will end up eating all on his own because you find pumpkin pies revolting. Go you!”

pumpkin pie filling from scratch

The pumpkin looks dark and delicious when mixed with the sugar and spices.

So, I baked the pumpkin, measured it out, realized I had enough for two pies (TWO!!! HELP!!! One yucky pumpkin pie in my house was enough!). I stirred in the spices and sugar for a double recipe, divided it, and stashed half in the freezer for a later date. Then I added the rest of my filling ingredients. Made my crust. Baked the pie. And the house smelled good while the pie cooled for a few hours.

After we watched a little TV, I turned to Matt and gave him the go-ahead for pie cutting. He sliced me a piece to taste, as I warily said, “You’ll eat whatever I don’t finish, right? Which will probably be the entire piece, minus one bite.” He, or course, grinned at the thought of two pieces of pie in one sitting. So we sat. And tasted. And. Oh. My. Goodness. This pie was GOOD! Like REALLY good.

fresh oldfashioned delicious pumpkin pie made from scratch

Here it is. The only pumpkin pie I've ever liked.

I asked Matt how he liked it, and his analysis was spot on. Matt, you see, loves pumpkin pies. Period. That means he loves store-bought pies; he loves pies made with canned pumpkins; and he loves fresh pies made completely from scratch. Matt loves all pumpkin pies, so of course he was going to love this one; however, this pie was completely different, because it tasted like it had a real pumpkin in it. The fresh pumpkin is what made it so distinct and different. This fresh pie was creamy and almost fluffy, as opposed to the dense pumpkin pies that he typically eats. The fluffiness was something I particularly liked, as well. And, I might add, he said it was the best pumpkin pie he’d had in awhile. (^_^ And we all know, of course, that he wasn’t just saying that to make me happy.)

So. Without further adieu. Here is the recipe:

PUMPKIN PUREE (From Rustic Fruit Desserts, by Cory Schreiber & Julie Richardson)

Use a small pie pumpkin, also called a sugar pumpkin. Cut it in half and scoop out the stringy guts and seeds. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Pour 1/4-1/2 cup water into a greased baking pan and lay the pumpkin cut side down in it. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the pumpkin is very soft. Remove from the oven and flip the pumpkin cut side up to rest. Let cool, then scoop the meat into a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Allow to strain overnight at room temperature (this allows the pumpkin meat to lose some of its water content). Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the pumpkin puree will keep for up to 3 days.

PLAIN PASTRY PIE CRUST (Adapted from the 1962 Edition of Better Homes and Gardens)


2 cups sifted white flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup bacon grease
5-7 tablespoons cold water


  • Sift together flour and salt.
  • Divide bacon grease in half. Cut in first half till mixture looks like cornmeal. Then cut in remaining half till like small peas. (Dividing it makes the crust extra tender and flaky).
  • Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the flour-grease mixture. Gently toss with fork; push to one side of bowl.
  • Sprinkle next tablespoon water over dry part; mix lightly; push to moistened part at side. Repeat till all is moistened.
  • Gather up with fingers; form into a ball.
  • On lightly floured surface, flatten ball slightly and roll 1/8 inch thick. If edges split, pinch together. Always roll spoke-fashion, going from center to edge of dough. Use light strokes.
  • To transfer pastry, roll it over rolling pin; unroll pastry over pie plate, fitting loosely onto bottom and sides.
  • Make sure edges are crimped high, the filling is generous.

This recipe will make much more dough than is needed for one pie shell. Once you have your pie shell ready, roll out the rest of the dough and cut it into strips.Place strips on a baking sheet.  Coast with a little butter and a sprinkle of sugar. Bake for a few minutes (until browned) when you put the pie in the oven. These truly make a tasty treat!

OLD-FASHIONED PUMPKIN PIE (From the 1962 Edition of Better Homes and Gardens)


1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
3 slightly beaten eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1 6-ounce can evaporated milk*

*Instead of evaporated milk, I used powdered milk. According to the tips on this website it’s cheaper and just and simple and using canned evaporated milk. For this recipe, I substituted with 1/2 cup powdered milk & 9/16 cup water (or: 1/2 cup water + a half-filled 1/8 cup of water). If you are going to use the powdered milk substitute, be sure to dissolve the powder in the water BEFORE adding it to the rest of the recipe.


  • Set oven to 400 F.
  • Thoroughly combine the pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices.
  • Blend in eggs, milk and evaporated milk. (I whisked the ingredients a bit at this point in order to blend them better.)
  • Pour into unbaked pastry shell.
  • Bake 50 minutes, or until knife inserted halfway between center and outside comes out clean.
  • Cool before eating.

I hope you enjoy! This is, seriously, the best pumpkin pie recipe I’ve ever tasted, and the only pumpkin pie I’ve ever liked!

By ekwetzel

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How To Make Raw Milk Butter in 4 Easy Steps

It is impossible to buy raw milk butter. If you drink it, you know how hard it can be just to find raw milk. Raw milk butter? Out of the question. Thankfully, butter is extremely easy to make. It takes about 20 minutes. You will need:

  • Raw milk cream, chilled
  • A blender
  • A bowl, preferably with a lip (for easy pouring)
  • A stiff spoon
  • A pitcher of cold water
  • Salt (if desired)
  • Container (for storage)

If you can buy raw milk cream, use that. If you prefer, you can also skim the cream off of your raw milk. It’s easy to do. Just let your raw milk sit in the fridge, undisturbed, for at least 8 hours. The cream will rise to the top. I like to use a 1/4 cup to gentle ladle the cream out of my milk.

skimming the cream raw milkmilk in a blender cream


Make sure your cream is chilled when you start. This will help the butter particles to separate. The cream will first enter a whipped stage, and then little balls of butter will start to form and the buttermilk will separate out. I use a fast blender speed, and this part takes awhile. Maybe 10 minutes. It should look like this once it’s done:

butter and buttermilk raw milk

*If you have been blending for over 20 minutes without results, check to make sure the cream isn’t warm. If it is warm, the cream is still ok. Put the blender pitcher into the fridge and try again once it’s chilled.


I transfer all the blender contents into my bowl, and I try to get as much of the butter off the blender blades as possible. Break up the butter with your spoon to get as much buttermilk out as possible. It’s rich and delicious stuff. From here, I pour the buttermilk into a jar. It’s great to use in cooking. I like making pancakes or biscuits with it.

pouring off the buttermilk butter raw milkbreaking up the butter milk


Your goal is to get all of the leftover milk out of the butter. If you leave milk in the butter, it will spoil. If you wash it properly, the butter will last for weeks and weeks.

Pour chilled water over the butter. Break up the butter and pour the water off. Pour on more water. Press your spoon against the butter to squish out the milk. Pour the milky water off. Repeat. A lot.

I keep my butter in a glass Pyrex dish, so I like to pour the water into there, and then empty it. That way, if butter particles fall in, I can put them back in the bowl. Also, because the bowl is glass, I can easily see how milky the water is, and it’s easy to tell when I’m done.

washing the butter raw mlik


Do you want salted butter? Honey butter? Orange marmalade butter? This is the time to mix it in.

Then put your butter into its container, seal it up, and you’re done!

raw milk butter

Mmm Mmm Good!

By ekwetzel

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Apricot Raspberry Cobbler

apricot raspberry cobblerWe had a raspberry bush at my parents house when I was young. I remember going out in the hot summers of Upstate New York to pick berries in the morning for raspberry pancakes, or in the evening to eat as a treat with a scoop of ice cream. Raspberries are one of the ultimate fruits, in my mind. Perfectly sweet and juicy, and full of so much strong flavor.

It wasn’t until I moved to Washington, however, that I ate my first apricot, and it was in the best possible setting. We were driving through Enumclaw on our way to pick up our weekly gallon of raw milk, and a nearby farm had signs posted for fresh fruit. We detoured up the road to find a farm store brimming over with fresh produce, and as we were looking around, the owner started hauling buckets of freshly picked apricots in from her orchard. We bought several pounds. Let me tell you: fresh apricots have a full flavor that rivals even the sweetest peaches, yet remains very distinct and unique. A true delight!

I give to you a delicious recipe for these warm summer fruits:

apricot raspberry cobbler
Apricot Raspberry Cobbler

Baking time: 45 minutes
Serves: 8 to 10


1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature, for dish

Fruit Filling:
10 apricots, pitted and each sliced into 8 to 10 pieces (1 ½ lb prepped)
1 dry pint (2 cups) raspberries, fresh or frozen
¾ cup (5 ¼ ounces) granulated sugar
½ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 ½ cups (7 ½ ounces) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup (5 ounces) granulated sugar
¾ cup whole milk
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

apricot raspberry cobbler


Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.

To make the fruit filling, toss the apricots and raspberries with the sugar and salt in a bowl and set aside to draw out some of the juices while you prepare the batter.

To make the batter, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Using a handheld mixer with beaters or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Stir in the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the milk in two additions and scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and distribute the fruit over the batter, being sure to scrape the bowl well. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the top.

Bake in the bottom third of the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the center of the cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

Storage: This cobbler is best if eaten the day it is made. Any leftovers can be covered with a tea towel to be finished for breakfast. Reheat in a 300°F oven until warmed through.

(This recipe is from Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber & Julie Richardson).

apricot raspberry cobbler

I enjoyed topping mine with whipped cream! And for breakfast! And I’m going to go eat some straggling leftovers now!

By ekwetzel

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Corn and Zucchini Salsa

I am not a zucchini lover.

There are some people that love zucchini. They love putting zucchini in everything: muffins, sauce, bread, cookies, stir fry, roasted veggie mixes…you name it, they’ll find a way to wedge zucchini into it. I am not one of these people. I like my cookies to taste like cookies, my bread to taste like bread (or maybe bananas), and I like my zucchini to taste like zucchini: a green and squash-like vegetable.

salsa ingredients corn limes tomatoes zucchini

This salsa recipe? It’s a perfect zucchini recipe for people like me who are not crazy about zucchini. You expect to eat chucky vegetables: you get chunky vegetables. Simple as that. And the zucchini adds a great blend of sweetness along with the corn.

corn zucchini salsa canning homemade


You will need…

  • Boiling-water-bath canner & two pint jars
  • 3 medium zucchini, cleaned, trimmed & diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ears yellow corn, husked, silks removed
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice (8 medium limes)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and minced (wear rubber gloves)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped scallions with tops
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground back pepper
  1. Toss the zucchini with the salt & “sweat” for 3 minutes in a nonreactive colander. Rinse and dry on paper towels. (Although I just let it drip dry in the colander, in the sink)
  2. Coat the corn with 2 teaspoons of the oil and roast on a cookie sheet in a 400°F oven for 30-40 minutes. Cool. Cut off the kernels and scrape the cobs.
  3. Combine the zucchini, corn, remaining oil, tomatoes, lime juice, vinegar, jalapenos, scallions, garlic, and pepper in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Ladle into hot, clean jars. Cap and seal. Process in boiling-water-bath canner for 15 minutes. (Adjust for altitude, if necessary).

I made 4 times the recipe, and it actually filled 13 jars (instead of the predicted 8). I suppose the term “medium zucchini” is probably relative, although my zucchinis were only 6-8 inches long.

A note about spiciness: I was concerned about the salsa being too spicy, so made sure to not include any seeds from the jalapeno. The salsa turned out more mild than expected, so I wouldn’t be as concerned about going overboard on spice next time I make it.

corn zucchini salsa tortillas grilled chicken black beans raw milk sour cream

We opened up a jar this morning to taste-test it on chicken breakfast sausages from Trader Joes. Yum! What a terrific way to add veggies to our breakfast! We ate some more of the salsa at dinner, wrapped up with grilled chicken, black beans, homemade raw milk sour cream and warm whole wheat tortillas, fresh of the skillet. The salsa has a very strong flavor, so I’m glad we split the yield with a friend and only have 6 jars, but it is a delicious and unique treat that I look forward to subsiding on come wintertime!

(This recipe was lifted from The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest by Carol W. Costenbader, from my friend, Corrie’s, library. Corrie and I canned the salsa together.)

By ekwetzel

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How to Make Amazing Pancakes

pancake heartFor the longest time, pancakes were a tricky delight to fry up. They seemed simple. Their simplicity taunted me. I wanted to make pancakes from scratch, but would fail time and again. And I would return to the boxed mix for pancakes, because it was somehow superior. Well. Boxes, you have seen your day, for this Mama has figured out some of the secrets to pancake preparation, and I am here to share them with you.

The three main things that you need to consider with pancakes are preparation, quality of ingredients & toppings.

batter bowl pancakes red

This is very simple. Mix your batter the night before or the morning before and let it soak. When you let the batter soak, the pancakes will cook more evenly and rise much better. Do you hate a pancake that is not cooked all the way through? Me too. I think it’s really gross. Soaking the batter helps the pancake cook evenly and alleviates a lot of this problem.

You can mix the batter & leave it in the fridge. Or, you can put a towel over the bowl and leave it on the counter. Sometimes, if I want the batter room temperature in the morning but am concerned about it being warm for too long, I’ll fill the bottom of a large bowl with ice and nestle my bowl of batter within it overnight. That way it stays cool most of the night and warms up to room temperature by the morning.

Why do I like the batter at room temperature? I think it cooks up better.

pancakes fruit breakfast bonanza


It may seem obvious, but it bears stating: the better the ingredients you use, the better your pancakes will be. Also, the type of ingredients you use will influence the type of pancakes you have. So, if you prefer really fluffy pancakes, you’ll want white or all-purpose flour. If you prefer more substantial pancakes, use whole wheat flour. I like my pancakes made with thick, whole wheat flour, and because I soak the batter for 8-24 hours, there is no problem with the flour being too thick or chunky.

Here is a basic pancake recipe that I nabbed off of AllRecipes.com:

family pancake breakfast

Maple Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Directions: In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, combine egg, milk, oil and syrup; stir into dry ingredients just until blended. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a lightly greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top of pancakes. Cook until second side is golden brown (pancakes will be thin).


I like to play with the recipe a bit, though, and substitute ingredients. With pancakes, substituting ingredients is easy to do. You can even fudge on the measurements. Pancakes won’t really change too much if you add more flour or oil. For instance, if you have more eggs, the pancakes will end up more like crepes (you can see my crepe recipe here). The one measurement you should pay attention to is the baking powder, because that will influence how much the pancakes rise.

Anyways. Back to ingredient substitutes.

After playing around with a few different swaps, here is how I now change my basic Maple Pancake recipe:

1 cup all-purpose flour > Whole Wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk > Butter Milk (when available)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil > BACON GREASE!!!
1 tablespoon maple syrup (I love this ingredient and keep it in!)

Yes. You saw right. I use bacon grease. And it is delicious.

I like to prepare my pancake batter the morning before while making bacon, and I’ll pour the hot grease into the batter direct from the skillet. I’ll sort of measure it. Not really. As long as I have at least 2 tablespoons, I figure we’re good.

I also go a little over on the syrup. Because I like things sweet.

As far as the buttermilk goes, I don’t buy that in a store. I make it. From raw milk that I buy at a local farm. When I make my own raw milk butter, I save the buttermilk & it makes for deliciously rich pancakes. For that matter…

butter melthing on pancake


A lot of people don’t recognize how important a role butter plays in the flavor of your pancakes. Once the pancake is hot, slather it with butter. Good butter. I like to use my raw milk butter. And make sure the butter is salted. After that, the sweet stuff is incidental, in my opinion. Mr. Wetzel likes homemade jam on his pancakes. I prefer honey with whipped cream. Sometimes we’ll use syrup instead. You know. To be traditional and all.

Any leftover batter, I like to grill up in smaller pancakes which I set aside (unbutterred) for an afternoon snack. A bit of peanut butter and a tall glass of milk go superbly with this delicious homemade treat.

I hope my words have been wise…and that they’ve made you super hungry!

peanut butter pancake

By ekwetzel

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