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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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  • [January 15, 2016] - It's National Soup Month so this month's posts will focus on soups. Yum!
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Friday, September 22, 2006

Another Tomato Soup & Freezing Sauteed Mushrooms

About this time of year I get seriously tired of picking tomatoes, peeling tomatoes, processing tomatoes and even seeing tomatoes. But time is running out and the tomatoes must be picked from the garden and they must be processed. Aside of chili sauce and salsa, this is the time of year I lean towards easier tomato products to process. This is another tomato soup that I really prefer over the Garden Tomato Soup in a previous entry. Following that is how I freeze mushrooms and one way we enjoy mushrooms.

Tomato Soup

Yesterday I processed 14 pints of homemade tomato soup. This is a thicker soup full of tomato flavour that can be diluted with either water or milk if you want a creamed version. Now the question always arises as to why can tomato soup when it is so cheap in the stores. My first response is if you ever taste this soup you would never to back to store bought. It is that simple! The taste is amazing! As far as cost, the fourteen pints cost me 3/4 c of Clear Gel and my time. But canning, while it can be cost effective, should never be done because of cost savings. It truly is a matter of wanting the best tasting product, controlling the ingredients, AND did I mention taste?

Tomato Soup

[be sure to read My Notes]
A smooth flavorful soup. Add an equal amount of water to serve.

8 lbs Ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 bunch chopped celery
2 c Medium onion, chopped
1 Large green pepper, seeded and chopped

6 Parsley sprigs
6 Whole cloves
6 Bay leaves

4 tbsp Butter or margarine
3/4 c All-purpose flour
2 1/2 tbsp Table salt

Place first 4 ingredients in large pot. Bring to a boil.

Tie parsley, cloves and bay,leaves in double layer of cheesecloth. Add to pot. Cook, uncovered, until tender stirring occasionaHy. Remove spice bag. Press through food mill or sieve into large saucepan.

Melt butter in small saucepan. Stir in flour and salt. Add a bit of puree to mix smooth. In large saucepan bring puree to a boil. Stir in flour mixture until it boils and thickens. Pour into jars to within 1 inch (2.5 cm) of top. Secure lids. Process in pressure cooker at 10 pounds pressure, 25 minutes for pints, 30 minutes for quarts. Makes 4 pints.

source: Jean Pare Company's Coming, Preserves, 1994. Pp. 114

My Notes: It is no longer considered safe to use flour for canning. Substitute one half to three quarters the amount of Clear Gel. Do "not" use instant Clear Gel, use the type for cooking. This is available through Bernardin's website, The spices do not have to be bagged. Just add them in with the ingredients and when you pass them through the food mill any bulk will be removed. I doubled this recipe and ended up with 14 pints. Also worth noting: Should you ever find yourself in need of printed recipes, stickers, or labels, online printing services are available 24/7.

Frozen Mushrooms

I've mentioned before that we eat a lot of mushrooms. I like to sautee mushrooms then freeze them in meal sized portions. To do that, I sautee the mushrooms in light olive oil with a little butter. Then I let cool and spoon into a freezer container for freezing. The container itself does not matter much as it is only used to freeze the mushrooms for vacuum sealing. I prefer a container with a little flex to pop the mushrooms out but any container will do. Once popped out, the mushrooms are vacuum sealed.

Vacuum Sealed

Here's another blatant plug for vacuum sealers. In this case, though there is a reason for vacuum sealing. The mushrooms will be reheated in the sealed bag without adding any additional moisture. I bring water to a boil in a saucepan then place the sealed bag in the water to heat the mushrooms through. This allows the mushrooms to heat without becoming soggy or trying to refry. I use this method for many things of which once the main canning season is finished, entries will appear here. The method is a true time saver with food tasting as good as when you put it in the packet.

Garlic Pasta with Sauteed Mushrooms

After a day of canning a quick meal is nice and you can't get much quicker than garlic pasta. We use spaghettini for the pasta. While it is cooking we lightly cook fresh minced garlic cloves in butter. Then we drain the pasta and stir in the garlic butter mixture. Fresh sauteed mushrooms are added to the top of the pasta and we are ready to go. There is little muss or fuss over this dish. We were first introduced to this dish in Nashville. My husband fell in love with it so we duplicated it at home. We were surprised at how easy it was to make with only a few simple ingredients.

Many of you have likely noticed I always use butter never margarine and there is a reason for this. I think butter adds a better flavour and that really counts for me. Anytime I make a recipe entry if it says margarine always know I used butter. Unsalted butter is used for baking or cooking where salt will be add, salted butter is used when salt will not be added. I also make fresh butter using heavy whipping cream. This is used for my herbed, citrus, or cranberry butters.

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