Today was spent in the kitchen again.
I had more apples, and planned to make them into sauce … until I spied a recipe for Chocolate Apple Mousse in the new Preserving book that my friend gave to me the other day.
Chocolate? Fruit? Canned? Together? Oh, yeah, we’re totally gonna try this out!
The process is easy and the result is fabulous.
Just make applesauce (I slice the apples – cores, peels and all – into a crock pot, then run them through the food mill once they have softened) with some lemon zest and lemon juice added to the cooking apples. Mill the resulting fruit finely into a canning pot in which you’ve combined cocoa, sugar, a pinch of salt and a dash of vanilla. Stir, cook over a low boil for 15 minutes, and can in jelly jars the usual way.
The book suggests using the sauce on gingerbread, in crepes, or as a sauce on other kinds of desserts. I put some in a milkshake tonight that turned out quite respectably, so I think this stuff has a lot of possibilities.
In fact, I liked it so much that when I pulled the peaches out of the fridge for processing (might as well deal with them while the canner is already hot), I made another batch … just with peaches instead of apples.
Easy, delicious, decadent, and made with seasonal ingredients. Well, sugar and cocoa aren’t really seasonal, but you get the idea.
I also grated up a bunch of the carrots I had picked up at the greenhouse and put those in the dehydrator. That will ensure that we always have carrots for winter soups and so on … I have a few in the garden still, but we didn’t get as many this year as I had hoped. Next year, they are going in early under the cold frame!
Supper was curried soup – more carrots, sliced and put into the crock pot with red lentils and yellow peas, a dash of the dried garden greens we use in just about everything (dehydrated carrot and beet tops run through the blender to make an all-purpose seasoning mix), some curry, cumin and garam masala. Let it simmer in the crock pot for a couple of hours while doing the last batch of chocolate sauce, then ran it through the food mill (which got quite a workout today) into a serving dish with a pinch of salt stirred in for flavour. Made a quick batch of sourdough biscuits with the kefir I always have going in the fridge, set out some pickles from last fall, and voila – dinner.
I am, once again, nearly out of canning jars – I have used up just about everything I have, even though I bought more as they’re on sale this time of year. I’ll keep an eye out for more produce on sale and possibly put up a few more jars of something, but we’re probably about done with canning for the year. Dehydrating will continue though – it’s more energy efficient and the resulting items don’t take as much storage space as jars of canned stuff, plus it’s a good way to preserve leftover bits and pieces. I’m pondering some meal plans that will let me use dehydrated veggies in the slow cooker or pot-on-the-woodstove – it’s always nice to know that you can make a whole meal out of just the things in the pantry.
Especially when you live at the end of a long gravel road that sometimes doesn’t get plowed for three days in the winter. :)