Friday, September 15, 2017

Spanish Style Tofu and Potatoes

This is a simple and tasty dish that is perfect for the end of summer when all your tomatoes are ripe. 

Serves 6 to 8
- 2.5 lbs potatoes, cut into chunks
- 1 large Spanish onion, halved and sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- zest and juice of one lemon
- 1 pkg tofu, diced
- 6 cups tomato wedges
- 2-4 tbsp olive oil
- 1.5 tbsp smoked paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- chopped parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1. Combine all ingredients (except parsley) in a large bowl and toss to coat. Transfer to a large baking dish with sides.
2. Bake for about an hour, stirring regularly after the first twenty minutes, until potatoes are tender. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Pressure Canner Beans in Tomato Sauce

My kids like to take these beans in a thermos to school for lunch (often with veggie dogs cut up into them for what we call "Beans and Weens"). With a pressure canner you can easily make your own at home without having to soak a single bean.  Below is a basic recipe that you can adjust according to your size of jar, the number of jars you want to make, and your tastes.

When cooking dried beans in a jar in a pressure canner you want 1 part dried beans to 3 parts liquid. So, in the recipe below, 1 cup of beans is cooked in 3 cups of liquid in a 4 cup (1 quart) jar. If you are using pint jars (2 cup) then use 1/2 cup of dried beans to 1.5 cups of liquid.

As for the liquid/sauce, do whatever suits your tastes. If you are canning 7 one quart jars, you need 21  cups of liquid. It's best to have at least 8 cups of water so the beans cook properly, but you can play around with other ingredients. Less sugar, more tomato, for example. More sugar, less tomato sauce +  a cup or two of ketchup + mustard + chilli powder+ hot sauce = beans in BBQ sauce (as an example).

Making the liquid a little on the salty side is OK because the beans will soak it up. Have made a few batches of bland beans that needed salt when served, so I lean towards the 4 tbsp side of things now.

Finally, if you have ever canned before then you know that "leakage" can be a problem. I have found that this problem can be ameliorated by doing 2 things: 1. leaving enough headspace in your jar; 2. realizing that "fingertip tight" can be pretty darn tight. Inevitably, some sauce will leak out of the jars during processing. Not to worry. Take the rings off and wipe down the entire jar before storing. 

Makes 7 quart (4 cup) jars
- 8oz/227g/1 cup dried navy beans x 7

- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 large onion, small dice
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2  48 fl oz cans tomato juice
- 8 cups water
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- kosher salt to taste (2 to 4 tbsp)

Sterilize your jars. Prepare your pressure canner.
1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot. Saute onion for 5-7 mins, until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 min.
2. Add tomato juice, water, sugar, and salt. Bring to boiling.
3. While sauce is heating, add 8oz/227g of dried beans to each sterilized jar.
4. Ladle hot sauce into the jars, leaving a good 1" of head space. If you are short on liquid, top up with boiling water. Top with lids and tighten the rings as much as you can with your fingertips.
5. Process the jars per your pressure canner's instructions at 11 lbs of pressure for 90 minutes. Remove canner from the heat and let pressure drop before removing the jars.