Sandwich spread, spiced ham, ham loaf, Spam. It has many names. I’m sure as soon as you read “spam” you either thought “Yes!” or you may have thrown up a little. I will tell you that homemade “spam” is nothing like today’s cheap meat in a can Spam. Depending on the spices you use in making it, it can be different every time you make it as well.
You can also “can” this wonderful concoction and make it into a sandwich “spread”, but it will cook in the jar, as does any meat.
So, here we go:
1½ pounds fatty pork shoulder, cubed
¼ pound skinless pork belly, cubed
¼ pound ham, cubed
1½ teaspoons pickling salt
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon dried jalapeno powder (we like spice)
1½ teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon garlic diced
½ teaspoon dehydrated onion flake (or dehydrated ramp flakes)
½ cup ice water
To make the grinding easier, place the pork, spread out in the freezer on a tray until well chilled. Not frozen, just well chilled. You are working with RAW PORK, PLEASE USE PROPER FOOD PRECAUTIONS, KEEP YOUR MEAT SEPARATED AND AWAY FROM OTHER FOOD.
Once everything is chilled, process the pork in sections in a food processor, once each one achieves the texture you desire add to a large bowl. I like my ham a little bigger pieces then the pork and pork belly.
Now add all your meat together and mix with a mixer with the spices.
Slowly add in the ice water to the meat and spices. You want to mix this until it is emulsified well. Meat paste. (I do realize that sounds gross….)
NON CANNING METHOD:
Transfer into a greased small loaf pans; smooth top with a greased rubber spatula. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in a larger pan with 2-inch tall sides. Fill the larger pan with hot water halfway up the sides of the loaf pan. Bake in a preheated 300°F oven for 1½ hours. Let cool completely before removing from pan. Cut into thick slices and serve cold or shallow fried until crusty.
Requires a pressure caner. Make sure you understand completely how to pressure can meat before doing this method!
Prepare your WIDE MOUTH Pint Jars as you would for normal meat preserving.
Make sure your meat mixture has NOTHING FROZEN LEFT IN IT!!!! NEVER can anything that is frozen or overly cold!
Pack your meat mixture into your jars leaving 1 1/2 inch head space.
Do not add any additional moisture.
Clean the edges of your jars, place your lids and rings (tightly but not like Samson tightly)
Place in your pressure caner and FOLLOW YOUR CANER’S DIRECTIONS!
Meat MUST pressure can for 75 minutes for pints once it reaches the canning stage.
Let your caner de-pressurize, and once you remove your jars, you will need to leave sitting for at least 24 hours. Make sure they seal.
Place on your pantry shelf and you have processed spam as a quick grab.
NOTE: The canning method COOKS the meat in the jar, so it is the shape of the jar. Using the Wide Mouth jars allows you to “slide” it out of the jar and slice the spam and then fry or use as a spread, its already cooked!
It may seem like a lot of work, but the flavor is so much better than anything that is mass produced! You will never eat store bought again!
With summer arriving in full heat, so do the cucumbers. Who doesn’t love a crisp dill pickle? Not to many people make brine or “crock” pickles anymore because they not only take several weeks to make, but many people today do not understand that the “stuff” that comes to the top, is good bacteria and is needed for the fermentation process of the pickle. There are good bacteria and bad bacteria, the good is what is needed and creates a film to help ferment your pickles to perfection. Fermentation also has a “smell” to it. Not a rotten smell, but just an odor. Old fashioned crock pickles are cured by fermentation and the scum and the odor is the fermentation agent. It takes 3 weeks (or longer, I prefer about 6 weeks) in cooler temperatures to complete the process of fermentation. During that process your pickles will go from a bright green to an olive or yellow green color. Do NOT have your crock or fermentation “jar” in a warm area, it should be below 75 degrees F. We utilize our pantry which is in our basement for all fermentation’s as well as our canned and dry goods.
You can keep them in the crock with the salt brine all winter or you can preserve them by canning them. I prefer to can mine. I water bath my pickles, well if they last that long anyway.
For my pickles, I use a 1 gallon fermentation “jar” with weights. The lid has a hole in it (my husband did this in the correct sized “lid” in which the fermentation “vent” sits nicely into. You can also use an old fashioned crock with weights and a cover.
You can not make crock pickles from store bought cucumbers!!! Please read that out loud. YOU CAN NOT MAKE CROCK PICKLES FROM STORE BOUGHT CUCUMBERS!!! Why? Because store bought is coated with a wax film to keep them looking pretty longer. You must use strait from the garden fresh cucumbers. No bigger than 4 inches long and make sure they are “skinny”. Not too fat so the texture is good, you want young, bright smaller cucumbers.
You will need 5 lbs of cucumbers that have been washed and have any dirt and blossom and stems removed. Do not peel or slice.
Since I have 1 gallon fermentation jars, I make 5 lbs at a time of crock pickles. So this is the recipe for 1 gallon of fermentation dill pickles.
5 lbs of small cucumbers, washed
8 cups of water
5 fresh heads of dill (flower)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
2 dried bird chilies (this is optional)
1 tablespoon of mustard seed
1 tsp of peppercorns (optional)
1/2 cup of PICKLING salt (DO NOT USE SEA SALT, TABLE SALT OR IODIZED SALT!)
1/4 cup of white vinegar
In your crock or jar (make sure it is clean). Add a layer of 2 dill flowers, 1 chili, garlic, mustard seed, peppercorns.
Add in your cucumbers layering them as tightly as possible.
Add in your remaining dill “flowers” then a couple cucumbers to hold them down.
Heat your water, vinegar and salt until it is hot, just under a boil and the salt is dissolved.
Pour your mixture over your cucumbers and spices. There should be enough to cover your cucumbers but not completely fill your crock or jar.
Add a plate or fermentation “topping” over your pickles, then the weights on top of the covering to hold everything down well below the top of the brine.
Your cucumbers must always be below your brine, safely submerged at least 2 inches below the brine. You may have to add salt, vinegar water to your brine if evaporation happens during your process.
I add a fermentation lid and vent to mine, to cut down on the evaporation. You can also use a cloth over the top.
Now we move our crock to a cool place, I use my pantry and wait. I check on my crock about once every 3 days to make sure the brine level is up and there is nothing “funky” happening. Your pickles are ready in 3 weeks, I like to wait a little longer. You can transport them in half gallon jars with the dill brine and keep in the refrigerator or you can preserve them in pints/quarts using the water bath method for pickles.
One of my favorite jam is Strawberry Rhubarb. It just screams summer. A little on a hot buttered sour dough biscuit is heaven!
Here is my recipe for a very simple, basic Strawberry Rhubarb Jam.
4 cups of fresh rhubarb, diced. Make sure it is blushed (it has some red/pink color)
4 cups of fresh strawberries diced (remove the caps)
4 cups of sugar
1.75 ounces of low sugar pectin
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
Make sure your rhubarb is diced small, add to a large pot.
Cap and dice your strawberries, add to the same large pot.
Add in your lemon juice and heat the mixture until the fruit becomes soft.
Mix your sugar and pectin to in a bowl, then add the mixture to your fruit 1 cup at a time. Constantly mixing until all the sugar and pectin is in the fruit.
Move your heat to high, constantly stirring.
You can use a candy thermometer if you like, your key temperature is 200. But you can also just use your eyes
When it reaches a rolling boil and starts to foam, add in a quick pat of real butter (DO NOT USE FAKE BUTTER, YUCKY!!!!) The butter tones down the foam.
Keep on a high rolling boil and stir constantly for approximately 3 minutes.
Take off the heat.
Now I do a freezer test. I have a small glass cup and a metal spoon and I put a wee bit of jam on the spoon and stick it in the freezer to fast cool. Once the cup is cool, your jam should be the consistency it will be when it is “set”. I’m picky with Strawberry Rhubarb, I don’t like a hard set or even a medium set I like it to spread like warm butter. But if you want a firmer set than what you have, put back on the heat and bring to a full boil again for another 2 min. repeat test until you have received the firmness you like.
This recipe makes about 8 half-pints of jam.
Have your jars sterilized and ready to go with their lids and rings ready. (I’m assuming you’ve water bath canned before here….)
Fill your jars up to about 1/2 inch from the top with hot jam.
Wipe the lips of your jars with a wet cloth to make sure you don’t have anything on the tops where the lids need to seal.
Place your prepared lids on the jars, and sorta tightly screw on your rings.
Place in your water bath or steam canner.
Once your canner comes to a full boil, start timing at 15 minutes.
After 15 min, remove canner from heat.
CAREFULLY!!!!!!! Remove your lid and once by one remove your jars.
Place your jars on a protective covering (I use a double towel) in an area that you do not need to bother the jars for 24 hours.
When you hear the “pops” they are sealed. If you have a jar that did not seal, put it in the fridge, it will be gone quickly.
Now all there is to do is enjoy the sweet gift of summer!!!!!
Yes, you read that correctly. Beef Tongue. Beef Tongue is an excellent cut of beef, despite what you may think. It is however, very high in fat, so have sparingly. Most people have heard of Beef Tongue Sandwiches which are made from an almost “pickled” version of beef tongue and are sliced and served cold. I love these too, my best friend’s grandma used to make the absolute best Beef Tongue sandwiches.
However, my husband’s very favorite recipe is one my Grandmama taught me to make. Beef Tongue Stroganoff. When you slow cook (I use a crock-pot) beef tongue it becomes such a soft and wonderful shredded beef, only to be compared to beef cheek meat. My husband refers to it as “beef butter”.
I do hope you enjoy this recipe.
Ingredients and utensils needed:
1 Beef Tongue (washed, do not skin)
3 bay leaves
A pinch of salt
tsp of chipotle pepper flakes (you expected that by now right?)
1 lb of fresh mushrooms
1 large onion sliced in half rings
2 cups of Greek plain yogurt (or sour cream, I use yogurt to cut down on fat)
3 – 4 cloves of garlic diced
1 tbsp of cornstarch
1 large crock-pot
a thick butcher grade knife
Wash your beef tongue. I know there is probably a joke here, but we won’t go there.
Rub & coat with a pinch of salt & corn starch and place in the crock-pot. Place about 3 tablespoons of water in the crock-pot.
Sprinkle the chipotle pepper flakes over the tongue.
Put your bay leaves over the tongue.
Set the temperature to Medium and let cook all day. Yes, ALL DAY.
At the end of the day, remove from the crock pot and let cool on a cutting board.
Skin the tongue. I slice down the middle just enough to cut through the outer skin, and pull the skin back.
The tip of the tongue has it’s own “texture”. Personally its the prize for me and I keep it separate to enjoy on a piece of toast.
TAKE OUT THE BAY LEAVES. My husband ALWAYS ends up with a piece of Bay Leaf. Make sure you get all the pieces out.
Shred the meat of the tongue and place back in the crock-pot.
In a frying pan, saute your onions, garlic until the onions are “limp”.
Add in your mushrooms and saute until they are cooked but still firm.
Pour over your meat in the crock-pot.
Set the crock-pot temperature to warm.
Add in your Greek Yogurt (sour cream) and stir together with all of the other ingredients.
You should not have to add any moisture, but if you do, only add 1 tablespoon of water at a time. Remember the tongue is full of fat and should have created a nice thick broth while cooking.
Stir off and on while you prepare your noodles, rice or potatoes that you will be serving with your stroganoff.
Keep a watchful eye on your crock pot and stir often. This will prevent any clumping or “curdling” of the yogurt/sour cream.
Serve over noodles, rice or potatoes and enjoy!
I hope you enjoy this very basic recipe. It also heats up great for left overs!
Recently I was asked to share my Chocolate Cream Pie recipe. As with nearly all my pies, this one comes straight from my Grandmama’s kitchen. It’s a tad labor intensive but so worth it. Make sure you read through to make sure you have everything you need before starting. Making custard based pies requires practice & patience. Enjoy.
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn starch
1/3 tsp salt
2 cups whole milk scalded
2 tbsp real butter
1 tsp real vanilla
1/2 cup dark baking cocoa powder
1 baked pie shell
2 egg whites beaten stiff
1/4 cup sugar
2 drops real vanilla
Blend sugar, corn starch & salt.
Heat milk stirring in cocoa, heat until scalded.
Slowly stir in sugar mix to milk.
Using a double boiler cook and stir over boiling water until mixture thickens.
Add one third of mixture to well beaten egg yolks then stir egg yolks into custard.
Stir and cook another 2 minutes.
Remove from fire.
Add butter & vanilla.
Fold into custard evenly.
Pour into baked pie shell.
Cover with meringue & a sprinkle of cocoa powder.
Place in oven 325°F to only brown the meringue slightly. Watch closely his does not take long.
You can also top with whipped cream if you prefer.
Nothing says home like an old fashioned cobbler. They are quick to make and are eaten even faster! The perfect dessert for a gathering or family. Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream while still warm and you will melt!
4 cups of mixed berries. I enjoy Raspberries, blueberries and black berries. However, you can mix this up as you like.
1 cup of raw honey
1/2 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of corn starch
In a very large bowl, mix your berries (with your hands) with the sugar and the corn starch.
Once the berries are well coated, add in your honey. Using a large wooden spoon, fold the berries so the honey coats well.
Pour into a large casserole pan.
Pie Crust Top:
This is a very basic pie crust, and my husband says he prefers a “drop crust” which to me is not a cobbler, but to each his own. A drop crust is like sweet drop dumplings, which I am not going to cover here.
1 1/4 cups of lard
3 cups of flour
1 tbsp of sugar
a pinch of salt
1 to 2 tbsp of water
In a large bowl add your flower, sugar and salt.
Add in your lard and “cut” into the flour mixture (I use two butter knives to cut) until there are “marble sized” balls.
Finish mixing with your hands, adding in the water if need be. You do not want your dough too dry or too wet.
Using parchment paper, sprinkle some flour on the bottom parchment paper add the ball of dough, a dusting of flour on the top and the top parchment paper.
Use a rolling pen to to roll until thin and wide and long enough to cover your casserole dish corner to corner on the inside (not over the edges).
Add the dough to the top of your fruit.
Cut slits or designs into the top of your crust so the juices can nicely escape and not cause an overflow on the edges.
Sprinkle the crust with a light dusting of sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until the crust has a pretty golden glow to it.
Serve hot or cold. Warm with vanilla ice cream is my ultimate favorite.
This recipe is an alteration of my favorite fried corn side dish I grew to love back home. Growing it up was fried sweet corn with a bit of butter salt and pepper. Now that I’m all grown up and my loving husband has introduced me to a world of new flavors from his time of Arizona, my comfort food side dish has taken on a whole new level of awesomeness.
I recently made this for a family gathering and had many requests to share the recipe. Here it is.
1/4 cup pork lard
4 cups of sweet corn
1/2 onion diced
2 cloves of garlic diced
8 ounces roasted New Mexico Hatch Chilies (pealed and diced)
1 tbsp Corn meal or corn flour
1 tsp Jalapeno powder
1 tbsp Chili powder
White soft quesadilla cheese
Fresh Cilantro (optional)
A pinch of salt
Heat a cast iron skillet and melt your lard (Do not use Crisco or butter, it won’t taste the same).
Saute the onion and garlic until limp.
Add in your corn and fry on a medium heat. You want your corn to have a chard look to it.
Add in your hatch chilies and continue “frying” in the skillet.
Combine your jalapeno powder and chili powder together then add to your skillet, spreading it evenly over the corn while frying. Stir in.
Sprinkle in your corn flower over top of the corn and fold it in evenly.
When the corn has a “roasted” look to it (it will toughen up as well), take it off the heat and transfer it into a large pan or serving dish.
Sprinkle with some chili powder, grated white Mexican cheese and the fresh cilantro.
Can be served cold or hot.
Feel free to add in jalapeno slices, extra peppers, some jalapeno tomato dices or even some black beans. Yum.