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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!
  • [February 1, 2016] - An interesting report on why you should always choose organic tea verses non-organic: Toxic Tea (pdf format)
  • Sticky Post - Warning: 4ever Recap reusable canning lids. The reports are growing daily of these lids losing their seal during storage. Some have lost their entire season's worth of canning to these seal failures!

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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Chatting from the Kitchen Table

Every cook has those times where they rely on the tried and true, family favourites and so it was with me for the past couple of weeks. There has been a lot going on lately and with our beef now at the abattoir's we have been focusing on eating from the freezer. Not that either are an excuse for not doing creative home cooking but that is how it has worked out. Unfortunately this is not really helpful for new posts on a home cooking blog. My most creative cooking the past week was making pita bread! While I took pictures of in the oven and the finished pitas, this is really something I would like to feature in greater detail from the forming so watch for that post likely later next week when I make another batch.

Diana SauceDiana Sauce

I seldom use commercially prepared sauces but when I do they tend to be gourmet style and preservative free. I also enjoy buying and using specialty sauces at various foodfests. I have often mentioned Diana Sauce® on this blog. Now this is one of my favourite commercially made sauces so I do use it a fair amount. That means I blog about it as part of recipes and methods. Diana Sauce® is distributed only in Canada so I do apologize to those trying to duplicate exactly my recipes or methods. Diana Sauce® is a gourmet sauce that has no preservatives something that is very important to us. It has a lovely, very smooth texture. It is available in 7 rich flavours. Pictured are some of the flavours I use the most: Maple, Original, Rib & Chicken and Western Smokehouse. Not pictured but another favourite is Honey Garlic. Despite being a gourmet sauce, Diana Sauce® is not expensive. It normally costs about $4 for a 500 ml (16 oz) bottle but is often on sale for $1.99 as a loss leader. I'll explain more about this in tomorrow's Frugal Kitchens 101.

I have been working on a homemade sauce that duplicated the original flavour but am still not quite there yet. I will tell you cheesecloth and xanthan gum are two key components for the texture. I am very close so will post the clone recipe as soon as I'm satisfied with it.

canning chicken stockCanning Chicken Stock

Just so you don't think I've been slacking off in the kitchen, a few days ago I decided to go through the freezers in preparation for our beef. We buy beef in bulk on the hoof so that is a large influx of of meat at one time. I make batches of stock several times a year but honestly unless it is a special recipe I do not make from scratch each time. I use my home canned stock instead.

The key to great stock is roasting the bones which ads a richness that can't be beat. I like saving up enough bones in the freezer to do this. Stock making is always a 2 day process and there is a reason for this especially when home canning the stock. The stock is made on day 1 but then must be cooled and defatted before the canning process can begin on day 2. Once the stock is defatted it can be further stained through cheesecloth for clarity or canned as it. The main reason for clarifying is for making soup where a clear stock is desirable. Other than that there is no reason to clarify.

I managed to get 13 - 500 ml jars of chicken stock from the batch, just one shy of a full canner load. It is more cost effective to run a full canner load but sometimes it doesn't work out that way. This was a nice addition to my pantry shelves.

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