For some reason of all my tomato plants the most productive one was a volunteer heirloom Black Pearl Cherry Tomato plant that insisted on taking over a middle raised garden bed. No complaints this is my favorite Cherry Tomato! It’s sweet and not overly “tomatoey” in flavor. We eat them like candy.
However, in the early autumn days this plant decided to become an over over achiever giving us a huge bowl of cherry tomatoes.
I decided to use them up so they wouldn’t go to waste by making Balsamic Cherry Tomato Caramelized Onion Conserve.
2 tbsp real butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 pounds of sweet onions quartered and thinly sliced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 pints of cherry tomatoes cleaned and sliced in half
3/4 cup of honey
1/4 cup of Balsamic vinager
1 tsp of dark rum (I used flavoring)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
In a large pot, heat butter and oil over medium low heat until the butter melts. Add onions, salt, and sugar. Cook covered for 13 to 15 min or until onions are tender, stirring occasionally.
Uncover and cook and stir over medium high heat until the onions are a golden brown but do not burn!
Stir in cherry tomatoes and honey into the onion mixture.
Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring continuously.
Reduce heat to a medium high and boil until tomatoes are starting to soften. Stir continuously as to not scorch.
Remove from heat. Stir in Balsamic vinager, rum, and pepper until well mixed.
Ladle hot mixture into hot sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4in headspace.
Wipe jars, place lids, adjust rings.
Process filled jars in a water bath or steam canner. Start timing when your canner is at a full boil or your temperature Guage on the steam canner indicates per instructions. Process jars for 10 min.
Remove jars from canner & cool until sealed. Place any unsealed jars in the refrigerator.
Towel hangers are an essential for the kitchen, work shop, barn, anywhere you might need a quick towel within reach. This towel holder holds any towel making it easy to swap it out and replace with a clean towel.
These take about 15 min to make and you can repurpose scraps!
Skill level Beginniner
slst = slip stich
ch = chain
sc = single stich
dc = double stich
dc2tog = (or decrease) double stich 2 dc together
Scrap yarn of your choice. For kitchen/bathroom use, Redheart Super Saver yarn works perfectly. For barn, garage, or outside, Twine, yes, bailing twine, works perfectly.
Size H crochet hook
1 yarn needle
1 button with big enough center holes to get your yarn needle through it.
A “ring”. This is where you can get really creative with repurposing “stuff”. I like to use a large ponytail ring. You can also use plastic “bangle” round bracelets (for large towels), cut out plastic rings from milk jugs, or pretty much anything that is the right size “hole” for holding your towel so that it doesn’t slip out easily.
Make your starting loop in your yarn as you would to start a chain
Row 1: Enter through the ring as if you are pointing your hook away from you (this will help you not get tangled up in your yarn on the circle) sc over your ring from inside the ring. 3 chain (this will be your first dc), dc around the ring. For a ponytail ring its 34 DC. You want the yarn to be firm and not expose the ring but not so tight it bunches up. slst into the third chain at the top (where you started). ch 3 and turn
Row 2: Starting with your 1st dc from row one, dc 1 in each of the next 10 dc. ch 3 turn.
Row 3: dc in the first dc. 1 dc in next dc 10 times . ch 3 turn
Row 4: dc in the first dc. 1 dc in next dc 11 times . ch 3 turn
Row 5: sk the first stitch directly beside your chain, 1 dc in next dc 11 times
Row 6 through 9 repeat Row 5
Row 10: 1dc2tog,1 dc in next dc 7 times, 1dc2tog, 1dc ch 3 turn
Row 11: 1dc2tog, 1 dc in next dc 5 times, 1dc2tog, 1dc ch 3 turn
Row 12: 1 dc in next dc 8 times, ch 3 turn
Row 13 – 19 repeat row 12
Row 20: Buttonhole row: dc in next 3 dc, ch 1 (sk a stitch) dc in next 3 dc. 3 ch turn
Row 21: 1 dc in next 8 dc, 1 ch turn
Row 22: 1dc2tog, 4sc, 1dc2tog, 1 ch turn
Row 23: 7 sc, 1 ch turn
Row 24: 7 sc, tie off.
Cut 2 long strands of yarn, about 6 inches each.
I am using a 4 hole button here, so one strand went bottom left to top right, and the second strand went bottom right to top left.
Line up your button to thread button yarns at the 3rd row from the ring around the 7th DC and pull through to the back, leaving the button on the front. Tie tightly to the back.
A funny thing happened while I was cleaning and rearranging our home library one afternoon in December 2020. I found an old cookbook that belongs to my husband. I had forgotten all about it since we moved into our home three years ago, and to be honest, I believe I had only used it for one recipe in the past.
As you know by now, my husband loves his spice and peppers. So much so that he has evolved his love into having his own greenhouse garden of super hots and building his hot sauce business, http://www.saucedandglazed.com. Out of sheer curiosity and quite honestly the COVID-19 Quarantine “boredom” of the same meals over and over again, I decided to randomly pick a week of recipes for dinner. This has now grown into three plus weeks of recipes for dinner.
I began by posting the results on Facebook and Instagram. Realizing there was an interest, I decided to blog this adventure for all of you.
Here is the book: The Ultimate Hot and Spicy Cookbook.
Day 1 of delving into “The Ultimate Hot & Spicy Cookbook”: Pork Fajitas & corn tortillas with black bean soup & rice with tomatoes, jalapeno peppers & red onion. Today was a practice run for me. Nothing too crazy as it was Jalapeno peppers .
Day 2: Nasi Goreng
Tonight’s dinner was Nasi Goreng (Indonesian dish). The peppers used was a yellow ghost pepper (from our greenhouse) & a red jalapeno pepper. A very enjoyable meal.
While I was breaking a sweat, my husband was thoroughly enjoying this meal. The ghost pepper really kicked thus recipe up!
Day 3: Beef & Mushrooms with Chipotle Peppers & Adobe Sauce
Day 3 Cooking from The Ultimate Hot & Spicy Cookbook adventure: Beef & Mushrooms with Chipotle Peppers.
I served this with rice and green peas with carrots. After experiencing my first meal with a ghost pepper yesterday, I thought tonight would be low on the heat. WRONG! For me the heat was very high. So high I had a head rush & sweats. My husband enjoyed the dinner immensely & the leftovers increased in heat & flavor which made him very happy.
Day 4: Spicy Chicken with Coconut
Day 4: “The Ultimate Hot & Spicy Cookbook” recipe a day cooking adventure. Spicy Chicken with Coconut. Served over coconut rice & a side of mixed vegetables. The pepper used is a 7 Pot White Pepper grown in my husband’s greenhouse.
Overall the dish was very mild flavored with a building heat. Very very good. IF there had been leftovers, I’m sure the flavors would have intensified over night.
Day 5: Pork with Chilies and Pineapple
Day 5 of our Cooking from The Ultimate Hot & Spicy Cookbook adventure. Pork with Chilies and Pineapple
The peppers used were Sweet Bells, Pablano, Jalapeno & Habanero. We made one change to this recipe. Instead of adding the peppers diced, my husband roasted all but the habanero before cooking them with the pork & pineapple mixture. This made a huge difference in the finished flavor.
The flavor is most definitely in the broth & it did pack a punch. While this was a very mild flavored dish, it was still enjoyable. I served the dish with steamed rice and roasted squash.
Day 6: Caribbean Spicy Fish
Our cooking from The Ultimate Hot & Spicy Cookbook adventure continues with page 85, Caribbean Spicy Fish. The peppers used were sweet bells, powdered roasted jalapeno peppers & a Habanero (the recipe called for a Scotch Bonnet). I served this with steamed rice and green beans with green onion.
The sweetness of the sauce gave this dish a wonderful flavor & for me, it had quite the punch of heat. Definitely a do again meal!
Day 7: Spicy Szechuan Noodles
Day 7 of our cooking from The Ultimate Hot & Spicy Cookbook adventure comes from page 200, Spicy Szechuan Noodles.
Not only was this recipe simple, I used my own canned chicken, fresh green onions & dried bird chilies.
The heat came from the bird chilies & sweet chili sauce, and it was very spicy (for me). Definitely a do again meal, plus, whenever I am craving pad thai this will satisfy the craving perfectly.
Day 8: Chicken Tortilla Soup
Today’s Recipe of the cooking from The Ultimate Hot & Spicy Cookbook adventure is taken from page 18.
Chicken Tortilla Soup. This simple & fairly quick recipe created the perfect lunch soup on a damp rainy day. The peppers used were jalapeno peppers & diced chilies. I also used our home canned diced tomatoes with jalapeno peppers. I fried corn tortillas for the topping strips. Very Nice heat & flavor!🌶
Day 9: Chili Verde with Pork & Cactus
While I actually make this recipe often, it’s an adaptation of page 100 in The Ultimate Hot & Spicy Cookbook. In the Cookbook they use beef, we use pork making it a bit more traditional. I also use corn flour as the thickener. The peppers used are pablano and jalapeno peppers, very mild but nice heat. Served with warmed corn tortillas.
I made this cheesecake for “National Brownie Day”. Brownies are a favorite dessert for my husband, but I wanted to put a fancy spin on his favorite.
1 package of (dry mix) Dark Chocolate Brown mix
2 eggs (for brownie parts)
4 – 6 tablespoons of water (for brownie parts)
1 (14 ounce) Package of Individually wrapped caramels – unwrapped (salted caramels if you can find them are best)
1 (5 ounce can) evaporated milk
2 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese softened
1/2 cup of white sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 eggs (for cheesecake)
1 cup of Hot Fudge Sundae topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut out parchment paper to fit the bottom of your 9″ round spring pan. I cut mine to where the sides when clipped will hold the parchment paper in place.
Grease the bottom of a pie pan.
In a small bowl mix together 9 ounces of the dry brown mix with 1 egg and starting with 2 tablespoons of water, until the brown mix is a thick pourable mixture.
Pour the mixture into your spring pan, this creates the “crust” of your cheese cake.
Mix the remaining brownie mixture 1 egg and starting with 2 tablespoons of water, until the brown mix is a thick pourable mixture.
Pour THIS brownie mixture into the greased pie pan. This creates the brownie bites for the top of the cheesecake.
Bake Brownie pans for 25 min. The brownie in the pie pan will cook faster if you have a large pie pan, you want it firm but not crunchy.
Melt the caramels with the evaporated milk over a very low heat in a heavy saucepan. Stir constantly until the mixture has a smooth consistency.
While the brownie “bottom” is cooling, pour all but 1/3 cup of the carmel over the brownie “bottom”.
Drizzle some of the hot fudge sundae topping over the caramel.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixture until smooth. Add in your 2 eggs 1 at a time. Beat well after each egg until well mixed.
Pour the cream cheese mixture over the brownie bottom.
Tear off pieces of brownie from your pie pan sheet of brownies, or use a tiny round cutter if you want perfect brownie rounds. Scatter them over the top of your cheese cake, as little or as much as you like.
Bake the cheesecake for 40 minutes. You should notice a “poof” effect when it is done and the top is golden and should have small “cracks”, not big separations.
Quick chill in the pan as soon as it comes out of the oven.
When the cake is thoroughly chilled, loosen the sides by running a knife around the edge and then remove the rim of the pan. Keep in mind, your caramel may be holding on tightly to the rim, edge your knife in carefully to not destroy the outside presentation of the cake.
Heat the reserved caramel mixture and drizzle over the cheesecake.
Heat the hot fudge sundae topping and drizzle over the cheesecake.
I have found that the cake tastes best a day after sitting, the caramel seems to soak into the brownie and the cheesecake more, however, waiting is torture.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. I have used this to make several combinations, such as a lemon cake crust with lemon sugar and lemon twists, or adding Rum Dark Cherries in between the dark chocolate brownie crust to have almost a black forest cheesecake. Your only limitation is your imagination.