Friday, August 19, 2011

Sweet as a Georgia Peach

As the summer is winding down, so is our garden and the selection of wonderful cheap produce in the grocery store. But, have no fear; canning is here!!

Canning is an art that is almost all but lost, but thanks to hipsters and hippies it is starting to make a come back!

So last night, I decided to put on my most ironic t-shirt and over sized glasses and give canning peaches a try.

It is actually pretty simple, but a little time consuming.

The secret ingredient to any type of canning is to have a very large pot. I am talking huge lobster pot. (You know what I mean, the type that is either black or blue with white specks all over it.) Fill the pot almost completely with water and bring to a simmer.

Once you are simmering, very gently drop your peaches down into the water. Let them get all nice and toasty and when you can easily peel the skin off with either your fingers or a fork, then plunge them into an ice bath.

When they are cool to the touch start peeling. I found it was easy to use a fork to start the peel and then you can just pull it off. Once peeled, cut them in half with a knife.

After you are finished halving the peaches, start making your simple syrup. If you have never made a simple syrup it is actually, well, pretty simple. We decided to make a lighter calorie version where we combined 1 cup of sugar with 3 cups of water. (If you want a more sugary syrup then do a 1-to-1 ratio). You stir until the sugar is dissolved, bring to a boil and then turn down the heat.

Before you add your syrup you need to put the peach halves into jars. Then, cover to the fill line with the syrup. Make sure to wipe all of the syrup and peach stuff off of the rim, put the lid on and tighten the collar.

Next step is to plunk the jars into the boiling water. For where we live in Pennsylvania, we set them in the water for 35 minutes. When your time is done, bring them out of the water and let them cool. If you press on the lid and it doesn't making the popping sound, then you are good. If it does make the popping sound, don't worry. You can still eat the peaches, you just have to use them soon and refrigerate.

As you can see the process is pretty easy, but it does require some time.

I hope you give this forgotten art a shot. In the end it will help you save money and will give you a sweet reminder of warm summer days in the dead of winter.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Edition 01: Sunday Supperclub

Let's pretend that I haven't been a horrible blogger and haven't posted since the ice age. (The reason for not posting is because I had just started two part-time jobs and was continuing to write for our local paper.)

But, in the form of a peace offering, I want to introduce a new feature here on The Daring Domesticate called "Sunday Supperclub."

I want to try to focus on yummy homemade meals that take a little extra time and TLC to prepare.

So, in this first edition, I want to share with you one of my favorite comfort food meals: tomato soup and grilled cheese. But, because it is Sunday Supperclub, we have to make things a little more fancy than just slapping some American Cheese on some Wonderbread and opening up a can of Campbell's tomato soup.

As some of you know, I am a complete Disney nut! My husband and I have been going to Disney for five years now and are addicted. One of my favorite things to do is to try and bring a little Disney pixie dust home. A simple way to do this, has to been to recreate delicious Disney dinners at home.

This recipe is for Tomato Bisque from Sunshine Seasons restaurant at The Land pavilion located in Epcot. I found the recipe from All Ears , a great resource for anything Disney!


1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 cans of diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon fresh basil
1/4 cup chicken broth
8 cups of water
pepper to taste
salt to taste
1/4 cup heavy cream


1. In a large soup pot, Melt butter.
2. Saute onion, tomatoes, garlic, sugar and basil and blend until smooth. (A stick blender works really well for this. Just watch out for splatters!)
3. Add chicken broth and water.
4. If needed, make a corn starch and water slurry to thicken soup. (We had to do this step.)
5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Add heavy cream.

What is tomato soup with out it's partner in crime; grilled cheese?

Grown-up Grilled Cheese

1 loaf of a nice and crusty artisan style bread (we used simple neo-Tuscan boule)

4 slices of provolone cheese

1 smallish wedges of brie cheese

Some EVOO to brush on the bread to toast it

1. Heat up your pan/skillet/panini press and spray with cooking spray.

2. Grab your bread and cut into slices.

3. Spread on EVOO both sides of each slice of bread.

4. Law down two pieces of provolone cheese on two pieces of bread.

5. Cut off two hunks of brie for each sandwich. (Yes, a hunk is a form of scientific measurement.)

6. Put the last piece of bread on top, and toss the baby into the pan or press. (We used the press which made this whole process really easy. If, you are using a pan don't forget to flip your bread over.)

7. Keep cooking until the cheese starts to ooze out of the sides of the sandwich.

8. Enjoy!

It doesn't matter if you are a "dunker", or a "separatist" with your tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich, it will still be a wonder supper for any Sunday!